Farming songs to sing along to
BRATTLEBORO — For 38 years farmer Jay Bailey has spent his days tending the diversified Fair Winds Farm, and many an evening playing his fiddle and singing tunes with friends. He has been playing the fiddle since he was in fourth grade, and over the years he has collected a repertoire of songs that depict what Bailey sees and how he lives day to day on a farm that is so closely tied to the changing seasons. On Saturday he will be joined by Andy Davis and friends and family to share "Singing through the Seasons — Songs of Farming and Life," in a benefit concert for the New England Youth Theatre's "Angels in the Wings" scholarship fund. The concert begins at 7 p.m.
This is the third year Bailey has fiddled for the angel program. As a friend of NEYT founder Stephen Stearns, and brother-in-law to Rick Barron (and fellow singer) who was set director for NEYT, with a granddaughter who was a student there, he wanted to do something good for the good things NEYT does. There was such a great response to the concert that first year that they have done it each year since.
The songs in the program are of Scotts and Irish tradition, and New England square dance, infused with local history of our agricultural heritage. Many are not often heard. They cover many topics including the changing seasons, working with horses, stone walls, haying and working the land in New England.
Not only will Andy Davis, a locally known square and contra dance caller, be alongside Bailey in the concert, there will also be a few special guest vocalists joining in on some songs including his daughter Erica Breen, and Tony Barrand who Bailey said, "knows more songs than you can shake a stick at," plus Louisa Engle on fiddle and vocals. There may be a few other surprises joining them on stage too!
A significant number of the songs have choruses, so the audience is encouraged to join in.
Bailey said, "Music is not a spectator sport. We all love music. It reaches in and grabs you, maybe not the same kind of music, but it grabs you. It's ephemeral. We need to make music with our voices. What is thought of as fine music is less important than making music together."
It will definitely be a unique show, so bring your voice, bring a friend, and be a part of a good evening for a good cause! The concert will be held. at New England Youth Theatre, 100 Flat St., Brattleboro on Saturday at 7 p.m. Admission is by free will donation, $10 suggested.
For more information contact Jay Bailey at 801-254-9067 or Andy Davis at 802-257-1819.
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