Dec 202016

By Steve Haycock, Fundraising Committee Chairman

Happy New Year to you and your families.  The fundraising committee has many events planned for 2017.  Last September we had a successful Variety Show held at Topsham Grange which raised around $400.00.  We had so much fun and such a positive response from those that attended that we’ve decided to it again.

This year’s variety show will be again held at Topsham Grange on April 29, 2017 (the fifth Saturday) at 6:00 p.m.  Admission price for the show will be $6.00.  Like last year there will be an intermission with slices of pie for sale.  We are again in search of people to perform, we’re looking for singers, musicians, dancers, comedians and anything in between.  Performers do not need to be Grange members.  All acts do need to be family friendly and we’ve decided not to have any creature acts this year.

We will be soliciting business to donate items to raffle off that evening.  If any member has a business or knows a business owner and would like to donate an item, it would be greatly appreciated.  I want to take a moment to thank all the Pomona and individuals who donated items for us to raffle at last year’s show.

This event will only be a success if we work together to find acts, solicit businesses, donate pies, and most importantly promote and attend the show.

For more information or to volunteer to help please contact me at 998-2586 or granger04071ataoldotcom  (granger04071ataoldotcom)  .  You can also check the Maine State Grange Facebook page for updates as well.

Webmaster’s note: A poster for the event is available for download and printing in the fundraising section of the Program Books and Information Page

Jan 272016

stick_figure_singing_music_notes_flow_300_clr_2442DEXTER- The Wayside Grange/Theatre announces its 2016 concert schedule.  From April through October, Maine bands will perform rockabilly, blues, bluegrass, classic country, fiddle hymns, Americana and folk.

The season begins on Sat. April 30 with singer/songwriters Anni Clark and Jim Gallant.  These two friends and talented guitarists play folk, blues and rockabilly, all blended with a hearty dash of Maine hue-mah.

Blues fans will appreciate the Old Blues Kats on Sat. May 28.  Harpman DW Gill and guitarist Doug Wainoris play delta, ragtime, Louisiana, zydeco, Cajun, Texas and country blues.

June 25 marks the return of the Misty Mountaineers, a five-piece traditional bluegrass band.  July 25 is our annual Variety Show which showcases our incredibly talented local musicians as well as the Grange’s warped, humorous skits.

Aug. 27 is Brooks and Kennedy.  Ken and Jane Brooks share the stage with Joe and Nellie Kennedy, playing classic country and Americana.

Sept. 10 is Susan Ramsey with the North Country Strings.  Hear “Fiddlehymns,” traditional hymns interpreted “North Country” style with fiddles & flute, drums & guitars, cello & bass, and beautiful vocals.

Local favorite Evergreen reunites on our stage on Sept. 17.  Together for 25+ years and sorely missed for the last three, this quartet will delight you with their American roots.

Our season finale is the Gawler Family band on Oct. 29.  This six-member family plays new and old folk while interweaving incredible family harmonies with fiddles, banjo, cello, guitar, ukulele and piano.

All shows begin at 7 pm.  Doors open at 6:30.  No reservations.  Except for the Variety Show ($7) and Evergreen ($12), tickets are $10.  Fine desserts and pretty good coffee are sold at intermission.

The Wayside Grange/Theatre is located at 851 North Dexter Rd (Rt. 23), Dexter.  FMI on the Wayside Theatre/Grange concerts contact Chester Bekier 924-5711, Joe Kennedy 277-3733 or Facebook Wayside Grange.

Apr 172015

One of our presentations at the April Leadership Conference raised the question, “What does classical music and the Grange have in common?” We didn’t so much try to answer the question as get our thought wheels turning. The audience for classical music seems small… is that true of our list of prospective members? Classical music is old–so is the Grange. Classical music has transformative power. Does the Grange?

This presentation by Benjamin Zander is actually about a lot more than classical music. It’s definitely about leadership and probably about life. While he doesn’t specifically mention the Grange, you may see some analogies. You may have to watch it several times to receive the full benefit.

Apr 172014
Front Row:  Karen Gagne , Patricia  Greeley Back Row:  Linda and Cary Cox

Front Row: Karen Gagne , Patricia Greeley Back Row: Linda and Cary Cox


Danville Junction Grange 165 recently held its annual Open Meeting in connection with Grange Month with fifty-four people in attendance, preceded by delicious refreshments.

Entertaining at the piano was Mitch Thomas, who played and sang many of our favorite songs.

State Master Victoria Huff was present to award membership certificates to Linda and Cary Cox, members for twenty-five years.  Unable to attend, but receiving certificates are Mavis Pomeroy (55 years), Shirley Gousse (65 years), Thelma Redmun (65 years), Maurice Keene (70 years), Richard Hammond (75 years), and Flo Webber (80 years).

A Community Service Award was presented to Patricia Greeley, and an Appreciation Certificate was given to member Karen Gagne.

Sep 252013

The Dexter Community Band will perform a benefit concert for the Wayside Grange/Theatre on Sunday Sept. 22 at the Dexter Town Hall at 2PM. Admission is by donation.

Reserved tickets for the final Evergreen Concert on October 26 are now over 60 and growing. It looks like a full house to say goodbye to a local band that has provided us with quality entertainment for almost 2 decades. A suggestion was made to present the group with a cake at intermission.

Tim Breen reported a reading for Talent Night acts will take place on September 24th at the Grange Hall at 6:30 PM. All speaking parts have been cast and a few more music groups are being nailed down. The show is scheduled for October 5th with a dress rehearsal on Thursday October 3rd. It was decided to video the production as well as the Evergreen concert.

The children’s Play scheduled for Sept. 21 has been cancelled due to lack of participation by students that originally signed up for parts.

There was a lengthy discussion about the Grange supper congestion when the meal is first served. The first group seated should get their meal first before any more people are allowed into the dining area. There was suggestions on changing the location where the food is presently being served. Wally Warren will play music during the next grange supper.

Grace Lommel presented the publicity posters for the Nite Boat concert, the next grange supper, and the band concert. Grace is also working on a press release for the Evergreen show that should be ready in 2 weeks. Dave Pearson displayed a first draft poster for Talent Night. Chester Bekier informed the group about our being on Face Book and encouraged members to participate.

The last 2 concerts did not play to a full house and Joe Kennedy and Tim Breen  suggested that the Labor Day time slot may not be a good time to book concerts.

We also might want to consider only booking bands that are locally well known.

The next meeting will be on Thursday October 10th at 6PM at the Wayside Grange at 581 North Dexter Road.

May 222013

The Dexter Wayside Grange Theatre at their meeting last Thursday made plans to welcome Ken and Jane Brooks for their May 25th appearance. A full house is expected to enjoy old-fashioned  Classic Country music along with songs the Brooks’ have written.

The Talent Night committee reports they now have 1 hour of skits being prepared but need more talent for acting and musical presentations.

The community band will be using the grange stage for practice beginning on June 11. They will do a concert at the grange in September.

Charlie Haiss will provide dinner music at the next grange supper. There was a lengthy discussion regarding improvements to the supper sign which is posted along the roadside advertising the monthly meal.

Chester Bekier reported a number of cracked and broken windows through out the building that require replacing  and glazing. Repairs to the broken windows in the dining hall will be done first. Concern was expressed about the construction of the steps leading up the front porch.

The May schedule for mowing the grange lawn was set.  Grange Master Pearson, will have the honor of the first mowing of the season on May 11th.

It was agreed to remove the overgrown arborvitae trees that were planted some years ago in front of the porch.  They are now quite large and are causing a moisture problem with the wood of the porch.

The matter of concert admission fees to be paid by Wayside Grange members  was discussed.  It was voted that Grange members working at the concert can choose either to attend the show for free, or pay ½ or full admission price.  Non working member can attend the show for ½ price or full price.

The next meeting will be June 13th at 6 PM at the Wayside Grange.

Apr 142013

Webmaster’s note: As many know, Wayside Grange in North Dexter has recently reorganized… in an effort to keep their communities informed and engaged they are distributing summaries of their meetings as press releases. A number of the local weekly papers are printing them!

At the Thursday meeting of the Wayside Grange-Theatre plans were finalized for the first supper of the season on April 13. Barbara Bekier reported everything is all set and the kitchen staff is ready to serve a menu of pork roast and all the fixin’s. Guitar dinner music will be played by Ram Das Singh during the meal.

The opening music show will be on April 27 featuring the highly acclaimed Abbott Hill Ramblers band under the direction of Chris Prickett. Liz Breault made a request for volunteers to bake an assortment of desserts for intermission.

Grace Lommel reported fliers have been distributed all around the local area showing the dates of the bands playing at the grange from April to November. The police Department public sign will also list the dates. Grange suppers are to be held on the second Saturday of each month through October. Joe Kennedy and Wally Warren will work on a roadside sign to advertise each supper.

Tim Breen reported on the upcoming Talent Night. There are now enough candidates that have volunteered to make a full show but will advertise for actors to be in the skits. Window repairs, a possible chimney water leak, and loose floor tiles were discussed and will be investigated by the Building Committee. The window in the attic has been fixed.

Dawn Huntt and Joe Kennedy volunteered to work on a scrapbook of clippings of the publicity we have generated so far and continuing. The Treasurer’s report included a request to renew the Victualer’s license and to pay the Annual Incorporation fee.

The Dexter Community Band has requested using the auditorium stage for their weekly practices. This was tentatively approved for a few months providing enough chairs can be located for the band.

The next meeting will be on May 9th at 6:30 PM following the Talent Night meeting at 5:00 PM

Jan 312013

Ten dedicated local citizens braved the bitter cold last Thursday evening to show up at the Abbott Memorial Library in Dexter to initiate a community program for the Wayside Grange for the upcoming season beginning in April.

The revitalization of the Wayside Grange, formerly known as the North Dexter Grange began last month when Grange Master Dave Pearson called a meeting to discuss the status of the grange and plan future activities.

A preliminary schedule of concerts has now been planned with 6 definite bands booked so far, a Talent Night, a Comedy Show, and a children’s play. In addition there will be regular monthly Grange Suppers beginning on April 13th.

The Abbott Hill Ramblers will kick off the season concerts beginning on April 27th followed by Ken and Jane Brooks on May 25th.

At each event will be a fund-raising 50/50 raffle, and a pie auction to help support the grange. Joyce Whalen volunteered to bake the pies for the auction.

Wally Warren volunteered to be on the Stage Committee along with Michelle Dyer-Fagan, Ram Das Singh, and Dawn Huntt.  Joe Kennedy is working with Dave Pearson scheduling bands for monthly concerts. Ram Das  called for a Feb. 9th 2PM meeting to work on the Comedy Night skits. Frank  Spizuoco presented a preliminary budget for the season to cover expenses. Dave Pearson will contact Dave Greenham about showing his Theater of Ideas traveling performance, “Maine At Work,” after a grange supper.

Grange officers elected include Grange Master Dave Pearson, Secretary Barbara Bekier, and Treasurer Frank Spizuoco.

The next meeting is Thursday February 7 at 6PM at the library. All are invited.

Apr 122012

Words from Walter…

“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.”

Those words were written by Robert Frost in 1926 (Two Tramps In Mud Time) and, like so much of his work, they capture the essence of spring and are a commentary on life. How quickly things can change–and how suddenly in the midst of change we can advance and retreat! (One step forward, two steps back!)

Last month I reported that the number of site visits was stagnant and “whined” a bit about the lack of news… As a result there has definitely been an increase in submitted events, but news continues to be scarce. In fact, we had less “non-event” posts in March of this year than we did a year ago. (Non-event posts are news items, quick tips or informational columns.)

Doing business (or having meetings!) without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does. So let’s turn on the lights! What happened at your Grange this month? What are your members thinking? How about a tip for others to consider?

Another aspect of the site I try to monitor is what sorts of searches are bringing visitors to the site–what terms, questions, etc. are people typing into “Google” that land them here. Recently there have been a number of searches regarding what might be considered “traditional skills” — including two questions very recently about repairing barns and “how to set up a barn dance.”

One reason this intrigues me is that I’ve been involved in setting up a collaboration between our local adult education program and the county extension service. In short, we offered a “You Can” series of classes that ranged from how to process firewood to how to can foods to handling livestock and starting seeds. The results were phenomenal! We’re about halfway through the series and people are already crying for more.

This just might be an opportunity for Granges to grab–there is a definite trend that goes beyond basic skills. I recently had an inquiry from a future bride who wanted to be married in a grange hall because of what it represents–community, heritage, and tradition. People are searching and many are looking to the grange for information and answers. When Ann Burns of Maple Grove Grange recently submitted their Green Thumbs of Sebago event, she noted that she’s been reading of all the “green” programs granges are offering and they are “jumping on the bandwagon.” Great idea! We can hitch up the team, pull the bandwagon out of the barn and figure out how to set up a barn dance, right?

Just don’t forget to take a photo or two and submit it to the website!

Nov 052011

Worthy Doctor Watson

Submitted by Walter Boomsma

Now understand that I’m not a bonafide theatre critic… but as folks say about art– “I don’t know much, but I know what I like!” So I attended the recent Talent Night at Wayside Grange in North Dexter as a grange supporter–even paid the admission fee in spite of the offer that “card-carrying grange members can attend for free.” I have no regrets.

Well, maybe we should have dressed warmer… we thought Worthy Doctor Watson (aka Worthy Master Dave Pearson) was kidding when he said they’d run out of oil and needed folks to be generous. We also thought it was planned that the house lights went down right after he said it so he could announce “… and there go the lights.”

Watson and Holmes (Tim Breen) updated the audience between acts, taking until intermission to solve a case involving the “Hound of Sangerville.” It turned out, according to Holmes, the Hound of Sangerville was actually a Shih Tzu who had somehow transmogrified into a bull. Amazing as it is, no one saw the next line coming… a bull shih tzu.

There was more bull when a set of flamenco music included the bull fighting song… and plenty more as Watson and Holmes provided comic relief between acts that ranged from flamenco music to Leadbelly to alternative rock to contemporary folk music provided by Nite Boat.

Nite Boat offered an ecletic selection that had a few people dancing in the back.

 This truly was a show with “something for everyone.” Some of the skits were “tried and true,” but the acting was great and, in a demonstration of talent at it’s best there was no way the audience could tell when mistakes were made–they were incorporated in a way that contributed to the humor.

Master Dave explained briefly that a determined band of folks are working hard to “bring back the old building and have a lot of fun in the process.” He pointed out that if folks were interested in becoming Grange Members, “we wouldn’t expect you to work with us more than 30-40 hours per week.”

Intermission included some good grange pies (with ice cream!) and a chance to compare notes with friends and neighbors… and the second act moved along all too quickly. Wayside Grange and Theatre is worth keeping an eye on. While they “don’t do much in the winter” because “this old building is really hard to heat,” they will be presenting a Christmas Program. Wear your woolies, but don’t miss it!