I t’s a great week of harmony in New Haven. It begins with a steel drum orchestra in a city park, continues with a community talent show raising funds for arts scholarships and wends its way through choral concerts and gallery receptions and the latest “On9” neighborhood shindig in Ninth Square. There’s an uncommon variety of musical and rhythmic community celebrations, from show tunes to hip-hop poetry to the world premiere of Hugo Kauder’s only opera, Merlin. That fantastical odyssey, by the way, is all about different cultures working to get along.
Sounds like this week in New Haven.
Monday, June 3
The sound of pinging metal isn’t uncommon at the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Ella Grasso Boulevard. There’s a big noisy playground there, and it’s also a busy corner for car traffic. But the metal mélange on this Monday afternoon is more melodic and mellifluous. It’s a free concert by the Pantastic Steel Orchestra and Pans in the ’Hood, featuring players from Neighborhood Music School. Picknicking is encouraged at the 6 p.m. show. So is dancing.
Tuesday, June 4
It’s a Board-swayed melody! The New Haven Board of Aldermen is sponsoring a “Broadway Night at the Shubert” benefit for Talent Haven, a new fund distributed through the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven that offers scholarships for arts programs at Music Haven, Coop High School and Neighborhood Music School. Local performers will entertain and fundraise at what is hoped will become an annual tradition. All tickets are $25. 7 p.m. 247 College Street, New Haven. (203) 562-5666.
Wednesday, June 5
New Haven Free Public Library offers another invaluable session of “Ask a Lawyer” from 5:30-7:30 p.m. An attorney offers general legal help, in short private meetings, for free. 133 Elm Street, New Haven. (203) 946-7001.
Save your receipts. New Haven Museum hosts a “Numismatic Stroll Through American History, 1700-2000,” exploring significant times in the city through day-to-day documents such as bank notes, stock certificates and financial statements. The event is free, which robs the museum of a chance to leave a stack of paper for future historians. 6 p.m. 114 Whitney Avenue, New Haven. (203) 562-4183.
Thursday, June 6
Artist and puppeteer Don Wunderlee, who ran a storefront gallery in Westville for 14 years, has shifted his Wunderlee Arts operation to a studio space in Erector Square. Don’s got a new series of paintings to show off, plus some older ones he’s proud of, and is holding his first solo exhibition in years. The reception for Don Wunderlee’s Looking Back Looking Forward exhibit is tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. at 360 State Street, New Haven.
The New Haven Oratorio Choir marks its 50th anniversary with a fundraising party 6 p.m. at the John Slade Ely House (51 Trumbull Street, New Haven; 203-248-4416). Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps will perform. Appetizers, wine and champagne will be served. A silent auction will be held. $40.
Friday, June 7
What’s On9 this month? Arts. The monthly first-Friday series of open houses and special events in New Haven’s Ninth Square will have a few distinctive gallery exhibits (including the first-ever “official” art show at Cafe Nine, 250 State Street, where famed local artist/musician Dan Greene’s work will be on the walls for a month) but also live music (Kristen Graves at green well Organic Tea & Coffee, 44 Crown Street, and jazz guitarist Joe Morris at Project Storefronts, 756 Chapel Street, to name two), an “art of sampling” smorgasbord at Elm City Market (777 Chapel Street) and a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Sweet Mary’s cupcake shop at 129 Court Street. On9 events generally happen between 6 and 8 p.m., but the area keeps hopping after that.
The Mountain Goats are a sensational, hyperemotional band from California propelled by the lyrical, intelligent and wistful songwriting of John Darnielle. One Mountain Goats album, The Life of the World to Come, had each one of its songs titled with a different scriptural verse (“Philippians 3:20-21,” “Deuteronomy 2:10,” etc.). So it’s fitting that Darnielle and his band are playing tonight at Center Church on the Green. 7 p.m. $20.
Saturday, June 8
Arts on the Edge, the annual “arts district” street festival organized by the Arts Council of Greater New Haven and its neighbors (a scene from last year’s is pictured above), takes over Audubon Street between Whitney and Orange from noon to 5 p.m. The block will be closed to cars so that people can draw on the sidewalks, dance, do crafts and just enjoy a lovely afternoon in June. (203) 772-2788.
While Arts on the Edge takes Audubon, Arts & Ideas holds forth in Fair Haven, holding the second of two “Pop-Up Festivals” the fest is offering prior to the main A&I events happening June 15-29. “Celebrate Our Fair Haven” happens June 8 from 2 to 8 p.m. outside Columbus Academy at 255 Blatchley Street, New Haven. Aaron Jafferis, the playwright whose new musical Stuck Elevator is a highlight of A&I’s 2013 schedule, is overseeing a presentation by poets and writers from The Forum Theatre, and there will be lots of other performances, info booths and attractions. Each of the Pop-Up fests is marked by a special “domed structure” designed by Yale School of Architecture students.
After those outdoor community celebrations, it just seems right to take in the Greater New Haven Community Chorus Spring Concert at 8 p.m. in New Haven’s Battell Chapel, at the corner of College and Elm Streets. The concert’s titled “Transformations,” and the Community Chorus will sing Mozart’s “Coronation Mass” as well as works by Bela Bartok, Zoltan Kodaly, Jonathan Santore, Randall Thompson and more. $20, $15 in advance. (203) 303-4642.
Sunday, June 9
City Gallery has an opening every month. An exhibit of paintings by Susan Newbold opened Thursday, with a reception today from 2 to 5 p.m. 994 State Street, New Haven.
Fifty years or so ago, the celebrated and prolific composer Hugo Kauder wrote a “fantastical opera” called Merlin, about a quest for peace, truth and enlightenment. The opera, created in collaboration with the German philosopher/poet Rudolf Pannwitz, has never been performed—until now. The Hugo Kauder Society has arranged a world-premiere production 5 p.m. today at Trinity Lutheran Church (292 Orange Street, New Haven; 203-444-4716). $15, $10 for students and seniors. Get there early to hear Music Director Adrian Slywotzky’s “pre-show talk,” which starts at 4:15 p.m.
The Queen Killing Kings began in New Haven as a keyboard/drums duo. The band’s disarming power pop had an immediate impact on the local music scene, and when they disappeared for a while at what seemed like the peak of their local success in 2008 or so, it turned out it wasn’t a break-up or hiatus; QKK had signed a record deal. That debut CD, Tidal Eyes, came out in 2009. A newer disk is apparently nigh, and Queen Killing Kings—now a four-piece band which continues to duck out of sight for months at a time—resurfaces tonight at the Spaceland Ballroom (295 Treadwell Street, Hamden. The 8 p.m. show costs $12, $10 in advance.
Written by Christopher Arnott.