Grange Notes for August 29, 2018 by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help)
It’s almost here…the FCCGH annual fundraiser winds up at the dance this Saturday, Sept. 1!
FCCGH chair Patty Giavara has lined up a group of 10 extra-motivated contra-dancers to contribute a “Challenge” for the rest of the Grange community to match. Once again, they have given $1,500, for the dance community (and everyone else!) to match.As in previous years, the fundraiser wraps up at the first dance in September, with an extra-festive version of the CDU dance. With a tote-board to chart the incoming contributions, special lights and a potluck “dessert bar” at the break, plus beautiful house plants in return for donations, it’s a special night–but no special admission price! We want everyone to come and enjoy the evening–and to give what they can to keep improving the Hall.That dance will feature always-popular caller Nils Fredland and the great Clayfoot Strutters.
Nils has called many times at the Grange Hall, always helping people to dance together with care and respect, and (most important) have a good time.
The Clayfoot Strutters call themselves a “New England-based Contradance Jam Band”. They have been playing together for decades, specializing in fusing traditional American immigrant music, progressive pop and modal jazz harmonies with hot dance-floor grooves from the Latin, Swing, Afropop and Zydeco/Cajun worlds. Featured are core members fiddler, songwriter, and producer Pete Sutherland, Jeremiah McLane on accordion and keyboards, and drummer, vocalist and guitarist Lee Blackwell. Special guests often include: Peter Davis, who plays clarinet, sax, piano, and guitar, bassist Harry Aceto, and banjo and flute player Mark Roberts.
Nils and the Strutters are a special combination that will make us happy to give some bucks to keep the Grange Hall getting better! See farther down for info on plans!
Rob Nichols’ specially grown houseplants!
Rob is willing to part with these, for a donation to the Challenge Fundraiser–come early for the best selection.
And we’ll have a dessert potluck!
We’ll be offering all of these treats at the break in the dance, and asking for donations–whatever you think is fair.
No change in admission!
More dance events coming up
On Saturday, Sept. 8th, starting at 7:00, Dana Dwinell-Yardley will call dances, and students of Pete Sutherland, led by Alexander Allison will play, we hope with some other musicians joining in. We’d love to have some dancers from the CDU dances join us to make it more fun for the less experienced dancers. Spread the word! Free for all! If you want to come for the dinner before, featuring Stuffed Roast Pork, you’ll need to let me know before Sept. 4th.On Sunday, Sept. 9th, there will be a meeting of Vermont dance organizers at the Grange Hall, starting with a potluck “brunch” at 1:00 PM, continuing with discussion of problems and solutions experienced by dance organizers from around the state, and finishing up with a “DIY dance”–the many musicians and callers who double as organizers are urged to bring their instruments and dance cards.
For more info, contact me: Tim Swartz via email, or phone at: 802-225-8921.
What are all these pictures about?
Then the plumber came in…
We decided it was time to upgrade
And we now have a frost-proof outside faucet (bottom), so we can water plants, clean paint brushes, spray screens, etc. without lugging water from the inside.
Last to be installed will be a couple of sprinkler heads mounted above the furnace, as suggested by the Fire Marshal.
We thank our plumber, Josh Mulholland, who also worked with his father Tom to put in the new bathroom plumbing in 2015.
The driveway was getting pretty bad…
Luckily, our favorite excavator,Matt Dwire of MD Enterprises was able to come in this week, and fix things up again. Matt has plugged a gully and regraded the parking lot and driveway for the Grange in the past. This time, he re-graded the whole drive, then topped the freshly worked area, and the “pit” that had developed near the top, with a couple of truck-loads of gravel including granite chips. Packed down, it is designed to shed water to the side.
The Grange is able to afford these improvements thanks to our partnership with the Town of Berlin, which is relieving us of property taxes, in exchange for free rentals for residents of Berlin. Our Hall has been used for birthdays, retirement parties, showers, training sessions for the co-op trailer park nearby, and much more! Spread the word about this community resource!
So, why are the Friends raising money, again?
In total, the Friends and the previous committee have raised over $104,000 in grants and donations, and have spent over $75,000 on the Grange Hall, making significant improvements:
- 2008: New entrance on NE corner + new ADA bathroom–main floor
- 2012: Replaced the dance floor with new, VT maple flooring
- 2013: Replaced wood windows with new, insulating ones
- 2014: Rebuilt fire exit from basement level to meet fire code.
- 2015: Completely rebuilt tiny basement bathrooms to create an ADA bathroom, plus a 4-stall, 4-sink “any gender” bathroom
The FCCGH has helped the Grange with over $75,000 of renovations, with the help of grants–so we probably shouldn’t be surprised that we can’t get one awarded every time. This year, the Friends’ winning streak has been broken, as our grant application to the VT Arts Council was turned down.
Moving forward, even without the grant
For quite a few years, we’ve heard complaints about the “live” acoustics of our Grange Hall. People setting up sound systems, people having a hard time hearing at Grange meetings, people straining to hear the caller at contra and square dances, and even some sound engineers have told us it can be a hard place to provide clear sound!
We’ve gotten advice from various places about ways to reduce and absorb the “reverb”. These can range from purchased panels to new wall and ceiling coverings. We are now looking at making some “test panels” ourselves from acoustically absorbent materials, to see how they work. These will be attached to the ceiling and upper walls, and we’ll be soliciting feedback about how much improvement they provide, before we design a full-scale plan to really change the acoustics.
We’ll be looking for input from all the groups that use the Hall regularly, and also recruiting volunteers to help make the panels, cover them with appropriate fabric, etc. Stay tuned for details of meetings we will start after the Labor Day weekend fundraiser. If you’re interested in helping with these trials, please email Patty Giavara, or email me: Tim Swartz or phone me: 802-225-8921.
The Friends will keep you posted on plans for the grant applications and building improvements.Keep reading the Grange Notes for more updates.
Grange Meetings resume for the fall on Sept. 15th. Meeting at 4:30, Community Potluck dinner at 6:00! Put it on your calendar.
More flowerbeds will be built from rocks, filled with soil and planted with perennials, on Sunday, Sept. 23rd. Email Merry Shernock to volunteer or find out more!