Performers


Alli Haber

Vocalist Alli Haber is a high school student and dedicated musician based in Boston. She released her first original song produced by Frankie Jonas in January 2019 called ‘Too Young’ and most recently she released ‘Alive’ (August 2019) and ‘Melatonin’ (February 2020) both produced by Jason Strong. Alli has toured nationally on the Boys Of Summer Tour, Piper Rockelle Live, Cash & Maverick, All You Got Tour (New England based) as well as performing at First Night Boston (2019 & 2020) and Countdown to Christmas in Celebration Florida. She is gearing up to release more music in 2021 and is eager to share her music with you!

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Boston Gay Men’s Chorus

One of New England’s largest and most successful community-based choruses, the 200-voice ensemble is celebrated for its outstanding musicianship, creative programming, and groundbreaking community outreach. Under the dynamic leadership of Music Director Reuben M. Reynolds III, the BGMC sings a wide spectrum of classical and popular music and creates social change by providing a positive, affirming image of the gay and lesbian community.

Prayer for Peace: To help us ring in a better 2021, Let There Be Peace on Earth by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson, is arranged by Hawley Ades and combined with the traditional Balm in Gildead with Litanies by Chad Weirick.

RELAX!: The chorus takes on Relax (Frankie Goes to Hollywood) by Mark William O’Toole, Holly Johnson, Peter Gill, and arranged by Chad Weirick. Recorded New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, the BGMC showcases their range of talents with this electric performance.

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Boston Guzheng Ensemble

Recorded virtually, five talented musicians unite for the performance of this traditional folk tune from the Shandong area of China. Founded in 2002 by director Shin-Yi Yang, the Boston Guzheng Ensemble has been the only guzheng ensemble in New England and received music awards including three times Youth Poetry in Silk and Bamboo, and Fidelity Young Artists Competition at the Boston Pops Grand Prize Winner.

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Boston Synchrony Chinese Percussion Ensemble

This high-tempo drum performance by Boston Synchrony depicts a huge golden dragon dancing in the sky with power and excitement. An annual staple at First Night Boston, the GBCCA has provided several wonderful contributions to this year’s show.

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Boston Youth Chamber Violin Trio

With some short holiday favorites, violinists Jae Min Ahn, Amber Hynes, and Forest Ma (L to R) are excited to share their talent with First Night Audiences. The trio from Boston Youth Chamber will perform a variety of holiday songs, as well some well-loved classics. Jae Min Ahn is a junior at Wellesley High School and has been playing the violin for 9 years and is also a tennis player. Amber Hynes is a senior at Boston Latin School and has been playing the violin for 10 years. She enjoys playing soccer and tutors elementary school students. Forest Ma is a senior at Worcester Academy and has been playing the violin for 9 years. He loves to fish and play badminton.

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Chester Brezniak

Performing Donald Martino’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Chester Brezniak brings his extensive orchestral and clarinet skills to First Night Boston, teaming up with standout pianist Yelena Beriyeva for this short and upbeat piece. For more than three decades clarinetist Chester Brezniak has performed extensively as an orchestral and chamber music player throughout the United States. Presently principal clarinetist with the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Brezniak served as principal clarinet with the Orquestra Sinfonica de Sao Paulo, Brazil, the Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra, Bridgeport, CT and was a member of the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra. The Sonata for clarinet and piano, written by Pulitzer Prize winning composer/teacher Donald Martino—reveals his passion and love for lyricism, virtuosity, and jazz-inspired improvisatory and rhythmic propulsion.

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Chu Ling Dance Academy

Ling founded the Chu Ling Dance Academy in 1998 with the goal of helping Asian-American youth gain an appreciation for traditional Chinese art and culture, and to expose the American public to Chinese culture through the medium of dance. She hopes this will inspire the forging of closer cross-cultural ties within the community.

Road: With original choreography from Chu Ling, this performance showcases the history of Asian Americans, who, through generations of hard work built their own community in this country.

Hope: With original choreography from Chu Ling, Zicheng Shang, Jaiyuan Tian, and Chu Ling perform this colorful routine.

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Dempsey Sisters

A sister group of three that brings a youthful twist to music through their original song writing. Their three-part sibling harmony along with their passion for the artistry of music delivers a unique blend. These sisters have enjoyed touring Japan with their performing arts high school and writing/recording original music in Nashville.

The past two summers, they sang the National Anthem at Fenway Park to sold out stadiums at the Red Sox vs. L.A. Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays games.

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The First Church of Christ, Scientist

Bryan Ashley plays Johann Sebastian Bach's Fugue in E-flat Major ("St. Anne") on the Aeolian-Skinner organ in the Extension of The Mother Church in Boston’s Back Bay.

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Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Society

Procession: Recorded in 2019, the Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Association Dragon and Lion Dance and Yo-Yo Performance helped open up the People’s Procession to Boston Common. The energy that this performance creates is unforgettable.

Choral Society: After a long and difficult year, the Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Society ensured it could gather for one year-ending performance. Recorded via Zoom, more than 25 members of the GBCCA Choral Society unite online to record Yueqin, named after a traditional Chinese musical instrument. The song depicts the homesickness and renewed hope of the yueqin player as he/she sings an ancient Tang Dynasty melody. 

Yo-Yo Troupe: Led by instructor Jason Wang, and assistant teacher Kevin Chen, the Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Association’s Yo-Yo Troupe has been performing at First Night Boston for many years. Showcasing the talents of both its beginning and advanced group, the yo-yo troupe performs an array of choreographed tricks and maneuvers.

Divination: This Taiwanese folk song is played by 15 performers, virtually united. Arranged by Chun-Ping Lee, Divination Tune is often played in temple and prays for a prosperous and bright future.

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Guardians of Isadora

Recently recorded at Singing Beach in Manchester-By-The-Sea Massachusetts, this performance pays tribute to the “mother of modern dance” Isadora Duncan, who revolutionized women’s dancing in the early 20th century. Performed by Vicki Halal, Rachel Assaf, Erin Tower, Alison Celimli, Jess Opie, Valerie Blancand and directed by Dicki Johnson Macy, this performance links dances to Schubert’s Waterstudy Waltz, Brahms’ Opus 39, #9, and Gluck’s Orphee et Eruydice with space, sand, and Winter sunshine.

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Kemp Harris

Performed at the Boch Center, Kemp Harris pours his heart into a few piano pieces for First Night Boston 20201. Harris defies categorization. He is a singer and songwriter, a master weaver of American musical styles. He’s an actor, activist, author, and storyteller, and an award-winning educator who has taught young public school students for more than 40 years. He began writing songs at 14 and recording them in college, using a pair of old cassette players to track parts, and has been delighting music lovers ever since with his earthy, soulful creations.

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Kim Tavares

This independent singer/songwriter doubles as a Boston Police Officer and has been delighting audiences for many years both near and far for many years. No stranger to the music business, Tavares has spent countless hours in recording studios, touring with several top 40 bands in and around New England in the ’90s and 2000s. As a solo artist and 19-year veteran of the Boston Police Department, Tavares has performed the National Anthem/God Bless America at New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, and Boston Celtics home games.

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Lori McKenna

Massachusetts native and Grammy Award winner singer/songwriter Lori McKenna brings her talents to First Night Boston by way of the Ghost Light Series, recorded at the Boch Center in 2020.

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Maddi Ryan

Joined by Charles Greenwood on drums and Alex Sennett on Guitar, Maddi Ryan returns to First Night Boston for another year. Having a passion for singing and performing since childhood, this Boston-based singer/songwriter always knew music is where she belonged. She has performed all over New England and beyond, writing and playing her original tunes and striving to deliver genuine emotion and relatable, truthful realism.

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The Makanda Project

A linchpin in the Boston Jazz scene, The Makanda Project features a 13-piece ensemble of some of Boston and New York’s finest musicians. The group has built its local reputation and following through its regular series of self-produced free concerts in Roxbury, which have taken place every year since the group’s inception.

It Takes a While: From a performance by the group’s special Multiple Percussion Edition, ”It Takes a While“ features three remarkable drummer/percussionists—Yoron Israel, Warren Smith, and Thurman Barker. Solos are by Kurtis Rivers (alto saxophone), Jerry Sabatini (trumpet) and Haneef Nelson (trumpet). The composition is by Makanda Ken McIntyre, the arrangement by John Kordalewski.

Caribe: Tap your toes along with the jazzy beats of “Caribe,” performed by The Makanda Project. The Makanda Project was formed to explore the previously unrecorded compositions of Boston native and important jazz innovator Makanda Ken McIntyre; they have been arranged for the big band by leader John Kordalewski. Caribe, features Yoron Israel, Warren Smith, and Thurman Barker on drums and percussion; Paavo Carey on flute; and a wonderful group trombone solo by Alfred Patterson, Ku-umba Frank Lacy, and Bill Lowe.

Why Not?: A straight ahead jazz piece with the distinct flavor of a Makanda Ken McIntyre composition, “Why Not” is performed by the Makanda Project’s Multiple Percussion Edition. It features solos by John Kordalewski (piano), Charlie Kohlhase (baritone saxophone), and Kurtis Rivers (alto saxophone), a drum set conversation among Yoron Israel, Warren Smith, and Thurman Barker, and added textures provided by Mr. Barker on tympani and Mr. Israel on marimba.

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Mandi Crimmins

Mandi Crimmins is an Alternative Rock artist from Boston, MA. She attended Berklee College of Music, where she received a Bachelor of Music degree in Songwriting and with top songwriters like Grammy award-winning artist Paula Cole. In 2019, Mandi was nominated in the New England Music Awards for “Pop Act of the Year” as well as a competitor in RADIO.COM’s “The Opening Act” to perform at the Hollywood Bowl. Her most recent release “Making Me Hate You” is an angst-ridden pop/rock single about relationships that blur the line between love and hate.

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Nancia

Nancia is an R&B artist who recently released her album "Heir to the Throne" executive produced by Jay Hunt of Smokehouse Media. She sang the National Anthem for the Boston Red Sox, performed at Six Flags New England, Summer Jam for Jamn 94.5 and performed for celebrities like Cardi B, Keyshia Cole, Ashanti, Young MA and French Montana. She is a 3x Boston Music Awards nominee for Best R&B artist of the year.

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Of Sea and Stone

Folk-Americana duo Of Sea and Stone was born in January 2014 when Luke Dierker and Morgan Manson matched on Tinder. Immediately exhibiting a rare vocal chemistry, the two began writing and playing tirelessly across their home state, Missouri. In 2015, Dierker proposed to Manson on stage and the couple married in May 2016. The writing continued and in the summer of 2017, the duo put their belongings into storage and hit the road full-time ahead of their first studio album. Their self-titled album was released in December that year, featuring the songs Mother and Father and Water Under The Bridge. The touring continued and the couple recorded their most recent single I Love You, Goodbye between cities on the road. I Love You, Goodbye, and its accompanying music video, premiered on Nashville’s The Boot in April 2019.

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Old South Church’s Pipes & Pops

The best of Boston’s brass and percussion artists join Minister of Music Mitchell Crawford in a supersonic program, presenting fun and engaging arrangements of popular classics, as well as a seasonal sing of “Auld Lang Syne.” Experience the "Sensurround" magnificence of Old South Church's mighty 1921 E. M. Skinner pipe organ—affectionately dubbed the “Copley Philharmonic Organ.” In repertoire designed to showcase its myriad colors, Minister of Music Mitchell Crawford offers a diverse program the whole family is sure to enjoy.

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On The Outside

On The Outside (OTO), comprised of Andrew Bloom, Dawson Huckabee, Devin Hayes, Jon Klaasen and Sam Jenkins, is a Los Angeles-based band that seamlessly blends their love of pop with organic influences. Formed in 2019, OTO has been best described by the press as “if One Direction had a love child with Dan + Shay”. Their unique vocal blend and timeless songwriting have helped amass an army of dedicated fans affectionately known as “Outsiders”.

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Paco

After a 37-year Real Estate Career as a CEO, Paco has helped audiences find more joy, peace, and meaning in their own lives through music and the visual arts. Paco has recorded well over 150 songs and released eight full-length albums, including his newest CD “Paco’s Oldies, Americana & Faith Volume II”, which focuses primarily on 1950’s and 60’s Oldies. In addition to performing “solo” and/or Cabaret-style with just piano, he now has his own six-member professional band (Paco’s Band) comprised of young instrumental & vocal phenoms, primarily trained at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music.

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Skating Club of Boston

An array of Olympic-eligible skaters and rising stars perform routines as part of the Club's annual tradition of participating in Boston’s First Night festivities. Traditionally filmed outdoors at the Boston Common Frog Pond, this year’s performances were filmed at The Skating Club of Boston's new, world-class training facility in Norwood, MA. The majority of the skaters featured will be competing at the U.S. Championships in January for the opportunity to represent the United States in international competition. This is a great opportunity to see some of country's finest skaters perform just for this special occasion.

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Sons of Levin

A band of brothers, Sons of Levin was founded by Connor and Dylan Levinson. Inspired by bands such as The Band, Phish, Grateful Dead and other classic rock mainstays, Sons of Levin offers their sound as an homage to previous great acts while delivering their own take on the modern jam/rock scene. In 2019 Sons released their first EP, played live shows throughout the East Coast and are helping to ring in the new year for their fans and followers in Boston.

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Sweet Harmony

Back again for another year, Sweet Harmony is the upbeat product of Hyde Park's Riverside Theatre Works. Boston's premier traveling performance troupe, Sweet Harmony performs a wide range of music across periods and styles. From pop to rock, and Broadway to swing, Sweet Harmony has become a staple of First Night Boston.

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Veronica Robles

Veronica Robles is a Mariachi singer by trade but has become a cultural icon for Latinos in Boston. Through the power of arts and culture, she has united the communities of East Boston and beyond by creating the city’s first all-female Mariachi band, and by raising awareness on the importance of diversity and Latin-American heritage. Co-founder and Director of the Veronica Robles Cultural Center, Robles’ organization helps support community action and economic growth in East Boston, offering Latin American arts and culture programs while also providing jobs for youth.

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Yelena Beriyeva

Highly acclaimed pianist Yelena Beriyeva brings a long list of accomplishments with her to First Night Boston. Performing Aram Khachaturian’s Toccata, Beriyeva has been hailed “the paragon of the concert pianist” by the LA Examiner and “a standout performer” by the Boston Musical Intelligencer. The orchestral soloist has performed around the world, and puts her heart into Toccata. It was written in 1932 and utilizes Armenian folk melodies and rhythms, as well as baroque and contemporary 20th century techniques.

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Zili Misik

All female, and 20 years old in 2020, Zili is a fusion of African diasporic roots music. With captivating sounds that evoke the African continent, Zili retraces routes of forced exile and cultural resistance through diasporic rhythm and song. Zili reconnects Haitian mizik rasin with siblings Jamaican roots, Afro-Brazilian samba, Afro-Cuban son, African American blues, jazz, R&B, spirituals & neo soul. Zili Misik honors its influences, creating a sound that is uniquely its own: New World Soul. Featuring Kera M. Washington on percussion/voice, Becky Bass on steel pan/voice. Ririka Tokoshige on sax, Kana Dehara on keys/voice, Nakya Westbrooks, drums, and Ksenia Vasileva on bass "No More Auction Block",is a traditional African American spiritual—now "zili-fied"; and "Praia," an original written about the beaches that connect all of us—including the city "Praia" in Cabo Verde, the ancestral home to many Bostonians.

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