Musical birthday bash for Boaz at Katharine Cornell Theatre

Daytrippers Shelagh Smilie and Boaz Kirschenbaum will play at the Katharine Cornell Theatre, in celebration of Mr. Kirschenbaum's birthday. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

Martha’s Vineyard musician and piano tuner Boaz Kirschenbaum is giving the Island a free mini-music festival for his 40th birthday on Saturday, Feb. 1.

A supergroup of eight local professional musicians, all Deadheads, will headline the show, performing songs from the Grateful Dead’s live album Europe ’72.

“There will be two drummers, backup singers. It will be a lot like the real Dead,” Mr. Kirschenbaum said. He will play the Jerry Garcia role on guitar. “No one has really heard me play like that. It’s been a closet passion of mine and of course having Mike Benjamin on guitar as well will be fun. We always have fun playing together. I have always wanted to perform this music, so this will be a dream for me if we pull it off.”

The Flying Elbows, Jellybone Rivers, Nina Violet, the Island Beatles tribute band The Daytrippers, among others will join the festivities. Special guests Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School freshmen Tessa Whitaker and Liam Weiland will sing with Liam’s dad Brian Weiland, Oak Bluffs School music teacher, on guitar.

All ages are welcome. The performing musicians are all friends or clients of Mr. Kirschenbaum. “I thought it would be cool as a thank you to the community and all my friends to put on a concert,” he said. “Everyone I asked to play said ‘Where do I show up?’ and ‘What do you want to play?’”

Mr. Kirschenbaum also plays with The Daytrippers. “I used to play professionally, but now I have my tuning business,” he said. “I really wanted to see if I could put on a concert for the community that was a real professional concert but with no money involved. All tech people and musicians are donating their time for rehearsals and for the concert.”

He said he wants to use the concert as a way to raise public awareness about the need for musical instrument maintenance at the Vineyard’s  schools as well as their need for musical materials. He also plans to mention the Island-wide string program at the concert. Concert-goers will be given a chance to donate to the music programs, but he said that no one has to donate to come to the concert.

The musicians filling the roles of the 1970s Grateful Dead lineup are: Mike Benjamin and Doug Brush (Bob Weir – vocals and guitar), Boaz Kirschenbaum (Jerry Garcia – vocals and guitar), Pinto Abrams (Phil Lesh – bass), Brian Weiland (Billy Kreutzmann – drums), Tauras Biskis (Mickey Hart – drums), Wes Nagy (Keith Godchaux – piano), Charlie Esposito (Ron “Pigpen” McKernan – organ), and Shelagh Hackett (Donna Godchaux – vocals).

Free Pop/Rock Concert, Saturday, Feb. 1, 5 to 10 pm, Katharine Cornell Theatre, Vineyard Haven. Free.