The April #SugarRiverSocial Hosted by Claremont Opera House

The Historic Claremont Opera House. Image Credit: Kenneth C. Zirkel. CC BY-SA 4.0. 

The April #SugarRiverSocial Hosted by Claremont Opera House

The April Sugar River Social

The April Sugar River Social took place on Saturday the 20th at the Claremont Opera House as a pre-show event before the Rob Zappulla 10-piece orchestra performed. This month was the first time Discover Sugar River Region has held a Social geared towards not only socializing, but also with the purpose to drive attendance to local community events. One of the main ideas in hosting a social before the performance was to encourage those (who might not normally have interest in opera house performances) to attend. 

Sugar River Social DSRR Table Set Up. Image Credit: Madeline Ferland.

The evening was a success. An intimate group of 20 mingled and enjoyed the atmosphere of the atrium before watching Rob Zappulla and his 10-piece orchestra. There was a decent crowd for the performance and so many were dancing in their seats! One social attendee and concert-goer reminisced: “I’ll just never forget hearing Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 live, back in the day. I feel like I’m back in my younger years right now, enjoying this glass of wine and looking forward to this music that means so much to me.”

Guests at the Sugar River Social. Image Credit: Madeline Ferland.

The Opera House was very generous in working with Discover Sugar River Region to ensure that this social was an exclusive event yet still accessible for those interested, especially with the perks offered. Securing tickets for this exclusive event was a simple process: the first 30 tickets sold on the Claremont Opera House’s website came with special benefits, such as having access to a 20% discount by using the code “DISCOVER” during checkout, a coupon for a complimentary glass of wine upon arrival, and being automatically entered into a gift drawing for the chance to win exciting prizes from local businesses. (Who doesn’t love discounts, drinks, and prizes?!) The gift drawing was announced during intermission and the randomly selected winner was Rob Taylor – shout out to him and congrats! 

Sugar River Social Guests in the Atrium. Image Credit: Madeline Ferland.

Rob Zappulla and his 10-Piece Orchestra

Rob Zappulla is a talented musician and bandleader known for his work in celebrating the music of Herb Alpert and Sergio Mendes. Zappulla leads a 10-piece orchestra that pays tribute to the iconic sounds of these two legendary artists.

Rob Zappulla and his 10-Piece Orchestra on Stage. Image Credit: Madeline Ferland.

Herb Alpert, a renowned trumpeter, and Sergio Mendes, a celebrated Brazilian musician, left their mark with their distinct styles and innovative compositions. Alpert is famous for his work with the Tijuana Brass, blending elements of jazz, Latin, and pop. Mende is known for his fusion of Brazilian rhythms with jazz and pop, creating a sound that became popular worldwide.

Zappulla aims to capture the essence of these musical pioneers. He and his orchestra bring their vibrant melodies and infectious rhythms to life on stage. The talented ensemble delighted the audience with nostalgic favorites and fresh interpretations. Through their performance, Zappulla and his orchestra paid homage to the legacy of Herb Alpert and Sergio Mendes. 

Rob Zappulla is not only a wonderful musician – he also has a sense of humor and a tremendous storytelling ability. He talked about his Italian grandfather at 16 years old right off the boat at Ellis Island. Grandfather Zuppulla was a hard worker and had a drive to become an American citizen. Since he was so new to America, he told the observing judge about his nerves and how badly he wanted to pass the test. The judge looked at him and said in a strong Italian accent, “Dont-a you-a worry, you’ll-a be fine-a.” The crowd erupted in laughter and applause. Zappulla then dedicated the following song to his grandfather and family and began to jam. 

All About the Claremont Opera House

The Claremont Opera House, located in Claremont, New Hampshire, is just one of two historic opera houses in Sullivan County (the other being the Newport Opera House). The Claremont Opera House is indeed an important historic building with a rich cultural heritage. Constructed in 1897, it is a majestic example of Victorian architecture and has been a focal point for arts and entertainment in the region for over a century.

The Opera House has long hosted a wide range of community cultural events including theatrical performances, concerts, operas, and gatherings. Its elegant design and acoustics made it a sought-after venue for both local and touring artists.

Claremont Opera House Historic Grand Drape Image. Image Credit: Madeline Ferland.

Over the years, the Opera House has undergone several renovations and restorations to preserve its character while also modernizing its facilities. Despite changes in entertainment preferences and economic challenges, the Opera House remains a cultural hub.

Today, the Claremont Opera House is an anchor for the region’s growing arts culture and district. The Opera House continues to host a diverse array of events, catering to a wide range of interests and tastes. These events include live theater productions, musical concerts of various genres, dance performances, comedy shows, and community events. The event space holds over 700 guests. The Opera House and the atrium can also be a venue for special occasions like weddings and receptions. 

Claremont Opera House Original 1800’s Painted Border in the Atrium. Image Credit: Madeline Ferland.

The Claremont Opera House connects the community and boosts residential pride as a platform for artistic expression and cultural exchange. Its significance as a historic landmark and cultural institution continues to be celebrated by patrons and performers.

View of Downtown Claremont From Opera House Atrium. Image Credit: Madeline Ferland.

Next Month’s Sugar River Social

Join us for an unforgettable evening at next month’s Sugar River Social, where we’ll be partnering with the Original New England Primitive Rendezvous at the Fort at No. 4! The evening will be a physically immersive experience filled with history, camaraderie, excitement and celebration. Not many people today have gotten to experience life from the 1750’s to the 1830’s.  That’s why this collaboration promises quite the unique experience. Stay tuned for more details to come on Facebook and Instagram!


Written by Madeline Ferland on April 22, 2024.