Marlboro College

NewsMusicians Pay Tribute to
Vermont Folk Legend

Friends and family members will be featured in a tribute concert for Margaret MacArthur, Vermont’s best known and most accomplished folksinger, on Tuesday March 20th at Marlboro College’s Whittemore Theater on the Marlboro campus. The concert starts at 7:30pm (doors will open no later than 6:30pm). General admission tickets are $25. Tickets for the concert at Marlboro College are available through the Flynn Regional Box Office (802-863-5966 or www.flynntix.org) or at Mapleleaf Music in Brattleboro.

Performers will include the MacArthur Family (Margaret’s children Megan, Dan and Gary), the Boys of the Lough, Gordon Bok, John Roberts and Tony Barrand, Karen and Pete Sutherland, Dan Berggren, Deb Flanders and some surprise guests. Bill Spence from the Old Songs Festival will emcee. Special guests will include Jane Beck from the Vermont Folklife Center, Marlboro’s president Ellen McCulloch-Lovell and others. Everyone appearing at the concert has a long history and significant connections to Margaret and the music she collected and made.

Margaret passed away on May 23, 2006. She grew up hearing traditional music, first in the mountains of northern Arizona where her forester step-father was cruising timber for the Forest Service in the Tonto National Forest, later in southern Missouri where he was raising seedlings for the Mark Twain National Forest, then in Southern California where he was raising guayule rubber plants during the war.

After marrying John MacArthur, she moved to Vermont in 1948. She began collecting songs both in Vermont and in western Kentucky where her parents had settled. Living in the 200 year old farmhouse in Marlboro furthered her interest in old ways and old songs. After meeting Helen Hartness Flanders, she became closely connected to the Flanders Collection of Vermont and New England material. In 1962 Moe Asch of Folkways issued her first recording, Folksongs of Vermont. Since then she has recorded ten albums, some of which feature songs of Arizona, where she was an artist in residence in schools for many winters..

She toured nationally and internationally, and was featured at many festivals, including Inverness, University of Chicago, Mariposa, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Old Songs, Champlain, Eistedfod at University of Southern Massachusetts, Louisville, Fox Hollow, Southern Acoustic Music, and Pine Mountain, Cranberry, Black Swamp, and Memphis Dulcimer Festivals

The Vermont Arts Council, in 2002, gave her an Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts. Yankee Magazine, July/August 2001, selected her CD Vermont Ballads & Broadsides as one of the Yankee Top 40 of all time. On Vermont Day May 1, 1997, at the invitation of Senator James Jeffords, Margaret MacArthur performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In 1988 she received a commendation from the American Association of State and Local History, an honor from the California Traditional Music Society, and the Eistedfod Award from the University of Southern Massachusetts, North Dartmouth. The 1985 University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Art Biennial Committee named her a ‘New England Living Art Treasure.’ She received the Midsummer Festival Award in Montpelier,Vermont, in 1984, and a Citation of Recognition from the Vermont Council of the Arts in 1973.

The concert is a co-presentation by the Events for Tom Series and the Vermont Folklife Center with support from Marlboro College.

All proceeds will support the Margaret MacArthur Collection at the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury, Vermont. Following her death and at the request of the MacArthur family, to honor Margaret's memory, the Margaret MacArthur Collection Fund was established. The Fund was created to achieve the following goals: 1) To support the preservation of the Margaret MacArthur Collection held by the Vermont Folklife Center Archive; 2) To expand the Collection through future, relevant acquisitions; and 3) To perpetuate Margaret's work with traditional songs and music in Vermont. The collection consists of 16 open reel audiotapes of traditional songs and interviews with singers recorded by Margaret primarily in southwestern Vermont from 1963 through 1968; commercial recordings made by Margaret and her family on vinyl LP and compact disc; and related papers, photographs and ephemera. The Fund is used to stabilize, catalog and provide access to items in the Margaret MacArthur collection; provide a source of funding to purchase additional related materials as they become available; and to support additional research and public programming into traditional music in Vermont.

The concerts are the 61st and 62nd presentations in the Events for Tom Series. For information about the Events for Tom Series or the Tom Sustic Fund, contact Mark Sustic at 802-849-6968 or mrksustc@together.net.

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