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Out & About: Lebanon man brings neighborhood together with weekly concerts

  • Liz Sauchelli. Copyright (c) Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/8/2020 9:37:22 PM
Modified: 8/8/2020 9:37:20 PM

Maurice Leblanc has always loved music.

For an hour nearly every Saturday since April (weather permitting), LeBlanc has shared his love of music with his Lebanon neighbors by playing a selection of curated songs to play over an amp that his son sets up — “he turns it up as much as he dares,” Leblanc said with a laugh.

The informal gatherings have a name: The Wheatley Concert Series, named for the street he lives on.

“Some people bring out their lawn chairs on the front lawn ... other people just open their windows and listen to it,” he said. “I send out an email to the neighbors all about the history of the music we’re going to be playing for the coming week. It’s not just listening to the music. It’s also a bit of music history and learning.”

Some weekends it’s Celtic music; other weekends it’s big-band tunes. One weekend, Leblanc invited musicians he knows from playing in the Upper Valley Community Band to perform live.

“I have thousands and thousands and thousands of songs on my computer,” he said. “Since I get to pick out what type of music, I can say that I’ve enjoyed them all, and I’m not sure I have a favorite kind.”

Saturday marked the last of the weekly concerts, but Leblanc plans to hold them from time to time going forward.

“Now people are able to go places, especially on weekends, so they’re getting out. So I think the Wheatley Concert Series has served its purpose,” he said. “It’s something I’ve really enjoyed doing, and I think the neighbors have enjoyed it. I think it’s really helped us get us through these times when everything was shut down.”

Leblanc, 72, has lived in the neighborhood for 37 years. It’s always been close, but the pandemic has brought everyone even closer.

“It’s that type of neighborhood,” he said. “We have people who are always asking if they need anything, they’ll go pick it up for them.”

Playing the music only helped solidify that sense of community and looking out for each other.

“Music has always been a very important part of not only my life, but my family’s life as well,” Leblanc said. “It helped keep my sanity. I really, really enjoyed it. I think music is a universal language that can bring people together.”

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.

Valley News

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