Gill starting 225th year with song

  • Youth Minister Steve Damon in the United Church of Bernardston. June 6, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

Recorder Staff
Saturday, December 30, 2017

GILL — A small group of dedicated local singers will raise their voices in Town Hall Monday to sing in the new year, and they’re inviting everyone to join in.

“It’s going to be a cold day. The perfect time to get a bunch of people together and sing campfire songs,” said Steve Damon, a Gill resident and music teacher for Union 38 district schools. Others who’ve committed to singing Monday are Isaac Bingham and Sorrel Hatch of Upinngil Farm, and Damon’s wife, Joyana, who is also a music teacher in Vermont.

The event kicks off Gill’s 225th anniversary year as an incorporated town. Gill was officially founded in 1793.

“That’s why we’re doing this,” Damon said. “There are events being planned throughout the year, and we figured we might as well start on the first day of the year.”

Other events scheduled so far include a contra dance, puzzle swap, community skating, and a summertime pig roast, according to Gill Administrative Assistant Ray Purington.

Singing will start at 2 p.m. in Gill’s historic town hall, 325 Main Road. It’s supposed to end an hour later, but Damon said the schedule is flexible, and “we’ll see what happens. If we have a bunch of people who want to keep on singing, we’ll keep on singing.”

“We have a robo call going out tomorrow at 2:25 p.m. to a thousand different phone numbers,” he continued.

As of now, Damon is expecting no more than 40 people to attend. But that number could climb, and if it does, “we’ll bring more chairs.” The song list, as of now, is mostly “going to be old fashioned Americana, like “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” and “(Oh My Darlin’) Clementine,” Damon said.

He noted the group will sing “whatever else anyone else wants to sing. We’re also inviting people, if they have a song they’d like to lead, to go ahead and do that, too.”

Monday’s singing might or might not have musical accompaniment depending on what people bring. As of now, Damon said that Emily Samuels, a local music teacher, and retired teacher Steve Baskowski, are planning to bring guitars.

The event is free and open to the public, not just those who live in Gill. Anyone who wants to do so is encouraged to bring a snack or refreshment to share. If Monday’s event is successful, Damon said “maybe we’ll end the year the same way.”

You can reach Andy Castillo

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