Douglas Moore Festival seeks new committee members

The Douglas Moore Festival committee is hoping to bolster its ranks this year with new community members interested in keeping alive the 33-year-old summer tradition of a free concert on the Cutchogue Village Green.

The annual concert, held the second Saturday in August, honors the memory of New Suffolk composer Douglas Moore, a Pulitzer Prize winner who lived on his family’s bayfront property “Salt Meadow” for his entire life. He died in 1969.

Mr. Moore is known for lyrical, pastoral works including the sound track to “Power and the Land,” a film produced by the federal government promoting electricity in rural areas. He was also a composer of operas, including “The Devil and Daniel Webster,” “The Ballad of Baby Doe” and “Giants of the Earth,” for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1951.

Cutchogue-New Suffolk Historical Council member Jim Grathwohl has been on the festival committee for 15 years, and served as its chairman until last summer, when he temporarily stepped down, turning over the reigns to 10-year committee member Lauren Grant.

“A lot of people have some health issues and other commitments,” said Ms. Grant, who is helping to solicit new members. “At the last meeting there were four people when there normally are 10 or 12.”

Prospective committee members “need to have an appreciation of music, but not necessarily a deep knowledge,” she added. “It’s a very fun, very social committee. It would be good to have a person with fresh ideas to help us market the concert better. We’d love to get younger people involved who might have some ideas for other types of music to introduce.”

The annual concert, scheduled this year for Aug. 13, usually offers several chamber works and a performance by the Sound Symphony Orchestra, and features works by Mr. Moore and other composers.

The concert costs roughly $3,000 to produce and is paid for by donations solicited from community members and by passing the hat around during the event.

“It’s all relatively small donations. We don’t take any government money,” said Mr. Grathwohl. “The community has been very generous.”

Two people have officially left the festival committee this year, he said, and though there is still a core of support, he wants to open it up to new members in part to avoid a repeat of what happened to The Arts in Southold Town. That group folded earlier this year when its members suddenly announced that they could no longer continue to produce concerts.

“Their work was a bigger job than ours, and they were a smaller committee,” Mr. Grathwohl said, adding that Douglas Moore Festival committee members don’t need to raise nearly as much money as The Arts in Southold Town, which brought in nationally touring acts.

“Anybody could be a member who is interested in music. The committee likes to have a good time,” he said. “It’s anything but a challenging job.”

The committee will meet on one Wednesday morning per month until this year’s concert.

Anyone interested in joining can call Ms. Grant at 734-7503 or contact Mr. Grathwohl at 734-6507 or [email protected]

[email protected]