Celtic concert applauded at 447 Race

 

The Ocean Quartet headlined the evening at 447 Race with a creative mix of traditional pan-Celtic tunes and original compositions.

The Ocean Quartet headlined the evening at 447 Race with a creative mix of traditional pan-Celtic tunes and original compositions.

CAMBRIDGE — Cambridge, home to beautiful sunsets and harbors, got another evening treat on June 19: a Father’s Day/Summer Solstice concert featuring regional and local favorites — the Ocean Quartet, Chris Noyes, and Laura Leigh Todd.

The venue at 447 Race St. is blossoming into an ideal destination for live music. Housed in the historic Phillips Hardware building, the front half of the space will soon house a restaurant, with ample bar space, dining area, and views of downtown. (Interested restaurant entrepreneurs are invited to contact SteveVondenbosch@gmail.com.) The back half is up and running as a fine listening space — large enough to cater to a sizable audience, yet small and intimate enough for concertgoers to feel connected to the performers.

The Ocean Quartet headlined the evening with a creative mix of traditional pan-Celtic tunes and original compositions. Its members include some of the most talented players from the DC area’s Celtic scene: Jennifer Cutting on accordions and keyboards, Lisa Moscatiello on guitar and vocals, Andrew Dodds on fiddle, and Steve Winick on percussion and vocals. Together, they produced an engaging and creative blend of “Celtic music for ancient moderns.” To hear audio samples, visit www.OceanOrchestra.com

The quartet’s repertoire included rousing fiddle and accordion tunes, impeccably sung ballads, and of course Cutting’s own compositions, which are inspired not only by the Celtic and British traditions but also a contemplation of the seasons of nature and human life. This award-winning group is already an established favorite in the DC area and beyond, and their popularity on the Shore is sure to grow.

A highlight of the evening was a piece inspired by Gustav Holst’s “Jupiter” — displaying a perfect blend of the scholarly and the mystical. Another great treat was having local favorite Chris Noyes join the band onstage for a couple of numbers.

Noyes, armed with guitar, ukulele, and a magnificent voice, opened for the Ocean Quartet with a set of original songs that seemed to touch the heart of the Eastern Shore. She has made a presence in the area as a beloved music teacher, and as a renowned performer and recording artist. With her considerable instrumental skills, she charmed the audience with her compositions, including her heartfelt love song to the Chesapeake Bay.

The opening set was provided by another local songstress, Laura Leigh Todd, making full use of the venue’s new acquisition, the marvelous Steinway piano, which has a new home at 447 Race St. – thanks to Dick Moore, Anne Watts and a host of contributors. Laura Todd’s soaring voice delivered an effective blend of thoughtful and rousing songs, and a special moment was when she was joined onstage by her longtime friend and music partner Lauren Shockley. Together they showed just how powerful two attuned voices can be.

As work on the space at 447 Race St. progresses, Cantabrigians can expect to see a more and more inviting space for both audiences and performers. In the meantime, plans are already afoot for a world-class performance series at 447. Recent highlights include the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day with Irish step-dancer and concertina player Shannon Dunne and the band “Slow Down Tommy” – and the remarkable BOISTER concert on April 24 with Anne Watts. The June 19 concert was produced by Carpe Diem Arts.

For more information contact BusyGraham@CarpeDiemArts.org.

UPCOMING EVENTS at 447 Race St. include the weekly Open Mic on Thursdays at 8pm: an all ages, alcohol-free event. Backline (amps), drums, guitars, bass and sound are provided by Levin Lewis. On July 10, the music students of Anne Watts will be performing. Mark your calendars for a fundraiser on Nov. 6 for Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth (DCPG) when Anne Watts will share the stage with pianist Monica Jakuc. Other events will be announced soon. Stay tuned! Information: www.facebook.com/Gallery447/.

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