1950s-style singer takes stage at Colonial Inn in Concord

Janice Dompke performs Saturday night at Concord's Colonial Inn.
Janice Dompke performs Saturday night at Concord's Colonial Inn.

Janice Dompke describes herself as “an ’80s girl,” but that’s only in reference to her formative decade, not her musical proclivities.

Though she was raised in the 1980s, the Berkshires-based vocalist has always loved singing the tunes of the 1930s and ’40s, and more recently added the ’50s and ’60s to her repertoire.

On Saturday, Dompke will appear at Concord’s Colonial Inn, along with the Workingman’s Band, to perform a musical tribute to rock and pop icons of the 1950s and 1960s, including Patsy Cline, Peggy Lee, the Shirelles, and Etta James.


As a child growing up on a small farm in Wisconsin, Dompke listened to her parents’ collection of music from the ’30s and ’40s. First she’d listen to the songs on a broken ­record player that her father taught her to operate using a sewing needle; then she’d sing those same songs to her favorite audience, a cow named ­Avora.

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“It was my job to milk this particular cow,” Dompke explained. “And my uncle once told me that if you sing to a cow, she’ll let her milk down. I’m convinced that cow had perfect pitch. If I got off-key — on purpose, just to see what she’d do, or by accident — she would turn and glare at me.”

For years, the songs her parents introduced her to were the ones with which she remained.

“I drove my college roommates nuts listening to big-band music,” Dompke said.

But when she moved from the Midwest to Western Massachusetts in 1999, she discovered that gigs for 1940s-era bands were hard to come by. Instead, she found work with a popular 1950s-style band, Shakin’ All Over, as their lead singer.


“I never expected to be singing this kind of music, and it took me a little while, but I started to really enjoy it,” she said. “It’s sassy and fun.”

She also sometimes performs a Patsy Cline tribute program. Recent gigs have taken her everywhere from the Lake Champlain area to Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun casino.

Saturday will be her first visit to the Colonial Inn, at 48 Monument Square in Concord, but Dompke said she is looking forward to performing with the Workingman’s Band, who play in the inn’s Village Forge Tavern venue often.

“I respect their musicality very much,” she said.

The performance runs from 8 to 11 p.m., with no cover charge. For more information, call 978-369-9200 or go to www.concordscolonialinn.com.


VISUAL COLLABORATION: “Ruby and Friends: The Second Annual Art Exhibition,” a show curated and hosted by photographers Pamela Ruby Russell (inset) of Norfolk and Medfield resident Janet Casey, presents the work of 25 photographers and painters, including artists from Medfield, Franklin, Holliston, Medway, and Norfolk.

The show is continuing through Nov. 30 at the Norfolk Public Library, 139 Main St. An artists’ reception will be held on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m.

For exhibit hours or more information, call 508-528-3380 or visit the library’s website, ­library.virtualnorfolk.org.

JURY’S VERDICT: The Friends of the Marlborough Public Library will open the group’s 41st annual Regional Juried Art Exhibition on Tuesday, with an artists reception set for 6 to 8 p.m. at the library, 39 West Main St.

The display will be open through Nov. 18. For gallery hours and more information, go to www.mpl-friends.org.

Menorah CONTEST: The Chabad Jewish Center of Needham, in partnership with Parametric Technology Corp., hosts its annual menorah design contest, in which participants create virtual menorahs using Parametric software.

The most creative and original outdoor entry will be set up on the town common during Hanukkah.

For details on the competition and to enter, go online to www.chabadjewishcenter.us .

JAZZ FUSION: The fall concert series on Middlesex Community College’s Bedford campus continues with the Marc Rossi Group performing original jazz with Indian and Latin influences at 8 p.m. Friday in the performance space in Building 6, 591 Springs Road

For information about the free concert, call 781-280-3923.

PLAYING MAHLER: Lexington Symphony performs Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Cary Hall, 1605 Mass. Ave. in Lexington.

A conductor’s talk by Jonathan McPhee precedes the concert at 7 p.m.

Tickets range from $30 to $50 ($20 for students) and are available at 781-523-9009 or at www.lexingtonsymphony.org.

PATRIOTIC CONCERT: The Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra, based in Milford, launches its 13th season Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with the program “Let Freedom Ring,” in celebration of the United States and democracy with a special tribute to our nation’s veterans and members of our Armed Forces.

The season will continue with four more Saturday evening performances and one Sunday afternoon matinee in Milford Town Hall’s Grand Ballroom, 52 Main St.

Tickets are $39 ($29 for students and seniors). For details, call 508-478-5924 or go to www.claflinhill.org.

THEATER CLASSIC: The Concord Players will continue its production of the 1948 Tony Award-winner “Mister Roberts,” the story of a restless crew aboard a Navy cargo vessel idling in the South Pacific, at 8 p.m. Friday, with the run continuing through Nov. 17 at 51 Walden St. in Concord.

Tickets are $20. For performance times or to order tickets, call 978 369-2990 or go to www.concordplayers.org.

APPRECIATING HENDRIX: Arlington Community Education and the Regent Theatre present “Hendrix at 70,” a panel discussion on the art and short life of electric guitarist Jimi Hendrix, on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Arlington High School Media Center, 869 Massachusetts Ave.

The panelists are music journalist Steve Morse; Hendrix scholar and Worcester Polytechnic Institute professor Joel J. Brattin; and radio personality Carter Alan. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by calling 781-316-3568; by going to www.arlingtoncommunityed.org; or at the door.

Send ideas to nancyswest@ gmail.com. Please put the date of the event in the subject line.