MANCHESTER — A University of Vermont music professor is traveling to all 252 cities and towns in Vermont to perform free concerts to raise climate awareness, and he’ll have some help when he performs in Manchester.
David Feurzeig, a pianist and composer, will be performing at Second Congregation Church on Hillside Street in Bennington on May 27 at 3 p.m., and at Southern Vermont Arts Center’s Arkell Pavilion at 2 p.m. on May 28.
It’s part of Feurzeig’s “Play Every Town” initiative.
As part of the program in Manchester, Anne D’Olivo will direct a vocal ensemble of students from local schools for a performance of “Colors of the Wind” from the Disney film “Pocahontas.” Students from Flood Brook School in Londonderry, The Dorset School, Red Fox Community School, Maple Street School and Manchester Elementary Middle School are taking part.
Admission is free, but donations at the door (cash or check) are welcome and will benefit Earth Matters Manchester.
Feurzeig has previously performed in Europe, Asia and New Zealand. But he’s given up flying to performances because of the climate impact of commercial flight.
“I’ll have to travel to the rest of my gigs by public transit or in my solar-powered EV, and that’s going to narrow my radius; passenger boat service to Asia isn’t what it used to be,” he said on his website.
While the idea of performing in every Vermont city and town isn’t new — the Vermont Symphony Orchestra celebrated its 50th anniversary in the 1980s in similar fashion — Feurzeig believes he’s the first solo performer to attempt the feat.
“While Vermont’s local communitarian ethic is easily exaggerated and often idealized, it’s a real thing. But the sense of community and place is threatened here as everywhere,” he said on his website. “I want to support the vibrancy of village centers and downtowns by performing in places where live music isn’t often heard anymore.”
“In that spirit, I will tailor each concert to its place in some way, by accompanying a local musician in a piece or two, or playing music by a local composer where possible. Every program will be different at least in some part.”
That also means he’ll be performing on whatever keyboard instrument is available — whether it’s a grand piano in a concert hall, an antique upright in a living room or a plug-in keyboard in a general store.
“I hope this tour will amplify the actions I’m taking in response to the climate crisis. The sense of community and local place is threatened here as everywhere,” he said.
Feurzeig is the silver medalist of the 2001 World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest and recipient of the 2003 “Best New Rag” competition of the Old-Time Music Preservation Association.
Since moving to Vermont in 2008, he has enjoyed working with local groups as both performer and composer. He has performed with and been commissioned by groups including the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble and the Bella Voce Women’s Choir.
Southern Vermont Arts Center’s curATE cafe will be open before the concert, as well as the arts center’s galleries. For reservations, call 802-362-9100.
So that SVAC can prepare, those interested in attending are asked to RSVP via the Earth Matters Events Facebook page at facebook.com/events/559446266169777 or contact Anne D’Olivo at firstname.lastname@example.org.