As it rounds out its third year of free concerts, the Andover Community Coffeehouse is offering two sure-to-please acts in December and January:
On Friday, December 15, veteran New Hampshire (and far beyond) singer-songwriter Wendy Keith brings her Alleged Band to the Coffeehouse center stage, joined by three accompanists on bass, dobro, saxophone, clarinet, flute, harp and pennywhistle. From her website: “Wendy covers a wide range of styles and is at home with Americana, original singer-songwriter, blues, gospel, and jazz.”
On Friday, January 19, the Coffeehouse will feature the Heather Pierson Acoustic Trio with another performance of vocals backed by multiple musical instruments: piano, banjo, melodica, ukulele, cornet, bass and acoustic guitar. From Pierson's website: “From New Orleans-style jazz and blues to rousing Americana and poignant folk narratives, Heather's memorable, intimate, and cathartic live performances … feature her virtuosity on piano, her bell-tone vocals, and her commanding yet playful stage presence.”
Both concerts will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Highland Lake Grange Hall, 7 Chase Hill Road in East Andover. Admission is free, although donations — which are shared with the performers and the Andover Congregational Church, owner of the Grange Hall — are gratefully accepted.
Also appearing onstage will be up to a dozen open-microphone performers, whose contributions in previous months have ranged from the spoken word to show-business, jazz, folk, bluegrass, and country-and-western tunes.
Sponsor for the December event are the Bear Hollow Trading Post and Naughty Nellie's Ice Cream Bar in Andover: “Whether it's ice cream or boots, it all comes from cows!” Sponsor contributions underwrite rental of the Grange Hall and support its renovation.
For the January concert, Blue Mountain Guitar in New London, “a full-service musical retail store providing new and used instruments, accessories, rentals, lessons and repairs,” will assume sponsorship.
Doors to the Grange Hall open at 6 p.m. for food purchases offered by the Andover Congregational Church, and for open-mic sign-ins on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Looking back, the Coffeehouse offered its first event on Friday, January 16, 2015, with performances by Sunapee's Rich King and Andover's Sferes and White before a standing-room-only audience. Since that time, King, Jennifer White and Jimmy Sferes have been regular Coffeehouse supporters, taking on such activities as booking talent, acting as masters of ceremonies, managing equipment, handling logistics, and the like.
Other volunteers help with room arrangements, food preparation and sales, publicity, open-mic sign-ins, performance videotaping and photography, and other activities. Readers interested in joining the effort are invited to contact White at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A photographic record of past Coffeehouse performers, both headliners and open-mic participants, is shown on the Coffeehouse website at andovercoffeehouse.org, and on the Facebook page “Andover Community Coffeehouse.”
Video recordings of past programs are shown on a number of community-access channels across the state and are available for viewing anytime on Andover's town website at www.andover.nh.us/ by clicking on “Town Information” and then “Video Archive.” The videos are produced by volunteers at Andover Community Cable.
The coffeehouse is located at the intersection of Route 11 and Chase Hill Road in East Andover. The Andover Community Coffeehouse operates under the umbrella of the Andover Community Association (ACA).