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


October 10, 2009


For information call 364-0898


Newtown, CT - the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is pleased to announce that singer and musician Katie Wilson will be the guest artist at The Flagpole Radio Café on Saturday, October 24 in the Edmond Town Hall Theatre at 7pm.  Performing with Ms. Wilson will be the celebrated acoustic string band Hoe.  Ticket prices for this performance are $15.  Tickets may be purchased online by clicking on the Ticket Reservation link above. If further information is needed, please call 364-0898.

Executive Producer Martin Blanco remarked, “We’re looking forward to Katie Wilson’s appearance.  She has a lovely voice and performs with grace and beauty in a variety of musical genres.  And it’s great to have Hoe back her up.  Our audience is already familiar with Hoe members Chris Teskey and Dick Neal, but they are in for a treat when they hear the full ensemble.  It will be a fun night.”

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.   

In addition to possessing an enchanting voice, Katie Wilson is an accomplished musician who plays fiddle, acoustic guitar and mandolin.  In September of this year, Ms. Wilson released her debut album. This CD comprises a mix of her own original songs, songs from Dick Neal and covers of traditional favorites.  Most of the tracks derive their essence from the American string band traditions of bluegrass and old-time music, but a distinctly contemporary feel informs much of the music as well.  Ms. Wilson possesses an unbound love for music and sings beautifully in a variety of styles including Reggae, Funk, Soul, Blues, Folk and Bluegrass.

Backing up Katie Wilson is the celebrated string band Hoe.  Self described as a “modern old time string band” Hoe came together in 2003 as the studio band on the first solo CD by Dick Neal.   Hoe quickly gained a following and reputation in Connecticut as the act with a fresh, original sound and an unpredictable sense of humor.  Hoe comprises Chris Teskey on guitar, Dick Neal on banjo, Stephen K. Miller on mandolin, Larry Deming on fiddle and Bob Csugie on bass.  All musicians are featured as vocalists as well.  Hoe is a favorite at popular events such as the Norwalk Oyster Festival, the SONO Arts Festival, the prestigious Cooperstown and Lyrics Coffee House Concert Series and Norwalk Harbor Splash Festival.  For the last six years, Hoe has hosted the wildly popular monthly Bluegrass & Beer jam at the Acoustic Café in Bridgeport, CT.

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.  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 Office in Town Hall at 203.270.4201.


The Flagpole Radio Café will be performed on October 24 at 7pm at the the Edmond Town Hall, 45 Main Street, Newtown, CT.    Tickets cost $15. There will also be performances on December 5, February 6, March 13 and May 22.