Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 11-27-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 2 of 43

SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER EDITION | NOVEMBER 27-DECEMBER 4, 2019 NORTH COUNTY 3 Cliff Brown puts his heart and soul into Music at the Meeting House Everyone has heard of going the extra mile, but 200 hundred extra miles? How about doing it almost every weekend? That's Clifford "Cliff" Brown's regular routine. He coordinates the Music at the Meeting House pro- gram at Chepachet Baptist Church, a performance series that has gained a strong reputation for excellence. The concerts have generated a loyal and ardent following since Kathryn Steere founded the event 29 years ago. Brown holds bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees from Harvard University. He is the Robert Porter Patterson Professor of Government at Union College in Schenectady, New York, where he has been on the fac- ulty for 40 years. He and his wife, Marilyn, assisted Kathryn with the music presentations at the church in Chepachet. When Kathryn died in 2010 it became their mission to continue the program. Cliff, 77, has been a member of the church for many years. Despite his professional career at Union College his legal residence is in Rhode Island, and driving three or more hours to commute back here is a long-estab- lished habit. Staying rooted while getting around is apparently in his DNA. His Ocean State attachments include strong ties to Chepachet, where his maternal grandfather had a farm. The family's connection to Glocester traces back to the late 1700s. Cliff grew up in Providence, but as a youth he often came to stay at the farm and helped with the work. His affection for the town was formed early, and it has endured. So has his commitment to the church. The music series, which entered its 30th year last month, has continued to thrive under his leadership as he carries on the task of keeping it vital. "It's something we do for the com- munity," Cliff observes, noting that the program is, in part, an outreach effort for the church as well. Each year there are six or eight One More Thing LAURENCE J. SASSO, JR. CLIFFORD BROWN programs, three or four in the fall and a similar number in the spring. They bring a wide variety of musical talents to the meeting house to per- form. Over the three decades it has existed there have been an estimated 180 individual concerts, and hun- dreds of different artists have shared their talents with the listeners. The musicians hail not only from Rhode Island (some from Glocester itself), but from all over New England, New Jersey, and further afield. The rather small meeting house, which can best be described as an intimate, traditional New England place of worship, can accommodate some 125 people in the first floor pews and 100 in the second story bal- cony. During the concerts it is almost always filled to capacity. No admis- sion is charged, but a free will offer- ing is taken. Patrons travel from near and far to attend. "We have a 400 member mailing list, and we also have an email list," says Brown, pointing out that his wife maintains the lists and handles much of the publicity. "We aim to reach 500 families with each mailing." Through the years the musical lineups have included everything from members of the Rhode Island Philharmonic to harpists, harmonica players, and a hurdy-gurdy. There have been old time fiddlers, opera singers, gospel musicians, Celtic groups, woodwind quartets, and Dixieland bands, as well as organ recitals, classical guitar groups, hymn sings, and a program devoted entirely to different versions of "Amazing Grace." Other concerts have focused on the music of specific countries and regions, patriotic programs honoring veterans, and programs highlighting the work of individual composers or artists. These have included Nelson Eddy, as well as Glenn Miller, and Stephen Foster. A concert in 2018 called Songs from the Decades featured the tunes of popular singers and composers such as Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, and See BROWN, Page 9 Robert D. Oster, Esq. & Sarah Oster Kelly, Esq. Rhode Island does not have a procedure for certification or recognition of specialization by lawyers. 640 George Washington Hwy. Building B, Suite 103, P.O. Box 22003 Lincoln, RI 02865 ~ Free Consultations ~ ATTORNEYS AND COUNSELORS AT LAW 724-2400 Website: OSTER law offices TRUSTED FOR THREE GENERATIONS Happy Thanksgiving from Our Family to Yours!

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Valley Breeze - The Valley Breeze & Observer 11-27-2019