Every so often an event comes along that restores your faith in artistry and your community. That’s what the Mausoleum Hill Sessions have done for its creator, Dave Alves. Alves, a native of New Bedford, has been a staple of the music scene in Southern New England for several years now.
“I am grateful for the opportunities in Providence and the surrounding areas, but like all musicians, I found myself struggling to get people through the doors at times. I wanted to create an event that intrigued people and made them want to come and find out what it was all about,” said Alves.
Realizing that Halloween was his favorite holiday, a friend of Alves put him in touch with Analissa Heppner, the city’s cemetery director. Alves told her about his desire to put on a live show in a cemetery and it turns out, North Burial Ground was not only open to the idea but had been looking to do something like it. They had been hosting different period and historical events where people dressed the part, gave tours and explained the history of not only the cemetery, but of the people buried there.
After working out the logistics, the Mausoleum Hill Sessions were born. Alves invested in a sound system and lighting that would run solely on batteries, ensuring a minimal footprint was left behind and that the area was treated with the respect it deserved.
His goal in recruiting musicians was to find people who were all on the same page, who wanted to put on a unique show, and highlight part of Rhode Island history. This was Alves’ first big event as a promoter and the inaugural event in 2022 was a huge success.
“One of the things the North Burial Ground wants to do,” stated Alves, “is to bring back the idea of cemeteries being a gathering place for people. Their historical events were beginning to do this and music is all about community, so this seemed like a logical next step.”
The cemetery itself is a lovely location which features a pond and a tree museum. For the shows, the trees are filled with lights and the path is lit with candles. This year, Alves invested even more in the show, adding a more powerful sound system and better lighting. The shows are acoustic as of now, but Alves says there is room to grow in the future.
The final session of the year takes place on October 22 and features live performances from Vudu Sister, Dan Blakeslee, Allysen Callery, and Cassie Soares. While past sessions have had more of a singer/songwriter vibe, October’s session promises a darker, spookier atmosphere.
Alves is also grateful for the performers who have been a part of the event and who will be in the future. “All of them are passionate people who deserve to play this show. They are artists who set a good mood and a positive, respectful vibe.”
Vendors for the event will open at 2pm and music begins at 5pm and runs until 8pm. There will be food trucks and Long Live Brewery will be on site. Attendees are able to bring their own food and drinks, and are encouraged to bring folding chairs or blankets to sit on.
Alves says he loves bringing this unique show to people as they genuinely seem to appreciate it. “We want people to experience history and culture. Come, be in this place and be surrounded by history and music that you may not be aware of. This is the culmination of a dream for me. To bring honest, real music to people and make it a genuine contribution to the community.”
Alves is looking forward as well, hoping to continue this series in the coming years. “There is such a wealth of talent here, and we will be able to bring different acts from across Southern New England to a genuinely diverse and appreciative crowd. Each year we’re trying to make the experience better and we hope this becomes a lasting tradition that people will enjoy and learn from for a long time to come,” says Alves.
If you’re looking for an experience that is off the beaten path, then look no further. Here is an event that is appropriate for the whole family and will add to the enjoyment of the season.
Tickets are available for $20 and can be purchased at providenceri.gov/parks/nbg-tickets.