Simple Gifts

Scenes from “Simple Gifts”

Here are some photos from our 5th annual “Simple Gifts” concert.

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“Simple Gifts” Music Festival July 16

Come join FASM in celebration of the 169th anniversary of Alfred’s Town Song, “Simple Gifts.” The play-along begins at 5:00 PM. Bring an instrument (or your voice) and join in! At 6:00 PM, the concert commences. As usual, it will feature a variety of interpretations of “Simple Gifts” as expressed in various musical combinations and dance.

For more information: Contact Andy Happel.

“Simple Gifts” Music Festival This Sunday, July 17

Don’t forget! This coming Sunday afternoon is the “Simple Gifts” music festival!

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“Simple Gifts” Music Festival Coming in July

The annual “Simple Gifts” Music Festival will take place at the Museum on Sunday, July 17. The evening starts at 5:00 PM with a play-along of “Simple Gifts” and other Shaker tunes. Bring your instruments and join in! At 6:00 PM, the concert performances feature multiple interpretations of Alfred’s Town Song, including written music and improvisations, dance, and other forms.

Admission is by donation. Your donations will benefit the Alfred Shaker Museum and the “Simple Gifts” Music Festival.

For more information, contact Andy Happel at 207-752-0927 or by email at

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Alfred Shaker Museum 2016 Events and Workshops

2016 Events

March 27 Open House on Maine Maple Sunday
April 2 Wool Sale from 10 AM – 4 PM
May 14 The Museum opens for the season with a new exhibit, “Shaker Inventions.” Winners of the Essay Contest will be honored with an awards presentation.
June 8 FASM Annual Meeting (FASM Members Only)
July 16 “Simple Gifts” Music Festival
September 24-25 Shaker Hill Apple Festival
November 19-20 FASM table at the Holiday Fair at Alfred Elementary School
December 10 Open House for Christmas in the Shire
December 14 FASM Holiday Party

2016 Workshops

To register for any of our workshops, call Linda at 490-5709.

Date/Time Workshop Cost
Saturday, May 28 Basket Making with Martha Chessie TBD
Friday, June 5 Women’s Drumming Circle TBD
Saturday, October 29 Needle Felting with Beva Meagher TBD

For detailed information on the workshops, visit the Workshops page.

Yes! Tonight’s Concert is a Go!

Despite the unsettled weather, we will be hosting the “Simple Gifts” concert tonight. The open play-along will take place at the planned time of 5 PM, and the concert will happen at 6 PM. All performances will take place indoors at the Museum, in the Morrison Community Room.

Sunday 7/26 “Simple Gifts” Concert

The “Simple Gifts” concert, postponed from last Sunday due to inclement weather, is scheduled for the same time on this coming Sunday, 7/26. The open jam starts at 5:00 PM, and the concert starts at 6:00 PM.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast for Sunday. The Weather Channel currently calls for “Scattered Thunderstorms,” but a lot can change between Thursday and Sunday. This is an outdoor concert, so if the weather is uncooperative, we will have to cancel.

“Simple Gifts” Concert Postponed Till 7/26

Due to the forecast calling for rain this evening, the “Simple Gifts” concert has been postponed one week to Sunday, July 26. The play-along still beings at 5 PM, and the concert begins at 6 PM.

“Simple Gifts” is the Official Town Song of Alfred

For further information, contact Mary Lee Dunn Maguire at 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

“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

FASM 2015 Season and Town Song Update


The Alfred Shaker Museum will open for the season on May 16. The theme of this year’s exhibit is “The Shaker Kitchen.” The winners of the Student Essay Contest will be announced on our opening day. Come join us!

Town Song Update

If you are an Alfred resident and eligible to vote, don’t miss your chance to name “Simple Gifts” as Alfred’s Town Song. We will vote on this measure at the Town Meeting on March 28. Be there!

Museum Hours:

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

Closing for the season on November 11.

Admission: Free. Donations are gratefully accepted.

We are dog-friendly. Well-behaved dogs on leash are welcome in our building.

Become a Friend of the Alfred Shaker Museum!

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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