Wednesday, October 17, 2018

How to Critique Something Others Love

There will be times when you have to shut down others’ good ideas, reject their propositions, and critique the things they’ve worked hard in building. On the road toward the best ideas, auxiliary ones will fall by the wayside. They’ll be sacrificed for better ones to come through and become the norm. As a facilitator of positive growth, you’ll sometimes find yourself in positions that dictate you to make decisions. You can find yourself leading others, being a central decision maker, or a trusted adviser. Knowing how to critique the things that others hold dear to their hearts will be an important skill to possess.

There are people who are skilled in operating by way of quantifiable truth. They’re good at collecting evidence and forming arguments infused with good, reliable sources. They’re good at proving mediocre ideas, theories, and actions wrong with ones which are more aligned with truth. This article, does not attempt to arm you with skills in the quantitative realms of argumentation. It hopes to encourage you to look past those realms and into attempting to become a "maestro" of emotion. To expect humans to operate in emotionless ways in the face of being proven wrong is an unreliable pretense. This article aims to be a guide on enticing people to accept truths which go against what they lovingly believe, do, or possess.

What Intrinsic Factors Make Their Ideas, Habits, and Actions Good

An itch you’ll have to scratch will be one of validating others’ ideas in some form. Even if you have unsurpassed evidence for why what they believe, do, or possess is bad, hold tight for just a bit. First, focus on the aspects of what you seek to critique which enticed them to love it in the first place. Mention the intrinsically good aspects of what you’re attempting to disprove. Mention all the benefits. For instance, if critiquing the behavior of someone’s violent dog, mention the intrinsically good reasons for why that dog may be misbehaving. Attempt to touch on its aspects of being protective of its owner and of its territory. Focus on how good of a guardian that dog is.

Rather than opening with all the things intrinsically wrong with the dog’s behavior in that moment, you’d serve to comfort the owner in a time when most would act out in attack. Finding things which are intrinsically good is not difficult to do with an open mind. Simply focus on what possible reasons others have for liking a certain thing, idea, or behavior. Describe those reasons right back to them to validate your understanding of their psychology. They’ll go on to perceive you to be in tune with their truth, as truth to them, entails realizing the intrinsically good traits of what they possess, believe, or do.

What Extrinsic Unavoidable, External Factors Make It Bad

The next step in critiquing or disproving a truth which others hold dear, is to analyze how it clashes with its setting or environment. Think about how a dog’s setting or environment entices it to bark and attack. Think about how the roads make one specific car less effective than another in certain aspects. Think about what about the wind, rain, and sun, make one type of roof tile a better option than another. Rather than focusing on the intrinsic shortcomings of the things you’re criticizing, present the shortcomings to be related to the uncontrollable nature of the setting or environment.

In doing so, you’ll give people an excuse to agree with you. It’ll be a way out of being stuck in a mindset that dictates the defending of what they hold dear. They’ll have an easier time agreeing with you if you present the shortcomings of what they love to be caused by external, uncontrollable factors rather than ones which are intrinsic to that thing.

Once you develop an understanding of how much of a factor external variables play in the quality of someone’s truth, you can then list shortcomings safely. Each shortcoming of the thing you criticize should be connected to how it is misaligned with the world around it. Try not to present shortcomings as native to the thing you’re critiquing. Make it known that the car you’re critiquing in this instance, would be an amazing car if it were subject to different variables. Ensure to mention that you’ve seen the violent dog act kindly toward its owner and their kids, and that it must be an amazing dog when strangers aren’t around.

Motivate the people whose beloved things you criticize to evaluate how those things fit in the world that surrounds them. Rather than having them leave the conversation with you in a defensive mindset, attempt to establish one of growth. Be balanced and sensitive to emotion in your approach of critiquing the things that others like.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Wedding Music Planning

First Dance
I'm a wedding music planner.  I put together live music for every aspect of a wedding. 

Genres include

  • Classical string quartets, soloists, harpists.  
  • Chamber ensembles and orchestras.  
  • World music bands: celtic, klezmer/israeli, reggae, ska, calypso.  
  • Jazz ensembles.  
  • Traditional Ceilidh and Seisun (Irish) duos and trios - up to a 5 piece seisun.  
  • Bluegrass bands.  
  • Country bands.  
  • Blues and Rock.  
The only thing I do not do is set up DJ or MC services.  For that, you will need to find a DJ/MC professional.  I can make some recommendations of pros I've worked with over the last 30 years. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

I import horse hair tail for making bows

Adam Sweet's Horse Tail Hair For Bows

visually sorting
I buy my tail hair from a slaughterhouse in Harbin, China.  The animals are from Mongolia and Siberia.  They come across the border in cattle cars and are processed in one location.  I arrange to have them shipped to a workshop in Anping, where they are drawn, sorted, and packed for me in small batches of no more than 5 kilos at a time.  All of my tail hair is triple drawn and visually sorted.  The sorting process is meticulous.  I have personally visited this workshop several times over the last 18 years to ensure the quality stays the same.  I have not had a single bundle of hair returned since 1999.  More pics on my facebook page here

I provide free shipping in the Continental US, and whatever the rate is for DHL Express everywhere else.  I take PayPal.
  • Natural White: triple drawn, visually sorted - high quality unbleached white.  Perfect for most bows.
  • Mixed White & Brown: (sometimes called Fiddler's hair) triple drawn, visually sorted.  Best for cello and carbon fiber bows for fiddlers.
  • Black: triple drawn, visually sorted.  Best for baroque and bass bows.

Message me for pricing.  Due to fluctuations in the market and Trump's tariffs, prices change frequently.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Webdesign Client: Berkshire Batteria

In 1999, I flew to Egypt with my musical partner, Brian Bender, to perform Irish and Klezmer music at the Great Pyramids in Cairo.  There, I met Jim Weber, a fine musician and percussionist.  On the airplane back, he asked me to design a website for one of his projects, the Berkshire Bateria, he wanted to call it "Sambaland".  www.Sambalan.com is the website.

Berkshire Bateria
THE BERKSHIRE BATERIA is a lively troupe of musicians who perform hot samba rhythms on traditional Brazilian percussive instruments. To learn more about our percussion wing, The Berkshire Bateria, CLICK HERE

"JOY OF SAMBA WORKSHOP" explores the magic of traditional Batucada, the street samba of carnival in Brazil. Participants will be exposed to performing on traditional Brazilian instruments and will have a chance to work with pandeiru, ganza, surdo, agogo, tamborim, cuica an berimbau. If you're interested in hearing more about our Joy of Samba Percussion Workshops, please contact us.

SAMBALAND was founded in 1994 by Teri and Jim Weber. Their mission is to provide authentic Brazilian music to the Berkshires and beyond with Bossa Triba, The Berkshire Bateria, and Joy of Samba Percussion Workshops.

Jim Weber is a master percussionist and leader of The Berkshire Bateria.  His studies of Brazilian music brought him to the Drummers Collective of Manhattan, (Duduka Du Fonseca, and Bobby Sanabria), The Brazilian Cultural Center of New England, (Deraldo Ferreira) Manhattan Samba (Ivo Arujo) and each year travels to Salvador, Bahia, Brazil to continue his work.

Teri Weber, Leader and vocalist of Bossa Triba, enkindles the spirit of Brazil in her smooth and elegant vocal style. Teri is a vocalist, dancer, and percussionist, having studied from masters of Brazilian music and dance in both the United States and Brazil. Her studies of Jazz and Samba over two decades authenticate her sensual interpretation of Bossa Nova.    

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music

The Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music is a center of chamber music performance and teaching founded in 1971 and situated on 100 acres (40 ha) of fields and woodlands in Nelson, New Hampshire, in the United States. It is stewarded today by the organization's director, Leonard Matczynski, and ensemble-in-residence, the Apple Hill String Quartet. These professional musicians present concerts and educational workshops throughout the world and, during the summer, teach and coach chamber music to participants of all ages and levels at Apple Hill’s Chamber Music Workshop.

Each summer, Apple Hill welcomes 300 students and 45 faculty to the Workshop program. Over 12,000 students have attended since the early 1970s.

Apple Hill was one of my first web design clients.  I was hired in 1999 to design and develop a website and internet presence for this nonprofit music school. 

The original Apple Hill Chamber Players, c. 1973 : Back row left to right: Beth Pearson, cello; Robbie Merfeld, piano; John Laughton, clarinet; Betty Hauck, viola; Eric Stumacher, piano; Richard Hartshorne, string bass
Seated left to right: Freddie Ortiz, violin; Julie Feves, bassoon; Fred Cohen, oboe; Jimena Lasansky, dancer; David Jolley, horn
Seated front: Bonnie Insull, flute

Apple Hill began as the brainchild of Gene Rosov, a young cellist and Harvard undergrad who taught cello at the All-Newton Music School in a suburb of Boston. Inspired by his experience as a teenager at Greenwood Music Camp in Cummington, Massachusetts, Gene’s dream was to start a chamber music camp for his own students and their friends and siblings. His first camp session took place on a borrowed property in Hinsdale, New Hampshire in 1968. The original plan was for the camp to be part of a ski development that was being built in Kingfield, Maine by a friend of Gene’s, John Marden, and the next two summers “Bigelow Mountain Music Camp” as it was then called took place on rented properties in Kingfield. But then because of a recession the idea of a ski development was abandoned.  With the generous support of Lee Gillespie, Best Foods heiress, Gene secured the Apple Hill property in Nelson, New Hampshire in 1971. Gene’s camp finally had a permanent home and The Center for Chamber Music at Apple Hill was incorporated as a non-profit the same year. The property consisted of 100 acres of field and forest on a sloping hill with a western view of the mountains of Vermont and an original 1790 farmhouse, two barns, a sugar house, and numerous outbuildings and cabins in various states of dilapidation.

Students came mostly from the Boston area and ranged in age from 9 to 18 years old. Faculty were friends of Gene, notably the pianist Robbie Merfeld whom Gene had first met at Greenwood, and friends of friends with connections through Kinhaven Music Camp as well as Greenwood, Aspen Music Festival, Oberlin College, Juilliard School of Music, and Brandeis University. While the original focus of Apple Hill was the summer educational program, the faculty were all young performing artists who enjoyed reading and playing chamber music together, presenting informal concerts for the students and in nearby venues. Dan Savage, the husband of faculty cellist Beth Pearson, was an amateur horn player and tenor who was attending Harvard Business School during the school year and teaching at Apple Hill in the summer. It was through his enthusiastic entrepreneurship that The Apple Hill Chamber Players (precursor of the current Apple Hill String Quartet) was born in 1973. The first concert took place at the Horace Mann School in New York City and was followed by successful concert series in New Hampshire, Boston, Philadelphia, and Lincoln Center in New York City.

All arts organizations rely on donors and Apple Hill was fortunate to receive generous local support in the early days, notably from Louise Shonk Kelly, an amateur pianist and philanthropist who lived in nearby Dublin, New Hampshire. It is in her honor that the concert barn was named.

The summer educational programs continued to expand and evolve over the years from an all-summer camp for teenagers to five 10-day sessions for all ages. The Players were what is known as a “flexible ensemble” and included a string quartet, two pianists, string bass, and wind quintet. Over the years the Players consolidated into a piano and string group with occasional guest wind players. In the fall of 1973, several of the Players decided to move from the city and make Apple Hill their year-round home. As the Chamber Players became better known, they began to tour regionally, then nationally, and eventually, in 1989, internationally, through the Playing for Peace program.

Gene eventually left Apple Hill to pursue other business ventures and after successfully launching the Chamber Players, Dan Savage also moved on to other pursuits. The directorship of Apple Hill was passed on to Pat Minot for a few years, then to Carla Press for a brief period, and Eric Stumacher, one of the two pianists, eventually became Executive Director. The Chamber Players made all artistic decisions, such as repertoire and choice of guest artists, collectively, through consensus. Over the years various players/faculty came and went but a core group of players made up of Robbie Merfeld and Eric Stumacher, both pianists, Betty Hauck, viola, and Richard (“Dobbs”) Hartshorne, string bass, who joined Apple Hill in 1974, were a steady presence until the mid-1990s. The violinist Mowry Pearson, cousin of Beth, also spent many years as part of the Apple Hill Chamber Players. Other violinists included Valerie Vilker Kuchment, who was from Russia and is presently a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Anthony Princiotti, who went on to conduct the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra for many years.

Over time a philosophy of teaching and community-building evolved at Apple Hill that was based on mutual respect, acceptance, listening to each other, and supporting and cultivating each student’s unique abilities, no matter what their skill level or experience.

The buildings and grounds at Apple Hill also evolved as time went on. Cabins were replaced, outbuildings were torn down, and major renovations took place, including the concert barn restoration by local architect Rick Monahan. With the help of a generous grant from the Kresge Foundation the Rehearsal Barn was renovated with expanded practice facilities.

In 1989, the Playing for Peace program was launched with the help of Eric Stumacher; Phillip Levy, a Welsh/Israeli violinist and member of the Players; Harriet Feinberg, Apple Hill recruiter and peace activist; Arthur Cohen, a local Keene doctor and supporter of Apple Hill; and generous donors and federal cultural agencies. The Players traveled to Israel to give chamber music workshops for students, play concerts, and award scholarships to both Jewish and Palestinian Israeli students to come study at Apple Hill in the summer. With the help of Martin Quinn, who worked for the U.S. State Department, this program expanded over the years to include other Middle Eastern countries (Syria, Egypt, and Jordan) as well as Turkey, Morocco, Poland, Ireland, and Cyprus. In 1992, a PBS special was made about one of the trips that the Players took to the Middle East for the Playing for Peace Program.

In 2008, longtime Apple Hill faculty and violist Lenny Matczynski took over the leadership of Apple Hill as the Artistic and Executive Director. That year, the Apple Hill Chamber Players became the Apple Hill String Quartet, when longtime Chamber Players Elise Kuder, violin; Mike Kelley, viola; and Rupert Thompson, cello, were joined by Sarah Kim, violin, to create a string quartet in residence. Violinist Colleen Jennings joined the group in 2013, replacing Sarah Kim.

By this time the Playing for Peace program expanded to include trips to the Caucuses areas of Russia, East Asia, and to U.S. cities as well as continued trips to the Middle East, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland.

With the support of a new generation of donors, Apple Hill set to work revitalizing the facilities, now over 40 years old. New buildings included the year-round Hoffman Auditorium, built with the help of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) programs; the Bath and Shower Barn, built with the help of the USDA Rural Development Program; and more than half of the 24 cabins scattered across the campus. The 1790 farmhouse received a fresh coat of paint and the interior was redesigned to reflect the growing staff. The iconic sugar house received a major renovation in 2016 and since 2008 the grounds have been improved with flower, herb, and vegetable gardens – landscaping worthy of the beautiful rural setting.

The summer workshops continue to be a vital centerpiece of Apple Hill. All five summer sessions are fully enrolled with participants from the international and domestic Playing for Peace program alongside musicians of all levels and ages from around the globe – 300 students in all, coached by 45 faculty.

The ideals of the Apple Hill Community that originated years ago still exist today: a community built on mutual respect, acceptance, listening to each other, and supporting and cultivating each other’s unique abilities, no matter what skill level or experience. The ideals of the Apple Hill community are similar to those of chamber music – a collective voice of mutual cooperation where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Musician Websites & Social Media Profiles

One of the things I love to do is to design websites for musicians, and create social media profiles.  Since I first started this in 1998, the internet has changed drastically.  And the advent of social networks like Myspace and later Facebook, Twitter, and later Instagram, Pinterest and later SnapChat have made it increasingly difficult for musicians to get their profiles in front of the most people at one time.  It used to be very easy.   All it took was to have a website and a Myspace profile.  Most people would search for the musician on Myspace and if they liked them, follow a link to their website.  But now it's incredibly complicated.  In order to get the most exposure, musicians MUST have profiles on all of the typical social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+), as well as the music networks: Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Music, BandCamp, Reverb, IndieOnTheMove, and SonicBids.  And if musicians want to get gigs, they have to be listed on Gigmasters.com and Gigsalad.com as well as sites like wedding.com for wedding gigs.  Music teachers must have active profiles on lessons.com, privatelessons.com and musiclessons.com.  All of these sites cost money.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram cost money to advertise (otherwise the pages will stay low in the algorithms, making it impossible for fans to find them unless they actively search.

So what is a musician to do?  

They must either hire someone like me to create and regularly update all of these platforms, or they must do it themselves using one of the "free" platforms such as Wix, Weebly, Bandzoogle, Bandcamp,  or Noisetrade.

Why would a musician want to do it themselves?  

In the long run, it won't save you any money.  Most of these "free" sites are not really free.  They give you a 30 day free trial, and then you have to register or they will drop you (keeping your information but no way for fans to contact you).  The other "free sites" such as Blogger, and Wordpress have a steep learning curve and it's practically a full time job keeping all of these profiles updated and current.  You will end up spending more time on social media (which is what they want) than practicing your instrument, learning new material, and playing gigs.

Wouldn't it be better to hire someone to do this for you?

Here's where I come in.  I do this for a living.  I'm super efficient and can get you up and running with the 9 most important sites within a few hours.  Updating takes a couple hours a week.  Getting you gigs and keeping your calendar busy becomes your primary focus, and I take over all of your social media marketing.

What does it cost?

It's not that much considering how much time it would take you to do it all every week.  My rates are super affordable.  I'm a musician too and I know how it works.  Contact me, we can work it out!  

Friday, September 28, 2018

On Branding and New Products from Holyoke

A company in Holyoke hired me recently to design a website and develop a marketing plan.  The company doesn't have any money to pay me my fee or regular wages, so we worked out a deal where I get a a percentage of the profits once the business starts making money.

The challenge of developing a brand is a difficult one.  In order for someone to recognize something, they have to see it a minimum of ten (10) times, and in order for them to interact with it, they have to see it one hundred (100) times.  This is why companies put their logo on every part of a product, marketing literature, website, social media. 

Mando Mo Strings
This new client is called Mando Mo Strings.  They import acoustic stringed instruments from China.  The company was started about 2 years ago when Al the owner was doing some research into buying guitars.  He was playing guitar at the time.  Because of his interest in bluegrass and country music, he got into mandolins soon after that and hired me to teach him how to play mandolin.  We got to talking and I discovered he had all these mandolins and guitars laying around in his house.  He hadn't sold any of them and his wife was threatening to divorce him.  I suggested a few ways to market them.  One thing led to another, and now I'm building the brand for the company. 

Since I started, several things have happened.  Al created a business, filed the information with the sate and the city of Holyoke, and opened a bank account.  Meanwhile, I designed a website mandomostrings.com, created a Facebook page and other social media profiles.  We've had a few sales!  And while that's good, it's not the purpose of the brand building exercise.  My goal is to increase awareness of the brand by 100% over the next six months.  If we get a few sales in the process that is fine.

So far, so good.

I have a lot of experience building brands for companies.  In 1993, I helped Dr. Hauschka Cosmetics build their brand.  In 1998, I was hired by Herbs for Kids to build their brand, Wise Ways Herbals in '99.  Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music that same year, and since then, I've worked on literally hundreds of products and brands primarily in the natural and music industries.

If you would like some assistance in building your brand, fill out the contact form on the sidebar!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A Challenging Social Media Project

Helping Those Who Can't Help Themselves
I have been hired by a dual-language nonprofit in Holyoke to provide remote IT support for members and social media updates to their various profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.  They started paying me cash in bits and pieces because they couldn't afford my regular fee.  Because of their nonprofit status and the work they do in the area, I decided to help out in whatever way I could.  In fact, the first week's work was gratis.  Now they pay me an hourly wage, still not my regular fee, but it's something.  But to me, it doesn't even matter what they pay me.  These people are literally angels on earth, if you believe that sort of thing. 

Families in Western MA close to homelessness
I can't divulge any information about the company due to a contract I signed, but I can tell you about what they do.  They are primarily a Spanish-speaking group that works with individuals who are down and out.  These are people on the edge of homelessness, who, for no fault of their own, do not have the wherewithal to save themselves or their children.  Whether it be due to lack of education, lack of understanding of English (and therefor can't read even simple instructions), lack of understanding available resources, and in some cases, lack of legal immigration status, these people are ripe for abuse by the local "authorities", scammers and drug dealers.  This group hears about these people by their outreach in the community, goes in, talks to them in their own language, finding out what their immediate needs are.  And through working with them, they figure out what their long term needs are (ESL classes, Green Card application assistance, Social Security application, SNAP benefits, etc), and get them on the path to health and prosperity.  They work closely with the medical community, the legal community, many of these people also volunteering their time and expertise.  Their endgame is to get these people into affordable housing and on the path to health and happiness

Home Is Where Your Family Is Healthy
I'm honored to be included in this righteous effort.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Thoughts on Fall / Winter Studio Space

Unfortunately the "sun room" at the new house in Granby is too cold for the fall/winter. We found that out on Sunday when some mandolin folks came for a rehearsal before the concert at Porter Phelps. So for the fall/winter season, lessons both private and group will be downstairs. If you come a bit early, you may sit on the wooden chairs in the sun-room and wait your turn. It's nice and cozy! I set it up today. I'm going to see if I can barter for some electric work to put up some better lights.

The lesson space

The instruments I teach (ukulele not pictured)

Mandolins and a fiddle

Whiteboard area

Stairs going up to the sunroom

Monday, September 10, 2018

Celticado Reviews

www.Celticado.com


"Celticado performed for our wedding ceremony and cocktail hour. They did a wonderful job. People are still commenting about how unique and beautiful the music was.  Adam and Jim met with us about a month before the wedding to go over all the songs with us and let us choose what we wanted to be played for each part of the afternoon. When I first met with them I really wanted to have them play Pachelbel's Canon in D for me to walk down the aisle to. But after they played some celtic songs that I could walk down the aisle to that were so heartwarming and tear-jerking I was sold. It was great to have a beautiful song that was different that most other brides.   Thank you Adam and Jim for being such a great duo!" ~ Crystal S

"They were very friendly, accommodating and prompt in communication. We were impressed by their energy and stamina. They played for 3 hours with barely a break and kept the music lively and beautiful for our wedding reception. If we ever need music for another event we will hire them again without hesitation." ~ Dana S.

“We can't thank Celticado enough for making our cocktail hour at our wedding! From the time we inquired about them to the end of the party , we had the best experience! They have such a wonderful acoustic sound and our family loved the traditional Irish music. They were also very affordable!” ~ Alexandra S.

"Celticado lifted our son's wedding rehearsal BBQ with their lively tunes and professionalism. Our BBQ was held in a rustic setting and Celticado was most accommodating to our needs. So many of our guests commented on how perfect their Celtic music was as a backdrop to a fun filled evening under the stars. Celticado was very accommodating in advance, too, as we planned the evening's schedule. If you're looking for a classy, smooth Celtic ensemble, you'll find it in Celticado." ~ Rita O.

"This acoustic traditional folk music is BEAUTIFULLY done. The sound is extraordinary, the musicianship fantastic, the studio work excellent" ~ NWS106, Jamendo Music

"Celticado was formed in 2004 by two of the Pioneer Valley's most sought-after celtic musicians: Adam Sweet and Jim Bunting. They play a lively selection of traditional folk musics of the Celtic lands and beyond." ~ Daily Hampshire Gazette

"Lovely music, our guests were so appreciative. Thank you!"
~ Linda & George O'Malley

"Thank you for such beautiful music for our wedding. We were lifted by the beauty of it."
~ Catherine & Jim Shane

"Your music reminded our grandparents of their childhood in Ireland. Thank you, thank you."
~ Mary & John O'Reilly

"We were thrilled to find a traditional Celtic group for our wedding. Thank you for the beautiful music and good times."
~ Wendy & Ralph Peters

"Wow, you guys sound like a full 5 piece band! How you get that big band sound, I don't know, but I love it."
~ Jim Holland (and his family), Florence, MA

"I knew you guys were ready and hot to play with the first bow to string!"
~ Louise Dunphy, Celtic Crossings, WMUA 91.1 FM

"Please play Cooley's again. I love the way you start that song. It brings me back to my childhood in Ireland."
~ Loving Bette and friends, Leeds, MA

"You sound great! It's great to hear you play."
~ Kathryn, Organizer of the Basement Irish Seisun

"Thank you, thank you! The music was beautiful...most of the guests complimented us on our choice of music at the wedding."
~Tildy Greene, Mother of the Bride, Smythe wedding 2007

"Lovely music...it made me weep. Slainte!"
~Maire, grandmother of the bride, Smythe wedding 2007

"Where are you playing next?"
~Sandra Connor, Hildebrandte wedding 2007

Mandolin New England

Mandolin New England
Mandolin New England is an organization consisting of members of Adam Sweet's Classical Group class in Granby, MA and colleagues and friends from New York, western Mass and Rhode Island.  The group performs concerts in Hadley, South Hadley, Holyoke, Northampton, and Granby MA.

The group is free to join!  If you play mandolin, mandola, mandocello or bass, we'd love to have you with us.  SMS 413-561-2275 any time, or email sweetmusic@protonmail.com with your cell/email and we'll send you a link so you can download sheet music.

The first live performance was at the South Hadley Town Hall in January 2015, where the group performed "Jugoslavia" and the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.  (Click here for a video of that concert.  Skip to 25:00 for the Brandenburg part of the concert.)

The orchestra is comprised of students of Adam Sweet's Classical Group class, and area colleagues.  The class is open to anyone with 2 or more years of playing experience on either bowed-string instruments (violins, violas, cellos) or mandolin-family instruments.  The class studies Classical-era (1700s) and Romantic-era (1800s) music with composers such as J.S. Bach, W.A. Mozart, F. Schubert and more.  Learn more about the group classes offered here

The Americana Project

Americana Project
If you want a traditional bluegrass band for your wedding or special event, then you will be thrilled to discover the bluegrass stylings of The Americana Project

The bluegrass band, based in western central Massachusetts, performs lively acoustic  bluegrass music, bluegrass gospel, old time and acoustic country music from the turn of the century and beyond.

Instrumentation includes fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and banjo.  The group has over 30 years of playing bluegrass and acoustic country styles in the Pioneer Valley of western Mass.

​Members:

  • Adam Sweet - fiddle, mandolin, vocals 
  • Terry Atkinson - guitar, vocals
  • Max Wareham - banjo, guitar, vocals
  • Dimitri Eleftherakis - bass 


Recordings:

Fiddle Hill

Fiddle Hill
Fiddle Hill is a duo that performs a mixture of genres, including New England Contradance Music, Klezmer, Celtic and sings Ballads and Songs from the Old Country and beyond.

Fiddle Hill was founded in 1995, when fiddler Adam Sweet and keyboardist Brian Bender formed the Northampton Contradance above Fitzwilly's third Sundays of the month with a grant from NEFFA.  Originally named "Sweet Blend", the duo eventually changed its name when third member, bassist Joe Blumenthal, became too busy to attend regular rehearsals.

Fiddle Hill has performed all over New England for private parties, contradances, weddings, ceilidhs and public concerts.

To hire Fiddle Hill, use the contact form on the sidebar.  Please be sure to include the date, time and location of your special event.

Recordings: