Monthly Archives: April 2015

“Simple Gifts” is the Official Town Song of Alfred

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For further information, contact Mary Lee Dunn Maguire at maryldunn@aol.com or tel 207-324-7088 in Alfred.

Townspeople Vote “Simple Gifts” the Official Song of Alfred

The residents of Alfred stepped up to honor the town’s history on Saturday, 3/27, when Town Meeting voted to designate the world-famous Shaker song Simple Gifts as the official town song.

“Simple Gifts” was written by Shaker Joseph Brackett at Alfred’s Shaker village in the summer of 1848. Shakerism was introduced in Maine when several Alfred families embraced it in the 1780s. Thus, Alfred is the “root” community of Shakers in the state. Its leaders helped establish several other Shaker villages in Maine, including Sabbathday Lake’s, which is the last home of living Shakers anywhere. Alfred’s Shaker village lasted until 1931, when the Alfred property was sold and 21 Shakers from there moved to Sabbathday Lake. Since Alfred’s Shakers were mostly young and energetic, they rejuvenated the community that welcomed them.

The request to name the much-loved song as the town’s official song originated with the Friends of Alfred Shaker Museum (FASM), which has been renovating a former Shaker carriage house dating to the middle 1800s in the old Shaker village into a museum and educational center. That task likely will be completed in the next year. In the meantime, the museum is open to the public two afternoons a week from mid-May through October. For more information about FASM’s program this coming season, see the web site at www.alfredshakermuseum.org.

“We are so glad that Alfred’s residents also thought this was worth doing,” said Barbara Carlson, FASM president. “We hope it helps draw visitors to our historic Shaker Hill museum and our picturesque town, which are easily accessible not far from southern Maine’s beaches and turnpike.”

For the last several years, the museum has hosted a “Simple Gifts” concert. This year’s event will take place on Sunday, July 19, the weekend of Alfred’s town festival. The musician who proposed and presides at the event is violinist, composer, and music teacher Andy Happel. See a slide show created by FASM member Greg Hall from a previous concert and posted on the museum’s web site at http://www.alfredshakermuseum.com/2014/09/24/museum-news-and-updates/.

Museum Hours:

Museum Hours: 1 PM - 4 PM on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and by appointment.

Closing for the season on November 15.

Admission: Free. Donations are gratefully accepted.

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FASM meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 7 PM at the Alfred Shaker Museum. The public is invited to our meetings (unless announced otherwise).

We welcome new members! To join FASM, see our Become a Friend page.

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