Brandon summer concert series on tap

BRANDON — Bette Moffett would be proud.
A community effort has been under way to help stabilize the Brandon Town Band and offer a consistent venue for weekly musical offerings in Brandon this summer.
Enter the Brandon Summer Concert Series, every Wednesday at 7 p.m. through July and August in Central Park.
Bette Moffett died in 2013, having had a hand in creating the Brandon Town Band, among so many other local institutions. She formed the town band with Sally Hutchison in 2007.
“To have a town band, I thought, would be the perfect catalyst to come together as a community: families, children, dogs, picnics, acquaintances, friends,” Moffett said in a 2010 interview.
That idea is continuing this summer, as the Brandon Town Band will play two concerts in the park, along with shows by seven other bands from around Vermont. The concert series kicks off with the Michele Fay band on July 6. The Brandon Town Band will play on July 13 and Aug. 3.
Organizers Stacey Doucette and Seth Hopkins said the last few years have been difficult for Town Band, which has had a series of band leaders and trouble scheduling. This year, Christ the King music teacher Nick Masterson from Rutland has agreed to lead the band, and Sally Hutchison will continue to work her magic as the treasurer, keeper of sheet music and overall organizer of the band.
“We’ve gone down many paths to keep the town band alive and it’s taken a lot of work,” Doucette said. “I feel like the community is really asking for this (concert series), for ways for the community to come together and that is evident from the fundraising effort.”
Organizers had hoped to raise $2,000 last spring through community events, mailings and a table at Town Meeting to help pay for bands and maybe some advertising
They raised $5,000, not including a $1,000 donation from the Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce.
Other major sponsors include Omya, Lake Sunapee Bank, Casella, Nifty Thrifty, and Seth and Olga Hopkins, plus many donations from community members.
“The community wanted something like this,” Hopkins said. “Something where people can get together in a low-stress situation and hang out together.
Hopkins said over the last few years, the Town Band wasn’t drawing the crowds it wanted at the Monday night concerts in the park, and the Chamber concert series wasn’t either.
“We thought we should put them together so everyone could really count on a concert every week at the same place, with food.”
With the money raised, organizers bought 400 refrigerator magnets containing the  concert schedule and logo, designed by Brandon graphic artist Courtney Satz. They were given to Neshobe School students to take home to their families. Organizers also bought a banner and a popcorn machine, which the Brandon Girl Scout Troop will be operating at each concert and distributing free popcorn.
And the bands will be paid, including a stipend for the town band — a first.
“We wanted to support them,” Hopkins said. “We didn’t want to step on their toes.”
Doucette took on the responsibility of booking the bands to play in the series, and the result is an eclectic, vibrant line-up of homegrown Vermont talent (see box). She was asked why she took such an interest in booking the talent for the concert series.
“I love going to see and hear music, and I’m a community person,” Doucette said simply. “Our motto is, ‘Building community through music.’ That’s what it’s about.”
That’s what Bette Moffett thought, too.
“I think we’re being good stewards of Bette’s legacy,” Hopkins said.

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