Tuesday February 26, 2013

DOVER -- A group of Grateful Dead fans are getting together to do more than just dance in the street. They have formed a chorus that meets at the library to sing selections from the band’s music.

"We came together to try to see if anyone was interested in participating and singing songs and having fun," said Dover Free Library Director John Flores.

On Feb. 16, a group of seven people got together to see what they could do with a book of Grateful Dead lyrics. Two of the people are musicians, including Jill Robard, who also helped organize the group. Both musicians play the guitar for the project.

The book contains an annotated guide to the band’s songs in addition to its lyric sheets. It has a history of the songs, words and phrases. It also contains information about songs that may have a biblical reference such as "Samson and Delilah."

In December, the Dover Free Library puts a book up for adoption. That month, Robard and her husband bought the Grateful Dead lyric book. Flores came up with the idea to start the chorus group. Then Robard agreed and the first practice was scheduled for Feb. 16 at noon. He thought it would be a great idea.

"We practiced some songs," said Flores. "Everybody was pretty shy at first. I haven’t sung since I was in high school."

The Grateful Dead chorus group has practiced songs that include "Bertha," "Mission in the Rain," "Fire on the Mountain" and "Brown Eyed Women.


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Participants range in age from 30 to 64 years old, Flores told the Reformer. Some kids sat in, but didn’t sing.

"We’re hoping to encourage people to come and have fun," he said. "We put out ads, so hopefully people will show up."

Flores has been the director at the Dover Free Library for 15 years. He said that some people hate the Grateful Dead, but others really like the band.

He’s always trying to think of activities and events to hold at the library that will attract more people to come in.

"The Grateful Dead are pretty popular around the world," said Flores. "We wanted to see if anyone wanted to join."

The chorus plans to meet every month at the library. More people are encouraged to join this group.

If its members are ready, they plan to sing and play at Dover Day on July 13, with other acts that include a duo called Hungrytown, which is made up of Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson, and another performance by Kyle Carey, who plays Gaelic music.

"We’re hoping by then, we’ll do a public performance," Flores said.

The chorus will meet again on March 16 at noon. Its members will be practicing the songs they have already started to learn and figure out other songs they may want to do.

On March 4, the day before Town Meeting, the Dover Free Library will be having a celebration. It will also start to allow the borrowing of e-books, e-magazines and independent films will be shown at the library.

For more information, call the Dover Free Library at 802-348-7488 or visit the website, doverfreelibrary1913.org.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.