When my husband and I moved to Chester in March of 2001 on a very snowy day it was impossible to really appreciate the meadow we had acquired. By the middle of April we were able to walk the property. As we were coming back to the house I mentioned to him what a great place to have a concert. His comment was, “Don’t even think about it.”
That was all I needed to hear and I was off and running.
When I was organizing my first concert in 2003, I was looking for an organization where the money would do the most good for women with breast cancer as I have lost several friends to breast cancer. One in particular was Joyce Francis Murphy, who had been my dear friend since fourth grade.
I heard Erron Carey of Chester speak about the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I was particularly impressed by the fact that 75 percent of the money raised in Vermont stays in Vermont and benefits Vermonters who are fighting breast cancer. Her words convinced me that Susan G. Komen for the Cure was where I wanted the money to go.
John Taylor and his wife Karen of New York were guests at our motel the year before I started putting on this event. When I heard him playing his guitar, I told him about my concert idea. He told me if I put it together, he would come and play. Then I shared my idea with another guest, Melissa Maravel, also from New York, and she offered to come play too!
Next I went to see Domenica and Gary Coger, who owned Chester Music Shoppe at the time. With their help, and a lot of suggestions from Charlie Hunter of Bellows Falls, I was able to put together that first concert. I used the deck of the motel for a stage and a couple of pop-up tents. I bugged my family and friends to come and help….and so it began.
Every year more and more people came to help and support my project. Stephanie Smith designs the poster; Newsbank prints them. As it grew, more and more businesses and neighbors stepped up to help. HB Energy Solutions supplies the Port-A-Potties, including the pink ones! Friends and family come from Connecticut and Florida to help. This is a huge undertaking with trillions of details but when so many pitch in, it becomes eminently doable.
In 2007 I lost my emcee the Monday before the concert. My friend Karen Trombley happened to be sitting in my kitchen when I got that phone call. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Karen said “just a minute” and proceeded to call Brian Waldo. Upon asking him what he was doing that weekend she informed him she had the perfect job for him. Brian has been my right arm ever since.
Everyone has been touched by this terrible disease in one way or another, whether it be themselves, family members or friends.
Throughout the last 13 years we have raised a total of over $50,000. The biggest thing about Music in the Meadow is we have no budget; every bit of money we receive goes to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Therefore, any and all donations are graciously accepted.
This year’s 14th annual event will be held on June 25 from 12–6:30 p.m. and June 26 10:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. at Motel in the Meadow, Route 11West, Chester, Vt. Silent auction, raffle and a horseshoe tournament will add to the entertainment. Music includes talent of Mark Shelton, Crazy Love, DV8, The Imperfectionists, Spectris, Garry Sharon, Bondville Boys, Totally Submerged, Floyd Lawrence and Intercept. Bring a blanket/chair and join in the fun!
Tina Bixby, Chester
Reflecting on 13 years of Music in the Meadow