Meeting House Presents!

Unitarian Society of Hartford 2017-18 Performing Arts Series

co-produced with  The Sounding Board Coffee House

Prices unless otherwise notated.  Tickets $20 at the door/$12 for students with ID.  Members children under age 12 are free with parent. Support live music.

Friday, October 27, 2017, 8:00 p.m.      Sam Moffett Jazz Combo           Click Here to Buy Tickets

Listen to Sam Moffett     Sam Moffett web page

Sam is the USH Director of Music Ministries. Born in West Hartford, Connecticut, Sam Moffett has been a student of music his entire life.  Starting on piano at the age of four, Sam began to explore different musical aspects, such as singing and composition.  He finally found his love in the saxophone at age eleven, playing the tenor sax in his elementary school band.  From then on, he started to explore jazz, playing in jam sessions and various gigs in the Connecticut area.  Sam studied jazz saxophone with Phil Delibero, and classical saxophone, clarinet, flute, and oboe with Martin Piecuch.

Jazz became such an influence in Sam’s musical life, that he went on to study jazz composition at Berklee College of Music, receiving his Bachelor of Music in 2016.  He studied jazz composition privately with Ayn Inserto, and orchestral conducting with Julius Williams.

During his time at Berklee, Sam began to explore composition of classical music, developing a particular interest in both minimalism and chance music.  In his senior year at Berklee, he got into The Hartt School of Music as a candidate for the Master of Music in Composition Degree, which he is currently pursuing.  While at Hartt, Sam has studied composition privately with David Macbride and Robert Carl.

He will be performing with his new Jazz combo.

  • Sam Moffett  – Saxophone
  • Mike Carabello – Keyboard
  • Matt Dwonzyk – Bass
  • Kirk Woodard – Percussion

Friday, November 24, 2017,  8:00 p.m.    David Massengill Concert         Click to Buy Tickets

Click to Listen to On the Road to Fairfax County      Video links: Number One in America       Rider on an Orphan Train

photo David Massengill concert
David Massengill

By birth a Tennessean, David Massengill “emigrated” to the Greenwich Village folk scene in the mid-70’s, walking the same streets and playing the same storied coffee houses as Dylan and Van Ronk.

Thirty years later, he’s still walking those streets—but now he’s being recognized universally for his pivotal role in keeping the American folk music tradition alive. Called “a master of vivid lyrical imagery”(Boston Globe), David continues to create beautiful and poignant “story songs” that are intimate and relevant and tug at your emotions. Songs like “Rider On An Orphan Train“ a narrative ballad ringing with truth and anguish” (Washington Post), “Number One In America”, a riveting and ironic civil rights anthem” (Boston Globe) and the biting political statement, “The Gambler”, a thing of beauty about all things ugly” (Barry Crimmins).

His songs have been covered and recorded by Joan Baez, The Roches, Lucy Kaplansky, Tom Russell, Nanci Griffith and his mentor, Dave Van Ronk, who said David “took the dull out of dulcimer!”  Notes Music Boulevard, “That David made the lap dulcimer his instrument of choice tells us a lot about the soft-spoken native of eastern Tennessee. He accompanies his performance with an instrument indelibly Appalachian, yet conquers even the most urban of musical communities. He does it without losing that remarkable gift for true storytelling.

David has released six albums, eleven bootlegs and fourteen books to date, including “Partners in Crime”, the debut album of The FolkBrothers, David’s duo project with the late great Jack Hardy.

Friday, January 26, 2018, 8:00 p.m.  New World Trio

photo New World Trio concert
Cellist Peter Zay, violinist Anhared Stowe, and pianist Pi-Hsun Shih

For more than three decades, the New World Trio has brought the excitement and intimacy of chamber music to live audiences throughout New England. Founded in 1985 by violinist Anhared Stowe, New World provides a unique experience for music lovers with its mix of both standard repertoire and contemporary works. With each performance, New World brings new vitality to established masterworks; these are paired with contemporary pieces, with each complementing the other in depth and beauty.

 New World Trio web page       

Friday, February 23, 2018, 8:00 p.m.

Friday, March 23, 2018, 8:00   J.P. Cormier 

Listen to J.P. play guitar jigs       J.P. on fiddle      J.P. plays Cannonball Rag on guitar     J.P.’s Uncle Joe’s fave Winston tunes       J.P. singing Sonny’s Dream       J.P. on banjo        J.P. on mandolin

J.P. Cormier’s Web Page

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, recording artist, teacher, collaborator, innovator and award winner; no matter what you call him, J.P. Cormier’s talent is comparable to none. Underlying it all is a young man with an ancient soul who has traveled the world for the past 30 years bringing joy to audiences wherever he goes. 

J.P. Cormier, is a Canadian bluegrass/folk/Celtic singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He has released more than a dozen records including two career retrospectives, and a book of the tunes featured on his guitar album. J.P.’s impressive body of work has earned him a vast and loyal fan base and multiple award nominations and wins, including 13 East Coast Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Award, five Music Nova Scotia Awards, Juno nominations, commendations from the Governor General of Canada and Premier of Nova Scotia. His 2015 album, The Chance, was nominated for a Juno award in the Traditional Roots Album of the Year category. A past Artist in Residence (2008), J.P. has performed at Celtic Colours Festival in Cape Breton every year since the Festival started in 1997.

Friday, March 30, 2018, 8:00    Susie Burke and David Surette

Listen to Burke and Surette      BurkeSurette web page

Susie Burke and David Surette have made a name for themselves as one of the finest acts on the lively New England folk scene. Together since 1988, Susie and David have built a steady following for their own blend of contemporary, traditional, and original folk and acoustic music. Burke’s vocal style is at once stunning and heartfelt, and is matched by Surette’s fluid fretwork.

Susie Burke has been singing on Seacoast stages since the early 80s, as a soloist, a member of several local bands, and in several duos, including one with guitar whiz Harvey Reid. Her musical tastes and influences are varied and many, encompassing contemporary and traditional folk, swing, country, topical songs, and acapella singing, with detours along the way for Broadway showtunes and classic ballads. “She posesses one of the finest, purest ballad sopranos heard in folk music today” writes Scott Alarik in the Boston Globe, noting that “her phrasing is unerringly devoted to the lyric” and that “Burke displays a gift for pulling honest emotional chords – all too rare in these clever and cynical times.”

David Surette has been performing in the Seacoast area since the mid-80s, both with Susie and with a number of other groups and musicians. He is well-known as a top-notch accompanist in New England’s contra dance and Celtic music circles, and is also in demand as a studio musician. As a multi-instrumentalist, David brings a variety of stringed sounds to the duo; Folk Roots magazine notes that his “bouzouki, guitar, and mandolin playing is exemplary.” In addition to performing and recording, Surette maintains an active teaching schedule, and is head of the folk department at the Concord (NH) Community Music School. He was awarded an NEA travel grant in 1994 to study the traditional music of Brittany, France, and has written a book of Celtic guitar arrangements for Mel Bay Music.

Recipients of Individual Artist Fellowship awards from the NH State Council on the Arts in 1993, Susie and David are also on the Council’s Touring Arts roster. They have released five albums since 1990 on the Madrina Music label, to positive response from both critics and audiences. Their latest recording, a duo effort titled Waiting for the Sun, was released in 2015. Together, they bring skill, taste, feeling, and pure enjoyment to their music, and are bringing their music to an ever-widening circle of listeners.

Friday, April 27, 2018, 8:00     An Evening With Mary Gauthier       

Listen to Mary Gauthier     Mary Gauthier videos

Photo Mary Gauthier concert
Mary Gauthier

In a Nashville bookstore, to the tune of steam hissing from a latte machine and laptop taps of nearby browsers, she speaks in a low voice, yet communicates urgently. Her voice never rises. Her music never rattles rafters or crashes like cymbals toward the high notes in a power chorus. Her tempos shuffle and trudge more than they dash.

And her songs? They’re about as idiosyncratic as anything in the wide world of “popular music.” They’re painfully personal, especially on Trouble and Love. Yet they somehow infiltrate the souls of her listeners, no matter how different the paths they’ve followed through their lives.

Those songs weren’t so much written as harvested by Gauthier. Though she lives not far from the hit-making mills of Music Row, she admits to knowing nothing about how to write on command.  She says, “I have to be called to write. The call comes from somewhere I don’t understand, but I know it when I hear it.”

That call first came to her a long time ago. Her life to that point had led her to extremes, plenty of negatives and a few brilliant bright spots. An adopted child, who became a teenage runaway, she found her first shelter among addicts and Drag Queens. Eventually she achieved renown as a chef even while balancing the running of her restaurant with the demands of addiction to heroin.

  • (2015) Nominated for GLADD Outstanding Music Artist of the Year at 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards

  • (2014) Trouble and Love, Named One of Best 40 Country Albums of 2014 by Rolling Stone Magazine

  • (2014) “Mercy Now” Named One of Saddest 40 Country Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine

  • (2010) The Foundling named No. 3 Record of the Year by LA Times

  • (2005) First Major Label Release, Mercy Now, on Top 10 List for 2005 in New York Times, LA Times, The Daily News and Billboard Magazine

  • (2005) Awarded “New Artist of the Year” by The Americana Music Association

  • (2005) Mercy Now voted the No. 6 Record of the Decade by No Depression Magazine

  • (2002) Filth and Fire named “Best Indy CD of The Year” by Jon Pareles of The New York Times

  • (1998) Won Best Country Artist of the Year (GLAMA)

  • (1998) Nominated for 3 Gay and Lesbian American Music Awards (GLAMA)

  • (1998) Nominated for Best New Artist of the Year, Boston Music Awards

  • (1998) Won 1st Annual Independent Music Awards for Folk/Singer-Songwriter Song for Drag Queens in Limousines

June 2018, Date TBD  Jacques Lamarre Play Reading

Don’t miss another exciting new play premiere penned by Unitarian Society of Hartford friend and supporter Jacques Lamarre.

Concert Entertainment Fun Guitar Singing Music Concerts Theater