George Wiese

Elizabeth Roth

WATERFORD — The Waterford music series, “Sharps on the Flat,” resumes on Saturday, March 28 at 7 p.m. with a concert by the vocalist and harpist Elizabeth Roth, accompanied on piano by George Wiese. To be held in the historic Waterford Congregational Church, the concert will feature works by George Gershwin, Kurt Weill, Cole Porter, the Grateful Dead and others. Roth had a wide repertoire, drawing from the Great American Songbook and popular genres of the past 50 years. Admission is free, but donations to the Waterford Fuel Fund are gratefully accepted.

Elizabeth Roth, who lives in Bridgton, has had an eclectic career. She comes with a BA in vocal performance from Cleveland State University, experience in dance and singing in off-Broadway productions, and years of study with notable harpists. Since moving to Maine in 1985 with summer stock, she has combined a career in solo and group performance. She is also an experienced real estate appraiser, because, as she says, “Music doesn’t pay all the bills.” On the side, Roth also teaches voice, harp, and beginning piano.
The upcoming concert will be mostly vocals, accompanied by Roth on her harp, and Wiese, but will include some harp pieces and solos by Wiese on the piano and trombone. Roth is excited to feature her singing, as she admits that playing the harp as an accompanying instrument is difficult. “It will be very freeing for me,” she adds. Wiese has recently become the regular organist at the Waterford Congregational Church, where he was thrilled to find a 200-year-old Mason and Hamlin reed organ, which he employs in church services every Sunday. He owns seven reed organs, in various states of restoration.

A noted performer and educator, Wiese is a graduate of the Juilliard School in New York and the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. He enjoys a diverse music career as a conductor, pianist, and trombonist. This performance will be the seventh in the music series begun by the Waterford Church two years ago. Concerts have featured a great variety of
music genres—from Russian classical singing, to jazz, to bluegrass, to folk, and a ukulele band. All have showcased talent from far and wide, from local musicians to a quartet from St. Petersburg, Russia. They have been well-attended and are a great asset to the community. Roth has other ties to Waterford. She, with Wiese’s support, recently purchased the 180-year-old So. Waterford Grange Hall and has big plans to turn it into a music performance venue, dance hall, and rental space on
the second floor, with a café and coffeehouse downstairs in what she has dubbed the Old School Cafe. “I have been talking about having a grange hall for 20 years,” she says with enthusiasm.
Although considerable work needs to be done to get the newly-named Bear Mountain Music Hall in shape and up to code, she is planning to get things rolling this summer. The café will have food available for donations, but only until a septic system can be installed and a kitchen made functional. A NYC full-licensed hot dog stand will be available to serve hot food during events until that time. A music series and other events are in the planning stages.
The Bear Mountain Music Hall is an ambitious undertaking for the 62-year- old musician, but music has always been her life, beginning when her mother announced that all of her children were going to learn a musical instrument. Roth wanted a harp, but that was not on the table for the third- grader. So, she picked up piano, violin, flute, French horn, and xylophone, finally acquiring a harp at the age of 25. “Harp was home,” she says.

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