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  • Stephen D'Agostino

Reading’s Bluegrasoles Play the Next Winter Concert

After the windy weather at the end of last week, coupled with the leap year, the lion, it seems, missed its cue. Writing this early on Sunday, March 1, things seem rather lamb-like.

Though I have never heard them, I would guess the Bluegrasoles, which consists of an acoustic guitar player (John Balch), an electric bass player (Rich Knight) and a conga drum player (Susan Damone Balch) will fall more on the lamb than lion side of the musical spectrum.

What I can tell you is that the band has a sense of humor. The Bluegrasoles refer to themselves as "The most popular band in the Western part of Northeast South Reading." I can also tell you that they cover some great music: Americana, folk, rock, and blues. Their musical influences are Johnny Cash, the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Guy Clark, and John Prine.

Even though I would rather listen to music than do just about anything else, I admit that I don't know who John Prine is. Turns out, he wrote one of my favorite songs of all time, "Angel From Montgomery." The version I know is a duet between him and Bonnie Raitt. If you haven't heard it, go find it. And whether you know who John Prine is or not, come to the Bluegrasoles concert. It happens on Saturday, March 14, at 7pm at Town Hall. Doors open at 6:30pm.

This month, dinner will be provided by the Reading Green Spaces Committee. Hot off the spread we put together for Town Meeting, I think you can be confident that the food will be quite tasty that night.

The Reading Winter Concert Series is a benefit, and the beneficiaries are The Reading Green Spaces Committee, the Reading Recreation Commission, The Reading/West Windsor Food Shelf, and the Ottauquechee Health Foundation. Admission is $10 for adults and free to children 15 and younger. All proceeds benefit these groups.

There is something new and exciting about this month’s concert. It will be BYOB. No more need to bring travel mugs to the concert, if you know what I mean. This is a privilege, and the Reading Recreation Commission, sponsors of the series, is grateful to the select board for allowing us to do this. What we ask in return is that you don’t abuse this privilege. Listen happily and drink responsibly so that we can continue to do this at the next concert and next year’s Winter Concert Series.

I'm going to swing back a bit and talk about the Reading Green Spaces Committee again. And food. Do you see a pattern? Actually, cooking and eating are not all that we do. In fact, our primary purpose at present is to beautify Puddledock Park. But that takes money. To that end, the Green Spaces Committee is sponsoring Reading's second annual Maple-Cook Off. Now is the chance to show off your sweet culinary skills and celebrate the unofficial season of sugaring.

Here’s how you can help. You can be a contestant by making a dish in one of four categories: appetizers, salads and side dishes, entrées, or desserts.

Of course, something sweet like maple gets one thinking dessert. But think of all the other ways you can use maple in cooking. I have a recipe for maple sauerkraut, maple pork ribs, salad with maple dressing. In the most recent issue of Yankee magazine, there are five great recipes, two of which I am considering for this year and one that I made last year. How did they get my recipe?

To sign up to be a contestant, email or call or text Heather Evans at 802-952-9667. Let her know what you’ll be bringing, and include your contact information.

Contestants can sample the entered dishes for free. For people who like to look at maple from the other end of the fork or spoon and would rather come to taste and judge, admission is $8 for individuals and $20 for families.

Since this is a competition, there will be prizes for the top three vote-getters. It’ probably not too hard to figure out what the prizes will be.

The second annual Maple Cook-Off takes place on Saturday, March 28, from 5pm to 7pm at Reading Town Hall. I hope to see you there!

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

This column originally appeared in The Vermont Standard on March 5, 2020.

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