Family Room explores a day in the life of two Vermont singing groups, and a local artist, with events coming up this week.
Global made local
“Many people have a very soft spot in their heart for Village Harmony,” Cathy Reynolds said, “because it is such a unique experience.”
Village Harmony is an organization based in northern Vermont that offers a diverse range of singing camps under the direction of Larry Gordon and Patty Cuyler. As a mom with children who sang in the camps for years, Reynolds says it’s founded on a strong community of kids and parents across the state who continue to be involved even after the kids have grown up and moved on, or not.
“Some of my children’s best friends are Village Harmony friends,” Reynolds said. “And there are a number of Village Harmony marriages and Village Harmony children.”
Each of the camps has music leaders who collaboratively choose the repertoire, based on each of their particular specialties. New singers join the many returning singers every year, and registration is open now for the 2019 summer camps, which are non-auditioned — you just have to love singing.
The alumni ensemble will be performing South African songs and dances, traditional songs from Corsica, Bosnia, Croatia, and Bulgaria, Renaissance and original works at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 27, at Tinmouth Community Church for a suggested donation of $5-$15.
“Larry’s been doing this for 30 years, so he knows people everywhere,” Reynolds said. “He has created a lovely network of people. It’s a Vermont-y thing.”
For more information, go online to www.villageharmony.org.
Two years ago, musician Kirk Lord asked Andy Greene if he’d be interested in getting back together with himself and Taylor Armerding. All former members of the Bluegrass Gospel Project, they were used to each other’s style and musicianship, and Greene said, “I’d be happy to read the phone book with (them) because (they’re) that great.”
“We met once a month or so to play some tunes and quickly realized what we were playing to us sounded really good,” Greene said in a recent phone interview. They kept meeting every month, and ended up performing publicly in 2018. “We really enjoyed what we were doing and audiences seemed to like it too, so we kept going with it,” Greene said.
But they needed a name.
“One night Revenants came to mind, and I liked the sound of (it),” Greene said. “Taylor joked that means we’re back from the dead, which is technically what the word means, and that seemed to make sense for what we were doing. So we’ve returned.”
In this configuration Greene says they lean more towards originals, interesting covers, and material from other genres, “so basically we’re a folk and Americana-type band.”
“I write one song at a time,” Greene said of the originals. “My process is to take one song and sit with it for weeks, and in some cases a month, and really polish it. Then I try it out with band mates and get their ideas, it’s edited, and then it’s finally ready to either perform or record.”
You can hear them this week when The Revenants perform at the Old Firehouse in Tinmouth at 7:30 p.m. Friday for a $10 donation. For more information go online to www.tinmouthvt.org.
Open Studio adventure
Twenty years ago artist Karen Deets owned a gallery in New Jersey, but dreamed of living in Vermont, where inspiration can be as easy as looking out the window. Today, she is one of probably hundreds of Vermont artists across the state getting ready for Open Studio this weekend, May 25 and 26, when they make their private studios public.
“It’s a fun adventure to get these maps in your hands and connect to where the art is made,” Deets said by phone recently. “Normally, you walk in a gallery and see the finished work. This is the missing link, to see the process behind it.”
“(Today) the morning (was) personal and artistic and the afternoon (was) production time, and the evening will click back to personal and artistic time. That way I’ve satisfied the different things I need to do. Whether I follow through is another matter,” she added, laughing.
Deets’ stained glass pieces are colorful and creative representations of quintessential Vermont scenes — butterflies, sunrises, and the trees through the seasons.
“I love the winter because the trees take on very simple sculptural forms,” she explained. “You can see vistas beyond those trees that are totally hidden when the trees leaf out. I do a lot of trees — you just open your eyes and there’s inspiration.”
For more information, go online to www.vermontcrafts.com.