A Talk with Keith Higginson, of Adam Sweet’s Mandolin Project

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Keith Higginson, 44, of Leominster, MA, is a member of the Monday night group mandolin class that is the basis for Adam Sweet’s Mandolin Project.  According to Keith, “I started playing it in my early thirties.  I have recently started to learn the mandola as well.  I never had any instruction before joining Adam’s group class a couple years ago.  I followed along through various instruction books on my own, and in the first few years played occasionally with my family.

“Since I was learning from books, I was learning the type of beginner music that you usually find in them, which is mostly old-time American and simple versions of bluegrass music.  This is more or less the kind of stuff my father played as well.  After a couple years, I began to find it very limiting.

“Playing in a mandolin orchestra really opened things up for me.  It’s been a deeper exploration musically, and has really improved my confidence and my basic skills along the way.  It’s so important to be able to play with other people.”


Adam Sweet’s Mandolin Project is always looking for new members.  If you play mandolin, or any other instrument in the mandolin family (mandola, mandocello), and can read music, you are welcome to join.  Please visit the Web site http://mandolinorchestra.org for more information.  If you are interested in taking lessons in mandolin, or any other instrument in the mandolin family, please contact Adam Sweet at 413-224-8600.



​What’s New With The Springfield Mandolin Orchestra 

2015 was a major year for the Springfield Mandolin Orchestra to be playing out, having performed publicly at The Arts Block, Porter-Phelps-Huntington house, UMASS Renaissance Center, and the South Hadley Town Hall, plus various community events and private engagements.  During that time, the orchestra performed Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Vivaldi’s La Folia, J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #3, Anthony Holborne’s Suite, and more. This year, the orchestra has been working on a new repertoire, which includes Mozart’s Flute Quartet in D Major (no flutes hired out for this piece), and some original works by Michael Bell and Joseph Marcello, that haven’t been previously performed in public.

After much upheaval with rehearsal and class space, Springfield Mandolin Orchestra’s Founder and President negotiated with the First Congregational Church in South Hadley to rent their facility for rehearsals and classes. A performance of the Springfield Mandolin Orchestra is scheduled for Saturday, March 4th 2017 in the Sanctuary. The Monday night advanced mandolin group class meets there, as well as Students of the Sweet Music Studio.  The entire mandolin orchestra meets there every first and third Saturday afternoon at 2pm for rehearsal. The orchestra is made up of group class members and area musicians not part of the weekly class. Members of a Providence, RI-based mandolin ensemble, L’Esperance, directed by Josh Bell, also perform with the orchestra.

The Springfield Mandolin Orchestra currently has bookings for private performances, February 12, 2017 at Loomis Village in South Hadley and March 25, 2017 at the Soldiers Home in Holyoke.   If you would like to book the orchestra for your private or public event, please contact Mr. Adam Sweet at 413-224-8600.

The orchestra is always looking for new members. If you play mandolin, or any other instrument in the mandolin family, and can read music, you are welcome to join. There is no cost to be part of the orchestra, just the ability to commit to the first and third Saturday of each month for rehearsal.  Please contact us through the website (www.mandolinorchestra.org) for more information on joining the mandolin orchestra or for taking lessons in mandolin or violin.

Photo credit: Craig Harris