Playing for the Island: The Long Point Five, a well-noted group

The Long Point Five, from left: Jim Athearn, Julie Schilling, John Schilling, Jeri Larson, and Bud Larson. — Photo Courtesy Long Point 5

The Long Point Five keeps it simple, except for their music.

The quintet is an experienced and whimsical group of Island musicians who enjoy sharing music with their community.

Music fans would be hard-pressed to find an ensemble with the group’s musical range, but there’s no mystery behind their name, according to pianist Jeri Larson.

“The name? Well, we practice at our house near Long Point and there are five of us, so it was a simple name to choose,” Ms. Larson said in a telephone conversation last Sunday.

The group is composed of John Schilling on trumpet, Jim Athearn on trombone, Julie Schilling on clarinet, Bud Larson on flute, and Ms. Larson on piano. Their repertoire is diverse, from Dixieland to DeBussy, and includes jazz and American standards and classical and contemporary works. The group’s arrangements are written by Bud Larson.

The Long Point 5 is scheduled to appear in concert on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 7 pm at the Vineyard Haven Library.

The group has been together for two years, rehearsing once a week at Jeri and Bud Larson’s home, which has the space and a grand piano that makes rehearsing there, well, simple.

“We’ve had lots of opportunities to play at community events and venues from the Hebrew Center to senior centers. We get a kick out of watching 90-year-olds get up and dance and clap their hands to their favorite music like Gershwin and Scott Joplin,” Ms. Larson said.

The quintet came together naturally. “We all play in the Vineyard Haven Town Band and my husband and I have always played together a couple hours a day for amusement. My husband taught and arranged music for 37 years in the Danbury, Connecticut, schools and he wrote clarinet arrangements for our daughter. So we had clarinet arrangements and one day we asked Julie to sit in. Then she said her husband [John Schilling] also wanted to sit in, and I said now that we have a trombone, we need a trumpet too and Jim [Athearn] joined us,” she recalled. And there you have it, a quintet. Simple as pie.

“We’re all seasoned musicians without big egos. We enjoy the challenges presented by a wide range of music. We thought it would be fun to play ‘out’ and we began doing that a couple of years ago,” Ms. Larson said.

The part that isn’t simple is selecting what to play. “We have so many hours of music, the challenge is to cull out what we play in a one-hour concert,” she said. “Often, we just react to the audience and play the music they enjoy most,” she said.

She acknowledges that playing in summer can be difficult because they have jobs. Mr. Schilling, a veteran of 47 years in the Vineyard Haven Town Band is also the Tisbury fire chief. Mr. Athearn runs Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown.

The versatile quintet plays an eclectic medley of music ranging from Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, and George Gershwin, to Scott Joplin and Argentine tangos. They also cover old favorites like “After You’ve Gone,” “Sweet Lorraine,” Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust,” and “Georgia On My Mind.” They also feature selections from Bach, and an original piece written and arranged by Mr. Larson.

Over the past year, The Long Point 5 has performed at gallery openings, senior centers in West Tisbury and Edgartown, at cocktail parties, and at other events on the Island.

“We’re different from other Island groups in terms of our range of music and we all come from different places, but we are literally part of the Island history with Jim’s family and John’s 47 years with the town band,” Ms. Larson said. “We have such a good time together, and we’d love to have other opportunities for Island people to hear us.”

Music: Long Point Five, 7 pm, Wednesday, Oct. 9, Vineyard Haven Library. For more information, call 508-696-4211.