Play Every Town

251 252 Community Concerts for a Cooler Climate


Concert Eleven: 8/28/22 at the Westmore Community Church

...donations benefited XR Vermont

The town of Westmore is home to stunning glacial Lake Willoughby. Robert Frost camped there and set the narrative monolog “A Servant to Servants” on its shore. This concert was on a clear, calm, warm day in late August, so we decided (along with hundreds of others, the majority from Quebec) to spend the time before the concert on the water. It is famously clear—we could see colored reflections and sharp shadows on the bottom even at several feet—and deep (over 320 feet). As I wrote in my recent Strafford concert write-up, renouncing air travel to tour within Vermont is pretty hard to cast as self-denial.

click any image to enlarge

Portrait of the Artist as an Outdoorsman

Our terminal but stalwart Stella paddles along

Westmore Community Church (1894)

The haps

The concert was set up by Westmore Community Church organist Mark Violette, who was also the point person for the tour’s first “away” concert in Brownington, where he is likewise the music director. Another organist present among the audience of just over 50 was Stephen Morse, who completed a project not unlike mine: he traveled Vermont to play every one of its ~210 functioning church organs and wrote a book about them (I’ll add a link if I can). Steve also shared great tips about where to play in nearby small towns.

The program

The audience

Scarlatti Sonata in C minor, no. 11
(preceded by 11 ii-V-I’s)

Six Preludes by James Romeo, my first composition teacher

Speaking of small towns: Westmore is in the bottom 10% of Vermont towns by population, our smallest host town so far. The official census count is 357, so I could say that the audience of over 50 represented about 15% of the town population. But that would be me lying with statistics, as the summer population is several times the year-round number.

Westmore violinst Peter Miller joined me for Corelli

Carol Davis fills in Westmore

Candelabra : Liberace :: Hydrangeae : Feurzeig

Swimming with kayaks is tiring

One of the 357 year-round residents is Carol Davis, who has “held every office in the church” at one time or another and who helped to make the concert happen. She did the honors of filling in Westmore on the Play Every Town map.

...about the piano

This Yamaha console was bought in the 1970s as part of a generalized memorial. Carmen Anderson, who was at the concert, explained that Head Deacon Mildred Davis “ran” the church, but was not musical. So she asked Carmen’s mother Florence Davis, her (Millie’s) sister-in-law, who was organist of the church for 30 years, to come with her to Wells River to pick out the instrument.

The piano is excellently maintained by technician John Young and was perfectly even and tuned, though as with most console uprights in my experience, it is difficult to produce a real pianissimo.

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