Monday January 21, 2013

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 42nd annual Community Messiah Sing on Saturday, Dec. 1, and our 40th Christmas at Christ Church concerts on Dec. 7 and 8, 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 $10,000 in door donations divided equally between the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center and Morningside Shelter. This year’s total for the two agencies was $1,986. 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 Aurora Phillips, soprano, Jessica Callahan Gelter, alto, Michael Duffin, tenor, Larrimore Crockett, bass, and conductor Clark Anderson for their generous time and talent. Centre Church music director Christian Huebner served as organist.

This season we received service trades, discounts, or cash donations from the following major Messiah Sing sponsors: Brattleboro Reformer, Brattleboro Savings & Loan Association, C&S Wholesale Grocers, and the Turn It Up! music store. Additional support came from Centre Congregational Church, Maple Leaf Music, and Richmond Auto Repair. A nod is also due to Entergy Vermont Yankee for its generous sponsorship support of our entire 47th 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 our annual Christmas at Christ Church celebration in that historic Guilford structure on Route 5. "Christmas Cometh Caroling" featured The Guilford Chamber Singers, conducted by Tom Baehr, performing ten of Alfred Burt’s fifteen holiday carols written in 1942 to 1954. The BUHS Brass Quartet served up another three Burt carols arranged for brass by Baehr. Several of these were made familiar by popular music icons of the 1950s and ‘60s such as Nat King Cole, Patti Page, and Andy Williams, to name but a few.

Don McLean’s dramatic reading for the occasion featured the reprise of "A Child’s Christmas in Wales" by Dylan Thomas, which he read at the first Christmas program at Christ Church four decades ago.

We owe thanks as well to Brattleboro artist William Hays, who gave us permission to use his charming "Quiet Night" image on our 2012 Christmas posters and for one of a growing selection of artful blank cards with images by Hays and other Vermont artists that have graced posters and program books for Friends of Music in recent years.

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. Our two-evening total of $1,324 in donations yielded $662 for the church’s upkeep. Our heartfelt thanks go to participants and audience for making this year’s program so successful.

We wish everyone in the broader Tri-State community a 2013 blessed with peace and prosperity.

Joy Wallens-Penford,

Administrative Director,
Friends of Music at Guilford,

Guilford, Jan. 14

*** Editor of the Reformer:

We would like to recognize the generosity of our community on behalf of our more vulnerable friends and neighbors as we head into a challenging time during the heating season. It will be a difficult winter, not only because of weather conditions but because the fuel assistance allotments that people have received have been used up quickly this year. In the past, the Heat Fund would receive most requests for help near the beginning and end of the heating season. Because of the generally small allotment for fuel assistance, we are now trying to help people who have lived with a great deal more uncertainty than in past years.

The Windham County Heat Fund helps those either not eligible for current fuel assistance programs or who run out of their assistance allotments. Allotments this year have been much lower than in the past and we have had to supplement those allotments because, in too many instances, the federal checks have not allowed people to receive a minimum delivery of fuel.

We are all blessed to live in a community where generous individuals, businesses and foundations are able to provide for the more needy among us. The Heat Fund has no overhead and the two people who run it take no compensation. We do vet applications through our collaboration with Southeast Vermont Community Action and that helps keep the process as honest as possible.

This is the Heat Fund’s eighth year and we had hoped that the need would decrease but it has only increased.

A special thank you to: The Willard Trust, Entergy Corporation, WVEW, WKVT, WTSA, The Commons, The Brattleboro Reformer, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church Women, Laura Austan, Bob and Booie Fagelson, Rick Fleming, Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary, the Guilford Community Church, All Souls Church, Gary Goodemote and Friends of the Sun and the front line people at the local fuel dealers as well as all of those individuals who continue to support this effort.

Thank you for your generosity and continued support.

Richard Davis, Secretary/Treasurer

Daryl Pillsbury, President

Nick Pillsbury, Vice President

Windham County Heat Fund, Jan. 14

***

Editor of the Reformer:

A Great Big Thank You.

You did it again, because of all your generosity the fundraiser for the Townshend Food Shelf was a success.

On behalf of the Valley Lions Club and the River Valley Credit Union in Townshend, we would like to thank everyone who donated to our annual fundraiser.

We collected many bags of food which helped stock the food shelves. Thanks to the caring of so many, the food shelf will be able to fill the needs of those in the Valley. This annual appeal allows the food shelf to get through the winter months when the need is so great. We know that in these hard times, with so many worthy causes, it is especially gratifying to know that there are so many who care. Vermonters do care about each other, and this showed with the money that was collected for this cause.

Natalie Donovan

Secretary, Valley Lions Club

Townshend, Jan. 15