The University of Brattleboro started out as a group of adults who created fun events for free. We still do create events, pro-bono, for the benefit of anyone who cares to join in, or who needs the healing graces of humor, especially during the dark months of winter. It gets cold and dark out there. But we also now create events for a fee.
Our Past Projects are legion. Here is a partial list:
The Curious Case of the Clay Cryptogram
See this link to iBrattleboro for details: http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20101218165746164
MAKE! TUNE! PLAY! The Levi Fuller A435 Extravaganza
You can read about the event at this link to the story in the Brattleboro Reformer.
LEVI FULLER 4345 EXTRAVAGANZA AND INSTRUMENT-BUILDING WORKSHOP
On Saturday, August 6th at 2:30 p.m., the Estey Organ Museum hosted this musical-instrument-making workshop in celebration of Levi Fuller, Vice President of the Estey Organ Company and son-in-law of its founder, Jacob Estey.
Participants experienced the remarkable story of the first International Pitch, standardized in 1891, and the Brattleboro pioneer who helped bring the world in tune shortly after he served as the 44th governor of Vermont.
The afternoon featured constructing simple instruments and tuning them to A435.
After tuning their instruments, people walked (via Washington Street) to Levi Fuller’s enormous obelisk at Morningside Cemetery to play them for the former Governor. We played the first note at exactly 4:35 p.m., and continued improvising for 4 minutes and 35 seconds in celebration of Levi Fuller’s contributions to Brattleboro, to Vermont, and to worldwide music making.
Dennis Waring, Professor of Music and author of Manufacturing the Muse: Estey Organs and Consumer Culture in Victorian America, informed us of Fuller’s life and contributions.
Ned Phoenix, founder of the Estey Organ Museum, discussed “Why Tune?” He demonstrated tuning forks, and played a remarkable Estey organ with unique tuning, commissioned around 1915 for the Smith College physics department.
“Prior to the establishment of International Pitch A435, instruments were tuned to local pitches, which often prevented playing them together,” said Phoenix. A standard pitch allowed musicians to play in tune together, which was important in orchestras and when playing in other locales and countries. International Pitch was eventually changed to today’s standardized pitch, A440.
The event was a collaborative production of the Estey Organ Museum and a group of fun-loving citizens who call themselves The University of Brattleboro.
Estey Organ Museum is located behind the slate-sided Estey buildings on Birge Street in Brattleboro. Find out more about the Estey Organ Museum at esteyorganmuseum.org.
For more information contact Ned Phoenix 802-365-7011, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pumpkin Float.
2016 marked the 17th Annual Floating of the Pumpkins. For this event, we get together, carve jack o’ lanterns so they will float downstream, and then set them out on a river, watching them turn and shine on their merry way to becoming carp food. The pumpkin float is currently a by-invitation-only event, but University Faculty are happy to offer instruction on how to make a floating jack-o-lanterns.
The Sevincer Animation Festival, in Brattleboro.
For Four Years, we ran the Sevincer Animation Festival, which was held in the Hooker-Dunham theater, in Brattleboro, Vermont. Alas, it became to expensive an effort to maintain.
See http://vermontartsdirectory.org/directory/listing.php?id=01482 for details.
The 2004 Riff Raff Regatta in Brattleboro
We kept the Brattleboro Riff Raff Regatta alive in 2004.
Note: the photo above, copyright 2000 by Merritt Brown, is from the glory days of the regatta.
Our event in 2004 was fun, but the picture from 2000 really captures what the regatta was, and could be again.
See this link for details about the more modest 2004 event.
The town asked its citizens what we should name the new park. Many people had been calling it “Donut Park” in “honor” of the Dunkin’ Donuts previously located there. This was put forward as an official suggestion. The request was ignored, and the park was named after a local citizen, Pliny Burrows. He deserved the honor, but some of us were exceedingly enamored of the Donut Park idea, and we set about building a kiln, baking clay doughnuts and laughing a lot. We even glazed them and carved various ancient scripts in the sides of the clay. Thus was born The University of Brattleboro. We buried the doughnuts throughout the park before it was covered over, and our hope is that downtown being what it is, clay doughnuts will continue to be dug up centuries from now, baffling (and hopefully delighting) future workers and residents of Brattleboro.
The Vermont Buried Coin Mystery Puzzler
Somewhere in historic Brattleboro, a purse containing coins is buried. We have ascertained from old records that the coins are worth a little more than a hundred dollars.
As of yet, no one has dug up the coins.
Here is one of the two pages of code, on sheets of paper, that were found in the library by Dr. Shhhhh B. Quiet.
Two eighth grade girls, Grace and Emma, figured out the key needed to decode this message. They decoded it in June 2011, but they have not found the buried coins.
Here are the verses that seem to us to almost taunt the reader and dare them to identify the KEY that will allow them to decipher the messages, thereby finding the buried coins.
We have it on the good authority of a bad psychic that the coins are worth at least $100.
PLEASE NOTE: While we joke about many things here at the University, WE NEVER JOKE ABOUT THE EXISTENCE OF HIDDEN TREASURE. WHEN WE SAY THERE IS TREASURE HIDDEN IN BRATTLEBORO, WE MEAN THAT THERE IS LITERALLY TREASURE BURIED IN BRATTLEBORO, AND ANYONE WHO CAN FIGURE OUT THE PUZZLES WE BRING TO LIGHT CAN FIND IT.
Dr. Quiet is publishing a book with all the clues, and it will be available at Mystery on Main Street. Proceeds from this book are used for projects that make Brattleboro a more fun-filled place.
The Semi-Annual Larkin Mead Snow- Monster Carving Party
For the past four years, we have gone out to the NEYT parking lot and to the Cotton Mill, and carved giant monster heads out of the prodigious snow piles that are always there in dead of winter, waiting for us. In 2015 we will be meeting at the NEYT on February 1, at 1 PM.
Larkin Mead was born in Chesire County, but he moved with his family when he was four, to Brattleboro. One night, he carved a large angel out of snow. The sculpture was so appealing that it earned him some fame. That is why we honor his memory with this event. However, while we appreciate real skill and beauty, our goal is to make people smile. We hope to help both the people who come upon our Snow Monsters as they go about town, and to get a good sized crew of sculptors. In other words, we are not opposed to gifted sculptors joining our ranks. In fact we would love it if gifted sculptors made a showing. But mostly we are aiming for goofy monster cheerfulness, camaraderie and a good time.
We are currently trying to find an art school that could collaborate with us on a more skilled, representational, figurative, neo-classical, ice carving contest, worthy of Larkin Mead’s memory. Stay tuned.
“Slow Jam”, Irish Music Sessions at McNeil’s Brewery.
Welcomes all musicians who are interested in playing their favorite tunes a bit more slowly.
The first session took place Thursday, March 31, with 25 musicians attending (3 of whom were under the age of 13!) Thanks to Ray McNeil for hosting this.
They plan to make this a monthly event–the first Thursday of every month.
For people who might be interested in attending the Slow Jam, Macneil’s is located at 90 Elliot Street, Brattleboro, VT. You can call (802) 254-2553.
The Slow Jam is currently scheduled for the First Thursday of each month.