Busy week of music, musicals, authors, movies, turtles and toads!

Starline Rhythm Boys./Photo provided

July 18: Starline Rhythm Boys

The Chester Summer Music Series welcomes once again bring the Starline Rhythm Boys back to Chester from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 18. The “Boys” evoke the spirited country and juke joint sounds that echoed out of the Tennessee Hills and Texas Honkytonks of the 1940s and ’50s. They’ll be pickin’ and singin’ their potent blend of classic country and vintage rock ‘n’ roll on the lawn of the Academy Building across from the Chester Green.

Formed in 1998 by three professional musicians with combined experience of more than 100 years in various bands (including bass man Billy Bratcher’s one year cross-country stint in 1997 with Wayne “The Train” Hancock out of Texas), the Starline Rhythm Boys are a drummerless “Tennessee Trio” consisting of Danny Coane — “Little Danny C” — on acoustic rhythm guitar, Big Al Lemery on electric lead guitar and Billy — ”Slappin’ Billy B” — Bratcher on acoustic upright “slap” bass. The Starline Rhythm Boys perform vintage country, honky tonk  and rockabilly music with very strong country harmony duet vocals. Their repertoire consists of many superb originals, mainly written by Bratcher, as well as covers of both classic and obscure numbers.

For more events throughout the Williams, West and Black river valleys, check out our new calendar.

July 18: Weston opens OtherStages with ‘Loving Leo’

Michael Winther and Lauren Mufson in rehearsal for 'Loving Leo,' which opens Thursday./Photo by Stuart Duke.

Michael Winther and Lauren Mufson in rehearsal for ‘Loving Leo,’ which opens Thursday./Photo by Stuart Duke.

A new musical, Loving Leo, opens at the Weston Rod and Gun Club on Route 100 South, Weston at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, July 18 and running through Sunday, Aug. 4.

Loving Leo is the story of David (Michael Winther) and Lena (Lauren Mufson), whose childless marriage is challenged when they take in Lena’s aging stepfather. The couple grapples with the loss of one family member, the adoption of another and a discovery of themselves. Written and composed by Sara Cooper (book and lyrics) and Zach Redler (music) Loving Leo is brought to Weston under the direction of Noah Himmelstein.

Loving Leo was developed in part by Cooper and Redler at a 2010 Artists Retreat in Weston, and went on to win Weston’s 2012 New Musical Award. Song selections from the show can be heard on the composer’s website at zachredler.com/audio.html.

Performances of Loving Leo are on Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m.; Sundays at 3 p.m. The one-act show runs 1 hour, 25 minutes.

Tickets are $28 for adults, $14 for students. A select number of VTix are available at $15, first-come first-served. Purchase tickets at the Playhouse Box Office, at (802) 824-5288, or online. A complete schedule of upcoming shows and events can be found at www.westonplayhouse.org.

 July 18: Turtles and Toads program in Bellows Falls

The Rockingham Free Public Library invites you to explore the world of Turtles and Toads with the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday, July 18 at the Bellows Falls Rec Center, 51 The Square in Bellows Falls, for a free family program.

Reptiles and amphibians of Vermont are some of the state’s most fascinating animals.  Museum staff will present an interactive slideshow, touchable artifacts and live animals.  For more information and to pick up the entire summer programming brochure, you can stop by the Library at its temporary location on Main Street (41 The Square), go online to rockinghamlibrary.org, call 802.463.4270, or email sam@rockinghamlibrary.org.

 July 19: Short Film Concert at VTica

Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts presents Asbury Shorts, New York City’s longest running short film exhibition 8 p.m., Friday, July 19 at 15 Depot St., Chester.

Opening with live music, The Short Film Concert continues with a program of international festival and Academy Award winners featuring the best in live action comedy, drama and outstanding animation.

Admission is members $10; non-members $15. For information please call VTica at 802-875-1018.

Tea with Silvio the Cat at Bonnie's Bundles.

Tea with Silvio the Cat at Bonnie’s Bundles.

July 20: Bonnie’s Bundles continues anniversary celebration

Bonnie’s Bundles Dolls is holding its second 45th Anniversary Celebration event 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 20 at the gallery and gardens of the Watters in the Stone Village.

This event will focus will be on Grammies and their treasures. Planned crafts include faces on paper, on cookies, on cloth and on the mural. Lunch and afternoon tea with Silvio the cat will be served. Check out the details on the special events page at www.bonniesbundlesdolls.com

Looks like a photo came with this Photo credit:  Heather D’Augustine

July 20: Syd Straw & Friends concert at VTica

Syd Straw will perform with friends at VTica.

Syd Straw will perform with friends at VTica.

Alternative musician Syd Straw will perform from 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 20 at the Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts, 15 Depot St., Chester. Along with her current repertoire, she will share new material with the audience. Musicians Don Edgar Piper, Stephen Francis X. Maglio, Douglas Culhane and Mary Rowell of Ethel will join Straw.

The New York Times has said, “Syd Straw has a battery of different voices at her disposal, and she uses them all… In the upper range her voice is as high and breathless as a child’s; when she slips into the middle range she’s proud and defiant… a touch of postfeminist empowerment. Down low she’s vulnerable, able to communicate heartbreak in the stretch of the single syllable of love.”

Tickets for members are $10; non-members $15. For more information, call 802-875-1018.

July 21: Choir director Stretton leaves St. Luke’s after 7 years

Martha Stretton, musician and choir director at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Chester for nearly seven years, will be leaving those positions to take a shared post as assistant director of music at the First Congregational Church of Springfield. She will continue to be a member of St. Luke’s.

Martha_Stretton_Ph.D____BW copy.jpeg

Martha Stretton

On Sunday, July 21, St. Luke’s will honor Stretton and her service to the community. Details will appear on the churchwebsite. www.stlukesepiscopalvt.org.

In addition to performing on the restored Hamill organ and leading the choir through Sunday services, Stretton has served as head of the St. Luke’s Vestry and as a youth group leader. The Choral Evensong and Ascension Day Shrimp Boil, and Passover Seder were offered under her musical leadership, and she occasionally brought in outside musicians to enrich the services. During the years Stretton has been St. Luke’s music director, this Yale-educated psychologist has had an active practice in Chester and served as the musical accompanist of the Springfield Community Chorus.

Those musicians interested in applying for the open positions should also visit the website.

 July 21: ‘Grants Ferry’ author at Misty Valley Books

David Chase, author of 'Grants Ferry,' will be at Misty Valley Books on Sunday.

David Chase, author of ‘Grants Ferry,’ will be at Misty Valley Books on Sunday.

David Chase, author of Grants Ferry, will visit Misty Valley Books on the Green in Chester at 4 p.m., Sunday, July 21 to discuss his book. A reception follows.

Grants Ferry is Chase’s first novel. The story is set in the peaceful town of Grants Ferry somewhere between Springfield and Windsor, Vermont. It’s the story of Kenneth Forbes, who is summoned back to his hometown after a 30-year absence to settle his deceased Aunt Fanny’s estate.

A native of Brattleboro, Chase performed and wrote for the Vermont Theater Company and wrote weekly columns for the Brattleboro Reformer and the Keene Sunday Sentinel. In 1987, he published a collection of his columns in A Peasant of West Brattleboro.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call the bookstore at 802-875-3400 or visit www.mvbooks.com.
— Compiled by Susan Lampe-Wilson

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