To the editor: With a lot of volunteer help, Music in Meadow turns 11, raising $28,000 for Komen

Pat Budnick

Pat Budnick

When my husband and I moved to Chester in March 2001 on a very snowy day it was impossible to really appreciate the meadow we had acquired.

By the middle of April, we were able to walk the property. As we were coming back to the house I mentioned to him what a great place to have a concert. His comment was, “Don’t even think about it.” That was all I needed to hear and I was off and running.

When I was organizing my first concert in 2003 I was looking for an organization where the money would do the most good for women with breast cancer since I have lost several friends to breast cancer. One in particular, Joyce Francis Murphy, had been my friend since 4th grade.

I heard Erron Carey of Chester speak about the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and was particularly impressed by the fact that 75% of the money raised in Vermont stays in Vermont and benefits Vermonters who are fighting breast cancer. Her words convinced me that Race for the Cure was where I wanted the money to go.

John Taylor and his wife Karen were guests the year before. When I heard him playing his guitar, I told him about my brainstorm. He said, “You put it together and I will come and play for nothing.” Another guest, Melissa Maravel, also from New York, said the same when I told her of my plan.

Next I went to see Domenica and Gary Coger who, at the time, owned Chester Music Shoppe. With their help and a lot suggestions from Charlie Hunter of Bellows Falls, I was able to put together that first concert. I used the deck of the motel for a stage and a couple of pop-up tents, and bugged my family and friends to pitch in. And so it began.

Each year more and more people came to help and support the project. Friends and family come from Connecticut and Florida. Wes and Theresa Johnson supported me from the beginning with free publicity in the Message along with Newsbank printing posters. Stephanie Smith designs the poster. As it grew more and more businesses and neighbors stepped up to help. Farnsworth Tents has been supplying the tent, HB supplying port-a-potties. Students from Green Mountain and Bellows Falls high schools have helped with setup, made popcorn, snow cones and fried dough, and run games for the kids.

We have a silent auction that goes on both days with gifts donated by local merchants, and a giant raffle with a beautiful queen-size quilt donated by Sue Ashe of Country Treasures as first prize.

This is a huge undertaking with trillions of details but when so many pitch in, it becomes eminently doable. Everyone has been touched by this terrible disease.

The biggest thing about Music in the Meadow is we have no budget. Every bit of money we receive goes to Susan G. Komen.

In 2007, I lost my emcee the Monday before the concert. My friend Karen Trombley happened to be sitting in my kitchen when I got that phone call. When I said, “What am I going to do now?” Karen called Brian Waldo.  Brian has been my right arm ever since

Since its inception we have raised approximately $28,000.

Pat Budnick
owner, Motel in the Meadow

founder, Music in the Meadow

This year on June 22nd and 23rd we will be presenting the 11th Annual Concert, as always at the meadow at Motel in the Meadow, Route 11 West in Chester.  Green Mountain Classic Cars, Chester Rescue Squad and Yosemite Engine Company will also be on site. Food, games and more will be available.

Here’s the musical lineup:

Saturday noon to 7 p.m.

Whistlin’ Rufus
Travis Parker
Mark Shelton
GB 101
Brendon Thomas
The Bondville Boys

Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Garry Sharon
Mark Shelton
Dr. T and Versatiles

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