The Minstrel Acoustic Concert Series ™

Location: Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, NJ, a smoke & alcohol free environment

Time: 7:30 PM unless otherwise noted. 2nd Friday usually Open Stage/audition night

Admission: $10 on your way in plus the balance of what you think the show was really worth on your way out. Children 12 and under free. All tickets are at the door. There are no advance sales or reservations.

For More Information: Email email icon or call 973-335-9489.

NEW - watch Minstrel concerts on the Web: Starting in May 2017, most concerts at the Minstrel will be webcast live on Concert Window. Click on the CW logo at right to sign in. Check out our Instruction Page if you have not yet signed up for this service.

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Friday, June 2: Vinny Raniolo with Frank & Hank

Vinny Raniolo

An interview with Vinny RanioloNOTE: Frank Vignola, Vinny's musical partner, originally scheduled on this date has suffered some injuries in an accident that render him unable to perform. He is on the mend, and the pair will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity once Frank is up to snuff.

So we are delighted to present in his very first solo appearance, Vinny Raniolo. Vinnie, long known as guitarist Frank Vignola's sidekick, is a brilliant jazz guitarist in his own right. He's also appeared with such guitar luminaries as Tommy Emmanuel, Bucky Pizzarelli, Vince Giordano and Deana Martin. Tonight, he gets to step out of Frank's shadow, and strut his stuff on American Songbook standards, gypsy jazz from the 30s and 40s, some novelty tunes, and who knows what else. Come on out and cheer him on.

Frank & Hank

An eclectic mix of music from bluegrass to jazz to standards comes from the agile musical minds of Folk Project members Frank Sole and Hank (Hen3ry) Nerenberg. Frank is a skilled guitarist both in lead flatpicking styles and in Django-inspired jazz. Hen3ry (the 3 is silent) has one of the widest ranging musical minds in the Project, and is a genius at innovative and appropriate arrangement.

Friday, June 9: Open Stage

Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We've often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, June 16: Fendrick & Peck with Shawna Caspi

Fendrick & Peck

The Lutefisk WaltzYou may remember Madeline Fendrick & Brian Peck from when they opened for Mollie O'Brien last November. They are a singer songwriter duo with bluegrass overtones. Those overtones spring from their close harmony singing, bright instrumental work on guitar and mandolin, and the classic single microphone setup they use on stage. Their songs, however, generally range over a broader spectrum than your typical bluegrass band. And perhaps the most delightful aspect of their performance is the charming interplay between the two onstage.

Shawna Caspi

Not So SilentToronto-based singer-songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist Shawna Caspi performs solo, but there’s a whole band under her fingertips. A mighty singer, a story sculptor, and a truth teller, Shawna has toured across Canada and the eastern US. She believes in poetry and the power of one person and one instrument to convey a message to each listener one on one.

Friday, June 23: Summer Songs   This show only: Admission is $12, including special refreshments.

Summer Songs

Tonight's Minstrel presentation, Summer Songs, will be not so much a formal concert as a jam session on the beach to welcome in Summer. And you are not only invited to attend, but to take part if you wish. Bring your voices and your acoustic instruments, and sing and play along with the music onstage. That music will be led by various member musicians of the Folk Project. And the words and chords will be projected on screen so you can be part of the jam. Special Prizes will be awarded for the most outrageous beach attire. All proceeds from the evening will benefit The Folk Project.

Friday, June 30: Happy Traum   Plus a multi-media presentation:

Happy Traum

Church Street BluesHappy Traum, together with his late brother Artie, raised and set the standard of finger-style guitar playing in the great heyday of the Folk Revival in the 60's and 70's. He has performed in virtually every major folk festival in the US and abroad, taught in every guitar camp from Swannanoa to Merlefest and beyond, played with virtually every legendary acoustic guitarist in the world over the past 40 years, and released many instructional books and videos on the subject.

In addition to performing, Happy will be presenting a multi-media presentation entitled Coming of Age in the Folk Revival. Interspersed with his music, he will regale us with tales of the artists, promoters, and clubs that made up the Greenwich Village folk scene in the 50s and 60s: Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Gerde's Folk City, The Bitter End, The Bottom Line, and all the other people and places that formed the background to this legendary era.

Friday, July 7: Broadside Electric with Fiona Tyndall   Two approaches to Traditional Folk music from opposite ends of the spectrum.

Broadside Electric

It's been 5 years since Broadside Electric last graced our stage. For over 2 decades the band's mission has been to take traditional ballads, mostly English and Irish, clothe them in full-bore rock and roll settings, add 5-part harmony vocals, and blow us away. The members, Tom Rhoads (guitar, bouzouki, dulcimer), Amy Ksir (whistle, oboe) Jim Speer (Chapman Stick) Helene Zisook (electric violin) and Joe D'Andrea (drums) have become old friends and members of the Folk Project They combine a great knowledge of and respect for the old music with a great inventiveness and musicality in creating the new settings for it. And the result is flat out kick-ass music.

Fiona Tyndall

An Buachaillin BanOur opener Fiona Tyndall grew up in County Clare Ireland. She spent her childhood summers at a residential school run by her parents to steep its students in Irish music, language, and culture. She sings with beautiful simplicity the songs she learned through this experience, and those that her love of this music led her to pick up later in life. She is accompanied on piano by Kathie Hayne, guitar & vocals by Pat Hickey, and wind-synthesizer by Andy Koenig. All are Folk Project members.

Friday, July 14: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We've often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, July 21: Tom Chapin with Butch Ross

Tom Chapin

City of New OrleansTom Chapin's music spans generations from the heady Greenwich Village days when he performed with his brothers Harry, and Steve, and dad Jim, through to today. He serves up a tasty mix of story songs, ballads, comedic and political songs, family music, sing-alongs, old-time folk classics and a favorite song or two of his late brother Harry’s. With an agile fingerstyle guitar, gentle humor, audience inclusiveness, and a concern for the Earth and its resources, Tom puts on a memorable show.

Butch Ross

Butch Ross somehow made the retrograde transition from singer-songwriter with guitar to one of the newest most exciting Appalachian dulcimer virtuosi in the country. He performs appropriate traditional songs and tunes. But he also plays his own and other contemporary songs that ought to be totally inappropriate to the dulcimer (Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Richard Thompson), but somehow manage to fit the instrument perfectly in his hands. And he presents it all with an irresistible intelligence, charm, and gentle humor.

Friday, July 28: The Minstrel's 42nd Birthday Show   A Folk Project Member Concert

The performing members of the Folk Project celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the first concert presented by what was to become the Minstrel Acoustic Concert Series (July 25, 1975) in this unique concert format. Back on July 4th, about 45 FP member musicians put their names in the "hat". The names were drawn out in randomly selected duos and trios, and given the next 3-1/2 weeks to come up with one song per group. And that will be the show. Surprise and serendipity abound in this perfect example of what makes the Folk Project what it is.

Friday, August 4: The Inspire Project with Carolyn Messina

The Inspire Project

Those of you who saw the Kennedys' show back in December will undoubtedly remember The Inspire Project, who opened for them. These three powerhouse singer/songwriters have joined forces to entertain, uplift, motivate, and come together in harmony. This collaboration is long-held dream of Tanya Leah, who, along with bandmates Ilene Angel, and Lorraine Ferro, comprise the group. Each is a #1 hit songwriter and powerful vocalist in her own right. Determined to put some musical goodness in the world, they present a unique blend of songs, stories, humor, and obvious friendship that draws in the listener, and leaves one uplifted from the experience.

Carolyn Messina

Over the past 9 years, the Folk Project community has seen FP member Carolyn Messina grow as a performer. She is a classically trained pianist, a self-taught guitarist, songwriter, and storyteller. She is also a cancer survivor, which colors her writing with a positive attitude and joy that is palpable and uplifting.

Friday, August 11: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We've often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, August 18: Robinson & Rohe with Opening Act T.B.D.

Robinson & Rohe

HungerJean Rohe has been associated with the Folk Project since she was 8 as the prodigy star of her family band. She and Liam Robinson met a decade ago through their love of participatory music-making and American folk song. Their original repertoire is inspired by the traditions they hold dear and features carefully crafted lyrics, elegant vocal harmonies, and detailed arrangements for guitar, banjo, and accordion. Liam was a cast member in the Tony Award-winning play,Warhorse" and recently music directed the hit Off-Broadway folk opera "Hadestown" by songwriter Anais Mitchell. Jean's songwriting has won accolades from the Independent Music Awards, ASCAP, and the Montreux Jazz Festival vocal contest.

Friday, August 25: 2017 New Jersey Uke Fest
T.B.D.

T.B.D.

Three days of concerts, workshops, and jams. We will once again be back at the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey in Whippany.

Friday, September 1: T.B.D.

Friday, September 8: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We've often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, September 15: The Loving Hearts Club Boogie Band
  Tickets $15 advance & door - this show only

Friday, September 22: Pete's Posse with Opening Act T.B.D.

Pete's Posse

Nothing but WisdomPete Sutherland is a fiddler. guitarist, pianist, songwriter, bandleader, and all-around revered elder of the New England folk community. He has gathered 'round him two brilliant young multi-instrumentalists, Oliver Scanlon and Tristan Henderson, to form Pete's Posse. Twin fiddles in tight, wild harmony over high-powered guitar and pounding footwork with mandolin, clawhammer banjo, jawharp and rocking keyboards adding their voices to the mix. Songs and tunes, old and new, lyrical and driving: that’s the multi-generational heart and mind of this brilliant new band.

Saturday, September 23: A Folk Project Special Concert
Eric Schwartz   Special Saturday concert

Eric Schwartz

Details to follow

Friday, September 29: Vance Gilbert with Opening Act T.B.D.

Unfamiliar MoonThose who instantly came to their feet after Vance Gilbert's bravura performance at the Folk Project Spring Getaway will be thrilled to know he'll be back at the Minstrel. And those who missed it will get a chance to see the reason for the clamor. Vance brings an intricate guitar style, a brilliant way with words, and sophisticated vocal technique to the stage. But his personal charisma and wicked wit sing "pure entertainer" at the top of those powerful lungs. Vance is a great showman, an amazing singer, and a real swell guy.

Friday, October 6: Closed for the Folk Project Fall Getaway

Friday, October 13: Rosie & the Riveters with Opening Act T.B.D.   Note: No Open Stage this month.

Rosie & the Riveters

Milk 'n HoneySo who would have expected the province of Saskatchewan, Canada to be a hotbed of 1940s swing? Well get a load of Rosie & the Riveters! These three sassy ladies from Saskatoon channel the Andrews Sisters, with songs from that era, and originals in the same mold, all with that distinctive harmony, and top it off with cabaret-style choreography. A real crowd-pleaser.

Friday, October 20: Cindy Mangsen & Steve Gillette with Paul Kaplan

Cindy Mangsen & Steve Gillette

Live from Caffe LenaLong time Minstrel favorites, Cindy Mangsen & Steve Gillette might be considered the bellwether of the type of act that graces our stage. Relaxed, informal, and folksy, they nonetheless present a performance with great professionalism and skill. Their material ranges from traditional ballads to original songs, to covers from anybody from the Beatles to the Berrymans. They are both great singers and guitarists, and also play banjo, dulcimer, concertina and fiddle.

Paul Kaplan

Paul Kaplan is an old fashioned songwriter who writes songs with choruses that invite singers to join without need for any verbal urging. Many are clever parodies of familiar songs. He plays guitar and quattro.

Friday, October 27: Folk Project Member Concert

Details to follow.

Friday, November 3: Terry Kitchen & Mara Levine and Celestial Harmonies   Split Bill

Terry Kitchen & Mara Levine

One By OneBoston-based but New Jersey-born, Terry Kitchen has been performing on the folk scene for the past decade,. He was called "one of New England's finest songwriters" by Dirty Linen magazine, Terry's songs are portraits of ordinary people, captured with compassion, honesty and humor. Terry has joined up with the Folk Project's own Mara Levine, whose vocal harmonies (and sometimes leads) add a whole new level of enjoyment to his songs.

Celestial Harmonies

Celestial Harmonies. The name says it all. Folk Project member Mara Levine, whose voice has garnered raves from reviewers and fellow musicians alike, has gathered about her four other superb voices to form this new group. They are fiddler/guitarist Nancy Moccaldi, fluitist Barbara Novick, guitarist and banjo player, Frank Moccaldi, lead guitarist James Brennan, and her long time musical partner, guitarist and songwriter Caroline Cutroneo. But it's the blending of the voices on traditional, contemporary, classical, and original folk songs that makes this group shine.

Friday, November 10: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We've often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, November 17: Joe Jencks with Katherine Rondeau & the Show

Joe Jencks

A Joe Jencks concert is an occasion for singing, a contagious rising up of voices, an act of joy and defiance. Joe's animating purpose runs deep, tapping into the latent, nearly mystical beauty that a roomful of people can unleash by singing together. His songs touch on social justice and community building. He has been favorably compared to songwriters such as John McCutcheon, Holly Near, Fred Small, Tracy Chapman, and James Keelaghan.

Katherine Rondeau and the Show is a rootsy Americana Trio featuring Katherine Rondeau on vocals and guitar, Donna Bostock on upright bass and backup vocals, and Smilin' Ed on banjo, mandolin, and dobro. Katherine is well-known to the Folk Project family for her big, bold voice and compelling songwriting. The band comes together as a powerhouse trio with a full rousing sound.

Friday, November 24: T.B.D.

Friday, December 1: Chorus Song Night

Friday, December 8: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We’ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit the Open Stage page.

Friday, December 15: Holiday Benefit Concert for the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship

Details to follow

Friday, December 22: Closed

Friday, December 29: Bob Malone with Opening Act T.B.D.

Bob Malone

Certain DistanceWhen Bob Malone isn't occupied as John Fogarty's (Creedence Clearwater Revival) piano player, he tours as a great solo performer. In that setting he conjures up images of Professor Longhair, or Tom Waits. He mixes literate, sardonic, gutsy songwriting with full-tilt barrelhouse piano for a powerful stage presence.

Friday, January 5: T.B.D.

Friday, January 12: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We’ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit the Open Stage page.

Friday, January 19: The Mari Black World Fiddle Ensemble with Opening Act T.B.D.

The Mari Black World Fiddle Ensemble

Castlerock RoadMultistyle violinist and champion fiddler Mari Black is rapidly building a reputation as one of the most dynamic young artists of her generation. Her energetic playing and engaging stage presence have made her a favorite with audiences across the country and around the world. Equally at home in a wide variety of musical traditions, Mari holds multiple competition blue ribbons in fiddle styles as diverse as Scottish, Canadain Maritime, and Novelty. (Watch her play behind her back a la Jimi Hendrix!) And her repertoire includes the whole gamut from Celtic to classical to jazz. Her show is as entertaining as it is diverse.

Friday, January 26: T.B.D.

Friday, February 2: Valentines Day Extravaganza

Friday, February 9: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We’ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit the Open Stage page.

Friday, February 16: T.B.D.

Friday, February 23: T.B.D.

Friday, March 2: T.B.D.

Friday, March 9: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We’ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit the Open Stage page.

Friday, March 16: T.B.D.

Friday, March 23: A Folk Project Special Concert
To Be Announced Soon

Friday, March 30: T.B.D.

Friday, April 6: Joe Crookston with Opening Act T.B.D.

Joe Crookston

Georgia, I'm HereWhat strikes one first about Joe Crookston's performance is the intensity. There is a palpable force behind the music that makes you sit up and take notice. On top of that there is a sense of poetry and spirituality to his lyrics, and some pretty credible guitar chops and vocal power to lend support to his writing.

Friday, April 13: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We’ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit the Open Stage page.

Friday, April 20: T.B.D.

Friday, April 27: T.B.D.

Friday, May 4: The Heather Pierson Trio with Opening Act T.B.D.

The Heather Pierson Trio

Still She Will FlyHeather Pierson is an award-winning pianist, multi-genre singer/songwriter, arranger, bandleader, and performer. She effortlessly shifts from New Orleans-style jazz and blues to rousing Americana and poignant folk narratives. In addition to singing and playing piano, she also plays tenor banjo, melodica and guitar. Her trio adds strings, cornet, bass, and harmony vocals.