“As one friend said to me: ‘You went from zero to 60 really fast.’ Over the years I had put on a show here and there but never a series. It’s kind of addicting and the fuel is the high energy and pleasure brought to others through music. Hearing music and coming together as a community in the Grange Hall again has been completely satisfying.”
Sue DuMond is describing her blossoming “Home on the Grange” series, which she started last March. Since that time, she has held eight shows at the Lopez Island Grange Hall, offering everything from a string band to folk songs to rock and blues.
DuMond has been energized by the momentum her idea is gaining, and the positive effects it has had on the Grange. “Grange usage by the community has increased. The Grange folks have continued to spiff up the place and they are very supportive of my endeavors. I have absolutely been deluged by requests from musicians to play, and I have had great community support. Because I am doing this all volunteer I’m trying to keep it to one show a month. It’s great that I can be picky. I want everyone to know that even if they haven’t heard of the musician that is performing, rest assured I’m bringing the cream of the crop.”
DuMond is kicking off her spring series with a concert by Alice Di Micele on Sunday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. “I met Alice when she performed at the Grange over 20 years ago. We became friends and I ended up bringing her here a few times over the years. It’s been about eight years since she performed here and I’m absolutely thrilled that she brings her earthy groove back to the island and starts out my second year of ‘Home on the Grange’ concerts.”
Alice is followed by North Carolina’s old-timey balladeer and Kerrville New Folk winner Jonathan Byrd on Friday, March 28. Then comes a community dance with the improvisational, psychedelic folk-rock Chris Bramble Band on Saturday, April 26. May marks the return of poetic troubadour Danny Schmidt, who started out the first home on the Grange series last year. His performance is on Sunday, May 11. All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m.
“I have had islanders tell me that my shows have been ‘the best they have ever seen.’ I’m not kidding! Coupled with outstanding musicians, stellar acoustics and the intimate surroundings, the Home on the Grange shows have been very successful,” remarked DuMond.
For the last two shows DuMond has had help from a local teenager. “He gets credit to help me and will help out this spring as well. He has been learning about sound, booking, and production through his work with me. I would like to see more teens get involved helping and attending shows. It’s been an absolute blast to work with him. Each show is an incredible amount of work. I’m hoping that I can get some more people to volunteer and help me with setup and breakdown,” said Dumond. Also in the works are sessions at Lopez School with music students, if the visiting musicians’ schedules are amenable. “I’m hoping to have some bigger events at Woodmen Hall this summer. I would especially like to put on a dance or two.”
The organization known as the “Grange” began over 100 years ago to help farmers and the rural community. Grange buildings were used for socializing such as potluck dinners, music and dancing. “Concerts held last summer as part of the Home on the Grange series brought back memories of long ago,” said Grange member Vivian Burt.
Over the past three years, the Grange has re-roofed and painted the building with the help of volunteers and local contractors, and the grounds have been improved. Along with these repairs there has been a commitment to be involved in the community, especially with young people.
The Home on the Grange series is non-profit, and admission for concerts is $10. To read more about upcoming artists, go to www.radiofreelopez.com.