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Eliot Street Coffeehouse, a new acoustic music series at the First Church in JP, UU

Jamaica Plain music patrons embrace all genres, from classical to experimental and everything in between. Starting in November residents will have the opportunity to attend two presentations by the new Eliot Street Coffeehouse at the First Church in Jamaica Plain, Unitarian-Univeralist, located at 6 Eliot Street.

The coffeehouse is the result of a merger of First Church’s own “Eliot Street Soirée” series, and Jeff Boudreau’s not-for-profit “notloB Parlour Concerts”, presented since 2006 across the monument at the Loring-Greenough House.

“Eliot Street Soirées”, headed by Janna Maria Fröhlich, and a dedicated team of church volunteers, presented three concerts, Kombucha, a jazz trio, Fellswater, a Celtic quartet and John Muratore and Roberto Cassan, jazz/traditional Italian folk guitar and accordion duo. notloB’s history is a bit more extensive, having presented some 50 concerts at Loring-Greenough, its first being Sometymes Why (Aoife O’Donovan (Crooked Still), Kristin Andreassen (Uncle Earl) and Ruthy Ungar Merenda (The Mammals, Mike+Ruthy). Rushad Eggleston, Tristan Clairridge, Brittany Haas and Corey DiMario (all members of Crooked Still), Darol Anger (Republic of Strings, Turtle Island Quartet, David Grisman Quartet), Sharon Gilchrist, Lissa Schneckenburger, the Rowan Brothers, Tony Bird, Doug Lamey (which was something of a homecoming as his grandfather, Bill Lamey, owned a home on Greenough Street), Joey Abarta and dozens more performed there. See for the full listing.

“Loring-Greenough, with its 18th century ambiance and acoustics was a wonderful venue, unfortunately the rent its owners (The Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club) proposed for what would have been our seventh year did not work in our model” Boudreau says. (After rent expense, 100% of the door donations went to the artists). “I have attended many contradances in First Parish’s hall, with its wood walls and floors and vaulted ceiling, the acoustics are such that we will continue the tradition set across the street by presenting bands who can perform without the need of sound reinforcement.”

Fellswater will return November 1 and The Bombadils from Quebec will perform November 22. A third Fall season concert may be added on or about December 7.

“With community support, additional concerts will be presented in the hall, with the possibility of presentations in the stunning 250-plus seat sanctuary. We have additional ideas incubating, too early to disclose” hinted Boudreau, who will be scouting talent this weekend at Mike and Ruthy’s Summer Hoot at Jay Ungar and Molly Mason’s Ashoken Music and Dance Camp in New York and attending the first Celtic Crossroads festival in western Maine.

The other half of the blend is First Church in Jamaica Plain and Janna Maria Fröhlich.  The church has been a presence on the corner of Eliot, Centre and South Streets since 1769.  The current Sanctuary dates from 1854, and the Parish Hall from the 1880’s.  Janna, until last June when she retired to finish graduate work in music therapy, was the long-time vocal soloist and occasional pianist/harpist at First Church and has performed in many a service or concert in both the Parish Hall and Sanctuary.  Her own recently formed Celtic and originals ensemble, Heart Soul Voice, was the opener for Fellswater last year at the Soirée.  Says Janna, “The acoustics in the parish hall, built in the 1880’s, are nothing short of miraculous.  Whoever designed it was a genius.  I’ve stood in the furthest corner and heard the quietest notes of John Muratore’s guitar clear as a bell.  When I’ve performed in an acappella group on the stage, I could hear each other singer’s timbre and how it blended with mine.  The space itself is just beautiful and welcoming as well.  This is why I’m inspired to have more music performed here as a benefit to the artists, to the church, and to our community.  And more folks coming in to the space means greater awareness of the good work the church does via its food pantry and other social justice activities.”

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Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets -

The community, especially those interested in volunteering, is invited to send inquiries by email to

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