By Mary O'Neill
Sales Associate at Roche Realty Group
The Lakes Region is known for its abundance of four-season sports and outside activities: swimming, skating, boating, hiking, kayaking, hunting, fishing, snowboarding, yard sailing, antiquing, skiing... the list goes on and on. But do not underestimate the sound of music in the Lakes Region.
The New Hampshire Music Festival has brought music to the area for over 63 years. When it was founded in 1952, the festival consisted of a small chamber orchestra which performed on Melody Island in Lake Winnipesaukee. For the past 20 years, the festival has been based at Plymouth State University's Hanaway Theatre. Today, this organization brings together musicians from around the country to perform well-known classics and contemporary works. The festival delves into innovative artistic paths while honoring the classical tradition. Patrons are immersed in world-class performances of symphonic, choral, and chamber music. Each year, around 200 musicians participate and nearly 20,000 individuals benefit from the festival's activities. In addition to dynamic performances in the Hanaway Theatre, the festival offers exciting series such as "Music in the Mountains" (with sunrise, sunset, and campground concerts in the mountains and Lakes Region), and family and educational programs.
The festival is spearheaded by a dynamic team. Dan Perkins serves as Principal Guest Conductor and Director of Choral Activities. He has been a professor of music and director of choral activities at Plymouth State University for 23 years. He is also director and founder of the New Hampshire Master Chorale, director of the Manchester Choral Society, and faculty member of the Bassi Brugnatelli International Conducting and Singing Symposium in Robbiate, Italy. He is active as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the U.S. and abroad and his choirs have performed throughout the world. Executive Director Deborah Kosits has brought her more than 30 years of experience to help make the festival the dynamic organization that it is today. This year, the festival welcomes back Paul Polivnick as conductor laureate. Polivnick, who was conductor laureate in 2009 and served as music director from 1992 to 2009, will lead "Wanderlust" this 2016 season. Polivnick graduated from the Juillard School and is a well-known figure on the world stage. He has conducted orchestras across the U.S., Europe, and Asia. This year, the festival's season runs from July 5 through August 4 and the program will be announced shortly. Visit www.nhmf.org for more information.
Another source of music in the heart of the Lakes Region – close enough to echo over Lake Winnipesaukee – is the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion. The 2016 concert series includes performances by Ringo Starr, Keith Urban, Brantley Gilbert, Twenty One Pilots, Florida Georgia Line, Dave Matthews Band, Darius Rucker, and more. More information can be found at www.banknhpavilion.com. World-renowned performers can also be enjoyed at concerts funded by the Laconia Putnam Fund.
The hills surrounding Gunstock and Belknap Mountains resonate with the sound of music during SoulFest, held at Gunstock Mountain Resort. SoulFest has become New England's foremost multi-day music festival and family retreat and every year draws thousands. During the event 5 stages are set up on the beautiful grounds of Gunstock. The event features over 75 world-renowned Christian artists and speakers and three days of inspirational music, activities, and fellowship. Concert-goers can camp onsite or stay nearby in one of the many motels, condos, and hotels. This year, SoulFest will take place from August 4 through August 6. See www.thesoulfest.com for information.
Theatres in the area also bring the sound of music to the Lakes Region. The Winnipesaukee Playhouse in Meredith has a variety of musical productions throughout the year. In April, the Playhouse will feature "Pitch! A College A Capella Concert," where some of New England's best college a capella groups will come together for a concert of great songs. In May the Playhouse will present the musical comedy "Guys and Dolls." This popular Broadway show has a memorable score, with songs such as "Luck Be a Lady," "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat," and "I've Never Been In Love Before." For information on these and other performances, visit www.winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org. Some of the other venues bringing music to the area include Franklin Opera House, Great Waters Music Festival in Wolfeboro, Interlakes Summer Theatre in Meredith, The Barnstormers in Tamworth, and Little Church Theatre in Holderness.
You can also enjoy a variety of music at many restaurants in the region. Giuseppe's Show Time Pizzeria in Meredith has nightly musical entertainment. Patrick's Pub & Eatery in Gilford brings in talented musicians to play for patrons. The Holy Grail of the Lakes in Laconia, Fratello's Italian Grill in Laconia, and Wolfe's Tavern in Wolfeboro are just a few of many places where you can be entertained while you dine.
The music does not stop there. From town bandstands to local fairs and festivals, the sound of music rings through the mountains and across the lakes. There are plentiful opportunities to listen and also join in. This year's first annual Pumpkin Fest in Laconia, for instance, will be remembered for its 9,567 pumpkins but also for the Canal Street sing-along instigated by Frates Studio. The street was packed with hundreds of people, young and old, joining in a rendition of tunes. The fun-filled uproar could be heard throughout the town.
If your voice or musical skills need a little polish, the Lakes Region has the talent to ready you for the challenge. Karen Simpson of the Music Clinic in Belmont is one of many gifted instructors in the area. Karen is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston and teaches voice, guitar, piano, violin and many other instruments as well as theory, songwriting and conducting. Her clinic has been offering instruction since 1993 and to date has taught more than 2,500 students. Christine Chiasson of New England Voice and Music offers voice and piano instruction, music theatre classes, group classes, and workshops. Lessons can also be had at the New Hampshire Independent School of Music in Sandwich, Beaudin Piano and many others.
In the Lakes Region, the hills literally are alive with the sound of music. Come join in the song.
Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Mary O'Neill is a sales associate at Roche Realty Group in Meredith & Laconia, and can be reached at 366-6306.