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Beacon Archive

July 2003
PDF Version

4th of July Festivities

BITA - BIBCO Reach an Agreement

Environmentally Sensitive Areas Ordinance on the Agenda

Vanishing Sturgeon

PABI's 1st Annual Goofy Golf Tournament

Rita Gillespie Memorial Blood Drive

Tara runs like the Wind

News from Beaver Island Hospice & Helping Hands

On This Date

Rutan Experimentals Fly-In at the Township Airport

Annual Firemen’s Picnic

Barry Pischner's New CD: Sailing On

The Island Welcomes New Sheriff Jim Campbell

The Bike Path: an Unqualified Success

Museum Week 2003 Schedule; Museums hold Open House

Some interesting occurrences at Meetings

A Solstice Celebration: The Second Annual High Tea

Whiskey Point Restoration; Rectory Auction

Camp Quality does Beaver Island

Charlevoix County Commission Meetings

Celebrating Flag Day

Charlie's Model A: on the way to the Shop

One Hundred Years Ago

The “Seven Sisters” Opens

BIRHC Board has Opening

Sunset Cruises available Once Again

Bob Hannon: 1950-2003

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A Solstice Celebration: The Second Annual High Tea

The apex of this year witnessed a shining fusion of some of the Island's finest talent, skill, and beauty in the form of the second annual High Tea and Song Recital. Held at John and Sally Fogg's newly opened Deerwood Lodge on Lake Michigan near Barney's Lake, the High Tea showcased three jewels in the crown of the community's evolving cultural landscape: the glowing log Lodge itself; Deerwood Chef Deborah Harwood's culinary artistry; and soprano Martha Guth's masterful and moving interpretation of song.

The Tea emerged as an inspiration of Deborah and Martha's early last year, Martha explains. “We decided that we wanted to do something that involved both of our work and talents. We thought of this idea to do a High Tea, and this is the result. Now it's the second year, and hopefully we can continue this on.” This year the event has taken on an added purpose as a benefit for the Beaver Island Music Fund, a fledgling organization intended to foster and promote musical education and events within the Island community. The Music Fund has collected seed money in a recently established bank account, and has just been granted sponsorship by the BIHS so it can have non-profit status. The public will hear further updates on this worthwhile effort in the months to come.

The more than seventy who attended the afternoon event were chauffeured down the meandering paved drive through the forest above Barney's Lake, ending in the impressive sight of Deerwood's great expanse nestled unobtrusively among rolling lakeside hills. Within, the Lodge's Great Room welcomed them in warm tones of burnished Island timbers and hardwood floors. A wall of towering windows there illuminated the tasteful furnishings and fieldstone fireplace, and framed a vista of High Island to the west. Admirers wandered through the balconies, suites, and hallways of the grand new resort, marveling at the fine craftsmanship and loving attention to detail that was revealed at every turn.

Arrayed around the lower rooms were elegantly presented trays of hors d'ouevres for every taste, featuring such creative delicacies as chocolate- dipped cherries rolled in crushed pistachios, smoked whitefish canapés, bruschetta with pears and feta spread, and vegetarian sushi. Deborah and her catering staff outdid themselves in every way, offering the delighted attendees not only an exquisitely delicious array of flavors, but a gracious illustration of culinary art itself, expertly balanced in subtlety, harmony, and presentation.

The centerpiece of the benefit was the song recital. Accompanied on grand piano by her uncle Dr. Robert Holst, a man of diverse musical talents, Martha led the audience on a journey through the American musical landscape of the past century. Arranged in four sets of related themes, the first group covered compositions by such luminaries of the American stage as Leonard Bernstein, Steven Sondheim, and Aaron Copland.

From the very first piece, Bernstein's A Quiet Place, Martha commanded the audience's rapt attention, drawing them nearer and nearer into the embrace of her soaring voice, which became a vehicle that transported them deep into the innermost realms of landscape and heart. The silence grew around her, leaving only the expressions of her sound and face to fill the hushed room. By the time she delivered the traditional spiritual Steal Away, many seated before her were moved to tears, a phenomenon that was to accompany much of the presentation to follow that day.

The second set featured musical adaptations, by Ned Rorem and Aaron Copland, of poems by Emily Dickinson, e.e. cummings, and others. A standout selection in this set was contemporary composer John Musto's treatment of Langston Hughes' Litany, a poignant plea of compassion for the urban poor. This was followed by a song cycle by composer Ralph Vaughan Williams and a trio of traditional Irish and English folk songs by famed vocal composer Benjamin Britten, culminating in the classic The Last Rose of Summer.

The duo bowed to great applause and returned for an encore, a delightfully melodramatic tale of a woman's descent into a sordid life in Paris. This piece truly displayed the astounding technical skill and impressive range mastered by this young soprano whose gifts have been shared with the community for years.

Moments like the one offered to the people of Beaver Island on Summer Solstice are far more than mere entertainment. They are, above all else, a gift of great graciousness generously given us by the hard work of many contributors; motivated by both a deep love for the arts and an enduring affection for the place we call our home. This writer felt a special significance in the Great Room of Deerwood Lodge on the longest day of the year, as he listened to the strains of a great voice uplift and move all who were present. He remembered a summer night years ago when three friends paddled a canoe out upon the waters of Barney's Lake, and sat for a time under the moonlight. Eventually one of them began to sing an aria, and the sound of her voice echoing off the natural amphitheater of trees that ringed the still waters is a recurring delight. Hearing the same voice many years afterward, in another locale not far from that same lake, seemed to resonate as a kind of cycle fulfilled, and as a spring of song that continues to give.

– Robert Cole


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