Recently I received a request for information from folks from a nearby town to help track down “the real Montauk,” for a documentary film in the works. I’m not a true local. I suggested that to find the real Montauk, Montauk Community Church is a good place to look.Take for example, Friday evening’s Coffee House at the Community Church, the third in an ongoing series the church hopes to continue about once a month. The occasions, free of charge, are the inspiration of longtime church member, accomplished singer and acoustic guitarist Debbie Coen, with help of friends and enthusiastic support from MCC church leaders, especially pastor Bill Hoffmann. It’s safe to say the shows have been very successful.
On Friday night I arrived to find the Guild Room filled with folding chairs all facing forward toward the Steinway piano, a gift of the Margaret Pitches family many years ago. Only recently, the piano was moved from a back room to the more accessible Guild Room to help make these shows more possible.
On Friday night, lights in the Guild Room were turned low. Wall sconces resembling candles shed a cheery glow. The magnificent Montauk stone fireplace, although not lit, provided additional warming ambiance on a cold winter’s night.
Entertainment was provided by a true daughter of the church, Sarah Conway, whose grandfather, Virgil Conway II, was instrumental in establishing the Community Church in Montauk. Some present in the audience had known Ms. Conway since her childhood when she summered here with her parents, Virgil Conway III and wife Elaine.
I had heard Ms. Conway sing during special summer music presentations at church, where she often chose hymns or spirituals, favorites of her parents. This was the first time I had seen her in more secular venue. Elegant in a V-neck, waist-clinging red blouse and black slacks and boots, she had true theatrical bling, while at the same time making a perfect presentation in the venerable Guild Room.
Ms. Conway’s repertoire included “We Beseech Thee,” and “It’s All For The Best,” from the musical, “Godspell,” a particular favorite of hers since her young days, as well as the Beatles’ “Let It Be,” and “Love Is All, Love Is You,” presented in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles reaching our shores. “Keep The Faith,” a gospel which Ms. Conway dedicated to her father, had the audience clapping and singing along. Ms. Conway attributed inspiration for her rousing rendition of this spiritual to the Greatful Dead. Also appreciated were show tunes, “Somewhere That’s Green,” from “Little Shop of Horrors,” and “Nothing,” from “A Chorus Line.”
Accompanying Ms. Conway on piano and some vocals as well, was Christine Cadarette. Just as Ms. Conway promised at the start of the show Ms. Cadarette was fabulous and really brought the Steinway to life.
Ms. Beverly Broker, a friend from years back, and the time of Anita and Bill Brown’s wonderful Montauk Theater Productions, provided sensitive vocal harmonies for the Beatles’ songs.
East Hampton Springs musician and songwriter Randy Parsons opened the show with three original songs, “Right From The Start,” “Refugee” and “Maybe I’m Running Away.” Mr. Parsons’s songs are particularly poetic and at church on Sunday there was much comment on his excellence as a guitarist. He also sang the Beach Boys’ “Little Surfer Girl,” as special tribute to Montauk.
Mr. Chris Palomino, recently graduated from college, provided technical assistance, amplification and lighting for the show.
At the prompting of MCC friends, I phoned Ms. Conway’s father, Virgil Conway, whose winter residence is in Westchester County, to tell him about Sarah’s excellent performance. Having always been more of a Yankee’s fan when it comes to sports, Mr. Conway graciously granted me a phone interview on Super Bowl Sunday afternoon. He has a wonderful tale to tell of his life and those of his parents and grandparents, and his family’s part in the “real Montauk.” Return next week to this column when I’ll attempt to do justice to this fascinating conversation. Space constraints prevent me from doing so this week.
Saturday, February 8, at 10 a.m. the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society hosts a seven mile hike through beautiful Point Woods. Enjoy bluff-top views and wind past secretive Money Pond. Montauk Lighthouse is the midpoint of the outing. Meet at the Point Woods trailhead, end of Camp Hero Road, about five miles east of downtown Montauk. Bring lunch and liquids. This moderately paced hike doesn’t necessarily cancel for weather. Hike leader, Rick Whalen, is reachable at (631) 267-6608 or (631) 275-8539. For general information about hiking in East Hampton, visit ehtps.org or email email@example.com.
“Shoreline Sweep” this weekend, February 8 and 9, is another activity for outdoor enthusiasts. Rally at 9 a.m. for a strong “group 5” team. Clean up Montauk’s beaches, covering Montauk Point, west to Montauk Beach in town. The East Hampton Town Trustees will assist with pickup of collected trash. Volunteers need only prepare for a fun day. For information or to volunteer, please contact Shoreline Sweep organizer Dell Cullum at firstname.lastname@example.org, or East Hampton Town Litter Committee Chair Deb Klughers at email@example.com.
According to group leader Joy Hear, several recent Tuesday after school Zumba classes for first- and second-graders at Montauk School were cancelled due to snow. Ms. Hear hopes for better weather for Tuesdays in February.
Cheers to Chris Coleman reporting recently that the Montauk School lower grade basketball team, for which he is a coach, beat Bridgehampton School. I learned this at church where, appropriately, Mr. Coleman refrained from boasting. Basketball is important to the Bridgehampton School and their team must have been a tough challenge.
Listen to stories, sing songs, and make crafts with Miss K. at the library, every Monday from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Crafts are most appropriate for preschool-age children. Free of charge.
Adults can practice the art of Tai Chi on Mondays in February at the Montauk Library, from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
Suffolk Senior Advocate Frank Masterson will be at the library from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, February 5, to answer questions for seniors, their families and caretakers regarding federal, state and county services. While there on Wednesday, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., choose a partner and enjoy a game of bridge.
This Thursday, February 6, at 7 p.m. the Friends of the Montauk Library present “20 Feet From Stardom,” this week’s free Winter Movie Series selection. Light refreshments and time for socializing will follow.
Script Writing for Montauk Library’s Puppet Show happens this Saturday, February 8, from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m., with Family Time till 4:15 p.m. You can help write the script for the Montauk Library Puppet Show! “Collaborating, especially amongst different age groups, is a great learning experience,” according to Children’s Librarian, Ms. Korpi. Volunteers will be paired with younger children. The kids will read from a script so memorization will not be required for the show.
February’s Book Discussion selection is “The Red House,” by Mark Haddon; copies now available at the circulation desk. The discussion takes place Sunday, February 23, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. All who love to read are invited.