Last Night Brattleboro offers smorgasborg of traditional song, dance

BRATTLEBORO — Last Night Brattleboro presents the 16th annual concert of New England, Appalachian, Irish, and French-Canadian dance music, fiddling from around the world, and a feast of singing including singing for all, featuring Brattleboro's Murphy/Tracy family (Keith, Becky, Aidan), and Amidon family: Peter and Mary Alice, Sam, Stefan, and Zara Bode with special guests Matt and Shannon Heaton.

The concert is Tuesday, Dec. 31, at Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St., starting at 7 p.m.

Boston-based Matt and Shannon Heaton offer “well-travelled Irish music from the heart,” according to a news release, blending traditional tunes on flute, accordion, guitar, and bouzouki with sweet husband-and-wife harmony singing. The Heatons are an integral part of Boston's vibrant traditional music scene - Shannon co-founded Boston's Celtic music fest and was named a Massachusetts Artist Fellow in 2016, while Matt has received multiple grants for his work with kids.

Keith Murphy (guitar, mandolin, piano, foot percussion) and Becky Tracy (fiddle) will perform driving arrangements of dance tunes and traditional songs.

Tracy plays with the popular contra dance band Wild Asparagus; Murphy has been a headliner in the Cambridge Revels, and he sang and acted the part of Dudley Laufman in Larry Siegel's musical theater show The Dancing Master.

Murphy plays a central role in the Childsplay annual concerts both as a musician and an arranger and he and Tracy are both founding members of the Nightingale trio.

They are founders and teachers of the Traditional Music Educational Program at the Brattleboro Music Center. Their music was featured in the Ken Burns documentary on the Roosevelts.

Keith and Becky are joined by their son, 18-year-old Aidan Murphy, on ukelele, fiddle, and vocals.

While the dynamic pair of Zara Bode and Stefan Amidon are not well known as a duo, they are greatly admired as the faces behind The Sweetback Sisters and The Devil Makes Three.

Stefan is a master percussionist, multi-instrumentalist, and expressive bass singer. And Zara is a powerful vocalist who captivates audiences year after year.

Known for re-imagining traditional American folk songs, ballads, and hymns, Sam Amidon has collaborated with jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, the Kronos Quartet, composer Nico Muhly, the Sydney (Australia) Chamber Orchestra, and mandolinist legend Chris Thile, among others.

Devoted to traditional music and dance, Peter and Mary Alice Amidon are freelance musicians, dance educators, choral arrangers/leaders, and publishers of music and dance materials.

Mary Alice is a member of, and Peter co-music director of, the Guilford Community Church Choir, and of Hallowell, southeastern Vermont's hospice singing group. Their choral arrangements and compositions are sung by hundreds of church and community choirs in the U.S. and the U.K.

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