Mic open to multi-generations

By Phyl Newbeck
For The Essex Reporter

On March 14, the Mount Mansfield Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (MMUUF) in Jericho will celebrate March Madness in a unique way. From 7 to 9 p.m. they will host their first March Madness Open Mic and Coffee House at the converted barn where they hold services. Elise Doner, a member of the fellowship, came up with the idea as a way to bring members of the community together for an evening of local entertainment. “It seemed like a warm and friendly thing,” she said “as well as a way to raise some funds for our fellowship.”

The suggested donation for attending the event is $3 per person and $10 per family with the money going to help maintain the barn, the site of a former bed and breakfast, which the fellowship purchased several years ago. The MMUUF has offered their space for previous community events including a Halloween Haunted House, a kids’ craft party, a weekly singing group, and a winter farmers’ market. It was the success of the Halloween event, which led Doner to come up with the idea of the open mic.

“It brought in little kids, high school students and older folks,” she said. “It was a great way to reach out to the community.”

The MMUUF attracts congregants from Cambridge, Essex, Jeffersonville, Jericho, Richmond, Underhill and Westford, as well as the occasional guest from Burlington, and Doner hopes attendees will come from all those communities.

Eight performers have already signed up for the event including Doner’s husband and son who will be performing together. Organizers have also managed to snare some locally known musicians like Andy Patterson of Citizen Bare and Tim Berry who performs solo and with groups like the Milo White Band and the Mad River Sheiks. Doner is hoping more musicians will sign up to perform. She has reached out to Minor Key, a local youth rock band. “I want our open mic to have a multi-generational feel,” she said.

Patterson plays plenty of larger venues but he is pleased to be able to attend the Open Mic. “As a local musician it’s always exciting when someone opens up a space to play original tunes and to see other folks share their talents as well,” he said. Additionally, he felt strongly about supporting a local community event. For Berry, the answer to why someone used to playing paying gigs would perform at an open mic was an easy one. “It’s fun,” he said. “I do open mics quite a bit because it’s a chance to connect with the community and to see what other people are doing. It’s nice to have a place to play when there are no other gigs and it’s great to hear some of the new stuff that people are playing and listen to some folks I wouldn’t otherwise get to hear.” Berry said he was particularly looking forward to the March Madness event because it will be multi-generational.

Fellowship members will provide coffee, tea, cider and light refreshments and there will be board games and other activities for younger children. Doner is hoping the Open Mic will be successful enough to become a quarterly event.

The MMUUF Fellowship is located at 195 Vermont Route 15. The March Madness Open Mic and Coffeehouse will take place on March 14 from 7 to 9 p.m.


Gallery welcomes new artist

Jericho’s Emile A Gruppe Gallery presents an exhibition of oil paintings by Montpelier artist, John Weaver from March 15 through April 19. An artist reception will be held March 15 from 1-3 p.m. accompanied by fiddlers of the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra, including Sandy Weaver, John’s wife.

John has been painting for 50 plus years and is currently a member of the Bryan Memorial Gallery, the Paletteers, Art Resource Association and Studio Place Arts. He has exhibited at many local venues participated in several plein air events at the Gruppe Gallery, in Jericho and Waitsfield. Oil painting is his favorite medium, although he prefers soft pastels for some subjects and circumstances.

Gallery is located in Jericho at 22 Barber Farm Road, hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday through Sunday or by appointment 899 3211. Learn more at

Seed Lending Library opens in Jericho

The new Seed Lending Library at the Jericho Town Library offers area residents a simple means of preserving and sharing seeds at no cost to participants. The Jericho Town Library hosted “Let’s Grow Jericho!” garden workshops Feb. 14-21 for both experienced and new gardeners.

Along with a free membership in the Seed Lending Library, all participants, regardless of where they live, will be able to borrow seeds, obtain information on planting, harvesting, and collecting seeds, and, in return will agree to return some of their harvested or leftover seeds to the library at the end of the growing season so the cycle can continue. Seeds can include edibles, ornamentals and herbs.

“It seemed like a natural fit for Jericho Town Library to pilot a seed lending program,” said Colleen Korniak, Jericho Town Library Director. “Jericho residents love gardening, and there are a number of burgeoning private and community gardens in town. The Seed Library offers the library the opportunity to promote sustainable organic gardening in our neighborhoods by disseminating seeds. The library actively seeks ways in which to participate in the greening of our town and promoting the health of our communities. We look forward to offering programs related to the seed collection.”

Learn more about Jericho Town Library’s Seed Lending Catalog and Let’s Grow Jericho! program events at

Call to artists: 5th Annual Jericho Plein Air Festival

Come paint outdoors and enjoy the fellowship of other artists of all levels and experience, both established and emerging, in a beautiful and visually inspiring locale.

When: Saturday, July 18, 2015; rain or shine                       

Where: Festival headquarters: the Emile A. Gruppe Gallery, 22 Barber Farm Rd, Jericho Center

Registration fee: $20

Deadline: May 15, or until full, whichever occurs first; waiting list thereafter

For information and registration: or (802) 899-2974.