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By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
“Someone that comes here often has said, quote: ‘It’s the coolest thing to do in Westwood.’ So, yeah. Kind of a big deal.”
This was the way Hale Family Programming and Events Director Shannon Obey described “Live at Hale,” an acoustic, 21+, BYBOB concert that takes place inside of the Andrew Cucchiara Learning Center barn.
On Thursday night, June 27, an audience of over fifty music fans came to meet some interesting new people and listen to some unique new music.
Unlike many summer concerts, the performers at Hale tend to play their own, original songs. This is intentional, as Director of Philanthropy and Engagement Lorraine Sousa explained - she likes to bring original Boston musicians to the woodland locale.
“Live at Hale is a live music singer-songwriter showcase. It started as a thing for members to do at Hale Summer Club. We kind of did a spin-off in the fall and winter, and then we just continued doing it because it was so much fun. We have all paid performers - all singer-songwriters that do primarily originals with usually a couple of covers thrown in. It was really an idea of showing off people that might be someone you’d go see in Boston or Cambridge, and bringing them out to the ‘burbs.”To this end, the first performer was a singer from Cambridge who studies at the Berklee College of Music. Calvin Mausteller performed a variety of original songs, like “The Coffee Song,” “Mutiny,” and “Peace of Mind,” while mixing in a few covers from The White Stripes and Stone Temple Pilots. After he performed, Obey and Sousa grilled him with a variety of questions about his musical influences (the first album he ever bought was AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock”) and other venues in the Boston area in which he performs.
Next was Medfield’s Zack Bolles, who expressed how much he loved the intimate venue; the space only holds fifty people, but plenty remained outside to listen to the music.
“This is such an awesome music series,” Bolles noted. “I’ve only played once before, but I haven’t missed a show yet. I think there’s been, like, eight or nine, and I’ve been to them all because they’re so much fun and the staff here does such a great job setting up all the lights and the venue. They make a great night.”
Bolles played “Shoulda Had One,” a fun song which (whether he wanted them to or not) had the crowd loudly parroting “Shoulda had one!” back at him every time he repeated the song’s key refrain. Bolles told the crowd he originally envisioned the song to be a serious, sad ballad, but his friends couldn’t stop laughing at him when he sang it. Bolles rolled with the new idea and created a rollicking singalong that had the crowd laughing along with Bolles at his tale of drunken disaster.
There are a couple more yet-to-be-announced “Live at Hale” nights. Members of the community are encouraged to check the calendar at www.halereservation.org/explore/events/, and to make sure they don’t miss out on the event’s next installment. Whether or not it’s the coolest thing to do in Westwood is tough to say - but it’s undeniably a whole lot of fun.