The Mountain Times

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Making live music sustains the ages

Sounds of violins, flutes and trumpets tuning up, people settle in their chairs, lights go down, the conductor raises his hands, silence-then the music begins. This is the Vermont Symphony Orchestra's Holiday program, "Fun and Games," featuring teenager Eileen Kocherlakota's musical composition, "Jill and the Beanstalk," a fractured fairytale. When the lights go up, I see the faces of Killington Arts Guild members in the audience.

The Vermont Symphony is one of the few, and the oldest, state-supported symphony orchestras in the nation. It started in 1934 by Alan Carter, who gathered musicians, farmers and storekeepers to form the orchestra that traveled to gymnasiums, armories and hillsides presenting music.

The VSO provides quality performances for a modest cost to a diverse audience throughout Vermont. The VSO needs many supporters. Dorothy Webber is one such local supporter who has served as a board member in the Rutland area for many years. She is also a member of the Killington Active Seniors and the Killington Arts Guild.

Looking at the Paramount, I remember the day in the mid-1990s when I toured the theater with the Rutland Historical Society. The plans for the restoration sounded formidable. They thought the building was sound but I could see the walls needed plastering, ceiling repaired and gold trim restored. The big problem was money.

In 1992, Ed Fowler of Killington, a stockbroker, pledged $2,000, and decided he was "born to raise money" for the theater. At a meeting at the Cortina in 1996, Allen George, president of the group raising funds announced it couldn't be done and retired. Fowler became the leader.

Local support was important but not enough.  He went to Jim Jeffords and other legislators for help raising the $3,500,000 required. Historic reconstruction began in January 1999.  The theater, opened in October 2,000. Why is the Paramount so important? Ed says "…because theater is live. You can't make mistakes. It is people performing their best."

The VSO celebrates Mozart's 256th birthday and Robert De Cormier's 90th birthday at the Paramount on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012 with Faure's Requiem, "written for pure please" and Mozart's Requiem, played in the movie Amadeus.

The Paramount is the place where KAG Member Saski Hagen Groom's Children's Theater performs and where in April 2012 at the Brick Box, Yvonne Daley's book, "Vermont Writer's" will come to life, as a play.  KAG members are supporting the arts as an audience and as presenters.

To contact this column: vtkag@aol.com

Tagged: KAG, Killington Arts Guild, Music