Headliners: Claudia Schmidt at Coho Concerts; Young Shakespeare Players’ ‘Richard II’

  • John Robert Williams

Published: 1/5/2017 1:06:52 PM

House music

Evolving over four decades into one of the Midwest's most popular folk and jazz musicians, Claudia Schmidt (below, right) has deployed her raspy alto voice and multi-instrumental skills — Appalachian dulcimer, 12-string guitar, pianolin (a 52-string, zither-like instrument) — through a wide-ranging repertoire of torch songs, ballads, show tunes and original compositions. As a frequent guest on NPR's "A Prairie Home Companion, she's become known as an inspired stage performer, mixing “the vocal purity of Joni Mitchell with the wry observational humor of Lily Tomlin and dollops of philosophical poetry” (San Francisco Gate).

“Claudia’s concerts combine engaging songs and stories with spontaneous raps and inspired wordplay that’s part prose and part pure poetry,” says Rob Peck, producer of the monthly First Friday Coho Concerts series at Pioneer Valley Cohousing in Amherst, where Schmidt has annually appeared at the beginning of the new year. “She’s a performer who has paid her dues and polished her craft in concerts all across the continent, and along the way she’s learned to use humor as a survival tool to plumb emotional depths — she is, after all, a plumber’s daughter.”

Joined by her partner in rhyme, Sally Rogers, (left in photo) Schmidt will perform Jan. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Pioneer Valley Cohousing’s Common House Great Room — “a space intimate enough to feel like a house concert but large enough to draw in the broader community.”

There is a suggested $10 to $20 sliding scale donation. No reservations; first come, first served. The event is tobacco-, fragrance- and pet-free. PV Cohousing is at 120 Pulpit Hill Road in Amherst.

Amazement all around

Unique among Shakespeare’s history plays in that it is written entirely in verse, the language of “King Richard IIis particularly lush and eloquent, making use of lengthy soliloquies and elaborate metaphors to depict the maudlin character of the king, a fellow whose tragic end arises from his inclination more to dream on political situations than to act on them.

“There simply is no more beautiful and lyrical language written anywhere, by anyone — even by Shakespeare himself — than the words in ‘Richard II,’ ” avers Suzanne Rubenstein, director of the Turners Falls-based Young Shakespeare Players - East,whose members, ages 8-18 (pictured in rehearsal), are heroically taking on this linguistically complex work: “Richard himself says, mid-play: ‘We are amazed!’ — and we are amazed as well at the dedication, hard work and understanding these young players bring to this glorious work. We think you’ll be amazed too!”

Performances at Greenfield Community College’s Sloan Theater are Jan. 11 and 13 at 6 p.m. and Jan. 14 and 15 at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Admission is free and no reservations are necessary. Purchase of concessions during the show will benefit YSP East's Scholarship Fund (“Enjoy ‘Bagels at the Bard’ during matinee performances and ‘Sup with Shakespeare’ during evening performances”). youngshakespeareplayerseast.org.

— Dan DeNicola

Sign up for our free email updates
Daily Hampshire Gazette Headlines
Daily Hampshire Gazette Contests & Promotions
Daily Hampshire Gazette Evening Top Reads
Daily Hampshire Gazette Breaking News
Daily Hampshire Gazette Obits
Daily Hampshire Gazette Sports
Daily Hampshire Gazette PM Updates
Daily Hampshire Gazette Weekly Top Stories
Daily Hampshire Gazette Valley Advocate


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

23 Service Center Road
Northampton, MA 01060


Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy