Linda Ralph lies ill in a Vermont hospital. On Thursday night a nor’easter turned portions of New England into a huge ice rink, littering roads and power lines with ice and knocking out electricity to almost half of New Hampshire and large swaths of Vermont. Because the power had been out at the Weston Playhouse for thirty-six hours, the benefit for Linda was cancelled and then, when the power was at least partially restored, revived. On receiving word of the cancellation, members of several of the bands had made other plans, which made it impossible for them to come. Despite all this and an antiquated heating system struggling to bring the building’s temperature up to the comfort level, about 300 people showed up to celebrate in Linda’s name and contribute funds toward helping the family meet the challenges of this devastating health crisis.
A variety of items were donated by the bluegrass community for a silent auction including a lovely Martin Night Shift guitar. New England and New York bluegrass festivals donated weekend passes to a number of very good festivals, and musicians showed up to play for the enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowd. Linda Ralph’s mother, sisters, daughter, son, and grandson came for the event and showed marvelous grace in their response to the audience despite the grief and fear they all carry. Candi and Seth Sawyer ram-rodded the event with the assistance of Candi’s mother Brenda and her grandfather, Fernan Mathews. The Jenny Brook Bleugrass Festival family of volunteers showed up and did yeoman work all day long, including a couple of hours cleaning the facility after everyone else had left. Events like this show the bluegrass community at its very best, coming to the assistance of those in need by celebrating their lives and the music we cherish. Despite the sadness of what has occasioned the event, those attending were able to share together the fellowship of their concern for Linda and her family and the joy of the music. What follows is a small pictorial representation of the event.
I've posted at Picasa Web Album with a larger selection of pictures from the benfit. Look for it here. I will leave it up for 30 days. You should be able to download any picture you want, print it, or distribute via e-mail. Enjoy them. Let me know if you like them.
Candi Sawyer & Harry Ralph
Candy Sawyer and Judy Ralph
Rob Ravlin Pick-Up Band
Mike Robinson, well known throughout New England as well as at southern festivals has an active ministry to bluegrass events and to bluegrass people. Through his Sunday bluegrass gospel jams, his emcee work at many events, and his personal counseling, he provides a significant service. At this event, he sang and played a Christmas song he has written. It was a moving and effective piece.