It was standing room only the night of December 4th at Robinson Elementary School where over 250 people packed into the gym for a celebration of the first phase of the Starksboro Art and Soul Project. The crowd was a real testament to the fact that “the desire for an active community is alive.”
The night began with a delicious chili and cornbread dinner made and miraculously orchestrated by the Jerusalem Schoolhouse Group in a manner much like Jesus fed the five thousand. Thank you to Dan Noel and the Robinson Elementary School for hosting; to Dan Dubenetsky for skillfully serving as the maestro for the evening; and to the elementary school children, led by their music teacher, Helen Weston, for kicking off the evening with a mix of tunes including the Vermont State Song.
Photos courtesy of The Orton Family Foundation, (c) 2008
The 15 Middlebury College students who have been collecting Starksboro’s Stories for the past two months then shared those stories with everyone using photos, audio recordings of interviews, maps and a beautiful booklet similar to Bertha’s Book. Featured stories about South Starksboro, Hillsboro, and the history and future of farming in the words of the Cliffords, Shepards and Hank Bissell left few with dry eyes.
Themes and ideas that resonated with people that evening included the “idea that neighbors are complete strangers” and the “sense of connection with the land and how that connection shaped their lives.” As one participant shared, “Starksboro seems more like a living entity to me. I’m proud.”