Category Archives: Music

Music in the air

Every summer, the North of Boston region is host to numerous outdoor music festivals, concert series, and more.  Music of all genres is in the air throughout the entire region.  So, come enjoy terrific summer weather and great music during…

1Castle Hill Picnic Concert Series
Thursdays, through September 3
Castle Hill on the Crane Estate
290 Argilla Road | Ipswich, MA

The Trustees and Castle Hill on the Crane Estate invite you to enjoy a series of evening picnic concerts this summer.  Set on Castle Hill’s spacious lawn, attendees are welcome to bring a picnic supper or purchase seafood, empanadas, pizza, and ice cream from on-site vendors. Ipswich Ale and Mill River Winery will sell beverages on-site at a beer and wine garden.  Click here for more information, including the concert line-up.


11249557_10153511109592490_3459831857567318531_n2015 Summer Concert Series at Salisbury Beach
Saturdays, through September 5
Salisbury Beach | Salisbury, MA

Get your groove on this summer at Salisbury Beach!  The Summer Concert Series features a different performer every Saturdays night.  Enjoy concerts from Entrain, The Lisa Love Experience, Joshua Tree, and more!  Click here for a full concert line-up.

11351325_892000850861081_2390068142578142637_nGloucester Blues Festival
Saturday, August 8
Stage Fort Park
24 Hough Avenue | Gloucester, MA

Enjoy a day of music and fun as the nation’s finest performers play on scenic Cressey’s Beach.  Featuring performances by the Juke Joint Five, Mitch Woods, Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials, and more, the event also includes a beer garden and marvelous food and craft vendors, making for the perfect summer day in Gloucester.  Click here to view the full lineup.

Shalin Liu PC-Robert Benson Photography

Shalin Liu. Photo by Robert Benson Photography

Rockport Jazz Festival
August 13-16
Shalin Liu Performance Center
37 Main Street | Rockport, MA

Cool cats and jazz neophytes rejoice!  The 4th Annual Rockport Jazz Festival is almost here and features a fantastic lineup of jazz musicians, including Mikarimba, a star-studded ensemble of Mika Stoltzman, legendary drummer Steve Gadd and the incomparable Eddie Gomez. The Festival continues with artists like the soulful Alicia Olatuja and the incredible jazz guitarist Julian Lage.  For a full schedule of concerts, click here.

newlogoheaderSalem Jazz and Soul Festival
August 15-16
Salem Willows
167 Fort Avenue | Salem, MA

The Salem Jazz and Soul Festival is a FREE weekend-long event at the historic Salem Willows.  Featuring concerts, a beer garden, artisan fair, kids’ tent, and more, this is one weekend you won’t want to miss!  Parking is limited, but the Salem Trolley and Mahi Mahi Cruises and Charters will be on hand offering alternate transportation to and from the festival.  Click here for a schedule of events and concert line-up.

Riverfront Music Festival Logo - FinalNewburyport’s Riverfront Music Festival
Saturday, September 5
Waterfront Park
36 Merrimac Street | Newburyport, MA

Spend the day on the waterfront in Newburyport! The Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and 92.5 The River invite you to enjoy a musical Labor Day with a fantastic lineup.  Come early and enjoy great food & shopping while waiting for the concert to begin.  Click here for more information.

The Show that Goes Like This

Village Theatre Spamalot Promo

Photo by ABB Photography

What do you get when you mix “Monty Python,” King Arthur, terrific music, and a tight-knit theater family? The Village Theatre Company’s side-splitting production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot” (a 14-time Tony-nominated musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”).  We were recently saw a sneak preview of this new production and, without giving (many) spoilers, this may just be Village Theatre’s best production yet!

Featuring hilariously catchy songs such as “I’m Not Dead Yet,” “The Song That Goes Like This,” and the show-stopping “Find Your Grail,” “Spamalot” tells the story of King Arthur’s search for the Holy Grail. And by “tells the story,” we mean “hilariously parodies the story of…in the silly, irreverent way that only Monty Python can.).

Musical Python humor aside, what makes “Spamalot” such a fun show is the environment of the Village Theatre’s home, the Laurel Grange in West Newbury, MA.  The intimate theater puts the audience close to the show; it’s almost as if the audience becomes part of the show and “in” on the joke (rather than being a distant observer separated by the invisible 4th wall).  The show is fun, the cast is having fun, so the audience has a lot of fun as well.

Part of what sets the Village Theatre Company apart is the fun that the cast has.  It’s infectious and is obvious the cast loves performing, loves show they’re putting on, and, most importantly, loves being together.  During the preview, we were treated to asides from the cast in between scenes – information on the Village Theatre, some background information on the show, and personal anecdotes.  The one theme that wove all of these asides together was “family.”  Everyone involved in the Village Theatre – from the board of directors to the actors, director, and light tech – is tied together by this familial bond.  Every show is put on by a group of people who genuinely enjoy working, playing, being together and, during each performance, the audience is invited into this crazy, fun, talented family. And who doesn’t want to be a part of a British-accented family of killer rabbits, knights who say “Ni,” and coconut horses?


Photo by ABB Photography


Photo by ABB Photography

“Spamalot” runs January 23-25, January 30-February 1 at the Laurel Grange (21 Garden Street, West Newbury).  Be ready for an evening of belly laughs, giggles, and general merriment – this is one show you do not want to miss! For more information on the show, please visit

Photos courtesy of Amy Brogna Baione, ABB Photography –

Let freedom ring (or sparkle brightly)

The 4th of July is a very important holiday in the North of Boston region.  The history of the North Shore is deeply entwined with that of the United States – many of the first settlers made this area home (and left us with a wealth of “First Period” architecture), George Washington slept here, the US Coast Guard was formed in Newburyport, and the US Navy began in Beverly/Marblehead.  Even one of our most beloved patriotic songs, “America” (also known as “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”), was written in Andover in 1831.  Thus, it’s only fitting that the North of Boston region goes all out when it  comes to July 4th celebrations.  If you live here or plan on visiting the region, you can’t miss…


Fireworks Over Gloucester Harbor
Experience Gloucester’s annual fireworks display from the terrace and lawn of Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann house and enjoy an abridged evening tour as the house transforms at night. Bring blankets, chairs, picnics, and mosquito spray.

Glover-Side-450x335Mahi Mahi Fireworks Cruises
July 5 & 6 (**NEW DATE**)
Party like it’s Independence Day aboard the Hannah Glover or Finback! You’ll get your oohs and ahhs as the annual 4th of July fireworks shoot across the sky above us. Enjoy unobstructed views out on the water as we cruise through Salem Sound. Great for all ages, this cruise is the perfect way to spend your holiday with family or friends. After celebrating a 4th of July with Mahi Cruises, we’re sure that you’ll be back next year!


8509243-sparkler-and-usa-flag-showing-4th-of-july4th of July Weekend at Salisbury Beach
July 3-5
This Independence Day weekend, join us at Salisbury Beach! On Thursday, July 3, enjoy Rhythm Coalition (9-piece band with horns) on the beachfront stage. RB Entertainment will provide music to celebrate the 4th in style! Spend the day on the beach. Our kid-friendly activities start at 5pm – Hula Hoops, Karaoke, Line Dancing and Sing-along with DJ Ralphie B, and so much more!

July 4_fireworks5_scottlanes_web

Salem Celebrates the 4th!
July 6 (**NEW DATE**)
Bring your beach blankets and folding chairs to enjoy the 42-piece Hillyer Festival Orchestra on Derby Wharf at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site for a grand celebration of our nation’s Independence Day. Featuring a Pops concert, a Kid Space play area, and fireworks launched over Salem Harbor, this is a quintessential celebration of the 4th of July. Fireworks begin at 9:15pm.

fireworks-stock857-largeAmesbury’s 4th of July Fireworks and Music
July 5 (**NEW DATE**)
The Annual Fourth of July Fireworks display at Woodsom Farm starts on Friday July 4th 2014 at sunset. Bring your friends and family and join us for music, fireworks and tons of fun!

dsc02649.jpg__840x460_q85_crop_upscale4th of July Fireworks Aboard the Sea Shuttle’s Endeavour 
July 4
Welcome aboard for an unforgettable tour with coastal fireworks galore.  We will see fireworks from Lynn to Gloucester. There will be snacks and thirst-quenching libations for purchase on board. The Endeavor will depart from the Salem Willows Park Pier at 7:45PM and will return at 10:30. 

CruiseShipDockEvening4th of July on the Beauport Princess
July 4
Cruise with us on the fourth of July! Great buffet, watch fireworks all around and enjoy some great music on Cruiseport Gloucester’s newest cruise line, the Beauport Princess! 



Photo by Jeff Folger

Marblehead Fireworks & Harbor Illumination
July 5 (**NEW DATE**)
The Marblehead Fireworks & Harbor Illumination happens every year on July Fourth in the Town of Marblehead, Massachusetts to celebrate Independence Day!  The Fireworks are scheduled for Thursday, July 4th, 2013 approximately 9:00 p.m. The Harbor Illumination will begin at 8:45 p.m. and immediately following we will light this fuse in this year’s fireworks! 

Rockport in C major


Shalin Liu Performance Center (Photo by Robert Benson)

In 1981, the first Rockport Chamber Music Festival was held in the Rockport Art Association and Congregational Church.  The brainchild of composer David Alpher and friend/singer Lila Deis (who were inspired by the beauty and atmosphere of Rockport) and local businessman Paul Sylva, the Festival grew over the years to become a nationally-recognized gem in the crown of the North Shore’s cultural offerings.  Since 1995, the Festival has been under the leadership of renowned pianist David Deveau who has fostered and encouraged this exponential growth.  

In the 33 years since that first festival, a lot has changed.  In 2008, the Chamber Music Festival evolved into Rockport Music – a central organization whose offerings and influence expands beyond the annual Festival.  More excitement was to come in 2010 with the opening of the Shalin Liu Performance Center, a 330-seat concert hall with the most beautiful view in Rockport and the new home of the Rockport Chamber Music Festival.

This year’s Festival will continue through July 13th and features numerous concerts by world-class musicians as well as pre-concert lectures and free events for music lovers of all ages.  Be sure not to miss performances by 2013 MacArthur Award winning pianist Jeremy Denk, the Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble and the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, as well as amazing young superstars such as pianist Joyce Yang, pianist Charlie Albright, the Claremont Trio, and their new Rising Star Series with the Neave Trio, pianist Daria Rabotkina and the Donald Sinta Saxophone Quartet.


Shanghai String Quartet

Upcoming concerts include:

Shanghai String Quartet – Saturday, June 21
Claremont Trio – Thursday, June 26
Boston Symphony Chamber Players – Saturday, June 28
Calder Quarter – Saturday, July 12

For the full Festival schedule, please visit

Can’t make it to Rockport before July 13th? No problem! Rockport Music presents numerous fantastic concerts, lectures, festivals, and screenings throughout the year, including the upcoming 3rd Annual Rockport Jazz Festival August 13-17.

For more information on Rockport Music, be sure to check out their fantastic new website,, or call their box office at 978-546-7391.