Chilmark: In remembrance, drum museum, birdfeeders, songwriting, and Peaked Hill Studio

—MV Times

Snowdrops and witch hazels are blooming. I am delighted by the longer days and the northern shift of the sun. We live in a ravine where in deep winter, shadows form early and the view of the setting sun is blocked by the flat topped steep hill to our west. Yesterday, as I walked home to prepare supper for my parents, I noticed the sun had moved beyond the cliffs and I paused to watch it set into the sea. It is a pleasure to note that 5:30 pm feels like late afternoon instead of bedtime. Daylight has creeped over the 12 hour mark. Dad is home and this week we will plant seeds in flats.

The march of spring is beginning and it is with great sadness that I note the passing of three this week. I encourage you to look up their fine obituaries for more details about their lives.

“Miles” Henry M Jaffe. He died Feb. 15, at his home on Stonewall Road, with his wife and family around him as he wished. We enjoyed lively conversations with him whenever and wherever our paths crossed from the bike shop to parties. It is hard to realize those moments won’t be repeated and it is a comfort to revisit memories. I encourage you to look up his fine obituary.

Jessie Benton, daughter of renowned artist Thomas Hart Benton, died surrounded by family in Los Angeles on Feb. 16, at the age of 83. She had been a seasonal resident of Chilmark all her life.

Her obituary describes a Chilmark she experienced. When her parents came to Chilmark in the early 1920s, Jessie said there existed “suddenly the freedom of living in a place where there were no critics, no pressure, and it freed his heart. “Money was scarce during those days and while Daddy painted I fished and searched out berries and other fruit for our meals,” Jessie said of those days. “My father and mother had so many friends, famous and not, and they stretched through time and interests and cultures. My father … taught me that all men are created equal. A private interment will take place for immediate family and close friends on Martha’s Vineyard.

Judith Randal, a seasonal Vineyard visitor since the 1940s, died Feb. 3 at her home in Lovettsville, Va., after a brief illness. She was 93. Judith had summered in childhood in Chilmark, where her parents were friends of the late artist Thomas Hart Benton; at East Chop; and in West Tisbury.

Many carry their memories and continue to carry on meeting new people, gathering with friends, enjoying music and lively conversations.

This week is school vacation and from 10 am to 2 pm at Native Earth Teaching Farm, folks can visit a playable drum museum. Rick Bausman has just returned from Benin Africa with new healing rhythms and lots of enthusiasm. Experienced drummers are invited to join in and jam on Thursday nights from 6 to 9 pm and Sundays from 2 to 6 pm.

The Chilmark Public Library will be showing art from the students at the Chilmark School March 7 through March 30. The reception is Thursday, March 9, at 2:45 pm.

They are also offering Bird Feeder Crafts on Wednesday, March 8, at 12 pm. Make bird seed feeders to feed our feathered friends during the last month of winter. Free! All supplies provided. For families and supervised children. Call 508-645-3360 for more information.

Also on March 8, the Songwriting Workshop Series continues.

This workshop explores ways in which we can facilitate this interaction between our thoughts and feelings to create songs. Get that song out of you and into the airwaves! Join in this exciting songwriting opportunity led by Peter Halperin, who brought down the house at the Chilmark Jam last November. Please contact for Zoom link or come in-person to the program area at the Vineyard Haven library on March 8th for What makes a “good song lyric.” Most great songs are made either from great poems or great pieces of music. It is how they come together that makes a successful song. Members will write a complete song in week two.

Featured reader Jamie Craig will read his father’s essay on his days as a cowboy in the 1940s on Tuesday, March 7, from 7 to 9 pm. Doors open at 6:30 pm. You can join Zoom at

Valerie Sonenthal of Peaked Hill Studios is back and it sounds like in-person yoga might be returning in March. “January whizzed by. I took my first plane since the onset of the pandemic to participate in a seven-day Kaiut Yoga Intensive in Boulder, Colo., where I learned to slow down and deepen my personal practice. It was wonderful to understand how my body has changed through my yoga practice and RevInMo work. I did not suffer pain, discomfort or exhaustion, but felt renewed and mostly energized by each subsequent day of class and practice. It was wonderful to reconnect with many friends from the Kaiut community while making new ones. I left Colorado and headed to Southern California to spend a week with RevInMo founder Dr. Edythe Heus. I started my four-day one-on-one Immersive on Jan. 30. The immersive begins at 9 am with gait analysis, something used diagnostically after each treatment throughout the day. There is 45 minutes for lunch and one RevInMo class designed for my needs daily and taught online, otherwise it’s laser therapy, Stecco Fascial Manipulation, Stimpod therapy, and each day ending with constitutional hydrotherapy. Stimpod therapy has decreased the nerve damage in my right foot dramatically. Each day I’m learning so much about my body and so grateful to be able to take advantage of this healing opportunity in my life. As I deepen my understanding of RevInMo I look forward to sharing this profound body-changing, challenging, and fun practice.”

Enjoy a Restorative Sound Journey on Tuesday, March 7, at 6:15 pm.

If you have any Chilmark Town Column suggestions, email Claire Ganz,