Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

First Thursdays @ the Athenaeum

Concerts for May and June

The Westfield Athenaeum will be continuing its popular FIRST THURSDAYS @ the Athenaeum concerts in the Lang Auditorium on the first Thursday of the month at 12 noon on May 5 and June 2. The next concert on May 5 will feature pianist Jerry Noble and clarinetist Bob Sparkman, from Westfield. This duo is a perennial favorite of FIRST THURSDAYS concertgoers, having played at the Athenaeum twice before.

Bob and Jerry met at the home of mutual friends in 1995. Bob heard his first jazz record as a teenager in 1942, featuring Muggsy Spanier with Rod Cless on clarinet. Inspired by those jazz luminaries, as well as the artistry of Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, and the Condon Mob—Pee Wee Russell, Edmond Hall, etc., he started jamming with contemporaries Dick Wellstood and Ed Hubble and has been making marvelous music ever since. Noble’s dad, Jerry Noble, Sr., introduced him to the guitar and piano when he was five years old, and he quickly learned to play music of all styles. Noble serves as the Staff Accompanist for the Smith College Music Department and pianist for the Glee Club and Chamber Singers. Both choral ensembles have performed his compositions and arrangements throughout the United States and Europe. In addition to being a prolific composer and arranger, he writes articles about music for the Springfield newspapers. More information about Bob and Jerry, including how to obtain their seven CD recordings, can be found at www.bobandjerry.com.

On Thursday, June 2 at 12 noon, acoustic guitarist Peter Biedermann, from Butler, New Jersey, has been playing guitar, composing and performing live since 1977. He has also played numerous styles of music in various bands, most notably the band PING. PING started out as an instrumental guitar duo with Ian Smit in 1984. The idea then, as it is now, was to combine acoustic and electronic elements and create electro-acoustic soundscapes originally developed by the likes of Robert Fripp, Brian Eno, Jon Hassell, David Torn and many other lesser known pioneers of ambient musical sound structures. Beginning in the summer of 2000, Biedermann’s focus shifted to writing, performing and recording solo guitar pieces; many incorporating a hybrid style combining fingerstyle acoustic via six and twelve string guitars with electronic ambient soundscapes in real time. Three recordings highlighting this phase of development are documented on Sound & Spirit (2000), In Theory (2001) and The Learning Curve (2001).

A transition to solo acoustic playing became the focus in 2008 and continues today. We are very pleased to welcome back this amazingly versatile musician for a return engagement at the Athenaeum! More information about Beidermann can be found at www.peterbiedermann.com.

Prouty’s Market of 57 Southwick Road in Westfield will be continuing to cater the lunchtime concert series this Spring and will be offering a selection of freshly made sandwiches such as cranberry walnut chicken salad, sliced turkey and cheese, sliced ham and cheese, all on bulky rolls with lettuce and tomato, homemade cookies and brownies, fruit cups, soda and bottled water. Lunch will be available starting at 11:30 a.m. and the concerts will start at noon.  

Mark your calendars and join us for these upcoming FIRST THURSDAYS @ the Athenaeum concerts on May 5 and June 2 and bring a friend or two!

For more information, call the Westfield Athenaeum or visit us on the web at www.westath.org

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