Play Every Town

251 252 Community Concerts for a Cooler Climate


Concert Five: 6/25/22 at the Bryan Memorial Gallery

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The town of Cambridge is best known for Smugglers’ Notch, home to a popular ski resort. The notch (mountain pass) got its name when President Jefferson, responding to aggression from both France and Britain during the Napoleonic Wars, implemented the Embargo Act of 1807, shutting down all foreign trade. But trade with Canada was essential to Vermont’s economy. Smuggling was rampant, and Smuggler’s Notch was one of the main overland routes to the north.

The black market commanded higher profits than everyday trade. As a result, shipments of some categories of goods nearly doubled over pre-embargo amounts, and the widely reviled Embargo Act lasted just a year. Jefferson lasted another twenty; on his death, Cambridge Center, one of Cambridge’s then three villages, was renamed Jeffersonville. So Cambridge owes two place names to Jefferson: one in his honor, and one in flagrant disregard of his authority.

Pianist Michael Arnowitt has played all over the state and has given many tips on places to perform. Michael reported that the Bryan Memorial Art Gallery in Jeffersonville had an old Steinway grand, in need of work but still decent. I called to see if they would host the Cambridge concert; director Stephen Gothard was glad to—and told me that the solid but run-down piano had just been rebuilt! Our concert was the first performance on the restored piano, while the Bryan Memorial was the first art gallery of the tour. Stephen scheduled the concert for the annual Jeffersonville Art Jam.

Smugglers’ Notch and Cave. Painting by Robert Blair

The Bryan was exhibiting “Parks and Recreation”, a collection of Vermont landscapes with a focus on state parks. The range of style and expression was stunning, extending far beyond the characteristic quaint post-Impressionist soft realism of a typical tourist-town gallery (there were some beautiful examples of that, too, though). I put just a few favorites below. The gallery has a complete archive of past exhibits as well as a 3D virtual tour.

The Bryan Memorial Gallery. The spot of pink to the right ot the doorway is the concert poster

This Is Not The Bryan Gallery: exterior view spotted in the interior. Woodcut by F.L. Truitt

Charlie Hunter, “High Meadow Farm, Westminster West Village, Vt”

Steve Clark, “My Brother’s Boat, Kingsland Bay”

Michael Glier, “Trees Sharing Information v.2”

Renee Greenlee, “Blue Distance”

The program

Bryan director Stephen Gothard filled in Cambridge

Scarlatti Sonata in D minor, K.5 (preceded by 5 ii-V-I’s)

Chick Corea’s Children’s Songs nos. 1, 8, & 11

Chick Corea’s Children’s Songs nos. 12 & 20

...about the piano

“Midnight Musing” by Daryl Storrs, who lives in my town of Huntington. Just couldn’t resist one more gorgeous landscape from the exhibit.

Steinway serial no. 180867 was made in 1916. It is the piano Mary Bryan, namesake of the gallery, grew up with. It had just been rebuilt by Tom McNeil, who was in attendance at this inaugural concert of the refurbished piano.

with Tom McNeil

Mary Bryan. Posthumous portrait by Marian Williams Steele

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last updated March 01, 2023