Artisans carve out nearly $20K for Town Hall Theater with cherry wood benefit

MIDDLEBURY — An 85-year-old pile of 80 cherry planks has raised nearly $20,000 for Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater, thanks to the donors of the wood and the local artisans who transformed it into an impressive collection of furniture and artwork.
As reported last week in the Addison Independent, 22 local woodworkers participated in the THT’s Great Cherry Woodcraft Exhibit. Using the aged cherry wood planks supplied by Peter and Joann Langrock of Salisbury, the artisans made a variety of desks, tables, benches, bowls, shelves, sideboards, music boxes, sculptures and even a guitar.
The THT displayed the items last week and sold some of them to people willing to pay suggested retail prices. On Saturday, Oct. 28, the THT auctioned off the remaining pieces. Participating artisans agreed to give at least half of the sales proceeds to THT for its ongoing operating expenses.
Douglas Anderson, executive director of THT, said the cherry benefit raised $19,500. And the THT received more than half that sum, as some of the woodworkers elected to give the entire proceeds to the theater.
Peter Langrock served as auctioneer for the event.
The largest sum paid for an item? $4,400 for what Anderson described as a “magnificent” pie safe, created by David King of Bristol Woodworks.
“Almost every item sold,” Anderson said. “One or two unsold items will be returned to the woodworkers.”
Those woodworkers are free to do what they want with the unsold items.
One item not sold at auction will be staying with the THT.
“Dan Ober of Lincoln created a phenomenal high-relief carving of Town Hall Theater, astonishing in its detail,” Anderson said. “Everyone at the auction felt that such a thing had to stay in the theater, mounted in a prominent place.”
Unbeknownst to Anderson, 20 THT supporters had each kicked in $100 prior to the auction to ensure Ober’s work would become a permanent part of the theater’s décor.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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