Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, President (with everyone’s help) for August 19, 2018
Labor Day Weekend FUN-draiser finale coming soon:Nils Fredland and the Clayfoot Strutters!
Before August starts, FCCGH chair Patty Giavara asks a group of contra-dancers to contribute some money as a “Challenge” for the rest of the Grange community to match. Once again, 10 people have put up a total of $1,500.
Starting with the first dance in August, we’ve been asking for donations–at the dance last night, we were able to offer a number of donated snacks at the break–all building up to the fun finale, at the Sept. 1st CDU contra-dance.
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. He’s called at many dance series like the CDU’s, dance festivals and dance camps across the country and he’s the music director of the Revels North organization.
The Clayfoot Strutters are a self-styled “New England-based Contradance Jam Band” who specialize in fusing the modes and melodies of traditional American immigrant music, progressive pop and modal jazz harmonies with hot dance-floor grooves from the Latin, Swing, Afropop and Zydeco/Cajun worlds. As composers and songwriters they actively contribute new repertoire to this emerging style. 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.
And we’ll have a dessert potluck, and house plants!
We’ll be offering all of these treats at the break in the dance, and asking for donations–whatever you think is fair.
Rob Nichols has also grown a large number of beautiful, potted house plants, available for donations of $5.00 and up–come and check them out! Downstairs in the basement, with care instructions supplied. These are more interesting than just spider plants and jade plants–but those are available too, healthy and growing!
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.
We can’t win them all…
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 contact Patty Giavara, at firstname.lastname@example.org or me, Tim Swartz by email: email@example.com or phone: 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.