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  • Stephen D'Agostino

The Old Boys Play Town Hall This Saturday

On January 1, Bill and I packed up the ornaments and the decorations, took down the tree, picked up the pine needles (which will be an ongoing task, I fear), and got our house back in order. I love the holidays, and it was sad to see all our festive touches packed into boxes.

The good news for me is that I also love January—even as a seldom snowshoer, an anti-alpiner, and casual cross-country skier. For me, the month feels so fresh. It’s a perfect time to get organized, get back to business, and sober up, figuratively speaking, after the holiday craziness.

I am also happy that the schedule for the paper is back to normal. For my past two columns, I had to submit my entries earlier than usual for later-than-usual publications. For some reason, I kept getting the dates confused and thought I had fewer opportunities than I had to write about the Winter Concert Series. It turns out I had more. So yes, for the final time, I am going to remind you that the first performance of the Reading Winter Concert Series, sponsored by the Reading Recreation Commission, happens on Saturday at 7pm at Town Hall.

If you read my column every week, this is old news. Heck, I bet you could have written this part of my column for me. However, for those of you who had a busy December and didn’t pick up the paper over the last several weeks, here are the details.

This month’s concert features the Old Boys. They are a quintet, with four of the five musicians living in the area. To start, there is Niles Franc, the bass player and Reading resident who came up with the idea of the Winter Concert Series. Then there is Kevin Wright, who plays the slide guitar, and his sister, fiddle player Julia Wright. These two Wrights live in Cavendish and are joined by their brother, cellist Eric Wright, who lives in Toronto. The fifth member is Justin Park from Barnard. He plays the mandolin and the guitar.

As for their music—to borrow a commonly used comparative device—if old-time/traditional folk music and punk rock had a baby (or quintuplets!), it would be the Old Boys. I've heard them play before, and with much less descriptive flair, I can tell you their music is toe-tapping, infectious, and all-absorbing. I can't wait to see them again!

One thing Niles is excited about regarding this concert is that the performance will be a break for the band. By Saturday, the Old Boys will have been in the studio for several days working on their first album. The concert will give them the chance to continue to do something they love doing but in a different venue with probably far fewer rules. I think they'll be well warmed up for their performance and ready to show you a good time!

The Winter Concert Series consists of four performances from January through April. It’s also a benefit for four local non-profits: the Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf, the Ottauquechee Health Foundation, the Reading Green Spaces Committee, and the Reading Recreation Commission. The admission fees for all four concerts are pooled together and divided among the beneficiaries. And speaking of admission, it’s $10 for adults and free for children 15 and younger. For that price, you get a night of great music and dinner, which is provided this month by the Ottauquechee Health Foundation.

Here's a fun fact: on the evening of the first show of last year's series, the temperature was around five above. The forecast for the evening temperature this Saturday is 15 above. Bob Allen is a pro at warming Town Hall. I am happy, as I imagine he is, that he won't have to work so hard this year!

Here, in chronological order, are a couple of other things going on in January in Reading.

If you are reading the paper on the day it is published (Thursday), and you are looking for something to do in town this evening, head on over to the Reading Elementary School for volleyball. The fun starts at 6:30 with family games, followed by adults-only games. Turnout was good last week, but there is always room for more folks!

Volleyball happens every Thursday night through February, so mark it on your calendars and get out of the house on a weeknight. It’ll be a nice change of pace.

You can also get out of the house on January 13 at 6pm to attend the public hearing at which the select board will hear comments regarding the proposed changes to the Reading Town Plan. Copies of the proposed Town Plan can be obtained from the Town Clerk, during regular business hours, at the Town office located in the Town Hall, or at

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

This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on January 9, 2020.

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