Guilford, Vt. — Friends of Music at Guilford’s 10th annual Spring Organ Recital is set for 3:00 in the afternoon on Sunday, May 27, in the barn at Tree Frog Farm, off Packer Corners Rd. in idyllic rural Guilford. The c. 1897 Tracker Organ was moved from Maine by FOMAG founder A. Graham Down (1929-2014), who invested in its restoration and improvements over the years, and performed the first concerts on it beginning in 1966.
By tradition, each FOMAG season opens with a concert in the barn on Labor Day Weekend, and for the past decade this May event has offered a second annual opportunity to celebrate the organization’s roots. This year’s featured performer is David Neiweem, college organist and carillonneur at the University of Vermont in Burlington, where he teaches vocal studies, conducting, and music education, and is director of choirs. He is also music director at the First Congregational Church of Burlington and director of Vermont’s Aurora Chamber Singers.
A Chicago native, Neiweem was educated at Oberlin and the Conservatory of Music in Stuttgart, Germany, where he trained as a singer, keyboard player, and conductor. He performs regularly in the U.S., Canada, and central Europe, and has played in many orchestras, including as a long-time member of the Vermont Symphony. In addition, he has been a frequently featured presenter at national and international conferences.
Neiweem’s “Mostly Baroque” organ program includes a ricercar and fugue by John Blow, two sonatas by César Cui, variations on a Spanish folk melody by Antonio de Cabezón, a partita by Ferdinand Tobias Richter, and variations on a Bach hymn setting by Samuel Scheidt. Assisting Guilford Chamber Players perform a trio sonata by Johann Joachim Quantz, in which the organ serves as continuo.
FOMAG has been eager to have Neiweem back on its concert roster since he performed as organist in 2014 for the annual Community Messiah Sing at Centre Church in Brattleboro. He was expected to return for the following Sing in 2015 but suffered a broken collar bone in a freak fall that October. Perennial Sing organist Bill McKim came out of “retirement” and has since continued in that role, giving FOMAG the option of offering Neiweem an Organ Barn outing.
The concert is followed by a holiday cookout on the back deck and lawn. This festive gathering offers grilling options for carnivores and vegetarians alike and assorted salads, sides, sips, and sundaes with classic toppings; attendees are welcome to bring their preferred picnic beverage. In case of wet weather, the barn offers an indoor setting for the meal and camaraderie.
Admission to the concert is $15; the optional meal is an additional $10 per person. Follow signs for 9 mi. from the Guilford Country Store at Rt. 5, just over a mile from Exit 1 off I-91, or for 5 mi. from Keets Brook Rd. at Rt. 5 in Bernardston, Mass.
Reservations are useful for food planning but not required. Contact the office at 802-254-3600 or firstname.lastname@example.org; visit online at www.fomag.org. Media support for Friends of Music at Guilford’s 52nd season events is provided by Vermont Public Radio and the Vermont Arts Council.