BRATTLEBORO >> The Starry Mountain Singers – a Vermont-based ensemble of eight vocalists and lifelong musicians and friends – will be in Brattleboro for an evening of traditional polyphonic music. As part of their travels up the Eastern seaboard for their annual tour, members Stefan Amidon, Zara Bode, Avery Book, Gideon Crevoshay, Jeff Fellinger, Emily Miller, Nathan Morrison, and Suzannah Park will be at 118 Elliot on Friday, April 1. All are disciples of Village Harmony who have sung together since the age of 11 where they received their introduction to traditional songs and singing styles from around the world. They share a deep love of traditional vocal styles and a dedication to studying and performing these types of polyphony. They have toured extensively with the Vermont-based world music ensembles Village Harmony and Northern Harmony, In addition, the members of the ensemble have worked extensively with Meredith Monk, Revels, Inc., and have performed on " A Prairie Home Companion" and "Mountain Stage." The group includes three members of the Brooklyn-based country band, The Sweetback Sisters.
After an initial tour mid-2000s they agreed they should do it again, officially formed The Starry Mountain Singers, and started touring in 2010. Each year, usually in the spring, they take two weeks out of their busy schedules to get together, each one bringing to the table their favorite songs from their particular area of musical knowledge and expertise. The result is a dynamic musical program featuring a wide range of songs from the United States and the world. The polyphonic folk music of Caucasus, Georgia, according to Wikipedia, has a heritage that dates back to 400 AD. The songs of the choral tradition of Corsica date back to the 15th century. A mixture of sacred and secular pieces in the program, they demonstrate the incredible range of unique singing traditions from those countries. American shape note songs – a traditional New England song style– gospel numbers, cowboy songs, and folk tunes from the Appalachians are also part of the repertoire.
Vocalist Jeff Fellinger said, "These people are some of my best friends, so travelling and doing music with them is fabulous. It is a special thing to see a group sing who have so many years experience performing together. It comes through in the music."
Stefan Amidon added, "This group has been singing since 2007, and I've known some of the members since I was very young. I also play in a band with two of the members, and am married to one, so it's really an extended family at this point. Between tours everyone in the group scatters back to our varied lives and musical projects, and so when we get together again there's always new ideas and sounds that enter into the music. It's a rich and satisfying experience, and hopefully the audience will feel some of that!"
Admission is by donation, Fellinger said they would rather have people in the audience rather than high-priced tickets; they are happy just to pay for their gas as they travel from Asheville, N.C. where Nathan Morrison and Suzannah Park now live, to New York City, to Burlington. Their self-titled CD will also be available for sale to help defray their expenses.
Fellinger said, "It's informal but fun. It's all a out good vibrations."
The Starry Mountain Singers will be in the new venue at 118 Elliot on Friday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is a suggested donation of $10 to $15,
After Friday's concert they will continue their Vermont tour at the United Church of Newport. 63 3rd St, Newport on Sunday, April 3; at College Street Congregational Church. 265 College St, Burlington on Monday, April 4: and at St. Barnabas Church. 262 Main St, Norwich, on Tuesday, April 5. For more information visit www.starrymountainsingers.com
Contact Cicely M. Eastman at 802-254-2311 ext. 261.