WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2014/2015

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/410492

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Page 194 of 227

sometimes outrageous jazz and swing band, turned a capacity crowd of adults into joyous roomful of singing, laughing friends. Trumpeters bobbed and weaved, the trombonist swooped and soared. It felt like New Orleans had come north. "Firehouse is a real success story," says Beth Falconer, managing director of the venue that opened in 1991. "It saved something beauti- ful downtown that everyone can enjoy. It engages people of all ages who find a home here, from our Senior Readers to [volunteers] giving backstage support. They can direct a show, usher, or be in the audi- ence. It gives community members access to all the arts, sharing some- thing that will never happen exactly that way again." The nonprofit 501(c)(3) Firehouse annually presents some 200 dance, theater, film, and music events. Its production of 39 Steps swept regional community theater awards last year. People 55 and over in the Senior Readers Program work with a professional actor on scripts, addressing issues of limited mobility and memory and performing three times a year at the Firehouse and nearby assisted living places. Built in 1823 as a market house and lyceum, the building in its early days hosted such notable speakers as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Daniel Webster. It was Newburyport's Central Fire Station from the mid-1800s until 1980. Now the 195-seat theater and two-level art gallery, adjacent to a busy waterfront park, restaurants, and shops, are the heart of the seaport. "One of the things that's difficult about managing arts organiza- tions, whether nonprofit or commercial, is building a future audience that will choose to make live performance a part of their lives," says Beth Falconer. In suburban Boston, these venues are doing their part to make that happen. 193 w i n t e r 2 014 / 2 0 15 | W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e left: Grace Kelly, right: Jimmy Vaughan P H O T O S B Y S C O T T B U M P

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