The Whallonsburg Grange Hall, a nonprofit center for the community and performing arts in Essex, New York, welcomed its new Manager and four new board members at its Annual Meeting on January 27. Outgoing President Andy Buchanan said that the Grange opened its doors to activities, meetings and events on 188 days in 2017, underlining its role as a resource and destination in the Champlain Valley. Buchanan also reported that the Depot Theater in Westport will be managing the Boquet River Theatre Festival (BRTF), the summer youth program based at the Grange, a major step in sustaining and expanding this popular community program.
Emma Gibbs of Westport, the new Grange Manager, was introduced at the meeting. In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities for managing the facility, Gibbs and will be taking charge of an initiative to expand the Grange’s volunteer base.
New board members include longtime local residents Norma Goff (Essex) and Kyle Wrisley (Whallonsburg), along with Audrey (Audie) Sparre and Bethany Teitelbaum both from Essex. Goff and Wrisley were members of the Grange chapter in Whallonsburg, with Goff’s memories of Grange events reaching back into the 1950s. Kyle Wrisley is also Fire Chief of the Whallonsburg Volunteer Fire Department and sees the Grange as a big draw to the area with the potential to bring in many new people. Teitelbaum will be helping to shape programs and events and expand the community’s use of the facilities. Sparre will bring her decades of experience in leading a nonprofit and organizing volunteers to the board.
New board officers were also elected at the meeting: President Clay Reaser (Westport), Vice-President Andy Buchanan (Whallonsburg), Secretary Tatiana Abatemarco (Whallonsburg), and Treasurer Caroline Thompson (Westport).