FARMINGTON — Skye Theatre will continue to bring world-renowned musicians to a local stage after the Skye Theatre Performing Arts Center in Carthage closes in September.

Skye Theatre will promote Celtic and other top performers in concert at the North Church in Farmington.

Members of Farmington Historical Society, who own the church, will serve community meals prior to the performances. 

“It’s a good fit,” Phill McIntyre of Skye Theatre said. “The church has the location needed to continue the music, and Skye Theatre has a big fan base in Farmington.”

It gives the historical society programming for their venue and allows McIntyre to continue the music and commitments he has made to artists, he said.

Three concerts are planned for this summer before the main series starts with a performance in October by the world-renowned group The Tannahill Weavers. 

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The series will continue every other week until mid December, then break for January and part of February, McIntyre said.

The historical society is making some changes to the church to prepare for the performances. Built in 1873, the second-floor sanctuary or audience room has seen only minor changes since 1915, according to the society’s website.

The altar area has been extended to build a stage and an area for step dancing, he said.

Builders are working to make the new extension, 6½ feet out and 8½ feet to the left, look like the original, Mike Bolduc of Timberland Builders said Friday. The stage will be three times as big as it was.

Concerts will be appropriate for the 240-seat venue, McIntyre said. Along with Celtic music, Skye Theatre will branch out, including some blues and classical music, he said. Local emerging artists will also be given an opportunity.

It will all be family entertainment, kid friendly and affordable without the drive to Carthage, he said.

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Providing space for the concerts, “fits our mission to make the church available to the community,” Daniel Maxham from the Historical Society said.

At the time McIntyre announced his intention to close the Carthage venue, Maxham was thinking about asking him to bring some performances to the church.

After worship at the church ended in 1929, North Church was used for community events and clubs, he said. The historical society purchased it in 1971 and completed major foundation repairs in 2008, with the goal of making it available to the community again.

Members will share the work of serving meals, he said. Membership has grown this year because of all the activities, Maxham said.

The combination of music and dinner is intended to get more people involved and promote a sense of community, McIntyre said. 

Concerts this summer begin June 22 with a performance by the Spain Brothers. A Celtic concert featuring Annilivia takes place July 26 as an end to Farmington’s  Summer Fest. On August 10, emerging local artists Silas and Nolan Rogers take to the stage, he said. 

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All concerts begin at 7 p.m., following the historical society’s public dinners at 5:30 p.m. Most concerts will be held on Thursday nights.

The summer concerts provide an opportunity to make sure the space is ready for this fall’s concerts, he said. Eric Johnson, sound technician, has worked with them on sound and lighting improvements.

The musicians, many from Canada, Ireland and Scotland, have expectations we need to meet consistently, McIntyre said.

“We also have some needs,” he said, hoping local businesses will help sponsor the sound technician and subsidize the concerts.

It’s a long-term project, and McIntyre wants to ensure the historical society “stays in the black.”

abryant@sunjournal.com

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