Opening Week with B.M.O.P and The MM Piano Trio.

Opening Week with B.M.O.P and The MM Piano Trio.

Working at Monadnock Music is a rewarding job – or should I say, jobs. Yes, not only drafting marketing campaigns, measure ROI’s (Return of Investments) and creating Facebook ads, I also load chairs, music stands, outdoor signs, and assembled six foot lamps in my car; carry 500 lbs. of tables up and down the Peterborough TownHall stairs; a page turner for pianist who need one; coordinate volunteers; and running the box office. Other MM staff members have multiple job titles as well, including production, bookkeeping, maintaining the festivals website,  and many more!

IMG_0324.jpgI’ve started my journey at MM in 2014 as a box office intern. First of all, I had no idea that this festival existed until my flute teacher, Sarah Brady, mentioned that MM offered summer internships. I needed to find an internship that would not only complete my Music Business degree from UMass Lowell, but also to experience the administration side of running classical music festivals. I’ve learned that not only does MM offer high-end performances, but also unifies the Monandock community and reminiscing the history of old churches and meeting houses. Now, coming back in my third season with Laina Barakat as our new manager, I have a feeling that the festival is in great hands.

Saturday was our grand opening of the 51st season, with music dedicated to iconic choreographer and dancer, Martha Graham. Ryleigh Lorimer (Office Assistant and Production Lead), and production interns, Ruzzel Zullo and Caitlyn Brown, were in full gear moving risers, chairs, stands, and the shell on stage. Laina and I strategized on setting up the pre-party for members and did three trips back and forth from the office to the town house, loading tote-bags, lamps, ladders, front-of-house equipment, and more to count!


After sweating buckets from moving heavy equipment in the humid heat, the night was about to start. Members and Volunteers were treated with delicious treats made by Laina and suave table displays provided by board member, Deborah Waldo.  Members and Volunteers were also treated with tote bags filled with exciting items.

Around 8pm, audience members took their seats and were greeted by William Fregosi (President of the Board). Laina also made opening remarks by introducing MM’s picnic basket auction, in which will be held August 13th. She also mentioned the significance of becoming a member to MM.

Gil Rose, conductor and Artistic Director, took the stage and introduced each piece, with B.M.O.P. preparing for some technically-challenging works.

IMG_5991The orchestra started with Errand Into the Maze, composed by Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007). This piece depicts the story of the labyrinth from Greek mythology. The labyrinth was a maze-like structure built for King Minos to contain the minotaur, a half-man, half-bull monster. Prince Theseus killed the minotaur with the help of Minos’ daughter, Araidne. Next up was Embattled Garden, composed by Carlos Surinach (1958 – ). The work represents dancers on a colorful set unfolding and erotic story of the seductiveness of temptation. The music grows in volume and intensity as the dancers continue to resist temptation. One can hear Surinach’s occasional Spanish influence which Graham’s choreography encompasses with a brief flamenco style. Lastly, the orchestra preformed The Witch of Endor by William Schuman (1910-1992).  This evocative piece is derived from a biblical story, that of King Saul, Prophet Samuel, and the infamous Witch of Endor. Saul seeks guidance from God and as a last resort calls upon a medium (a person who practices in communication between the dead and living). The medium, The Witch of Endor, summons the spirit of the Prophet Samuel who predicts Saul’s defeat and death.

After a standing ovation from the crowd, it was time for the MM staff to spring into action by breaking down the stage and front-of-house, with myself taking three trips to the office. It was an exhausting day,  walking about 16,000 steps and not arriving home until midnight. Nonetheless, opening night became a success.

Hilary Tann with Rafael Popper-Keizer

The next day, I had some leftover energy to drive almost two hours to Keene. I met up with Michael Dell’Orto, board of trustees and Caitlyn at the Congregation Ahavas Achim. All three of us prepared for a light reception for our audiences and staged the synagog for the performers. Not only was I suppose to prepare the venue, but also to turn pages for pianist, Vivian Choi.  I previously turned pages two years ago, and let me tell you – it was the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever done. One might view it as something easy. However, page turners need to be full-alert of what is going on in the music and turing the page at the exact moment. It can be the most frightening thing in the music world. In retrospect, it is something that I will probably be doing for the rest of my life.

Since the internet is full of content, I thought that I would search of Dvorak’s “Dumky” Trio and study the piece closely visually and auditory.  Having a great ear and somewhat gifted with a photographic memory, page turning became a profession for me.


Rafael Popper-Keizer initiated the performance with a composition titled The Cresset Stone, written by Hillary Tann. Tann was present at the event and briefly described the inspiration of writing the piece. The trio then performed Copland’s (1900-1990) Vitebsk: The Study on a Jewish Theme, followed by Erwin Schulhoff’s (1894-1942) Duo for Violin and Cello, in which both Sarita Kwok and Popper-Keizer gave a stellar performance. The trio concluded with Dvorak’s Trio in e minor (and personally my favorite piece of the event).

As I conclude this blog post on a Sunday night at one in the morning, I am looking forward to this season, including more performances (and page turning) with the MM Piano Trio in Deering and Milford, with Grand Harmonie in Jaffrey and the season finale with an all Beethoven program.

As a full time grad student and a freelance musician, my time at MM is well spent with outstanding musicians and staff that I can call my friends.

– Alex Avery is the Marketing Coordinator for Monandock Music. 


For More Information –

Sign up to become a member of MM! 

Season Schedule

Picnic Auction 

Tickets for TownHouse Concerts

Click here to view a photo gallery of opening night on Facebook! 



Season Schedule Announced at Waterhouse Restaurant

Season Schedule Announced at Waterhouse Restaurant

Monadnock Music is excited to announce the 51st season schedule of 2016!

On Thursday, June 16th, patrons and guests of the festival participated in a launch party at Waterhouse Restaurant in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Guests were greeted by board members, including William Fregosi (President), Deborah Waldo, John Shonle, Lilliane LeBel, and Ray Petty. Guests were also greeted by Managing Director, Laina Barakat, Artistic Director, Gil Rose, and founding member of MM, Jocelyn Bolle.

William Fregosi, President of the Board of Trustees.

Participants were complimented with delicious appetizers and desserts too good to pass up.  Discounted tickets and memberships were sold by Office Assistant, Ryleigh Lorimer and Marketing/PR coordinator, Alex Avery.


The evening commenced with a welcoming speech from President of the Board, William Fregosi, expressing his gratitude to everyone who came out. He then passed on his speech to MM’s new Managing Director, Laina Barakat. She expressed her enthusiasm to be part of MM’s legacy and continuation of eclectic music. Barakat also stated that she is open to suggestions. “I’d like to hear your feedback to make this festival grow” she said. “I’m here for you.”

Lastly, Gil Rose took center of the space and introduced why MM vitalizes the Monadnock region of NH. He then announced MM’s program beginning with the festivals townhouse concerts (which is located at Peterborough’s Town Hall).

Laina Barakat, Managing Director

The fist townhouse concert will kick off with music written for choreographer, Martha Graham. Second town house concert will be a vocal recital dedicated to the late Phyllis Curtin, an iconic soprano. Baritone, Stephen Salters will be accompanied by Linda Osborn on Piano. Third townhouse concert will be an exploration of New England Psalm singing and a world premier piece based on Native American Music, with works by Ross Lee Finney and Carson Cooman. Last town concert will wrap up with MM’s second year of the Beethoven Cycle, with the composers Symphony No. 4 and Symphony No. 7.


MM will also host free village concerts in Keene, Deering, Milford, Francestown, Jaffrey, Sullivan, Harrisville, Temple, and Nelson with voluntary donations accepted with admission. The Monadnock Music Piano Trio and the Monadnock Music Sinfonietta will kick off in the first half of the village concerts. Grand Harmonie, a classical music group using periodic musical instruments, will also be featured in MM’s village concert series. Exsultemus vocal group, with selected soloists will take place in Sullivan NH. Finally, the Monadnock Music String quartet will wrap up the Village concert series with compositions by Ives, Haydn, Stravinsky, Schubert, Faure, and more!

Full Season Schedule (Click here to read full descriptions of each performance). 

TownHouse Concerts – (located at 1 Grove St. Peterborough, NH). Tickets are $30.00 for each performance.

July 16th, 8pm – Music for Martha Graham.

July 23rd, 7:30pm – Music dedicated to Phyllis Curtain, Baritone Stephen Salters.

July 31st, 3pm – The New England Psalm, BMOP .

August 13th, 7:30pm – Beethoven Symphony No. 4 and Symphony No. 7.

Village Concerts –

July 17th, 3pm – Monadnock Music Piano Trio (84 Hastings Ave, Keene NH).

July 21st, 7:30pm – Monadnock Music Piano Trio (763 Deering Center Road, Deering NH).

July 24th, 3pm – Music by Henry Cowell, Aaron Copland, Richard Dubugnon, Astor Piazzola, Wolfgang Mozart. Performers TBA. (20 Elm Street, Milford NH).

July 28th, 7:30pm – Monadnock Music Sinfonietta (1 New Boston Road, Francestown NH).

July 30th, 7:30pm – Members of the Grand Harmonie (Blackberry Lane, Jaffrey NH).

August 4th, 7:30pm – Exsultemus vocal group (4 Church Street, Sullivan NH).

August 6th, 7:30pm – Monadnock Music String Quartet (13 Canal Street, Harrisville NH).

August 7th, 3pm – Monadnock Music String Quartet (17 Main Street, Temple NH).

August 11th, 7:30pm – Monandock Music String Quartet (830 Nelson Road, Nelson NH).


For More Information – 

Monadnock Music Season Schedule

MM Tickets



Welcome our new General Manager!

We are pleased to welcome our new General Manager, Laina Barakat!

Laina Barakat comes to Monadnock Music with many years of management and artistic experience in the region.  An award winning independent filmmaker, Laina first moved to the area to work with Either/Or Films on their premier feature, The Sensation of Sight (David Strathairn, Ian Sommerhalder, Jane Adams, Ann Cusack) that was filmed in Peterborough.  
Since then, she founded and ran a non-profit artist collective in Keene, NH, The Starving Artist, where she booked nationally touring bands for four years.  Further integrating herself into the community, she co-founded and was Executive Director for the Monadnock International Film Festival during its first three years.  

Laina_cropped copy
Laina Barakat, Managing Director. 

Her film, Only Daughter, premiered at Cinequest Film Festival and received several awards across the country including Audience Choice Award at New York No Limits, and NH Film of the Year at New Hampshire Film Festival.  In the fall of 2015, Laina Line-Produced a documentary film in Grand Rapids Michigan called More Art Upstairs, which will be released next year.  As a pianist and vocalist, Laina’s musical background includes selection as songwriter-in-residence at the Glen Workshops in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a Songwriting Captain for Soul Kitchen, workshopping her songs with the band Over The Rhine, and having several of her compositions covered by internationally touring bands.  Her second album, The Wayward Ark, was produced by Vinx (percussionist for Sting and Stevie Wonder, songwriter for Sheryl Crowe, Seal, and the Broadway Musical, The Lion King). She self-released an album in 2015 called Iron Lungs.  She continues co-writing with several artists across the country.
“My hope is to build on Monadnock Music’s incredibly long-standing success, and increase our local outreach and awareness.  It is an honor to join a non-profit that has proven itself a resource to the region for such a long time.  The caliber of artists our festival brings to the area is humbling and inspiring,” says Laina.  

Our season starts on July 16, 2016 and ends on August 13, 2016. More details to come!



For more Information –

Monadnock Music Website