Come listen to the community Saturday -- and come play!
Judy Pond took her first fiddle lesson five years ago at the Upper Valley Music Center after she turned 70. And now she can't stop playing -- as anyone who comes to Saturday's Sing & Play 50k will find out. Because Saturday, Judy will be performing from beginning to end with eight different community groups.
"I can't think of a lovelier way to spend a day," she said.
The event is a day-long fundraiser for the Upper Valley Music Center, but really it's much more than that. It's also a celebration of music in the Upper Valley: one big shoutout to those who play it, those who teach it, those who support it, those who listen to it.
The event is 50,000 seconds long -- hence the 50K -- which explains why it's running from 7:04 am to 9:00 pm. For the most part, especially if the weather cooperates, it's being held in and around Colburn Park in downtown Lebanon.
Anyone is welcome to come and listen -- children too! -- for free. (The full schedule of events is here.)
But the day is a celebration of making music as a community too. So if you want to join in, you can. In fact, please do! You'll have plenty of company; in total, as many as 300 community musicians will be participating. If you're a student at the music school or a volunteer at the event, playing is free. If not, registration is easy and only $35.
If the thought of playing in public makes you a little anxious, just look to Judy Pond for inspiration. As a child she thought violins were snooty. But as a retiree ushering at the Lebanon Opera House, she heard a funny, happy, intriguing folk quartet from Quebec, bought their CD, got out her aunt's old violin, and started scratching.
One note led to another. And then she discovered a fiddling class at the music center.
"That's my whole new life," she said. "I had no idea this is what I would be doing with my retirement."
At the heart of her new life is the joy she finds in learning to make music, but it's more than that. The music center itself has become central to her life, and now she's even on the board. She loves its mission: fostering a love of making music in everyone, young and old. "It's a wonderful place with wonderful people," she said.
All of which explains where you'll find Judy Saturday:
-- singing with a pickup chorus at 9:30
-- playing with a pickup orchestra at 11
-- playing with former Suzuki students -- that's a teaching method that emphasizes character as well as skill -- at 1:30.
-- playing with current Suzuki students at 2:30. "I'm the only adult," she said. "I'm about 64 years older than the next oldest person in my group."
-- playing with an English Country Dance band at 3
-- playing with the Monday Night Fiddle Class at 3:30
-- playing with the orchestra at 4
-- AND playing in a jam at the Salt hill Pub in the evening
That's a lot of playing. That's a lot of fun. You should be there.
"My hope for that day is that more people than ever get involved with the music center," she said. "A lot of people don't even know that it exists. It really changes people, and it can change communities. It can bring out the best in both of those."