To the editor: Many to thank for making Overture to Christmas a success!

I would like to thank everyone involved in helping to make this year’s Overture to Christmas the best yet.

Let me start by saying that the level of participation in the planning and execution was so large, it is inevitable that I will overlook someone in this thank you. For this, I apologize.

Thanks to Nancy Rugg and Chris Meyer for taking over and ensuring that the events came together. Thanks also to the rest of the Overture committee, Fran Cheslock and Nancy Phillips of TD Bank, Cynthia Prairie of The Chester Telegraph, Donna Allen of The Vermont Journal, Lew Watters and Debbie Armstrong. Once again, thanks to Stephanie Smith for her graphic design expertise.

Thanks to TD Bank, our corporate sponsor, and Eclectic Technologies for their support. Also, thanks to MacLaomainn’s Scottish Pub for hosting the scavenger hunt and to all the businesses who donated prizes.

Thanks to the American Legion for hosting Breakfast with the Elves and to Chester-Andover Elementary School for hosting children’s Christmas Crafts and Stories and the Senior Christmas Dinner. The sounds of jingle bells filled the air at the Legion courtesy of Susan Spaulding and the Vermont Country Store. And to Melissa Howe of Endless Creations and architect Claudio Veliz, thank you for helping to make the Christmas Crafts a success.

For the senior dinner, a special thanks to Debbie Armstrong, Georgia Ethier, Sandy Walker, Doris Westine, Jack Carroll, Ken Barrett, Sheldon Ghetler, Derek Suursoo, David Pisha and his wife Sindy, Brian Waldo and DJ Sharon Baker, all those who cooked the meal, the Andover ladies who made all the pies and to the scholars from the National Honor Society who helped serve dinner to 170+ plus people. A big thank you also to Asta Spafford, and her family, Bill and Nancy Lindsay, Bruce Meyer and my daughter Tina Smith. Thanks also to those who delivered dinners to those who couldn’t attend.

Thanks to the volunteers from Green Mountain Union High for helping with the luminaries.

A big thank you also to the Green Mountain High Select Group and voice teacher Cindi Austin for two days of caroling, first in snow, then in rain. Despite the weather, you were lovely ladies in your Victorian dress. Thanks to the Chester Players and Green Mountain High, they dressed the part. Thanks also to Stan Norsworthy, the Monadnock Brass Quintet and Newsbank and to the Springfield Community Chorus and the First Baptist Church for continuing the wonderful music into the evening.

Thanks to the Inn Victoria for hosting its Christmas High Teas. What a delight.

By many accounts, the children’s events were spectacular. Here’s to all the gingerbread house makers. What amazing creations. Thank you to Robert Sarley, Abby Raeder and the Vermont Institute for Contemporary Art for hosting the puppet show. Thanks to Mark Martins of the Williams River House for the puppet show’s use, and to teacher Jory Hearst and the GM students who provided the puppetry talent.

Thanks to Paul and Norma Ippolito and the Hugging Bear Inn for the Children’s Musical Storytime and to the First Baptist Church for the Live Nativity and the Chester Children’s Christmas Choir.

Santa and Mrs. Claus asked me to send out a special thanks to Head Elf Leah Cunningham and her four CAES elves for their invaluable help during their visit, and to Rick Bliss for once again driving them in style. Also, thanks to the Chester Police and Fire Departments for their guardianship.

And finally, a big shoutout to the Ruggs and the Fullerton Inn for being “Santa Central” when it came to preparing and staging many events.

Again, my apologies for leaving anyone out. But know that your efforts are appreciated.

If you’d like to volunteer for next year, please email me at

Thank you all and Merry Christmas,

Pat Budnick


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