The Ringling Bros. circus is shutting down this May after 146 years. This circus would come to Brattleboro back in the day.
Owners says it is a combination of the times (we are easily distracted by other things), the cost of hauling an enormous show from town to town, and a lack of elephants. Elephants had been a part of the show until last year and there was a major drop-off in attendance after they left.
Final shows will be in Providence, RI, and Uniondale, NY later this spring. 500 employees will be looking for work.
(Note to former-circus folk, do consider coming up to Brattleboro. Our circus schoool is being built as I type and we could use more!)
If you knew him, you know he was a kind and gentle human being. I did not know him well, but I always smiled when I saw him coming. He was good. He was kind.
Gene Wilder. Don’t know the guy at all, other than through his work, but his passing made me think again of how much I’ve been entertained by Mr. Wilder throughout the years.
For me, Willy Wonka is perhaps one of the more inspirational movies from childhood that I return to over and over in my life. A poor nothing of a boy gets a lucky break, explores a highly creative manufacturing establishment, and ends up being given the chocolate factory. Wilder’s Wonka is the only one worth watching.
A few guiding lessons that stick with me from lyrics and lines in the film:
1. If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it. Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it.
We relish the early signs of Spring in this area, robins, crocuses to name a few. One indicator for myself, and a number of others was Jose' Cordero in his motored cart, sitting in front of the Samuel Elliott Apartments in downtown Brattleboro. He would greet you with a smile, and depending on the day would engage you in sunny conversation, or take an opportunity to just get things off his chest, and either way always entertaining.
In the late seventies and early eighties you could view Jose' leaning out of his apartment window observing the pulse of Main street. He also worked at Walkers Resturant and during his break you could find him out front leaning against the building taking in the moment, always in his starched white apron. He eventually moved into the S.E. Apartments and again he was often in view on his upper floor balcony enjoying the view.
Well, that takes the wind out my funky sails. Prince just died at age 57. The year 2016 continues to be a brutal year for entertainment.
I was a rock and roll fan living in Florida on a visit to Buffalo when I first hear Prince. I was at a party of friends who attended a private school. They were cool. I was not. At some point someone put on Controversy. It was amazing and like nothing I had heard before. "What is this?" I asked. "Prince," was the answer. "It is punk-funk."
Punk-funk? I didn't know either of those terms very well, but I liked it. When I got back to Florida I found the single, and the album. I was hooked.
There will be a gathering in memory of Lawrence Auclair at Mocha Joe's on Saturday May 9th at noon. Please come join us.
Georg Steinmeyer passed away recently, just a few weeks after his wife, Hanne.
Georg was a very interesting person. He grew up in Germany as part of the Steinmeyer organ building family, and came to Brattleboro in the fall of 1955 to work as Director of the pipe organ division of the Estey Organ Company. He often told the story of getting a transatlantic phone call in Europe from the United States, a rare occurrence, asking him to take the job.
Unfortunately, Estey’s days were numbered. Georg helped to oversee the building and installation of the final pipe organs built by the company.
I recently learned that Hanne Steinmeyer had passed on.
I met Hanne through the Estey Organ Museum. Her husband Georg was an active member, and she would often assist at events, helping with food, drink, decorations or crowd control. I would often run into her at some point during an event to sit, talk, and sip some wine. Hanne was funny and smart, and retained her German accent.
Lise and I once went with Hanne and Georg to Mass MOCA. On the drive we got to learn a bit about her early years.
I just read that VPR's southern Vermont correspondent, Susan Keese, passed away.
I've known Susan for many years, after first meeting her to talk about things going on at the Estey Organ Museum. Being a radio producer, her medium was sound, and stories that had interesting sounds or music being played were often of interest to her and her listeners.
She got very interested in the 2005 EsteyFest, a gathering of reed organ enthusiasts, many of whom brought instruments with them.
Over the years, whenever I had a potential story that included good sounds, I'd make sure she knew about it.
Tom, better known as Click, of Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers from the long running NPR automotive show “Car Talk” left us yesterday.
You will be missed.
(Tom is the guy on the left)
Tom Menino, Boston's longest standing mayor has died from cancer. He was a wonderful, compassionate mayor and man who loved his city and the people who lived in it. He was a strong urban leader and felt that before a city could address the needs and wants of tourism the well being of it's citizens had to be addressed.
I lived in Boston for 38 years and he was a rare bird in City Hall. Not perfect by any means but ethical, level headed, smart. He didn't back down and he always belived that Boston didn't need to prove anything to anyone. There was seldom a community event that he wasn't at, mingling, playing with the kids, asking people what they needed; how their lives were.
Last night I was pounding on Lawrence Auclair's door, begging him to open up. But open up he could not. I am sorry to say Lawrence Auclair has died. He was the warrior watch dog for our safety interests concerning Vermont Yankee. He was a friend and neighbor for twenty years. I already miss you. Robyn Flatley
On Sunday night, the Brattleboro area lost a contributor to the community.
I first met Alan Dann through the Estey Organ Museum where we served together on the board. In this capacity, I learned of his musical abilities. Alan played organ, but also loved to sing. He would frequently be telling me of impending trips to foreign lands to sing with his college alumni choir.
GUILFORD, Vt., Sept. 6, 2014 – Friends of Music at Guilford founder A. Graham Down died August 30, 2014 at his home in Washington, D.C. He had just celebrated his 85th birthday.
Down was a transplanted Englishman—Kings College, Cambridge, class of 1952. He installed a baroque-style tracker organ in a Guilford barn to use as a practice instrument while he vacationed here, and gave its inaugural recital on Labor Day Weekend in 1966.
He was then teaching at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, and visits from his students and colleagues inspired a number of them to move to Packer Corners Road in Guilford, along with their friends and families. As Friends of Music’s Zeke Hecker has said, “He founded more than a concert series; he founded a community.”
BURLINGTON, Vt., Aug. 18 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders issued the following statement today on the death of former U.S. Sen. James Jeffords:
“Jane and I join all Vermonters in sending condolences to the family of Jim Jeffords. Jim was one of the most popular elected officials in the modern history of the state – serving at the local, state and federal levels. Vermonters admired him because of his low-key and down-to-earth qualities, and because of his obvious and strong love of the state and the Vermont way of life. He was an effective champion of education, disability rights, the environment and the arts – and millions of Americans have benefited from his efforts. In 2001, he displayed enormous courage by leaving a party that, he often said, had left him because of its dramatic move to the right. Jim was a friend and he will be sorely missed.”
Burlington, VT. (August 18th, 2014)- Rep. Peter Welch made the following statement on the passing of former United States Senator and Congressman James Jeffords:
"I know I share the view of all Vermonters today in expressing condolences to the family of Senator Jim Jeffords on his passing, and our gratitude to him for his life of service.
While Jim would certainly wave away the notion, he was indeed a legend in Vermont and the nation. With characteristic decency, humility and civility, and a dogged persistence, he made his mark in Congress. Millions of children with disabilities are better off today because he lead the charge for their equal access to education. Americans are breathing cleaner air and drinking cleaner water because of his fierce advocacy for the environment and clean energy. And budding artists across the nation receive the boost of his encouragement every year thanks to his legacy as the founder of the annual Congressional Arts Competition.
Starting in 1978, the class clowns had fresh, new material. That is, certain kids were handed popularity on a plate. The reason? They were able to imitate Mork from Ork.
Marty was one of those kids in my school. He was one of the fortunate ones that was able to deliver a well-timed Shazbot or Nanu Nanu, rendering the rest of us in giggles.
PETE SEEGER: A FORCE OF NATURE: A Presence of Love.
My friend Pete Seeger
passed on to the other side,
but he did not die,
that is not possible.
I just learned that John Wessel passed away early Tuesday.
I met John through the Estey Organ Museum. He had worked at the Estey Organ Company in the pipe organ department, lived in Esteyville, and continued to build and restore organs after the company closed.
He would drop by the museum often, usually with some helpful criticism of how things were being done or displayed. He caught some errors for us, helped with events, attended everything, and was featured in the museum newsletter. He also helped repair organs and advise the museum on organs in the collection. He participated in round table discussions with other former employees. He also told some amazing stories.
The world has lost a great man; a humble peacemaker; a man who knew that educating people was the way to a better, more just world. A sad, sad day for humanity. RIP Nelson Mandela.