2022 FOA

Our second produced festival took place on July 22, 23, 24, 2022

The 7th Annual Linda Plaut Festival of the Arts
July 22 – 24, 2022

20+ Performances – 4 Stages – 3 Days

The 7th annual Linda Plaut Newton Festival of the Arts will span many facets of arts and culture including several genres of music from blues to baroque, classical guitar to R&B, and opera to jazz. The Festival has served as a catalyst for the cultural life in the city since 2015 and has been a showcase of Newton’s talent and Newton Cultural Council grant recipients for many arts organizations and artists over the years. 

Outdoors at The Hyde Playground, 90 Lincoln Street, Newton Highlands
Outdoors on the Village Green, 1221 Centre St, Newton Centre, MA 02459
Outdoors at Suzuki School of Newton,  1615 Beacon Street, Waban
Inside at The Allen House Center for the Arts, 35 Webster Street, West Newton

Festival Chair and Producer: Christopher Pitts

Performance Schedule

FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2022

Hyde Playground, Newton Highlands

6:30pm  New Philharmonia Pops Concert
7:30pm  Instrument Petting Zoo
Dusk  Movie – Casablanca


Hyde Playground, Newton Highlands

2pm Blue Train Bluegrass Band
3pm Olga Lisovskaya, From Opera to Broadway
4pm George Russell Jr. Trio, Gospel Jazz
5pm Lydia Harrell, Jazz Singer
7pm Debo Ray & Her Allstar Band, Dance Party!

Village Green, Newton Centre

12 – 5pm  Summer Craft Market
 Circus Comes to Town with Circus Complex
2pm Plugged In Band
3pm Newtonville Books StoryTime with author Raul The Third
4pm Rob Siegel, Folk Music

Suzuki School of Newton, Waban

2pm  Austin McMahon, Jazz
3pm Hankus Netsky, Yiddish & Jazz
4pm  Crowes Pasture, Folk

SUNDAY, JULY 24, 2022

Hyde Playground, Newton Highlands

3pm  Thaddeus Hogarth Collectives, R&B, Soul & Funk
Ed Harlow & the Gringo Kings, Salsa & Latin
5pm Eli Cash Band, Rock
7pm Tema Siegel & Couch, Pop & Soul

The Allen Center for the Arts, West Newton

1pm Dance Currents, “100 years of Modern Dance”
2pm Yulia Musayelyan & Maxim Lubarsky Duo
3pm Newton Baroque: Alison Gangler and Andrus Madsen
4pm Nomadic Theatre Story Slam

Learn More About the Artists


Newton Community Pride welcomes New Philharmonia Orchestra for a fun, patriotic Pops Concert! The diverse program is full of light classical music, show tunes, songs from the movies and even a march or two! Free and open to the public this fun early summer concert is another opportunity to hear wonderful music up close and personal!  Learn more here.

Followed by an Instrument Petting Zoo.

 Have you ever wanted to toot a flute? Slide a trombone? Bang on a drum?

The New Phil’s Instrument Petting Zoo is your chance! Children of all ages (that includes you too, grown-ups!), are invited to meet and try the instruments of the orchestra. New Phil musicians guide you on how to hold the instrument and how to make a sound. The Instrument Petting Zoo is a fabulous introduction to all the instrument families! Instrument Petting Zoos accompany each Family Discovery Concert. After watching New Phil musicians and the young guest artists play, your child will be inspired to try the instruments on their own! Discover a budding musician!

Grab your lawn chairs, picnic blankets, and some popcorn —  Join us at dusk at the Hyde Bandstand to watch the movie, Casablanca!  Casablanca won the Oscars for best picture, director, and screenplay, and was nominated for lead actor (Humphrey Bogart), supporting actor (Claude Rains), cinematography, editing, and music. The American Film Institute ranked it No. 2 on its 1998 list of the best American movies of all time, and No. 3 on the 2007 revised list. (It swapped places with The Godfather; Citizen Kane was No. 1.) It’s the 14th-highest rated film by Internet Movie Database users. In 2006, the Writers Guild of America, West voted it the best screenplay of all time.


Blue Train coasts along the railway powered by a solid bluegrass foundation and vocal harmonies. Along the line, the band travels through distant stations ranging from Texas Swing to Parisian Gypsy Jazz.  Blue Train features Jon Pachter on 5-string banjo, George O’Connor on mandolin, Stew Roberts on guitar, Alison Smith on fiddle and Wendy Pachter on the upright bass. Get on board with this Boston-based band and speed down the tracks of pure entertainment as you ride the Blue Train!

Olga Lisovskaya is a critically-acclaimed singer, voice teacher, and director of Talents of the World, an international concert organization,  as well as Executive Director at Commonwealth Lyric Theater, an award-winning opera company.  Ms. Lisovskaya performs regularly at some of the most prestigious concert halls in the world including Carnegie Hall.  Learn more here.

George Russell Jr.’s playing is filled with passion, fire, soul, and, most of all, spirit. He wowed the crowd last year at NCP’s September Song concert series and we are excited to welcome Russell back to this year’s Festival. As Russell continued studying music in college, he discovered jazz and the harmonies that were used in jazz. Then, he began to understand what exactly he was playing, both in church and from his classical repertoire. In that period of time, George’s unique fusion of Gospel and Jazz was beginning to form. George is the Chair of the Harmony Department at the Berklee College of Music. Prior to becoming Chair, He served as a Professor of Harmony and Piano at Berklee. George will often refer to himself as “a drummer who happens to play the piano.” His trio features Wes With on bass and Sean Skeete on drums.  Learn more here.

Lydia “The LovelySinger” Harrell is one of Boston’s finest musical treasures. NCP welcomes back Harrell, after her lively and enjoyable September Song concert in Newtonville last fall. Her sultry, soulful voice and evocative songwriting have garnered her the attention and respect of the nation’s finest musicians and venues.  Jazz/Soul is where her heart is, however, Lydia has shown an unbreakable ability to mold herself into any musical situation.  Learn more here.

After bringing the crowd to their feet last year at the Festival of the Arts, Debo Ray and her All Star Band is welcomed back to close out Saturday night in the Highlands with an energy-filled soulful R&B dance party.  Born and raised in Boston, MA, Ms.Ray is a graduate of Berklee College of Music. Ms. Ray is known for her many collaborative projects, the namely International group Women of the World, Senegalese Afro-beat fusion band Group Saloum, up-and-coming Pop-Jazz band led by Hal Crook, Behind These Eyes, as well as many others.  Learn more here.

Prepare to be dazzled by performances of silks, trapeze, and lyra as the circus sets up their amazing acts on the Newton Centre Green.  You will say WOW!

Circus Complex is a performing arts circus studio dedicated to inspiring creativity, athleticism, and self-confidence in people – regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, abilities, and economic status.  Learn more here.

Plugged In Band is a non-profit music program committed to creating an inclusive, loving, and diverse community empowered to change the world. They educate musicians in a non-competitive environment and provide band and individual performance opportunities in support of the community and charitable causes.  Enjoy a rockin’concert from some  of their talented students Learn more here.

In partnership with Newtonville Books, NCP welcomes Raúl The Third, a New York Times bestselling and three-time Pura Belpre award-winning illustrator, author, and artist living in Boston. Vamos! Let’s Cross the Bridge was awarded one of the year’s Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2021 from the New York Times and the New York Public Library. He is currently adapting his World of Vamos! books into an animated television series with Silvergate Media and Mercury Filmworks. His work centers around the contemporary Mexican-American experience and his memories of growing up in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.  Learn more here.

Rob Siegel is well known in Boston folk music circles as an innovative songwriter who draws from his idyllic yet stressed-out middle-class suburban existence and produces memorable, intelligent, well-crafted songs. Rob has opened for Bill Staines, Vance Gilbert, Catie Curtis, Jack Hardy, Geoff Muldaur, and others.  Learn more here.

Austin McMahon is “one of the most in-demand jazz drummers in Boston.” Sought out for his versatility, he actively performs in an array of jazz and world music ensembles ranging from trio to chamber jazz and big band. He recently recorded with the Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra.  McMahon has recently performed at such iconic venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Dizzy’s, Jordan Hall and numerous festivals, concert halls, theaters and clubs throughout the United States as well as the Dominican Republic, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Finland, China and India.  Learn more here.

A multi-instrumentalist and composer, Hankus Netsky is co-chair of New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation Department and founder and director of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, an internationally renowned Yiddish music ensemble. He has composed extensively for film, theater, and television and collaborated closely with such artists as Itzhak Perlman, Robin Williams, and Joel Grey.  Learn more here.

Newton’s own, Crowe’s Pasture, staring Monique Byrne and Andy Rogovin perform original music and eye-opening covers that reflect a mutual passion, sense of discovery and celebration of life. Their tightly blended vocal harmonies are mixed with an expressive instrumental style that is best described as “a banjo-guitar romance.” Crowes Pasture’s style of escapist folk transports and connects listeners through universal experiences in their “skillfully crafted, emotional songwriting” (Chris Eastburn, award-winning composer).  Learn more here.


Thaddeus and his band have shared the bill or stage with such legends as Tower of Power, Average White Band, Fred Wesley, Bernie Worrell, Ernie Isley, Donald Harrison, Steve Kimock, James Montgomery, and Johnny Winter. He was one of 24 acts selected to represent Bose nationwide for launching their live music amplification technology. Collaborations include Grammy award nominee and reggae legend, Sister Carol. Before his solo career with the Collective, Thaddeus was the principal singer-songwriter/guitarist for Boston’s award-winning Heavy Metal Horns. His Collective lineup includes Grammy winner Mark Walker on Drums, Zac Rochester on Bass, Kim Araiza on keyboards and vocals, and Thaddeus on guitar, vocals, and chromatic harmonica.

The Gringo Kings crush the world of Salsa and Jazz music into an amalgam of sometimes fiery, sometimes irreverent originals and covers penned by the group’s leader and tenor saxophonist, Ed Harlow.  Originally inspired by the great Salsa groups of Cuba, The Gringo Kings has evolved a style of music that takes the swinging creativity of Jazz and broils it under the heat of Latin rhythms.  Learn more here.

The Eli Cash Band has earned a reputation as one of the most talented and hardest working cover bands in Greater Boston. Known for their marathon sets, crowd banter, and stellar musicianship, the band has a versatility that few can match and a song-list that features R & B, 90’s alternative, 80’s, contemporary pop, country, and much more. At a private party, wedding, or a late-night show at a local bar, Eli Cash will get everyone moving and singing along.  Learn more here.

Newton’s own Tema Siegel and her rising star band, Couch is back in town. After touring throughout the country NCP is lucky that she has time to make a stop at our Festival. Come on over to the Highlands and be prepared to dance as Couch closes out the Festival with their energy laced with catchy hooks and powerhouse vocals, Couch aims to reshape familiar pop tropes in fresh ways. The Boston-based septet infuses pop songs with funk, R&B, jazz, and rock influences. Their vibrant sound is further defined by the members’ personal training in jazz, a cappella, and musical theatre. Learn more here.

Dance Currents and Kathy Hassinger present “100 Years of Dance”. Hassinger taught “Perspectives in World Dance” at Emerson College for eight years. She was head of the Dance Department at Newton Country Day School from 1990-2007.  Mrs. Hassinger received a NULA (Newton Universal Legendary Award) June 15, 2019, for “committing her life to excellence by impacting her community through the performing arts”.  Learn more here.

Yulia Musayelyan & Maxim Lubarsky Duo

Soundscapes duo performs diverse music re-arranged and adapted for flute and piano, ranging from Baroque Era works to Tangos and original compositions influenced by Brazilian and Argentinian folk traditions. Bold, spirited, and versatile improvisers, Maxim and Yulia weave an intricate sonic tapestry of Europe and the Americas. This performance will feature works by J.S.Bach, H. Stamponi, P. Laurenz, M. Lubarsky, and Y.Musayelyan, among others. 

The Nomad Story Slam is a great night of true stories, modeled on the Moth Radio Hour. These Story Slams have become legendary in Newton featuring everyone from celebrities, politicians, to next-door neighbors. They provide the light, you provide the face and the story. The idea is simple – a community storytelling night. Come to hear the stories, or if you’re game, throw your name in the hat to tell a story. They should be approximately 5 minutes long, and have happened to you. Beyond that, it’s up to you – funny, moving, poignant, insane, ridiculous whatever you like.  Learn more here.


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