Walker Lecture Series to resume next week

  • Scott Kirby returns to his roots with another Walker Lecture Series performance on April 24 with fellow Penacook native Gary Green. Courtesy photo—

  • Singer, songwriter and humorist Don White will entertain audiences at the Concord City Auditorium on April 17, as part of the Walker Lecture Series's 122nd season. Courtesy photo—

  • Scott Kirby

  • Gabriel Donahue

  • ABOVE: The New Black Eagle Jazz Band brings its New Orleans-style jazz, gospel and blues to the Walker Lecture Series’s 122nd season on March 20 at the Concord City Auditorium. TOP (clockwise from top right): Singer, songwriter and humorist Don White; musician Gabriel Donahue; saxophonist David Liebman; and Scott Kirby, who will perform with Key West Beat. Courtesy photos

  • Dave Liebman —Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 2/27/2019 6:04:58 PM

When Abigail Walker established the fund to support the Walker Lecture Series in 1892, it came with a few requirements.

First and foremost, the programs always had to be free. And the series must include “subjects of history, literature, art or science.” The Timothy and Abigail B. Walker Fund also called for “dramatic, musical, literary historical and other cultural events to be given in Concord, the native city of Timothy Walker and lifelong residence of Abigail B. Walker” – also for free.

“It was so the public could become more aware of what was out in the world and beyond just Concord,” said Allwynne Fine, one of the series’s trustees.

It began with a bequest of $30,000 in 1892 and the first program was held in 1896. The 122nd season of the series began in September and after a break for the winter months, the second half of programs is set to begin on Wednesday.

The goal of any season is to offer a wide variety of entertaining topics that will appeal to all age groups and interests. And with well over a century of lectures, musical acts and stories about travels far away, it is always a challenge to find new and interesting speakers and performers each year. But somehow, the board of trustees always seem to find a way. There are some repeats of popular speakers and musicans, but the hope is to bring in new topics to help broaden the audience.

“I think our programs have been varied enough that there’s something for everyone,” Fine said.

Between this Wednesday and the first Wednesday in May, there will be eight Walker programs at the Concord City Auditorium beginning with “An Italian Journey: Travelogue with Steve McCurdy.” McCurdy’s talk will be the first of two travelogues this spring, and will allow audience members to experience a whole different level of learning about this incredible country, aside from the things people already know about Italy – like the pizza, history, religion, art and architecture. It will provide an understanding of Italy’s goodness, hidden beauty and impassioned soul.

Two weeks later, on March 20, enjoy the sounds of the New Black Eagle Jazz Band. Together since 1971, New Black Eagle Jazz Band plays a New Orleans-style jazz, gospel and blues. Armed with a brand new CD, “Missing Pieces,” the band will surely provide a show like never before.

Join Marlin Darrah for a trip to Germany and Switzerland on March 27. Visit boisterous markets and go-for-Baroque palaces in Munich, and climb atop the Zugspitze, the highest point in Germany. Cruise the Rhine River and relax with Rhine wine. Visit the Reichstag’s new glass dome, sway at a modern-day cabaret, and pop a few chocolates in the now thriving eastern sector. A look at an often-overlooked side of Switzerland – Luzern, Bern, Zurich, and Lausanne – will make you want to hop on the next flight.

“We try to have two travelogues for each half of the season,” Fine said. “And people really see to enjoy them and learning about places they’ve either been or always wanted to know about.”

On April 3, enjoy the sounds of the David Liebman Duo with saxophonist David Liebman, who received the Jazz Masters lifetime achievement award winner from the National Endowment for the Arts, and pianist Marc Copland.

The remaining schedule includes Camerata New England, which is now in its 10th season bringing audiences classical music by Beethoven, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Haydn, Turina and Mendelssohn, on April 10.

Don White will provide an evening of music and humor and “a dose of inspiration thrown in at no extra charge” on April 17.

“We really try to make the programs more appealing to a variety of age groups,” Fine said. “And we’d really love to see more school children and families.”

Scott Kirby, along with Gary Green and friends, return to the Audi stage on April 24. The Penacook natives bring a touch of island vibe with their Key West Beat. And to close out the season, clarinetist Ilene Stahl and an all-star line-up of Boston’s best musicians will come armed with traditional klezmer and Mediterranean melodies, rip up Romanian surf tunes, cover cop show themes and cumbias and slay a few standards.

As always the Walker Lecture performances are free and open to all. Each show is at the Concord City Auditorium, and seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis. Doors open at 7 p.m. and shows start at 7:30 p.m.

The Walker Lecture Fund also supports programs like the Bach’s Lunch series at the Concord Community Music School, the free summer concert series put on by Concord Parks and Rec, as well as local shows featuring the likes of the Freese Brothers Big Band and the Nevers Band, among others.

For more, visit walkerlecture.org/schedule.html.

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