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  • Stephen D'Agostino

Thanks to Everyone Who Attended the OldBoys Concert

It’s not news to say that this has not been a wintry winter. For the third or fourth time this season, my yard is more green (or brown-green) than white. The calendar says January, but the road outside my window, muddy and rutted, says March. The clothing I wore to Robinson Hall last Saturday night—shorts and a cotton sweater—was definitely not winter wear.

I admit that it may have been a foolish clothing choice, drawing a double-take or two from people I saw that evening. However, in my defense, it was over 50 degrees for most of the day, and 50 degrees in January is different than 50 degrees in July. It was, at least for me, a bit of a treat, despite whatever this anomaly may imply. Looking forward to the weather this weekend, I packed the shorts away for another few months.

What was I doing at Town Hall on Saturday? I was one of over 100 people who attended the inaugural concert of the Winter Concert Series, which featured OldBoys, a locally grown quintet. They played a two-hour set, a coda of sorts to a week of recording their debut album, Moon Music. Niles Franc, who plays the upright bass in the band, told me after the show that he and the four other members of the quintet were struggling towards the end. That’s understandable given their ten-plus hours a day of recording. I didn’t notice it, though, and I would wager the rest of the scores of people in Robinson Hall, many of them dancing through the last few songs, didn’t notice it either.

This concert and the other three in the Winter Concert Series are benefits for four local non-profits. They are the Reading/West Windsor Food Shelf, the Reading Green Spaces Committee, the Reading Recreation Commission, and the Ottauquechee Health Foundation. The Reading Recreation Commission, sponsors of the event, collects the funds for all the concerts and then divides them among the beneficiaries. When the concert series is over in April, I will announce how much each organization will be receiving. Suffice it to say that we are off to a great start to assisting these organizations and the work they do.

We also collected an overflowing box of non-perishable food that I delivered to the Food Shelf on Monday. Then I went to the doctor to have him look at my strained back. I’m kidding there, but there is no lie in saying the box was heavy!

I have heard Niles talk about Robinson Hall in glowing terms to many folks. He's played there now at least three times, and he loves that the hall is experiencing new life as a music venue. With its ample stage, its beautiful theater curtains, and its open auditorium, it is an asset to the town, a venue we are lucky to have to host shows like this.

Thanks to OldBoys—Niles Franc, Kevin Wright, Eric Wright, Julia Wright, and Justin Park—for donating their time and for their music! And thanks to everyone who came out and made the evening a huge success!

If you missed the concert last weekend, know that you are just over three weeks from your next opportunity to enjoy music in Robinson Hall. The date is February 8. The band is Turnip Truck. According to their website, they play “a mix of bluegrass, swing, gypsy jazz and old folk and country music.” As the concert gets closer, I will have more information about the band. In the meantime, like the Reading Recreation Commission’s Facebook page ( to stay up to date on things going on with the Rec.

That weekend is actually a double-whammy in town, for on February 9, the Reading PTO will be hosting the popular “Mama Mia Bistro” at the Reading Elementary School from 4pm to 7pm. As the name implies, and as usual, some delicious Italian food is on the menu.

It’s important to mark your calendars for this event, but it’s also important to consider how you might help.

The PTO is looking for donations of loaves of uncut Italian bread, garlic bread, butter, olive oil, jars of tomato sauce, boxes of spaghetti and ziti, and salad fixings.

To donate one or more of these items, please let a member of the PTO board know. You can contact Barbara Lord at, Wade Mullis and, or Janet Malcolm at

It takes a community to put on Mama Mia’s Bistro, and it takes a community to chow down. I hope you can help out, and I hope to see you there!

One more note. Though I am no longer mentioning birthdays in my column, I will mention those I am specifically asked to include. Marjorie Dean, who is North Carolina for the winter, extends birthday wishes to her aunt, Reading resident Jessie Wyman. Jessie turns 95 on January 21. That is definitely worth noting and celebrating!

Bundle up, folks! It’s still winter!

That’s the news from Reading! See you next week!

This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on January 16, 2020.

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