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Westport Column

Kudos to miracle worker Caroline Thompson, who founded and—for, what, three decades?—ran the Arts Council for the Northern Adirondacks. Until last year, that is, when Albany in its wisdom decided we didn’t need art up here and that our tax dollars would be better spent elsewhere.

One of the numerous cultural opportunities Caroline and the Arts Council brought to the region was the famous Thursday night Community Concert series in the Ballard Park Performance Pavilion each summer. Caroline has managed somehow to keep this tradition going another summer. The Community Concerts are back this July and August, each Thursday evening in Ballard Park starting shortly after 7 p.m. So bring a blanket or lawn chair, or just sprawl out on the grass. As always, the concerts are free and open to the public.

Caroline has had some help from noted trumpeter and Westport resident Taylor Haskins, who will be performing several times both with his own quartet and with other musicians as the season progresses. Long a favorite with Ballard Park audiences in previous years, Taylor has won widespread recognition as one of the most talented young trumpeters working today. Downbeat magazine named him one of “25 Trumpets for the Future,” and his critically acclaimed albums have won numerous awards. The first concert will be Thursday, July 4, when the Taylor Haskins Quartet will offer a taste of their distinctive sound, which has been described as “what might have happened had Dizzy Gillespie met Bill Frisell.” Each week I’ll try to let readers know who’s appearing next.

Don’t forget about the upcoming townwide Independence Day celebration on Saturday, July 6, which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. Briefly: Parade starting at the Fairgrounds at 5 p.m., followed by the Fire Department Pig Roast (bigger than ever!), the Hallowell Fund Ice Cream Social in Ballard Park, Street Dance with Gary Finney at 7 p.m., and the Fireworks at dusk. And the Library Book Sale will be going on all weekend on the Library Lawn. If you want to be a vendor or join the parade, call Sheila Borden at 962-8360 or 962-8909.

Congratulations to James Parker Rice, winner of the third Heritage House $50 raffle drawing.

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