Archive for the ‘Oysterville Music Vespers’ Category

Windows and Lawns and Music Oh My!

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

Mark and the Seed Broadcaster

How does friendship happen?  When you think you’re merely a groupie and then get to be a host and suddenly the music becomes secondary — almost! — you suddenly realize.  We’re friends!  How could that be?  Why ever would they choose us as friends?


The Rose City Mixed Quartet was here this weekend.  They came first because Carol W. booked them to do the music for the final Vespers of the 2019 season.  They would stay here as they have always done in the past.  And we would host a Saturday evening House Concert.


And then, before you could even blink an eye, they said they wanted to be here “to help.”  And help they did!  They washed ALL of our windows inside and out.  They worked on our terrible, horrible, no good lawn — thatching, sowing, top-soiling, and watering.  They vacuumed with a much-better-than-ours vacuum cleaner that Dale’s mother sent with her regards.  (She’s in an assisted living place now and  has no use for it.)  They got rid of every cobweb in every corner of every ceiling and dusted the tops of picture frames I can’t even reach, much less see.

Cameron on the Cobweb-Hunt

Besides all that — they brought all the food for all the meals, Friday night through Sunday noon.  They brought sleeping bags which they put atop our beds so they wouldn’t leave dirty linens behind.  They even brought their own towels.  They left NO footprint in this house — except for the left-over food which is neatly packaged in our refrigerator or freezer.

Friendship doesn’t get better than that!  How do we ever reciprocate?  There is no adequate response to that question so it was left unspoken.  And that may be what true friendship is all about…  I can only hope that we can pay it forward somehow.

Gathering My Wits For Vespers

Sunday, August 25th, 2019

Flowers at Vespers

Once again (and for the final time this year), it is my turn to do the “Oysterville Moment” at Vespers.  We began calling it that some years ago for lack of any other appropriate designation.  It’s the five or six-minute time period at the beginning of Vespers which began as an introduction of the participants when my folks started the summer Sunday Vespers services in the church.

Mom scheduled the ministers and organists and musicians and ushers.  Dad went over in the morning and swept the church and took  flowers from his garden.  He, also, stood at the door to welcome people, passed out the bulletins and, if needed, introduced the participants to one another.  Mom began the services with the welcome and often told a little bit of history about the church or about Oysterville.  People loved her stories.

Cyndy Hayward’s Oysterville Moment

After dad died, Nyel took on the custodial jobs, I did the flowers and helped mom with scheduling.  She still enjoyed telling her stories at the beginning of each service but when she could no longer manage, I began filling in.  That’s probably when we started calling that  portion of the program the”Oysterville Moment.”

Nyel and I had been “carrying on the tradition” (as they say) for about twenty years when it occurred to me that this really should be a responsibility shared by all the members of the Oysterville Restoration Foundation.  Gradually, more and more residents took on one or two Oysterville Moments and then, in an amazing stroke of good fortune, Carol Wachsmuth volunteered (or did I do some arm-twisting?) to take on the scheduling job!  She is a master at it and I have thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the audience, responsibility-free, right along with almost everyone else.

Full House at Vespers

Today, however, it’s my turn to do the Oysterville Moment.  It’s my second time this summer, the first being just two weeks ago.  And, of course, my age being what it is, I can’t remember what the heck I talked about last time.  If I repeat myself, will anyone notice?  Probably not.  Most of the heads out there in the audience are gray like mine, after all, and their memories may not be much better than mine.  But… just in case, I think I’ll call Carol and ask.

SRO at Oysterville Music Vespers!

Monday, August 19th, 2019

Oysterville Church, Aug. 18, 2019 – A Tucker Wachsmuth Photo

In general this summer, attendance has been light at the Oysterville Music Vesper services.  The folding chairs in the Sunday School room have had few takers and, on one or two occasions, there have been empty pews in the main room (“the auditorium” it is called on the original plans.)  Not so, though, the last two weeks!

On August 11th, Cate and Starla Gable played to a full house.  They had planned a few participatory numbers and when the audience joined in on “This Land Is Your Land,” I’m sure the little building rocked on its old foundation!  The very air was filled to capacity with sweet harmony and the wonderful acoustics could strut their stuff to the max!  It was fantastic!

SRO at Vespers – A Tucker Wachsmuth Photo

Yesterday, too, it was standing room only.  However, part of the reason was that the Lyrica Ladies Choral Ensemble of Puget Sound utilized the Sunday School Room as a “staging area” so audience/congregation seating was confined to the pews of the auditorium.   People seemed perfectly willing to stand around the edges, though — but even that was tricky as the popular choral group used the north aisle throughout their performance.  Again, the music was spectacular and the surround-sound effect worked wonderfully.

Business as Usual on the Church Porch – A Tucker Wachsmuth Photo

Outside, it was business as usual, though.  I don’t know how sensitive swallows are to the music of us big earthbound creatures, but the mom and dad feeding babies in their front porch nest didn’t seem to break stride (or glide) in their feeding duties.  Somehow, I think they were enjoying the concert in their own feathery way.  I hope so.  It was SRO in the nest, too — sitting room only, doncha know!

Toe-Tapping Music Sunday in Oysterville!

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Kathleen Staub

Sunday is Father’s Day!  It’s also the beginning of the the 42nd Annual Oysterville Music Vesper Season!  If you love Celtic music… If you are curious about the new wallpaper in the recently refurbished historic church…  If you want to give dear old dad a toe-tapping opportunity… Do come for the 3 o’clock service.  Come as you are!  No admission!

“Oysterville’s Own” Staub Family (except for older son Sean)  will  ‘take center stage,’ as they say — Kathleen Staub (Mom) playing the Celtic harp, Colin Staub (younger son) playing the mandolin, and Paul Staub (Dad) providing “The Oysterville Moment.”  The family have divided their time between Oysterville and Portland since they purchased the tiny Charles Nelson House, “BAY-VIEW,” nearly three decades ago.

Kathleen,, Colin, Angie

Joining Kathleen and Colin will be their friend and musical colleague Angie Cathie playing Irish flute and penny whistle,  The three of them have played together frequently in the Portland area at the Pittock Mansion and at the Portland Highland Games.   At the Games, Colin and Kathleen also often lead the harp circle and play some sets with the Scottish fiddlers,  even though Kathleen plays harp and Colin plays mandolin. (Colin started out as a fiddler until he learned, as an eight-or-nine-year-old that the mandolin was tuned just like a fiddle.  He has been playing mandolin ever since!)

Officiating Sunday will be Denise Westfall, Interim Pastor at the Ocean Park United Methodist Church. Veteran Vespers participant Suzanne Knutzen will accompany the congregational hymn-singing on the vintage pump organ and Phil Coffin will pass the collection basket as he has done each summer “since the beginning.”  Vespers organizer Carol Wachsmuth urges Peninsula residents and visitors to “come as you are to enjoy this service – the first since the recent restoration of the church.”

CD Front Cover – ‘Bayview’

Last year Kathleen and Colin introduced their new CD which was on sale after vespers.  At that time Kathleen announced (prophetically, as it turned out), “The church needs a new roof and I hope this begins a fund for that purpose.”  I hope the CD will be on sale this year, as well, and I can’t help but wonder what Kathleen might suggest for the proceeds this time around.

I can’t help but wish my dad were still among us to enjoy this particular Father’s Day event!  He was very involved with the first restoration of the church back in the early 1980s and was especially fond of Celtic music — especially if stringed instruments were involved.  And, of course, he and my mother dreamed up the whole Summer Vespers idea in the first place.  Oh!  And did I says he was a Methodist born and bred!  It would have been the perfect Father’s Day festivity for him!

In the Thick of It!

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

Rose City Mixed Quartet

It was already getting dark as we left the High School the other night after the Candidates’ Forum.  Nine o’clock at night!  Summer on the wane already?  Hard to believe.  Wasn’t it just a day or two ago that it was still light until ten or ten thirty?  Well, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but I know we weren’t bedding down the chickens until after ten.

And, yet, as I look at all our plans for the days and weeks ahead, we are right in the thick of summer.  Visitors to greet!  Picnics to host!  Events to attend!  Garden beds and eager lawns calling for attention!  Thank goodness for whatever extra sunshine we have to enervate us!

At The Rodeo  With The RCMQ, 2016

Tomorrow the Rose City Mixed Quartet arrives.  They will be doing a House Concert here on Saturday night and will be the “Music” part of Sunday’s Music Vesper service from 3:00 to 4:00 on Sunday. We love having them here and I feel compelled to say that they set the bar very high, indeed, in the house guest department.  They have been known to clean our house – right down to moving couches and piano to vacuum behind – before returning to Portland!  OMG!  And a few days ago, we received notice from them that they were “planning on bringing some food to Oysterville” and proceeded to outline their intentions for most of the weekend meals!  OMG!

RCMQ at Vespers, 2009

For the second week in a row, we feel like Grandma and Grandpa at the Beach – although this weekend there are no “kids” involved!   Just grown-up kids somewhere in the age ballpark of my own children.  (Hey, Charlie and Marta – are you paying attention?  Just sayin’…)  We are SO looking forward to catching up, listening to great music, and visiting with these long-time friends!

And in the weeks to come – Gordon’s Annual Memorial Picnic, the Oysterville Regatta, the Rodeo and Finn Fest, Nyel’s birthday.  And that barely gets us into August!  Let’s hear it for summer at the beach!!!  Especially in Oysterville!

The bar is set high in Oysterville!

Monday, June 18th, 2018

“I’m going to get a petition started.  Will you sign it?”  The speaker, a long-time Oysterville friend, approached me yesterday as I was helping gather up the hymnals after Vespers.

Ordinarily, I might have had a question or two, but my response was an immediate and resounding “Yes!”  I knew exactly what he meant.  The Killingsworth Family had just finished their 25th Vespers performance and they had announced that it would be their last.  Their audience made it clear that they aren’t going along with that decision.  Perhaps a petition will help.

I’m pretty sure we’ve been to all 25-years-worth and we both think that yesterday’s was the best ever.  From “Midnight Special” to “Shenandoah” they kept us laughing, teary, and riveted.  At the conclusion of the service they were swarmed.  Old friends, newcomers, youngsters and a lot of us elders had hugs and handshakes for them.  It was their turn to get a little dewy-eyed.

All-in-all, they set the bar high for the rest of the Vesper season.  Whether or not that petition will materialize or, for that matter, do any good at all, it was a Sunday afternoon to remember and a fabulous beginning to this 41st Vesper season.  Thank you Casey, Monte, Josh, Meagan, and sideliner Sean, as well.  The petition is on its way!

(Photos by Tucker Wachsmuth)

In My Mind’s Eye

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

Red Cottage 1984

After vespers Sunday, a man approached me to ask, “What happened to the roses that have always been on the fence in front of the old courthouse in Oysterville?”  I had to think for a minute to realize that he meant the profusion of Dorothy Perkins roses that once grew on Willard’s fence.  They grew there more recently, too, during the twenty years that the Accuardis owned the little red cottage.  In my mind’s eye, they are there still.

But, of course, I know better.  New owners.  New ideas.  No roses.  I imagine it’s a work in progress, which is what I told the gentleman who was asking.  I’m not sure why he targeted me as the one who should know except that I had been identified during the service as the one who had supplied the bouquets for that day – vases of Dorothy Perkins roses!

Red Cottage, July 2017

I felt pleased he had noticed that they were gone.  I thought it was just me.  And I thought, once again, how hard it is to deal with change as I age.  I guess, in a way, it’s good that I can still pull up  my mind’s eye memories.  And I so appreciate others who remember, as well.

Once, long ago, I walked into the living room and found my mother weeping over the paper.  Someone I didn’t know had died – a girlhood friend of hers.  “I’m so sorry,” I said and was a bit taken aback by her response: “It’s not that she died, exactly.  It’s just that she’s the last one who remembered Mama when she was a young woman. When we were children…”

At Vespers, July 16, 2017

Now, as I approach the age when my contemporaries are becoming scarce, I understand more fully what my mother meant. If we live long enough, we finally get to the place where there are fewer and fewer people who share our memories.  Whether it’s the particular quality of my own mother’s laugh or that twinkle in my father’s bright blue eyes, it’s nice to know that others remember too.  Even when it comes to the roses on Willard’s fence

Would Julia have considered it a sin?

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

Julia Jefferson Espy c. 1895

All evidence I have is that my great-grandmother Julia was a God-fearing woman.  To the max.  She was raised a Methodist but was duly baptized (in the bay, I think) into her husband Robert’s faith after they were married.  She went to church every Sunday and was, for years, the clerk of the Oysterville Baptist congregation.  Her letters to her children were full of prayerful admonitions like “Keep yourself pure, do not ever listen to vile conversation, but remember your body is the temple of the Living God…” which she wrote in 1892 to her 16-year-old son Harry (who would one day be my grandpa).

So, yesterday, as I sat in Vespers having a rip-roaring, glorious time listening to Double J and the Boys, I wondered… Would Julia have considered my enjoyment of their rollicking, secular music, a sin?  I’d like to think not, but I’m unsure.  The only evidence I have about how she might have felt concerning music comes from one of her son Harry’s early memories:

Judy Eron, 1971

From 1878 to 1880 Reverend W.F.M. James, with his home in Centralia (then ‘Centerville’) was pastor, making his quarterly trip by trail up the Chehalis valley, down the Willapa by horseback, and by boat to Oysterville, taking three days for the trip.  As though it were yesterday I can remember his taking from his saddlebags several copies of Gospel Hymns No. 1, passing them out, and illustrating the new ‘swing’ of the tunes, which by many were considered then as too giddy for church.  I, less than four years old, always called for “Pull for the Shore Sailor” and “Onward Christian Soldiers” because they had more ‘go’ than those the grownups thought rather too fast.

Double J and the Boys, 2016

Perhaps if her young son felt comfortable calling for the hymns with “more go,” Julia was inclined to be tolerant concerning ‘appropriate’ music for singing on Sundays.  Of course, that was in the days well before the Oysterville Church was built and the Baptists were still meeting at R.H. and Julia’s home.  Who knows what she would have thought of today’s selections!  But I’d be the first to tell her that my absolute hands-down favorite was “Sharp Snappy Snake Boots” – with or without her approval!

Willie Bays Streaming Live from NYC!

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

Willie Bays

Anyone who has ever seen a kid off at an airport or train station can relate to this email I received from Randal Bays yesterday:

Very big day for our family, I just put our first-born on a plane for New York City… he’s totally excited and happy to be stepping out into the world, but his dad is feeling a strong mix of emotions… happy, proud, anxious, sad. It feels like sending a kid off to college must feel, except he’s only 15. :-

Willie is playing alto sax in the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.  According to the Festival Website:

Each year, Monterey Jazz Festival brings together 21 of the most accomplished high school jazz musicians from across the country to form an all-star touring jazz orchestra. The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra meets each summer to rehearse with Education Director Paul Contos before embarking on a domestic or international tour that includes performances at several well-known jazz festivals. The program culminates in a main stage performance in September at the Monterey Jazz Festival with the annual Artist-In-Residence.           

Monterey Jazz Festival Arena, 2012 – Photo (c) by Cole Thompson

The second performance of their tour — at the Dizzy Cub Coca-Cola in Lincoln Center this Sunday — will be streaming live at at 4:30 Pacific Daylight Time and we’ll be watching, you betcha!  As Randal wrote, perfect timing – right after the Oysterville Vesper Service! That’s important for all sorts of reasons, but most especially because the rest of Willie’s family will be the featured music at Vespers this week – The Bays Family Irish Band (minus Willie.)  Were Willie here, he’d be playing Irish flute with mom and dad on their fiddles and brother Owen on his concertina.  But Willie is a continent away and off on the adventure of his young life!

In addition to their Sunday gig at Lincoln Center, Tour dates for the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra include:

Waiting for Willie…

June 24 – Orpheum Film and Performing Arts Center, Tannersville, NY
June 27 – Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, Rochester, NY
June 28 – TD Toronto Jazz Festival, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
June 29, – Montreal Jazz Festival, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Sept. 14 – Concert on the Lawn, Garden Stage, Monterey, CA
Sept. 14 – Jazz Legends Gala, Pebble Beach, CA
Sept. 17 – 60th Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey, CA

To take a look at the bios of the 21 “Next Gen” (as they call themselves) members and learn more about what’s in store for them, check out the Monterey Jazz Festival website at

And if you’re looking for us after the Sunday vesper service, you’ll find us watching Willie streaming live from New York City.  No one except his parents could be any prouder of him than we are!

Progress On High (and Across the Road)

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

At the Ready with Sign and Shingles

I wonder if the roofers will finish their work on the church before the beginning of the Music Vespers season on the 18th.  My best guess would be no, but they’ve been working from morn ‘til night, as they say.  Even last Sunday they were hard at it for most of the day.  Which makes me wonder if anyone has spoken to them about the upcoming Vesper service.  Perhaps not.

For a variety of reasons, we’ve been waiting over a year for them to get started on this very daunting project.  (When I say “we,” I’m referring to the Oysterville Restoration Foundation, the organization to which all property owners in the National Historic District of Oysterville belong, and, more importantly in this case, the organization that owns and manages the historic church.)  Probably no one has wanted to risk slowing progress by mentioning the necessity of a work slow-down next Sunday.

Oysterville Church

Hopefully, they’ve noticed the sign recently placed in front of the church.  “Music Vespers – Sundays – 3 p.m.”  That should give them a clue.  Worst case scenario – an unplanned Sunday afternoon work break.  Perhaps they would enjoy the vesper service.  After all, it’s ‘come as you are’ and ‘open to the public’ and ‘free of charge.’  And I can’t think of anyone with more need or justifiable reason right now for sending up a prayer or two from inside (as well as on top of!) the venerable old church.

Oysterville Summer Vespers in its 37th Year

My reference here, is to the height and pitch of the church roof.  It’s not every roofing company in the area that is even willing to give a bid for repair or, in this case, replacement of those cedar shingles.  I’ve been trying to remember the last time the roof was completely replaced.  Surely, it’s been done since the initial restoration of the building in 1980.  Although… the roof that Ossie Steiner and the Mack boys put on my little house on the bay in 1979 is still good.  Of course, it was done with shakes, not shingles, which probably makes a difference.

In any case, we are watching the roofers’ progress and hoping all goes smoothly.  I wonder how they feel about being the subjects of photograph after photograph – by every tourist who comes to town as well as by those of us who live here.  I know that being on high is more-or-less old hat to them, but I hope they take some pride in working on the Oysterville Church.  We are certainly clapping and cheering for them!