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Music on Martha's Vineyard

If you’ve never seen (or, more importantly, heard) Vineyard Sound around the island, now is the year to come and scope them out. This preppy group of golden-voiced young men looks like a vineyard vines ad that’s come alive to belt out a tune!

Celebrating its 20th year, this all-male acapella singing group croons on street corners, performs in restaurants, and holds concerts from Edgartown to Aquinnah. They have become an annual fixture of summer entertainment on the island and are truly not to be missed during your summer visit. They’ve scheduled a number of official dates in Edgartown (check their schedule here), but make sure you are on the lookout for their “pop-up” shows. They may even appear on The Square!

Martha's Vineyard acapella singing group
photo of Vineyard Sound by Andrew Lefkowits
The Best Things to Do in Martha’s Vineyard for Solo Travelers
What to Know about the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival
Plan a Visit to the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival
Where to Get the Best Pizza on Martha’s Vineyard Near Edgartown
Explore Memorable Things to Do & See in West Tisbury
Spend a Day at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest
See the Next Big Thing at a Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
A Guide on How to Get to Martha’s Vineyard

Guitar Fingers by vl8189-resized-600

“What do you do here in the winter?” – It’s a question that almost every year-round resident has been asked by a wide eyed tourist in the height of August business.  The answer on the tip of the tongue for me is, “Enjoy the peace and quiet” but that’s not to say that there is nothing to do!  Open the calendar section of the MV Times and you will be amazed at the number and variety of events we have to choose from on any given week – Salsa Classes anyone? A Moonrise Meander thru Felix Neck Sanctuary? Movie nights, book clubs, fundraisers and pot luck suppers abound but the thing that amazes many winter visitors is the abundance of live music on the Vineyard in the dead of winter.
It will amaze most of you to know that, even in January, you can hear live music at least 5 nights a week on Martha’s Vineyard!  OK, on some nights there may be just one option, not the multiple choices of August but what we lack in quantity we certainly make up for in quality – most of those summer favorites are year round Vineyarders, strumming and crooning all winter long.

Let’s start the week on Tuesday (Sunday and Monday seem to be musician ‘weekend’ on MV), with jazz at Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs. Join well known Island favorites Eric Johnson and Jeremy Berlin for a set as smooth as the beers they accompany.

Return to Offshore on Wednesday night for Irish music – always a well attended and fun evening in this cozy atmosphere.

Thursday night takes us to Season Pub in Oak Bluffs for a night with the Mike Benjamin Band.  If you have been at Vineyard Square Hotel on a Thursday evening in summer, you will be familiar with Mike and his crew.  They can really get the crowd hopping with their mix of covers from across the musical spectrum.

The latest addition to the ‘scene’ is Friday nights ‘In the Window’ at the Wharf pub in Edgartown with local favorites Don Groover and Kevin Keady.  With Kevin’s gravelly vocals and Don’s amazing guitar skills, you could easily think you had been transported to a smoky club in a big city, not quiet little Edgartown in January!

On Saturdays the Ritz Café in OB has live music from a variety of Island musicians throughout the winter.  They really liven up the sleepy winter months for us!

This selection is just the tip of the musical iceberg and doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the special events, fundraisers and the like that have their musical accompaniment on any given week.

So, do you still think there’s nothing to do on Martha’s Vineyard in winter?

Do you have a favorite Island artist? Who are your ‘must hear’ musicians? What is your favorite music venue on the Vineyard?

Photo Credit: vl8189

The Best Things to Do in Martha’s Vineyard for Solo Travelers
What to Know about the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival
Plan a Visit to the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival
Where to Get the Best Pizza on Martha’s Vineyard Near Edgartown
Explore Memorable Things to Do & See in West Tisbury
Spend a Day at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest
See the Next Big Thing at a Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
A Guide on How to Get to Martha’s Vineyard

There are plenty of sounds I associate with the Vineyard. A few are annoying (motorcycles without mufflers and loud cell phone conversations) but most are enticing: sea gulls calling, waves crashing on the shore, the bells of the Old Whaling Church peeling, and children laughing. And lest I forget, the call of, “Your table is ready!” at Sharky’s Cantina.

One of my favorite sounds is named after a sound that can’t be heard. Sound confusing?

The span of water separating Martha’s Vineyard from the Elizabeth Islands is called Vineyard Sound. When I hear that name, however, I think of the melodious tones of the a capella singing group of that name that graces the Island every summer with songs and good times.

Begun in 1992, The Vineyard Sound consists of a group of college students, changing each year, who summer on the Vineyard and literally sing for their suppers. The 2009 edition consists of ten gentlemen who will perform four nights a week at locations around the island.

I’ll never forget the first time I heard them. My wife and I were simply strolling the streets of Edgartown one sultry summer night back in 1994. In the distance we heard harmonizations that could be aptly described as enthralling. Up Water Street came the members of The Vineyard Sound like vocal Pied Pipers leading a large band of followers who had been caught up in their magical sounds. Soon we were among them.

The makeup of the group has metamorphosed many times over the years, but the quality and style remain consistently virtuosic. Each year, they manage to recruit an incredibly capable, charismatic crew of collegians. They sing classics and current tunes, both funky and funny. An evening with this troupe will have you laughing, toe-tapping, and maybe even joining in.

Warning: Take in a single concert and you’ll want to hear them again and again. Picking up one of their CD’s, always available at their shows, is a proven antidote to Vineyard Sound withdrawal!

Image courtesy of  The Vineyard Sound.

 

The Best Things to Do in Martha’s Vineyard for Solo Travelers
What to Know about the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival
Plan a Visit to the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival
Where to Get the Best Pizza on Martha’s Vineyard Near Edgartown
Explore Memorable Things to Do & See in West Tisbury
Spend a Day at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest
See the Next Big Thing at a Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
A Guide on How to Get to Martha’s Vineyard