Musicians In Residence

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

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

For 2018, the Musicians in Residence program is taking a new direction. The members of Rub Wrongways Records, a collective, independent record label from Northampton, are embarking on a musical odyssey in 2018 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, will curate a series of performances and workshops.

Six events over the course of the year will each feature live music and an informative piece related to the life of an active musician. Participants can learn how to write a song, make a music video, become a rock ‘n’ roll podcaster, and more! All events are free and open to all ages.

The opening event took place on Wednesday January 31 at 7:00 PM on the second floor of Forbes Library in the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Museum. This concert consisted of brief mostly acoustic performances by The Fawns, Beach Honey, Gentle Hen, Andy Goulet, and Sitting Next To Brian.

The Well Tempered Ukes

The Well Tempered Ukes, 2015-2016 Musicians In Residence

The Residency

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!