Amherst Gazette – Bringing Summer Music and Arts: Concert Series and More Returns to Hadley and Huntington

Summer brings outdoor music and a variety of arts performances, including plays, literary readings, dance and more.

It’s not just a big blowout event like the Green River Festival.

In Hadley, the Porter Phelps Huntington Museum is ready for the 43rd season of Folklore Wednesdays, a weekly series that brings a series of acoustic performances to the museum’s sunken garden— Traditional folk, blues, Latin and West African rhythms and more.

Meanwhile, in Huntington, the 14th annual North Hall Arts Festival will soon kick off with a concert by the Jazz Band sound forest, blending world music with fresh improvisation. Later in the summer, roots music, Broadway music and more are performed in the historic building.

Wednesday Folk Traditions, opening on June 12, presented by Tim EricksonAmherst multi-instrumentalist, composer and ethnomusicologist continues to celebrate Juneteenth on June 19, Amherst Area Gospel Choir. The holiday performance commemorating the end of slavery in 1865 will be the 12th Annual Horace Clarence Boyer Memorial Gospel Concert.

The choir, whose repertoire includes spirituals, African diaspora, Tommy Dorsey Big Band hits and original music by Horace Boyer, will also honor the late Dr. Boyer, a major figure in the local music scene An important part of UMass Amherst, Professor and Pastor of Music at the Goodwin Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church in Amherst.

And on June 26, Talamana TrioMusic that blends Indian and Middle Eastern music with American jazz and folk will be performed at Porter-Phelps (all performances begin at 6:30 p.m.).

The orchestra brings together some unusual instruments and backgrounds: Robert Markey plays the sitar after studying for many years in India; Jim Matus plays the laoutar, a lute / hybrid guitar; Latvian-born singer-songwriter Laila Salins has performed in operas and musicals and worked as a storyteller.

Later this summer, the Hadley Concert Series will include voices from Uganda and other parts of East Africa (Gideon Ampel), blues, roots and rock (StompBox Trio), and a range of Caribbean music (Jose Gonzalez and Creole Clasico).

For more information about the Folk Heritage Series, visit Tickets are $12 for adults and $2 for those 16 and under. In the event of rain, the concert will be held at Wesley United Methodist Church, 98 North Maple Street, Hadley.

Meanwhile, the Summer Arts Festival will kick off on June 16 at 2 pm in the Huntington North Hall, featuring Tone Forest, the top jazz trio from Silicon Valley: pianist Miro Sprague, bassist Marty Jaffe and guitarist Jason Ennis (now Lives in Los Angeles), New York, and Pittsfield.

The band, which first formed in 2018, draws on jazz, world music and heavy improvisation to create a sound that is both lyrical and rhythmically rooted in original compositions and new arrangements of other music.

On June 30 at 2 p.m., North Hall is trying something new: The Story Cafe, which is billed as a celebration of Silicon Valley’s “talented short story writers.”

Regional actors Ellen Barry, Raye Birk, Candace Barrett Birk bring decades of theater experience to read Western Massachusetts A selection of works by a range of writers: Jane Yolen, Stephen Billias, Joy Baglio, Rick Paar and Marisa Labozzetta.

Programming at the Huntington Arts Festival later this summer will include roots music, old-time jazz and a selection of opera and show tunes. More information is available at

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