Irish music and Milton Scenes Exhibit by Mark Vonnegut at First Friday March

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by Joan Clifford, Executive Director


First Friday March, March 1, 6-9pm, is an opportunity for people to come view Mark Vonnegut’s watercolor paintings on exhibit until April 6th, catch up with neighborhood friends, and listen to talented local musicians perform modern and traditional Irish music at the Milton Art Center. There will also be an unofficial Best of category of Irish Bread from local bakeries for you to sample and cast your vote.


It is clear that Dr. Mark Vonnegut is very much missed as a pediatrician from his many former patients who came by to see him at the February opening exhibit, tell him that he made their child feel seen and safe and established relationships of trust with their parents.  Many bought his book, “The Heart of Caring: A Life in Pediatrics”. If you missed the last opening you have another opportunity to come by to view his mesmerizing  landscapes and flowers of Milton scenes.


Irish music, contemporary and traditional will be performed by local musicians  with an homage to two recently deceased powerful musicians, Sinead O’Connor and Shane MacGowan of the Pogues. Sinead’s singing truth to power with themes of social injustice and Shane MacGowan’s songs of authenticity of life on the margins inspired countless musicians to follow them with their truths and honesty.


A sampling of the songs to be performed are Ron Fletcher and Franc Graham performing Sinead O’Connor’s “Black Boys on Mopeds”. Ron Fletcher and Geof Shaw will be performing the WaterBoys, “Fisherman Blues”. Claudia Wellington and Kevin Dambruch will perform Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” and U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. Steve Cousineau will perform the Chieftains, “Long Black Veil”,  and Geof Shaw will be performing Sinead O’Connor’s  “Emperor’s New Clothes”,and Van Morrison’s, “And it Stoned Me”,  Not all of the performers have chosen their songs yet; we are looking forward to hearing the performances of Pat Neves and Karl Pastore,  Matt Sandanato, and a few more performers signing up daily. If you have interest in performing at First Fridays, send an email to


Drew Dunphy and his brother Jamie  will be performing as a folk duo called The Beige, a name they have used since they were teenagers.  After a 25-year hiatus, they are now performing again as a duo and even released an EP last year on Bandcamp, under the name the BeigeBand, “Refrigerate after Opening”. They are hoping to have their new single out in the next few weeks.


Drew said ”the Beige doesn’t typically perform a lot of traditional music, but we were intrigued by the opportunity to reinterpret songs by contemporary Irish musicians. We plan to play “Hard to Fake It” by Sorcha Richardson, a young Irish songwriter they have  recently started listening to and greatly admire. Her music is moody and dark with a twist of humor, and “Hard to Fake It” captures all of that perfectly.  We always appreciate the chance to turn people on to lesser-known artists who deserve a bigger following.”


They will also perform “Sometimes” by My Bloody Valentine.  This band and song — which was featured in the Sophia Coppola film, Lost in Translation,  has always been a favorite of the Dunphy brothers.  Drew said, “The recording is sort of the opposite of folk music, a gigantic wall of noisy sound.  Rearranging it for two acoustic guitars was a fun challenge, and we’re excited to see what people think of our version.”


Other performers will be the Barley Brew Men featuring Mark Walsh and JIm Foster. They’ll be playing a set of traditional Irish tunes whose origins are hard to attribute but passed down through many generations, including “The Mermaid”, “Rising of the Moon”, and “Red is the Rose,” lyrics by Tommy Makem.


First Fridays are free and family friendly, a vibrant night of local art and music and catching up with your neighbors. There will also be an unofficial Best of category of Irish Bread from local bakeries for you to sample and cast your vote. Something for everyone, come on by.