Mechanics Hall

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Women of Worcester Production presents
Winter Wonderland Gala

7:00 p.m.
Doors: 6:30 p.m.

$35 (General Admission)
$40 at the Door

Click to purchase tickets.

Join us for a formal evening of music, dancing, and winter celebration in the historic Washburn Hall at Mechanics Hall.

Performances by:

The Russo Brothers (Jazz)
Monica Hatch (Classical)
Annie Arsenault (Classical Trio)
Niki Luparelli and the Gold Diggers feat. Dan Burke (Contemporary)
Cara Brindisi
Sarah French
Amanda Cote

After years of side conversations with fellow women musicians about the importance of collaborating, Cara Brindisi gathered 13 area performers for a collective concert that was held in April of 2016. Though all of the women were accustomed to playing solo or lead in their own groups, the concert became a defining moment in the Worcester music scene; a night of teamwork and new beginnings. The public responded with a call for more musicians, more events, and more collaboration.

Amanda Cote and Sarah French soon joined Cara in the efforts to establish a local production company based on the idea that women of all ages and backgrounds have a place to share music, art, and leadership for the betterment of our community in Worcester County.

In one-year time, Women of Worcester Productions has held 3 public events, all with the intention of inclusivity, creativity, and giving back to various organizations such as Abby's House and Worcester County Food Bank. There are a multitude of events on the horizon, ranging from small workshops to larger formal events. The original April 2016 concert has now been dedicated as an annual event to be held each April with a rotation of musicians and artists from around Worcester County.


Monica Hatch
Monica Hatch regularly performs and has toured with the renowned Handel & Haydn Society of Boston. Her recent solo performances have included Respighi's "Laud to the Nativity", Bach's "St. John Passion and Will Todd's "Mass in Blue". She has been soprano soloist with The Arcadia Players, The Salisbury Singers, the Massachusetts Symphony, The Thayer Symphony, The Concord Symphony, Cathedral of St. Paul's Festival Orchestra, Worcester Collegium, The Bach Society of Worcester, and dozens of church choirs. "Other solo performances include, Haydn's "Lord Nelson Mass", Faure's "Requiem", Orff's "Carmina Burana", Vivaldi's "Gloria" and "Magnificat", Bach's Magnificat and numerous cantatas, Mozart's Requiem, Handel's Messiah, and Schubert's Masses in C and G.

Described as "particularly outstanding" by the Boston Globe in her role of the "Duke Ellington Sacred Concerts" at the Boston Globe Jazz and Blues Festival two years in a row, her critically acclaimed performances continue making her the soprano of choice for many subsequent productions of this work. Currently on the music faculty at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an established recording artist, she also hosted the Jazz Matinee on NPR station WICN 90.5 FM in Worcester MA, for more than five years. Amanda Cote
Amanda Cote's been making waves in the New England area, playing solo shows across Massachusetts and New Hampshire the last couple years, and people are taking notice. Her performances are soulful, emotional, and a hell of a lot of fun! Whether it's in a restaurant, pub, wedding, or concert hall, she's sure to wow with the sheer honesty and power in her voice while accompanying herself on her Martin guitar.

Nikki Luparelli and the Gold Diggers featuring Dan Burke
The internationally-ignored Niki, now in her 27s, went to the University of Rhode Island where she graduated summa cum laude with a double major in Music and Communications. This degree proved to be as useful as a degree in pinball. She's since spent much of her time languishing away in many unexciting and unrelated dayjobs, including, but not limited to; waitress, bartender, teacher, real state agent, freelance writer, and gardener...each time hoping each leap would be the leap home. Sorry wrong show.

Niki, during this time, had given up singing, as it turns out she didn't really like opera after all and now had a pretty husky voice due to smoking, drinking, and yelling. She then attempted to work her way up through the Boston stand-up comedy ranks. After a few years of honing her wit on hecklers, drunks, and bachelorette parties, she hooked up with fellow URI music grad, Lainey Schooltree, and began their musical comedy duo act, The Steamy Bohemians, and their delinquent traveling variety show, Jerkus Circus. Somewhere along the line, she met Dapper Dan Burke, started a glam retro cover band, and became a Marilyn Impersonator.

Niki caresses with her classically trained/abused voice then sucker punches with her bawdy patter and mastery of the absurd, not to mention the ridiculous amount of items she can pull out of her bra like Mary Poppins' carpetbag.

She's appeared in the Las Vegas Comedy Festival (with the Steamy Bohemians), the Boston Comedy Festival, and was once told by Piers Morgan at the Hammerstein ballroom that she was "the most annoying woman [he'd] ever met."

With the Gold Diggers, (the Baddest Old Hollywood Jazz Cabaret Band around) she has opened for Frank Stallone, Gary Lewis (formerly of the Playboys), and Peter Tork (of the Monkees), and has been told by many fanny-pack wearing slot players after her gigs at Foxwoods Casino that she is "totally going to make it."

Winner 2011 and 2013 Sexiest Musician, 2011 and 2012 Best Jazz act in New England's Pulse Magazine and is Miss December in the Narragansett Beer 2013 Pinup Calendar. Catch her on AMC's Showville on May 30th!

Niki with or without her band is available for all your event, party, or Marilyn Monroe needs.

The Russo Brothers
The first seeds of the band were planted in 1976, when Jim and John (The Russo Bros.) had recently graduated from Berklee and returned from a tour with 70's singer Chuck Jackson to collaborate with guitarist Joe D'angelo forming "Whats in a Name", an all original rock/pop project. In the early eighties the brothers met bassist Bob Simonelli through the many "Jazz Hangs" of the era, and as members of the "Tom Herbert Big Band". Somewhere in the mid-eighties, the brothers were introduced to drummer Bill MacGillivray in Jerry Secco's Milford based "Mahrud Big Band'. The D'angelo / Russo connection was rekindled in the early nineties with the jazz /concept project "Corner Bunch" with Dave Martel (bassist) and drummer Paul Odgren. The Russo Bros. "Summer Concerts" brought the current members together to play in the millenium years. "We would meet a couple of times a year, play the music we are passionate about and talk about forming a band". Finally in November 2011, the group commited to the project and the process began. We all want to play fresh music that "grooves" and opens doors to explore musical possibilities . The bands repetoire includes compositions by artists like Roy Hardgrove, Michael Brecker, Ernie Watts and Terrence Blanchard along with a splash of originals.

Cara Brindisi
Cara Brindisi has been performing as a solo guitarist and singer since 2010 after completing her studies at Berklee College of Music. Originally from Central Mass, Cara has expanded her musical ventures throughout New England while also staying close to home within the Worcester, MA music scene. Cara received the award for Best Female Vocalist (2017) and Best Solo Acoustic Act for the 2014 Worcester Music Awards, the same year she released her first EP Album, ‘Until Tomorrow‘. Cara has performed at various venues such as The Hampton Beach Ballroom Casino in Hampton, NH (opener for Chris Isaak as well as Tower of Power), ASYLUM in Portland, ME and the Newport Yacht Club in RI. Cara continues to record and perform locally in Central Mass and throughout New England. She also co-founded Women of Worcester Productions in 2016 and directs and produces events that encourage women musicians and performers around Greater Worcester.

Sarah French
Sarah French is a New England based singer and songwriter. With her band 'Iza Jane, she presents a soulful mix of folk, blues, and country roots. 'Iza Jane's debut release (Dirty Hands, 2013) received warm praise and critical acclaim: "...a vibrant mix of guitars, banjos and soulful singing..."(Pulse Magazine). French is also the co-founder of Women of Worcester Productions, an organization dedicated to celebrating, inspiring, and encouraging women in Worcester County through music, art, and leadership. Sarah continues to write new music and collaborate with the regions most talented artists and musicians. Her career as an environmentalist supports her close relationship with nature and is a fundamental source of inspiration.

For more information on her various projects check out:

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