DreamFarm Café’s big show
Hollis singer hosts public jazz and visual art evening with Matt Savage
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
When Julie Lavender moved from Southern California to Hollis with her family a few years ago, the jazz singer wondered where she could perform. Her real estate agent, Janet Hicks, devised a solution and recruited Lavender to help raise funds for Hollis’s Lawrence Barn restoration more than two years ago. After that, Lavender’s family started hosting unique private visual art and jazz evenings. Now, nonprofit DreamFarm Café is hosting their first public event. Fittingly, it’s also the first function to be held at the new Lawrence Barn Community Center.
Lavender comes from musical parents, and started singing and songwriting at an early age. She studied piano, then classical guitar, which led her to perform with folk groups internationally. After college in Toronto, she pursued jazz and pop. She continued on with many projects and traveled widely to perform. Her album Good Woman is played on smooth jazz radio, and her latest CD is Never Felt the Sun. The contemporary jazz vocalist has diverse musical influences, and performs Sunday, Feb. 11, along with New Hampshire’s Matt Savage Trio. The Francestown 15-year-old pianist has performed for Dave Brubeck, jammed with Chick Corea, played the Blue Note in Manhattan at age 11 and appeared on Conan O’Brian in December.
Visual artist J. C. Airoldi will speak about her oil and acrylic landscapes of New Hampshire’s natural world, which will be displayed. Airoldi trained at the Parson School of Design in Los Angeles, and recently turned to painting after working in book cover illustration.
DreamFarm hopes to fill the center at Depot and Richardson roads, which fits 250 people. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for refreshments and non-alcoholic beverages. Performance starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $15 and are available at Lull Farm in Hollis and Toadstool Bookstore in Milford.
DreamFarm anticipates hosting a public event once or twice a year, although this is their “big learning curve.” Private events take place periodically between October and May.
“There’s something really, really special about what happens in our home…. We can create a very special atmosphere,” Lavender said. A “visual person,” Lavender adds contrast to her performance and guest jazz musicians’ performances with presentations by visual artists at the private, invite-only evenings. Last month a sculptor hung kinetic metal sculptures in the renovated barn owned by Lavender and her husband, Mark LeDoux.
“I can think of nothing more pleasing than listening to fantastic music and seeing something very stimulating,” she said. These evenings are set up so musicians and artists are given full attention. Performers may be background music in bars. A gallery opening can be too busy for an artist to speak in depth about her work, Lavender said, “so it’s a real gift to artists and musicians.” Lavender often performs a few songs with guest ensembles. The Joe DeLeault Quartet and Ameranouche! have played, as has Matt Savage. Painters Paula Super and Mary Buergin have shown work there. Guests bring dessert to share, and wine, or have coffee. These events must remain private to comply with town codes.
The concept of home concerts is not new. There are now networks for fans to host private, invite-only performances such as concertsinyourhome.com.
The Lawrence Barn was built in the 1780s by Josiah Blood and is one of six remaining English-style timber-framed barns in New England. It was dismantled in 1999.
Tickets to the Feb. 11 event can also be ordered by sending a check to “DreamFarm Creative Arts,” 64 Dow Road, Hollis, NH 03049. Visit thedreamfarm.org for more information.