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Sunday’s Dana Vespers concert goes on

NEW SALEM — Just like the four towns that were flooded to create Quabbin Reservoir, a memorial concert planned for Sunday almost disappeared.

But following a reversal of a decision that would have seized control of the First Universalist Parish of North Dana’s trust funds last month, the Pioneer Valley Brass will perform the 756th Dana Vesper Service will take place at 3 p.m. at Swift River Valley Historical Society on Elm Street in North New Salem.

The vespers have been presented since 1929 as a living memorial to members of the First Universalist Parish of North Dana, which was flooded 75 years ago to create Quabbin Reservoir.

But the parish’s trust fund, created in 1933 to recall the lost towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich and Prescott, was challenged last October by the Unitarian Universalist Association, which took custody of the money when it was created in 1961.

The funds were released, parish Treasurer Dana M. Tandy announced last month, so the concerts will continue, at no cost to the public.

Tandy had responded to the UUA’s original letter declaring that the parish was defunct and that the trust was being re-assigned to the UUA’s “general missionary work,” saying, “Clearly we don’t have a (church) building. But a parish is people, not a building.”

Following Sunday’s annual Swift River Valley Historical Society concert, there will be the 174th celebration of the 176th birthday of Mrs. Edward Clary, whose property was bequeathed for the museum.

The 757th Dana Vesper concert will take place Sept. 7 at 4 p.m. at the First Congregational Parish, Unitarian, in Petersham.

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