“More than a summer music festival, it’s a year-round musical family.”
Dear friends and family of theNew Hampshire Music Festival,
The accompanying picture shows my parents Gordon and Edna LeBlanc with 10 of their 11 children (brother Gordie, 2nd oldest, not pictured) as we posed with our musical instruments in front of the NHMF Festival House in Center Harbor circa 1964. I am standing holding my clarinet next to my Dad in the top row. My parents were house managers of the music festival for several summers in the 1960s and we were all beneficiaries of wonderful music lessons, job opportunities with the festival along with some part-time summer work in town as lifeguards at the Center Harbor beach and short order cooks at the then Longwood Farms. I guess you could call us “Festival Brats!”
It would be here at the New Hampshire Music Festival that as children we acquired our love of life-long music making and appreciation and where I would meet my husband, trumpet player and longest-tenured NHMF musician Keith Johnson (1942-2020) playing with NHMF from 1964-2017. As the story goes, I worked as a chamber maid for the musicians who lived in Festival House during the summer concert season cleaning their rooms, changing linens, even ironing concert dress shirts for a little extra money. After 50 years of marriage, I jokingly claim my job status never really changed, but the benefits were a lot better by having created the opportunity to build a wonderful life and family at the New Hampshire Music Festival.
Such was and remains today the experience of so many of the festival musicians who came as couples, or met and married fellow musicians, started families and had their own children participate in festival and community events every summer. NHMF now boasts another generation of musicians in the same orchestra in which their parents played. The annual festival kids’ recital is always a delight and a powerful testimony to what the festival experience means to the young orchestra families who work and play here each summer.
I am especially grateful for the lifelong friendships and extended family we have made with the patrons and NH community members who befriended us, took us into their homes and welcomed us every summer as long-lost relatives. NHMF for all these many years gave us a unique opportunity to build a wonderful life and grow a loving, musical family. I am ever so grateful for the summer respite and restorative power of music made by such talented musicians in the beautiful New Hampshire White Mountain region.
Please join me in supporting this unique orchestra comprised of professional musicians from all over the country/world who come to be with family and friends and who give of themselves to you through their beautiful music. You make these orchestral and chamber concerts possible bringing smiles, joy and a feeling of “home” to all who anxiously wait all year for the musicians to return for the season. With your generous contribution, you will help continue the life cycle of this extraordinary family-oriented musical ensemble for generations to come. Thank you in advance for your generosity and I look forward to seeing you at this next New Hampshire Music Festival summer family reunion.
Cecile LeBlanc Johnson