Wilmington's Memorial Hall is 'ready for the season'


WILMINGTON — Starting this weekend, a historic building on Main Street known for its arts will again be bustling with live acts.

"We had some lighting hung and painting done. We made some repairs to the floor. We had the whole crew there," said Joe Levy, chairman of the Historic Memorial Hall Board. "The place is looking good. We got it cleaned up and ready for the season."

The Vermont Arts Council recently provided a grant that was used to insulate the entire building and replace doors. Levy hopes the upgrades will allow the venue to remain open all-year round. While more help is always welcome, he said he appreciates the volunteers and sponsors that make the programming happen.

Memorial Hall's schedule is stacked this season.

An evening of reggae is promised at Memorial Hall on Saturday when The Alchemystics and special guest Heirloom Seeds get on the stage from 8 to 11 p.m. Tickets cost $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Tickets and more information are available at historicmemorialhall.com.

The show is the start for a series of about 21 events, according to Levy. Not all of the shows are organized by the non-profit Friends of Memorial Hall. Some are being put on by the Pettee Memorial Library, Twice Blessed Community Thrift Store, and Wings after school programming.

All the performances are described in a new brochure. Also included in it are downtown events being held outside of the hall.

Ballet and modern dance will be on display at Memorial Hall on May 14 when Brattleboro School of Dance shows up there. For its first time visiting Wilmington, the school will provide a preview of its Spring Dance Concert.

The full concert will be held on May 20, 21 and 22 at New England Youth Theater. The idea to preview those shows involved a parent of one of the students asking whether the school would like to present at the hall. That parent is part of the Friends of Historic Memorial Hall.

"We've been talking about trying to reach out to that venue and broaden our performing audience for a while," said Brattleboro School of Dance Director Jennifer Moyse, "For the preview, the space is a little smaller and not as technically equipped as NEYT so the lighting and costuming will get a little bit tweaked. Also, there are some technical elements in one of our pieces that we won't be able to bring up to the Wilmington space. But the dance speaks for itself. It's still excellent and really enjoyable."

Moyse expects to bring six dance pieces to the hall. Two will be closer to 15 or 20 minutes long. The rest will be about five minutes.

Company of Muses will produce the Memorial Hall show, said Moyse of the new nonprofit set up to increase fundraising capabilities of the school.

"This is the kick-off celebration to our 40th year in operation," she said.

More in store

"We have a few more live concerts this year. We're doing a movie preview," Levy said, referring to a film screening of the Whiskey Treaty Road Show's "Best Short Documentary" with a concert from the band and question-and-answer session with Tim Bradley, a filmmaker from Rowe, Mass.

Tickets for the May 21 event are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. The film will start at 7:30 p.m.

TheatreworksUSA's adaptation of the Broadway family show "Seussical" the Musical will bring favorite characters and stories from Dr. Seuss to Memorial Hall on June 5 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door.

Local singer Samirah Evans will sing Gershwin on July 30 and the Brattleboro-based Nimble Arts Troupe of circus performers are coming on Sept. 25.

The Garcia Project will return on Sept. 10. The band, a favorite among local residents, plays full set lists of gigs from the Jerry Garcia Band in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door.

Framed art from Garcia, the now-deceased Grateful Dead lead guitarist and singer, will be on display during the band's performance. Garcia produced over 1,000 paintings or drawings over his lifetime, Levy said. Limited-edition prints, donated by the Jerry Garcia Foundation, will be auctioned off to benefit Memorial Hall.

A Scottish pipe band, the Schenectady Pipe Band, is scheduled to perform on Oct. 22. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

Levy said 15 to 17 musicians are expected to arrive that night.

"I think there will be some Scottish dancers," he said.

A country western band called Skeeter Creek is playing on Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

Contact Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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