BRATTLEBORO -- On Friday at 7 p.m., at New England Youth Theatre, 100 Flat St., "Tony Barrand and Friends" will perform a concert to benefit NEYT and Theater Adventure Program Scholarship programs.
It will feature songs and recitations from Barrand’s repertoire. Barrand and neighbor, Keith Murphy, will preview a set of songs for a new CD they hope to produce next year of largely unfamiliar material from the prolific singer, Carrie Grover of Maine. Grover and her parents emigrated from Nova Scotia to the U.S. in the 1890s and settled in Bethel. Some time later, Ann L. Griggs wrote down 140 songs Grover had learned from her father and mother. These include songs of Maine trades, such as lumbering and rafting, humorous drinking songs and numerous ballads of love and tragedy. She had a distinctive and direct singing style and was recorded for the Library of Congress by three well-known collectors, including Alan Lomax.
Accompanied by Susan Dedell on piano, Barrand will also start their "Casey Set" by reciting the classic parlor poem of "Casey at the Bat," written by Ernest Lawrence Thayer and first published in 1888. The poem seems to have created a wave of popularity for songs based on the name "Casey."
The second half of the show will begin with Dr. Paul Eric Smith and Barrand presenting several songs from a show -- "John Barleycorn must Die" -- on bringing the Harvest Home that they will perform on Sept. 7 at the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough, N.H.
Following this, Barrand and Murphy, accompanied by Dedell, will perform a set of "Songs from the Hills of Vermont" arranged by Robert Wells Hughes. These were collected in nearby West Dover by Edith Sturgis, as sung by James Atwood and other family members. The songs with these piano settings were typical of folk song treatments at the beginning of the 20th century. Although first published in 1919, Dedell, Murphy and Barrand may have performed them for the first time in a half-century in 2011.
Rounding out the evening will be a chorus performing gospel songs from recordings made in the 1930s and released by Okeh Race Records. Featured were a number of quartets and the oddly-named "Middle Georgia Singing Convention No. 1." Two of their songs -- "This Song of Love" and "Bells of Love" -- were transcribed by Stefan and Peter Amidon. The "Southern Vermont Singing Convention No. 9" will present these songs with Tony and Margaret Dale Barrand, Peter and Mary Alice Amidon, Andy and Robin Davis, Patrice Murray and Fred Breunig, Zara Bode and Stefan Amidon, Murphy and Paul and Susan Dedell.
The evening will close with the audience and performers joining together to sing Andy Davis’ moving setting of "Let the Life (friends, work, love) I’ve Lived Speak for Me."
Tickets, available at brattleborotix.com and at the door, are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, children and students. NEYT is a fully accessible facility.