Music and art collide

NH Philharmonic brings Drawn to the Music back for 15th year

For 15 years the New Hampshire Philharmonic has worked with schools across the state, encouraging kids kindergarten through grade 5 to listen to classical music and draw something inspired by it.

“This year we had over 700 drawings from nine schools from all over the state,” said Toni DeGennaro, the executive director of the Philharmonic. “We get the drawings, pick 300 winners and have concerts … on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., with each school represented on a certain day.”

Kids who were selected will get a chance to hear the music they listened to, Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, and see the art they created projected on a screen over the orchestra. The artwork is divided evenly across the two performances, so 150 drawings will be featured each show.

Winners of the competition are invited to attend, as well as their parents or guardians and their art or music teacher who helped them with the project.

When it comes to the artwork, DeGennaro said she was impressed to see how creative the students were. Each year the kids are given a series of scenes they use to inspire the artwork. Since Appalachian Spring is a ballet, DeGennaro said, there were more options for scenes.

“We give them scenes, so they picked which ones they wanted to draw,” DeGennaro said. “There’s some of the bride, some of the duel for the bride…. Lots of brides and farmer pictures and it’s really cute.”

Drawn to the Music isn’t going to be the only competition where winners will celebrate, said conductor and music director Mark Latham. Evan Huang, a high school senior at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., will be performing Piano Concerto No. 2 by Frederic Chopin.

“It’s very romantic and full of various emotions; he plays it extraordinarily sensitively,” said Latham. “He deserved first place of the competition.”

Huang was the grand prize winner of Sempre Music Competition in 2022, a national competition in which students of all ages compete for a chance to solo with the New Hampshire Philharmonic, among other prizes.

While classical music can seem intimidating at first, Latham said his main goal with the Phil is to make it more accessible to every generation.

“Some think classical music is stuffy and my philosophy is try to make it a great time,” Latham said. “If [kids] want to jabber or applaud at the wrong time, if you let loose on how you feel about something, that’s excellent.”

After the concert, kids will be invited on stage for “touch an instrument,” the Phil’s take on touch-a-truck, to help expose young children to music and to make it more inspiring, DeGennaro said.

DeGennaro said that Drawn to Music is one of her favorite events, not only to see young people engaged with classical music but also because of the awe and excitement that she sees on kids’ faces.

“We are so kid-friendly, if kids are running around in the halls, that’s great. We’ll drown them out with the music,” DeGennaro said. “Just the sound of the 70-piece orchestra in that little concert hall is mesmerizing. It’s a great experience for them.”

Drawn to the Music
When: Saturday, April 15, and Sunday, April 16, at 2 p.m.
Where: Siefert Performing Arts Center, 44 Geremonty Drive, Salem
Price: Adults are $30, seniors are $25, students are $8, and students of Salem are $5

Featured photo: Drawn to the Music projection 2018-2019. Courtesy photo.

The Art Roundup 23/04/06

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

A journey in photographs: The photography exhibit “Crying in the Wilderness: An Immigrant’s Journey in Detention” by New Hampshire photographer Becky Field is on display at Manchester Community College, Student Center Upper Level (1066 Front St. in Manchester; through Thursday, April 20. The exhibit follows the life of an asylum seeker called Antony (a pseudonym) and features Field’s photographs as well as Antony’s artwork and poetry, according to a press release.

Call for art: Twiggs Gallery (254 King St. in Boscawen; 975-0015, is inviting New Hampshire artists to enter works inspired by nests or nesting in the Twiggs summer juried exhibition “NEST,” according to a press release. The deadline to enter is Sunday, April 23; visit the website for the information about submitting works.

Music to hear, music to touch: The New Hampshire Philharmonic Orchestra will hold its Drawn to the Music performances Saturday, April 15, and Sunday, April 16, at 2 p.m. at the Seifert Performing Arts Center at Salem High School in Salem. At these kid-friendly concerts, artwork by students at New Hampshire schools will be projected above the orchestra during the performance of the musical piece that inspired the work, according to a press release. The concerts will also feature a “Touch an Instrument” opportunity after the concert when kids can meet orchestra members and get an up-close look at their instruments, the release said. Sunday’s performance will also be livestreamed. Tickets cost $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and $8 for students; see

Casino Night: The Palace Theatre in Manchester will hold a Casino Night on Saturday, April 15, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. to benefit the Palace Youth Theatre Campaign. The evening will feature drinks, music, blackjack, Texas hold ’em, craps, roulette and a chance to win prizes including a Southwest Airlines gift card, according to a Palace email. The event will be held at the Rex Theatre, 23 Amherst St. in Manchester. Tickets cost $35; call 668-5588.

Art of the can: Amherst Label, a manufacturer whose products include beer and other beverage labels, will hold an art exhibit called “Canvas” to celebrate the art of the can, according to a press release. The exhibit will show off the original art on Amherst Label’s customers’ craft beer can labels, the release said. The exhibit will open on Thursday, April 20, with an event from 2 to 6 p.m. featuring tours and tastings of the featured beers, the release said. The show will feature the work of more than 15 artists; Amherst Label is located at 15 Westchester Drive in Milford. See

Art of the daylily: The Thursday, April 20, meeting of the Manchester Garden Club will feature speaker Fiona McKenna discussing “Daylilies…A Love Affair.” The meeting is at 12:30 p.m. at Girls at Work (200 Bedford St. in Manchester). See

Ukulele for a cause: The Southern New Hampshire Ukulele Group will hold its ninth annual Fundraising Luau on Saturday, April 22, at 4 p.m. at Austin 17 House in Brentwood (263 Route 125), according to a press release. The event will feature ukulele groups including Steve Roy, The Silver Tones, The Unlikely Strummers, Desperate Strings Trio, A&W Ukulele Players and Uke Pitt as well as an appearance by hula dancer Atsuko Nemoto, the release said. Tickets cost $20 (plus fees) and are available at The event will include food, a cash bar, raffles and play-alongs. Proceeds benefit Ukulele Kids Club, which brings music to hospitalized children, the release said. For more information about the organization, see

Out with the snow, in with the flowers

NH Antique Co-op welcomes spring with “In Full Bloom” art exhibition

By Mya Blanchard

The sun is out, the snow is melting and flowers will soon be sprouting with spring now upon us. New Hampshire Antique Co-op in Milford is ringing in the season with the “In Full Bloom” art exhibition, which will be on display through Aug. 31.

Co-owner Jason Hackler described the March 24 opening celebration as a “garden style party,” with cucumber sandwiches, Champagne and lemonade. The family-owned antique shop has been hosting art exhibitions since 2007, with “In Full Bloom” being its latest.

“As New Hampshire Antique Co-op is now in its 40th year in business, we decided [it would] be perfect to do a show to celebrate the spring and summer seasons, symbolizing continued growth,” Hackler said. “The show is … an exhibition on paintings of floral still lifes and garden landscapes … done from the 17th century all the way up to the present.”

Some of the artists whose works are on display at the exhibition include German still life painter Adelheid Dietrich, Emil Carlsen, New Hampshire native Lilla Cabot Perry, a neighbor and friend of Claude Monet, as well as Laura van Pappelendam.

“These are works directly from [van Pappelendam’s] estate, which is really cool,” Hackler said. “There’s some really great, bright floral landscapes and still lifes as part of her works and these are the first time some of [them] have been offered.”

A total of 12 of van Pappelendam’s paintings are on display, one of which is hung on her own personal easel.

In addition to the impressionist-era paintings, contemporary artists will also have their work on display. One such artist is Carol Robey. After retiring from working in pediatrics, Robey began studying under Paul Ingbretson, an artist who learned from The Boston School, a group of painters in Boston during the 20th century.

“What they did, which I love, [was add] impressionist color more to the standard representational art and [made] it more interesting that way,” Robey said.

Robey’s attraction to painting still lifes and floral pieces stems from her interest in gardening.

“As a doctor, I did a lot of science and I actually studied a lot of botany in college,” she said. “I love being able to get the … correct details of a flower, for example, so that … a person who’s looking at it will recognize what it is, [while] at the same time … making it beautiful, so I have to … make it expressive as well as accurate.”

Robey, a friend of Hackler’s, was ecstatic when he asked her to be a part of the show.

“Emil Carlsen and Marguerite Pearson are two of my absolute favorites, so to be among them is absolutely a huge honor,” she said.

The “In Full Bloom” exhibition invokes a fresh, spring-like atmosphere.

“It’s supposed to feel light and airy, and bright and cheery,” Hackler said. “Paintings within this genre express color [and] beauty, as well as a sense of respect, awe and wonderment for nature.”

“In Full Bloom” art exhibition
Where: New Hampshire Antique Co-op, 323 Elm St., Milford
When: On display now through Aug. 31; open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
More info: Visit

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

A month in verse

Poetry Society celebrates National Poetry Month

While the nation celebrates National Poetry Month in April, the Poetry Society of New Hampshire will take a more personal tone with some of its events.

The Society plans to honor Charles Simic, a former United States Poet Laureate, who died in January at 84 years old. Melanie Chicoine, president of the Poetry Society, said Simic helped drive literary culture in America and beyond. One of the most fitting ways to tribute him, Chicoine said, was to offer a reading of some of Simic’s poetry at University of New Hampshire, where he taught for 34 years.

“Simic’s influence reaches far beyond even the U.S.,” Chicoine said. “He has had such a lasting impact on … the poetry community…. So many up and coming and established poets have studied under him.”

When Simic died, Chicoine said, the Society wasn’t sure exactly how to honor him outside of his ties to UNH. It took time, but now the group, in conjunction with New Hampshire State Poet Laureate Alexandria Peary, has decided to run a contest in his memory.

The contest is open to amateur and professional adult writers around the world. Chicoine said the poem’s theme is to be commemorative of Simic, whether it be about him, be written in a style like his, or have a phrase or line borrowed from his own work.

“This contest will be a nice way to honor him, and hopefully we can look for other ways to do so as well,” Chicoine said.

In addition to a monetary prize made up in part from the competition’s entry fees, winners of the competition will have their poem read at another memorial event for Simic on May 7.

National Poetry Month in general is dedicated to bringing more people into the world of poetry.

“Poetry has a reputation of being out of reach and academic,” said Chicoine. “One of our goals is to make it more accessible.”

Peary said that, in addition to the competition for Simic, she’s offering another competition for teens to write. As part of her work as laureate, she focuses on teaching children and young adults how to express themselves through poetry. Her competition will seek submissions from students around the world, and she hopes to dedicate part of her youth-edited literary magazine Under the Madness to the winning submissions.

In April the Poetry Society’s website will have more information about both competitions. While the month is dedicated to reading, Peary wants people to challenge themselves to practice the art form she loves so much.

“I’m more interested in getting people to write [poetry] and pushing their own boundaries and surprising themselves,” Peary said. “That brings me so much joy, seeing what people are capable of with this genre.”

Events honoring Charles Simic

Charles Simic Memorial Event
Where: Hamilton Smith Hall, University of New Hampshire, 95 Main St., Durham
When: Wednesday, April 19, 5:15 p.m.

Come Closer and Listen: A Community Reading of Charles Simic Poems
Where: Hopkinton Town Library, 13 Main St.
When: Sunday, May 7, 3-5 p.m.


Featured photo: Charles Simic. Courtesy photo.

The Art Roundup 23/03/30

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

The festival comes home: The New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival held its in-person wrap party on March 26 but the virtual portion of the festival continues through Sunday, April 16. Purchase ticket packages or individual tickets to see the 11 feature films available through the festival — including Dedication and Out of Exile, two films originally not slated for virtual screening — as well as the short films package. See to purchase tickets and to watch trailers for most of the films.

Hats off: The Women’s Caucus for Arts’ NH Chapter will present the exhibit “Head’s Up: The Many Hats Women Wear” at Twiggs Gallery (254 King St. in Boscawen; 975-0015, Saturday, April 1, through Saturday, May 27. The show opens with an artist reception on Saturday, April 1, from 1 to 3 p.m. “The hat theme is expressed in a wide variety of works that include paintings, sculptures, one-of-a-kind artist books, small installations, photography and mixed media pieces,” according to a press release. The gallery is open Thursdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.

New Nashua exhibit: The Gallery at West Pearl Street (100 W. Pearl St. in Nashua; will feature an exhibit from Ukrainian guest artist Natalia Yuresko-Belous, a new member of the Hollis Arts Society who works in landscapes, still life, portraits and mural paintings, according to a press release. The exhibit, her first major exhibition in America, will be on display until Tuesday, May 30, the release said. The gallery will be open Saturday, April 1, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Thursday, April 13, from 6 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 15, from 6 to 8 p.m.; Friday, April 21, from 6 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 22, from 3 to 5 p.m., and Saturday, April 29, from 2 to 4 p.m. — dates and times that correspond with the nearby Nashua Center for the Arts, which opens this Saturday, April 1, according to the Society’s March newsletter.

Thursday concert: The Bob McCarthy Trio (described as performing “an eclectic blend of original and traditional music drawing on many styles”) will perform Thursday, March 30, from 7 to 8 p.m. as part of the Belknap Mill’s Bell and Brick Winter Concert Series at the mill (25 Beacon St. East in Laconia; 524-8813, Tickets cost $10 at the door.

Garden art: The exhibit “In Full Bloom: Floral Still Life & Garden Paintings from the 19th century to the present” is on display at the New Hampshire Antique Co–op (323 Elm St. in Milford;, 673-8499) through Thursday, Aug. 31. The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Craft fair: The Founders Academy (5 Perimeter Road in Manchester) will hold a craft fair on Saturday, April 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fair is the school’s first spring craft fair and was organized by a student for her senior project, according to a press release.

April exhibit: New Hampshire resident and scenic designer Hannah Joy Hopkins will have her paintings on display at the New Hampshire Art Association’s Art Center Dover (1 Washington St., Suite 1177, in Dover;, 978-6702) in the exhibit “Heart Matters” through Sunday, April 30. A reception for the exhibit will be held Saturday, April 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. The gallery is open Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Granite State storytellers

Conversations with Concord Authors returns

By Mya Blanchard

Back by popular demand is Conversations with Concord Authors, produced by local authors Margaret Porter and Paul Brogan and moderated by Concord-based journalist and longtime NHPR radio host Laura Knoy. The event will return for a second year to the Bank of NH Stage on Wednesday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m.

“[Brogan] had this idea … sometime over a year ago, I think, to bring together Concord-area authors on a stage … and have Laura … interview them about not just their books but the writing process and … being part of the creative community here,” Porter said of how the event first came to be last April. “We immediately knew … that this was something that we wanted to carry on and have it perhaps be an annual event.”

In addition to the interviews there will be a question-and-answer session as well as a book signing sponsored by Gibson’s Bookstore.

Porter participated in theater growing up and went on to study film in graduate school, writing continuously on the side.

“I’ve been a writer all my life, really,” she said. “Ever since I could hold a crayon I think … I was making up stories in my head and writing them down and illustrating them.”

Writing took the forefront for Porter after she moved across the country to Colorado, where she and her husband lived for 11 years while still seasonal New Hampshire residents on Lake Winnipesaukee. She moved here full-time about 30 years ago.

Having left behind many of her radio and film contacts, Porter found herself without any projects and decided to dedicate her time to writing. Her background in film serves as the basis for many of her stories.

“A lot of my inspiration comes from real-life activities I’ve had,” she said. “I tend to write novels about people … often in the performing arts, actresses or dancers, or [books] set in the golden age of Hollywood about people who were in the film business. … Film history is an area that’s important to me.”

Porter has 15 published historical novels set in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. Many of these stories are set in England, an area she is familiar with due to the time she spent there studying in her teenage and college years and for her husband’s job.

She has recently branched out into the contemporary fiction genre, drawing on her experiences on film sets in production and as an extra.

Porter, Brogan and Knoy have been planning this year’s event for months. In addition to Porter and Brogan, authors Kathleen D. Bailey, Sarah McCraw Crow and Dan Lawton will also be featured. While it is free to the public, reservation is required.

“New Hampshire is historically and currently a very supportive and nurturing place for creative people, and writers in particular,” Porter said. “It’s a very vibrant community and we like to celebrate that within this event.”

Conversations with Concord Authors
When: Wednesday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Bank of NH Stage, 16 S. Main St., Concord
Cost: Free admission. Reservation is required.

Featured photo: Local authors Paul Brogan and Margaret Porter at last year’s event. Courtesy photo.

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