Lake Region rocks at Parker Pie

On the stage at the Lake Region Rocks concert at the Parker Pie Friday night are, from left, Caleb Sweeney, Katie Lucas, Celine Marcotte, Averill Snyder, Sara Doncaster, Jared Wigget, and Isaac Seeeney. Photo by Meg Gibson

copyright the Chronicle 5-22-13

WEST GLOVER — “It’s different on a lighted stage than on the gym floor,” Jared Wiggett observed Friday night. He was taking a breather on the deck at Parker Pie during a break in a concert called Lake Region Rocks.
The stage he was talking about was upstairs in the restaurant’s Village Hall. And the gym floor was a few miles north at Lake Region Union High School, where generations of students have demonstrated their musical talents for their parents, grandparents and the community’s music lovers.
Friday’s event was decidedly different.
“It’s a lot more like a rock show,” said Spencer Perry, who like Mr. Wiggett, had already taken the small stage at the Pie several times to play or sing.
Students kept popping up in different combinations, with different instruments. Sometimes they teamed up with professionals.
One was Dr. D., their new music teacher. Sara Doncaster backed her students up on piano, sang with them, and seemed not at all like a classically trained musician with a doctorate in music theory and composition from Brandeis University.
The other three pros make up a popular local band, The Evansville Transit Authority. Kyle Chadburn, Chris Doncaster and Travis Leblanc are Lake Region alumnae.
“After all the things we did at Lake Region, it’s an honor to be asked back,” Mr. Chadburn quipped as his group opened Friday’s show.
The idea, dreamed up by Parker Pie’s events and design director, Meg Gibson, was to team student musicians up with professionals in the sort of setting they can look forward to, should music become a career pursuit.
“I just wanted to give these kids a chance to get up on the stage,” Ms. Gibson told the audience that packed the small house Friday night.
Interviewed during the break, Mr. Chadburn, lead vocalist and guitarist with his band, confessed that he was having a pretty good time.
Indeed, he said, “We’re having a blast.
“They make us think again,” Mr. Chadburn said of the student musicians. “They’re keeping us on our toes. I’m hoping this will become a yearly thing.”
Part of the fun, Mr. Chadburn said, was due to the “overwhelming enthusiasm” Ms. Doncaster has for music and the students who like to make it.
She has stepped into the very large shoes of Peter Gage, who taught music at Lake Region for 37 years. And if Ms. Doncaster’s style of leadership is a departure from Mr. Gage’s, she nevertheless brings a strong sense of continuity to the position.
She grew up on Warebrook Farm in Irasburg and graduated from Lake Region in 1982. She still has her fourth-grade clarinet music book with Mr. Gage’s hand-written annotations, she said in an interview after Friday’s show.
She is familiar with some of her present students as both a private teacher and a music teacher in the elementary schools of Lowell, Newport Center and Coventry.
One such student is Katie Lucas, who stopped the show Friday night with a stunning blues number, her voice backed up by Dr. D. on keyboard, her nephew Chris Doncaster on bass guitar, and Spencer Perry on drums.
Ms. Lucas, a freshman at Lake Region, now lives in Brownington. But she grew up in Lowell, where Ms. Doncaster was her music teacher.
Another fine voice on Friday’s stage emerged from Celine Marcotte of Barton, who started studying piano with Ms. Doncaster at age five.
Friday’s show left one with the impression that people had a wonderful time on both sides of the footlights.
And that, Ms. Doncaster said, is entirely the point.
“Performance is not about perfection,” she said later. “It’s about getting the feeling — about enjoying themselves.”
There is one sad footnote to this story. Ms. Doncaster’s commitment to her new job has forced the cancellation of a project she began in 1991, while still a student at Brandeis. The Warebrook Contemporary Music Festival, which for decades has brought composers and performers of new music to the family farm and concert halls around the area, will not take place this summer.


Obituaries May 22, 2013

Therese A. Doyon

obit doyon

Therese A. Doyon, 84, of Lowell died on May 19, 2013, in Newport.

She was born on October 4, 1928, in Winooski, the daughter of Leo and Aurore (Charpentier) Bonneau.
On August 16, 1949, she married Gaston Doyon, who survives her.

Mrs. Doyon and her husband farmed in Lowell for 29 years. She was a past member of the Ladies of Saint Anne and she taught catechism in Lowell for many years and she ran the kitchen at St. Ignatius Church. She was always ready to lend a helping hand in the community. She made cakes for different occasions and also ceramic arts and crafts.
She loved to have her family come for visits as she derived great pleasure from her family. She also enjoyed many activities with her husband including playing cards, Bingo, entertaining and traveling. She enjoyed bowling and going to music events with her husband and she was a diehard Red Sox fan.

She is survived by her husband Gaston Doyon of Lowell; and by her children: Madeleine Greenway and her companion, Gerry Green, of Lowell, Marielle Tetreault and her husband, Roger Jr., of Westfield, Marcel Doyon and his wife, Catherine, of Denver, Colorado, Maurice Doyon and his wife, Jacqueline, of Manchester, New Hampshire, Aline Bathalon and her husband, Guy, of Derby, and Paul Doyon and his wife, Pauline, of Westfield; 14 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, eight great-great-grandchildren and by numerous nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her brother Bernard Bonneau and his wife, Fernande, of North Troy; her sisters: Martha Limoges and her husband, Real, of Troy, and Celine Leblanc and her husband, Norman, of Jericho; and by her sister-in-law Mary Bonneau of Lowell.
She was predeceased by two children: Michael and Agnes; her granddaughter Sandra; her sister Maria Lamarche; and by three brothers: Jean Paul, Gerard, and Ange Marie.

Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, at the Curtis-Britch-Converse-Rushford Funeral Home, 4670 Darling Hill Road in Newport. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 23, at St. Ignatius Church in Lowell, with the Reverend Ladislaus Whelinde celebrating a Mass of Christian burial. Interment will follow in St. Ignatius Cemetery in Lowell.

Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to St. Ignatius Church, 151 Hazen Notch Road, Lowell, Vermont 05847.

Online condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website at

Lillian Mary (Allen) Willis

obit willis

Lillian Mary (Allen) Willis, 85, died on Friday, May 17, 2013, in North Country Hospital in Newport, with her family by her side.

She was born on August 3, 1927, in Mansonville, Quebec, to Leon and and Erdine (Gibeau) Allen.
She was an active member of the Order of the Eastern Star, holding many positions in the Troy, Newport and Island Pond chapters until she was no longer able to attend. She worked for many years as a waitress at the Green Valley Restaurant in Troy. She retired from Bogner of America in 1985. After retirement, she kept busy doing various sewing jobs and watching Tyler Paxman, from the time of his birth until he went to school. He became a very special “grandson” to her.

On May 10, 1947, she married Malcolm (Pete) Willis.

She is survived by the following family: four sons and their wives: Dennis and Linda Willis, Gary and Fay Willis, Keith and Jackie Willis, and Jim and Janet Willis; and seven grandchildren: Rick Willis and his partner, Terry Davis, Robbie Willis and his wife, Marnie, Carrie Lamadeleine and her partner, Justin Wright, Roy Willis and his partner, Athena Farrar, Jessie Willis, Melissa Laramie and her husband, Philip, and Lynn Willis and her partner, Joe Brooks. She is also survived by 14 great-grandchildren and four great-great-granchildren; her sisters: Pauline Haney and her husband, Tom, Ernestine Monfette, Albertine Woodard, and Maxlene Mongeau and her husband, Rick; her brother Lyle Allen and his wife, Sue; her sisters-in-law: Thelma Willis, Mildren Allen, Esther Allen, and Betty Allen; and by many nieces and nephews in Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Quebec.
She was predeceased by her husband, Pete; her grandson David; her grandson Jason Lucier; her great-great-grandson Trevor; several brothers; one sister; and by several brothers- and sisters-in law.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 22, at the Curtis-Britch-Converse-Rushford Funeral Home at 4670 Darling Hill Road in Newport.

Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to the Bel-aire Activites Fund, 35 Bel-aire Drive, Newport, Vermont 05855.
Online condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website at


Mildred Major

Committal services for Mildred Major will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 25, at the Lakeside Cemetery in Island Pond.

Robert Sheltra

Committal services for Robert Sheltra will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, at St. Ignatius Cemetery in Lowell.

Robert Pomeroy

Committal services for Robert Pomeroy will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, at Derby Center Cemetery.

John Curtis

Committal services for John Curtis will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 24, at Hillside Cemetery in East Charleston.

Gerald Latouche

Committal services for Gerald Latouche will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 24, at Lakeside Cemetery in Island Pond, with full military honors.

Rupert Webster Sr.

Committal services for Rupert Webster Sr. will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, at Mead Hill Cemetery in Holland.

Evelyn Page

Funeral services for Evelyn Page will be held at 11 a.m. at the Holland Methodist Church. Interment will follow in Mead Hill Cemetery in Holland, with full military honors.

Clarence Maker

Committal services for Clarence Maker will be held at 1 p.m. at the East Haven Cemetery in East Haven, with full military honors.

Glenn Bowen

Committal services for Glenn Bowen will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 25, at the Newport Center Cemetery.

Philip Rowell

Graveside services for Philip Rowell will be held on Saturday, May 25, at 11 a.m. at the Albany Village Cemetery, with full military honors.


Young composers get a chance to hear their works

North Country music teacher Anne Hamilton and Adele Woodmansee listen as musicians from the Burlington Ensemble, including violinists Michael Dabrowski and Sofia Hirsch, rehearse Ms. Woodmansee’s String Quartet in D Minor.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

North Country music teacher Anne Hamilton and Adele Woodmansee listen as musicians from the Burlington Ensemble, including violinists Michael Dabrowski and Sofia Hirsch, rehearse Ms. Woodmansee’s String Quartet in D Minor. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the chronicle 05-08-13

by Joseph Gresser

DERBY LINE — At noon on a fine spring Wednesday, a stream of youngsters from elementary to high school age poured into the doors of the Haskell Opera House.  In front of the entrance to the Haskell Free Library a man sat gazing intently at sheets of paper in his lap as he conducted an invisible orchestra.

That man, Eric Nielsen, is a distinguished Vermont composer and one of many who work behind the scenes as part of Music-Comp.  That organization, once known as the Vermont Midi Project, encourages students in their efforts to compose music by having professionals mentor them through the Internet.

On May 1, preparations were nearing completion for the twenty-sixth in a series of concerts which allow student composers to hear their works performed by professional musicians.

Among the 26 composers whose pieces were to be featured on the evening’s bill were three from North Country Union High School — Adele Woodmansee, Erin Spoerl and Bradley Dopp.  Their teacher, Anne Hamilton, has been involved with Music-Comp since it began in 1995, and has heard many of her students’ compositions played over that time.

She guided her students through the rehearsal process, sitting with Adele Woodmansee on the stage of the Haskell as four players from the Burlington Ensemble ran through her String Quartet in D Minor.

First violinist Michael Dabrowski asked Ms. Hamilton, “Is our goal to learn the piece?”

“The goal is to have a conversation with the composer,” Ms. Hamilton replied.

Her response reflected an attitude of respect that permeates the program.

The musicians immediately got it, and began asking Ms. Woodmansee technical questions about how she thought the piece should be performed.

Ms. Woodmansee, herself an accomplished violinist, answered easily in a manner that revealed that she had given the questions a great deal of thought during the compositional process.

That she did so is in part due to the work of Mr. Nielsen and his fellow composer mentors, who look over compositions e-mailed to them by the young composers and make suggestions for ways the pieces might be developed.

The exchanges often grow lengthy as compositions change and new possibilities open up.

One astounding aspect of the concerts is that young composers are afforded instrumental possibilities that a professional would envy.  For the Opus 26 performance, composers had a string quartet plus a contra bass at their beck and call, as well as the forces of the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, a wind consort that includes flute, oboe or English horn, bassoon and clarinet.

Mr. Dopp’s composition Frosk, a Norwegian word meaning frog, he explained, brought together bass clarinet, contra bass and bassoon.

He, the musicians, Ms. Hamilton and some classmates squeezed themselves into a tiny dressing room for his rehearsal.

Bassist Evan Premo mentioned in an offhand way that Mr. Dopp had marked the tempo for his piece in a way that was difficult for the musicians to understand.  He took a moment to explain the math needed to figure how fast Mr. Dopp wished the piece to be performed, and made a suggestion about how to handle the matter in the future.

Clarinet player Steve Klimowski asked Mr. Dopp how he wanted a very quiet entrance performed.

The trio performed Mr. Dopp’s piece once and Mr. Klimowski made a major error, finishing long after the other two musicians.  A second attempt corrected that mistake.

Afterward, Mr. Klimowski explained to a curious onlooker that, although musicians receive the pieces well in advance of the concert, it is hard to know how an ensemble will sound without playing together.  He said there is time to work through any technical challenges an individual player might face, but only about ten minutes to play each work together.

The musicians worked through the afternoon until all trooped off to the Universalist Church for dinner.

As part of its Opus 25 concert, Music-Comp produced an e-book reviewing the organization’s history.  Executive Director Sandi MacLeod said the book will be available on the organization’s website in the middle of May.

Ms. MacLeod said the book was part of a fund-raising effort.  Grants that were available in the program’s early days are drying up, she said, and the organization is seeking new revenues.

One way they are going about it is by expanding Music-Comp’s horizons.  Ms. MacLeod said the organization changed its name in part because midi is old technology and in part because it is now a national organization working with students in many other states, including New York, Indiana and California.

Among those testifying to the effect the organization has had on them are a number of students from Orleans County, many of whom are now pursuing music as a career in one way or another.

Twins Matt and Adam Podd graduated from North Country and are living in New York City working as freelance pianists, arrangers and composers.  Matt Podd still maintains his connection with Music-Comp and works as a composer mentor.

Sam Schiavone of Greensboro, whose work was performed in four Opus concerts, is a graduate student in mathematics at the University of Vermont.  Another Greensboro participant, Mavis McNeil studies music at Skidmore College.

When students returned to the auditorium, and the audience filtered in, there was a moment not usually seen in the concert hall as composers, musicians and teachers crowded the stage for a group photo.  The performance began with a work by Susie Francy, a ninth grader from Leland and Gray High School.

Ms. Francy, who was the first from her school to have a work chosen for performance, was accompanied by her parents and her music teacher, Ronald Kelley.  She stood when her piece, called Child, was introduced and again at the conclusion stood for the applause.

Two composers, Ivan Voinov and Ms. Spoerl took turns introducing the pieces and reading statements from the artists. Ms. Francy said her composition, written for flute, oboe, cello, bassoon and clarinet, was a depiction of a child’s growth to adolescence.

Ms. Francy received a good round of applause, and the concert continued with pieces by younger composers, all of which belied their years.  It was only when a young composer stood to be recognized and was little taller than when seated, that his or her youth was apparent.

The younger composers took up the first part of the concert.  After an intermission the program was to continue with works by older students.

Instead, Ms. MacLeod stood and announced that the musicians were not satisfied with the performance they had given of Ms. Francy’s piece.

The five players returned to their places and performed the work again as a gesture of simple respect.

contact Joseph Gresser at [email protected]