BY KATHERINE LAZARUS
BRANDON –– After a hiatus, Brandon Music is tentatively back Sept. 4 with a rocking Celtic performance by Gypsy Reel and gourmet meals by Executive Chef Vicky Regia.
“We’re absolutely delighted to be reopening,” owner Edna Sutton said. “It’s really lovely that people are supporting us. We’re grateful to the Brandon community and beyond, and (our supporters) understood why we needed to be closed and now they’re back,” she said, alluding to their year-long pause caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Also, Gypsy Reel has its own following,” Sutton added, praising audience members who come not only for the small venue that caps at 50 people, but specifically for the skilled musicians that grace the stage.
Gypsy Reel is breaking the silence with their exciting blend of Celtic songs on Friday at 7:30 p.m. as the first performance since March 6, 2019. “We’re really looking forward to [Gypsy Reel] coming,” Sutton said. “Gypsy Reel has performed regularly, everyone loves them and it’s a happy occasion when they’re around with their high energy.”
Band members Graham Parker, Claudine Languille, Reagh Greenleaf, Camille Parker and Silas Hamilton are all vaccinated and, Sutton said, if people want to wear masks when they aren’t dining, they are welcome to do so. She added that staff will be wearing masks, but performers will not because there is enough distance from the stage to the audience and they cannot sing or play instruments with a mask on.
With over half of the seats filled by August 26, the venue is booking relatively fast. The space will look the same, though the food, served at 6 p.m. for a maximum of 25 of the audience members and almost full by Aug. 30, will be even more gourmet than before.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to normal, that feeling of this is what we used to do and seeing customers and musicians again — it’s like a reunion with good music and good food,” said Regia, who is known for using seasonal and local ingredients for her dinner creations. She has transformed the previous menu (chicken breast, pork loin and white fish) to this season’s menu of duck breast, pork tenderloin and salmon, hence the $10 ticket increase.
“I try to make the menu based on what is abundant that time of year,” Regia said.
Of the gourmet meals provided by Regia, Sutton had lofty praise, summing it up simply: “Vicky is a very special person and we’re lucky to have her,” she said.
With better-than-ever food and returning musicians, Brandon Music looks forward to a great start to their new season, though they are scheduling only a few events because, she said, “we are not completely out of the pandemic.”
“Our next concert will be on Sept. 18, though we need to manage it because we’re staying in touch with the department of health,” Sutton said. “We are not tying the schedule down; we’ll be filling the schedule in as we find people who can come…We’ve had performers from Brazil, but right now people can’t leave their country. But hopefully things will ease up eventually.”
While Brandon Music is delivering a dinner and show on Sept. 4, they will not return to their full schedule of one event per week right away.
“We’re going steady because we don’t want to disappoint anyone. One of the hardest things when you close is telling artists ‘we can’t support your performance,’ so we’re sensitive to that,” Sutton explained.
With a tentative plan in place and being open to change to respond to incidents of Covid-19, Sutton said she is just excited to be opening the doors again.
“It’s going to be a nice, vibrant start to the season,” she said.
Other performances to look forward to are Chelsea Berry on Sept. 18 and Twangtown Paramours on Oct. 9.