This year Maudslay Arts Center (MAC) celebrated its Silver Jubilee 25th Anniversary season with a wonderful line-up of concerts culminating in A Salute to Veterans with singer-songwriter Don Campbell on Aug. 27.
Approximately 250 people were in attendance as veterans and their guests were treated to a first class performance by singer-songwriter, Don Campbell and his band, a wonderful way to say thank you to our veterans and their families for all they have given.
“I thought it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever gone to,” said Kevin Hunt, Veterans Services Officer for the communities of Amesbury, Newburyport, Merrimac and Salisbury. “It was an especially moving event because of the people involved – the veterans, the volunteers who made it all happen, and, especially, the uniting quality of Don Campbell’s music.”
The setting was patriotic and colorful. Guests were greeted by the 50 state flags, courtesy of the Amesbury Lions Club, and six flags, denoting the six branches of the Armed Services. The POW/MIA table that graced the stage served as a poignant reminder of all that our veterans and their families have sacrificed.
The afternoon began with the procession of the Amesbury Police Department Color Guard under the direction of Sgt. Rick Poulin. At intermission, special swag bags filled with refreshments were distributed to every veteran by the officials and the fire and police chiefs of Newburyport and Amesbury. At the conclusion of the concert, a special flag that flew over the state house on July 4 was presented to Kevin Hunt in honor of all veterans.
During the afternoon commendations were presented by Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives, Rep. James Kelcourse, Rep. Lenny Mirra, Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday and Amesbury Mayor Ken Gray to Cynthia and Nicholas J. Costello and their family in recognition of their 25 years of volunteer work making Maudslay Arts Center the jewel that it is.
MAC is a popular cultural and entertainment destination that has served tens of thousands of patrons since its founding 25 years ago in 1992.
Situated in a picturesque corner of the 442-acre Maudslay State Park in Newburyport, MAC is best known for its outstanding summer concert series. However, from mid-May through mid-October, it is also a popular setting for special events such as weddings, corporate functions, educational activities, reunions, and more.
It all started back in 1985, when Nicholas J. Costello with the help of other environmentally conscious state legislators realized the purchase of the 500-plus acre Moseley estate by The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts. The purchase effectively saved the property from private developers waiting in the wings to buy this amazing tract of land on the Merrimack River, full of trails and gardens and home to thousands of species of plants.
People came to enjoy simple walks in the beauty and quiet of nature offering something for all our New England seasons. A children’s outdoor theater company emerged along with the perfect setting for marriage ceremonies, picnics, memorial services, and just plain enjoyment of nature’s magnificence.
In 1993, three men of vision were granted a special permit by the state Dept. of Environmental Management. Former Senator Nick Costello, former Mayor Edward Molin and E. James Gaines pooled their ideas, expertise and capital to create the Maudslay Arts Center, MAC.
From the rubble and decay of an area known as the “the farmyard” the trio designed and built a 1600 sq. ft. performance stage, the lynchpin of an area that forms a natural bowl consisting of the patio area for chairs and tables seating 200. An adjacent lawn area nestled under the trees accommodates an additional 200.
The old dairy barn was re-shingled, cupolas rebuilt, the interior gutted and a polished concrete floor laid. Modern bathrooms were housed in the former milk shed. Since its beginning, MAC continues to operate through the effort of volunteers. A Salute to Veterans was no exception.
A Salute To Veterans committee members included Donna Gray, Linda Young, Karen Cameron, Karen Cook, Jill Ramsdell, Russ Monroe, Alysa Morse, Jim Babbin, Joan Baptiste, Kevin Hunt, Ski Iworski, Hailey Klein, Kelsey Crowley, Beverly Stables, Alyssa Premo, Kathleen Crowley, Sandra Jutras, Kathy Lucy, Carol Feingold, and co-chairs Rosey Werner and Cynthia Costello.
In-kind donations were contributed by Chief Kenneth Berkenbush, Amesbury Fire Department; Chief William Sholtz, Amesbury Police Department; Honor Guard Sgt. Rick Poulin; Jim Babbin, Amesbury Rotary Club; Joan Baptiste, Amesbury Lions Club; Amesbury Veterans Affairs officer Kevin Hunt; area Senior Centers staffs; Roseann Robillard; ATRIA Merrimack Place; Boys & Girls Club, Salisbury; Amesbury Summer Program, and Elaine Drolet, Brown Spring Farm, West Newbury.
Also, Cider Hill Farm, Amesbury; Deb Plumer and Sheila Skane, Coastal Connections, Amesbury; Katie Henderson, Dianne’s Fine Desserts, Newburyport; Glen Kemper, Executive Catering Services; Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank; Costello Family, Maudslay Arts Center, Inc.; Pete’s Septic Service, Plaistow, N.H., and Shaheen Brothers, Inc , Amesbury; Rob Kovacs and staff, DCR Maudslay State Park; Nicholas Costello, Jr., MAC executive director; Tia Costello; The Evans Family, and Jack and Rosey Werner.
Whether you’re sitting under the stars on a moonlit evening, or lounging on a blanket on a Sunday afternoon, the Maudslay Arts Center Summer Concert Series provides the perfect setting for your entertainment pleasure.