Sunday, March 31, 2013

Provincetown's Early Government was Rather a Theocracy With Officials Overseeing "Both Town and Parish"

Postcard shows the second Provincetown Town Hall, C. 1920s. 

According to a book called History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts, edited by Simeon L. Deyo, Provincetown had no need for any sort of municipal buildings for the first couple of hundred years after people began settling here. Over the years a number of churches, often called meeting houses, were used for Town Meeting, Selectmen's meetings and other functions of the town's government..
Early church meetings had been held in the homes of residents until 1717, when the general court in Boston granted £150 toward the cost of building Cape Cod's first meetinghouse, with the rest of the money to be raised by the people. It was called the Orthodox, erected not far from the site of today's Catholic church on Prince Street, though its exact location is no longer known.
There was apparently no separation of church and state, and no one felt it was needed. For the first 150 years or more, there was, for nearly all intents and purposes, a single religion, adhered to by nearly every resident. Although there were several churches in Provincetown, the parishioners in one or another held pretty much the same beliefs. At one point, a vote of Town Meeting prohibited building a Methodist church here.
According to History of Barnstable County, "The union of parish and town made unnecessary the erection of public buildings for the use of the town until long after 1800, the several church edifices affording the necessary accommodations for the town meetings and the town officers." The book, published in New York in 1890 by H. W. Blake & Company, continues... "Although it is 169 years since Provincetown was incorporated, it has prior to this, built but one hall for the transaction of the town's business. The reason may be found in the circumstance that until within the recollection of persons now living, the town and parish were in their functions and administration nearly identical, so that the meeting house furnished pulpit and forum. The town government, in its earlier days was therefore essentially a theocracy. A majority of its voters and of its officials, were members of the church of the old standing order, the same persons being generally appointed or elected to serve both town and parish."
Our current Town Hall is pictured above in a post card probably dating back to the late 1920s. It is the second Town Hall to have been built in Provincetown, restored in 2008-2010 with close attention to details such as the original colors in which the building had been painted. See my earlier blog post about the original Town House, as it was called at the time, built on High Pole Hill in 1854.
In the post card above, notice the spire of the Congregational Church, one of a number of Congregational churches built over the years. It was also called Church of the Pilgrims, built in 1843 where the restaurant Saki stands today.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Public Art Abounds in Provincetown, With Photo Ops Wherever You Look

It's one of the most photographed spots in PTown, for those who have found it. The garden at Ronny Hazel's house is just slightly off the beaten path, and it's been written up in guide books, but not everyone coming to town finds this local treasure trove of public art. Well, "public" in the sense that a good bit of it is visible from the street, easily seen by people walking by this PTown landmark. At 4 Center Street, right across from the side door of the Public Library, is a charming old victorian house with a mansard roof that will get your attention as you walk by, but the really striking thing about this spot is the garden full of artwork you'll find behind the rock wall, pictured above.
Ronny came to Provincetown back in 1975, eventually starting three successful shops on Commercial Street, and in 1990 he bought an abandoned guest house on Center Street, between Commercial and Bradford Streets. He hauled away an old rust bucket of a truck and the mounds of trash that filled the grounds, and he spoke to local stone cutter Peter Annese about building a wall around the yard. As Columbus Stone Masonry began the project both men got new ideas for the design, each finding stones and other objects they wanted to include in the wall. Soon a patio was sketched out. Various sculptures began finding their way into the garden. Stone arches and gateways began appearing, leading from one part of the yard tho another. San Francisco sculptor Pierre Riche had created two large figures from odd bits and pieces of recycled metal. The Wizard and the Griffin, as they are now known, became sentinels overlooking the growing garden, perched on pedestals built to show them off.
Crystals had become popular sellers in Ronny's store Shop Therapy, and as new ones had come in from South America Ronny had picked a few to add to the wall, sort of like big colorful geodes sliced down the middle to expose the sparkling treasures inside. The "peace, love and tie-dye" theme of the shop is also reflected in the yin-yang symbol and the peace sign that were worked into the patio. Shrubs and plant life were added, with footpaths between, and the garden creation was well on its way, though it will probably never be completed. I swear that every time I stop to look, I see something I've never seen before, partly because there's just so much to see, and because this remarkable garden continues to grow and change.
Click this link to see Ronny's Garden in a You Tube video shot from the street. When you are nearby, stop to look for yourself, and then go back again for another look. I guarantee you'll see something different the next time, and the next. When the lights come on in the evening, things you may have missed in the daylight are highlighted, and new things still appear from time to time. Exotic statuary from many foreign lands now ranges from spiritual figures like Buddha and Ganesh to headhunters from Borneo, along with more domestic pieces as well. A visitor who had become enthralled with the garden contributed a pair of cemetery gates dating to the 1800s, which now open onto the arbor.
Look for the enormous snake studded with jewels, winding along the flower bed and up the wall next to the front door, and little details like the breeching whale in the front gate. Of course, we're not invited into the garden, as it is a private home, but from the outside you'll see art in many, many forms, lovely plant life, and, of course, the rock walls are works of art as well. Ronny loves nothing more than overhearing the comments of groups of people as they gather to admire his yard, and you're welcome to shoot all the photos and video you want. So even though this is private property, I'm still going to call it a wonderful piece of public art in Provincetown.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Arrived in Provincetown This Morning at 7:02 AM

A bit of snow can't stop these crocuses from springing up.
With snow on the ground, the first day of spring, or the Vernal Equinox of 2013, brought us an absolutely beautiful, sunny day, if you didn't mind wind chill factors that made it feel like the mid-twenty-degree range for most of the day.
Equinox is a Latin term meaning "equal night" and it happens twice every year, in the spring and in the autumn, when the length of the night and the length of daylight are roughly equal all around the world. The Vernal (spring) Equinox occurs at the precise moment when the Sun, which is moving northward, crosses the celestial equator. On this day, the sun rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west.
As the sun moves steadily northward by a tiny bit each day, the daylight hours become longer by roughly two or three minutes every day over the next three months, bringing us the longest day of the year, or the Summer Solstice, on about the 20th of June. From that point on, the Sun begins once again moving southward, making daylight shorter by a couple of minutes or so each day for about another three months, until the Autumnal Equinox, when the Sun once again aligns precisely with the equator, rising and setting exactly to the east and west of us on that day.
Over the years, the average Provincetown temperature on this day has been a high of 45 degrees with the low at 30, but we're a bit cooler than average right now. Today's high was 39 degrees, which we reached just after 2 PM; 6 degrees cooler than most years have been on this day. Our low temperature today was 28 degrees at 2:25 AM, with the record low for PTown in March being 6 degrees back in '72. But the real shocker is the record high temperature for this day. Go ahead, take a guess... No, guess higher... Nope, higher than that... The high temperature in Provincetown on March 20th, 1959, was 76 degrees, and the all-time record for March is even weirder, when PTown's temperature on March 30th, 1977, reached 79 degrees!
So don't despair as we keep getting snow (likely another couple of inches or so tonight) and chilly temperatures (about 6 degrees cooler than average) as spring begins. Provincetown has better weather than most anywhere in New England, and there is nowhere more beautiful, so get out of the house and enjoy the unfolding of the PTown spring that awaits us.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wintertime Activities Bring Townies and Visitors Out for a Fun Off-season Evening

There are a number of things to do in the evenings this week, and besides the great Friday fish fries, which I'll elaborate upon in an upcoming post, I can easily think of 5 things worth going out for in the next three evenings. Let's start with:
Tonight, Wednesday, March 13...
Provincetown Theater brings its popular annual Winter
Reading Series to PTown audiences through March 27th.
Playwright John Greiner-Ferris says that he "... wrote Turtles for so many reasons. Family and identity, two themes that are prominent in Turtles, mean a lot to me. Family isn't the traditional family anymore, mine isn't, and I wrote what family is like for me." Actors on stage tonight at the Provincetown Theater will read Turtles as part of their 2013 Winter Reading Series, which has just three more readings to go before the end of this very popular annual string of play readings, featuring a different author and subject matter each week. A wide variety of plays and works in progress are read for the public in this PTown winter tradition which offers us all a chance to get out of the house, socialize a bit with like-minded folks (or at least other theater enthusiasts) and support playwrights with a broad range of viewpoints and backgrounds. The reading will begin at 7:30 PM. Admission is a suggested donation of $5.

The Squealing Pig has reopened for 2013.
Also tonight, the Squealing Pig has their weekly Trivia Night, with the contest beginning at 8 PM. The Pig closed for several weeks, as it does every winter, allowing a little break for the staff and a chance to spruce up the place a bit as well. A new coat of paint really sets off the large black-and-white photos which were hung in the dining room a while back, giving a classy feel to this cozy little neighborhood pub.
Take advantage of the wintertime opportunity to sample seasonal dishes that you won't find here in the summer, like the Shepherd's Pie, a hearty lamb stew made with root vegetables and topped with their homemade mashed potatoes. Then team up for a fun night of trivia.

Hilde Oleson celebrates her 90th birthday by reading
at Provincetown's monthly Writers Voice Cafe.
Also tonight, the audience at the Writers Voice Cafe will join in the celebration of Hilde Oleson's 90th birthday. She will be tonight's featured reader, so this promises to be a wonderful, entertaining evening, upstairs at Napi's, with Hilde taking the "stage" at 7 PM. There's no admission fee, but a small contribution would be welcome when they "pass the hat" sometime during the evening. As always, the featured performer will be followed by an open mic session for anyone who wants to read anything they'd like. Any type of writing will be embraced by an enthusiastic, supportive audience. See my February 13th post about the Writers Voice Cafe, which, for a number of years now, has been offering a place for local writers, whatever their style or genre might be, to get feedback from the public as well as from other writers. Get out of the house and enjoy a great evening.

Lorraine's offers dinner Friday through Sunday, and their
Tavern Menu along with Trivia Night on Thursdays
Thursday, March 14th...
It's Trivia Night at Lorraine's every Thursday in the off-season, beginning at 7 PM. Drinks are available, of course, along with a tavern menu. The good-natured rivalry between trivia teams has been going on for a number of winters now, bringing folks out to watch or to participate in this ongoing, weekly contest where everyone is welcome, and all have fun. Categories can cover a wide range of topics, and you'll no doubt learn a thing or two during the evening. Put your own knowledge of arcane information to the test by joining a team of competitors. Lorraine's is open Thursday through Saturday at 5:30 PM.

Friday, March 15th...
Painter Alexei Biryukoff shows his controversial
work at PTown's new Patty DeLuca Gallery
Patty DeLuca has moved her art gallery to 432 Commercial Street, in the heart of Provincetown's gallery district in the East End. A new show of works by Alexei Biryukoff, banned in Russia because of his very explicit style often depicting male nudes, begins Friday and runs through April 5th. Born in Kyrgyzstan, he moved to Russia as a young man, launching his first solo art show in his early twenties. Biryukoff says that his approach to his artwork changed dramatically with his experience in the United Kingdom in 2002.
In 2008 ArtsLink, NYC sponsored his Art Residency at Provincetown's Fine Arts Work Center, where he exhibited a dozen paintings he created there. His work is also in the collection of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, as well as important collections in New York and Liverpool, and in private collections in nearly a dozen countries. You can meet the artist Friday night at an opening reception for his work, from 7 till 10 PM at the Patty DeLuca Gallery, which, in its new location, continues to offer some of the most exciting artwork to be found on American shores.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Daylight Saving Time Began at 2 AM with Pros and Cons for PTown Residents

Spring forward... The Town Hall clock in Provincetown
chimed 12 at 11 PM last night, ready early for DST
Last spring I sat for 40 minutes on the rock wall that borders the grass in front of the Provincetown Florist on Bradford Street, waiting for the FLEX bus to scoop me up on its way out to Shankpainter Road. I was philosophical for the first 10 minutes I was waiting, thinking the driver must have been delayed loading bicycles or a wheel chair on the bus, or had gotten stuck behind a propane truck making a delivery on Route 6A in North Truro. The bus often gets into Provincetown 10 or 12 minutes behind schedule. After the 20 minute mark I was a bit miffed because I was getting cold sitting out in the breeze, becoming indignant after waiting half an hour, and quite agitated after 40 minutes. Most times I've waited that long for the bus it's turned out that the driver had actually rolled in early instead of slowing down a bit to stick to the schedule, leaving would-be passengers without a ride, waiting for a bus that had already gone by. So I was pretty irate by the time I realized the fact that the nation's spring time change had taken place a day-and-a-half earlier and had somehow completely escaped me.
Originally, daylight saving time was proposed as a way to save energy by letting folks turn on lights in their homes an hour later in the evening. Businesses could wait an extra hour to turn on exterior lighting as well. First used in WWI, then again in WWII, daylight saving time from spring to autumn each year was permanently established in the United States with the Uniform Time Act of 1966. I was 12 years old that summer and remember there still being enough light to play hide-and-seek with the neighborhood kids until after 9 PM, which created difficulty for a lot of parents of small children who balked at suddenly having to go to bed while it was still light out.
There were people genuinely upset about the issue, too, claiming that more sunlight
would be bad for nature, that crops in the midwest might suffer, and that their lawns would surely require extra watering if subjected to an extra hour of sunlight every day. Wow! Sounds unbelievable now, but I remember these arguments making the news and even being heard from a few poor souls on my own block. It is astounding to me that some folks thought that through a piece of legislation, the U.S. Congress had the power to actually add an extra hour of sunlight in a 24 hour period.
The time change does save about half of one percent of U.S. electricity usage each day, or at least it did in 2008 when the U. S. Department of Energy found that Americans were using 1.3 billion fewer kilowatt-hours of electricity under daylight saving time. That's enough energy to power roughly 122,000 average U.S. homes for an entire year. That amount of energy savings has likely increased since Congress adjusted the time period for DST, beginning three weeks earlier and ending a week later now. The U.S. Department of Transportation also claims that daylight saving time prevents traffic accidents and lowers crime rates, stating that "people travel to and from school and work and complete errands during the daylight," and "more people are out conducting their affairs during the daylight rather than at night, when more crime occurs."
The extra hour of daylight in the evening may let daytrippers to Provincetown stay a little longer here, too, rather than rushing to get home and off the highway before dark, and folks may linger a bit longer in restaurants and taverns in the extra daylight. Besides, most of us feel our spirits lifting a bit when sunset no longer happens at 4:15 PM, as it does on our shortest winter days.
But shifting the clock by an hour forward and back each year can adversely affect many of us, causing stress to our systems, difficulty sleeping and other disruptions in our chronobiologic rhythms. A 2008 Swedish study appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, reporting that the rate of heart attacks increases noticeably for the period immediately following time changes. So be sure to treat yourself gently for a few days. Do something to reduce your stress level, like taking a few extra strolls around town listening to the song birds you'll hear if you slow down a bit and pay attention. Meditate a little, or learn how to if you've never taken it up. Or spend a little extra time relaxing with friends, which has been shown to reduce human stress levels. The time change is your perfect excuse, and you know you deserve it.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Provincetown Year-Rounders Festival Helps to Beat the Winter Blues

During most Provincetown winters the season begins to feel a little long and oppressive around the first part of March. Around this time of year we're usually being teased with the sounds of cardinals and other birds in the trees, and the sight of crocuses sprouting up, sometimes right through the snow on the ground, along with a rather warm day or two scattered among the snow storms. This year it's been howling winds up to 40 and 50 miles an hour that have sometimes kept us cooped up indoors as the wind chill factor makes it feel like 20 degrees out there.
As usual, we've gone from the non-stop frenzy of streets crowded with summer visitors and thousands walking in the road every day to the wintertime dearth of people on the streets. In the summer there's an endless variety of entertainment to engage us and dozens upon dozens of restaurants to tempt us, and money in our pockets to enjoy both. At this time of the year many of us who work seasonally are getting eager to get back to making a living, having spent the winter pinching our pennies in order to survive the off-season with little, or no, money coming in. It's easy to begin to feel a bit isolated in these long PTown winters.
The Year-Rounders Festival comes just in time, bringing a day-long celebration of Provincetown and its people, and this year it is bigger and better than ever, with more events and activities than in past years, as well as the usual wonderful presentations by local service organizations, terrific food, and entertainment of all sorts. It all begins at noon on Saturday, March 9th, at Provincetown Town Hall.
From noon till 4 PM the Town Hall auditorium will be filled with tables set up by local community organizations who provide a variety of services and information for the public. Helping Our Women, for example, serves women from Provincetown to Eastham who are living with chronic, disabling or life-threatening illness. HOW provides medical referrals, support groups, transportation to medical appointments both on the Cape and in Boston, as well as many other service and support systems, and they will have staff on hand at the festival to tell you about their organization.
PTV will have volunteers present to get you involved with community television in Provincetown, and the Visiting Nurse Association will be happy to tell you how they can help with information on medical screenings, home healthcare issues and a variety of services and information they offer. Many other community groups will be in attendance, and new this year will be the crafts fair which will share the hall all afternoon, bringing you a variety of crafts made by local people, such as glass mermaids and other decorative objects, knit sweaters for dogs,, unique post cards, handmade aromatic sachets and many other types of arts and crafts.
There will be a pet parade and costume contest at 2 PM, with prizes for costumes in the following Provincetown-related categories:

  • Fishing
  • Pilgrim
  • Artist
  • Portuguese
  • Bear
  • Showgirl
  • A Best of Show award will also be given

Any type of pet may be entered. Dogs wishing to compete are required to wear a collar with a current license and have vaccine info on hand. Pre-registration is not required, so there's still time for you and your snake to work up a bear costume and win a prize. All entrants receive a free raffle ticket (more about that in a minute) and winners in each category receive 5 free tickets.
All day long, and into the evening, there will be a silent auction of items ranging in value from $10 to $1,000, and a raffle as well, with items donated by local residents, artists, shopkeepers, guesthouses, restaurants, Cape Air and others. Ongoing raffle drawings will begin at 6 PM, with the auction closing at 8 PM, and you need not be present to win your bid or raffle prize. Any winners not present will be notified of their prize or successful bid.
At 5 PM local DJ Johnny Mark will begin spinning tunes as folks line up for the free dinner buffet provided by 16 local restaurants, markets and delis. We thank:

  • 141 Bradford Natural Market
  • Bayside Betsy's
  • Ciro and Sal's
  • Crown and Anchor
  • East End Marketplace
  • FarLand Provisions
  • Fanizzi's
  • George's Pizza
  • Governor Bradford
  • Hot L Bar and Grille
  • The Mews Restaurant and Café
  • Montano's
  • Napi's
  • Provincetown Fudge Factory
  • The Squealing Pig
  • Wired Puppy
Free soft drinks and a cash bar will be available, with beer for $2, courtesy of Cape Cod Beer, and Truro Vineyards will be on hand with wine for $3 a glass.
After dinner there will be entertainment on the stage, with Master of Ceremonies Rollie Skreezlet. Beginning around 6:30 PM we'll be treated to acoustic and slide guitar music by Penn Dixon Colbert. Around 7 PM rock and soul band YT will perform. 8 PM will find some of our favorite drag performers taking the stage, such as Jonathan Williams, Dana Danzel, Barbie Que, Thirsty Burlington and Anita Cocktail. The Daggers promise classy rock and roll beginning at 9 PM. Times are approximate, of course, but it may be a good idea to arrive ahead of time if you intend to come for a single event, or be prepared to wait a bit as bands set up, or as volunteers convert the auditorium form a crafts and information fair to a huge dining room. Don't forget, dinner and DJ are scheduled to start at 5PM and entertainment will follow dinner, till perhaps 11 PM.
Come and join us for this wonderful, free community event celebrating the best of Provincetown. As always in PTown, everyone is welcome.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

It's the 95th Anniversary of Provincetown's Most Miserable Winter Ever Recorded

This 1918 photo of Robert Lewis was taken by his father, Captain William Lewis,
on the tidal flats at the foot of Cook Street. The ice stood 10 feet, two inches high.
Despite the Blizzard of February 9th and the brutal nor'easter that followed it, along with a few other snow flurries, we've really had a pretty mild winter. I saw my first crocuses springing up today in the yard at Saint Mary's Church in the East End. It's only the second day of March, and I'm sure we're going to get a bit more snow before it's all over, but those winsome little purple flowers popping up are what I always think of as the first real sign of spring. I don't remember ever seeing any this early. They weren't open yet, just little bullets the color of amethyst, but they stood straight up on sturdy little stems a good four inches tall, and if I go back tomorrow (if it isn't snowing...) they'll surely be open, heralding the joys of a Provincetown spring, which will surely follow.
Around this time in 1918 PTowners weren't so lucky. They were enduring bitter winds in subfreezing temperatures and many were struggling to keep warm. In eight days of extreme cold the town had exhausted its entire supply of coal, the main fuel used for heating in those days, and the coal barges attempting to make deliveries were unable to navigate through the thick, treacherous ice floes that we're choking the harbor. The Advocate, Provincetown's weekly newspaper at the time, said “Taken all together it was the most disagreeable eight days endured by the community within recollection.” 
No ships could get in or out of Provincetown Harbor. The paper reported that “With the exception of a mere handful of days, ice has continued to form in day or night almost constantly on the shore of Cape Cod bay since early in January." On Valentine's day a large ice floe drifting near the mouth of the harbor was driven toward the shoreline at 571 Commercial Street, where the old fish shack at the end of Lewis Wharf had been converted to a theater for the Provincetown Players. The force of tons of ice pushing against the pilings of the old wharf threatened to destroy the magical spot where the career of unknown playwright Eugene O'Neill had been launched two years earlier. Although the structure survived this onslaught, it was indeed ice in the harbor that demolished the wharf in the winter of 1921.
In the photo above we can see ten foot, two inch thick chunks of ice that clogged the harbor in that dreadful winter of 1918, coming to rest on the tidal flats at low tide, creating tremendous physical hardships for townsfolk and wreaking havoc on their economy as well. Not only were fuel barges turned away by the ice, but the impassable harbor kept the fishing fleet ashore for more than 30 days. When a northeast wind finally breached the ice and began pushing it, little by little, toward Truro, the harbor once again became navigable, but the exceptional cold and a frozen harbor had made January through early March of 1918 the most brutal winter in Provincetown's memory.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Last Call for Saint Mary's Saturday Luncheon - an extra meal makes up for closing during the blizzard

St Mary's in a vintage photo card
Because of the blizzard that forced the volunteers to cancel St Mary's community luncheon on February 9th, the last meal of the 2013 winter season will be held at noon on March 2nd. I wrote last week about the last luncheon for the year, and attended it myself, or so I thought. During the meal an announcement was made, to the cheers of guests, volunteers and the musicians who travel here to perform each week, that the eight-week luncheon schedule would be extended by one more Saturday, to make up for the dinner lost to the blizzard. Threats of blowing snow, coastal flooding and winds gusting over 50 miles an hour, along with a state-wide travel ban issued by the governor, led to the cancellation. As it turned out, Provincetown had no electricity that day due to storm damage to power lines, so most of us were eating cold food from a can and huddling under extra blankets to stay warm that afternoon, along with about 700,000 other New Englanders without power.
So to make up the lost day there will be one more "last lunch" of the season, a last chance for friends new and old to gather for a meal, to meet and talk, and to enjoy a spirited blend of live music with a magnificent view of Provincetown Harbor as a backdrop. This season's guests have been treated to meals ranging from a traditional Thanksgiving style dinner, complete with roast turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, to Mary-Jo Avellar's famous chili. At my table a few weeks ago I met a woman from another Cape Cod village who brings various family members to visit Provincetown over a few winter weekends every year, this time visiting with her husband and two grandchildren. They had arrived in hopes of finding Priscilla Jacket's Tandoori Chicken on that day's menu, having tasted it in past years, and knew from the aroma as they walked through the door that this was indeed their lucky day.
I've always thanked the musicians as I've left the church after one of these luncheons, but last week I had a chance to talk to them as they were packing up their instruments. Live music has been a part of this feast many times over the years, but became a regular feature of the dinner about four years ago when Wellfleet musician Jean Sagara read a blurb somewhere asking musicians to volunteer their time on Saturdays in Provincetown. She came to play a few times, when she could, soon arranging her schedule to allow weekly trips to PTown, with her musical partner John Best in tow. Together they are the musical duo Black Whydah, playing various gigs around the cape, and in fact have just finished recording their second CD Places We've Pillaged - Black Whydah 2, available now on CD Baby independent music website, where you can hear a sample from each tune. Jean and John both play a number of different instruments on this compilation of their original music, which might be best described as Celtic new age. They play a few of these tunes, as well as music from many other genres, at St Mary's, joined by countless other fine musicians through the years.
For the last few winer seasons they have been traveling here from Wellfleet for St Mary's luncheons, January through February Saturday's every year, and inviting different Cape Cod musicians to join them every week, giving us a wonderful variety of instruments and musical styles to enjoy. Last week they brought Eastham's Barbara Adams and her fiddle, and were also joined by Provincetown's own April Baxter and her bodhran, a wooden-framed drum of Irish descent. Jean and John each play a variety of instruments, such as the cittern, a stringed European instrument vaguely akin to a large lute and dating back to the 1600s. The mandocello is another unusual stringed instrument you may hear, plucked and strummed like a guitar but with a much different sound. You never know what sort of new (or old) instruments you might find joining in with Saint Mary's piano on any given Saturday, with the crowd sometimes singing along to a familiar song or dancing to a tune they've never heard.
We thank all of the wonderful musicians, as well as the host of volunteers who have prepared and served these meals over the years, all of whom have helped to make these dinners so enjoyable. Join us tomorrow at noon 517 Commercial Street for great music, a bit of fellowship and St Mary's last winter meal by the sea.