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The Arts

FOMAG Labor Day festival returns this weekend

GUILFORD—Back from a one-year pandemic hiatus, the annual Friends of Music at Guilford (FOMAG) Labor Day Weekend Festival returns for a 55th season on Sunday, Sept. 5 at the Organ Barn at 158 Kopkind Rd.

The outdoor concert begins at 3 p.m. and will last approximately an hour, without intermission.

The Guilford Festival Orchestra, conducted by Ken Olsson, will perform works by various composers, including Gluck, Mozart, and Fauré, as well as lighter contemporary fare.

The concert will conclude, as always, with the audience joining the players in singing Randall Thompson’s “Alleluia.”

The Festival traces its origins to an organ recital given in 1966 for his neighbors by Guilford summer resident A. Graham Down on a mechanical-action organ he had installed in a barn next to his property. He made it an annual tradition and invited guest artists to join him.

When Down left the area in 1971, several neighbors formed Friends of Music at Guilford to continue his legacy and expand its offerings to performances throughout the year of chamber, choral, and stage works.

Members of the festival orchestra are drawn from local ensembles, including the Pioneer Valley Symphony in Massachusetts, Sage City Symphony in Bennington, Keene Chamber Orchestra, and Windham Philharmonic, which this year provides production assistance.

FOMAG President Jenifer Ambler said the organization is “really looking forward to presenting music again after a year-plus of hibernation. We’ve missed getting together in person to enjoy concerts and camaraderie. An outdoor concert is the perfect way to re-energize us all.”

The Kopkind Colony continues to host the festival on the journalism residency program’s grounds.

The 2021 Festival is a pared-down version. There won’t be a Saturday evening organ recital in the Barn; that event will return next year. Sunday’s concert will skip the customary lunch sales, cookie sales, and post-concert reception. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own picnics, blankets, and lawn chairs.

The grounds open at 2 p.m. Assistance will be available for those who need it. Parking is ample. Admission is by donation. More information can be found at

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Originally published in The Commons issue #628 (Wednesday, September 1, 2021). This story appeared on page B1.

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