WILTON — Country music audiences showed their appreciation over the winter for Friday night musical entertainment by donating $1,100 for the Wilton Area Food Pantry.
Bing and Nancy Crosby of Jay along with guest musicians have played every Friday night during the winter at the Harnden Masonic Lodge on Bryant Road. Donations were accepted at the door and after paying building rent and the cost of refreshments, enough funds were available to donate to the Food Pantry and reimburse the Masons for the price of a state dancing permit, Bing Crosby told Friday night’s audience.
Accepting the donation for the Food Pantry, Kitty McDonald said it has served over 125-families this winter but the number keeps going up.
The pantry provides a three-day emergency food supply, one per family per month, along with Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets. It serves families in Wilton, Weld, North Jay, Dryden, East Wilton and East Dixfield.
“The Friday night sessions were a winter experiment,” Crosby said. The Country Music Jamboree/Spotlight quickly became a popular, packed-room session featuring the music of local favorites, the Crosbys and Sue and Wendell Voter, and a spotlight session featuring a different artist each week. He was looking for experienced musicians to perform and had most nights booked before it even started.
The musicians all donated their time, no one was paid, he said.
“It (the jamboree) was something he always wanted to do and it gave people something to do on a Friday night,” Nancy Crosby said earlier.
The musical couple stayed here this year instead of wintering in Arizona, which provided the opportunity to organize the jamboree offering a variety of music including country and bluegrass.
This past Friday was the last one of the season but plans are already started for next winter, he said.