NEW BRITAIN - A music loverâ€™s treasure trove is hiding inside the basement of South Church.
Among an eclectic collection of musical paraphernalia for sale is recently-retired Music Director Richard Coffeyâ€™s personal 1988 copy of music for â€śLa Bohemeâ€ť by Giacomo Puccini.
The Music Series at South Church Steering Committee held the All Things Musical Tag Sale the last two weekends, but still have quite a few items to part with.
â€śThis was going to be the last day of the sale but weâ€™re still hoping people will come by,â€ť Committee member Sarah Potter said on Oct. 21. â€śIf anyone wants to get in touch with the church before Nov. 1, they can schedule a time to come down and see what we have.â€ť
The sale is a fundraiser for the churchâ€™s popular music series, now in its 45th year. The series consists of five concerts open to the public with a free-will donation, featuring renowned musicians. Organist Katelyn Emerson will kick off the 2018-19 series on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 4 p.m.
A Candlelight Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is set for Sunday, Dec. 23, featuring South Churchâ€™s Chancel Choir. Then new Music Director Michelle Horsley Parker will present â€śDarkness and Lightâ€ť Jan. 20, followed by the Yale Whiffenpoofs a cappella ensemble April 7 and the American String Quartet with pianist David Westfall April 28.
The series has sustained itself for more than four decades through grants and donations. More recently, the tag sale has supplemented the effort.
Committee Chairwoman Jean Esselink and fellow members have collected items from church members, local choral groups and musicians over the years. They are now sorted by type, from operas and choral music to tambourines and biographies of composers.
â€śWe would love to find homes for all of this stuff,â€ť volunteer Cynthia Mellon said.
Thereâ€™s the Rev. Robert Lowryâ€™s â€śRoyal Diadem for the Sunday Schoolâ€ť printed in 1873, â€śHymns for the Space Ageâ€ť by Edward Chipman, â€śTwenty-four Italian Songs and Arias,â€ť and so many more.
Mellon, Potter and others gushed over titles they came across Sunday, like â€śCzerny Selected Pianoforte Studiesâ€ť by Heinrich Germer (copyright 1916) and John Thompsonâ€™s Modern Course for the Piano, â€śTeaching Little Fingers to Playâ€ť from 1936.
â€śI bought two copies of â€śDona Nobis Pacemâ€ť here because the Hartford Chorale is doing that in the spring with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra,â€ť said Danielle Foint, visiting from Agawam, Mass. â€śMy granddaughters are taking piano lessons and I bought a whole bunch of sheet music here as well. This is a wonderful resource for musicians who love to collect music.â€ť
At the last sale in fall 2017, a Trinity College professor came in search of 78 rpm records.
â€śWe had a bunch of them,â€ť Potter recalled. â€śHe came back this weekend and found music to match the scores, so people can read it while theyâ€™re listening to the records.â€ť
Music teachers used to get a special preview of the sale before anyone else, pointed out Laurie Miner. Many of the sight reading and teaching books have been picked through now, however.
â€śThereâ€™s so little funding for the arts in schools,â€ť Miner added.
The All Things Musical Tag Sale is now open by private appointment only. People interested can call South Church at 860-223-7555.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or email@example.com.