On August 27th, the George Manstan Band performed music from the great American Songbook on the beautiful Grave House grounds. The appreciative audience consisted of members from the Deacon John Grave Foundation, Madison Historical Society, The Garden Club of Madison, CLEMA (Charlotte L. Evarts Memorial Archive), and Madison Lyric Stage.
DJGH Board members in colonial dress served as docents and participated in the return of the Historical Society’s Summer Festival on the Madison Green on August 26th. The festival featured antiques, arts and crafts, games, music, and food.
The Grave House display offered a collection of 18th century toys and games, where festival attendees of all ages left electronic devices in their pockets and stepped back in time for vintage fun.
Marc Deaton, the artistic director of Madison Lyric Stage and a tenor, collaborated with Nathaniel Baker, a local composer, to create Elegy for a Fallen Angel. The music for the production utilized themes from Purcell and Handel. The story followed two siblings on their path of self-discovery and through their recovery, after encounters with angels and monsters. The outstanding cast featured seven principal performers and a chorus of ten, accompanied by a
The well-attended limited run offered two evening performances to an appreciative audience.
Talented young actors comprised the Madison Lyric Stage cast for the recent production of the rock musical, Spring Awakening. The show, based on a controversial play from 1891, followed youth through their experiences into a world of passion and rebellion. The story gave the audience a poignant look at the challenges that have faced some young adults.
Marc Deaton, artistic director of Madison Lyric Stage, presented Postcards from Pierrot, a great work of the 20th century by Alban Berg and Arnold Schoenberg in which he explored the evolution of speak singing and its affects on opera, jazz and theater.
The evenings featured a full five person orchestra and a dance performance by Sarah Kennedy, piano by Kelly Worsted and conductor Nathaniel Baker.
On the weekend of June 18th, 40 descendants of Deacon John Grave came together from 14 states to connect with their family’s history. Family members gathered at the Deacon’s house in Madison to reunite or to meet for the first time.
The visitors enjoyed house tours on Saturday, focusing on the Grave family’s genealogy and the house architecture. They enjoyed an explanation of the colonial farm tools on display and a demonstration of hearth cooking, including taste-testing the resulting pound cakes. Several of the Grave family children played colonial games. At mid-day, and with clearing skies, a catered lunch was held outside on the grounds.
The visiting family appreciated the role that slaves had played in the early history of the Graves and welcomed the addition of witness stones to the Madison property. The stones honored two named individuals, Stepney and Cate.
In the afternoon, family members visited West Cemetery, finding graves of their kin. That evening a pig roast was held at Hammonasset State Park.
On Sunday morning, the Grave family returned to the Deacon’s house for farewell conversations and the chance to share contact information before travel.
This event was a long time in coming, with postponements due to the late pandemic. The weekend’s gathering would not have been possible without the work of the
‘Twas a happening that brought good cheer to all participants!