I will be first to proclaim the great talents and offerings of Newton’s many arts and cultural organizations. I have been involved with Newton community arts in various roles for 10 years and it is only since becoming an administrator for the Newton Cultural Alliance that I can even begin to  grasp everything these groups do. (Did everyone get their New Art Center summer catalogue in the mail yesterday?)
The organization I’m crushing on today is the New Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Newton resident and BSO violinist Ron Knudsen. For 17 seasons, New Phil has offered a Classics Series, Family Discovery Series, and a variety of Special Events. They also run outreach programs including weekly music education classes. Why the crush though? New Phil’s Maestro, musicians and administration are dedicated to breathing life back into concerts. Most importantly, they design concerts with the audience and its desires in mind. Next up, New Phil musicians are shedding their classical ways to present Pub Night & Karaoke Concert to the community on St. Patrick’s Day.

New Phil musicians are all volunteers who have careers mostly outside of music. Many of these folks have been playing together for more than twenty years (This is my tenth season playing with them!). In that time they’ve grown as a performance group and as friends. The musicians are up for anything. They play Brahms and Beethoventhey wear costumes and sing silly songs, and now they’ll sport green sequin bowties for a raucous night of music-making! One New Phil player has described Pub Night as a “hootenanny!” This evening is for fun and for friends. It is casual and encourages everyone to relax, enjoy the music, and help the orchestra fill the hall with song!

The event starts with the party. Snack on traditional Irish fare like corned beef & cabbage, sausage bread, soda bread and scones; get
your sláinte on with a local craft beer tasting hosted by The Urban Grape; take your chance at winning a fancy bottle of wine; hobnob with friends and neighbors!

The performance that follows will be quite the production. The full orchestra will perform traditional Celtic tunes, accompany amateur and trained vocal soloists, be the back-up band for audience sing-a-longs and fiddle for an Irish dancer!

New Phil is bringing something for everyone to this party. Tickets are only $20 for those 21+ and $10 for wee ones under 21. Pub Night & Karaoke Concert is Saturday, March 17 at 7pm at the First Baptist Church in Newton Centre. Tickets are available online at www.newphil.org or call 617.527.9717. Tickets will also be available for sale at the door.

Oh, and the first 10 folks who show up wearing kilts receive free admission.

What do you want to know about Newton’s arts & culture scene? Leave a comment and I’ll help direct you to the right group!



Eileen Dugan will join New Phil, showing off decades of Irish dance experience!


AJ (playing the blue violin) was in our original outreach class at Perry School – now she attends Boston Arts Academy!


Josh Collier will deliver a moving rendition of “Danny Boy.”