Sara Thomsen



Saturday – November 19 – 7:30 pm

Dubbed in her local press as “one of Northern Minnesota’s best kept secrets,” Sara Thomsen is a weaver of song and community singing. With a voice rich as the best mid-west soil, Sara’s songs carry you inward and outward—in, to the particulars of your own life, and out—into the shared humanity of us all. Her performance style is easygoing and full of humor and depth, capturing the audience’s engagement. Sara’s music gently enfolds and unfolds the listener.

At concerts, conferences, classrooms, workshops, retreats, jails, places of prayer, and lines of protest, to be with Sara is to want to sing. Increasing wonder and awareness, deepening spiritual connection, and widening social engagement through song is at the heart of her work. Sara’s ability to get people singing magically transforms gatherings into communities empowered with possibility.

Sara is the founder and artistic director of the “Echoes of Peace Choir,” a non-audition community choir in Duluth, Minnesota, with a repertoire of world music and a membership of 70+ voices. Thomsen later founded the Echoes of Peace non-profit to expand and develop the work of examining critical social issues using music and the arts to build and bridge informed, engaged, and caring communities. She is also the artistic director of “Three Altos,” comprised of Rabbi Amy Bernstein, Thomsen, and professor Paula Pedersen. The trio has released two CDs: Camaradas and One Voice.

Sara is a staunch supporter of struggles for human dignity and ecological sustainability. Slowing down enough to see and hear the vibrant wonder of the commonplace is her work and play.  All this can be felt in her music. Whether it is a song welcoming a newborn, protesting a policy, depicting night falling or describing a loved one, her music is alive and pulsing.

For more information,  call 413-548-9394

Recommended donation: $10 to $20



October 15 – 7:30 pm

From Menopause to Marijuana! …Peace to Politics! …Poignant to Provocative! …Ellen Bukstel writes and sings about it all! This type of happy-sad, life embracing, fear-overcoming emotional schizophrenia truly captures the spirit of modern independent music making—whatever the artist feels in that moment, she shares…and whatever else Ellen is, she’s not shy about it. For Bukstel, music is a way of expressing her joys, her sorrows and her passions —bringing her listeners to tears and laughter and sometime both at the same time.

A veteran to the stage since childhood, she has been honored with close to 50 Songwriting and Music Video awards and acknowledgments since 2002 by such notable competitions such as John Lennon, Paul Stookey’s Music To life, New Zealand Int’l Peace Song, Breaking the Silence in Song, Kerrville NewFolk, just to name a few. And, her songs are making a huge difference in people’s lives.

Renowned as an activist who puts her passions to song, Ellen has been commissioned to write songs and produced numerous multiple award winning fundraising music videos which have collectively helped to raise almost one hundred million dollars since 2006 and are being used as tools to raise awareness of important social issues such as Housing the Homeless, Assistance Victims of Domestic Violence, Human Rights and care for Children with wide spectrum Autism and Elderly with Cerebral Deterioration.

Her songwriting journey began after losing her husband Doug Segal to AIDS in 1988. Doug was a hemophiliac who contacted HIV from his blood products and died at age 36 leaving Ellen with their three children Brett, Todd and Margo. Doug and Ellen spoke out publicly hundred of times sharing their personal story in schools, churches, synagogues, educating the community about AIDS. They also spoke to the “Presidents Commission on AIDS” when they came to her home town city, Miami, FL. Ellen was honored as a Torch Runner for the 1996 Olympics for her service to the community.

Ellen expresses her imagination with her beautiful voice, guitar and keyboard. Her award winning songs chronicle the joys and sorrows of a colorful tapestry still being woven…She conveys love and a depth of concern for the ever-increasing threats to our world and to our own individual rights. All this is related to the audience through a brave, though humorous and earthy connection between the world of musical performance and that of the social “bard” or “troubadour” from which the most powerful and relevant strand of folk music derives it’s roots. It’s not an act. It’s real.

For more information,  call 413-548-9394

Recommended donation: $10 to $20

emma’s revolution

Saturday – September 17 – 7:30 pm



Dancing on the edge of folk and pop, there’s a revolution: emma’s revolution. “Bold, profound, moving, hilarious and transformative.” The sound of passion in “deftly-turned phrases,” songs imbued with hope, warmth and the “power and drive” to turn tears into laughter, cynicism into action.
A motivating force in intimate concerts and mass demonstrations, infused with inspiration from the legacy of music for social change, Pat Humphries and Sandy O’s dynamic harmonies are multiplied by hundreds of thousands. Emma Goldman stood for everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things. Join the revolution.

Reservations are recommended (see reservations on tab above). Tickets available at Mt. Toby Meeting House Sunday mornings.

Suggested Donation: $20 to $30.  For more info, call 413-548-9394 .


Dave Lippman and Jay Mankita

Dave Lippman and Jay Mankita

Friday – June 17 – 7:30 pm

Audiences of all ages and hair styles have thrilled to the post-corporate comic stylings of satirical songster Dave Lippman. The 99% troubadour (he’s not yet complete) and investigative songwriter afflicts the complacent, takes the aidave w guitarr out of the windbags of the week, de-distorts history, and updates worn-out songs with parody and thrust. Sample tunes: All We Are Saying is End Corporate Crime, I Hate Wal-Mart, Alberta Tarbillies, Brother Can You Spare a Diamond, Sgt. Pepper Spray…

Specializing in passionate, comedic original songs and unsingable singalongs set to familiar tunes, he presents a swirl of multimedia images so no one will bother watching him grow older onstage. It’s a multimedia romp through recent generations of social justice activism, told through stories of glories, near wins, and windmills tilted at. Remember the hard times, fight for the better ones – in harmony!

Jay Mankita is a Northeast-based Americana songwriter and recording artist. A celebrated songwriter, innovative guitarist, and upbeat, often hilarious touring performer, who truly engages, inspires and entertains.

jaymankita028jpg_large_medJay has recorded 6 albums, performed in over 1500 venues, and has recently seen 3 of his iconic songs, “Living Planet”, “I Am A Dolphin”, and “From A Dog’s Stance”, in the new “Rise Again” songbook, the follow-up to the much-loved “Rise Up Singing” collection.

A unique and refreshing talent, well off the beaten path, yet still strongly rooted in folk and acoustic traditions, Jay’s songs move with positive grace, from the sublime and beautiful, through the topical and political, to the humorous and absurd, leaving audiences enriched and inspired.


BenSuePaul Kaplan

Saturday – May 21 – 7:30 pm

Sue Kranz and Ben Tousley have been bringing their uplifting voices and sweet harmonies to East Coast audiences for the past 25 years. With flute and guitar, and  original songs and covers, this lively and engaging duo offers heartfelt ballads, soulful love songs, incisive social commentary and a delightful sampling of songs from various traditions including Latino, Irish and Jewish.                   

Sue Sue Kranz has been much in demand as a vocalist and instrumentalist in Boston and western MA. A gifted singer-songwriter, she has released three recordings of original songs and covers and has often appeared with the women’s singing group Constellations. A world traveler who has collaborated musically from Peru to Nepal, Kranz has likewise brought her creative gifts to her classroom as an elementary school teacher for many years in Cambridge and western MA.

Ben Tousley is that rare breed of singer-songwriter who brings together the personal, spiritual and political in  concerts that engage and delight his audiences. A veteran of the Boston folk community, BeBenn has toured widely since 1981 along the East Coast, in the Midwest and South and in England and Ireland–from folk clubs to benefits for organizations, festivals and hundreds of churches, colleges, schools and libraries. He was the recipient of the Boston Beyond War award “for communicating a clear vision of our richly diverse human family through music.” Ben’s six albums of original songs on the Whole World Music label include wry storytelling, lyrical love songs, incisive political commentary and stirring anthems.

Paul head shot  Musician and songwriter Paul Kaplan has been an enthusiastic participant in  the folk music world since the late 1960s. Long associated with Broadside and Fast Folk magazines, Paul’s music is best known through his songs such as “I Had an Old Coat,” “Henry the Accountant,” and “Call Me the Whale”.  Pete Seeger said “I am a big fan of Paul Kaplan. I love his singing; I love his songs.”  Paul has been honored by the inclusion of his songs in two monumental collections produced by Smithsonian Folkways. One of his first songs, “Vietnam,” appears in the Grammy-nominated Best of Broadside. A second song, “King of Hearts,” is featured in Fast Folk—a Community of Singers & Songwriters. And in 2004 “Henry the Accountant” was included in Being Human–Readings from the President’s Council on Bioethics, along with works by Homer, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Dickinson, Whitman, George Bernard Shaw, etc.


Terry_Kitchen_Mara_LevineSaturday – April 16 – 7:30 pm

      Award-winning Boston contemporary folk singer/songwriter, Terry Kitchen, joins voices with acclaimed New Jersey vocalist, Mara Levine, at the Mount Toby meeting house on Saturday, April 16. The show starts at 7:30 pm. Recommended donations are $10 to $20. For info: call Diane at 413-548-9394.

      Called “one of New England’s best songwriters” by The Boston Globe, TERRY KITCHEN’s songs are portraits of ordinary people and emotions, captured with extraordinary compassion, honesty and humor. His new CD, The Post-American Century, presents ten sketches of American life, from the unhealed schism of the Civil War (“Tall Against the Wave”) to the Baby Boom generation’s looming mortality (“Sequel”) with forays into bluegrass , gospel and even pop. His 2009 CD Summer to Snowflakes reached #27 on the national Folk-DJ airplay chart, and was named Best Solo CD in Limelight Magazine’s 2010 Readers’ Poll. Kitchen’s songs have won the USA Songwriting Competition and the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and been runner up in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

      Folksinger and jewelry designer Mara Levine has been creating beautiful interpretations of fine traditional and contemporary folk songs for many years. She has an ear for both new songs and for classics that can be reshaped to sound fresh and new. Her second CD, Jewels and Harmony, was the #1 album on folk radio in January 2013, and she had the top two songs – “The Dutchman” and “When I Sing With You.” Mara was also named top artist for the month. The album features 15 hand-picked songs that touch on yearning for meaningful connections that will endure and on themes of hopefulness, rebirth, the support of friends and partners who stand by us, the joy of making music together, and the healing power of music to soothe and keep us connected.

“Terry Kitchen’s songs deftly reveal the human heart in all its grace and contradictions. When he and Mara Levine join their voices, the result is simply beautiful.” – Si Kahn



Saturday – March 12 – 7:30 pm

David Rovics has been an independent rabble-rousing musician for over 20 years. He writes, as generations of radical songwriters have done, both to and for the voiceless, the alienated, the dispossessed, and the marginalized.

As a storyteller, a participant observer and perceptive interpreter of contemporary social movements, he travels the world sharing his own take on history and the news, bears witness to the hidden history of ordinary people, and keeps alive the highly radical notion that art and social change need each other.

David describes his work as “political commentary that rhymes”; music critic Wally Brooker is less understated. “What’s striking about Rovics”, he wrote in 2013, “is his enduring and seemingly tireless commitment to the life of a radical grassroots troubadour, and his ability to bring first-hand reports of local struggles from around the world to each community that he visits.”

David’s concerns, like his career and following, are local and international, personal and universal. His latest album, The Other Side, reflects these preoccupations. Climate disasters and the inadequate political response, American politics and corruption, gentrification, harm reduction, the plight of refugees past and present; 2015 was a significant year, and this album documents, well, the other side of the story (the one that doesn’t make it to Fox News or even The Guardian) in a way that is both relatable and memorable.

Most importantly, he’s really good. He will make you laugh, he will make you cry, he will make the revolution irresistible.

“David Rovics is the musical version of Democracy Now!” – Amy Goodman
“David Rovics is a freaking genius.” – Eric Spitznagel, MTV
Find out more about David at his web site:
Suggested donation: $10 to $20.

Image result for david rovics photo




Saturday – February 20 – 7:30 pm

With a career that has spanned forty years, Magpie has traveled the globe, bringing its unique sound and breathtaking versatility to audiences everywhere. Award-winning recording artists, songwriters, musical historians and social justice activists, Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino always promise a presentation that is highly entertaining as well as provocative and deeply moving.

Magie performs various folk music styles, including traditional, classic blues, country, jazz and Celtic, as well as songs by musical heroes and “sheroes” such as Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Jean Ritchie, Tom Paxton, Buffy St. Marie and more.

Magpie’s songs touch on historical, cultural and social interests with a large selection focusing on Civil Rights and the environment. Terry and Greg’s sound is that of two very strong voices, one female, one male, in powerful leads and two-part harmony, accompanied by Greg’s virtuoso guitar arrangements, embellished by Terry’s second guitar, harmonica, mandolin and dulcimer. Theirs is a powerful sound, full of passion and fire.

The duo has appeared in national and international demonstrations and protest marches and rallies, sung in jails, on picket lines and churches. Their songs are used today in modern Civil Rights and environmental protection movements, especially Give Light and We Belong to the Earth, which are included in the new group singing songbook, Rise Again, along with six other of their songs.

Suggested donation: $10 –  $25

For more info on Magpie and their music, go to:
To listen to their songs:



dual instruments Annie and Peter


Saturday – January 16 – 7:30 pm

Annie Patterson and Peter Blood have co-created the popular songbook Rise Up Singing, often referred to as the Bible of Folk Music. The second song book, Rise Again, was released this year with 1200 more songs. They have played a central role in helping to create a quiet revolution of group singing in the U.S. in recent years. They have spent decades honing their skills as performers and songleaders in schools, churches, conferences, folk song clubs and festival across the U.S. and abroad.

In addition to traveling through out North America, the Blood-Pattersons have taken their songleading to New Zealand, Hawaii and Great Britain. They accompany their songs with guitars, banjo, mandolin, autoharp, African drum and pennywhistle. For more information on Annie & Peter and their work.

Annie has many fans who love her as a performer and recording artist. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University in Illustration, Annie has also worked as a graphic artist, illustrator and art teacher. Her illustrations will be featured in their upcoming songbook, Rise Again.

Her latest folk recording, Mountain Side, features stunning vocals along with haunting harmonies by the talented voices of Tracy Grammer, Katryna and Nerissa Nields, Mary Witt and Claire Taylor. This CD contains some of her favorite songs from Rise Up Singing. Annie chose songs that reflected her love for the old timey banjo, her Patterson family ties to the US Civil War, and her commitment to social change.

Visit their website for more info:

You can buy tickets (and copies of the songbook Rise Again at a discount) online for this concert prior to the show at:

Songbooks will also be available to borrow or purchase on the night of the concert.


Bev Grant with Special Guest, John Coster

Bev with guitar color


Saturday, December 19, 7:30 pm

This upcoming concert is shaping up to be an exceptional show. John Coster will start the evening with a set of original songs. Then Bev Grant will do two sets accompanied by Zach Danzinger on guitar and vocals, Annie Patterson on harmony and John Coster on harmonica. Put this on your calendar!

Bev Grant is a veteran social activist, feminist, labor singer/songwriter, “cultural worker” from Park Slope Brooklyn, where she has lived for over 40 years. She is the co-creator of a women’s labor history multi-media presentation entitled “We Were There!” has recorded six albums, including a companion cd for the show, called “We Were There!”, a solo cd entitled “IN TUNE”, a 7-song ep with her former group, Bev Grant & the Dissident Daughters, called “CHEEKY WOMAN”, two albums with her former band, “Human Condition” and her recently released CD with singing partner, Ina May Wool, entitled WOOL&GRANT.

She has appeared on numerous compilation recordings, including the Grammy-nominated Smithsonian/Folkways “Best of Broadside” album. Rolling Stone Magazine calls THE BEST OF BROADSIDE “topical songwriting [as] holy warfare” and “a grand tribute to a stubborn ideal” (David Fricke, Rolling Stone, August 31, 2000). “Virtually every important singer/songwriter of the American folk revival is heard on the collection…” Billboard.

Bev is an award winning songwriter and has used her music as an organizing tool in both community and union organizing, often writing songs for specific issues or campaigns and facilitating the creation and use of music by others. The most recent example is a song called “Take A Walk In My shoes” written for a domestic violence survivor’s advocacy group called Voices of Women Organizing Project (VOW). (Link to song and website – Another example is called “No Sweat!” and was performed by Bev and co-writer, Pat Humphries, at the University Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) conference in the summer of ’99. It can be found on Hands, released in 2001, by Pat Humphries, and on the 2003 album “Power of Song” by the Brooklyn Women’s Chorus.

Bev’s work is described in Sing Out! Magazine as “unhesitatingly fervent, unflinchingly personal and reflecting the diversity of a real person’s musings.”

In 2006, Bev won the Honorary BAXten Arts and Artists in Progress Award. The BAXten award honors “individuals in the arts who have revealed and transformed our creative world by instigating enduring change deepening the definition of their field and paving the way for others.”  Zach Danziger will accompany Bev on guitar.

Bev’s web site



John Coster

John Coster will begin the evening with original songs. A contemporary songwriter with deep roots in traditional music, John is an accomplished singer and guitarist who is also one of the best Celtic harmonica players. He regularly mixes hard driving instrumentals with his highly crafted yet edgy songs, that set the most personal stories in the broader context of social change. He sings with the authority of true confession.

John has headed up several bands, including Coster Welling and Walach, Jacob’s Reunion and the Medicine Band. He has produced six albums and is working on a special edition of his latest one, “Lost Horizon”, with CD, vinyl record and notes.
“A songwriter of unusual eloquence and sensitivity….” Boston Globe

John’s web site

Suggested donation: $10 to $20