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  • Stephen D'Agostino

Reading’s Bill Johnson To Manage Benefit for VT State Troopers’ Association

Before sitting down to write this column, I decided I wasn’t going to write much—or at all—about Old Home Day or the Ducky Derby. By the time this column sees ink, those events will be eleven days in the past. We will have lived through the longest heatwave in Vermont in the last 25 years (so says VPR), the switch to gradually shortening evening daylight hours (so says The Eye on the Sky), and some prime growing season (so says my garden).

However, I have to amend my decision just a bit. First, some phone numbers on tickets (or at least how they’ve been interpreted) are going right to voicemail or are inactive. If you want to know if you’ve won a prize, you can check the Reading Recreation Commission’s Facebook page ( for the list of winners. If your name is on the list and you haven't heard from a Rec Commissioner, please contact me.

Second, when I called one of the winners, Bill Johnson, to tell him he won six tickets to Pentangle, he chuckled and said that he was managing a show that would be performed through Pentangle at Woodstock Town Hall on July 14. He then did what I always hope people reading this column will do: he offered fodder for my weekly writings on Reading.

Bill’s story is a good one. He manages a band called The American Vinyl All Star Band. For people of a certain age or people who love great rock music (I’m a twofer!) you’ll recognize some of the names and some of the bands these men have played in.

The lineup of the band is: Barry Goudreau and Fran Sheehan, formerly of the group Boston; Jeffrey “Skunk” Baxter, who co-founded and played in Steely Dan and played with the Doobie Brothers; Danny Biesel of Fosterchild; Robert “Mousey” Thompson of the James Brown Band; and Leroy Romans of The Wailers. Plus, there will be special guest performances by Phil Stokes of Pure Prairie League and country music artist (and Vermont native) Jamie Lee Thurston.

If you put together all the sales of all the albums these men have performed on, the number exceeds 100 million. My favorite of all the bands listed is Steely Dan. What’s yours?

The American Vinyl All Star Band plays to benefit charities around the country. In Vermont’s case, Bill Johnson has brought the band to this area as a benefit for the Vermont Troopers’ Association. One of the missions of the association is to provide assistance to the families of fallen officers. The band is quite generous too. All of the profits from this concert go to the association.

Again, the concert is at the Woodstock Town Hall Theater on July 14. Doors open at 6:30 with Jamie Lee Thurston starting things off at 7:30. You can buy tickets at

One more note on Bill. He has been fixing up houses in Felchville over the last year. He has sold one and is currently living in another. The house is on the market right now, but when we were talking on the phone, he told me was standing in his yard listening to the river and enjoying the day. He is contemplating taking the house off the market and making it his own.

Thanks for what you’re doing, Bill, and hopefully, you’ll decide to stay.

I wonder if Bill is any good at horseshoes. The Reading horseshoe team held its first practice on Friday, July 6, and it needs to get in a few more in before it faces off against Weathersfield on July 20 at the next Game Night.

Game Night, the once-monthly evening devoted to fun, family-friendly, good-natured competition, and community, is proving to be a popular and a great success. It's also evolving as we have more and more of them. At last month’s event, there was a wiffle ball game with teams just forming themselves and a kickball game that got very competitive. That one was boys vs. girls.

During all the fun, The Reading Recreation Commission, the event sponsor, decided that the July Game Night will be a “Barbecue Pot Luck.” How’s that going to work? Simple. The Recreation Commission will get the grills fired up. You bring enough food for your family attending and some to share. With other folks doing the same, we’ll have a feast!

Let’s make sure we have enough to feed our guests, the Weathersfield horseshoe team. They can have some dinner along with humble pie the Reading squad will feed them! If you're interested in playing, contact me, or check out the Rec Commission's Facebook page (see above).

July’s Game Night is the 20th, and the fun kicks off (or wiffles off, or pitches off) at 6:30. See you there!

Happy birthday to Carole Canfield (July 15), and Whittnie Thomas (July 16).

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

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