Friday, June 28, 2013

Marches, gallops, waltzes, peanuts and more

The stars definitely were aligned in our favor Thursday evening as the Chariton Community Band brought its summer performance series to the patio of the Lucas County Historical Society for an old-fasioned "Peanut Day" concert. 

The day dawned hot, humid, overcast --- and a little rainy. But by late afternoon (we opened the doors of all the museum buildings at 6 p.m.), the humidity had dissipated, there was a cool breeze and plenty of sunshine.

The band, directed by Oscar J. Ortiz, ordinarily performs on Thursday evenings during June and early July in the gazebo on the courthouse lawn and has a considerable following. So we were delighted when its members agreed to move to the museum campus this week.

There's was a certain amount of sacrifice involved. The museum is located in a residential neighborhood where parking is at a premium. Some of those instruments are heavy and it was a considerable hike up the circle drive, over the hill and down to the patio.

The concert began at 7 --- and the music was, as usual, great. Ortiz is an effective advocate for music in the schools and life in general, as well as a great showman, so he kept the audience engaged between those marches, gallops and other musical forms.

The other star of Thursday night's show was the vintage peanut roaster, nearing its 130th birthday, that came to the museum a good many years ago from Piper's Grocery on the square. It works as good now as it did in the 1880s, with a few modifications --- a small electric motor now turns the drum as raw peanuts roast and propane fires the burner under the drum that does the roasting. Bob Ulrich (right) and Jerry Pierschbacher were in charge of the peanut end of things last night.

Hy-Vee keeps a small supply of raw peanuts on hand specifically for the historical society (and donates same; we're very appreciative). About half of this year's supply was roasted and distributed free to our guests Thursday; more than likely we'll roast and serve up the rest during next month's ice cream social.

It was a great evening. Our board members and volunteers work hard to ensure the success of events like this --- and we love it when it's hard to find a parking place within blocks of the museum campus and people of all ages are gathered here to relax and enjoy an evening.

So, after all have stood for the National Anthem, please give everyone involved a round of applause.

The museum is open from 1-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays --- free of charge. If you'd like to visit at any other time, just give a call. The Roberts family will be holding their annual reunion on Saturday in the barn --- a building that's gotten quite a workout this month --- but we'll be open as usual to everyone else, too.

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