Play Every Town

251 252 Community Concerts for a Cooler Climate


Concert Three: 5/21/22 at the United Church of Underhill

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Concert #3 was scheduled at the last minute in a response to a PR emergency. Seven Days was about to print a feature on the Play Every Town project. While we had a dozen upcoming engagements nearly settled, the next actually confirmed date was September 10 in Adamant. I was concerned that an article saying “David will play about a concert a week for the next 4+ years...the next one is in 4 months” would not put the project in the best light.

Did I pre-empt ice cream?

The church, with OG Superfan Katherine Kjelleren on the right

Fortunately the kind folks at United Church of Underhill not only agreed to host the concert on just over a week’s notice, the sponsoring group United for Justice managed to scramble an appreciative crowd of 35, an impressive turnout for such a quick turnaround.

I talk as well as play. The beautiful organ is a Mason & Hamlin—I didn’t know they made organs

The program

Sandy Wilmot, member of United for Justice and point person for this concert, fills in Underhill

Scarlatti Sonata in A minor, no. 3
(preceded by 3 ii-V-I’s)

Beethoven Sonata no. 1 in F minor, mvts. 1 & 2. I talk about playing “grand” repertoire on a small piano in this blog post

Joplin, Gladiolus Rag

side-note: the belfry wall

The inner plaster wall of the United Church belfry tower is covered in graffiti. Photos below courtesy of town historian Gary Irish.

Of Homer Rockwood, Gary writes, “He signed on November 17, 1878, the oldest dated signature there. He lived across the street, and was a druggist in the Underhill Drug Store. He also was a musician who played in the Underhill Citizens Band, and who played a concert in the church in February, 1889.” How about that?

After the concert, Gary invited me to sign. I signed just to the right of one of the largest inscriptions, which marks the end of World War I. Over a century later, you can sense the writer’s joyous relief in the script’s exuberant curvature and extravagant proportions, so unlike the frugal, tight hands of most of the old autographs. There was a catch in my throat as I signed. Our current situation is daunting and dire, its magnitude unprecedented in human history. But it is not the first time people have faced seeming doom.

The oldest dated graffito

The newest, as of this writing

My signature in context

...about the piano

The United Church of Underhill’s Yamaha U186907 console upright was made in South Haven, Michigan in 1985. It was purchased new and given to the church by the family of Constance Bagshaw to honor her memory. Lois Nassau, the church’s former music director, was in attendance at the Play Every Town concert and related that Connie and her husband Harvey were longtime enthusiastic members of the choir. They selected the piano from “a dealer in Essex Junction”—presumably Contois Music, which had the Yamaha franchise at that time.

Incidentally, the gorgeous Mason and Hamlin reed organ to the left of the altar was purchased in 1894 by the Women’s Fellowship of the church, each member having earned one dollar toward the cost.

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last updated March 01, 2023