This is the time we've been waiting for!!   This is the moment it all comes together.  This is the moment...
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September Newsletter

Upcoming Shows From
The Keene Music Festival

Sumner Knight Series: The Accident That Lead me to the World
0 Chapel Drive,  Keene, NH
September 26, 2015  7:00 - 9:30


The Accident That Led Me To The World:

The Accident That Led Me To The World is an all-acoustic, non-percussive chamber folk trio from Massachusetts. The name was derived from a song that band member Mark Mandeville (guitar, banjo, vocals) wrote called "The Accident That Led Me To The World," which he then elaborated into the concept of an allegorical narrative involving a boy who sails away to an island to be alone. From this concept sprung an entire album's worth of songs, and Mandeville incorporated Raianne Richards (guitar, clarinet, vocals) and Zack Ciras (upright bass) to flesh out the material.

The result was the eponymous 2006 debut released on Nobody's Favorite Records, an angular, concise mixture of bluegrass picking, sea chantey sing-a-longs, and folk singer-songwriting. This release was followed by 2008's The Island Gospel, more expansive, more focused, and more lyrical than its predecessor, and which also travels a more country-driven direction. The Island Gospel also continues the allegorical narrative concept that was begun on the first album, and both albums feature artwork which illustrates the narrative.

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 ca
nned 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: Chonghyo Shin

303 Court Street Keene, NH
Sunday September 27 ,2015
1:00 - 3:00 PM

Chonghyo Shin

Chonghyo Shin, a native of Seoul, Korea, received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the New England Conservatory of Music, where she also taught in the preparatory division. She has participated in master classes with Alfred Brendel, Paul Badura-Skoda, and Jeanne-Marie Darré, and also studied privately with Nadia Reisenberg and Stell Anderson. Mrs. Shin has been a soloist with the Boston Pops, the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra, the New England Conservatory Orchestra and the Windham Community Orchestra. She has given solo recitals and concerts of chamber music throughout New England.

Mrs. Shin taught at the Preparatory Division of The New England Conservatory and the music school where she served as Faculty Dean and head of the piano department. Teaching piano has been her passion for the last fifty years and many of her former students are well known performers and teachers. she serves on the adjunct piano faculty at Amherst College where she has taught for twelve years.

Mrs. Shin has three adult children and six grandchildren.

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

Happy September Campers!
I’m still trying to figure out what happened to summer; here on the last Sunday of August. Suddenly, we’re at the end of August, but I’ve still got a lot of August stuff to do!  In case you are interested, as I write this little missive, I’m also deep into making a batch of watermelon mint sorbet, reviewing and modifying Saturday’s schedule, doing laundry and petting the cat (because that’s my only real job, according to the cat).  It’s been a little busy here at Keene Music Fest.  We’ve got that thing we do coming up in less than a week.  Without a doubt, this is the busiest week of my life; what with all the last minute preparations and stuff that just needs to be done.  All of us on the team are gearing up for what we hope is a great day of music. 
Along with our big annual event, we’ve got some other things coming up as well.  Sumner Knight will be featuring The Accident That Lead Me to The World later this month. The last Sunday of September is the final Sunday Social on the schedule for this year.  There may be more, as this experiment has turned out to be quite popular.  We owe many thanks to Rosie Carey and the Keene Heritage Commission for their efforts on this project. 
We are also, with this newsletter, going to take some time to introduce you to some of the members of the KMF team.  We’re having each write a little about themselves and why they got involved.  Hopefully, it’ll give you a sense of who we are and what we’re really all about.
Earlier today, I was at the August edition of the Sunday Social; hosted by the amazing pianist  Virginia Eskin at her home.  There was a great turnout, and my heart did flippity flops hearing her play.  I am always deeply moved by great talent, and today was no exception.  Along with an stunning performance, she talked about learning, memory and behavior; the stuff of my former career as a therapist.  She focused a lot on how we deal with challenges in her talk; and how our fears can sometime prevent us from moving forward.  It was inspirational, to say the least. 
Part of the focus of her talk was about mistakes.  We all make mistakes; oversights, being rushed, having multiple priorities. The point was not to avoid mistakes, but to flow with them gracefully.  Performers, more than others, need to learn to flow with mistakes; most of which, if handled well, never come to the awareness of the audience.  She also pointed out that great people know what their strengths and weaknesses; and are always working on their improve in their areas of weakness.  She made specific mention of three well known popular musicians, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Bjork as women who have worked hard to learn and master their craft.  These are fierce and multi-dimensional people, who know that success in the arts means much more than musical talent.  It’s a blend of many skills and traits.
More than anything else, perseverance is a necessary attribute for anyone who wants a life in the arts.  That goes for any type of work in the arts, not just performance.  Cultural inertia tends to drag most people down to easiest form of entertainment that we can access.  Live local events compete with the computer games, internet and television, with their national and international resources, for attention.  It’s not easy to create an environment for live, local performance; trust me on this.  But, as was discussed at today's concert, somebody has to do it.  That, in a nutshell is why we keep doing what we do.
I recently met with someone at a local venue who made a comment about Keene Music Festival, “You folks are always trying to find ways to bring music into the community.  It doesn’t matter how much attention or recognition it gets; you all just keep trying.”  I really took that as a compliment.  It really sums up what Keene Music Festival is all about.  The odd thing is that all that effort, over time, ends up really leading to some good things.  But I’ll hold off talking about that part of perseverance until another day.
We hope to see you at this year’s Keene Music Festival, and we hope that you’ll have fun; and consider supporting our efforts with a donation.  (C’mon, you had to know that was coming).
There are not enough words to express how hard, and how much fun, it is to do this type of stuff.  But the payoff is in meeting and spending time with some amazing people.  Which, of course, includes you.  So say hello, if you’re around at Music Fest.  And, just for kicks, if you see anyone wearing a “zombie” wristband, say thanks to them. They are either a performer or a volunteer for our event.  They, and you, are why this amazing thing happens.

Yours in the Music,


                   A Keene Music Festival Memory                                                       by Jonny Sheehan

When the Keene Music Festival started in 2001, I was delighted but also in a quandary. I played in a locally based folk-rock quartet that was an ideal fit for a new festival celebrating local music.

The problem was that I was already working for another festival in Rhode Island on Labor Day weekend. My wife and I ran a trash crew of 25 people at the Rhythm & Roots Festival. But I prevailed on her to cover for me and returned to Keene to play at the Gazebo with my band Voodoo Coyote, then drove back to Rhode Island. That was fun but it wasn’t sustainable, so Voodoo Coyote didn’t come back to the Keene Music Festival.
Voodoo Coyote's Dawson Willich, Jonny Sheehan and Kevin Houston
play the gazebo in Central Square in 2001. Pat MacLellan not pictured.
Barbara Houston photo.

Fast-forward 15 years. Having wrapped up the R.I. commitment, I was now free for Labor Day weekend. So I contacted Kevin Dremel and asked about volunteering at the Keene Music Festival. I’ve attended a bunch of meetings and started to learn what it takes to put together this event. It has been fascinating.

 I get to return to the gazebo in Central Square with my band Incurable Semantics. We’re local, sort of: I’m from Chesterfield and my bandmates – singer-guitarist Jennie Reichman, singer and multi-instrumentalist Greg Howe and drummer Chris Smith – live in Windham County Vt. We play music in the vein of Gram Parsons, Nanci Griffith and Warren Zevon, with a big helping of Greg and Jennie’s original tunes.

And I’ll be the sound engineer for the whole day of performances at the Gazebo. It’s great to be back and I look forward to many more Keene Music Festivals.

The Importance of Good Design for Musicians

By Matthew Sebert, Graphic Designer
“Don’t judge a book on its cover”. Good advice in regards to people, but not when it comes to brand identity.
Design is a handshake; it causes a snap judgment on your identity. Good design speaks loud, but bad design screams much louder. It’s what you represent yourself with and one of the first impressions you’ll make on your potential fans aside from your music itself. Even when your music is killer, if your identity and branding is sub-par, you’re only hurting yourself. Think about the band t-shirts you see people wearing, for the vast majority of them, they’re developed using standard graphic design practices and as such they’re shirts that your fans want to wear. In turn when they wear your shirt in public you get recognition, free advertising, and conversations can start about your band.  That’s the goal. Often those free shirts given out at events wind up never being worn, or worse, used as rags. Not because the owners don’t like or care about the cause or brand that the shirt represents, but because they wouldn’t be caught dead wearing such a bad design in public.
So what makes your fans want to buy your album or merchandise? Above all, it’s your music, but coming in at a very close second it’s how the whole brand image looks and makes them feel. What if someone has yet to hear your music? How will they judge weather or not they want to give your music a chance over the next in line? That’s right, it’s the visual design. Your brand image directly represents your music in either a helpful or harmful way. Let’s make sure it’s the former!
There are typically four kinds of music fans who buy what you’re trying to sell.  Supporters – your family and friends, Local Fans – folks looking for a keepsake, The General Public –everyone else, and the smallest of the group; The Die Hard Fans – the ones who will buy anything you throw at them. The largest of these is the general public.  You want your design to represent your style and genre. A solid brand identity will make you stand out, evoke positive emotion, and look down right professional. This will, if done correctly, grab the attention of that largest group.

Solid graphic design allows for a great first impression, makes you immediately recognizable, and makes you memorable.  A great visual representation of your brand will dramatically increase the chances that your posts on social media that are accompanied with your logo, image, or touring dates will be clicked on or that the concert poster you pinned up will be read. The Stanford Web Credibility Project found that 56.6% of people make buying decisions based on the visual representation of a brand alone. When you have a great logo, a reoccurring color pallet, and the other parts of your identity set up and implemented well you also allow your brand to be immediately recognizable. Think of the Starbucks logo or the BestBuy logo, I’m willing to bet you can picture both the logos as well as the colors they use and vice versa if you see a particular shade of green it may cause you to think “Starbucks”. Solid design will also increase the likelihood that your brand will be remembered and if it’s remembered, your fans will more likely talk to others about it. 

Cheap design is more often than not bad design. I know, your brothers friend, uncles work buddy, or your guitarist may be able to put pen to paper and come up with something, however the depth of thought is generally not there. If it is, that’s awesome, but that’s quite rare. After all the blood, sweat, and tears you’ve poured into your music is it really worth the risk skimping on your both your first and lasting visual impressions?

You can find more samples of Matthew's work at
Keene Music Festival is very proud to collaborate with and support the following local events:
Saturday, October 24th, 2015

Cheshire Fair Grounds
247 Monadnock Highway
Swanzey, NH 03446

Copyright © 2015 Keene Music Festival, All rights reserved.

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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