Editor of the Reformer:

On behalf of the trustees of Friends of Music at Guilford, I extend sincere thanks to everyone who attended and otherwise supported our 43rd annual Community Messiah Sing on Saturday, Dec. 7, and our 41st Christmas at Christ Church concerts on Dec. 13 and 15, events that allow us to contribute to the support of three other local nonprofit organizations.

Set at Centre Congregational Church since 1980, the Messiah Sing was rededicated in 2007 as a benefit for the homeless at holiday time. Since then we have raised over $11,500 in door donations divided equally between the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center and Morningside Shelter. This year’s total for the two agencies was $1,704. An annual outdoor collection by Drop In Center volunteers supplemented our cash contribution with groceries, winter outerwear, and bedding from Sing attendees and the general public.

The soloists and conductor for this community-based event have traditionally donated their services to the cause, and this year we thank Elizabeth Wohl, soprano, Justina Golden, alto, Justin Kenney, tenor, Tony Grobe, bass, and conductor Clark Anderson for their generous time and talent. William McKim served as organist for an impressive 28th season.

This year we received service trades, discounts, or cash donations from the following major Messiah Sing sponsors: Brattleboro Reformer, Brattleboro Savings & Loan Association, Brown Computer Solutions, and Newton Business. Additional support came from Centre Congregational Church, C&S Wholesale Grocers, and Richmond Auto Repair. A nod is also due to Entergy Vermont Yankee for its generous sponsorship support of our entire 48th concert season.

We are deeply grateful for performer, attendee, and sponsor generosity in making the Messiah Sing once again a great community event.

On the following weekend we hosted two performances of our 41st annual Christmas at Christ Church celebration in that historic Guilford structure on Route 5. "Brightest & Best" featured the Guilford Chamber Singers, conducted by Tom Baehr, performing an exciting mix of richly melodic a cappella arrangements from several centuries. Amy Cann led a trio of Guilford Chamber Players in delightful instrumental interludes to complement the vocal selections.

Don McLean’s dramatic reading for the occasion was a holiday story by Jean Stewart McLean (1917-63), his author mother, whose volume of poems, plays, and short fiction he edited and introduced to area audiences at a book release event hosted by Friends of Music in November. Each Christ Church holiday gathering ended, as usual, with a few carols sung by everyone.

These annual Christmas concerts are also offered free of charge, with door donations shared equally by Friends of Music and the Christ Church Society for preservation and maintenance of the building. The stormy weekend weather put a damper on our attendance, but we were pleased to be able to pass along nearly $400 for upkeep of the church. Our heartfelt thanks go to performers and audience alike for making this year’s program a wonderful celebration of the season.

Finally, we wish everyone in the broader Tri-State community a 2014 blessed with peace, prosperity, and wonderful music.

Joy Wallens-Penford,

administrative director,

Friends of Music at Guilford, Jan. 14

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Editor of the Reformer:

I would like to thank everyone who helped me celebrate my 80th birthday. I loved all the cards from all my friends and relatives and from those friends I knew through my work.

Bob Blum,

Guilford, Jan. 13

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Editor of the Reformer:

With the end of 2013 and as we begin the year 2014, our Blood Donors deserve a big thank you for giving the "Gift of Life." For the year 2013 we collected 1,100 pints of blood. The need for blood never diminishes.

We thank our contributors: VFW for the use of their building, Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, WTSA, WKVT and the Brattleboro Reformer. We look forward to their continued support for our drawings in 2014.

We especially thank our dedicated volunteers and the Red Cross staff from Manchester, N.H. -- without you, our drives would not be possible.

Donating blood is a simple way for blood donors to make a difference in the coming year.

Blood donors have the opportunity to donate blood the first Tuesday of every month at the Carl M. Dessaint VFW Post 1034, 40 Black Mountain Road. Donor hours are from 11:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

A heartfelt thank you to all!

Mildred M. Maloskie,

Blood Drive chairman,

Brattleboro, Jan. 22