Estey Organ Museum presents the history of Vermont in song

BRATTLEBORO — The Vermont Humanities Council presents “Vermont History Through Song” at Estey Organ Museum, 108 Birge St., on Sunday, Sept. 21, at 3 p.m.

Singer Linda Radtke, with pianist Arthur Zorn, will bring Vermont history to life with engaging commentary on the songs found in the Vermont Historical Society's collection of sheet music.

Music performed will range from the collection's earliest published song, “Green Mountain Farmer” (1798) to 1850 temperance ballads, Civil War-era songs, and songs about Vermonters Calvin Coolidge, Thomas Dewey, and Jim Fiske.

Dressed in period costume, Radtke takes listeners through state history, using the songs Vermonters published in their communities. Zorn will perform a few period pieces on organs at the museum.

Radtke, a mezzo-soprano, has served as the principal alto soloist for the Mozart Festival and the Gilbert and Sullivan Players with the Oriana Singers, and is a founding member of Robert DeCormier's professional vocal ensemble Counterpoint.

Radtke also sings with a vocal quartet, Ah!Capella, sponsored by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, which brings music to Vermont schools.

She toured the state with a Vermont song recital sponsored by the Vermont Historical Society and works for Vermont Public Radio Classical, producing a program of choral music on Sunday mornings.

The program is presented with the Museum's annual “Estey Day,” celebrating the birth, 200 years ago this year, of Jacob Estey.

As part of the event, Valerie Abrahamsen presents a new exhibit, “The Women of Estey Organ Company,” which includes photos and biographies of a few of the women who participated in the building and operations of the company in Brattleboro.

As the largest employer in Vermont for many years, Estey Organ Co. employed women on an equal status with men; this exhibit highlights a number of them.

Also on the schedule is a brief annual meeting. Refreshments will follow.

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