Grand Opening Celebrations for the Claremont Creative Center on May 31st & June 1st at 56 Opera House Square 

Claremont, NH, May 23, 2024. The West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts (WCCMA) is pleased to announce the Grand Opening of its much-anticipated new home: the Claremont Creative Center (CCC), located at 56 Opera House Square in the heart of downtown Claremont. The former historic and long-vacant Claremont National Bank building, next to City Hall on Opera House Square adds to the exciting revitalization taking place in the City and adds fuel to the expansion of the WCCMA.

Claremont Creative Center Logo

“We are thrilled to be opening this unique performance and creative community gathering space. We can’t wait to fill this intimate space with WCCMA’s trademark offerings of eclectic, world-class music performances and educational offerings, and to partner with outside groups to fill the space with community imagination. The Claremont Creative Center is the only venue of its type in the Upper Valley region and we are honored to be its stewards.”

Claremont Creative Center Interior

On Friday, May 31st, and Saturday, June 1st WCCMA and its key partner, the Claremont Development Authority (CDA), will host a variety of Grand Opening activities including a ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours of the new Claremont Creative Center, and musical performances featuring Bassel & The Supernaturals and the Grammy-winning Villalobos Brothers. As a thank you to the community, these event tickets are by freewill donation and open to the public, though reservations are recommended.

WCCMA founder Melissa Richmond comments on the story behind the Claremont Creative Center. “This grand opening is just the beginning. This weekend marks the opening of the first floor, and we look forward to a year of celebration and learning as we embrace our new home. Even in its first stage of becoming a Creative Center, with more to come, the former bank building is stunning. The smart blend of its historic beauty with modern light and linear style is a credit to the team behind this transformation.”

The newly completed first-floor renovation hosts a performance space, box office, lobby, and flexible classroom space. Conceived in 2014, the Claremont Creative Center Capital Campaign was announced in February 2020. After years of planning and fundraising, in March 2023 construction on the Phase 1 first-floor performance space began. In May 2024 the occupancy was awarded, and a successful soft opening was held with concerts on May 7th with Toronto Canada’s Polky, and on May 10th with the Internationally acclaimed New Inca Son. Enthusiastic crowds attended each concert with big smiles and dancing. The following weeks give WCCMA the time to complete additional features and repairs to the space for the big grand opening bash. We anticipate beginning construction on phase 2 of the project, including the roof, education, and artist space in late summer 2024 and continuing into 2025. 

Claremont Development Authority Chair Tom Rock enthuses about the project and its anticipated impact, stating, “After decades of sitting idle next to city hall, we are thrilled to see the former Claremont National Bank revitalized to become a vibrant part of the downtown creative arts and Opera House Square offerings. The Claremont Creative Center will draw people into the city, support the surrounding businesses, and grow our community’s economy. We wish our partner WCCMA the best as they open the doors to this long-anticipated addition to Opera House Square and advance the vitality of our City.”

Grand Opening Schedule of Events

Friday – May 31st

PREVIEW: TOURS, CONCERT, AND JAM SESSION

6:00 pm Claremont Creative Center tours (Location: The Claremont Creative Center, 56 Opera House Square, Claremont)

6:30 pm Bassel and the Supernaturals (Location: Broad Street Park)

8:30 pm Free ticket-holder event: Jam session with Bassel and the Supernaturals and the Villalobos Brothers (Location: The Claremont Creative Center, 56 Opera House Square)

Saturday – June 1st

CLAREMONT CREATIVE CENTER GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION

Location: Claremont Creative Center, 56 Opera House Square, Claremont, NH

5:30 pm Ribbon Cutting, Welcome, Special Music and Activities

6:30 pm Villalobos Brothers and Friends Concert 

Seating is limited on June 1st, reserve tickets in advance by visiting wcc-ma.org. Admission is by donation/sliding scale and students are free. Any donor or ticket holder for the weekend’s concert can attend the May 31st jam session.

The West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts was founded in 2008 as the Summer Concert Series at Union Church. WCCMA is a major contributor to the ongoing revitalization of Claremont, NH and plays an active role in enhancing the quality of life in our region. WCCMA’s mission is to bring professional music and arts experiences, diverse musicians, and equitable educational opportunities to the underserved and low-income communities of Claremont NH and the broader Upper Valley region. We offer more than 50 performances, classes, and workshops annually for free, pay-what-you-can, or low-cost, ensuring all citizens in our region have access to the arts and opportunities to nurture their talents. Our role is to bring great music to our community, and great community to our music.


About Villalobos Brothers
https://www.villalobosbrothers.com/

The Villalobos Brothers

The Villalobos Brothers are a GRAMMY-Award-winning family band, recognized as one of the foremost Contemporary Mexican ensembles in the world. With their unique fusion of Mexican folk, jazz, and classical music, they have captivated audiences across the United States, Mexico, India, Russia, and Canada.

Their music is deeply rooted in the traditions of Veracruz, showcasing a vibrant blend of Son Jarocho, Son Huasteco, and Latin Jazz. The Villalobos Brothers have mastered the art of crafting original compositions and arrangements that not only pay homage to the richness of Mexican folklore but also push the boundaries of musical exploration.

Notably, the Villalobos Brothers recently earned acclaim for their collaboration with Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, resulting in the Grammy-winning album “Fandango At The Wall Live in NYC,” which was awarded the Best Latin Jazz Album of 2022. This remarkable project brought together renowned international musicians for a concert at the border, serving as a testament to the power of music to bridge divides.

The Villalobos Brothers have graced prestigious stages around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Davies Symphony Hall, the Latin Grammy Awards, Montreal Jazz Festival, and the Ford Theatre in Hollywood, among many others. Their performances have garnered widespread praise, capturing the hearts of audiences with their virtuosic musicianship, infectious energy, and profound messages of love, brotherhood, and social justice.

In 2022, Ernesto, Alberto and Luis Villalobos embarked on their Symphonic Project, collaborating with esteemed orchestras such as the San Francisco Symphony, Sun Valley Symphony, Walla Walla Symphony, Yakima Symphony, and Sun Valley Symphony Orchestras. These sold-out concerts demonstrated their ability to seamlessly blend the rich tapestry of their music with the grandeur of symphonic arrangements, creating a truly awe-inspiring experience.

Throughout their journey, the Villalobos Brothers have had the privilege of collaborating with legendary musicians, including Grammy winners Bruce Springsteen, Dolly Parton, Antonio Sánchez, Regina Carter, Eduardo Magallanes, Dan Zanes, and Ana Tijoux. These collaborations have further enriched their musical palette and expanded their artistic horizons.

Following their 2023 appearance at the World Trade Center’s opening season of the Perelman Performing Arts Center in New York City, they were invited to showcase at ISPA’s 75th Anniversary and globalFEST 2024 at Lincoln Center.


About Bassel and The Supernaturals
https://www.basselmusic.com/

Bassel

Bassel & The Supernaturals tells the story of Bassel Almadani’s experience as a first generation Syrian-American using soulful melodies, funk inspired rhythms, and captivating lyrics regarding love, loss, otherness, and the war in Syria. They are making their national television debut in May 2024 as part of a new PBS docuseries starring Dule Hill entitled The Express Way, regarding the transformative power of the arts.

Echoing Stevie Wonder’s rhythm and blues, Jamiroquai’s social justice-centered lyricism over jazz-infused funk, and Steely Dan’s seamless amalgam of American music, Bassel & The Supernaturals evoke joy and thoughtfulness in diverse audiences throughout hundreds of cities across North America. In addition to performing in major festivals, performance halls, concert series, and clubs, the group works closely with organizations on events and residencies that build awareness and empathy for Syrian refugees and immigrants. Deeply inspired by Otis Redding, Bassel uses the stage as a vehicle to unite his listeners and share the story of his cultural duality. A substantial portion of their proceeds benefit the Karam Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on building a better future for Syria.

Their sophomore release, Elements (2017), was premiered by Noisey/Vice, generating impressive buzz with their music video “Lost,” a moving, tragic song about his young cousin who was fatally caught in the crossfire, a casualty of the ongoing conflict in Syria. This led to their involvement in the nationally-acclaimed SXSW 2017 showcase ‘ContraBanned: #MusicUnites’ featuring artists from the diaspora of countries targeted by the travel ban. They’ve since been featured on PRI, Al Jazeera, Reuters, Paste Magazine, Huffington Post, NowThis, and many others.

Bassel & The Supernaturals has performed in over 400 concerts and advocacy events between 2016-2023 on stages including SXSW, John F. Kennedy Center, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Summerfest, and Millennium Park, and supported internationally touring artists such as Youssou N’Dour, Aesop Rock, Emancipator, Brother Ali, The Dandy Warhols, Sinkane, and many others.

Upon returning from a service trip to Istanbul in September 2019 working with displaced Syrians, Bassel & The Supernaturals released their full-length album, Smoke & Mirrors, in April 2020. “Stepping Back in Time” was featured on Spotify’s official “All Funked Up” playlist and recently surpassed 550,000 streams. The band collaborated with TEDx Talks on their music video for “Calculated Love” featuring Chicago’s resilient youth in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then,  the group has released three new singles, including a music video for “Sandman” which captures the group’s recording sessions with Grammy Award Winning producer and engineer Jeff Breakey of Good Wolf Music. They continue to tour the country, spreading a message of hope through their music wherever they travel.

The band’s national television debut on PBS (May 2024) highlights Bassel’s story as a product of Syrian immigrants, challenges growing up as a Muslim in America after 9/11, and his profound connection to the arts as a channel to process his own experience while amplifying the voices of refugees. Bassel & The Supernaturals also plans to release a new EP in 2024.


Claremont Creative Center Partners:

NH Community Finance Development Authority

US Department of Agriculture

Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation

BioXCell

Timken Foundation of Canton, OH

Our Kids Commission of the Episcopal Church of NH

Chinberg Properties

Crown Point Cabinetry

Claremont Financial Services

T-Mobile

Novo Nordisk

Couch Foundation

NH Charitable Foundation

Mascoma Bank

AB Gile, A division of the Rowley Agency

Bar Harbor Bank

Casella Waste Solutions

Claremont Glassworks

Clearwater Performance Group

Sugar River Bank

Century 21 Highview Realty

LaValley Building Supply

Hypertherm HOPE Foundation

Claremont Savings Bank Foundation

Union-St.Luke’s

Government Funding

NH Community Development Finance Authority

NH State Council on the Arts

Capital Regional Development Council

Northern Borders Regional Commission

Congressional Appropriations Funds presented by Sen. Shaheen

Soft opening week at Claremont Creative Center continues with New Inca Son

TOMORROW! Friday 5/10. Plus, save the date for the grand opening weekend.

Happy soft opening week of Claremont Creative Center!

Thank you to those of you that joined us, in person or online streaming, on Tuesday for our first concert with Polky! With a nod to the Polish community roots by they awesome Canadian group they gave us a truly memorable night. Dancing, community, friends, and music – we are off to the perfect start. Thank you our partners in the Claremont Creative Center project the Claremont Development Authority for being a part of this innovative approach to creative communities development, and to our sponsors for this concert the Union Episcopal Church whose mission of community love is through music, and with support from the Our Kids Commision of the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire who are helping to close the opportunity gap for kids in NH (making music free and accessible for kids). Also a thank you to Clover Meadow for the Beautiful cut flowers arrangement.

We are grateful for your support and we look forward to seeing you at our next concert, which is, TOMORROW!

Polky at the Claremont Creative Center’s first concert.

New Inca Son

Friday, May 10, 2024 @ 6:30 PM
WCCMA @ CCC
56 Opera House Sq., Claremont NH

The richness of Andean folklore comes alive with New Inca Son, “proud bearer of an indispensable cultural legacy.” (Keith Lockhart, Boston Pops Conductor). Acclaimed in the U.S. and abroad for over 20 years, the group has performed its ancient melodies and dances on world class stages such as the 1994 FIFA World Cup, 1996 and 2002 Olympic Games, and the White House. In 2019, New Inca Son had the honor of headlining at both of our country’s Smithsonian National Museums of the American Indian, NYC and Washington DC locations. In 2015, the band performed at the Kennedy Center for the Arts and the Smithsonian FolkLife Festival, as part of a special tribute to Peru; and at Philadelphia’s Mann Center’s for an audience of over 4000 enthusiastic kids from inner city schools.

New Inca Son is a band with a mission: to preserve its indigenous heritage and to instill, particularly in children and young people, an understanding and appreciation of it. As such, our artists both perform and educate, offering hands-on workshops, interactive concerts, and residencies for students in schools, colleges, libraries, and performing arts centers nationwide. As recognition for its educational work, the band has earned the 2007 “Distinguished Arts Educator in Music” award from the Massachusetts Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) and 2009 “Gold Star Award,” Mass Cultural Council. Manager Marianne Ruggiero is available to help educators write grant proposals to NEFA toward bringing the group to their schools for activities which connect meaningfully to Music, Dance, Social Studies, World History, and Spanish.


SAVE THE DATE for our GRAND OPENING weekend 5/30 & 6/1!

Join us as the Claremont Creative Center celebrates our grand opening weekend.

5/30Bassel & the Supernaturals at the Broad Street Park

6/1 — Grand opening celebration with the Villalobos Brothers at the Claremont Creative Center

More info and tickets coming soon!


Did you miss previous concerts? Watch them on our YouTube Channel!


Thank you for your continued support!
We look forward to many great events to share with you in 2024.

See you at our next event!

Tuesday 5/7 — Polky & Friday 5/10 — New Inca Son!

Happy Spring!

We’ve got great events coming up soon, at the newly renovated Claremont Creative Center! We are excited to show the new space, with some awesome music, with you all!


Polky

Tuesday, May 7, 2024 @ 6:30 PM
WCCMA @ CCC
56 Opera House Sq., Claremont NH

Toronto’s Polky, led by multi-talented female musicians, delights audiences with joyful vocal harmonies and unusual instruments.

Join us for the soft opening of the Claremont Creative Center! Toronto’s Polky, led by multi-talented female musicians, delights audiences with joyful vocal harmonies, unusual instruments, and upbeat performances. Drawing deep inspiration from Poland’s rich cultural tapestry, they push musical boundaries by fearlessly blending Polish traditional music with sounds and rhythms from across the globe.

This event will be live in person and live-streamed on YouTube.


New Inca Son

Friday, May 10, 2024 @ 6:30 PM
WCCMA @ CCC
56 Opera House Sq., Claremont NH

The richness of Andean folklore comes alive with New Inca Son, “proud bearer of an indispensable cultural legacy.” (Keith Lockhart, Boston Pops Conductor). Acclaimed in the U.S. and abroad for over 20 years, the group has performed its ancient melodies and dances on world class stages such as the 1994 FIFA World Cup, 1996 and 2002 Olympic Games, and the White House. In 2019, New Inca Son had the honor of headlining at both of our country’s Smithsonian National Museums of the American Indian, NYC and Washington DC locations. In 2015, the band performed at the Kennedy Center for the Arts and the Smithsonian FolkLife Festival, as part of a special tribute to Peru; and at Philadelphia’s Mann Center’s for an audience of over 4000 enthusiastic kids from inner city schools.

New Inca Son is a band with a mission: to preserve its indigenous heritage and to instill, particularly in children and young people, an understanding and appreciation of it. As such, our artists both perform and educate, offering hands-on workshops, interactive concerts, and residencies for students in schools, colleges, libraries, and performing arts centers nationwide. As recognition for its educational work, the band has earned the 2007 “Distinguished Arts Educator in Music” award from the Massachusetts Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) and 2009 “Gold Star Award,” Mass Cultural Council. Manager Marianne Ruggiero is available to help educators write grant proposals to NEFA toward bringing the group to their schools for activities which connect meaningfully to Music, Dance, Social Studies, World History, and Spanish.


Did you miss previous concerts? Watch them on our YouTube Channel!


Thank you for your continued support!
We look forward to many great events to share with you in 2024.

See you at our next event!