Play Every Town

251 252 Community Concerts for a Cooler Climate


Concert Seven: 7/9/22 at the Guilford Community Church

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This seventh concert was actually the result of our first invitation. Steve Damon, a music teacher at Guilford Central School, saw the very first news story about our project on the UVM Arts & Sciences website and was the very first to volunteer to arrange an “away” gig.

Guilford, which was the most populous town in Vermont in the state’s first census (1791), is home to not one but two Vermont music dynasties, the Serkins and the Amidons. The concert was in the Guilford Community Church, where Peter Amidon is choir director, for an audience of 50.

I was thrilled and honored to perform “Spencer the Rover” with Peter and Mary Alice, with Peter’s charming piano arrangement. As for Serkins, cellist Judith was unavailable (Steve tried!). But Steve located yet another talented Guilford music family, so I had the pleasure of performing an improvised trio with the 10-year-old Banas twins Chloe and Daphne.

Guilford Community Church

The program

Concert coordinator Steve Damon fills in Guilford

Scarlatti Sonata in G minor, no. 7 (preceded by 7 ii-V-I’s)

Untitled trio by the 10-yr-old Banas twins

Peter and Mary Alice Amidon sing “Spencer the Rover”

Steve Sweeting’s “Kitchen Rag”

...about the piano

The beautiful Wurlitzer grand was purchased about 20 years ago under Peter’s direction. It is very well maintained and dynamically responsive, with a warm sound. The touch was surprisingly heavy; that became less surprising when I learned that later Wurlitzers were manufactured by the Baldwin company.

I'd never performed on a Wurlitzer before. The company’s main claim to fame is the giant theater organs that were among the most advanced electronic instruments of their time. But they also made pianos, mostly entry-level spinets and (the Wikipedia article was a revelation) jukeboxes, coin-operated player pianos (a precursor to jukeboxes), high-end radios, kitchen appliances, carnival rides, and (during WW2) bomb proximity fuses.

While conversion of civilian factories to military production during wartime is not unusual, military procurement was also the source of the company‘s initial financial success; the company was “was an early American defense contractor, being a major supplier of musical instruments to the U.S. military during the American Civil War and Spanish–American War” (per Wikipedia).

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last updated March 01, 2023