Chester Town Hall open house draws enthusiastic group, introduces upcoming events

Upstairs@Town Hall held an open house on Wednesday, March 13 to talk about its plans to bring music, theater, dance, poetry and community events to Chester’s restored Town Hall theater, at 556 Elm St. Those in attendance were enthusiastic about the initiative and provided feedback and suggestions on how to best use the space.

Upstairs volunteer Evan Parks talked about working with Chester town government on a grant application that would fund electrical upgrades and a new sound system, plans to acquire modern stage lighting and to add additional acoustic improvements to the room. He also discussed plans for live streaming events for those who could not attend in person, further increasing access.

Upstairs volunteer Robert Nied led a discussion while those in attendance brainstormed ideas for uses of the space, and collaborations and “synergy” with local schools and groups. Individuals with experience in theater production offered specific recommendations for accommodating community theater rehearsals and performances. Nied stated that one of the group’s primary goals is to seek sponsors, underwriters and grant funding so they can present events that are low cost or free to ensure that more people in the community can access the programs.

Former Vermont Poet Laureate Sydney Lea. <small>Photo from his website.

Former Vermont Poet Laureate Sydney Lea. Photo from his website.

Upcoming events that have already been scheduled were discussed including

  • a reading and book signing by former Vermont Poet Laureate Sydney Lea at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 5.
  • a concert by the Convergence Quartet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 18. This nationally known ensemble combines traditional jazz, funk, soul along with the influence of South American music.
  • a Teen Open Mic on Saturday, May 4 that will encourage young people ages 13-18 to perform their art in front of a welcoming crowd of friends and family.

Select Board Chair Arne Jonynas, who was in the audience, said he was reminded of the “wonderful space” we have in Chester.

Upstairs volunteer Renee Nied said that “having a wait list of people and groups wanting to present events at Town Hall would be a terrific problem to have.” At the end of the open house, eight area residents signed up as volunteers to assist the group’s work, offering skills that ranged from graphic design to stage management to grant research and writing. Upstairs@Town Hall can be contacted at:

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeIn the Arts

About the Author: This item was edited from one or more press releases submitted to The Chester Telegraph.

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