Sponsored by Moving in Step
In 1997, the people of Nelson raised funds from private donations, the Town of Nelson and the Nelson Congregational Church to sponsor The Hotel Nelson, a musical theatre that was created by, for, and about the Town of Nelson. Facilitated by Larry Siegal of Westmoreland, it was performed in the Nelson Congregational Church on August 14 and 15 to sold out audiences.
In 1840, The Nelson House was built to house the hotel, the post office, the library and a store. The three-story brick building burned down in 1894! So, for 54 years, sitting on the village common, it was literally the center of the town.
Thus, it is the metaphor from which our theatre, The Hotel Nelson, was born:
“When I built this hotel I put a porch on the front. It was the best decision I ever made. People come and sit out there, from the end of black fly season until the first snowfall. Now granted, that’s not a very long stretch of time, but it’s enough time for some good stories to get told, and for more stories to get made. The town goes by, day by day, and just when I think I’m getting to understand how it works, something happens and I realize I really don’t have it figured out after all. But I love it here – this place, this land, these people. I’ve found myself quite a home here…. Please… come in. You might stay for a night, or for a summer. And if you can’t figure out how to leave, well – you won’t be the first. “
Narrator in “The Hotel Nelson”
(from the opening scene)
From the above scene onward, songs were sung and stories were told by the same people who researched, wrote and composed them. They covered some of
Nelson’s history and politics, some of its notables and characters, and many anecdotes past and present.
Some of the songs that were sung are simply too good to relegate to the archives, so we’re going to sing them again…with your help.
So, please join us on Friday night, January 29, 2010, 6:30 pm, at the Nelson Town Hall.
After a potluck supper (please bring something to share), we’ll have some skilled musicians teach us a few of the songs so that we can all join in. But, if you don’t sing, that’s OK. Just come to enjoy the festivities.
“The mud can’t get deeper on Old Stoddard Road.
My white car is brown: what a sight to behold.
I’d give anything for a driveway that’s dry,
And to taste the tart pleasure of fresh rhubarb pie.”
From “Sing Halleluiah!”
“The world is full of gladness, and joys of many kinds.
There’s cure for ev’ry sadness, each troubled mortal finds.
My little cares grow lighter. I cease to fret and sigh.
My eyes with joy grow brighter, when she makes lemon pie.”
From “The Lemon Pie Song”
“When you’re a kid in Nelson you’re like a tall oak tree
Roots reach down into the past
Arms reach for eternity
Whether we’re playing baseball
Or biking through the square
There’s always something happening
And music fills the air”
From “Being a Kid in Nelson”
And, stay tuned for more: On Saturday, March 27, 2010, we will incorporate the songs that we learn on January 29 with more of the original songs and many of the stories (and perhaps even some new ones!) into another evening out at The Hotel Nelson Revisited.
“There’s one thing certain about the future, which is — it’s always going to be there. Some folks worry about it, some try to plan for it, some think it’s preordained, and some spend so much time thinking about it that today becomes tomorrow with nothing in between.
“Now the past is always there too. And we might not worry so much about it, but people can get to dwelling on that too, and lose the present.
“I like it here in Nelson, ‘cause folks seem to enjoy the past, the present, and the future, all in good measure.
“When I’m away from here I tell people about this place. And sometimes someone will ask – tell me, that town of yours, and that Hotel, is it real, or is it just make believe?
“And I answer: yes.”
Narrator in “The Hotel Nelson”
(from the closing scene)