We are excited to report that the restoration of the smokehouse and stone kitchen is happening as this is being written. When the team from the National Trust for Historic Preservation first visited Happy Retreat in 2015, they identified these two buildings as uniquely important. The limited archaeology we have done to date has helped us understand their history. We will soon be able to open them to the public to tell that history. We are indebted to Bob and Tia McMillan of Shepherdstown for their generosity in making this important restoration project possible.
The next season of chamber music concerts opens on October 13, with flautist Kathie Stewart. It is thanks to the efforts of local musician Gary Stewart that we have been able to bring such renowned artists as Ms. Stewart to perform at Happy Retreat, in particular Gary’s connection with the world famous Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra of Cleveland. Every one of the musicians who has performed here has loved the experience and have all wanted to come back. The excellent acoustics and intimacy of the parlors have made each concert memorable. Grammy-nominated lutenist Ron McFarlane, who has performed in concert halls around the world, said the parlors were one of his favorite performance venues. On November 10. Tina Bergman, recognized as the leading player of the hammered dulcimer, will perform with her husband, bassist Bryan Thomas. Then on December 15, Gary Stewart, will bring us another festive Christmas holiday guitar concert.
When Gary first proposed the idea of a chamber music series for Happy Retreat, we chose the name of the Charles Washington Chamber Music Society (CWCMS). Understandably, however, there has been some confusion between it and the Charles Washington Symphony Orchestra (CWSO), which was in existence first. To avoid this confusion, we would like to find a new name for the chamber music society We invite your ideas for that new name. We want to find a name that reflects both the genre of chamber music and the history of the setting. Please call us at (304) 724-7956 or email us at email@example.com with your suggestions.
We are also pleased that Four Seasons Books of Shepherdstown has agreed to partner with us on our Happy Retreat Book Series. Our goal has been to bring in an author to lead an informal discussion about a book relevant to the history of our region or the era of the late 18th – early 19th centuries. We look forward to working with Four Seasons Books.