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Fall Arts News in Brief

The Black Feathers, performing on Sept. 11 at the Plainfield Opera House. Courtesy photo.

The Black Feathers at the Plainfield Opera House

The Americana, folk, and acoustic indie rock sensibilities of The Black Feathers, made up of Ray Hughes and Sian Chandler, will appear at the Plainfield Opera House on Sept. 11 at 4 p.m. 

Their combination of beautiful harmonies, great lyrics, expert guitar playing, and lively personalities will make this an exciting show. Hughes’s guitar work buoys the kind of harmonies often only heard in family bands. Their music quickly draws the interest of listeners, but it is the stage chemistry that keeps audiences riveted. The ability to write songs that are both modern and ancient is a rare thing, the product of an arcane art of weaving in traditional influences so thoroughly that they become the warp and weft of fresh creations.

Hughes and Chandler are two such talents. They first became aware of the magic between them while collaborating on several musical projects, becoming The Black Feathers and life partners in 2012. Go to theblackfeathers.com for more information, music, and videos.

To monitor capacity limitations, online tickets are required. It’s very likely this concert will sell out, so get your tickets early! For more information and to reserve your tickets visit the plainfieldoperahousevt.org and follow the link to the fall series. As always, tickets are by donation ($20 suggested). Contact plainfieldtownhall@gmail.com or 802 498-3173 with any questions.

—press release

Co-op’s Taste of Montpelier Returns to the Capital City

Taste of Montpelier vendor in 2021. Photo by Paul Richardson.
Hunger Mountain Co-op’s “Taste of Montpelier Food Festival” isn’t your basic food festival according to Montpelier Alive, which says “Forget those stuffy events with $100 tickets in the middle of a hot field. Join us in the heart of Montpelier’s downtown the weekend of September 9 to 11 to get a true taste of what this festival has to offer.”

The main event is The Great Taste, Saturday, Sept. 10 from 1 to 4 p.m. on State Street from Main to Elm. Enjoy signature dishes from Montpelier’s eclectic restaurants, Vermont food truck favorites, tastes from artisans showcasing the best Vermont food products, a cocktail garden hosted by award-winning distillers Barr Hill, and more. Add on world-class street performers, and it’s an event not to be missed. 

Highlights include a banh mi sandwich from Enna, Montpelier’s global deli; tuna nachos from Hugo’s Bar & Grill; goat cheese from Vermont Creamery; and much more. 

Local chefs will be available at the Demo Tent on State Street, where you can learn how to make (and sample!) Oakes & Evelyn’s signature gnocchi; Three Sisters Stew with Junior Iron Chef Vermont; papaya salad with Wilaiwan’s; and Bee’s Knees cocktails with the mixologists from Barr Hill, plus chat with Martin Philip, award-winning baker and author and Baking Ambassador at the King Arthur Baking Company. Bring your baking questions, or bring your baked goods for troubleshooting and feedback. 

The Great Taste also features street performers, such as Yo-Yo Guy’s high-energy comedy yo-yo show, radical street band Brass Balagan, Big Nazo’s intergalactic puppets, juggler Peter Panic, and Americana comedy band The Hokum Bros. 

Additional weekend events include a corn roast at the Capital City Farmers Market, two parties at Barr Hill, a special prix fixe menu all weekend at Three Penny Taproom, an exhibit about the Common Cracker at the Vermont History Museum, and the first annual Montpelier Burger Battle, which kicks off at the Festival and runs through October 10. 

—press release

Capital City Concerts Presents Pianist Philip Chiu

Capital City Concerts features pianist Philip Chiu on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Church, Montpelier.

Lauded for his brilliance, color, and sensitivity, pianist Philip Chiu has become one of Canada’s leading musicians. In March 2020 he substituted on short notice for the pianist of the Paris Piano Trio and won acclaim and appreciation from the Capital City Concerts audience. A busy and sought-after soloist and chamber musician, he has performed solo recitals, concerti, and chamber music concerts in most major venues across Canada, as well as in France, Japan, and the U.S. His music partners have included violinists Régis Pasquier and James Ehnes, flutist Emmanuel Pahud, the New Orford String Quartet, and he also has a long-standing violin-piano duo with Jonathan Crow.

On Sept. 24 he’ll use his pianistic story-telling abilities in an enchanting program called “Piano Fables,” which will include Liszt’s “Two Legends,” Ravel’s “Mother Goose Suite,” Schubert’s Impromptus, Op. 90, and Odawa First Nation composer Barbara Assiginaak’s An Abundance of Insects, captivating music that has become one of Chiu’s trademark pieces.

Tickets are available at capitalcityconcerts.org, and at the door on the day of the performance. Masks optional. Audience capacity will be limited to prevent overcrowding, and the Unitarian Church now has a state-of-the-art ventilation system.

—press release

2022 Sundog Poetry Book Award Open for Submissions

The Sundog Poetry Book Award is open to submissions August 1 through Sept. 30 from Vermont-based poets who have not published a first or second book. Final judge, Shanta Lee Gander, will select the winning manuscript and write an introduction for the book. The winning poet will receive a cash prize of $500, 50 copies of the book, and assistance with promotion through a featured book launch and a handful of readings scheduled throughout the state. 

Manuscripts should be between 48 and 64 pages. Proof of Vermont residency will be requested along with a $20 application fee online via Submittable. (Poets with demonstrated financial need can request a fee waiver at sundogpoetry@gmail.com.)

Shanta Lee Gander is the author of “GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak in Woke Tongues,” winner of the 2021 Vermont Book Award and the 2020 Diode Press full-length book prize. Her forthcoming collection, “Black Metamorphoses” (Etruscan Press, 2023), is what Lee describes as a 2000+ year-old phone line opened to Ovid as well as an interrogation of the Greek mythos while creating a new language. She was also the 2020 recipient of the Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts as well as the 2020 gubernatorial appointee to the Vermont Humanities Council’s board of directors. 

For more information, please visit sundogpoetry.org/sundog-book-award.

— Neil Shepard