LEMPSTER – The town of Lempster celebrated Old Home Day with a parade, kids’ bubble pit, fun run, and yes, talent on Saturday. “Lempster’s Got Talent” show took place in the meeting hall and while a summer squall drenched the parking lot, performers and audience members laughed, clapped and sang together indoors.
Becky Farrand capably performed the role of emcee, with jokes and stories between sets. Her husband Cal stage managed, and their very talented dog, Caleb, closed out the show with his talking dog act.
After profuse thanks to many of the folks and organizations that made the night possible — among them the Old Home Committee, Friends of the Lempster Meeting House, Historical Society, Friends of the Library, and the Baker Family for lending the sound equipment — Farrand passed the mic to her brother, Richard Fairweather.
Fairweather read from Granite Monthly, circa 1907. Editor Henry H. Metcalf had published a 32-page- long description of Lempster, its buildings and its history, with beaucoup illustrations. “Lempster is thoroughly imbued with the Old Home spirit,” wrote Metcalf.
The first Old Home Week observance took place in 1899.
“Lots of things have changed since then, but we remain true to the concept of home, family and having a good time,” said Farrand. “Let’s get this show on the road!”
The Mercier family, which has music in its DNA, was a mainstay of the night. Becky Mercier, mother and grandmother to several of the performers, joked, “They all brought their own guitars but they want to play mine. They’re probably wondering who I’m going to leave it to!”
“The oldest!” said a male voice.
Becky Mercier then introduced her son, Jeremy and granddaughter, Jasmine, who performed “Don’t” by Ed Shearing, and then her youngest son, David. Although Jasmine was shy on stage she did well; her Dad and her uncle were clearly a practiced performers with fine voices and excellent guitar skills.
This impressive set was followed by shear silliness, as the Farrands performed Abbott and Costello’s classic “Who’s On First” routine to much laughter.
Gibson Chase, who thanked his grandmother for bringing him to the talent night, played classic songs: “King of the Road,” by Roger Miller, “Summertime,” by George Gershwin, “16 Tons” by Merle Travis, and “Flowers on the Wall” by one of the Statler Brothers.
The Friends of the Library raffle took place next, and another reading: a letter from 1901 from a former resident of Lempster, sending his/her regrets at missing, once again, Old Home Day.
Becky Mercier took the stage to play Bill Staines’ “River.” She remembered her first time on the Lempster Meeting House stage, in 1975. “For some of us, that doesn’t really sound that long ago,” she said, laughing.
Finally, all the Merciers took the stage to sing together.
They were followed by local author Maggie Kemp, who read her book “Sam Fisherwoman” aloud with some help from a friend, who sat on the lip of the stage and held up another copy of the book, so the audience could see the illustrations, and then Sarah Spencer, who played a section of Mozart’s “Fantasia” on the keyboard. Angelina Baker, a senior at Fall Mountain High School, played Elvis Presley’s “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” on the saxophone. Tasha Scuolfo utilized karaoke technology to give a feeling rendition of Trent Reznor’s “Hurt.”
Dottie Giddens had had a little trouble signing up to perform, as Becky Farrand’s number (for sign ups) had been published incomplete. However, after signing up early in the evening at the event, Giddens sang a funny and old-fashioned song, “Sweet Violets.”
The audience throughout was enthusiastic and appreciative, singing along to tunes they knew and laughing at all the funny bits. After another few songs by Gibson Chase, Caleb the Talking Dog closed out the show.
The Friends of the Library, which had provided cookies and sponsored the raffle, pressed cookies on the departing audience, and when everyone got outside the rain had stopped.