John & Ursula Papp Headlined a Great Open Mike in March

John & Ursula Papp

John & Ursula Papp

Snowmageddon II threatened to postpone March’s open mike, but by 11:00 am on Friday the snowfall was over, and by early afternoon the roads were in great shape. By 7:00 pm we had an enthusiastic crowd who had come to hear good music, and the evening didn’t disappoint.

In addition to John & Ursula Papp we were lucky to have several musicians perform, many of them first-timers at the Meeting House Stage. Boogie-woogie pianist Sue O’Dwyer, aka “The Homestead Act”, opened the show and really got  thing going.  It was nice to be able to drag out our old upright piano, and Sue sounded great! She’ll be our feature in September, so be sure and mark your calendar!

Hal Pederson, a member of Friendly Folk (last month’s feature),  took the stage next. His set included beautiful versions of a pair of my favorite Stan Rogers songs. After Hal, Nate Smith played a pair of self-penned songs, the first a very humorous talking blues song about a “Russianic mail order bride”. Nate was followed on the stage by Mark Frederick Fisher and his wife Nancy. Mark is a wonderful songwriter, and I particularly liked the song “Son of an Indian Giver”, from his most recent album, At Home Alone. It was a treat to have his wife Nancy join him on stage.

John and Ursula Papp, March’s feature, began their set with “Better Way”, a Dave Carter tune, and followed that with a pair of John’s originals, “Tarbox Hill” and “Don’t I Wish”. They followed that with a song that was written by Worcester legend Dewey Burns, and then played another of John’s tunes (Walkin’ in the Snow). After that they wrapped up their set with a Chip Taylor song called “Memphis, Texas”, the Dylan classic Buckets of Rain, Broken Glass by the Scottish born Canadian David Francey, and they closed with another David Carter tune, “Farewell to Bitterroot Valley”.

Vern Charland was up after John and Ursula, and he played a number of crowd pleasers, many of them humorous. He finished off with a very nice cover of “The Weight”, written by Robbie Robertson. Rick Beausoleil followed with a nice take on “I’m So Lonesome, I Could Cry”, and finished off his set with one of his own tunes. I wrapped things up with a couple of originals and it was time to call it a night–a very successful one at that.

We’re lucky at the Meeting House Stage; we have some of the tastiest homemade food to be found anywhere. Special thanks go out to the volunteers that brought us such delicious treats: Karla MacLeod, Elisa Benincaso, Sally Poikonen, and Amy Raymond! I can’t wait to taste what’s in store next month. Speaking of which …

Next month’s Meeting House Stage will be held on April 12, and the feature act will be folksinger (and Jaffrey summer resident) Tom Smith. Tom is truly a New England treasure, and he’s also a wicked good songwriter, as we like to say. I first saw him play a year or two ago at Mindfull Books and Ephemera in Jaffrey, and it’s a real treat to be able bring him to the Meeting House Stage. Not to be missed. For more information, check out our calendar.


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