Trailblazing Cellist Stephen Katz Feb 7

On Feb 7th, First Friday Concerts at Coho presents trailblazing cellist and award-winning composer Stephen Katz! Besides being a world-class musician, Steven is also a friend of a number of us here at cohousing, and we’re glad to share what will no doubt be an intimate, inspiring, and certainly unusual solo concert with you!

Stephen has charted new territory for the rhythmic potential of the cello with the groundbreaking approach he calls Flying Pizzicato. His compositions juggle two or three voices at a time, making music that simultaneously lays grooves, weaves tunes, and lifts spirits.

He has premiered his cello compositions at Carnegie Recital Hall and performed internationally as a soloist, and with the Paul Winter Consort, Rachael Sage, the Essex String Quartet and Susan Werner.
He is a National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient through the SUNY/Buffalo Arts in Healthcare Initiative. As a film composer, his score for The Rich Have Their Own Photographers won the Jury Prize Gold Medal for Best Impact of Music in a Documentary at the Park City Film Music Festival. He also scored Two Square Miles which has been broadcast nationally on PBS/Independent Lens. Stephen’s performances have been broadcast on PRI’s Performance Today.

An improviser and composer in the Dance and Theater worlds, Stephen has collaborated and performed with Andrew Harwood, Chris Aiken, members of Pilobolus and Beverly Blossom dance companies, and has been a Visiting Artist at Amherst College (MA).  He has made music for hundreds of “movement jams” using digital looping hardware to weave dynamic tapestries of sound.  As a co-founder of the movement/theater company Seen & Heard with the late dancer and monologist BJ Goodwin, he literally danced with the cello while accompanying the dramas they played out on stage.

As a teacher, Stephen has been a regular workshop presenter at the New Directions Cello Festival since it’s inception in 1994. He also has the distinction of being the most frequent guest performer at the Fest.

New York Times:
With a bow and fingers as light as feathers Stephen Katz makes a cello bring out meanings you might not have suspected were there.

Paul Winter:
– Winner of 6 Grammy Awards
Stephen Katz makes some remarkably innovative music with the cello. While revering its traditions, he is on the cutting edge of liberating the instrument from the printed page… His composition Eight Days of Eve is the most beautiful piece of ‘looped’ music I have ever heard.

Chris White, Director, New Directions Cello Association:
A cellist whose name is almost synonymous with our festival, Stephen Katz has revolutionized pizzicato technique for the cello. In addition, his use of looping to layer multiple tracks of cello in performance is breathtaking. All of this is in the service of his beautiful and imaginative, original music.

Eugene Friesen, cellist, composer, Grammy winner:
Stephen’s musical talents are formidable! He has a distinctive harmonic language, lovely sense of phrasing, chops, and a beautiful voice.

Jody Elff, Sound artist, technician (Laurie Anderson, Paul Simon):
Of all the live looping performers I’ve heard, Stephen Katz has not only mastered his instrument, reinvented its technique, but also integrated the potential of electronics into his compositions.

by James Heflin, Valley Advocate:
When Stephen Katz breaks out his cello to illustrate a musical point, he often wears an expression somewhere between concentration and delight. He’s having a very good time. That’s probably why he’s in such demand—Katz plays solo shows (often using looping), backs up dancers at area shindigs, plays with the Paul Winter Consort, and is musical director of Wire Monkey Dance. He also regularly plays at the New Directions Cello Festival, where he teaches some of the techniques he’s developed for the instrument.

In a recent interview, Katz revealed that he began his musical life wanting to be a drummer. “I loved rhythm in pop,” says Katz. “I played drums with a pillow and a box.” But his mother talked him out of such a loud, non-melodic instrument. That led to the cello, says Katz: “I started playing chamber music before I really knew what anything else was.”

Later, he discovered guitar, and found a lot to like. “When I got a guitar I could play rhythms, which is what I loved about music,” he says. Even so, Katz says, he eventually decided to study classical cello in college, rather than focus on guitar.

Katz, originally from San Francisco, got an invite to audition for a quartet at UMass-Amherst, and came to New England to join the group in 1986. When that group disbanded, Katz taught at a school in northwest Connecticut. His time there offered him a chance to return to composing, and his cello playing went in some quite new directions.

“I started composing things on the cello that were a lot like what I liked on the guitar. I’d done a lot of contemporary music and I knew a lot about making sounds on the cello… music that was close to my heart, but without a lot of heart in it. I wanted to write music that was more basic, rhythmic music, but on the cello.”

When Katz picks up his instrument, it’s quickly apparent that the strictures of classical methods aren’t enough to encompass his imaginings. He doesn’t seem to need a bow, and his rhythmic approach has helped him discover new ways to get the sounds he wants. The result of his experimentation was a rhythmic sort of finger-striking that resembles electric bass methods more than traditional cello playing.

Katz explains that, groundbreaking though such styles might have been when he first started using them, the context of contemporary music and the desires of cellists to play in new settings have conspired to make the unusual usual: “Folks like me, listening to contemporary music, pop music, want to make rhythmic music with the cello, and sing with it, and play in bands, put it through a distortion pedal, through an echo or a looping pedal.”

At the most recent installment of the New Directions Cello Festival, now in its 14th year, Katz shared one of his methods—a finger-and-thumb near-strum using a big arm motion to sweep across the strings—with other cellists. “I gave a workshop in the technique I call ‘flying pizzicato.’ When Katz demonstrates “flying pizzicato,” it looks much like a guitar player’s strumming. But the result is a quick kind of string hit that is downright funky, evoking African rhythmic complexities and even the guitar stylings of players like Habib Koite or Oliver Mtukudzi.

“What I love about drumming, especially native, indigenous African drumming less influenced by contemporary media, [is that the] rhythms are more inherent to the way the body moves. I’m doing it through my arm. That’s part of why this approach works for me. Because it’s a continuous flow. It’s very simple, the premise. The limitations are great. There are only four strings, one hand to tune them while I’m playing, and a thumb and a finger. What are the possibilities? How much music can be made?”

Rather than simply learning how one is supposed to play the cello, he has made the instrument his own with his adventurous style. When he speaks about his playing, Katz often sounds more like a philosopher than a classical musician, and it is his well-thought-out approach that has led him both to new discoveries and to an unusual, engaging style that is a joy to watch in action.

“This instrument was not made for rhythm—it was made for melody in particular, for the bow, which I still use occasionally,” says Katz. “But I have wanted to bring those things together. It’s what I love to do.”

Claudia Schmidt and Sally Rogers in Concert Jan 3rd!

Happy New Year everyone! Start it out right with a new concert by favorites Claudia Schmidt and Sally Rogers at Coho! Claudia and Sally are each capable of giving your goosebumps goosebumps. An evening listening to either of their performances is enough to bring you out of your deepest slumps and back into the world of healthy passions and love of life in general. To have these two women together on the same bill is almost overwhelming in so many deeply delightful ways. About Sally and Claudia Claudia Schmidt and Sally Rogers have been weaving their voices, dulcimers, and guitars together for decades, creating an atmosphere of joy and musical lushness that audiences find so irresistible, they frequently join right in.
Sally Rogers and Claudia Schmidt
Starting with their soaring harmonies – “blood harmony” was how one fan described it – fascinating double dulcimer work, the mix of 6 and 12 string guitars, then brought together with a wide choice of material encompassing their originals, traditional, and choice compositions of contemporary songwriters, a concert by these two masters of their craft is an immensely satisfying and restorative experience. Time has only deepened and enriched the music they create together.


Claudia Schmidt & Sally Rogers
“If it were the intention of the creator or creators of this universe to perfectly blend together the night sky with moon and stars, it might have been their intention as well to deliver Claudia Schmidt as their messenger of reminder. To say that Schmidt is simply a performer with a talent to entertain would be a miscarriage of understatement. Schmidt takes her audiences into her world as easily as the child who discovers the endless universes that exist in a cardboard box. Schmidt weaves her way through her concert in much the same manner as a jester. Interwoven anecdotes, revealing her past and present, bring people to expect a relationship between themselves and memories driven deep with the passage of time. The concert is an endless display of self-realization through humor and longing, leaving audience members yearning to become an integral part of her world. Having performed on stages across the country, Schmidt has developed the ability to remain fresh. She enjoys her talent to entertain as much as the audience enjoys being entertained.”


Sally Rogers
Sally Rogers performs an evening of traditional, contemporary and original ballads and song, interwoven with stories taken from her life as a performer, a wife, and a mother. Throughout her concerts, she accompanies herself on guitar and Appalachian dulcimer, or performs without accompaniment in a voice that needs no further enhancement.  Reviewers have described her voice in superlatives ranging from “remarkable” to “mesmerizing.”  As one critic summarized, “…it’s really next to impossible to do justice to a voice of that quality.”  Much of the material performed by Sally includes compositions of her own, many of which are considered classics of the folk and popular genre. Here’s the facebook event:  – let us know you’re coming!

Tony Silva Birthday Concert, Potluck, & Jam Sun Dec 15 at 4 PM

Tony Silva & Friends
Sunday, December 15, special afternoon event – 4 PM
with music jam and potluck following concert – bring something to share!
Tony creates a beautiful mood with his guitar, a looper, some serious attitude, and a bit of scholarly background thrown in, plus special guest musicians. AND it’s Tony’s birthday, so it’s gonna be a potluck jamming party following the show! Lots of interesting musicians are coming.
Presenting traditional music from Spain and Latin America.
With special guests including Pan Morigan, Chris Haynes and Alex Ludwig.

Greg Tamblyn comedy songwriter Sunday Nov 15!

On Friday, November 15th, Rob is bringing in Greg Tamblyn, NCW (No Credentials Whatsoever). Greg has been a successful singer, songwriter, speaker, and humorist for over 20 years. He combines outstanding audience rapport with an irreverent sense of humor, and has a special interest in the relationship of music, laughter, and lifestyle to physical and emotional well-being. Greg’s humorous musings on cultural absurdities, as well as his messages of effectiveness, optimism, and service, have garnered him a large international following.

Greg has become well known for his inspiring songs about the power of the human spirit, as well as his off-the-wall send-ups of modern life, such as “The Shootout at the I’m OK, You’re OK Corral,” “My Life is a Beer Commercial“, and “Type A-Ness”. Based for many years in Nashville, he now makes his home in Kansas City, and performs throughout the world for a wide variety of groups interested in wellness.

Jack Canfield, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul says of Greg: “I’m sure your songs are Chicken Soup for a lot of Souls out there in the world!”

Opening act: Gordon Kramer & Rob Peck perform humorous parodies and original songs.

Coming soon:

Friday Dec 6th – Kit Johnson and Swing Set – acapella swing and jazz

Sunday Dec 15 – special birthday concert from Tony Silva – spanish guitar

The O-Tones Nov 1st at Coho!

Friday, November 1st, we present Valley favorites, The O-Tones! Known for their swinging standards, R&B, and Motown covers, this band will rock the common house! You probably already know them, and if you don’t, even more reason to come out and have a great time.

Check out their website for more info and videos!

Kerry Blount – sax
Mary Witt – Vocals and bass
John Caban – Lead Guitar and vocals
Ann Percival – Vocals and where the guitar
Jason Arnold – drums
Steve Moser – piano

October 4: Dave Dersham, Libby Kirkpatrick, Dave Haughey at COHO!

Hey everyone, this one is going to be as wonderful as it is unusual.

Come join Libby Kirkpatrick, Dave Dersham, and Dave Haughey for an intimate evening of Indie-Soul-Folky-Jazzy-Avant-Garde collaborative composition. A distinct evening of strong, ethereal song performance, enhanced by the innovative textures and subversive harmonics of one of the world’s great cellists… Sort of a trio, sort of a song swap, sort of something you’re unlikely to hear again very soon. This will be Libby’s 3rd visit to our stage, and the first night featuring the two Daves. I’m really looking forward to this collaboration – should be one of our more interesting nights!

More about the artists:

Dave Haughey

Dave Haughey

Dave Haughey changes the way people think about the cello. His holistic approach to modern cello playing encompasses myriad genres and techniques, making him one of the most versatile young cellists in the world. He is an improviser, composer, and teacher who is always searching for new ways to expand the unique capabilities of the cello, thus trailblazing a path to a world where the instrument is known not only for is place in classical music but also as a versatile and ubiquitous tool for music making in any genre. He has performed with the Paul Winter Consort, Eugene Friesen, Zohar Fresco, Armen Ksajikian, Roman Stolyar, Andrew Bishop, Glen Velez, Loire Cotler and others across the globe from the USA, to Asia, South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Dave has taught private lessons and workshops at festivals and schools around the world, including at The Berklee School of Music, The Conservatory of Tatui, the Rio International Cello Encounter in Brazil. He works as a performer, recording artist, teacher, and composer.

Dave Dersham
In his 20s, he spent a searing Wyoming summer prepping gruel for Dornan’s chuck wagon beneath the Teton’s purple haze; taught Eco-Ed to middle schoolers among the butterscotch-laced pines of the Black Hills; trekked the sage and occasional cottonwoods with underserved youth in southern Idaho; and explored the cultures of Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.  (He never saw the resplendent quetzal that reportedly, “hung around the Coca-Cola sign” near Coban, but he did manage to see a lonely motmot calling an incredibly low “WOOVE!” at the Jaguar Reserve.)

By his 30s, the muse pulled Dave to the luster of the Cambridge folk scene where he completed his first CD, “The Burn of Summer.”  The album enjoyed regular airtime on folk radio’s WUMB, Emerson College’s WERS, and produced a finalist selection for the nationally syndicated Mountain Stage Emerging Artist competition. 

His second album, “Gilding the Lilies” was recorded with the assistance of Lloyd Thayer’s unorthodox lap-steele, as well as the shrewd production/instrumentation of Jared Fiske.  The CD was released in the fall of 2011 and was distributed internationally. 

Dave is currently based in Northampton, MA and tours the subterranean folk pockets of the Northeast, Southern California and Texas.  He’s currently working on his third collection of songs to be released in late 2019 / early 2020.

Libby Kirkpatrick

Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Libby Kirkpatrick began playing classical piano at age 3. At age 14, deeply moved by the musical era of singer songwriters in the 1970’s, she switched to acoustic guitar while immersing herself in the artistry of Joni Mitchell, Joan Armatrading, Neil Young and Rickie Lee Jones. Drawn by her adventure-seeking desires as a nomadic youth, Libby left home to live minimalistically overseas in India and Thailand, and then busking in Ireland where she began writing her first original songs. She then returned to the States to live in Boulder, Colorado where she began performing professionally for the first time in 1995. Spending her next several years touring folk venues, befriending and co-mingling with the jamband circuit, and honing her musical crafts, she began developing solid regional followings along the West Coast, Southwest, and Northeast.

In 2001, Libby took root in Austin, Texas where she primarily resides between tours. With her sometimes rigorous touring schedules combined for her off-touring need to keep traveling (for fun!) Libby often jokingly claims her true residency to be “Toyota USA” (her road-dog-eared blue Tacoma truck). To this day, Bryn Mawr Pensylvania, Boulder Colorado, Orcas Island Washington, and Portland Oregon are all places she still calls home–often literally–for weeks if not months at a time.

Beyond music, Libby’s other interests include nutrition, (macrobiotic) cooking, yoga mind-body connection (she’s a certified massage therapist and a yoga instructor), dance, travel, visual and performance art (she’s a member of The Everyone Orchestra), language (she recently taught herself basic Portuguese before vacationing in Brazil). astrology and metaphysics (the illustrations on the cover of “Goodnight Venus” are by artist Julie Paschkis, illustrator of famous Philadelphia folk-art tarot card and palmistry decks). An unquenchable listener of inspired music, recently found in her CD player were: Devon Sproule, Tin Hat Trio, Townes Van Zandt, Forrest Sun, Kate Fenner, Fats Waller, Django Reinhart & Stephan Grappelli, Jeff Buclkey, Nickel Creek, Greg Brown, Gilberto Gil, Alexi Murdoch, Catie Curtis, Mindy Smith, Rob Halverson, Patty Griffin, Andrew Bird, Ray Lamontagne, and Martin Sexton.

Cindy Kallet & Grey Larsen on Sept 6th!

Sept 6th: Cindy Kallet & Grey Larsen!

(This is the rescheduled concert, after we had to cancel in March)

Welcome back near the end of our long, hot summer! Hope you are refreshed and ready to hear some great music!

Cindy Kallet and Grey Larsen, each well-known and loved for their decades of music making, have spent well over a decade in a joyful musical collaboration.

Cindy is a superb singer, guitarist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.
Grey is one of America’s finest players of the Irish flute and tin whistle, as well as an accomplished singer and concertina, fiddle, piano and harmonium player. As composers each contributes to the tapestry of contemporary folk and world music as it flourishes in the US today. Together, they weave songs and tunes of vibrant color and rich texture.

Listen and watch here:

First Friday Concerts at Coho
Series: First Friday Concerts at Coho
Venue: Great Room at Pioneer Valley Cohousing, 120 Pulpit Hill Road in North Amherst.
Doors open: at 7 PM, Concert starts at 7:30.
Suggested Donation: $10-$20
Refreshments available.
This is a smoke and fragrance-free venue.
Facility is wheelchair accessible
Located in beautiful North Amherst, MA, the series provides a creative forum for talented and visionary musicians to share their gifts and be supported by attendee contributions in a way that values their artistry and encourages their dedication to building a brighter world. Performances take place in the Common House “Great Room”: a space intimate enough to feel like a house concert but large enough to draw in the broader community. The series is a purely volunteer effort, organized by Co-Housing members who enjoy live music and want to share their delight with other music lovers in the Valley.
We hope you’ll join us in the audience, or as a volunteer.
Please sign our mailing list on this page, and subscribe to the Facebook page here.

Guitarist Tomas Rodriguez with Cellist Barry Kornhauser Sun, July 14th 4 PM

This is a special Sunday afternoon show (4 PM). I’m so excited to be presenting this program for the community. Barry K is one of my oldest friends, and I’m glad to have the chance to be introduced to the music of Tomas Rodriguez. Tomas has developed a unique repertoire for guitar performance that is rooted in his ancestry and guided by the diverse styles of music that have inspired him. His programs draw on the folk music of Galicia, Spain, Venezuelan harp masters, Malian kora music, Brazilian choro, Argentine milonga and contemporary flamenco as well as his own original compositions. Barry Kornhauser, his longtime collaborator will be joining on cello.

You can learn more about Tomas here:

or see a video of Tomas and Barry here:

Or just come to hang out and for the awesome refreshments.

Annie Patterson & Charlie King – Friday June 7th!

Join us for an evening of powerful singing with two of North America’s finest activist folk singers, Charlie King and Annie Patterson. Charlie’s witty political satire and his uncanny ability to find endearing songs about struggle and the human experience are a natural fit with Annie’s own performing and sing-along work. Annie is co-creator of the beloved Rise Up Singing and Rise Again songbooks. They’ve been performing together frequently – here is the facebook event…


More about Charlie:

Charlie King is a musical storyteller and political satirist. He sings and writes passionately about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. Pete Seeger hailed him as “One of the finest singers and songwriters of our time.”

Charlie has been at the heart of American folk music for over half a century and has been writing songs for the past 45 years. In October of 2017 he received the annual the Phil Ochs Award, in recognition of his music and activism for social and political justice in the spirit of Phil Ochs. His songs have been recorded and sung by other performers such as Pete Seeger, Holly Near, Ronnie Gilbert, John McCutcheon, Arlo Guthrie, Peggy Seeger, Chad Mitchell and Judy Small.

Charlie is currently touring with his latest recording Life & Love, Tears & Laughter, released in February 2017. Past honors include: an “Indie” award for one of the top three folk recordings of 1984; the War Resisters League’s 1998 Peacemaker Award given to Charlie and Odetta; the 1999 Sacco-Vanzetti Social Justice Award for which he was nominated by Pete Seeger; the 2009 International Labor Communications Association award for Best Labor History Story. In 2014 the Labor Heritage Foundation presented Charlie the Joe Hill Award. This lifetime achievement award recognizes excellence in the field of labor culture.

More about Annie:

Annie Patterson has performed and led music retreats at folk festivals, coffee houses, schools and camps throughout North America, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the British Isles.  She is best known for co-creating the popular songbook Rise Up Singing, along with her husband, Peter Blood. Their new songbook, Rise Again, published in 2016, is a similar collection to Rise Up Singing with 1200 different songs.

Annie has honed her skills as a folk performer and jazz vocalist over the last 3 decades.  She loves to sing songs from the Appalachian Mountains and British Isles, accompanying herself on banjo and guitar.  Annie is also a jazz and swing vocalist with the swing band Girls from Mars (for over 30 years) and is a guest vocalist with The O-Tones, a swing band based in Western MA. Annie Patterson is one of America’s premiere song leaders. She has been leading singing around the globe for over 30 years. An accomplished folk performer and jazz vocalist (Girls From Mars), Annie sings old songs and new.

She carries with her a suitcase of incredible song knowledge and a repertoire that includes over 2400 songs from many genres, including Americana, contemporary folk, ballads, gospel, country and jazz.

You can find out more about Annie and her music work at