Tag Archives: music

Celtic Celebration (Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, MA)

Date Of Visit: March 18, 2023

Location: Old Sturbridge Village, 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road
Sturbridge, MA 

Summary: A variety of Celtic related events such as dancing, a harpist and other family friendly events took place at Old Sturbridge Village

Website: https://www.osv.org/event/celtic-celebration/

Summary: Old Sturbridge Village celebrated St Patrick’s in style with dancers, musicians and a few other special events!

Everyone was Irish at the inaugural Celtic Celebration at Old Sturbridge Village. The Celtic Celebration event celebrated Irish culture and history. The event also also included horse carriage rides and animals on the grounds. The babies were especially popular.

The event also showcased some of the cultural aspects of Celtic tradition. Lee (MA) Irish Dance performed a style of dance called Step Dance. People from a variety of age groups, abilities and experience danced to Celtic music. Step dance is a form of dance that is deeply rooted in Irish tradition. As you can see in the photos below, the dancers incorporate a stiff upper body with fast and precise movements of the feet. The dancers kept their vision at eye level (likely ignoring or trying to not notice their friends and family who were intently watching them) and exhibited a serious manner. The dancers dressed in an array of colorful, glitzy apparel. They even added sparkly accessories to their footwear. Their abilities as well as their poise and concentration were all very impressive

In addition to the dancers there was also Celtic music performed by a skilled harper.

Celtic Harpist Cate Mahoney performed Celtic songs. It was amazing watching her make such beautiful music with such ease. Just to show how difficult and taxing it id on her fingers to make this music, you may notice a white bottle on the ground of the second photo. Between songs, Cate would have to use talc on her fingers. Her music, which you can hear in the video below, was very soothing and pleasing.

There were other family friendly events such as dipping candles, a bagpiper performing and readings from Celtic literature. Or, you could just walk around and take in all of the Irish culture in the air and be Irish for at least one day!

2019 Vintage Lawn Party (Salem, MA)

Date Of Event: September 8, 2019

Location: Salem Commons, Washington Square, Salem, MA

Highlights: vintage party, swing dancing,swing music,lawn games


Party goers of all ages and backgrounds gathered together earlier this month at the annual Vintage Law Party which celebrated the early 1900’s.

Although not required, vintage outfits were encouraged and many people came out in the vintage best.


Dance classes were offered by North Shore Swing.


The lessons must have worked because the dance floor was ablaze with swing dancers.  Eat your heart out, Gene Kelly.


Music was provided by Dan Gabel’s High Society Orchestra


And, of course, Patty supplied the vocals.


There were also lawn games such as badminton, croquet and bocce.  There was also a referee for the croquet tournament


Bocce can be a difficult game with lots of lots of twists and turns.  These reaction shots how how a game can go in many different directions very quickly!


Ted and Jenna were the winners of the  Witch’s Wicket Croquet Tournament.


The one photography tip I would give for this post is not about technique nor is it about equipment or anything photography related.  My tip is to be bold (which is good advice for just about any aspect of our lives) and not be shy.  Despite my photos of people and all of the wonderful people I have met, I’m not generally an overly social person.  So, it’s not my nature to go up to complete strangers and ask for their photograph. In fact, I think I missed a few good photo opportunities in the past because of my shyness.  Some people may find that hard to believe now.

I also think photography can be a solitary activity.  All you need is your camera.  But, my camera has helped me meet so many nice people I would never have met if I didn’t have a camera with me.  So, don’t be too shy or worry what somewhat might say if you ask to take their photo.  In my experience, they’ll most likely say “yes” or at least be flattered.  You may make their day!  The upside far outweighs the downside.  The worst they will say is “no” and they have every right to say that. It’s not personal.  Besides, it’s a good way to connect with someone.  You may not just get a good photo.  You may make a friend.

10th Annual Salem Arts Festival – Part II (Salem, MA)

Location: Front St, Old Town Hall, Salem, MA

Dates Of Event: June 1-3, 2018 (event usually takes place the first weekend in June)

Cost: Free

Parking: Street parking, which is limited during festivals, costs .75 an hour (4 hour limit) and there are several parking lots and garages. You can find more information about parking in Salem here.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Location: Artist’s Row, Salem, MA

Fun Fact: Salem (in Hebrew) means “peace”

Related Post: 10th Annual Salem Arts Festival – Part I


Murals weren’t the only types of art on display at the Salem Arts Festival.

In addition to the amazing art on display and family friendly activities I highlighted in Part I of this series, there were several bands, dancers and other entertainers who set up on the stairs of the Old Town Hall on Front St.

All of the performers were very talented and entertaining (view the videos below to see for yourself)

All of the performers had some ties to New England, and in many cases the Salem area.

Liz Bills And The Change are from Haverhill, MA (about 40 minutes north of Salem), rocked the alley next tot he Coffee Brewhouse. Great presence and style.

Wellesley (MA) native and Berklee College of Music graduate, Sarah Blacker and the New England Groove Association was another great performer.

She even made a new young fan.


One of the things I really enjoyed about the performers was the variety of music and entertainment. In fact, I actually heard and enjoyed some music from bands that I never thought I would be into. One of those bands was the Boston-based Outrageous Fortune Trio Jug Band mixed jazz and blues in their repertoire. I particularly enjoyed their version of “Come Together.” He actually used the cane in the photo below as an instrument.

I loved the Emma Sundvik & Hunter Burgamy Jazz Band.

I also had a surprise encounter with a friend from my gym. Anthony (“Antonio”) plays the Flamenco guitar for Boston Flamenco. Anastasia and Anna Maria joined him in his performance.

At the end of their performance, Anastasia gave some of the visitors a lesson in Flamenco dancing.


The entertainment was not just limited to music, though. One of my favorite forms of entertainment was the dancing of the Salem YMCA Fly Kidz. These kids can dance!

And what would an arts festival in Salem be without a visit from Dark Follies?

Dark Follies incorporates stunts (a straitjacket escape artist), dancers and other magical entertainment into their acts.

The kids loved the Boston Opera Outreach Troupe. It was great seeing little children embracing this music.

If that was not enough, the Aerial Artistry of Baechtold & Abel (and their college understudy) took center stage on Front St. Their acrobatics were so graceful. But, what people may overlook is the strength these acrobats must have to be able to support their own and their partner’s body.

Speaking of Front St, there were “tiny dancers”, or more accurately a tiny stage with real life sized dancers performing.

There were also fairies who blew bubbles, read stories and danced with the children (and a few adults).

There was also a “Poets In The Round” poetry reading event.


The street performers who you might usually see only during the Halloween season also came out to partake in the festivities and take photos with their fans. Or, just take in the scenes with a, uh….friend. It was like Halloween in June!

Of course, what would an art festival be without dogs?

Rocko looked cool rocking his bee wings with his doting humans.

Igor (the Hairless dog) was one of the more unique dogs I have photographed. You may notice his two different colored eyes.

Below are some videos of the performers from the art festival. Sorry for the “shaky cam” in some of the videos, particularly those taken at the end of the day.

And, believe it or not, there is at least one more installment of photos from the art festival coming soon!

MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA) Part III



Date of Visits: July 8 & 15, 2017

Location: 1040 MASS MoCA WAY, North Adams, MA


Fall/Winter/Spring Hours

11am–5pm, closed Tuesdays

Open January 1, 2018

Fall/Winter/Spring Tours

Wed.-Mon.: Two museum highlights tours: B6: The Robert W. Wilson Building and Buildings 4, 5, and 7 at 2pm
Summer Hours (begin June 2018)
10am—6pm Sundays—Wednesdays
10am—7pm Thursdays—Saturdays



Adults $20
Seniors / Veterans $18
Students with ID $12
Kids (6–16) $8
EBT/WIC Cardholder $2

They also offer 2 day and 3 day admission tickets

Parking: There are four parking lots in the museum parking area

MASS MoCA Parking Map

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Website: MASS MoCA

In part III of my trip to MASS MoCA I am highlighting some of the found art and the works of Louise Bourgeios  and some unusual musical instruments.



Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008) is one of the featured artists at the museum.  His work, “The Lurid Attack of the Monsters from the Postal News Aug. 1875 (Kabal American Zephyr)” is made up of saws, wheels and other discarded items.  Pictured on the wooden beam of the sculpture are photos of butterflies, John Lennon playing the piano and kids playing in a pool as well as some other photos.

The following works of art are part of the found art sculptures exhibit, “Thumbs Up For The Mothership” by Lonnie Holley and Dawn DeDeaux.  The display is described as an artistic response to the state of the earth, both environmental and political.


“The Writing Man’s Chair” (2017) is a tribute to William Arnett, a friend of artist and creator Lonnie Holley.  William was a close friend of Lonnie’s and one of the first people Lonnie knew who showed a genuine interest in his work.  The sculpture is made of a rocking chair, found typewriter, water pump and roots and candle lamp.



“Do Not Write On This” (2007) by Lonnie Holley, made of a wood pallet, straw, stuffed animal, commemorative photo, nails and wood.  The work of art is about respecting nature.  According to Lonnie, he lost relatives in fires.  The sculpture is meant to remind people about our effect on nature.



“Weighed Down By The Hose” (2008) by Lonnie Holley is made of a rocking chair, old quilt, heart-shaped box and rubber hose.  The fire hose wraps around the chair like a memory.  The sculpture is meant to be a reminder of the civil rights struggle that still envelopes us like a quilt.  Lonnie found the rocking chair on the side of a Birmingham, Alabama road.  The little tin heart is meant to be a container for memories in the act of love.



“The Last Formation” (2017) by Lonnie Holley is made of a dressmaker’s form and wooden shoe supports.  The old wooden feet in the dress reminded Lonnie of the bodies captured in nets in Africa as well as the bodies stuffed together in the holds of slave cargo ships.  Lonnie explained the mother’s body, represented by the dressmaker’s form, is like a cargo hold.  The “Last Formation” is the woman’s body with all of her offspring’s offspring.



“Busted Without Arms” (2016) by Lonnie Holley is made of a dress form, gun grip display and model handguns.  Lonnie said his motivation for this work of art were the news stories of unarmed black people being killed.


“Waking Up In The Bed Of Death (Watching the Marchers’ Dreams Die)” (2016) by Lonnie Holley is made of an old bed frame, found quilt, shoe store displays and a shoe fitting stool.  The sculpture is meant to show the struggle of the civil rights movement which Lonnie describes as being like a long and arduous journey to the top of a mountain.  Lonnie thinks people these days consider the civil rights struggle to be like an elevator to the top, rather than the long struggle it really is.


“In The Grip Of Power” (2016) by Lonnie Holley is made of a decommissioned voting booth, gun grip display and model handgun.  Lonnie found what looked like a suitcase while he was in Nashville, Tennessee.  Later, he would realize the suitcase was actually a voting booth.  This made Lonnie think of the struggles people have gone through to gain the right to vote.  When Lonnie found gun store display while he was in North Carolina, he got the idea to combine the two items.  Lonnie decided to make a display that had a voting booth that, when you leaned in to vote, had a gun pointing at you.


“Broken But Still Strong” (2014) by Lonnie Holley is made of a bicycle, cement mixer, scaffolding parts, a blown-out truck tire, tools, motor and bolts.  This sculpture is about the Native American struggle.  He described their struggle as “broken but strong.”  The work of art honors the reuse of materials before we rid ourselves of them.  One of Lonnie’s grandmothers was part Cree and Cherokee and one of his grandfathers was part Cherokee and black and white.  He said they taught him about materials and he still uses that wisdom now.


“Another Blue Ribbon First: America’s First: America’s Chemistry Project” (2016) by Lonnie Holley is made of a wooden powder keg, oil can, White House vinegar bottle, kerosene can, Blue Ribbon Lubrication oil can, brass house faucet, water can and oil changing can.


“Climbing To Better Understand The World” (2014) by Lonnie Holley is made of a library ladder, barbed wire, wires, a globe, a computer keyboard and a computer monitor.  Lonnie explained that he never had a chance to go to school when he was young and he had to learn by watching others or from doing things himself.  Now, access to information is much easier.  But, it is also easier to find “fake news.”  The sculpture also conveys how this information on the internet and from other sources is not equally available to everyone.


“The Mantle (I’ve Seen The Future And It Was Yesterday)” (2016-2017) and “Broken Mirror” (2017) were created by Dawn DeDeaux.  The multimedia work of art, “The Mantle” is made of an aluminum mantle with objects.  The “Broken Mirror” work of art is a transparency on a convex mirror.


“Found Object: Mardi Gras Masque of the Babylonian Style” (2014) is a work of art from Dawn DeDeaux.


Another exhibit at the museum is a collection of art from the late artist Louise Bourgeois.


The first sculpture in this exhibit is “The Couple” (2007-2009).  This sculpture is an aluminum piece hanging from the ceiling.  The sculpture is of a couple intertwined for eternity.



“Nature Study” (1984) is made of marble and steel.

Many of Louise Bourgeois’ art deal with human sexuality and the male and female anatomy (gross!).  These sculptures are meant to show how we all share male and female traits.




“Heel on peel to seal the deal feet to sky life” is a work of art by Jenny Holzer.

Gunnar Schonbeck’s “No Experience Required” work of art is a collection of instruments he made from a collection of everyday materials.  The late Gunnar Schonbeck, a graduate of Bennington College in Vermont, believes “art belongs to everyone.”  He used these unusual instruments in some of his concerts.








While you can’t use the instruments in the “No Experience Necessary” exhibit, you can use the instruments in a room nearby.

People of all ages, skill levels and backgrounds can use these instruments.  Banging on the drums there can be a great way to blow off steam, too.  Trust me, it can be a pretty loud room!


Thank you for stopping by for my third installment from my trips to MASS MoCA.  Believe it or not, there is a lot more I plan on sharing with you all!

Street Pianos – Play Me, I’m Yours (Boston, MA)

Dates Of  Event: September 23 – October 10, 2016 (photos taken Oct. 5 & 6)

Locations: Throughout Boston (see attached map below)

Dog Friendly: Yes

Web Site With Map: Street Pianos


If you hear the faint sound of piano music along city sidewalks and parks, don’t be alarmed.  You’re not imagining it and, despite it being close to Halloween, it’s not some ghastly theme introducing an apparition.

Since 2008, the international tour group, “Play Me, I’m Yours” has been leaving pianos in public spaces for all to enjoy.  Part of street pianos and the brainchild of Luke Jerram, the “Play Me, I’m Yours” program has installed over 1,500 pianos in 50 cities worldwide.  The pianos have been artistically decorated by local artists and neighborhood clubs.  Many of the pianos, as you will see below, have artistic themes painted on then that are representative of the area they are located in.

With 60 pianos located throughout the city, you’re sure to find one in your travels if you do travel to the city.   I was fortunate enough to see a few of these pianos.  initially, my goal was to photograph all 60 pianos.  But, since this is the final weekend they will be in Boston, I wanted to post about them before they are gone.  Please note, some of the pianos are only out during certain hours, usually the same hours of the businesses they are located in front of.  The pianos will be donated to neighborhood groups and youth groups after the program is over.

I noticed this piano (with some help from a co-worker) on the way to work.  It is located on the boardwalk in front of the Children’s Museum (308 Congress St, Boston, MA).  The buildings in the background provide the perfect backdrop.


Since it was close to my place of business in the city, I was able to visit this piano during my lunch break.  It is a beautiful and actually a very peaceful area to relax, despite all of the construction and the busy street it is located off.  It is located at Seaport Green by District Hall, South Boston.


To get a change of scenery, I decided to go into the busier sections of the city Thursday.  This piano is located at the Massachusetts State House at Ashburton Park, Boston.  It was great to see so many people of so many backgrounds using the pianos.  The look of concentration on the pianists’ face below and the ease at which she plays is incredible.


The next piano I found was at Reader’s Park in front of a Walgreen’s, of all places, at 24 School St, Boston.  I waited around for  while to take some photos of the piano unoccupied but he played for a long while.  But, I think it is awesome to see someone be so focused!


The last piano I visited is next to the Macy’s at 450 Washington St, Boston.  Some people are camera shy.


Even the dogs came out to see the pianos.  Charley is a 3 year old Pomeranian with beautiful markings.


I am truly impressed by anyone who can make such beautiful music.