Arts Alive kicks off on Friday, June 20, at 7 PM with the Charlie Jamieson Trio playing at the Town Dance. Jamieson will be accompanied by Dennis Nobrega on saxophone and Cerise singing the songs of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae and Sarah Vaughn. The group was at JazzFest Falmouth’s Jazz Stroll last October and has since played at Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub & Restaurant and performs weekly at Jack’s on Gifford Street.
Music abounds on June 21 and 22 in the three tents on the lawn of Falmouth Public Library.
Among the performers John Yankee will play the hammer dulcimer, a string instrument not often heard these days. Cat’s Melodeon is Irish slang for a performance well below par but Bill Black’s Group may be misnamed as they always give a great performance of fiddles and fun. There will be more strings from the Falmouth Fiddlers and the Sonnay Fiddlers, a student group of all ages. Swamp Yankees is led by Jim Boyce, local guitar maker and author of “Falling in Love with the Fiddle.”
The Familiars, Manny and Linda Dias, add a contemporary flair to the folk and fiddle, performing popular music of the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s along with the Irish and country tunes of more traditional music. All these groups, with the exception of Swamp Yankees, played at Trad-Stroll Woods Hole in April—another musical event presented by ArtsFalmouth.
Arts Alive also features the return of Denise Raney reading her poetry. Ms. Raney is author of the book, “So,” a cable TV host, frequent poetry session leader at Cape Cod Community College and a member of Guyer Barn Poets. The Steeple Street Poets, led by Mashpee resident Karen Smith-Johnson, will also be reading their work. Cape poet and playwright Bobby Mangahas will preside over a staged reading of his new one act play, “Grim and the Other Mr. Fisher.”
Singer-songwriters set their poetry and spoken words to music. Six will be at Arts Alive this year and they each have a different approach to their craft. Returning Rob Parks melds a pop-punk energy with soothing vocals, while Eric Treehouse plays simple emotional acoustic melodies of modern alternative rock. Harvest is a singer-songwriter playing contemporary rock, and Pedro Pereira has a style all his own.
Comic writer Lance Norris is an actor as well as a musician, appearing in movies with Ricky Gervais, Joe Pesci, Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. At Arts Alive, he will entertain with his twangy guitar and gravely voice singing his amusing and irreverent tunes from the trailer park life.
Dawna Hammers is the sole woman among the solo performers and is singing on both Saturday and Sunday. She mainly plays blues, ballads and bossas but can veer into folk, new age, native, soft rock, classic rock and children’s music as well.
Bands are as abundant as solo acts. Surf Drive Band is a Falmouth group playing a mix of blues, rock and reggae. Also playing the blues, gospel and Americana is Laughing Crow. Sheez Late puts out a mix of folk, rock, country and bluegrass. D-Dub, led by Dave Warren, the Arts Alive stage manager, also presents an eclectic mix in a jam session with his friends. The Beachcombovers play surf-rock, while Grant Park, another Falmouth-based band, offers original music.
For a different kind of sound there is the New Beginnings String Ensemble from the Cape Conservatory and the drums of Lisa Esperson’s new group Whorled Beets. Native Cape Codder Mark Borgmann is well-known here, having played at The Flying Bridge and the British Beer Company in Falmouth and Coffee Obsession in Woods Hole. His repertoire spans jazz, funk, blues, the Great American Songbook, and popular music.
Accompanying him will be Liz Saunders.
Members of the Falmouth Theatre Guild will offer familiar songs from much-loved musicals, accompanied on piano by Geraldine Boles. Singing old favorites to the audience is the forte of the barbershop group
Tradewinds Quartet, who sing the American Songbook, patriotic, traditional, jazz and pop tunes. Also singing a cappella, but with a very different flair is Belle Weather, a women’s group that presents a wide range of favorite melodies including American and international folk songs, sacred pieces, pop tunes, and classical music.
Children will be delighted by all of these groups, but they do have shows of their own. Lee Drescher will get the audience of little ones on stage in her Treasure Time Storybook Theater, and Mr. Bob, the One Man Band, will sing songs just for them. The fourth tent on the library lawn offers a chance for youngsters to make their own music with crafts designed by Meryl’s Music and Arts Centers.
Children from Turning Pointe Dance Center will perform classic ballet. Everyone can be a student or a participant in Elena Griffin’s belly dancing program. Troupe Isis will also offer belly dancing, led by Khadija, who teaches Middle Eastern Dance and Culture and Conversational Arabic at Cape Cod Community College.
One of the highlights of Arts Alive is the Rock Fest. This year, by popular demand, it has been extended an hour and will begin at 5 PM. Opening the fest in the Performance Tent is local favorite Puffy Elvis, also known as the Falmouth High School Faculty Band. The Groovalottos are one of the most entertaining bands in New England, noted for music that celebrates the Afro-Native roots of soul, funk, blues and jazz. The blues continues with the Smooch Paywell Blues Band and can also be heard in the original music of Spiritual Giants, who play rock with blues, some folk, even a bit of country and maybe some southern rock mixed in. The Ryders also play southern rock, a mix of rock and roll, country and blues, and is focused generally on electric guitar and vocals.
Technicolor Motor Home, with an array of original and cover songs, provides a tasty blend of funk, rock, blues, reggae, and hip-hop; and 93 North is a high-energy trio that plays covers from the past with their own flavor and the indie and alternate rock of today’s tunes. Outbound’s sound is alternative rock with a touch of punk. Audio Fossil is always a crowd pleaser.
Two of Arts Alive’s favorite returning bands are Heartbreaker and Paradise Rock. The vocals of Heartbreaker’s Kat Jones sets the mood for an amazing time of celebrating the music of Led Zeppelin. Paradise Rock plays original music and favorite classic rock covers with some bluesy funk.
ArtsFalmouth is a nonprofit umbrella organization that celebrates and promotes arts and culture in Falmouth and the Upper Cape. Financial supporters of Arts Alive are the Enterprise newspapers, Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank, Falmouth Village Association, Woods Hole Foundation, Bank of Cape Cod, Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank, New Balance Falmouth Road Race, Falmouth Fund of the Cape Cod Foundation, Falmouth Cultural Council, The Wood Lumber Co., Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, Mutual Bank, and First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union.
A full schedule of performance times is posted at ArtsFalmouth.org.