The Musician In Residence program is currently on hiatus.

Photo of the Quark Quartet
The Quark Quartet, 2020 Musicians in Residence

The Quark Quartet

The Quark Quartet began a residency in early 2020, which was cut short by the pandemic. We hope to bring you more of their music soon. [2023]
For 2020 we’re featuring classical chamber music and co-sponsoring the series with the Children’s Department. We are excited to present concerts for all ages in this year’s Musician in Residence program!
The Quark Quartet is comprised of four trained musicians who do not perform for a living, but who are energized by and committed to performance. The Quark musicians are Naomi Lesley and Marijo Sherrill (violins), Jessica Corwin (viola), and Sally Greenebaum (cello). In the winter of 2018, they formed a quartet with the goal of offering high quality, engaging, and welcoming chamber music concerts for the Pioneer Valley public. Since their relatively recent founding, they have performed for benefit concerts, library recitals — including at Forbes –, children’s concerts, and retirement communities. After their second concert cycle, they made a commitment to seek out and perform works by under-represented composers–women and composers of color.

Upcoming events:

The Residency

The Well Tempered Ukes
The Well Tempered Ukes, 2015-2016 Musicians In Residence

The Musical Residency program began in 2015 when The Well Tempered Ukes, a trio which plays and sings mainly early music, and parlor and art songs, conceived the idea and developed it in collaboration with Arts & Music Librarian Faith Kaufmann and then-Assistant Director Lisa Downing. This residency, the first of its kind for the library, aimed to support artist process and program development by providing time, space and opportunity for teaching, performance, and conversation.

The Gray Divas
The Gray Divas, 2017 Musicians In Residence

In the fall of 2015, The WTUkes (Marlene Wong, Robin Hoffman, and Richard Perlmutter) presented a monthly hour long session. They performed selected new and old songs from their repertory, shared historical and cultural information about the songs and their ukuleles, and offered tips and insights into ukulele playing and performance. Their audiences grew each month as word got around of their engaging, entertaining, and painlessly educational performances. The residency was extended through 2016 and they presented additional concerts including a beginner ukulele lesson.

In 2017, we launched our second Musical Residency with The Gray Divas. The Divas are Frances Blasque and Jeannette Muzima. They sing and play an eclectic repertoire including The Beatles; Elvis; a little country cookin’; samba and La Bamba; some jazz and Tin Pan Alley; and a few originals. For their first concert at Forbes as artists-in-residence, they also brought a big and beautiful wave of Hawaiian songs. Their performances are notable for beautiful vocal harmonies, a warm, engaging interaction with their audiences, and what else, ukuleles!

Jason Mazotta (left) and Henning Ohlenbusch, 2018 Musicians in Residence
Jason Mazotta (left) and Henning Ohlenbusch, 2018 Musicians in Residence

For 2018, we invited the members of Rub Wrongways Records, a collective, independent record label from Northampton, to embark on a musical odyssey as the Forbes Library Musicians in Residence. The label’s Jason Mazzotta and Henning Ohlenbusch, two well-known staples of the area’s music scene, curated a series of performances and workshops.

Six events over the course of the year featured live music and an informative piece related to the life of an active musician. Participants learned how to write a song, make a music video, become a rock ‘n’ roll podcaster, and more! Participating performers included The Fawns, Beach Honey, Gentle Hen, Andy Goulet, and Sitting Next To Brian.

Music and Social Justice

In 2019 Forbes Library launched a series of programs exploring the role of music in social justice movements. Six performance/workshop events featured local artists who use music to help build a better world. These activist musicians addressed current and historical topics such as civil rights, labor, climate and economic justice, to name a few.

These events were part of the initiative, funded by a federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant which Forbes Library received from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), to serve as a Community Hub. Forbes Library also engaged teens and adults in a series of events entitled Community Conversations: Resilience and Reflections that addressed topics including racial justice, climate change, deepening divides (socio-economic disparities), and safety and justice. A goal of this project was to offer our community a space and opportunity to build connections and grapple with challenging issues, centering the library as an adaptive place for grassroots democracy.