Martha’s Vineyard musicians enliven a winter evening

Mark Mazer and Tom Hodgson added their musical talents to the evening. — Photo by Sarah Mayhew

Winter doesn’t loom so cold and dismal now. The first musical evening took place last Saturday night at the newly opened venue known as the Pit Stop, across Dukes County Avenue from Tony’s Market in Oak Bluffs.

It’s an unassuming building with a back door entrance, but the room took on a warm and congenial atmosphere as more than 60 musicians and non-musicians poured in to begin a three-hour session of informal and unrehearsed music.

With no reserved seats nor even tickets to gain admittance, this musical evening was reminiscent of the way young West Tisbury musicians who, with nothing better to do after Labor Day when the movie theaters and restaurants all closed, would gather together in the 1950s and made their own entertainment.

Several children of the original group were making the same kind of music their fathers did – Peter Huntington, son of Willie Huntington, and his daughter Shaelah; Deborah Mayhew, daughter of John Mayhew; and her daughter Katie; and Caroline and Lucy Mayhew, daughters of guitarist Jack Mayhew and granddaughters of John Mayhew, made it a three-generation soirée.

Nancy Jephcote, Paul Thurlow, Mark Mazer and Tristan Israel, along with members of The Flying Elbows and The Stragglers, strummed their instruments, and Tom Hodgson brought down the house with his version of “I’m My Own Grampa.”

Thanks go out to Todd Follansbee for the original idea, to Don Muckerheide for the use of the Pit Stop, and to Nina Violet and Willy Mason for helping to promote the full-of-fun musical evening.

Shirley W. Mayhew is a member of an extended family with deep musical roots. The Times welcomes contributions to community news (