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Music and art abound in the Monadnock region this holiday season

People in New Hampshire are starting to bundle up and get ready for winter. But as a white blanket covers the Monadnock region, there are plenty of things for people to do to put a little bit of color back into their lives, with music and art around the region. That is, for those willing to brave the chilly weather to venture out and find it. Here are a few of the highlights to check out.

Frost Heaves

As much as we love the holidays, we are all well aware of the frustrations, trials and tribulations that come with harrowing Christmas shopping and extended contact with family. For those moments, don’t worry, Ken Sheldon’s Frost Heaves gets it. A variety show, mixing comedy, music and skits together to create a show of the “funny because it’s true” variety, Frost Heaves will be dedicating shows at the Peterborough Players theater on Dec. 7, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on Dec. 9 at 2 p.m., to the nonsensical nature of the holiday season. So if you want a moment away from having to string up the lights and wrestling with wrapping paper and just have a good laugh, check out Fred Marple, the Frost Heaves Players and the Speed Bumps band. Tickets are available for $15. For more information, visit

Mariposa Museum

In 1962, the world was introduced to the first African-American author and illustrator to publish a children’s book. And now the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough is introducing him to the Monadnock region. Ashley Bryan started out as an artist and didn’t publish his first book until he was in his 40s. But that was just the beginning for him and now he’s put out more than a dozen.

An exhibit of hand-printed illustrations from two of his books, “Walk Together Children” and “I’m Going to Sing!” are now on display in an exhibit of Bryan’s work at the museum. The exhibit runs through Jan. 31, but the event truly comes to full fruition on Dec. 4 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., when Bryan himself will make an appearance to read from his latest book, “Who Built the Stable? A Nativity Poem.” As well as the reading, the event will also include the Bullock Brothers, a gospel group from the Boston area. Tickets for the Dec. 4 event are $20 for adults, $8 for children.

For more information, visit

Monadnock Arts Auction

After spending the holidays buying presents for everyone else, why not treat yourself to some artwork in the New Year? And just in case you’re missing the competitive shopping of the holidays, the Mondadnock Arts Auction let’s you get back into the ring to fight for that must-have piece.

The annual Monadnock Arts Auction has several ways for art-lovers to expand their collection of work by local artists, including from around the Monadnock region, southern New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont. The first is a silent auction, from Jan. 30 to Feb. 3 at the Jaffrey Civic Center . But for people who want a more interactive experience, there is also a live auction on Feb. 4 at the Shattuck Golf Club in Jaffrey. It’s a bit more classy than the fights you’d have at the local department store, with champagne and hors d’oeuvres, and black tie optional for the auction, which begins at 7:30 p.m. There’s also the auction’s opening reception on Jan. 30 at the Jaffrey Civic Center.

Auction tickets are $40 in advance, or $50 at the door. Tickets are available at the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce, or Steele’s and the Sharon Arts Center Craft Store in Peterborough, or online at

Monadnock Chorus

For those of us not blessed with a beautiful singing voice, we can leave off the caroling and go to listen to singers who really know what they’re doing. The Monadnock Chorus in Peterborough has been performing for more than 50 years, and with a large membership, the music they make can fill a room with the sound of joy. This year, during the group’s December Fanfare, the chorus will be featuring the music of Anton Bruckner, Giovanni Gabrieli and the King’s Singers, as well as new works by modern American composer Donald McCullough. In addition to the 90 singers that make up the group, the concert will be backed by live brass accompaniment.

Choral lovers will have two chances to hear the group perform in December, first on Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. and again on Dec. 9 in a matinee at 2 p.m. at the Peterborough Town House.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Sharon Arts Center Exhibition Gallery

When Peterborough residents think of art colonies, naturally the MacDowell Colony is the first thing to spring to mind. But this winter, the Sharon Arts Center Exhibition Gallery in Peterborough will be featuring a different kind of colony: the “Peterborough Artist Colony.” It’s a group of artists that has formed their own collective, showing art together for many years. The new exhibit is an opportunity to come together again for the first time in a long time. The colony’s members include Mona Adissa Brooks, Sue Callihan, David Dodge, Jan Dolan, Georgia Fletcher, Numael Pulido, Shirely Pulido, Karin Wells and Patricia Wright, all of Peterborough.

“This is a group of artists that has shown together a lot in the past,” said Camelia Sousa, the gallery director at Sharon Arts, “but [they] haven’t shown together in years. For them, this is a reunion.”

The exhibit will run through Jan. 7. For more information, visit

Antrim Festival of Trees

For many in these parts, it would hardly be the holidays without a Christmas tree – or 100. For the past two years, the Antrim Historical Society and Friends of the James A. Tuttle Library have featured trees and wreaths decorated by citizens young and old, ranging from tiny trees small enough to fit in the palm of your hand to the full-size versions. This year, the event is growing, kicking off with an Evening of Lights Gala on Nov. 30 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with music by Brian Murphy. But the event doesn’t stop there. The Festival of Trees is also teaming up with the Antrim Friends of Recreation’s annual tree lighting ceremony, complete with a visit from a certain jolly old soul on Dec. 2. People can get lost among the trees and wreaths on display in the library, voting for their favorites and participating in raffles and scavenger hunts, before the tree lighting ceremony happens at 4 p.m.

For more information, visit www.AntrimFestival
or contact Missy Taylor at 588-7146.

Music on Norway Pond

Who says carollers have to come to you? Certainly not the Norway Pond Festival singers. Their Third Annual Hancock Family Christmas Concert at the Hancock Congregational Church features not one, not two, but three different choral groups offering up Christmas classics. On Dec. 15 at 4 p.m., the Hancock-based Norway Pond Festival Singers, the children’s choir Norway Pond Junior Minstrels and the Village Ringers will set an early Christmas mood with a mix of well-loved carols and a few surprises as well.

“It’s just pure joy,” said Director Jody Hill Simpson. “It’s one of the true meanings of Christmas.”

In the spirit of Christmas, the co-sponsors, Music on Norway Pond and the Hancock Congregational Church, ask for a free-will donation from attendees.

Music on Norway Pond is also sponsoring another upcoming concert at the Hancock Congregational Church. On Feb. 3 at 4 p.m., the Boston-based BeatCity, a group of virtual soul musicians conducted by Robert Schulz of Boston, will perform. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Silent Film Festival
at Wilton Town Hall Theatre

After stuffing yourself with stuffing, Wilton Town Hall Theatre will be capping off Thanksgiving Day weekend with a program of silent film comedies. Laughter is a good workout for the abdominal muscles, so it’s a chance to work off some holiday calories while enjoying the comedy of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy, in a three-film program at the Town Hall Theatre on Nov. 25, starting at 4:30 p.m. As always with the theater’s silent film series, the showing of silent films wouldn’t be complete without musical accompaniment provided by Jeff Rapsis of Bedford.

If you enjoy yourself at the Holiday Weekend Silent Film program, check out the theater’s other monthly silent film offerings, like the 1927 film “Metropolis” on Dec. 30 and “The Man Who Laughs” from 1928 on Jan. 27.

Admission is free to these works of art from the golden age of cinema comedy, though donations are accepted. For more information about Wilton’s Holiday Weekend Silent Film program, or upcoming silent films in their monthly line up, visit or call 654-3456.

Peterborough Folk Music Society

Peterborough has a thriving folk scene and this winter the Folk Music Society is adding to it with concerts in January and February at the Peterborough Players theater.

On Jan. 26, the Folk Music Society will present Tom Rush, who mixes folk, ballads and blues with on-stage storytelling. Rush has been around the music scene for years, and his song “The Circle Game” became one of the first music videos ever produced in 1968. Tickets are $30 in advance.

In February, folk fans will get a double dose of music, as the society presents Lucy Kaplansky and Garnet Rogers in a split billing on Feb. 23. Beginning at 8 p.m., Kaplansky, who has performed with artists like Suzanne Vega and once made up one-third of the group Cry Cry Cry, will take the stage.

Following her is Rogers, brother of folksinger Stan Rogers, and a singer, songwriter and composer in his own right. Tickets for the Kaplansky-Rogers show are $20 in advance. For more information, visit

Currier and Ives Cookie Tour

For those that want a holiday treat, and to explore some of the businesses in the region, the Currier and Ives Cookie Tour offers the chance to visit local area inns and local businesses, check out their decorations, and collect homemade treats and refreshments, as well as some traditional recipes. Happening on Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., the tour extends throughout the Monadnock region, including businesses in Jaffrey, Peterborough and Rindge.

It’s a self-guided tour, so participants can pick and choose what stops they’d like to make, or make all of the rounds and grab cookies and treats at all of them. For those worried about the extra calories, don’t worry – the tour encourages residents to bring a cookie tin, and take some treats home for later. For more information, and a complete list of this years participants, visit

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