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This week’s edition!

Nine years on, Turner Gazebo a popular community center

The 2018 “Music for Mavis” summer concert series at the Turner Gazebo kicks off on Tuesday, May 22 at 6:30 p.m. with a concert by folk musician Tom Stevens. There is no admission charge, but a suggested $5 “pass the hat” donation helps support the performers.

Music melodies and song lyrics often rouse our senses as we reminisce of days gone bye or days more recent. How those melodies stir our emotions! It has been stated: “Sometimes it’s not the song that makes you emotional, it’s the people and things that come to mind when you hear it.”

So it was with Mavis Varney, inspiration for the Turner Gazebo construction project and for whom its annual summer concert series, “Music for Mavis,” is named.

Mavis sang harmony, played alto saxophone in the school band, told jokes, and always loved to have a good time with friends and community. She and her husband, Paul, actively participated in many community projects, including helping to save the Leavitt Institute Building, supporting the creation of the Androscoggin River Park, and building community baseball fields. She was also a committed participant in church activities and supporter of Paul’s baseball team.

Mavis loved music and often attended concerts at the gazebo in Livermore Falls. She wanted Turner to have its own musical center, as it once had “in the old days.” While driving by the village green in Turner Center, she realized that it would be a perfect place to build a gazebo, right in front of the Leavitt Institute Building. She envisioned the structure as a community space to enjoy music, plays, and dancing with her neighbors.

Mavis passed away in August of 2018. Contributions donated in her memory by friends and the Turner Snowmobile Club inspired the creation of the “Music For Mavis” Gazebo Building Committee. The project took a year to percolate, but in the fall of 2009, serious action began. The committee was led by Mavis’ daughter, Paula Anderson, and included a diverse group of talented community members.

Thanks to the dedicated work of the committee and numerous other volunteers, including designer Dave Rogers, project manager Kurt Youland, and local contractors who donated their work, the dream became a reality when the project was completed in time for the town’s Fourth of July celebration in 2010. In the project’s spirit of inclusiveness, the gazebo is built at ground level for easy access by seniors and those using wheelchairs.

With the ninth season of the Gazebo’s “Music for Mavis” summer concert series just around the corner, it’s important to reflect on how Mavis’ dream has become a reality. Surrounded by Turner’s historic buildings, the gazebo is now a centerpiece for community and school events throughout the year, including the town’s Fourth of July Festival concert and the annual Lighting of the Tree ceremony during the Christmas season. The enthusiastic participation of community members in these events brings to life the vision Mavis had for the gazebo.

Providing community entertainment requires a budget. One of the ways the gazebo board covers expenses is to “pass the hat” for donations midway through each summer concert. While a minimum gratuity is suggested, many people generously give more. These donations from program attendees, with additional support from local businesses and community members, enable the program to continue to provide music for the community.

While providing summer concerts is the major focus of the gazebo board, they must also manage the need for continued maintenance of the gazebo. The board is currently working on upgrading the lighting within the gazebo, along with cleaning, painting, and other minor repairs. These maintenance costs exceed what summertime receipts bring in. As you look forward to this summer’s concert series, please consider supporting the Music for Mavis program and gazebo maintenance. Any help, in the form of monetary donations, labor, or material, would be welcome and appreciated. See you at the Gazebo!

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