fb-pixel Skip to main content
MUSIC

The Wang stage isn’t too big for 9-year-old Louie Phipps

Louie Phipps, 9, has the stage to himself during a taping of a live performance at the Wang Theatre.
Louie Phipps, 9, has the stage to himself during a taping of a live performance at the Wang Theatre.Matthew Pacific/Boch Center

When Louie Phipps walked into the Boch Center’s Wang Theatre to record an online show, he had one thought: “I was like, Whoa! It’s huge!” the 9-year-old exclaimed. “I was glad it was empty.”

You might remember Phipps from a Globe feature in January. Northampton’s wunderkind singer/songwriter/ukulele player recently collaborated with grownups — including Grammy winners Chris Thile and Chris “Critter” Eldridge, Grammy-nominated producer Anand Nayak of Florence, and Northampton one-man-band Matt Lorenz, a.k.a. The Suitcase Junket — for his debut album, “Louie Phipps & Friends: We Are Together.”

That CD is now out via Louie’s Bandcamp, with proceeds going toward Sunrise Movement, and it’s led to Louie’s first big-stage experience.

Advertisement



As Louie tells it: “In the beginning, my parents were saying, ‘Well, you got invited to the Wang Theatre because of [the Globe] article — do you want to do it? I just said yes immediately, and then later, as I’m practicing songs, I’m like, ‘OK. Maybe this wasn’t so smart.’ Like leading up to it, I admit that was not a blast,” he said of the pre-show jitters.

“Then when it came to it, that was amazing. It was just wicked.”

The third-grader held his own for an unaccompanied mini-concert of three original tunes. “I don’t know how to put this, but I’m quite proud of myself,” Louie said.

Parents Gabe Phipps and Annie Salsich are proud, too.

“It was an out-of-body experience,” said Gabe Phipps. “We were as wowed by Louie’s performances as we were the space, and the generosity the team there showed Lou. It was unforgettable.”

Salsich added, “I got choked up, for sure, at several points.”

“You did?!” Louie piped in.

“I did,” she said. “It was so powerful to go from hearing this 9-year-old walking around the house with his ukulele, playing these songs in our living room, to hear them fill that massive space. The acoustics were mind-blowing.”

Advertisement



Louie hasn’t let anything go to his head. Has he mentioned his CD to kids at school?

“I’ve thrown it out there once or twice, but they don’t have a big reaction. They’re probably just thinking, ‘Oh this kid has a record. Whatever.’ ”

The nature-lover’s next goal is an album he’s going to call “Bird.”

“I tallied up all my songs, and I was like, ‘Holy heck! I have like eight bird songs and I didn’t even realize it,’ ” Louie said. “Actually, I’ve been writing a bird song a day this week. I have, starting on Monday, ‘Blue Heron,’ ‘Cardinal,’ ‘Harpy Eagle,’ and I’m halfway through a white egret song.”

“Louie Phipps & Friends is available at https://louiephipps.bandcamp.com. Watch Louie’s concert via Boch Center’s YouTube and Facebook.

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. She tweets @laurendaley1.