News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, August 21, 2014
Farm apprentices rebuild Blue Hill park stage
Will play free folk music show on 24th

A new stage for Blue Hill Park

Musicians Eran Rhodes and Stephanie Zell, who are farm apprentices at Clayfield Farm in East Blue Hill, recently rebuilt the stage in Blue Hill Park.

Photo by Tevlin Schuetz Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Tevlin Schuetz

Apprentices from Clayfield Farm in East Blue Hill recently rebuilt the wooden stage in Blue Hill Town Park.

They will play a free concert there at noon on Sunday, August 24, to dedicate the stage.

The dilapidated stage, which had fallen into disrepair some time ago, caught the eye of Eran Rhodes, who has been fulfilling an apprenticeship at the farm of Phil Norris for the past year. His partner and fellow Clayfield apprentice, Stephanie Zell, put a proposal together with Norris to pitch to the Blue Hill selectmen, Norris said.

After reviewing material costs and time estimates in the proposal, the selectmen approved, and they convinced Norris to work on the wooden stairs to the park as well, he said.

As Norris explained, on July 31, Rhodes and Zell removed the old stage decking and took it to the transfer station. On Friday, August 1, they set up a table saw and went to work, with resident Helen Goodberlet donating electricity—and lemonade—to the effort. They finished the job in time to share the news at the Blue Hill selectmen’s meeting that afternoon, Norris said.

Zell and Rhodes combine to form a folk duo called “Oak in the Heart.” They play a number of instruments between them, including banjo, guitar, flute, cajon and other percussion instruments. They describe their music as “healing,” and they scheduled their show to coincide with high tide on the 24th—as a tip of the hat to the now bygone Blue Hill Day, which used to occur on a summer day of similar tidal circumstances and which always featured live music, as Norris recounted.

They will play “as long as the audience lasts,” Rhodes said. He added that they may play even without an audience.

“Oak in the Heart” invites families to come enjoy their music, picnic and swim in the water nearby. Zell hopes that people will feel free to dance.

“We came out here for a year, to be inspired,” said Rhodes. “Our time is almost over. This is us giving back to the community.”