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The Really Big Show
Academy of Music Theatre
Northampton, MA
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The Really Big Show
Sunday, February 24th  

The Really Big Show, 2 PM, Academy of Music; GA $8 Advance/$10 Door

This year Monte Belmonte from the River becomes our Ed Sullivan in the annual Vaunted Valley Variety Show.  Monte will introduce some of the best talent in the Valley in Sullivanesque style.  If you have never seen Monte live on stage you are in for a treat.  Past talent includes contortionists, poets, jugglers, opera stars, comedians, child prodigies, animal acts and many other forms of entertainment.  Sponsored by State Street Fruit Store

Monte Belmonte as Ed Sullivan

Mira Bartók  -NEPR commentator and author of The Memory Palace,
Kayden Behan ten-year-old award-winning classical guitarist
Michelle Brooks - of NBC's "The Voice" fame
The Bunwinkies  Fabulous Folk Rock
The Catalyst Dancers  PVPA's amazing dance troupe
Chaos Theory - wackiness on the mats.
Sophie Crafts and Flaca  - Accordionist and Marrionette
Daniel Dietz  Yo Yo Champ
Jake and Jim: The Dog Pals  Man and Dog Tricks
Screaming with Pleasure  Juggling from the old school
Sharone Digitale - Seductive guitar loops
The Sun Parade  Local rock legends

Annual Arts Awards: Feeding Tube Records and Zea Mays Printing

Really Big Show Orchestra

Really Big Show Bios

Monte Belmonte as Ed
Monte Belmonte is the morning host on 93.9 The River, as well as the co-host of The Bill Newman Show on WHMP.  He's also sort of a manager of the radio station, but refuses to believe he is a grown up responsible for such things.  Monte is a contributor to the WGBY television program Connecting Point, even though he really isn't quite handsome enough to be on TV.  Monte has dreaded playing Ed Sullivan in The Really Big Show for years because he knows that the role of Ed has been filled by some really big shoes.  He hopes you will think he did a decent job and would like to remind you that he has been forced to write a bio about himself in the third person.

Mira Bartók is a visual artist, NPR commentator and author of The Memory Palace, a New York Times bestselling memoir and winner of the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Autobiography. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, noted in The Best American Essays series, and has appeared in numerous literary journals, magazines and anthologies. Mira has also received grants and awards from many organizations, including the United States Fulbright Program, the Pollack Krasner Foundation, and Pen-American. She lives in Western Massachusetts where she runs Mira's List, a website that helps artists find funding and residencies all over the world, and North of Radio, a multi-media collaborative she co-founded with her husband, musician Doug Plavin. You can find her at: http://www.mirabartok.com.

Kayden Behan  This remarkable ten-year-old is an award-winning classical guitarist who has competed in many national and international events. He has been a student of the Community Music School of Springfield since he was four. Kayden regularly performs at local retirement communities and fundraisers.  He also takes hip-hop dance lessons and music theater lessons, and enjoys performing in local theater productions.

Michelle Brooks-Thompson - was born on June 25th, 1984 in Boston. A musical prodigy, she started singing at an early age in the choir at her grandfather's church and later in a trio group with her mother and aunt. As she grew older she continued singing in church, winning various talent competitions and starting gospel choirs. Over the years she has sung backup for various gospel recording artists, and opened shows for contemporary Christian recording artists such as Doobie Powell, Bebo Norman and Eric Taylor. She has performed the National Anthem at collegiate and professional sporting events, including at Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox. She has won several karaoke and talent competitions, including Amherst Idol in 2009 and Valley Idol in 2010, and has appeared on ABC's Karaoke Battle USA in 2011. She has taught music and vocal lessons at schools as well as independently. Most recently she was a contestant on Season 3 of NBC's the Voice. Michelle is finalizing her first gospel album, which is to be released in the summer 2013.

The Bunwinkies
Formed after a series of living room jams in Northampton in 2003, The Bunwinkies represents a deep musical collaboration between friends, with a tendency towards both the construction of catchy "campfire" songs and the ongoing development of more experimental and psychedelic meanderings which leave space for broad, interwoven instrumentation and vocal explorations.

"The band members, who self-deprecatingly refer to themselves as 'true amateurs,' pile on layers of ethereal vocals and swirling, predominantly acoustic instrumentation. They create trippy, meandering folk rock in the proud tradition of ensembles like the Incredible String Band [and] Fairport Convention...Bunwinkies employ multiple songwriters, much as those groups did."
(Matthew Dube for The Advocate in 2009)

Their first LP, "Map of Our New Constellations," was released in 2011 by Feeding Tube Records of Northampton, MA.

The Catalyst Dancers, in its 15th year as the pre-professional dance company of the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School, has toured the US -- from NY, to California, and to Miami, to crowd-cheering acclaim. Catalyst has also contributed greatly to public education by performing in schools with their Viewing and Doing program that teaches history, music and literature through dance. Founded by Jodi Falk and Molly Maxner, and now under the direction of Jennifer Polins, the company has trained dancers that have gone on to dance with professional companies and productions such as CATS in New York, The Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane Dance Company, Lucinda Childs, Ballet Austin,
Wally Cardona, Renee Harris Pure Movement, and Disney Tours. Company members have received scholarships to dance conservatories such as Juilliard, SUNY Purchase, Goucher College, Connecticut College, Ohio State, and University of the Arts, and scholarships to Summer Stages, Bates Summer, and Hubbard Street Summer intensive. This is a big year for Catalyst as they join with PVPA/Catalyst Alumni to prepare for the Gala DANCING IN THE EYE OF THE STORM, celebrating 15 years of dance at PVPA April 11-12, 2013 at The Academy of Music in Northampton. Catalyst will present 6 new student works, and works of Bill T. Jones, James Morrow and many returning alumni choreographers.

Chaos Theory Dance, directed by Billbob Brown, director of the Dance Program at UMass Amherst, consists of Ann Sorvino, Meg Van Dyck, Christie Clovis, and Brown.

Chaos Theory takes its name from the science of complexity, which finds meaningful patterns in apparently unpredictable systems, such as weather, clouds, traffic, and social groups. Chaos Theory Dance finds the balance between highly ordered movement and moments that go as wildly out of control as possible, creating powerful and breathtakingly beautiful theater.  Be prepared to laugh till your sides hurt, while oohing and aahing over brilliant partnering work and movement that borrows from all genres, from modern dance to jazz, tap, ballroom, and boxing!

Founded in 1999, Chaos Theory Dance has performed its stunning concerts of dance, video, comedy, and technical virtuosity to enthralled audiences everywhere. The company has performed in various guises at Harvard University, SUNY Potsdam, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Hampshire College, Roger Williams University, UMass Amherst, Thornes Market in Northampton, Plymouth State University, Putney Vermont, Colby-Sawyer College, Bush Hall in London, England, and the Tempe Center for the Arts in Arizona, among other places. Chaos Theory Dance is an experience of super-quick movements performed in perfect unison or in counterpoint, set against video backdrops of colorful fractals and whirling planets. Dancers take to the stars in one moment, and have you roaring in the aisles with vocal or visual comedy the next. The company itself is a collection of professional artists who are each choreographers in their own right, each with a unique voice and vision of power and grace that they bring to the stage.

Sophie Crafts is a local musician who picked up the accordion and adopted the moniker "Sophie's Smokin' Squeezebox" in time to face her university debt.  She can now be seen "playing back student loans" in a homemade piano-key dress on her favorite street corners in the United States and Europe while a foot-activated marionette in a matching dress tap-dances the rhythms.  Her eclectic repertoire contains everything from French café music to The Rolling Stones; arias to Lady Gaga; and much more.  Follow her online at Facebook.com/SophiesSmokinSqueezebox.

Daniel Dietz started to yo-yo when he was ten years old and is now one of the best yo-yo players in the world.  He has been ranked as high as fourth in the nation and first in Massachusetts.  He has also won numerous talent shows.  He is a spokesperson for Yomega Corporation, a yo-yo company, and has his own signature yo-yo, tee-shirt and trading card.  However, his true love is raising money for the Smile Train by yo-yoing.  The Smile Train is an organization that trains doctors in over 75 [countries?] to perform cleft and lip palate surgery for poor children.  To date, he has raised over $40,000.00.  Daniel is currently a freshman at the University of Massachusetts in the Isenberg School of Management.  He is excited to be part of the Really Big Show and to support the arts in Northampton.  Visit Daniel at www.danyoyo4u.com

Jake and Jim: The Dog Pals
Jim Helems has been training dogs all his life, but after retiring from the U.S. Air Force, he started working with dogs in behavior modification, dog sports and in basic dog training skills (from puppies to adults). Now along with Jake, an 8.5- year-old Australian Shepherd, he performs trick shows at birthday parties, fairs, pet expos and more. The shows are mostly about having fun and showing how strong the human/animal bond can be.

Screaming with Pleasure
Brian Smith and Bill Ross have toured together from 1990-2000. They are thrilled to reunite at this year's Really Big Show. Twelve years ago Bill was in the Really Big Show with his daughter Roxie. This year she is also in the show, singing with The Sun Parade.

Sharone Digitale (Sharon Lang) is an American singer-songwriter, producer, and performing musician newly residing in Northampton, previously from Nashville, Tennessee.  Along with a tendency to butter her listeners up with seductive guitar loops, Sharone sings with a soft, sultry voice, uttering rhythmic flows of eloquent lyrics over enchanting layers of trip-hop and electronic beats. With a contagiously sexy style, Sharone's aim is to cater to the pleasure of the human ear.

The Sun Parade
Locals to Northampton, The Sun Parade has been playing in the valley
and nationally for two years now. Whether heard playing on the streets
of Northampton or on the big stage, The Sun Parade will not fail to
capture you with their sweet harmonies and focus on the art of
songwriting. Fresh off a tour with Martin Sexton in California, they are
at their best and gearing up to record their sophomore album.
The band released a full length LP, "Yossis," last April, which received
amazing reviews and consistent radio play with the single "Need You By
My Side." Come hear their mix of acoustic folk and psychedelic rock.

Really Big Show Orchestra

Jim Armenti (Director, Guitar, Clarinet) continues to teach and play music in the same way as the last thirty-some years.  Last year he released his second solo CD entitled the HERD; eleven songs about milling around with others. He is in the middle of recording the eighth CD with longtime band the Lonesome Brothers. And he is happy to be back in the pit where things are always looking up.

Paul Hartshorne (Saxophone and Guitar) is a carpenter and composer who lives in Whately. He currently plays with The Expandable Brass Band and loves the Really Big Show pit.

Christopher Haynes (Accordion) is a long time valley musician.  He directs the music program at Springfield College, and leads a busy freelance life as a pianist, accordionist, producer and composer. You can hear his work on the Signature Sounds label and on many recordings from New England area artists. His passions include composition of esoteric chamber music, tinkering with old Japanese bikes, and fixing sumptuous meals for his three charming kids.

Tom Mahnken (Saxophone) is a founding member of the band Trailer Park and also plays with the Young@Heart Chorus and the Eric Olsson Band. He is currently appearing with No Theater in the play "Caveman" at the APE Gallery in Northampton. After portraying Ed Sullivan in the RBO for two years in a row, he is delighted to relax his shoulders and join the rest of the hecklers in the orchestra pit.

Ken Maiuri (Keyboards) is excited to be a really small part of The Really Big Show. He's performed internationally with the Young@Heart Chorus, Mark Mulcahy, Heather Maloney, The Mammals, Pedro the Lion and others. In his spare time he's a weekly newspaper columnist, radio DJ ("Wiggly World" on Monday nights from 8-10 p.m. at WMUA.org, 91.1 FM) and french fry fan.

Ray Mason (Bass) started his first band in 1966 and has been going strong ever since. He has released twelve CDs under his own name and seven with the Lonesome Brothers (which he cofounded with Jim Armenti in 1985).

Joe O'Rourke (drums) makes radio campaigns, swims, grows vegetables, tends his goats and plays the drums.

Award Recipients

Dynamic Impact Award  Feeding Tube Records
Feeding Tube was begun as a record label in 2006 by Ted Lee, then an undergraduate at Hampshire College. Originally imagined as a self-documenting art project, the label started releasing the work of other local artists, such as Crystalline Roses in 2008. The Feeding Tube store on King Street opened in late summer 2010, as a natural evolution -- a place to serve and celebrate the local music community. The space also served as a nexus for art shows, and release events involving an increasingly international roster. The store and label both continue to expand the Valley's horizons. Check them out.

Community Service Award  Liz Chalfin and Zea Mays Printmaking
Liz Chalfin is a visual artist and founder of Zea Mays Printmaking, an art studio dedicated to safe and sustainable printmaking practices.
Zea Mays opened in 2000 as a working studio for printmakers seeking safer alternatives to traditionally toxic printmaking.  Over the last twelve years it has grown into one of the country's premier studios and educational resources.
Zea Mays Printmaking is many things to many people.  First and foremost, it's a working printmaking studio with over 80 artist members.  The 6,000-sq.-ft. facility at 320 Riverside Dr. in Florence includes a teaching studio, members' studio, editioning studio, darkroom, library and gallery.  Zea Mays Printmaking hosts hundreds of artists who come to workshops to learn safer ways of making fine art prints.  ZMP is also a research center dedicated to testing the latest developments in safer printmaking technology.  Student interns are at the heart of the research and come from colleges both near and far.  The Sanford Gallery @ Zea Mays Printmaking produces 8-10 in-house exhibitions each year showcasing innovative developments in printmaking, as well as organizing exhibitions for member artists at galleries and museums all over the world.  The Flat File at Zea Mays Printmaking is open to the public and houses over 600 prints by member artists that are available for exhibition and sale.  Liz mentors artists who are interested in developing safer printmaking studios in their homes, communities and schools.
Liz maintains her own artistic practice and directs Zea Mays Printmaking where she is honored to work with such an amazing community of artists.


Academy of Music Theatre (View)
274 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060
United States


Arts > Performance
Music > All Ages
Other > Family-Friendly
Other > Fundraisers

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


Owner: Northampton Arts Council
On BPT Since: Nov 14, 2012
Arts Council

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