Posts Tagged ‘Moonlight in Vermont’

vt-made music

January 12, 2011

Last week I learned that Vermont musician Dennis Murphy had passed away in late November. (Here’s the obit from the Times-Argus.) He was born in Plainfield, NJ and he passed away in his longtime home of Plainfield, VT. I never met him but you don’t have to be involved in music here for very long to learn about the his contributions to the local cultural community. Last summer I went to the Blinking Light Gallery’s opening of an exhibition dedicated to his Murphy’s art work, an event that led to my later conversations with several of his former students and close acquaintances.  Through them I got insights into Murphy’s teaching at Goddard College, and about his involvement with groups like the Fyre and Lightning Consort and the Plainfield Village Gamelan Ensemble. He is remembered as a creatively curious and fearless innovator, and a gentle mentor to many.

In other local news, the Vermont Youth Orchestra board of directors met again last night and approved the hiring of a new conductor to replace Ronald Braunstein, who was named the group’s new permanent director six months ago. What happened? Anyone’s guess. Throughout the strange interlude of the last two months since the decision was apparently first made (though not publicly announced), the VYO Board has claimed muteness on the grounds of its legal inability to discuss personnel matters. Fair enough – but no public statement? At all? No cursory blog post on the VYO website, no carefully crafted facebook message, no polite (if uninformative) press release…nothing? The details of the situation are less the issue than the atypically stone-faced way the situation has been handled publically by the Board. How odd. Keep an eye out here for news on the new director, who may be named as early as later this week.

Finally tonight I wanted to leave with a mention of Margaret Whiting, whose sweet voice made “Moonlight in Vermont” a huge hit in 1943. For never having actually been to Vermont she had a good imagination and breathed believable life into the song’s sycamores, meadow larks, and…moonlight-washed hillsides. Whiting passed away on Monday at age 86. There was a nice remembrance of her this evening on Vermont Public Radio.




blue sky, blueberries

August 25, 2009

rising crescent over the Owl's Head Blueberry Farm

rising crescent over the Owl's Head Blueberry Farm

…Evening summer breeze
Sweet warblings of the meadowlark,
Moonlight in Vermont

That’s how the song goes. A beautiful one, though for an American songbook standard it’s curiously unconventional in its asymmetrical phrasing and lack of rhyming lyrics. We don’t mind. We love it for its wistful nostalgia, and the way it suits every season equally, winter or summer. (Just how many songs about Vermont are there, anyhow?)


the season's last four quarts

I thought about the song tonight (Ella’s version – the ultimate) when the crescent moon appeared around 7:30, as it was getting too dark to pick any more blueberries and the night’s band – Richmond’s own Heckhounds – wound down with their last couple or three country blues numbers. Picked four quarts tonight, and that’s going to be it for another year. That’s two big pies or around 10 turnovers. Maybe a couple dozen muffins, if I use the large tin.

Summer’s ending. As much as I enjoyed it, the thought doesn’t leave me melancholy.

I know the best is still around the corner. Autumn colors, apple-picking, harvests and Halloween and the new beginning of all the fall concert seasons.

There’s always something to look forward to.

…Gentle finger waves
Ski trails down a mountain side
Snowlight in Vermont.

the Heckhounds

the Heckhounds

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