Play Every Town

251 252 Community Concerts for a Cooler Climate


Concert Six: 7/8/22 at Main Street Arts in Saxtons River

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The Rockingham concert, with 40 in attendance, was our first foray into southern Vermont. We had a concert scheduled for the next day in Guilford, the farthest-but-one town from our home base in northwestern part of the state; so, to cut down overall travel, we looked to find another concert in the area, making this our first double-header weekend and our first overnight. That’s why our Chevy Bolt is packed so full. (It’s amazing what a roomy car you can build onto a small chassis if you leave out the engine, transmission, and gas tank.)

This was also the first concert since Essex Junction’s “divorce” from the Town of Essex became official on July 1, 2022–hence the change from 251 to 252 in the program.

Maryann McArdle, a counselor at Vermont Academy, invited us to play at Main Street Arts in Saxtons River (the town of Rockingham includes two sizable villages some distance apart, so people more often indicate location with “Saxtons River” or “Bellows Falls” than “Rockingham”). She suggested not one but two different young singers, Ruby Besson and Kaylee Desmarais, as local collaborators. Meanwhile I had asked our old friend Julane Deener if she would sing; she had to decline but recommended a young singer from just across the border in New Hampshire (nobody’s perfect), Alyssa Becker, who studied for many years with Julane in Bellows Falls. So this was also a triple-header as regards collaborations.

The venue

It was originally an Odd Fellows lodge

An evocative ghost barn sits across the street

The program

Concert host Maryann McArdle fills in Rockingham

Scarlatti Sonata in F major, K.6 (preceded by 6 ii-V-I’s)

”Burn” from Hamilton,sung by Ruby Besson, a rising sophomore at Vermont Academy

“Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen“ (H. Isaac)

Alyssa Becker sings “Songs My Mother Taught Me” (Dvorak op. 55, no. 4)

“Who Else” and “Another Time” by Eve Beglarian

The old Bellows Falls hydroelectric plant

That last picture shows Stella and me at the Bellows Falls station of Great River Hydro, formerly the New England Power Association, which draws electric power from the Connecticut River. The 1928 buildings you see here are as abandoned as the ghost barn above (and clearly haunted) but the generating station is in service and the wires were humming as we walked by. Here's a historic photo of the station, which sits on an island in the middle of the river, halfway between Vermont and New Hampshire.

...about the piano

Steinway serial no. 289310 is a model M manufactured in 1937. it was donated by long-time MSA supporter Jamie Eckley some years back. William Ballard tunes this piano for MSA events for free as a service to the community. Thank you Bill and Jamie!

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last updated March 01, 2023