Pathways Projects Institute at the Chilmark Tavern, the off-season performance and gathering space, made good use of its latest acquisition on New Year’s Eve. For the second year in a row, Pathways’ founder and director Marianne Goldberg hosted an informal precelebration party early on Wednesday night. The event gave local musicians the opportunity to initiate a piano which David Stanwood recently rescued and revitalized.
A handful of musicians performed for a crowd that comfortably filled the small space. People gathered at the bar, sipping wine and beer and snacking on cheese and and vegetables, while others filled in the seats at tables grouped around the room. Among the performers were Mr. Stanwood, Mait Edey, Ben Higgins, and Matt Stamos on piano, George Davis on guitar, and Kim Hilliard, who played guitar and sang a mix of originals and cover songs.
Mr. Stanwood was pleased with the inauguration of the piano. “First, if you can hear a piano in a room full of people, it says something,” he said. A few months ago, Mr. Stanwood was alerted by Thomas Mayhew that a piano was destined for the dump. On hearing that it was a Mehlin, the piano innovator and musician was immediately interested. “I knew from my experience that every one I’ve ever seen has some interesting feature. I said I’ll be right over.
“Right away I had a good feeling, which is part of the experience with a piano — just feeling good around something. There’s more to a piano than just the sound. I thought it would be perfect for Pathways. Two of the pianists here were wanting an 88-key piano.”
Although Mr. Stanwood is an expert with piano design, repair, and tuning, it turned out that the 1930s model needed very little to put it back in service.
The new piano will prove a valuable addition to the Pathways effort. Over the course of the next few months, the initiative will present a mix of music, poetry, and prose, and digital and visual art projects. Many of the evenings will have themes. Next on the schedule is an open mic poetry night on Tuesday January 13 at 7 pm. On January 120 an “Arts & Scripts — Now” event will feature works in progress, followed by an “Arts & Scripts — Music” event on January 22 with Alex Karalekas and others.
Pathways is an ever-evolving initiative. This year Ms. Goldberg will add a few new twists, including mini festivals and offsite events. Among these will be an undertaking called “Let There Be Light M.V.,” which Ms. Goldberg hopes to bring to various Island marinas, and an Ocean Festival, which will be held between the Chilmark Tavern venue and the Featherstone Center for the Arts in April. All of the events will involve a variety of the arts — both visual and performance. Part of the Pathways mission is to encourage collaboration among artists in various disciplines.
The Chilmark Tavern events are free and open to all. Many of the evenings include open-mic participation. The space has proved to be a wonderful gathering spot for artists and those who appreciate the vast pool of talent to be found on the Island.
“This is the one place that’s most comfortable and familiar to me,” said musician and writer William Waterway, who has been involved since the initiative began eight years ago: “It’s a warm, cozy environment. I know everyone. There’s something about that.”