Born in New York’s Capital Region, the Useless Cans have been bringing a mix of old-time jazz, folk and traditional Russian tunes to their audiences since 2016. The trio combines elements of music’s past along with a contemporary perspective, and consists of guitar, upright bass and washboard, with all three members lending their voices. The Cans make their Brandon Music debut at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18.
Guitarist Bobby Davis and upright bassist Dylan Perrillo were the original Cans, heavily exploring gypsy jazz and playing in the Albany area. One fateful night, while playing an old Russian song at a now-defunct art collective space, they caught the ear of Julia Posin who is of Ukrainian heritage. Knowing the words of the tune from her childhood, she began singing along, and without knowing, they had performed for the first of what would become many times together.
Since then, the trio has gone all over the northeast, performing for the American Roots Music Series, Caffe Lena, Cafe Livre Concert Series in Long Lake and Saranac Lake’s Party on the Patio. They have shared the stage with Ryan Montbleau and Hot Club of Cowtown among many others.
Tickets are $20 ($45 for dinner and show; reservations are required); call 802-247-4295, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road.
Art in the Park
All are invited to attend the Chaffee Art Center’s 57th annual Art in the Park Summer Festival Aug. 11 and 12 in Main Street Park at the junction of Routes 4 and 7. The show features juried fine artists, craftspeople and specialty food producers. Rounding out the festival are food vendors, live music, kid’s activities, a community art project, pet area, and live demonstrations to include Calypso Consulting on steel drums, Carving Studio, 12 Tribes circle dancing, painting and more.
Opening the festival each day with live music will be Andy Lugo, followed by Moose Crossing. In the afternoon on Saturday, Bethany Conner will perform, with Miss Guided Angels on Sunday.
A voluntary donation is appreciated. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; call 802-775-0356, or go online to www.chaffeeartcenter.org.
Mozart’s first opera
The German Summer Language School’s “German for Singers” program will once again present its summer opera project to the general public. At 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 10 and 11, participants will perform an abbreviated version of Mozart’s “Die Gärtnerin aus Liebe,” K. 196 (his German version of La Finta Giardiniera), sung in the original German, at Town Hall Theater. A pre-performance talk in English begins at 7:45 p.m.
Although written when Mozart was just 18 years old, the opera features musical and plot characteristics found in more mature works as well. A comedy of mistaken identities and love triangles combined with a crisis of trust, the opera is half commedia dell’ Arte and half opera seria, providing the composer with the opportunity to deeply explore the lyrical and comedic idioms as well as the art of the ensemble.
Tickets are $15; call 802-382-9222, or go online to www.townhalltheater.org.
At 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, Phoenix Books Rutland will host a story time with Katy Farber, author of “Salamander Sky.”
The children’s book features a mother and daughter who go out on a rainy night to help the salamanders cross the road safely. This book is a valuable tool for getting children engaged in conservation. Farber is a professional development coordinator, author and blogger from Vermont.
All ages are welcome to this free event; call 802-855-8078, or go online to www.phoenixbooks.biz. Phoenix Books Rutland is located at 2 Center St.
Continuing a tradition started in 1957 by Rudolf Serkin — founding artistic director and guiding spirit of Vermont’s Marlboro Music School and Festival for over 40 years — Mitsuko Uchida, artistic director since the mid-1990s, will be piano soloist in Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy,” Op. 80 with Leon Fleisher conducting the Marlboro Festival Orchestra and Chorus in the closing concert of the festival at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12, at Marlboro College’s Persons Auditorium.
With almost all of the noted retreat’s 75 resident artists playing in the orchestra or singing in the chorus (together with their children, neighbors and audience members), the Beethoven work brings to a climax seven weeks of in-depth musical exploration within a caring family environment. Also on the program is the Nonet in E-flat, Op. 38, for winds and strings of Louise Farrenc and the Debussy String Quartet, which had the benefit of being explored in-depth for the full season.
At 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11 the program is being dedicated to the memory of Michael Tree, violist of the Guarneri Quartet and a longtime Marlboro participant. The program opens with songs by Strauss and Gounod for mezzo-soprano, horn and piano, and, appropriately, includes two string quartets: Britten’s Quartet No. 3, Op. 94, and Beethoven’s Quartet in B-flat, Op.
For remaining tickets or information, call 802-254-2394, or go online to www.marlboromusic.org.
Stone Church Arts presents August Watters, composer and mandolinist, with special guest Ekaterina Skliar, domra and mandolin, in a mandolin ensemble concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12, in the Chapel at Immanuel Episcopal. The concert will also feature Celeste McClain, classical guitar, and participants of the Festival of Mandolin Chamber Music X.
Founded by Watters, a Boston-area teacher and composer, the Festival of Mandolin Chamber Music is designed for the classical mandolin community and for concertgoers interested in chamber music. The purpose is to create learning and performance opportunities for those interested in chamber music composed for mandolin and its related instruments (as well as classical guitar). Participants rehearse in preparation for the concert, which is the finale of the workshop.
Tickets are $25, $20 for students and seniors, $20 and $15 in advance; call 802-460-0110, or go online to www.stonechurcharts.org. Immanuel Episcopal Church is located at 20 Church St.
JP Murphy Irish
Having the JP Murphy band close out the Fair Haven Concerts summer series has become a bit of a tradition. This Irish band will be back on center stage at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16. This is a free ice cream night, so get there early.
J.P. Murphy was formed in early 1991 by Patrick Gray Sr., who sings lead and plays rhythm guitar or banjo as well as an occasional harmonica. His love for his Irish heritage, the words and music he grew up with, made it a natural choice for him to form a traditional Irish group.
In case of rain, call 802-265-3010, ext. 301 to find out if the concert is moved indoors.
International music collective David Rosane & The Zookeepers bring their intellectually driven, fun-but-serious activist rock to Stage 33 Live at 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19, for the only scheduled southern Vermont appearance during their “Across the ZOO-niverse” tour.
Head zookeeper David Rosane has strong ties to Vermont, but for much of the year lives and works in Paris, France, where he also maintains a French version of the band. The core Zookeeper members in the U.S. are Don Sinclair and Jennifer Grossi of Bradford. This summer the band chose to skip playing traditional venues almost entirely in favor of doing a library benefit tour to raise money and awareness for literacy in small, rural, economically challenged communities in northern Vermont.
Admission is by donation ($5 suggested).
Sculptor Don Ramey
Local sculptor Don Ramey is artist in residence at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center for the months of July and August. He is creating a large-scale marble relief sculpture honoring the Vermont volunteers who served in the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. The carving, part of the Downtown Rutland Sculpture Trail, depicts the African-American soldiers under fire during the Battle of Olustee in 1864.
Ramey will discuss his work and the history of the 54th Regiment in an artist’s talk at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, at 636 Marble St.
Admission is free; call 802-438-2097.
Tuvan throat singers
The central Asian republic of Tuva is home to one of the world’s most remarkable indigenous musical traditions. Historically nomadic herdsmen engage in a style of throat singing whereby individual singers produce two or more notes simultaneously, often a low drone and a high-pitched melody or other-worldly vocal effects not found in western music.
The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) brings this music to Vermont at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug.17, when the Alash Ensemble, a trio of Tuvan throat singers, performs in the museum’s Wolf Kahn & Emily Mason Gallery.
Tickets $25, $20 in advance; call 802-257-0124, ext. 101, or go online to www.brattleboromuseum.org