EsteyFest Brings a Focus on Area History

The Estey Organ Museum and the Brattleboro Historical Society will host a festival celebrating Estey organs and their history in Brattleboro this October 13-17. The five-day gathering, which will be the largest convention of the International Reed Organ Society since it was founded in 1982, has been dubbed "EsteyFest."

According to John Carnahan, who sits on the board of both the Estey Organ Museum and the Brattleboro Historical Society, at least a third of the International Reed Organ Society's 650 members will convene in Brattleboro this fall. A number of descendants of the Estey family will also be in attendance, and The Latchis Hotel is already completely booked for the event.

"Since the Estey Organ Company was far and away the largest, longest-lived, and best-known maker of reed organs in the world, it is especially appropriate that folks are making this pilgrimage to Brattleboro. For people interested in reed organs, this is indeed a holy site," said Carnahan.

Carnahan is part of a very active and enthusiastic committee led by Nelsen and Beverly Pease of Palmer, Mass. On the agenda are tours of the Estey Organ Museum, a "pipe crawl" tour of Esteys in Brattleboro (including the first Estey pipe organ ever made), a banquet aptly named "EsteyFeast," a public concert at the First Baptist Church on Saturday night, lectures, workshops, concerts, special hours at the Brattleboro Historical Society, and a final, truly unique, community "Tribute to the Esteys" on Sunday morning.

Sunday's public tribute to the Esteys will take place at the Estey Family tomb and grave sites at Prospect Hill Cemetery, for which more than a dozen portable organs will be transported for a live concert of hymns and other Victorian tunes. Many of the participants will be dressed to the hilt in Victorian garb, and the public is invited to do the same. This tribute is very much open to the public, and people of all ages are strongly encouraged not to miss an event which may in itself become part of Brattleboro's ongoing history.

"Those of us who have been planning and preparing for EsteyFest are delighted that people from far and near will share this wonderful opportunity and appreciate the importance of Estey organs," said Carnahan. "We hope that everyone involved will thoroughly enjoy the experience, and that many will choose to help preserve this unique aspect of Brattleboro's heritage."

For more information on EsteyFest 2005, please visit www.esteyorganmuseum.org, or contact EsteyFest coordinator John Carnahan at 802-258-2363 or carnahan@sover.net.

Copyright 2005, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont

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