Community Concerts @ First is proud to be the Essex venue for David Feurzeig's Play Every Town in Vermont Tour! All concert proceeds will support efforts to end climate change.
Play Every Town
pianist David Feurzeig to play a free piano concert in every town in Vermont May 2022 – Dec 2026
Live music is back after a long Covid pause. Great! But existing touring models are not sustainable. Like so much of our everyday fossil-fuel-intensive culture, touring needs to change rapidly and radically if we are to maintain a livable world. Long-distance jet-dependent concertizing is not limited to star performers: for academic musicians as well, like me, there are incentives to fly, fly, fly. The farther the gig, the more prestige and promotion/tenure brownie points earned—even at UVM, my green-branded employer. (Look at my bio: I still boast about my premiere in Dresden! my performance in Bangkok!)
But I’ve given up flying. I’ll have to travel to the rest of my gigs by public transit or in my solar- powered EV, and that’s going to narrow my radius; passenger boat service to Asia isn’t what it used to be. And there’s so much beauty and variety right here in Vermont. I think about what Thoreau said: “I have traveled a good deal in Concord.” So I decided to play 251 concerts in my little home state.
I hope this tour will amplify the actions I’m taking in response to the climate crisis. The solution is not individual action, obviously, but there’s no solution without it. When I decided to stop flying, at first I kept quiet—because who wants to be that scold, holier-than-thou, making you feel bad about going to see Grandma? But I realized that the only thing more maddeningly, laughably insignificant than me not taking a flight here and there would be me not taking those flights...and not telling anyone. We need to normalize behavior that’s currently fringe, and that doesn’t happen in silence.
This project is also a reaction to Covid. In November 2021 I played my first full-length solo gig since the start of the pandemic. I felt rusty! I asked myself what would be the opposite of not performing a single recital for over two years. How about 251 in under five?
While Vermont’s idyllic communitarian ethic is easily exaggerated, it’s a real thing. But the sense of community and local place is threatened here as everywhere. I want to support the vibrancy of village centers and downtowns by performing in places live music isn’t often heard anymore.
In that spirit, I will tailor each concert to its place in some way, by accompanying a local musician in a piece or two, or playing music by a local composer where possible. Every program will be different at least in some part.
OK, every town in Vermont. But for a pianist, that’s easier said than done. The median town in Vermont has about 1300 inhabitants, and towns that size do not necessarily have a decent piano in a public space. (I live in a town of over 1900, and we don’t.)
My preference will always be to find a good acoustic instrument in good working order. Living rooms are eligible! Where there is no viable option, I will use an electronic keyboard. But I welcome tips and suggestions: if you know a good place to play, especially in smaller communities, please let me know!