Aquinnah: Variety Show, community spirit, and Climate Action Fair

—MV Times

Sunday, May 12, found me waking up singing “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” The night before had seen our Town Hall, with an audience packed from wall to wall for the first Aquinnah Variety Show. It was an event that will not be forgotten by any who were there. It began with the piano of the brilliant Wes Nagy, and a welcome from Kate Taylor and Laura Jordan-Decker, the two visionaries who made it happen. They were followed by Wampanoag elder Kristina Hook, who spoke with the warmth of good memories as she told us about dances and meetings and dinners and classes and celebrations that had taken place in that wonderful old building through the years. This beginning of the show set the loving spirit that would prevail throughout the night. 

What followed were 17 different performances given by an assortment of people from the very young (I’d guess about 5 years of age) to the very old (I’d guess about 80). There were singers, musicians, and dancers (including a gorgeous dancing puppet, a modern dancer who led child dancers through the crowd, and two fabulous women tap dancers), poets and storytellers, a review with cavorting chickens, a film clip, and a beautiful finale with all the cast members singing together. It was a real Aquinnah event, with children and dogs welcome onto the stage when they felt the need to be there, and the hustle and bustle of production cheerfully and kindly taking place for all to see.

I tip my hat to the performers: Kaila, Arlo, and Tavira Allen-Posin; Rachel Ellen Baxter; Audrey and Zelda Binney; Willow Bishop; Georgette, Zuri, and Fiona May Brown; Miles Brucculeri; Gabbi Camilieri; Laura Jordan-Decker and Robin Decker (with a special hat tip to the dog, Glory Decker); Jeanne DelGiudice; Ava and Zoe Dubno; Ben Durell; Jamie, Mirabal, and Steve Ewing; Stephanie Hecht; Kathy Kinsman; Elise LeBovit; Joan LeLacheur; Finn and Norman Longmore; Ava Mayhew; Wes Nagy; Claire Page; Gary Parabocschi; Virginia Robinson; Jessica Roddy; Sarah Saltonstall; Aretha, Kate, and Ben Taylor; Lisa Vanderhoop; Francesca Vignolo; Barbara Wallen (who also served as assistant producer); Cathy Weiss; Ken Wentworth; and Liz Witham. Thank you all for your gifts.

If you have ever been in any kind of performance, you know that it can take a village to bring it to life: Lights and props, signs and programs, costumes, police directing traffic, a crew to run the curtains and set up the mikes, not to mention the coordinating and encouraging and planning that take place before a performance can happen. This night was our village at its best. Our newly restored stage curtain proudly reigned over a Town Hall filled with a joyful community life. I was so grateful to be there.

There’s more fun for the family ahead. The Climate Action Fair will be held this Sunday, May 19, from 12 to 4 at the Ag Hall. This year’s theme is “Resilient Landscaping.” You can learn about native plants, and how to support biodiversity and build climate resilience in your own landscape. Learn why and how to take action that builds the health and resilience of our Island. There will be games, music, interactive activities, demos, a raffle, and food.

For birthdays this week, we celebrate the following: On May 16 it’s Leigh Vanderhoop; May 17 is the birthday of both Aquinnah Witham and Tom Seeman; and on May 18, it’s Genie O’Donnell’s day.

If you have any Aquinnah Town Column suggestions, email Kathie Olson,