Foggy Mountain Consort, a renaissance and bluegrass band

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BELLOWS FALLS — Stone Church Arts brings an R & B band, that is, renaissance and bluegrass, to Bellows Falls! The Foggy Mountain Consort, performing at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, performs both early music of the renaissance and North American bluegrass, along with other traditional music from America and the British Isles, with original tunes thrown in for a splash. Join us for this unusual concert event, at Immanuel Episcopal Church, the stone church on the hill, 20 Church St., Bellows Falls.

The Foggy Mountain Consort consists of Art Schatz, Peter Lehman, Anne Goodwin, Doug Freundlich, and Lauck Benson, a group dedicated to performing music from a wide historical range - starting with plucked string music and songs from as early as 1600. While this music is very old, it still rings contemporary when approached in the right manner. We mix old instruments with newer ones, old styles with a fresh approach, and we mostly have a great time making music together. We try to play with all our heart and soul, have no fear, and enjoy the collaboration.

We also draw from the vast repertoire of "collected" ballads from the British Isles. Collected by Francis James Child in the late nineteenth century, these and other tunes, sometime familiar, always haunting and heartfelt, offer a deep hunting ground for the Foggy Mountain Consort. With true origins unknown, ballads and old tunes might easily stretch back to the middle ages.

Then of course there's bluegrass and traditional music from North America. The Foggy Mountain Consort does get around to playing old style bluegrass, but in its own eclectic way.

And there's much more from this unusual band. Early music, long forgotten songs, romping bluegrass, and new music inspired by old styles. Rich textures from the lute, banjo, violone (Renaissance double bass), violin, guitar, and voices. We like to say, Old is new, new is old.

Lauck Benson: Lauck, our banjo player, is a bluegrass and banjo historian with a vast knowledge of these subjects. A banjo teacher at Berkeley College of Music, Lauck delights in pushing his students to try anything, to expand the already rich repertoire of this wonderful instrument.

Lauck has played with countless bands across the country, but hasn't often taken breaks in Dowland songs or livened up renaissance dance tunes. When Lauck plays these ancient dances you'll know for sure there must have been some great dancing in the 16th century.

Douglas Freundlich: Doug has performed as a lutenist with the BSO, Boston Baroque, Emmanuel Music, Renaissonics, Venere Lute Quartet, and many other ensembles.

Doug teaches lute at the Longy School of Music, recently serving as acting Early Music Chair, and is active as a faculty mentor in Longy's Teaching Artist Program. Other teaching has included Lute Society of America Seminars, Amherst Early Music, and the Boston Early Music Festival Outreach program. On the side, Doug "cross-trains" as a jazz bassist and recently retired from his job as Associate Keeper of Harvard's Isham Library. He has recorded for the TelArc, Titanic, Revels and LSA labels.

Anne Goodwin: Anne studied classical vocal technique in her college days and Medieval and Renaissance vocal music in the years following, performed with Balkan ensemble Laduvane, and toured folk clubs in the US and abroad with various groups. In addition to the Foggy Mountain Consort, she is currently performing with the trio Somebody's Mother. She lives in Arlington. Read more at: Anne Goodwin

Peter Lehman: Peter performs on historic plucked strings: the Renaissance Lute, the Theorbo, and the Nineteenth-century Guitar. All demand different techniques, read from different notations, and come from a variety of musical styles.

But Peter also draws on other influences. Founding director of the Foggy Mountain Consort, Peter is considered by some to be the foremost bluegrass theorbist. Well at least, the only known one. Historically informed and rhythmically inspired - the Foggy Mountain Consort's setting of Child Ballads are a perfect example of the eclectic mix Peter brings together. These oral tradition songs reach back to the 15th century yet still find their way into contemporary settings.

Peter holds performance degrees from Ithaca College School of Music and the New England Conservatory, where he received a Masters in the Performance of Early Music. Post graduate studies were at the Scola Cantorum Basiliensis with Hopkinson Smith and Eugen Dombois.

Art Schatz: Art has been a mainstay bluegrass and country fiddler in the Boston acoustic music scene for more than 30 years. Classically trained as a child, Art played in various community orchestras and chamber groups throughout college and after. He began fiddling in high school after hearing John Hartford, Vassar Clements, Byron Berline, and Richard Greene play with his favorite country, rock and bluegrass bands of the day. Art continues his love for baroque music, and maintains that JS Bach figured out everything that was possible to play on the violin with his solo sonatas and partitas. He currently plays with the Boston country and western swing band Honky Tonk Masquerade and previously played with fellow Foggy Mtn Consort member Lauck Benson in the Reunion Band (bluegrass).

Come travel through time—or just enjoy the music—with the Foggy Mountain Consort, Saturday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Immanuel Episcopal Church, Bellows Falls. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Tickets in advance are $17 general admission, $13 for seniors and $35 best in house, premium seating. Tickets at the door are $20 general and $15 for seniors. Advance tickets are available at Village Square Booksellers, Bellows Falls, and online at stonechurcharts.org.

For additional information on this concert or any of the upcoming Stone Church Arts concerts, visit the web site at stonechurcharts.org or call 802-460-0110.




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