Host Doug Sparks talks with Science Educator Metric Mark who is approaching Covid-induced homeschooling by showing parents and kids how to do simple hands-on science experiments, with only the materials they have on hand. Parents won’t want to miss this one! Click here to listen!
We are happy to present the winners of the 2019 Merrimack Valley Magazine Awards. This spring, the top picks in all categories were chosen by our readers via our online voting platform. Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote and congratulations to all the winners.
Live Music Venue
Lowell Folk Festival
Music lovers rejoice! This free annual festival kicks off at the end of July with three days of nonstop tunes. Along with music from around the world, enjoy craft demonstrations and ethnic food stalls situated throughout Lowell’s downtown. Watch street performers, let the kids run free in the family activity area and dance the night away.
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Merrimack Repertory Theatre has been Merrimack Valley’s professional theater company since 1979 and is an integral part of Lowell’s identity as the cultural heart of the region. The company is a leader in fostering and celebrating new plays, frequently producing world and regional premieres, as well as working with its national network of associate artists on workshops and readings. Acknowledging that artists are at the core of all creative work, MRT focuses on developing relationships with artists who are attracted to Lowell by MRT’s reputation for its commitments to the highest artistic standards.
50 E. Merrimack St. | Lowell, Mass.
This year, The Spinners celebrate their 24th season in Lowell as a Class A Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. Fans of the Lowell Spinners have watched many Spinners prospects climb the minor league ladder to become major leaguers. What’s more, The Spinners provide fun, affordable entertainment for the whole family. With a full slate of exciting promotions, contests and giveaways, every Spinners game is a memorable event.
Museums & Galleries
Western Avenue Studios
Western Avenue is home to the largest artist community on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. The 5-acre complex and its varied brick mill buildings host 250 work-only studios, 50 live/work lofts, over a dozen teaching artists, the artist-run Loading Dock Gallery and the Onyx Room Performance Space. Visit during their Open Studios events to meet the artists and learn more.
122 Western Ave. | Lowell, Mass.
Stop by next week for the winners in the ‘Milestone – Longevity in Business’ category.
The 2019 MVMAs are sponsored by:
A New Wine and Listening Room Opens in Downtown Andover
Chris Bachmann and Jenny Schneidewent sensed a need in downtown Andover as they put together plans for the wine and music bar that’s become perhaps the town’s hippest new spot for sipping and socializing. But what’s behind its name: Theory Wine Bar + Listening Room?
“It speaks to exploration,” Bachmann says, explaining how he and Schneidewent chose the name. “You have a theory and you do more things to explore it, prove it, and that comes with both wine and exposing yourself to things you may not have thought of.”
Theory is located at 10 Main St. in a 2,600-square-foot space formerly occupied by Bruegger’s Bagels. The wine and music bar features live performances by local talent and an expansive wine list curated from small boutique wineries. Bachmann and Schneidewent researched a few other commercial spaces before deciding that Andover’s Main Street was overdue for a venue like theirs.
“Andover is a commuter town,” Bachmann says. “If you want to see a show, you don’t want to go all the way back into the city. Maybe you just want to go 10 minutes downtown, but there was no place to do that around here.”
On a chilly January night three weeks after its official opening, Bachmann’s hunch was being validated. By 8 p.m., it was standing room only at Theory’s sleek wraparound bar as the crowd waited for the evening’s live act to hit the stage. The bartenders offered wine samples and made recommendations.
At Theory, you can enjoy small bites such as cheese and charcuterie boards, tapenade, balsamic tomato and basil bruschetta, and artisan chocolates from Ovedia, an espresso cafe in Amesbury. With more than 50 wine options, there’s something for every aficionado, whether they’re into ticklish Italian proseccos or earthy red blends from California. A small selection of craft beer and nonalcoholic beverages is available.
Bachmann and Schneidewent felt overdue for a change when they came up with the idea for Theory. Bachmann, a bassist since his high school days, entered the information technology field while performing and recording with the rock band Under Atoms (UnderAtoms.com). He was climbing the corporate ladder, but his daily commute from Watertown to Boston at the time, plus the managerial demands of his job, became too stressful.
“I was tired,” he says. “You only have so many days left on the planet.”
When Bachmann’s father — an Andover teacher for more than 40 years — died, Bachmann and Schneidewent moved to Andover, and Bachmann decided to take a year off from his career to determine his next step. Wine, another passion of his since the ’90s, served as inspiration. He developed a friendship with Redstone Liquors owner Kamal Ganglani, who would refer customers to Bachmann for wine recommendations whenever he was in the store. Bachmann took a job at the Andover location and continued to learn all he could.
Schneidewent, a Milwaukee-raised metal sculpture artist and licensed massage therapist, now oversees Theory’s wine selection and food options. She enjoys introducing customers to unique new wines.
“Our focus is on smaller wineries that don’t pump out millions of gallons every year,” she says. “As much as possible we’re finding wineries that are really dedicated to sustainability and the craft.”
As for the music, Theory showcases local jazz, funk and indie folk musicians on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. The goal is to keep the atmosphere on the mellower side so conversation isn’t compromised. Bachmann is especially proud of a sound system at Theory that delivers crisp acoustics without the need to crank up the volume.
When there’s no live entertainment, Theory keeps the music flowing via a custom built and retrofitted sound system created by Andover’s Holt Hill Audio. Nestled among the vintage speakers, which are precisely stacked like giant Tetris pieces at the back of the stage, patrons will find a turntable and vinyl records for their listening enjoyment.
“You can come, take your time, enjoy the wine, and listen to the music without rushing through a meal and worrying that you have to leave,” Bachmann says. “We’d rather have people come and sit for a couple of hours, hang out and enjoy themselves.”
If you are a wine lover, audiophile or both, check their online calendar for upcoming tastings and live music events.
Theory Wine Bar + Listening Room
( Editor’s note: Theory closed for business in September 2019 )