FOMAG’s 'A Cappella à la Carte' features Big Woods Voices

GUILFORD — Friends of Music at Guilford presents its 53rd season finale on Sunday, June 9, an annual three-part event dubbed “A Cappella à la Carte.”

Set at Guilford Community Church in the Algiers village of Guilford, just over a mile south of Exit 1 off I-91, the evening includes a short meeting, a potluck dinner, and a 7:30 p.m. concert of vocal music.

Each optional segment is open to the general public; admission to the concert is by donation.

Beginning at 6 p.m., the FOMAG Annual Membership Meeting is typically short and entertaining. It offers a summary of the year, a look ahead to next season, and election of the board of trustees. The meeting is open to all, and even brand-new members that evening will have voting privileges.

The ensuing Community Potluck starts around 6:30. FOMAG provides some sandwich fixings; other entrees, appetizers, salads, side dishes, and desserts are welcome. The desserts are held aside for a post-concert reception.

The musical portion of the evening begins in the upstairs sanctuary at 7:30. This year's featured a cappella group is the Big Woods Voices quartet, which marries singing traditions from around the world with various American roots genres and original compositions or arrangements in which “harmony and dissonance dance in riveting yet accessible soundscapes.”

Members include Alan Blood, long-time member of groups including the Blanche Moyse Chorale, I Cantori, Blue Moon, and House Blend; Will Danforth, singer-songwriter, traditional acoustic artist, and the group's arranger/composer; Becky Graber, leader of the Brattleboro Women's Chorus and Animaterra Women's Chorus in Keene; and Amanda Witman, founder and co-leader of the Brattleboro Pub Sing with Tony Barrand.

The group's repertoire includes lyrical settings of poetry by David Whyte, Mary Oliver, W.B. Yeats, and others; richly harmonized standards of the American roots lexicon; and original Danforth compositions. Add to that a few vocal gems by musicians Pete Sutherland, The Finest Kind, and the Stanley Brothers, and the result is “the ear-thrilling experience called Big Woods Voices.”

A festive dessert reception caps the evening. Guilford Community Church is fully accessible.

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