Musical Groups delight Large Audience at Fort Trumbull Open House

FAMILY FUN AT FORT TRUMBULL-Saturday, June 9, 2012


The overcast sky did not deter a large audience from enjoyment of the Fort Trumbull State Park Open House Day Concerts, sponsored by the Friends of Fort Trumbull. The audience was greeted by June Hoye, chairperson of the afternoon event. She thanked the many people who had assisted her: Joyce Delaura and Mary Ellen Hanrahan- decorations. and Mr. and Mrs. Edward Hogan- set-up supervisors. She especially acknowledged the assistance provided by the Seamen volunteers from the Sub Base in setting up for the event. They were co-ordinated by Petty Officer 1st Class, Steven Robson, the Facilities Manager at the Sub Base School. Without the help of these volunteers this free even would not have been possible.

The first group to entertain the audience was the Lighthouse Kids Sea Shanty Chorus. This group is composed of students in the 4th and 5th grade in New London Public Schools enrichment program SEMI- Student Enrichment Model Initiative- provided by a partnership with the New London Maritime Society and the Customs House Maritime Museum. Geoff Kaufman, Master Chanteyman from the Mystic Seaport Museum is their music director. They were directed by Jody Barthel, their SEMI instructor.

The group, which took the stage dressed in blue and white striped nautical shirts and “Dixie Cup” sailor hats, not only regaled the audience with a selection of Sea Shanties, but also demonstrated some intricate knot tying and taught the audience some sign language. They were led by their “Ship Captain”, student Mekih Rodriguez, whose enthusiasm and energy were contagious. The audience joined in with clapping and lively participation in the Shanties.

The second group to perform was The Blarney Stones, led by Rev. Mark O’Donnell, the new pastor at St. Joseph’s Church in New London. He was joined by Bruce Tennyson and Mary Rose Mead, who captivated the audience with selections that ranged from rousing tunes such as “Whiskey in the Glass” to the poignant lament of “The Fields of Athenry”. Playing an array of Irish instruments, they enchanted the audience with their evocative blend of voices. The threatening rain clouds did nothing to diminish the enjoyment of the audience for this versatile group.

The final group, Eclectia, was led by Peter Magrane of Madison. Peter began playing guitar at age eight, and his many years of devotion to music and performance have turned him into a premier guitarist and singer/songwriter. The audience joined in with singing and clapping with the selections of Jazz and Blues which they played. After the event, many people asked them for cards so that they could arrange to have them play at other venues. Others were pleased that they could purchase the limited number of CD’s that the group had on hand.

It was a wonderful afternoon filled with good music and camaraderie. The park employees estimated that throughout the day, 700 people had visited the displays and exhibits in the Visitor Center and 400 had visited the Fort interior. The gift shop, with its unique items, was also well attended with shoppers. The audience was truly appreciative of this event made possible by the Friends of Fort Trumbull.