Music to your ears

Like the Van Morrison song, sounds as sweet as Tupelo honey will rise starting on Sept. 11 from a new music venue in Londonderry.

At the site of the former Muse in Londonderry, the Tupelo Music Hall live music venue will showcase local and nationally recognized folk singers, acoustic groups and light jazz artists in a newly renovated space.

“Our vision is to have a venue equal in quality to what you would have to go to Boston to get,” said owner Scott Hayward. “We’ve created an upscale, hip place with cutting-edge music that’s also easy to get to and affordable.”

Hayward became the Tupelo’s manager in a rather roundabout way. A financial planner by trade, he was looking for a new location for his office. The adjacent 1850s Victorian house that held some 17 rooms for artisans’ shops was just not the place for his business, said Hayward, but the avid music lover was a fan of the Muse.

“The Muse was a big cultural force in the area, and I went to it all the time,” said Hayward. So when the Muse’s owners decided to retire, Hayward said, that’s when his “entrepreneurial side kicked in” and he bought the venue.

Hayward said he wanted to bring the venue up to “today’s world” with an extensive overhaul of the 2,400-square-foot hall and attached function room, including new décor, a grand piano and kitchen facilities for catered functions. There is a new, rounded stage and state-of-the-art sound system.

“We’ve also created a Web site with online ticketing,” said Hayward.

Appetizers and desserts will be served, but the drinking policy is BYOB. It also is a non-smoking facility.

“We also plan on having chefs from the Pinkerton Tavern in Derry come in about once a week to cater a buffet,” said Hayward.

Hayward said he’s hoping to draw people looking for something different to do without having to deal with the distance — or expense — of Boston. “I have two kids and I know what it’s like to try and go down to Cambridge or someplace for an evening out to listen to some good music.”

And the Tupelo is all about the music. “This needs to be here,” said Hayward. “They’ve cut back music in the schools, but these are the things we fall back on when we get out.”

Tupelo Music Hall is located at 2 Young Rd. in Londonderry. For information, call 437-5100 or visit – CK

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