Editor of the Reformer:

On behalf of the trustees of Friends of Music at Guilford, now in its 50th Anniversary Season, I extend sincere thanks to everyone who attended and otherwise supported our holiday programs in December. Door donations at the 45th Community Messiah Sing on Saturday, December 5, and the 43rd Christmas at Christ Church concerts on December 11 & 12, allow us to contribute to the support of two 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. Between 2007 and 2014, we raised close to $13,300 that was divided equally between the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center and Morningside Shelter. This year's record total of $2,675 was sent to Groundworks Collaborative, the new entity formed by a 2015 merger of those two fine agencies. Our related annual collection of goods for the cause supplemented the Sing's cash contribution with nine boxes of groceries, winter outerwear, and toys from Sing attendees and a few members of the general public who dropped by to leave their donations.


The soloists and conductor for this community-based event have traditionally donated their services, and this year we thank Margery McCrum, soprano, Justina Golden, alto, James Anderson, tenor, and Cailin Marcel Manson, baritone, as well as conductor Terry Larsen, for their generous time and talent. After learning that UVM organist David Neiweem had broken a collarbone and couldn't perform with us, we were lucky to secure Bill McKim, our long-time and twice-retired organist for the Sing, who was already sharpening his skills for a Bellows Falls Sing later in the month.

This year we received service trades, discounts, or cash donations from the following Messiah Sing major sponsors: Brattleboro Reformer, Brattleboro Savings & Loan Association, and David Walter, Goldsmith & Platinumsmith. Additional support came from Centre Congregational Church, C&S Wholesale Grocers' Print Shop, and Richmond Auto Repair. We are also indebted to our 50th Season media sponsors, Vermont Public Radio and the Vermont Arts Council, for helping to get the word out about both holiday programs.

Friends of Music is 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 43rd annual Christmas at Christ Church celebration in that historic Guilford structure on Route 5. This year's 'Tis the Season program featured the Guilford Chamber Singers, conducted by Tom Baehr, performing a variety of secular and sacred a cappella selections by authors, composers, and arrangers from the 14th to 21st centuries, including a Bolivian Baroque carol only recently made available for modern-day performance. Amy Cann led a quartet of Guilford Chamber Players in instrumental interludes of several other Christmas works from the Bolivian Baroque music reclamation project archive that we will also be featuring at two later events in our 50th Season.

Don McLean's dramatic reading for the occasion was a premier at this event: "The Christmas Lie," an autobiographical tale set in the Alberta wilderness by award-winning short-story writer Dorothy Thomas. Each Christ Church gathering ended, as usual, with a few carols sung by everyone to put us all in a holiday mood.

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. A total of $535.50 has been donated to the Church for its upkeep. 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 2016 blessed with peace, prosperity, and wonderful music.

Joy Wallens-Penford, administrative director Friends of Music at Guilford Guilford, Jan. 21

Editor of the Reformer:

In December a dinner was held to benefit the Clark Farm in Guilford after a microburst took down a roof on a structure that was under construction. The new barn was to house young stock. Several were injured in the collapse. Many friends, relatives and Grange members contributed to the dinner, set-up, and clean-up. It was a very rich experience to see a town come together like this. Any Davis provided music and dance after the dinner. Thank you to Evelyn McLean for doing the books. Donations besides the fantastic food, was $5,499 in money.

There is no way to thank everyone, some of whom came to help and donate from out of town. New work to rebuild the structure is happening every day. Thank you again to all of you.

Dick and Kathy Clark Guilford, Jan. 13

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