High-profile dads to jazz up Barbieri

Last month, Victor Mendoza played at the prestigious Blue Note in New York, followed up with a high-profile gig in San Francisco, and polished off the month with a show at Scullers in Cambridge. Now the Latin jazz vibraphonist is set to take the stage at the auditorium of Framingham's Barbieri Elementary School.

No, Mendoza's much-lauded career is not in a downslide. Rather, like the other motivated dads with students at Barbieri, he's just doing what he can to help out. So who are the other fathers joining him this Saturday for a benefit concert for the school? That would be Grammy Award-winning percussionist Eguie Castrillo and Latin jazz saxophonist Willie Sordillo.

Call it a harmonic convergence. Last school year, when the city merged the bilingual immersion programs at Brophy and Barbieri elementary schools, all three musicians wound up with children at Barbieri. So, logically, they put on a welcome concert for parents from the newly combined schools.

That show went over so well, they're back this weekend, and this time the public is invited. ''Last year was really a thrill. These are superb musicians who are among the top people in the world at what they do," says Sordillo, noting that Castrillo is a disciple of salsa legend Tito Puente and has recorded with music heavyweights ranging from Cuban trumpet master Arturo Sandoval to soul-pop artist Steve Winwood.

Meanwhile, Sordillo's own reputation is none too shabby. His albums have placed in Billboard Magazine's top 10 for world music recordings, and he's a multiple Boston Music Award winner.

This weekend's show promises energetic, rhythmic, sophisticated, and mostly improvised Latin jazz. ''It's not a dance concert, but if people get up to dance, we are not offended. You really can't help it," says Mendoza, who along with Castrillo teaches at Berklee College of Music.

Proceeds will benefit general programs at the school, and both Mendoza and Sordillo are quick to point out that many Barbieri parents likewise volunteer their time for school events like yard sales.

''It's just a fantastic school. As a parent, you can't help but be excited about it," says Mendoza. ''The kids are getting educated in a second language. They're learning about math, science, the arts, in both Spanish and English. They have a much broader perspective."

Latin Jazz Night is 7 p.m. Saturday at the Barbieri School, 100 Dudley Road, Framingham. Tickets are $10 at the door. This event is intended for adults. Call 508-626-9188.

DARING TRIO IN 'ALICE'S ADVENTURES' -- As if Alice's romp through Wonderland wasn't fantastical enough, three daring actors from the Franklin Performing Arts Company are performing the comedy ''Alice and Her Adventures in Wonderland" all by themselves this weekend.

In this original adaptation of Lewis Carroll's works, 12-year-old Katie Ryan of Millville plays Alice. And every other character from the Cheshire Cat to the Mock Turtle will be performed by Nick Paone and Kellie Stamp, both teachers at the Franklin School for the Performing Arts.

''We reinvented everything," says Paone, who lives in Franklin. ''I don't want to give anything away, but this will be different than anything anyone has experienced before. It's not going to be traditional in any sense."

Paone did divulge that the production includes lightning-fast costume changes, a good dose of slapstick, and magic.

Otherwise, he ''just went out and spent a good amount of money on sports equipment that the audience will definitely get to use," he teases. Oh, and, he warns, ''just don't come in your Sunday best."

The show's star, Katie Ryan, ''is quite a little wunderkind," says Paone. ''She's a bundle of energy and very talented. I have a feeling she will continue to further herself in the theater, because she definitely has the ability and, sadly," he jokes, ''the desire."

Stamp, also a Franklin resident, teaches tap dance, jazz, pre-ballet, and acting.

Paone himself made the jump from an acting career in New York City to Franklin four years ago. ''It was quite the culture shock," he admits.

Paone toured nationally with the respected children's theater company TheatreWorks USA as the Big Bad Wolf. ''Boy, that's not as glamorous as you think professional acting is going to be when you're growing up," he says.

So when the Franklin school invited Paone to fill in as an acting teacher for one year, he agreed. Luckily, four years later this creative talent has no plans to leave. Besides, with a show like ''Alice" in the works, he couldn't possibly find time to pack even if he did.

''Alice and Her Adventures in Wonderland" runs Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at Franklin School for the Performing Arts, 38 Main St., Franklin. Tickets are $5. Call 508-528-8668.

INTIMATE PORTRAITS -- When photographer Ranee Palone Flynn placed a classified ad looking for models, the response was overwhelming. Numerous people near her home of Wenham were not only eager to pose, they invited her into their homes and their lives. They wanted to share not only their images but their stories.

''They chose where they would be photographed and what they would be wearing. It was really the image that they wanted to put forth," says Katherine French, director of the Danforth Museum in Framingham.

What resulted is a series of portraits striking for their intimacy and luminous natural light. In poses that recall 19th-century portraiture, individuals pose in modern scenes: a teenage girl gazes sadly from a sofa, a young man looks fervently away from his piano bench, and another seems to contemplate life as he lies sprawled on his bed.

So struck was the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston by this self-taught photographer's work that in 2003 they awarded her the Maud Morgan Prize and a solo exhibition. French, too, is a fan and invited Flynn for her current solo show at the Danforth, which runs through July 17.

The museum's biennial New England Photography exhibition runs concurrently. This show, curated by Leslie Brown of the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University and Blake Fitch, executive director of the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, features 57 photographs by 33 photographers, chosen from 640 submissions.

The exhibition offers something for every ilk of photography fan, from nature scenes, to poignant life snapshots, to multimedia works. ''It's an amazing group of artists, and this particular show is very tight," says French. ''Many chose to focus on home or family. Instead of a scattershot collection of images that tell a series of short stories, they've created one long essay."

''New England Photography 2005" and ''Photographs by Ranee Palone Flynn" run through July 17 at the Danforth Museum of Art, 123 Union Ave., Framingham. Admission is $5, or $4 for students/seniors. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Call 508-620-0050 or visit

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