Sing Nowell presented Dec. 6 at Latchis

BRATTLEBORO — To honor the memory of Tony Barrand in the first Christmas without him, the remaining members of Nowell Sing We Clear -John Roberts, Andy Davis, and Fred Breunig - will host a community celebration: Sing Nowell: Songs & Carols for Midwinter & Christmastide.

On Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m., they will welcome to the Latchis Theatre stage the internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble Windborne (Lauren Breunig, Jeremy Carter-Gordon, Lynn Rowan, and Will Rowan) as well as Keith Murphy, Arthur Davis, Emma Schneider, Donal Sheets, and Guillaume Sparrow-Pepin.

The concert will follow a musical arc familiar to fans of Nowell Sing We Clear, with the first half including songs from the folk tradition which tell a version of the Christmas story. As Barrand was fond of saying, “If you came for the pagan stuff, you'll have to sit on your hands and wait until after intermission.”

Windborne made it through the pandemic with virtual concerts and support from their Patreon community. They are back to touring extensively in person-recently returned from the Midwest and looking ahead to a month-long tour in the United Kingdom in early 2023. In October they were the only U.S. band featured at WOMEX, the international showcase event in Portugal. They are introducing a multicultural midwinter program this year to be recorded in 2023.

Murphy has performed and taught in Brattleboro since the early 1990s. In addition to a full schedule of performances around the country and in Canada, he is a faculty member of the Brattleboro Music Center and organizes the Northern Roots Festival. He worked closely with Barrand on several musical projects, including recording songs from On the Banks of the Coldbrook.

Nowell aficionados will remember Davis and Schneider, who performed at Nowell Sing We Clear's 2019 book release concert. Now married and settled in Brattleboro, they will be joined by multi-instrumentalist Sheets of Greenfield, Mass., and accordionist Sparrow-Pepin of Westminster, both of whom are in demand as dance musicians. Sparrow-Pepin is one-third of the band Nova; Sheets plays with Cloud Ten.

Available at the concert will be Nowell Sing We Clear Songs & Carols for Midwinter & Christmastide, the songbook Nowell Sing We Clear published containing the bulk of their repertoire - more than 100 songs - along with stories on the backgrounds and origins of the songs, and a bit about Nowell's remarkable 40-year history. Also available will be CDs from all the performers onstage, including Windborne's newest album/book, Of Hard Times and Harmony.

Proceeds will benefit Groundworks Collaborative.

The concert will also be livestreamed. Tickets for the Latchis are $23, or $18 for children 14 and under, and the livestream is by donation. For wheelchair-accessible seating at the Latchis, e-mail [email protected] or call 802-254-1109, ext. 3. For the livestream link, go to Masks and vaccinations are strongly encouraged for in-person concert goers.

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