Archive for the ‘Oysterville Music Vespers’ Category

Sometimes it happens… sometimes not.

Thursday, August 11th, 2022

Just because I didn’t see it, doesn’t meant it isn’t there.  I’ve missed it before and I probably will again.

I’m talking here about the announcement of the upcoming Sunday Vespers program in the Chinook Observer.  Upon my query, the editor kindly agreed to run a short article each week that I would submit telling the who, what, why, when, and where of the  weekly Music Vespers Programs at the Historic Oysterville Church.  Most weeks I see it but this week… either I missed it or other  late breaking news pre-empted it.

So… just in case:  this is what I wrote.  (If you already saw it, just move on…):

            A Promise from Fred Carter For Sunday’s Music Vespers

“I’ll be playing favorites for everyone at the Oysterville Church on Sunday and that’s a promise!” local singer-songwriter Fred Carter said of his upcoming Music Vespers program on August 14.  Carter is well-known locally as a musician who can play almost any tune once he’s heard it.  “I just need a little help on the lyrics now and then,” he laughs.

Sunday’s service will open at 3:00 p.m. with an “Oysterville Moment” by Sydney Stevens.  This week she will tell the shivery tale of an early minister’s wife, Mrs. Crouch, who drowned under mysterious circumstances back in 1892. Steve Kovach will present a short homily after which pianist Barbara Bate will accompany the congregational hymn-singing,  The public is invited to “come as you are” to this free Sunday Music Vespers Service.

Hope to see you all there!



Vespers Bounty Beyond Expectations!

Sunday, August 7th, 2022

Peninsula Guitar Project

It’s happening more and more frequently these Sunday afternoons.  I am coming home from Music Vespers at the Oysterville Church laden down with gifts.  I’m not talking spiritual gifts here for they come along almost as a matter of course when you spend time in our lovely little church.  No, I’m talking about actual pick-it-up-and-carry-it-home sorts of gifts.  Today there were three!

First, was a CD that Bill Svendsen handed me just before today’s service began  “The Peninsula Guitar Project – Live at the Oysterville Church” it was called and, lest there be no doubt, there was a picture of our church right on the disc!  Bill had set up the recording equipment last week before Ken Emo, Jason Sheaux, and George Coleman — The Peninsula Guitar Trio — took center stage.  How lucky I was to be able to listen to them all over again this evening!

Vespers Flowers by Sue Svendsen

Then, as I was leaving the church, Sue Svendsen called to me and  offered me one of the bouquets she had done for today’s service.  I took the smaller of the two and it was absolutely the right choice.  It is perfect on our entry table in the living room and cheers me each time I pass by.

And… before I had even reached my gate, Deborah Perry called out to me and came hurrying over with a loaf of bread that her friend had made yesterday.  “The loaves are small, but she made 15 of them!” Deborah said.  “If you have company, I can give you more than one loaf!”  Wow!

And as if all of these treasures weren’t enough… I am still basking in the glow after a familiar looking woman came up and spoke to me as I was helping gather up hymnals.  She said she was from the Sacramento area of California and she has been coming up to visit our Peninsula each summer for years.  “I remember your sweet mother,” she said, “and the wonderful hats she always wore to Vespers.”  How lovely it was to have someone speak to me of my mother.  It was the best gift of all!


Words to live by? Fuggedaboudit!

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021

The Oyster Crackers – scheduled for August 1st but, sadly, cancelled.

August 3rd and it’s my first blog of the month.  To say that yesterday and the day before were difficult would be understatements beyond compare.  On the other hand, beautiful bonus daughter Marta was here — the last two days of a ten day visit.  Definitely the bright side of an otherwise terrible, horrible, no good, very bad couple of days.  Alexander and Judy Viorst would absolutely understand.

It all began early on Sunday morning with the decision to close the 2021 Vespers Season —  just six hours before the first service was to begin.  Carol and I, who had volunteered in the first place to schedule the Sunday programs for August and September, scrambled to undo everything we had spent the month of July pulling together.  The day’s participants were notified.  Signs were posted on the church doors.  Would-be congregation members were met in the churchyard by Tucker who explained…  And then we began notifying all the other fabulous volunteers.  No Vespers in 2021.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to any of us, one of our neighbors awaited the Covid testing of relatives — all fully vaccinated — who had visited here last week.  So far, two of the five have tested positive for Covid, two have tested negative, one still awaits test results.  The only other two people they came in contact with here have thankfully tested negative.  Although we heard about this late in the day, the news strongly reinforced the decision to close the Vespers season.

Double J and The Boys — scheduled for August 8th but, sadly, cancelled.

So did the 480% increase in Covid cases in Pacific County during the last two weeks being reported by our Health Department.  And so did a letter from one of the ministers scheduled for later in the month:  I am truly sorry to be sending you this notice, but I cannot in good conscience participate in the Oysterville church service, due to the current Covid surge. There is just not sufficient space to make distancing anything like possible; it sounds to me like a super-spreader event just waiting to happen. I want you to know, I am truly sorry.

And, of course, there were rumors.  Reasons (not even close) for why there will be no vespers.  “Information” that “Covid is over.”  “Directives” that we were to re-schedule vespers — not!  “Information” via social media and coming to us by emails was scary in its distance from truth or fact — at least as Carol and I knew the situation to be.   I finally just had to console myself with the words of the late Gordon Bressack, “Fuggedaboudit!”

This morning I hugged Marta tight when I said goodbye.  You never know these days when that can happen again!  Stay safe out there, everybody.  It ain’t over yet…

Say a prayer and cross your fingers!

Thursday, July 22nd, 2021

The 43rd year of Vesper services begins a week from Sunday — “God willin’ an the creek don’t rise” as our friend George Talbott used to say.  The Oysterville Restoration Foundation waited until Governor Inslee made his July 1st “proclamation” regarding Covid protocols for the rest of the summer — assuming, of course, that things continue to get better, not worse.

In answer to  the question, can religious and faith based services be held:
Yes. It is permissible to hold indoor and outdoor services at full capacity with no physical distancing requirements.  The services covered in these operational guidelines include all worship services, religious study classes, religious ceremonies, religious holiday celebrations, weddings, funerals, and support groups.

So, as of July 1st, Carol Wachsmuth and I got to work!  (You might remember that both of us have long since “retired from our volunteer scheduling jobs, but it seemed important to get started” and no one else had stepped up.)  We divided the responsibilities — Carol would book the ministers and the ORF members who would present the Oysterville Moments; I would schedule the musicians and the organists.  Vespers would start August 1st and continue every Sunday afternoon through September 26th.  A bit shorter season — only nine Sundays as opposed to twelve — and a much shorter time span in which to do the scheduling — three weeks as opposed to our usual six months!!

A Sign of Summer

We had no time to wait for people to adjust their own calendars or readjust vacations  or (in the case of musicians) to pull a group together or, or…  And, miraculously, every single person we contacted was able to fit themselves in where they were needed.  THE best volunteers EVER!  We finished booking by July 16th and asked all participants to double-check the sample bulletin just in case.  On Tuesday-the-20th we  took the finished copy to LazerQuick, and distributed the finished bulletins to the ministers that very afternoon!

OMG!  35 participants filling 36 spots over 9 weeks and all scheduled within three weeks!  Unbelievable and unprecedented and a tribute to all the volunteers who have given so generously of their time in the past!  And all of whom have told us time after time how dreadfully they  missed Vespers last year.  Just like the rest of us!  Say a prayer and keep your fingers crossed that it will all work out as intended.  And see you there a week from Sunday — three o’clock, August 1st!

The Oysterville Church Is Open Again!

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

Seeing the “Church Open” sign from my dining room window once more makes me feel that all’s right with the world again — at least with this little corner of it. In the vestibule, though, on each of the inner doors — one leading to the sanctuary and the other to the room we’ve always called “The Sunday School Room” — are signs asking visitors who enter to please wear masks.  Perhaps instructions/suggestions will change once we get Governor Inslee’s promised July 1st Directives.

As for scheduled events — the first to take place since sheltering began in March 2020 was a wedding last Saturday.  And what a wedding it was!  All the men arrived in kilts and the women in ankle-length pleated skirts or other authentic-looking regalia and, from what I could see, all in the same tartan.  Perhaps, because of Covid uncertainties, they had confined the guest list to family members only which would explain the matching tartans.  Even the pipers’ kilts matched.   I wish I had taken a picture, but now that I am no longer the church scheduler and have no interaction with brides beforehand, I felt it might be a bit intrusive.

The other regular church usage in the summer, of course, is our twelve weeks of  Sunday Music Vespers services.  Traditionally, they have begun on Fathers’ Day and continued through Labor Day Sunday.  At the present time,  the Oysterville Restoration Foundation does not have a Vespers Co-ordinator, so Carol Wachsmuth and I have agreed to do the programming for August and September with the caveat that the scheduling will remain flexible — just “in case. ”   All things being equal, there will be nine Music Vespers services — five in August and four in September.  Keep your fingers crossed!

We hope that ministers and musicians and the other volunteers who make the weekly services possible will be willing to commit to a date that could, in a worst case scenario, be cancelled at the last minute.  It surely isn’t our first preference — not how we’d choose “to run this railroad” — but as long as there  are possibilities of a “fifth wave” or some other dread Covid follow-up, “flexible” will be our word to live by.

Meanwhile, feel free to come and visit the church.  You might remember that it was refurbished inside and out in 2018 and 2019, and there are few places amid summer’s hubbub that are lovlier for spending some quiet moments of peace and thankfulness.



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!