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Recap: Winter Solstice Sunset at Harmony Hall

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

Thoughtful and courageous choices by The Friends of Harmony Hall (FOHH) defined a year of significant progress which concluded with the celebration of the winter solstice on Wednesday afternoon December 21, 2022, from 4 to 6 PM. Producing an afternoon, weekday event during the height of a busy holiday season resulted in record attendance! 

The dwindling daylight of the last fall day was framed in the floor-to-ceiling parlor windows as music by Geoff Welch filled the room. Shaman Cindi Fountain ushered in the setting sun with a traditional ceremony of music and her sentiments on the change of seasons, the importance of family and community and caring for each other during the winter months.

Board president Andrea LaMantia provided parlor guests with a concise introduction to the Harmony Hall preservation project and touched upon the ongoing dedicated work of the organization during 2022. This included the addition of a very successful great lawn music event - The Grateful Dead Tribute Concert. This event made the most ambitious house restoration to date possible - The three-story

elliptical staircase! Restorer Bill Friedlich, Hudson View Construction, Inc., was introduced and available for questions related to this dramatic and beautiful project. Pre-restoration photos of the dire staircase condition provided a clear juxtaposition of how far Harmony Hall has come and intends to go under the vision, guidance, and collaboration of the FOHH!

The aesthetic grace of the restored woodwork inspired one guest, with an appreciation of fine custom woodwork, to comment, “I simply have to touch this gorgeous and graceful 1848 banister.” The restored staircase, window and archway have truly become an interactive sensory experience! The music in the parlor concluded with selections by Joe Rosolen playing the mountain dulcimer, an Appalachian stringed instrument with deep roots in American musical tradition.

Guests were treated to a generous repast of bountiful sweet and savory items and hot mulled cider served in the dining room. The ambience was accentuated by the glow of chandelier light and Victorian Holiday decorations throughout the main floor rooms. Refreshments were provided and presented by Kay Brum, Marianne Carroll, Kathy Goldman, Andrea LaMantia, and Dennis Trotter. Many first-time

visitors to Harmony Hall were impressed with the beauty of the house and the work of the FOHH.

The post event stillness of Harmony Hall called to mind Christmas with Jacob and Sarah Sloat. Their portraits look out from the parlor fireplaces. A family’s hopes and dreams imbedded in the very fabric of this magnificent and historic house. The Friends of Harmony Hall look forward to 2023 and the promise of realizing the necessary task of fundraising and mobilization of the critical front porch

restoration of Harmony Hall.

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