On February 1 it’s sunny with temperatures reaching 50 degrees. Snow from the “blizzard” on Saturday, January 23, has all but disappeared in Montauk.Right after dinner last Friday, husband Don and I hurried down to Montauk Community Church for a coffee house featuring vocalist Sarah Conway. Ms. Conway was accompanied by Dan Koontz working his magic on the church’s Steinway piano. We arrived a few minutes late and grabbed the last two open seats. About 40 music lovers were there. Ms. Conway, a true daughter of Montauk, has family roots that go right back to our town’s formative years.
The free coffee houses at the Montauk Community Church are the brainchild and organized by Montauk resident Debbie Coen, who was not able to make it for this show. Each of the past three years, Ms. Conway has performed a January show to benefit outreach and charitable projects of MCC. When we arrived, Ms. Conway was belting out a song I’ve since learned was, “All About That Bass,” by American pop singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor. A memorable line is, “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top … My momma she told me don’t worry about your size. She says, boys they like a little more booty to hold at night.”
Ms. Conway confided she had been practicing at home while some local excavator guys, including Alan Burke, worked outside. She said they got quite a kick out of her rehearsal. Many in the audience were acquainted with Alan Burke, who wasn’t present. I think he was a friend of my cousin Sean when we were teenagers and I went with them to the famous Montauk Cola Copa. Husband Don says Alan Burke was our son Dan’s Little League coach!
Other highlights were “Mein Herr,” from Cabaret, “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” from the 1967 musical film starring Julie Andrews, “I Felt Nothing,” from “A Chorus Line” and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s, “Tell Me On A Sunday,” along with gospel and folk rock protest songs, which had the audience singing, tapping their feet and clapping.
The show had a theme, something along the lines of “Ladies, Stand Up for Your Rights!” and all rights in general, no doubt inspired by Ms. Conway’s recent run-in with local authorities over the current Army Corps of Engineers beach project in Montauk. Sarah was among the group of locals who lay down in the sand attempting to halt the advancing bulldozers, at which time she was arrested.
Don and I were surprised to learn that Val Hoffmann, wife of Pastor Bill, was also among the protesters. Another local couple arrested during the protest was present at the coffee house too. All took the “stage” along with Ms. Conway for a rousing protest song and then made a big group hug.
Ms. Hoffmann, who sported a boldly striped top in honor of the occasion, later confided to Don and me that being arrested by the Montauk police really wasn’t that bad. An officer made sure to go out and fetch fresh donuts and coffee for the law breakers as soon as they arrived at the Montauk police station, she said.
The audience was delighted when Ms. Conway read excerpts from letters written by her grandfather, Edmund Virgil Conway II (1884-1949), to her grandmother, around 1922 when her grandfather first came to Montauk to work for Carl Fisher. Dorothea Brandes (1897-1967), a friend of Mr. Conway’s sisters, was then head surgical nurse at Missouri’s Baptist Hospital and in her early 30s. On her first visit she stayed at Montauk Manor right around the time it opened as a swanky hotel. Word around town then was that Miss Dorothea was a very nice woman and “not at all a flapper.” In her attic Sarah has discovered a treasure trove of letters written during her grandparents’ long distance courtship. Both were excellent writers, Sarah said, and the letters provide marvelous descriptions of life in Montauk during the 1920s.
Other things currently happening around town: The Montauk Village Association would like local students to be aware of their scholarship programs for graduating seniors from Montauk. High school seniors graduating from either public or private schools are eligible. The MVA offers four scholarships to students in the amounts of $1,000, $750, $500, and the Margaret Potts Scholarship of $1,000 may be awarded to a student pursuing a career in education. Margaret Potts was both a former president of the MVA and an influential teacher. Applications must be postmarked by March 31. Information and applications can be found at montaukvillageassociation.org.
Montauk Youth sends a reminder that registration is open online at www.ehyouthlax.com, for those in kindergarten through grade six, boys and girls lacrosse. Registration closes February 16. Contact Chris Stewart at (917) 744-2450 with questions.
East Hampton Little League is accepting registration for baseball and softball players, age 8 through 12, from Amagansett, Montauk, East Hampton, Springs and Wainscott. Sign up at Sportime in Amagansett on February 6 and 27 from 2 to 4:30 p.m., or at Seven Sons Masonry at 33 Three Mile Harbor Road, East Hampton, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Take Your Child to the Library Day is this Saturday, February 6, and Montauk Library is participating for the first time. There will be activities all day for children of all ages and parents are encouraged to bring their child to the library. At 11 a.m. there will be a story hour and craft; at 2 p.m. is Book Bingo, in which all winners take home books. All day drop-in crafts will be available and children will be entered into a raffle to win a Kindle Fire tablet by taking a photo in the library’s photo booth and describing why they love the library.
Tots create fun Valentine’s Day crafts including love bugs, tissue paper heart stained glass and valentines with Miss Jackie on Tuesday, February 9, from 4 to 5 p.m. Registration required. Please sign up with Miss Jackie in the library’s children’s department or call (631)-668-3377.
Montauk Library events director Caroline Balducci sends word that this Saturday at 11 p.m. PBS-Channel 13 will show “Roadie.” Her daughter Sirad Balducci was one of the producers of this Indie film. If that’s too late for you, thanks to the Friends of the Library, the library has a copy of the DVD.
Tonight, February 3, at 7 p.m., “The Suffragette,” (PG-13), is this week’s free Winter Series movie selection at the library. It’s the story of foot soldiers of the early feminist movement.