GRAFTON - Kicking off the long Fourth of July Holiday weekend on Thursday, July 3 is the 24th annual VSO Concert and fireworks at Grafton Ponds. After the VSO, the Draa Hobbs Trio will be playing at the Phelps Barn from 10 p.m. till midnight; no cover charge.
On Saturday and Sunday, July 5 and 6, The Grafton Music Festival presents two big concerts -- the Compaq Big Band with Vocalist Rebecca Holtz and Ljova and the Kontraband with Vocalist Inna Barmash.
First up on Saturday July 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. is The Compaq Big Band with Vocalist Rebecca Holtz. This high-energy 20-man big band showcases the power of 14 horns, a cookin’ rhythm section and terrific instrumental soloists, and the amazing voice of Rebecca Holtz. The group was a hit at their first show in Grafton and is back by popular demand.
Rebecca has a local connection. Vocal studies at the Vermont Jazz Center with the likes of Sheila Jordan, Jay Clayton, and Peter Eldridge have honed her skills as an artist while stage time with greats like Samirah Evans, Charles Neville, and Houston Person has inspired and humbled her.
Since 2011 she has been the feature vocalist with the Compaq Big Band swing orchestra, performing in and around the New England area. Matching her in volume and brassiness, the Compaq Big Band has provided Rebecca with the opportunity to reach a wider audience and try out the swing world. Tickets are $15, with children 12 and under admitted free.
If genre-defying music was a genre, Ljova and the Kontraband would probably defy that too. For if bringing together influences from classical, klezmer, tango, jazz and Gypsy music has been done before, nobody does it quite like this. Moscow-born, New York-based composer, arranger and violist Lev ‘Ljova’ Zhurbin writes and plays music that evokes forgotten memories of things you think you’ve heard before but haven’t. Lev ‘Ljova’ Zhurbin leads the multi-talented Kontraband with Vocalist Inna Barmash. Newsday reviews the group: "This eclectic violist’s music is anything but plain folk. [There is] nobody quite like the polymath Lev [’Ljova’] ZhurbinŠThe music he writes and plays is full of Brahmsian tone, Bartok lines, hiccupping Hungarian rhythms, Klezmer soul and the sexy plaintiveness of tango and the blues."
The ensemble has performed at venues such as New York’s Lincoln Center & the Museum of Modern Art, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where it was the opening musical guest of the Sundance@BAM Film Festival. The Kontraband is also a mainstay at New York’s Joe’s Pub, and Barbes. Tickets are $15, with children 12 and under admitted free.
Tickets for both Grafton Music Concerts can be found at the Grafton Village Store, Grafton Village Cheese Stores, Misty Valley Books in Chester, online at brattleborotix.com and at the gate.
A two-day pass for $22 for July 5 and 6 is also available. Both concerts will take place behind the Grafton Inn. Pub dining at Phelps Barn at the Grafton Inn is available from 5:00 p.m.
Grafton Music Festival thanks members of the community and the Windham Foundation, whose support helps make the concerts on July 5 and 6 possible.