There are no good puns for the word July, but there's some great music!
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July Newsletter

Shows From The Keene Music Festival

Sumner Knight Series: Honest Thieves and Hug the Dog
0 Chapel Drive,  Keene, NH
July 11, 2015  7:00 - 9:30

Hug the Dog:

Hug the Dog is a 5-piece rock band that echoes classic sounds of the past with a current and relevant style. They blend indie rock dance rhythms with a melodic soulful sound that provokes both the mind and body. Powerful lyrics meshed with upbeat anthems promise a lively and meaningful concert experience. Formed early 2012, Hug the Dog placed as a finalist in the Unsigned Only Competition. The band has toured extensively, performing at the CBGB festival in Brooklyn, New York and the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. Closer to home, you can catch Hug the Dog at popular venues such as Harlow’s Pub, and at local festivals, including Keene Music Festival and Uplift Music Festival.

Honest Thieves:

This is the story of Honest Thieves.
There is no elaborate tale about how the musical ambitions of Jon, Ian, and Justin came together – it just happened. A jam session yielded some catchy tunes and Honest Thieves was born. During a spring weekend fueled by Taco Bell and Shipyard Summer Ale, they recorded and mixed a 3-song EP called Dancing With The Sharks. They shared it with their friends and family and were met with the wild acclaim you would expect from friends and family. Inspired by the positive reception, they made DWTS available for free to the world on SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, and even Myspace. Get your copy now. You'll love it. Plus, it's risk-free. Honest Thieves are, after all, honest. If you aren't completely satisfied, they'll give you your money back.
You can believe in Honest Thieves.*

The Keene Music Festival, in collaboration with Keene Parks and Rec, and Southwestern Community Services presents a series of concerts at the Sumner Knight Chapel in Woodlawn Cemetery to help raise money to renovate the chapel. This amazing little venue features music in its natural form. Little to no amplification or sound equipment is used during the show; though on occasion folks do use electric instruments. It's music just as it's always meant to be. Admission for this special event is by donation of around $10 or so. All profits go towards renovation and preservation of the Sumner-Knight Chapel. 

This is a family friendly event that we hope you'll be a part of. You can also get a discount by bringing a canned good to donate to the local food pantry ($1 per can for up to three cans; though you can pay it forward for someone else).

Sunday Social Series: David William Ross

LifeLight Center 206 Washington Street Keene, NH
Sunday July 26,2015
1:00 - 3:00 PM

David William Ross is a guitarist of unique abilities, classically trained and deeply versed in jazz improvisation. An advocate of new music and genre stretching, David is continually seeking a wider audience and an expanded concept of venue for presenting music. Frequent collaborations with classical composers, folk/blues artists, and jazz musicians, as well as dancers, choreographers, and visual artists have all contributed to an enriched musical aesthetic as well as to an expanded sense of freedom in his playing, regardless of style or idiom. David has performed classical recitals throughout the United States and regularly performs jazz in broader New England. He has also premiered his own music for the guitar written to accompany dance for several companies including Dilettante Dance in Baltimore, MD and IBIT in Brattleboro, VT. He often participates in the creative process working with dancers throughout the process of bringing their work to life. David's work frequently explores the temporal dimension of music and challenges the listener's concept and perception of linearity and narrative. David also does frequent studio work including new music for nylon, steel-string, and electric guitars in both chamber and solo settings.

The Sunday Social Series is done in collaboration with the Keene Heritage Commission and Keene Parks and Recreation Department. The series brings live music to local historic homes and buildings one Sunday afternoon per month. Along with a live concert, there are presentations on the historic importance of the concert venue as well as a talk on other local historic sites. Suggested donation is $10.00, with proceeds going to the Sumner Knight Chapel Restoration Fund.

Director's Blog

Who took my summer??
Last time I looked, it was early June, I’m not sure where the time is going?  All of us here at Keene Music Festival are sorting through band submissions, making a list, and checking it twice.  We’re gonna have songs, and they’re gonna be nice….
Sorry, I couldn’t help myself..
For all of you performers out there, we are still accepting applications for this year’s Keene Music Festival; as well as slots at Little Zoe’s Slice of Summer and other events in the community.  You can get involved by filling out the performer form at our website or writing us at:
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been busy with meetings about Music Fest and other projects we are involved with.  One of the takeaways from that has been finding out about all kinds of very cool rooms in the area that would make excellent performance venues. Part of this comes out of the collaboration with the Keene Heritage Commission and Keene Parks and Rec Department on the Sunday Social Series.  Another has come from scouting stage locations for our September event, and meeting some great people along the way.  I’ve learned some interesting lessons in the process.
One is that, quite frankly, there are a lot of amazing spaces for performance around Keene if you are willing to work at it.  I’ve met folks who were hesitant about allowing music in their space; until they heard it being performed there.  Often, this hesitancy comes from a strong investment in the space itself, and the desire to keep it safe and cared for.  A more interesting aspect of the work of a promoter is that you need to balance the needs and concerns of a whole lot of different people; while still being able to turn on a dime when things change.  It all seems to come down to respect; for the venue, for the artists, the audience and all of the people involved.  Everyone responds well to respect, and it’s an easy thing.  It involves seeing the value that others see in what they do, and acknowledging that. 
Respect doesn’t always mean approval, or agreement.  It does acknowledge that there are other opinions than your own; even when you “know” you are right.  More than anything, people want to be heard.  That’s not just musically, but as a general rule.  There’s been a lot on the news that relates to this.  Lots of changes going on that are joyous for some, and hard for others.  The crux of all of it seems to come down to this idea of acknowledgement and respect.  It’s not about winning or losing, succeeding or failing.  It’s about making space for the needs of others because that’s the right thing to do.  It’s about finding the common ground where there’s agreement and working from there. 
In terms of music, there are many styles that I don’t quite get yet.  That only means I need to work at understanding them better. I don’t always have to like them, but I do need to know how they decide what is good for them.  In these types of explorations, I find that my musical world expands.  As a side benefit, I get to develop the ability to know what’s “good” relative to a whole bunch of different viewpoints.   That has some obvious benefits in what I do on a whole bunch of levels.  I guess it all comes down to making the commitment to look for the goodness in the things around you.  Not in a naïve way, but more in being willing to see something from more than a single viewpoint.  It’s kind of a skill that’s required to be a good musician, I guess.  And it’s kind of required to be a good person as well….. 

Yours in the Music,

Machina Arts

In November 2013, Rebecca Hamilton and Danya Pugliese began working together on a shared dream – to establish an organization that would invigorate the arts in the Monadnock region.  Since then, they have been hosting events, making connections, and laying the groundwork towards their vision. Machina Arts is a collective that includes staff, artists, DJ’s and musicians. The name invokes a sense of hard work, in addition to serving as a reminder that hand-made art is as valuable as machined products.  

Machina Arts events are designed to create an environment rather than a neutral gallery art experience. “We want the gallery to be part of the art, where visitors are not just looking, but actually participating,” explained Danya.  “So our events always include art and music.” Each event has a theme that participants are asked to work with.  Sometimes the music is live, and other times DJ’s provide the music, depending on the theme and what the performers want.  “We want to create different experiences for different age groups.  Some of our events are more edgy, others more family friendly, and this will also influence the choice of music,” said Rebecca.
                                                    Machina Arts events include art, music and performance. 
                                            Titans of Industry was the collective’s first event, held in December 2013.
                                                                  Photo courtesy of Facebook page
During the next few months, art and music enthusiasts will have the chance to participate in several Machina Arts –sponsored events:

The Machina Karma Lounge at Camp N Jam 6 July 11
Camp N Jam is a two day music festival that features performances by local musicians.  Rebecca explained: “Machina Arts will host an art installation.  Each festival cultivates a specific ethos.  Machina hopes to positively influence the ethos of Camp N Jam through creating a Karma based installation, designed to send good intentions out into the festival."  The lounge with include a good intentions Pagoda, interactive art, music, and dancing.  The Machina Karma lounge even has a special surprise for those brave enough to venture out after the last band finishes their set.  You’ll have to stop by to find out what that is!

Cirque Machina on September 12
Cirque Machina is the organization’s third major indoor event and will feature performance-based arts.  Details are still in the works and Danya and Rebecca have been in contact with New England Circus Arts about having them participate.  As the name suggests, the theme is circus base, with arial performers, interactive art installations, performance artists, and suitably fantastical music.  Costumes and creativity are encouraged!

Artober October 25
Artober returns again this year to the amphitheater by the Monadnock Food Coop. Live local bands and participatory art installations will welcome an audience of all ages to join in.  Last year’s Artober coincided with the Pumpkin Festival and Rebecca and Danya were impressed with the care everyone took of the place and of each other.  “We had no litter to clean up,” recalls Rebecca.  “We had a large chalkboard for people to express themselves, and the contributions were all-ages friendly.” They are hoping that October brings many arts happenings in Keene, in addition to the Art Tour (October 11 -12), and Artober. ”We would love to have a month of art and would be happy to coordinate activities,” said Danya. Artists, musicians and members of arts organization are invited to get in touch with Danya and Rebecca.

       Adeem was one of the many performers at Artober 2014. 
                               Attendees were welcome to make a contribution to the chalkboard on the right. 
Photo courtesy of Facebook page.


A long term goal for Machina Arts is the creation of an arts center.  Ideally it would be located in a large space, perhaps an industrial building that could house large installations and have live music performances.  “We would like space for lessons, offices and maybe a wine bar,” said Danya.   Why did they choose Keene?  “We did look at other places,” said Danya. “Keene has the highest concentration of artists per capita and we love the diversity of art here. There is a need for more venues and we have had such a great response to our events already.”    Currently Rebecca and Danya are working on a business plan and deciding between different models. Eventually they would like to hold meetings to get community input and form a board consisting of people with expertise.

In the meantime, Danya and Rebecca continue to make connections and work with other members of the arts community.   These include Friends of Public Art, Maker Space, Arts Alive, MoCo, The Colonial Theatre, and Keene State College. While the focus has been primarily on arts, they are interested in reaching out to music organizations. “The reason we created a collective is because we are interested in working collaboratively,” said Rebecca. “If we all work together then eventually we will reach a tipping point where we can create something really unique.”

For more information about Machina Arts, visit their website.

Lynn Merlone is the founder of Monadnotes, a website featuring musical offerings and opportunities in the Monadnock region.  Here you find pages with descriptions of local musicians by genre; music venues and events; music instruction; open mics, jams and karaoke; and musical groups for you to join.  The Event Calendar boasts the most complete listings of musical events in southwestern New Hampshire.
Monadnotes: Your Music Source for the Monadnock region

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The Keene Music Festival is a nonprofit organization whose mission to “create community through music”. It supports local, regional, and national musicians by providing technical assistance, events, and facilitating performance space. It also contributes to local businesses and organizations by providing technical support and opportunities to have live music as a part of their experience. To seek other shows from the Keene Music Festival or to learn more about the organization, please go to