Rose Guerin and Laurel Redington went on a mission last year, mid-pandemic, when they hooked up WMVY Radio with some local nonprofits with safe outdoor spaces where the community could listen to live music once again.
“The goal was to get our local musicians back to work and live music back to the folks who were hurting for it,” Guerin, a musician and songwriter, explained. “We had such a successful series at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum that we brought back the project to do a series of four concerts this summer, starting with local treasure Willy Mason, with his fantastically talented mother Jemima James opening the night, on July 15.”
The always fun, always energetic Dock Dance Band, with an opening set by Miguel Samuel and Bailey Mae Gardener, plays on July 29. Guerin says to look for two full hours from Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish on August 26, and then a show that hasn’t been completely finalized, which will happen at the end of September.
For Redington, community outreach director, producer, and radio host at MVY, bringing together nonprofits and music made perfect sense. “When the world fell apart last year, we needed our musicians more than ever. It was an honor for MVY Radio to be able to do what we could to support local music and venues like the M.V. Museum that showcased them,” Redington said in an email. “The museum was a perfect place for music, whether in front of the barn, in the barn, or in the sacred space of the Rose Styron Garden.”
When Island venues shut down, places like the museum offered a good — and safe — alternative for live music, and the events added some needed income for local musicians. The museum’s curator of exhibitions and public programs, Anna Barber, talked about the way Island musicians support the Island community. “The musicians of this Island have sustained us over the years, through dark winters and summer nights, and most especially in this last year. The 2020 concert series in partnership with MVY and Rose Guerin offered a brief respite from the uncertainty of the world around us,” Barber said. “We are so thrilled to be bringing music back this summer at the museum’s Bodman Courtyard, a collaboration that not only continues to support local musicians, but the museum as well.” Barber added that an extra bonus to the events this year will be Gina Stanley’s Art Cliff food truck.
Guerin says collaboration is key in a small community like the Vineyard. “Laurel and I have an amazing partnership based on our mutual love for our community and respect for the music that we are surrounded by here, our Island home,” Guerin said. “You haven’t seen the last of the Supporting Local Music Project, we are always coming up with new ideas.”
The musical shows take place at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum’s Bodman Courtyard. For more information and tickets, visit mvmuseum.org/event/music-in-the-courtyard.