A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight
The virtues of “Local” are touted everywhere these days. Locally produced food. Locally produced products. And, when it comes to entertainment in this small rural town, one need look no further than the Town Hall. For the past 62 years, the Tunbridge Civic Club has showcased local talent at its annual show. Last night, Marion and I attended our first, and I must say, I was thoroughly entertained and extremely impressed.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that a town of little more than a thousand residents should have such a depth of talent. After all, making a life here in rural Vermont requires a wide range of skills. Along with the varied tasks of a typical hard-working day, it makes sense that making music is a popular pastime once the chores are done. Each year, at the annual variety show, it all comes together for a rollicking good time under a single roof.
Up on the stage, residents took turns telling jokes, making music, and wearing costumes that came from who-knows-where.
“Mr. Grassman,” above, can sing country with the best of them, all while keeping a straight face under that, um, hair?
The musicianship on display was impressive and went far beyond one or two stars. The entire cast contributed to an evening full of great performances.
Dad (“Mr. Grassman”) watches on as his daughter sings (above).
At the intermission, there was a chance to buy desserts from the eighth graders who had set up a fundraiser in the lower level, but I took the time to admire the interior of a Town Hall that has seen many a community gathering since it was built 175 years ago.
The second half of the show got underway after a chance to chat with neighbors. More music, and lots more fun, followed.
This year’s show was a tribute to the late Merle Howe, an iconic local farmer who’d brought his own brand of fun to the variety show for many years before he passed away in 2014. Butch (above) broke out the fiddle and the audience got the feet moving again.
Above, the mother-daughter duo of Judy and Janet rock the house with a high-energy piano duet.
“Mr. Domino” slowed the pace with the instrumental, “In a Sentimental Mood.”
Many of the cast performed under self-chosen stage names intended to broaden the smiles. “Mr. Curley,” above, told jokes on stage and took an occasional seat at the piano wearing glasses that were no doubt an inspiration taken from Elton John.
Marybeth, below, performs one of her solos, “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” in tribute to the late Merle Howe.
“Mr. Curley” took to the piano keys again (below) for a lively rendition of “Rockin’ Robin.”
By the time I left the Town Hall last night, I had a whole new appreciation for our abundant local talent. It truly was “A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight.”