Letter: Farmers’ Night in Montpelier

To the Editor:

The walls of the Vermont Statehouse will be reverberating tonight at 7:30 with the sounds of the Upper Valley Community Band playing a concert for the traditional Farmers’ Night concert series.

In the early days of Vermont, before the building of the interstates and major highways, many legislators lived in the capital for the entire session. Being away from home for weeks on end, the legislators, many of them farmers, began to meet in groups and would break out a fiddle or a guitar and entertain each other to escape the monotony of the long winter evenings. As time progressed, the entertainment became more formalized, and, in 1923, a series of weekly concerts aptly titled Farmers’ Night was introduced.

Since that year, a concert is held for both legislators and the public every Wednesday evening during the legislative session. The Upper Valley Community Band is thrilled to be performing in this weekly concert series that includes such groups as the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and the Vermont Philharmonic Choir. Storyteller and Valley News columnist Willem Lange was a featured entertainer earlier this year. The annual series is produced by Reps. Tess Taylor of Barre and Alison Clarkson of Woodstock.

The UVCB is made up of amateur musicians from Vermont and New Hampshire; one of its members is John Bartholomew, a legislator who represents Hartland. Among the selections the band will play are National Emblem March by Vermont composer E.E. Bagley, Tenth Regiment March by Maine native R.B. Hall, a medley of Elvis tunes, Grizzly Bear Rag, a tribute to Rogers and Hammerstein and other crowd-pleasing numbers. The audience will be treated to an evening of music reminiscent of a typical Vermont summer concert in the park. The UVCB is honored to perform for Farmers’ Night.

Willy Black