Into the Woods – The Stover Connection

by Alden Cole on October 25, 2014 · 0 comments

Harold'sCountryRoadADJWPMaine Country Road, a first-class photo by Harold Stover 2014, that captures the quintessential feeling of fall in the quietude of the country.

Highlights of my Maine vacation include reconnecting with high school friend Bill Harrison and his wife Claire who live in Portland, as well as Nokomis Florida. They arrived to pick me up in Dayton Saturday afternoon September 27 in Claire’s convertible. After a guided tour of my doings in the barn we breezily made our way back to Portland, plans including a delicious supper Saturday evening at their home, before attending the opening concert of the renovated Kotzschmar Memorial Organ in Portland’s Merrill Auditorium. After a two-year absence, the renovated organ, which I vaguely remember hearing in my youth a few times, was given the chance to show it stuff, using all its revitalized older registers, plus a num ber of new bells and whistles that were thrown in for good measure. The fun filled concert was led by Ray Cornils, one of the more active proponents of music on the grand scale in the Northeast. In addition to an active schedule as teacher, church organist and minister of music he’s Portland’s Municipal Organist, one of only two such positions in the country (the other being in San Diego); he happens to be a wonderful showman, with a great voice, who has lots of charisma. In attendance to help him show off the organ’s renovation to its best effects was Philadelphia’s own Peter Richard Conté, organist of the famous Wanamaker. Along with a small ensemble of musicians Cornils and Conté gave the packed house a versatile, satisfying, highly charged evening of music delivered on a renovated organ that was given the high sign of approval from my good friend Harold Stover whom I’ve known since 1971 in NYC, who has known and played concerts on the Kotzschmar since the 90s. Stover was at the Kotzschmar concert that Saturday night, but we missed each other in the primarily grey sea of heads that made its way to the doors after the applause ended. Bill, Claire, and I walked out into a night redolent of late summer, returning to their home off Baxter Blvd for dessert and conversation before retiring for the night. Sunday, after breakfast with more tales of yore and self revelations, Claire departed to go visit her sister in Sanford and Bill drove me back to Dayton, where we took a leisurely walk down through the fields behind the farm to the Saco River, talking much of the way, getting to know one another one to one, for the first time in actuality, since we scarcely knew ourselves as teenagers. Monday I spent the day hours continuing the reorganization (no pun intended) of an area at the front of the barn which i had started as my first major project the previous Friday – freeing up some space in the front corner of what has always been known as The Goat Pen (despite the fact that no goats have inhabited that part of the barn since i was a child), giving Georgie, my sister-in-law, a work table for garden-related projects, and organizing/condensing a mass of boxes and ‘stuff’ into a coherency that was lacking. That evening I dined with Harold and Elizabeth Stover at their home on Salmon Falls Road in Hollis, just a few miles up the Saco River from the farm I return to with such regularity as I come full circle. Monday night was another special evening of sharing an excellent meal with delightful friends from the past. After dinner Harold and I pulled out our respective collections of printed pieces from the Stover Organ Concerts/2nd Presbyterian Church series that I have featured in several blogs recently. There are still a number of them to be featured, and they are such excellent indicators of what I was thinking about artistically during the 70s, because they were my experiments in black and white. During this comparison, we discovered that I was missing four flyers from the series, and Harold graciously lent me those four for scanning and including in this series. Above, the very first one that sparked the whole series, done in May 1973, for my partner of the time Robert Mayberry, as he was preparing himself for returning to graduate school.

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