Music, Music, Music

  • Visit North Central

Since you’re in Johnny Appleseed Country, when you think of music, you may think of toe-tapping fiddle tunes.

Yeah, we’ve got that — at the Johnny Appleseed Festival at Red Apple Farm.

Or maybe your thoughts turn to the oom-pah-pah of military band marches streaming from an old-fashioned bandstand in a community park.

We’ve got that, too. Check out the Leominster’s Military Band concerts on Tuesday evenings in Carter Park.

Perhaps you have visions of hits from the ‘60s drifting across a grassy town common or quiet lake on a sunny afternoon or evening.

You’re in luck again. Cities and towns throughout the region boast concerts by local favorites playing choices from German beer hall songs to Dixieland tunes.

For all those imaginings — and more —your trip through Johnny Appleseed Country will meet your expectations.

But wait! You haven’t heard the rest of the story.

Did you know this region is home to a concert series featuring musicians from around the world, playing historic pianos that composers like Brahms, Bach, Schubert and Mendelssohn might have used when creating their masterpieces?

Or that a 35-piece professional symphonic wind ensemble, presents free concerts on a church lawn in downtown Winchendon?

Or that a symphony orchestra has been connecting New England with great music for four decades, in the heart of Johnny Appleseed Country?

Historic Pianos

pianoIn 1975, Edmund and Patricia Frederick began gathering grand pianos by important makers whose instruments were highly regarded in their day. For a time, the collection was housed in their Ashburnham home — but it continued to expand, and eventually was moved to the town’s former library building. Today, the Fredericks maintain the Historical Piano Study Center for the history of the piano and its music.

The instruments, from 1790 to 1907, represent a period from Haydn and Beethoven through the French Impressionists.

But these pianos are not meant to be looked at and admired. Each spring and fall, the Fredericks invite musicians from around the world to perform in concert. The pianos are brought to the Ashburnham Community Church, where audiences can hear the music of great composers, as the composers themselves would have heard it.

Intrigued? Visit to learn more about the Study Center, the collection and the concert series.


music-concertWinchendon Winds was founded in 2015 by Jon Nicholson, Ed.D, a local music educator and conductor.  After retiring as conductor of the  Townsend Military Band, he invited musicians to join him for a series of summer concerts staged in front of the stately Unitarian Universalist Church in downtown Winchendon.

After that one season, Dr. Nicholson passed away, but the orchestra was able to attract a new conductor, Lucinda Ellert, to carry on his mission. Concerts have included Irish folk tunes, songs from blockbuster movies, and Latin ballroom music.

To check its schedule, visit the orchestra online, at


The New England Symphony Orchestra — previously known as the Thayer Symphony Orchestra — has served Central Massachusetts for more than 40 years.
Growing from a community orchestra in 1974 in South Lancaster, recently-renamed NESO has provided professional, as well as community volunteer and student musicians, the opportunity to perform in a full size symphony orchestra.

This spring, the orchestra will brighten St. Patrick’s day celebrations with a  tribute to the most time honored music of the Celtic Isles, at a Celtic Fantasy concert at Clinton Town Hall on March 18. Visit tickets.


And don’t forget the 40 area musicians who come together just once a year, as the Starburst Orchestra, performing at Leominster’s Starburst event in June!

Love music? Want to expand your horizons? You’ve come to the right place. Spend some time on a musical tour of Johnny Appleseed Country.