Not surprisingly, Valley Classics Concert Series founder Dr. Rebecca Hartka takes her charge seriously.
According to the mission statement, her annual concerts at Greenfield’s Arts Block should “make classical music—old and new—accessible to all listeners” and “present music in a casual atmosphere.”
“We’ll always help you understand what you’re hearing and we love celebrating obscure, hidden gems of the repertoire,” the good doctor explains. “And you can drink beer in our venue!”
The Valley Classics Concert Series kicks off this Sunday, March 24 with A MUSEical Journey: Adventures In Composition, starting at 3 p.m.
In addition to three works from Tchaikovsky’s string sextet Souvenir de Florence, this program includes a Zydeco-influenced work by internationally renowned composer David Rimelis and the world premiere of “Games” by Patrick Neher.
Like the second show in the series, The Touches of Sweet Harmony: Benjamin Britten’s Musical Roots, MUSE-ical will be performed by a bevy of homegrown talent.
“We invite first-rate area performers and composers who are not only highly skilled, but care deeply about connecting with audiences,” Hartka reveals.
General admission to each concert is $15 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under. For more information or to purchase, kindly point your browser to theartsblock.com.
Meanwhile, over at Springfield’s Symphony Hall (citystage.symphonyhall.com), a six-piece band and an extensive cast of singers and dancers lead patrons through a half-century of Tinseltown’s greatest musical movie moments with Hooray For Hollywood on Thursday, March 21. Tix range from $24 to $48, depending on your proximity to the production (which boasts more than 30 tunes and 300 costume changes, incidentally!), with moderate discounts available for Hall members.
In other news, singer Sully Erna appears to have borrowed a page from fellow Bay State rocker Aaron Lewis. Not only has the man best known for fronting the band Godsmack released his first solo effort, but also in Lewis-like fashion, he has lined up a slew of casino concert dates to promote said effort, including a scheduled March 24 Mohegan Sun stop.
For those who remember Godsmack’s Springfield performance at the then-Hippodrome (now Paramount), Erna is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist who has reportedly been honing his musical chops since the age of three. Expect Erna to pull out all the musical stops—and feature tunes from his Avalon solo effort, the Godsmack catalogue and more—when he comes to town this Sunday. Tix are $25 and available at mohegansun.com.
And speaking of local plays by national recording artists, as mentioned in last week’s column, Springfield’s MassMutual Center (massmutualcenter.com) loudly declared its awakening from rock concert hibernation with the Midwest Rock ’n’ Roll Express Tour—featuring ’80s icons Styx, REO Speedwagon and Ted Nugent—pulling into town April 24. The venue has since unveiled subsequent concert stops by rockers Shinedown (with special guests Bush and Airbourne May 1) and rapper Pitbull (May 24).
If the latter of those two newly announced shows seems particularly Grand-iose for the 8,000-seat arena, that’s because there is actually some Vegas-fueled horsepower behind it.
In an attempt to showcase the exponential leap in entertainment options it is capable of delivering to the city in which it’s seeking to place a casino, MGM Grand Resorts International is actually responsible for both the Pitbull show and an upcoming Professional Bull Riders stop at Springfield’s MassMutual in September as well.
Last up, a last chance to get your Irish on for those who missed all the other St. Patty Day shenanigans.
Celtic rockers Gaelic Storm—riding high on the success of their current number one Billboard world album Chicken Boxer—blow into Noho’s Calvin Theatre March 22 for an evening of Guinness-inspired traditional Irish and Scottish music.
Tix are $26 and available at iheg.com.•
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