Windham Hill Inn in West Townshend welcomes back music


WEST TOWNSHEND — Windham Hill Inn is welcoming the return of live music.

Since the new owners took over the inn eight years ago, performances started popping up there in the last two or three years. But for at least six months, there have been none.

"In August, we had our first event," said Chris Fischetti, head of maintenance at the inn. "Right now, we're trying to do it twice a month. During the peak leaf season here, we were able to schedule two at the end of September and two at the beginning of October. So it will be four weeks of continual music on Thursdays starting next week."

Those four weeks of tunes are being referred to as the Get Back to the Garden Music Series. Musicians will go on from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays

Sunny Lowdown Trio is scheduled to play blues songs on Sept. 22. The Dylan Chambers and Zach Trombley Quintet will perform jazz music on Sept. 29. Ben Carr and Josh Maiocco will bring their ukulele and acoustic guitar on Oct. 6. Vinnie DiBernardo will run through a repertoire of folk songs on his acoustic guitar on Oct. 13.

So far, the inn has had mixed results with live music, according to Fischetti. Some of the shows were well-attended, he said.

Inn Manager Rachel Hammond chalks some of the issue up to the inn being "very rurally located."

"If we have a lot of guests, it's often a time when locals also are out and about having a good time. So we want to get the word out that we are here," Hammond said. "We have a bar menu. We have a cute little pub, very casual. We also have a nice restaurant. People can still hear the music in the restaurant. It's more gentle. In the pub, you can chat with your friends."

Another room provides guests with more access for listening to the music. People can interact with the musicians. They are "right there front and center," said Hammond.

The plan is to schedule acts twice a month after the leaf peeping and concert series are over. The hope is that there's a draw and the budget goes up. Then, Fischetti said, the inn could book musicians more often — maybe every week.

"Right now, we're not quite there," he said. "We really wanted to support the arts community in Vermont and we're kind of part of the tourist industry. We really want to promote the arts and get people who are coming up to Vermont as well as the locals to come and enjoy it."

Musicians have been hired based on the ambiance of their set. Fischetti said the inn is "fairly open" to different genres of music as long as it's within a certain decibel level. Bluegrass, folk and jazz groups have already fit the bill.

The atmosphere, Fischetti, is "kind of a quiet, country inn."

"We've had some louder jazz bands, which has worked really well here. With the sun lounge being the performance space, it's OK to have louder music there," Fischetti said. "As you move to the pub and fine dining, the level of sound slowly decreases."

The inn wants to promote artists working in other mediums, too. North Star Gallery has art on display there as does local woodcarver Wendy Lichtensteiger.

"Windham Hill Inn has a long history of artists here, whether painter, musician or writer," Hammond said. "We're trying to get back to those roots. Music was the most natural way to start."

"There's also art in the food. Our kitchen does great fine dining," said Fischetti, adding that the inn sources local ingredients and cheeses. "It's all kind of tied together and music can be one way to bring people out to experience all the different types of art that is out there."

Call Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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