Musicians Bill Shontz and Mitch Chakour will join Feb. 3 Song & Story Swap

Bill Shontz & Mitch Chakour will join Feb. 3 Song & Story Swap

Please come share in an evening of music and stories at the Pioneer Valley Folklore Society Song & Story Swap.

Saturday, February 3, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at First Church, 165 Main St., Amherst, MA. Free parking is available in back of the church, and the meeting room is near the front.

Bill Shontz and Mitch Chakour, two iconic veterans of the Pioneer Valley music scene and beyond, will be the featured performers at the February 3 Song & Story Swap.

Bill Shontz is a gifted entertainer, musician, singer, songwriter, producer and educator. He performs for adults, children, and families and has an uncanny ability to entertain even the most sophisticated audiences. Along with his versatile singing voice, he plays clarinet, flute, saxophone, recorders the Didjeri Du, wooden flutes and other wind instruments. The music styles range from Jazz to Folk, Rock n' Roll to good old-fashioned sing-alongs.

Bill helped to set the stage for what children's entertainment is today. For twenty years he served as one half of the nationally acclaimed duo, RosenShontz.

Bill has ten award-winning albums and three videos to his credit that have won over 25 National Awards and an Emmy nomination and sold over 750,000 copies. Since embarking on his solo career in the early 90's, he has recorded three award-winning albums and produced a book on Musical Improvisation.

More recently Bill Shontz has traveled the country as a member of the legendary 60's group Orpheus and joined the folk-jazz fusion trio Sweet As Sugar.

Mitch Chakour is a keyboardist, guitarist, vocalist, song-writer and arranger with a reputation as a musicians' musician.

Mitch Chakour
Mitch was Joe Cocker's music director, keyboardist and vocalist in the 70's and 80's. He has toured with The J. Geils Band singing with Peter Wolf, opening the House of Blues and performing at Fenway Park in Boston along with Aerosmith. He has a diverse resume that includes dates with B.B. King, James Brown, Bonnie Raitt, Chuck Berry, Buddy Miles, to name a few.

He has been a member of the talent-packed Shaboo Allstars and led the regionally acclaimed Mission Band.

Recently Mitch has arranged songs and performed with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and the Massachusetts Symphony. Other musical endeavors include house band for the television show, Community Auditions, and music director for Majestic Theater, New Century Theater and Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School.

A skilled keyboard player and masterful guitar stylist with a soulful voice and charismatic stage presence, Mitch Chakour has been a fan favorite throughout his storied musical career.

Enjoy this unique opportunity to hear both of these local music giants at the First Church in Downtown Amherst on February 3 at 7pm.

This month’s opening round theme is Memories This month's opening round theme is 'Memories'

The February 3 Song & Story Swap is being held in person at First Church, 165 Main St. in Amherst, Mass., at 7pm. Parking is available in the lot behind the church.

Looking ahead to next month, the March Song & Story Swap will be held on the 2nd Saturday -- March 9 -- and will present storyteller and humorist Jackson Gillman. The theme for the opening round of sharing will be 'Green.'

The Song & Story Swap is held on the first Saturday of each month, excepting July and August, and is organized by the Pioneer Valley Folklore Society. Visit the Folklore Society website at

The Song & Story Swap is open to the public, free of charge with donations accepted ($5 - $10 is suggested).

People of all ages gather to share stories and songs that are traditional, newly written, or of personal experiences. You can tell, sing, or lead everyone in singing, or request a song or story. Listeners are welcome.

For information contact Paul Kaplan, (413)-687-5002 or visit

A Bill Shontz story

Wanda Fischer, longtime host of The Hudson River Sampler on WAMC, shares this recollection of a Bill Shontz performance.

I wish I could come to this show, because I remember when Bill was part of Rosenshontz. My son, now 43, was going to day care. My daughter, now 45, was also in day care. Rosenshontz visited the day care earlier in the day. We went to a concert at Niskayuna High School that night. We were all involved in the concert. We looked down and my son was missing! I looked around and had no idea where he was. Then I looked up. He was on the stage, handing Bill his various horns. Apparently, that's what he had done during the day care visit, so he left his seat in the auditorium and found a place ON STAGE next to Bill's horn rack and resumed his duties.

Pioneer Valley Folklore Society, Amherst, Mass.
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Director/Host: Paul Kaplan
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January 29, 2024