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18th Farewell Reunion

18th Annual Farewell Reunion, written by Ava White – YTV Summer Intern

This year’s Farewell Reunion was dedicated to Brian C., who recently passed away at the age of 28 this January. He is remembered as a person full of joy and patience, who was often sitting in the 1st or 2nd row at this concert.

Young Tradition Vermont’s overarching goal is to provide access to traditional music through inspiration, performance, teaching, and learning, primarily focused on and about young people. After Mark Sustic’s son, Tom, passed after a two-year long battle with leukemia, Mark finished 20 years of organizing early learning and development programs in Franklin County. He, his wife Deborah Travis and some friends put together the Tom Sustic Fund, dedicated to assisting families with children with life-threatening/life-altering conditions. He invited several music friends to participate in a farewell performance tour that concluded at Grace Church in Sheldon, a continuing annual tradition that has been one of two major fundraisers for the Tom Sustic Fund.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 prevented this celebration of music to happen in person, but the show must go on!

The Zeichner Trio is a family band that plays many instruments, from bagpipes to banjos, fiddles to whistles, vocals, and harp. Their musical style focuses on Old Time/Appalachian and traditional Irish music. Yasi is involved as President of Young Tradition Vermont and Manager of two programs: Trad Camp and the Young Tradition Festival.

Romy Munkres plays the fiddle, flute, and is an accomplished percussive dancer. Her brother, Ben Munkres, plays the piano in multiple styles as well as the french horn at school and with the Vermont Youth Orchestra. Both have been active members in numerous Young Tradition Activities, including the Touring Group for five years as well as being the 2018 YTV contest winners, and members of the Youth Commission.

The first half of the concert was composed of members of the Youth Commission. Kicked off by Romy and Ben, they played some Swedish polskas, which began light and then transformed to acquire some minor key qualities. A beloved Marching Aire known as O’er the Moor and Among the Heather came next, with Romy on flute and Ben on the piano, whose chords did a wonderful job building up the melody. They passed it over to Hadley S., who played a mix of material that she learned from other YTV members and the Touring Group, upbeat and energetic tunes. Abi S. on guitar and vocals sang ‘The Unquiet Grave’, an English song about a young man losing his love and getting the chance to talk to her. Fern T, then played a set of reels, starting out slow and then increasing the tempo. To further the build-up, she also added in double-bowing and a fun, original ending. Back to Romy and Ben, who played a modified version of Youth Commission tunes, a bouncy tune supported with fun chords. Next they played a tune they learned while in Scotland with the Touring Group, ‘Kirk on the Shore.’ The flute added a beautiful slow, lilting quality to the piece while the piano added a nice build-up, playing light chords in the beginning and then becoming more complex. Romy and Ben finished by playing a set of tunes, one of which they had learned from Liz Carroll. The tunes were gritty, deep, and groovy, with a tempo that increased and piano with a fun rhythm. They also announced that they are working on a Youth Commission CD!

The Zeichner Trio took over for the second half on harp, fiddle, and bagpipes. They began with a slower tune all on melody that then expanded as accompaniment was added. They sped up into a reel with the fiddle and bagpipes on melody. They played a march they had learned from a friend, and then a reel called ‘The Tailor’s Thimble.’ With beautiful accompaniment from the harp, they sang a song from an English singer. The Zeichner trio then played some reels with the fiddle and Irish pipes, gradually incorporating layers of harmony. They then sang an acapella version of ‘Last Trip Home’, a song that makes the listener want to join in with their wonderful vocal harmonies. After some banjo-tuning, they also sang ‘As I Rode Down’, an Appalachian song of a man meeting his lover, whether it turns out well or not. They finished with a set of laid-back jigs, whose minor feel and wonderful accompaniment made it a perfect way to end the night.

top, left to right: Romy & Ben Munkres, Mark Sustic, Hadley Stockwell….. bottom, left to right: the Zeichner Trio, Abi Sandy, Fern Tamagini-O’Donnell

The next concert hosted by Young Tradition Vermont is June 11th featuring Pete Sutherland and Oliver Scanlon. More info at www.youngtraditionvermont.org.