Copyright © 2008-11 Flagpole Productions.

The Flagpole Radio Café

   is a lively variety show presented by Flagpole Productions™
in association with the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission

Flagpole Radio Café  Press Release


November 16, 2009

The Whiffenpoofs to perform at


December 5, 7pm - at Edmond Town Hall

Grammy Award Winning Dobro Sensation Stacy Phillips
returns to the Flagpole Radio Café Orchestra

Newtown, CT - the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is pleased to announce that the Whiffenpoofs will be the guest artists at The Flagpole Radio Café on Saturday, December 5 in the Edmond Town Hall Theatre at 7pm. Ticket prices for this performance are $15. Tickets may be purchased online by clicking on The Flagpole Radio Café link.

The Whiffenpoofs are a world renowned male singing group from Yale University. Each year fourteen of the finest male singers from Yale’s senior class are chosen to be members of this, the world’s oldest and best known male a cappella ensemble. Over 100 years after the group’s founding in 1909, the Whiffenpoofs continue their proud tradition of outstanding musicianship and exceptional entertainment. Each year, the “Whiffs” perform over 200 concerts worldwide. This year, their tour included Carnegie Hall, the White House, the Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree, and now The Flagpole Radio Café. Their diverse repertoire, which comprises everything from Yale songs to contemporary favorites, guarantees a dynamic performance for any audience.

Executive Producer Martin Blanco remarked, “I would have been a member of the ‘Whiffs’ when I was at Yale except that I failed to meet certain criteria. First I was a graduate student, and perhaps more importantly I was sorely lacking in talent. Bitterness aside, I’m thrilled to have this exceptional ensemble perform at The Flagpole Radio Café. Not only are these young men wonderful singers, but they are great showmen as well. This will be an excellent way to begin the holiday season in Newtown this year.”

The Whiffenpoof website neatly summarizes their storied history. It sais, “It was more than one hundred years ago on a frosty January night in New Haven, Connecticut that five of the Yale Glee Club’s best singers convened at Mory’s Temple Bar to escape the cold. Lois Linder, the tavern’s barkeep, himself a music lover, welcomed them in, and so it began. Of these five original singers, four were members of the Glee Club’s Varsity Quartet, a group that sang together at alumni functions. With the addition of a fifth singer, the group was able to improvise more complex harmonies to the old songs that they loved so well. Mory’s was a perfect home to the gentlemen songsters. The beer brought music, the music brought customers and the customers brought money. Their weekly meetings soon became a hallowed tradition. As their fame grew, the quintet needed a name. The word ‘Whiffenpoof,’ whose very enunciation reflects the atmosphere of levity which accompanied the group’s gatherings, comes from a line of gibberish delivered by a bit part in a now obscure musical. In the years since, the Whiffenpoofs have taken up the mantle of their forebearers.”

The Flagpole Radio Café is an ongoing variety show produced by Newtown residents Jim Allyn, Martin Blanco and Barbara Gaines, in conjunction with the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission. Returning to The Flagpole Radio Café is music director Jim Allyn, musicians Rick Brodsky, Dick Neal, host and guitarist Chris Teskey, and performers Martin Blanco, Barbara Gaines, Jennifer Rogers and David Wheeler.

Grammy Award winning dobro player Stacy Phillips will also be joining the Radio Café Orchestra for this show. After appearing as a guest artist last winter, Mr. Phillips periodically plays with the ensemble. Stacy Phillips has performed with top acoustic musicians all over the world including Bela Fleck, Mark O’Connor, David Bromberg and Andy Statman. Mr. Phillips is also the author and producer of more than 25 books and DVD’s celebrating various aspects of his chosen instruments. He plays with several ensembles including original songs and Americana with Stacy Phillips and Paul Howard Duet; American and Irish traditional music with Stacy Phillips and Joe Gerhard Duet; Three Finger Poi, a Hawaiian music and dance troupe; The Afro Semitic Experience, a six piece ensemble performing jazz approaches to the scared music of the African and Jewish diasporas; and The Swivets, a contra dance band.

Music Director Jim Allyn’s music roams the landscape of American roots, rock, country, blues and Celtic music. A seasoned stage performer, songwriter, and studio musician, “he plays a lot of good bluegrass too,” according to the legendary Bill Monroe. His intuitive songwriting and singing are matched by his freewheeling improvisations on guitar, mandolin, piano, and harmonica. A “mandolinist extraordinaire” according to the Danbury News-Times, he has performed with Arlo Guthrie, Bela Fleck, Chris Hillman of the Byrds, Newgrass Revival, Vassar Clements, and many others. His song The Colors recently won first prize in the Acoustic Alternative category of the 2008 International Acoustic Music Awards. Another original, We Got the Mo, has garnered rave reviews and tens of thousands of views on YouTube. He is featured on recordings by many artists, including Grammy-winning dobro player Stacy Phillips and singer/songwriter Terence Martin. With Terence Martin, he co-wrote and played on the title track to the CD Familiar Mysteries which is one of the annual CDs issued by the Garland Appeal in memory of Linda McCartney. Mr. Allyn is also prominently featured on the 2008 album Steel and Stone by the Connecticut based band Goldrush.

Newtown Cultural Arts Commission member Martin Blanco produces and directs the The Flagpole Radio Café. Mr. Blanco has been a stay-at-home parent for almost a decade. Prior to parenthood, he worked as an arts administrator, stage director, teacher and dramaturg for cultural institutions such as the Huntington Theater Company, Yale Repertory Theatre, Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater Center, Management Consultants for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Belmont Italian American Playhouse, Boston University and American University. He is also a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. His current freelance project has been producing and directing a delightful comedy called Irish Authors Held Hostage, which enjoyed a successful run this summer in the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, DC. Mr. Blanco is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

The Newtown Cultural Arts Commission was created by a town ordinance to stimulate, facilitate, coordinate and cooperate with existing artists and arts organizations in order to further the development of the cultural arts in Newtown. The Commission began its work in June of 2007 and meets monthly. The current Newtown Cultural Arts Commission comprises the following Newtown residents: Commission Chairperson Jennifer Johnston, Recording Secretary Donna Mangiafico, Treasurer Linda Watson, Martin Blanco, Emily Howard, Joseph Grasso, Robert Kaiser and Jennifer Rogers. Anyone interested in filling vacancies on the Commission or joining the Auxiliary Board should contact the First Selectman’s at 203.270.4201.


The Flagpole Radio Café will be performed on December 5th at 7pm at the the Edmond Town Hall, 45 Main Street, Newtown, CT.    Tickets cost $15. There will also be performances on February 6, March 13 and May 22.