The Big Strum Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra plays Saturday

Thursday April 25, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- Composer, performer and guitar innovator Peter Blanchette directs his critically-acclaimed Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra in its Vermont debut at the Hooker-Dunham Theater, 139 Main St., on Saturday at 8 p.m. Guest artist, percussionist Bill Klock joins the ensemble on several special arrangements.

Now in its fourth full season, HVGO mines new musical material in its mission to amass a rich and vibrant repertoire. Blanchette has arranged works by Lady Gaga, Led Zeppelin, Nino Rota, Russian piano masters Mussorgsky and Shostakovich, 15th century French courtly dance music and a premiere of New England composer Frank Wallace’s "Nuevas Cantigas."

HVGO is an avant-garde music ensemble, founded by Blanchette in 2009, comprising more than 20 acoustic and electric guitarists from widely varied traditions. HVGO is a resident performing group of the Northampton Center for the Arts.

Though known as a Bach specialist, Blanchette ( has a repertoire of unusual and celebrated musical arrangements that run from medieval to contemporary to ethnic styles. Blanchette is the recipient of New England Public Radio Foundation’s 2011 Arts & Humanities Award for Outstanding Individual, and is a veteran performer of such venues as NPR’s "A Prairie Home Companion," The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Town Hall, New York City, Dingle International Film Festival and WGBH Boston’s live radio broadcasts.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students and children. They are available in advance at, and at the door the night of the performance. More information is at


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