This summer, something special is coming to the tiny hamlet of Essex, New York: three Broadway and off-Broadway musical artists will perform at Essex Community Church on Friday, July 20. At the invitation of their Essex friends Russ Schneider and Courtney Coleman, a trio of downstate artists—Mingo Long, Dorothy Dobkowski, and Jalmari Vanamo—will showcase their talents in A New York Summer State of Mind, a spirited mix of Broadway favorites with gospel solos and duets. They promise, as they say, to rock you to the roots. As an added attraction, Jalmari will perform a magnificent Bach organ prelude, tapping into the rich tones of the church’s own massive tracker organ.
But this is no ordinary performance, it’s a concert with a cause. Essex is known for its historic architecture, quaint shops, farm-fresh foods, and breathtaking lakeside views. Sadly, Essex lost its “voice” earlier this year when the bell stopped chiming in the church’s old clock tower. For months now, people have been saying how they really miss those chimes. They count on them to ring out the time of day, just as they did in the 1800s, when Essex was a hub of farming, industry and activity.
But maybe it’s good that the chimes stopped when they did. As it turns out, the stone tower is badly in need of repair after 165 snowy, subzero Adirondack winters, and the whole tower was beginning to shake whenever the big bell chimed on the hour and half-hour, 24/7.
To solve this dilemma, there’s a twofold plan: restore the tower’s stones and mortar and install digital chimes that sound just like the real thing, but without the vibrations. To help make this happen, Essex Community Church is asking that those who come to hear A New York Summer State of Mind on Friday July 20 at 7 pm contribute just $10 apiece to the Bell Chime Restoration Project—bringing music to your ears, inside and out.