Easter egg hunt rescheduled

The late Cassidy Charette with one of her little friends from Hart to Hart Farm, in Albion. Contributed photo

Due to extended winter weather, the March 25 ShineOnCass Easter Egg Hunt at Hart-to-Hart Farm & Educational Center has been rescheduled to an exciting new spring celebration! The community is invited to help welcome the farm’s new baby animals at the first ShineOnCass Animal Baby Shower & Egg Hunt Sunday, April 22, from 2 to 4 pm at 16 Duck Pond Road, in Albion.

Please bring a pet item to the “Baby Shower” to donate to the Humane Society Waterville Area in honor and memory of Cassidy Charette, who was a shelter volunteer. Children are asked to bring their own basket to collect hidden eggs on the farm. Egg Hunt begins at 2:30 p.m. for ages 0-6, followed by ages 7-12. Come meet the new baby calves, goats and welcome bunnies, sheep, and other farm animals at the petting area. The event also includes farm games, crafts, face painting and a visit by the Easter Bunny. All are encouraged to wear boots and warm clothing to the event.

You can find the original story here: Hart-to-Hart to host Easter egg hunt for charity


Owen Concaugh named to dean’s list

Owen Concaugh, class of 2021, from Oakland, was named to the dean’s list at Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, during the fall semester of the 2017-18 academic year. A student must earn a grade point average of 3.5 or higher on a scale of 4.0 to receive dean’s list recognition.

I’m Just Curious: Weekend in southern Maine

by Debbie Walker

I have pretty much decided a large number of people who live in Massachusetts run away from home on the weekends. Add to that a long weekend and the group grows.

I don’t think they are fall peepers because we were in a beach town. I don’t think the beach is the reason for their visit in October, however, I do believe there were some kayakers in the group.

There was a stretch of I-295 in Freeport with some pretty colors. This is probably the peak weekend for color and the rain that came in Saturday night will probably knock some of those beautiful colors to the ground.

Some of the people may have been there to visit the unique shops for their clearance prices, best prices of the season! I am sure the eateries were thrilled with all the customers as well.

I can’t believe that we were in a restaurant for an hour and a half before we even got seated: Drinks often lessen the stress of a long wait. That was true in this case.

You might wonder why someone with my attitude would even be there in all the rat race, wait a minute! I just realized something. I’ll bet a lot of these Massachusetts people were trying to escape their home rat race by coming to Maine and, TA DA, another rat race.

OK enough of that. We were in the rat race so that Ken could visit with three of his children. Joe’s (a son) family was the host. Ken visited with daughter, Chris, and another son, Kenny. At this point I believe we were into the third day of celebrating Ken’s 75th birthday.

The birthday started a day early with a trip for Ken and his friend, Carl, to the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum. I knew all things transportation related would be of interest to both and would be Carl’s birthday gift, as well.

Ken’s actual birthday, Friday, was cake and ice cream for both the guys, with family and friends popping in and out. Saturday morning began the trip to the rat race, ooopps, I mean to southern Maine where he visited three of his children and grandson, Joshua.

All in all, I think Ken had a pretty busy birthday and a lot of people enjoyed their Maine weekend! We hope you enjoyed yours as well.

For now I’M JUST CURIOUS, what gets you curious?

Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com subject line: Curiosity Have a great week!


by  Peter Cates

Sung by soprano Geraldine Farrar; Victor 87289, recorded approx. 1916, 10-inch shellac record.

Geraldine Farrar was one of the most popular and accomplished American sopranos during her years at the Metropolitan Opera between 1907-1922, where she would appear 672 times in 29 operas, her two most famous roles being Carmen and Madame Butterfly and her most famous co-star,  Enrico Caruso.

Geraldine Farrar

Geraldine Farrar

She was born in Mel­rose, Massa­chusetts. Her father, Sidney Farrar, gained much fame back in the 1890s as a major league infielder for the Phila­del­phia Quakers and the same city’s Athletics, and had Maine roots in his birthplace of Paris Hill. She displayed much talent by the age of 15, and would be a major star in Berlin from 1901-1904, where she was frequently rumored to have had an affair with Crown Prince Wilhelm (He would later become smitten with a certain dancer named Mata Hari.) .

But her most “noted affair” occurred from 1909-1915 with the then Met’s Music Director Arturo Toscanini . When she demanded he leave his wife and family to marry her, he abruptly resigned his position and sped back to Italy. A year later, she married silent film star Lou Tellegen but divorced him in 1923 because of his chronic and much reported adulteries. When he committed suicide in 1934, she was asked for a reaction and inquired back as to why his death could possibly interest her.

She recorded extensively for Victor records and was acclaimed for her unusual combo of a nearly perfect voice and sense of drama. The above record shows her gifts at making a novelty song into a delectable listening experience.

She had a most pro-active group of women fans in the ‘20s known as Gerryflappers. Other milestones included an appearance on one of the earliest AM radio broadcasts being conducted experimentally by Lee De Forrest in New York City in 1907; a career as a silent film star in several lead roles, including Carmen and Joan of Arc; and a period of years during the ‘30s as intermission commentator on the Met Saturday afternoon live radio broadcasts.

Finally, she raised and trained a gaggle of geese for a role on stage in one opera, Konigskinder, by Engelbert Humperdinck- no relation to the ‘60s singer.

Simon family receives LakeSmart designation

The China Lake Association is delighted to announce that Irma Simon’s family property on China Lake has just won the coveted LakeSmart Award for their lake-friendly management that protects our lake from harmful stormwater runoff.  Irma’s family has enjoyed their camp since around 1927.  She remembers that as a child, her parents brought her and her three older sisters from early June until mid-September to spend their summers at the lake. She also remembers that before the week of rain in 1983, China Lake was clear, but that after the rain, it turned green.

Irma Simon

Irma Simon, left, receives the LakeSmart designation on behalf of her family from Marie Michaud, LakeSmart program team leader. Contributed photo

Her family has always kept a deep and varied stand of vegetation along the lake’s edge. This “buffer” is the most effective tool for keeping phosphorus and other harmful pollutants from entering our lake and stimulating algae growth. Ninety percent  of what goes into a lake stays in a lake! The Simons also keep the mower blade no lower than 3 inches. Why? Because the root system is only as deep as the blade of grass is tall. The longer the roots, the more protection we give to the lake from erosion and pollution leaching through soil to lake water.

Thank you, Irma and your family, for your LakeSmart Practices! Display your signs proudly!

Submitted by The China Lake Association LakeSmart Program, Marie Michaud Team Leader.

Obituaries, Week of July 28, 2016


OAKLAND––Charlene Eva Scott Mathieu, 86, of Hobe Sound, Florida, and Oakland, passed away Saturday, July 2, 2016. Charlene was born in Wytopitlock on January 11, 1930, the daughter of Walter and Eva Scott.

She graduated from Clinton High School in 1948, and the Sisters School of nursing in 1951. She spent the next 37 years working in her chosen profession before retiring in 1988.

In 1951 she married,Roger Mathieu. Charlene and Roger were married for 57 years until his passing in 2008. Their married life was filled with many happy years, sharing their love of dancing, skiing, travel, playing cards and socializing with friends and family. After retirement they greatly enjoyed spending winters in Florida and summers in Maine.

Charlene was a very loving and caring person, and was always there to help family and friends. She was a great storyteller, had a wonderful sense of humor, a hearty and infectious laugh, and always had a twinkle in her eye. She was zestful, enjoyed life, and was delightful to be around.

She was predeceased by her nephew, Kevin Scott.

Charlene is survived by her brothers Earl Scott and Walter Scott; brother-in-law Armand Mathieu and wife Bonnie; nieces, Becky Klaiber, Debbie Jensen, Melisa Silva, Lisa Scott, Julie Mathieu, Linda Nelson, and Rose Lovecchio; and her nephews, Bruce Mast and Michael Mathieu.

Memorial services will be held on August 8 at 11 a.m. at Notre Dame Church on Silver Street in Waterville, followed by a burial at St. Francis Cemetery. A celebration of life will be held afterwards at the Mathieu residence on Messalonskee Lake in Oakland.


JEFFERSON––Kathleen “Kathy” Waltz, 77, of Jefferson, passed away at home on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, following a lengthy illness. The youngest of eight children, Kathy was born on September 25, 1938, in Jefferson, a daughter of Lydia Sprague and Albert Weaver.

She attended local schools and proudly earned her GED later in life.

Her hobbies and interests were many. She enjoyed collecting knick-knacks, crafting, decorating for the holidays, baking and coffee and conversations with friends and relatives. The pure enjoyment of eating her minced deer meat pie and fudge will be longed for by many.

Kathy especially delighted in spending time with friends and family. She enjoyed traveling to Maui, playing cribbage and other card games, and numerous long chats with her close friend, Donna Williams. Kathy had an open and welcoming door to all, but an even larger open and welcoming heart to so many.

She was predeceased by siblings, Dot Gautreau, Maxine McKay, Esther Cheney, Ruth Peaslee, Bernice Morais, and Donald Weaver.

She is survived by her husband of 61 years, Frank Waltz Sr.; sons, Arthur, Frank Jr., Ira, Dana and Harlow; grandchildren, Shawna, Breanna, Frank III, Nancy, Donald, Dana Jr., Alexis, Elliott, Ruth Anne, and Harlow Jr.; and two great-grandchildren; and sister, Shirley Peaslee.

Condolences and messages for the family may be expressed by visiting www.StrongHancock. com.


JEFFERSON––Timothy “Tim” E. Quirion, 61, of Jefferson, passed away on Saturday, July 16, 2016, following a 15-year battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease and MS. Tim was born in Augusta on January 25, 1955, the son of Romeo O. and Vivian May (York) Quirion.

Tim grew up in Augusta and attended local schools. After school Tim went to work for a family-owned taxi company, Romeo’s Taxi. Tim went on to open his own automotive business at his home in Jefferson for many years. Tim also worked as a security officer of which he was very proud.

Tim was predeceased by his parents, Romeo and Vivian Quirion; and siblings, Bruce, Shelia, Badelia, and Daniel Quirion.

He is survived by his significant other of 43 years, Diana Hinckley, of Jefferson; son Timothy Hinckley and wife Kala, of Augusta; daughters, Angel Labelle and husband James, of Washington, and Tammy Brann and husband Wayne, of Jefferson; granddaughters, Kaitlyn Kelley, Nicole Hinckley, Ashley Conklin, Melissa Brann, Miranda Brann, Danielle Brann, Amanda Brann, and Melaney Labellle; grandsons, Timothy Hinckley Jr., Camron Hinckley, and Alexander Labelle; and great-grandchildren, Kaiden Knox, Isaac and Noah Kelley, Hunter Knox, and Leland Brann; siblings, Brenda Bartlett, of Windham, Janice Quirion, of Waterville, and Linda Banks, of South Carolina.


FAIRFIELD – Sandra L. Hann, 60, passed away Sunday, July 17, 2016, at her home in Fair­field. She was born Novem­ber 23, 1955 in Water­ville.



She attended Waterville area schools and graduated from Lawrence High School in 1974. On June 16, 2001, she married Danny Hann at the Shawmut Chapel. Sandra was employed as a scheduler and medical technician at Mount St. Joseph’s, in Waterville.

Sandra was a member of the Shawmut Chapel, enjoyed hunting, fishing, and sewing, but most of all spending time with her family and husband.

She is survived by her husband of 15 years, Danny J. Hann Sr., of Fairfield; two daughters, Angelina Chapman and significant other Arturo, of Summerfield, Florida, Michelle McAlpine, of Fairfield; son Heith Hann, of Fairfield; three step-daughters, Dawn Hann and Jennifer Hann, of China, Jennifer Hann Welch and husband Alfred, of St Albans, Tia Hann and significant other Marc Bolduc, of Fairfield; two step-sons, Danny Hann and significant other Cheryl Palmer, of Sidney, Michael Hann and fiancée Sherrie Tucker, of Waterville; three sisters, Cheryl Yale and husband Paul, of Parkman, Wanda Eldridge and significant other Doug Hawk, of New Smyrna, Florida, Linda Richards, of Vassalboro; brother Don Goodale and wife Betty, of East Benton; mother-in-law, Barbara Cook, of Waterville; 26 grandchildren; 17 great grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; three step-sisters; one step-brother.

She was predeceased by her mother, Mavice B. King; foster parents, Lindley and Celia Littlefield; and brother, Billy Goodale.

Memorial donations may be made to MaineGeneral Health Office of Philanthropy, PO Box 828, Waterville, ME 04901.

Arrangements under the direction and care of Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service 445 Waterville Road, Skowhegan, Maine 04976.


CHARLES B. ANDREWS, 59, of Augusta, passed away on Monday, May 23, 2016, at Gray Birch Nursing Home, in Augusta, due to complications from diabetes. Locally, she is survived a a niece, Kristen Andrews, of Jefferson.

WALTER W. HILTON, 67, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, June 20, 2016. Locally, he is survived by a daughter Heidi Clark and husband Jigger, of Jefferson; and brother Michael McLoon and wife Peggy, of Jefferson.

DAVID A. OBER, 80, of Savannah, Georgia, died on Friday, June 24, 2016, in Savannah, Georgia. Locally, he is survived by granddaughter Kaitlin Cosgrove and great-granddaughter Makenzie Cummings, both of Whitefield.

BARBARA L. YORK, 53, of Waterville passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, June 30, 2016. Locally, she is survived by her daughter, Tisha York and partner Jacob Oyler, of South China; and sister Cathy M. Nguyen, of Winslow.

LENORE V. GALLAGHER, 95, of Augusta, passed away on Sunday, July 3, 2016, at her daughter’s home. Locally, she is survived by her daughter, Bonnie Mainville, of Coopers Mills, sons David Gallagher, of Whitefield, and Earl Gallagher and wife Debbie, of Somerville.

RAYMOND A. RAWLEY, 84, of Rockport, passed away at the Sussman House on the Pen Bay Campus, in Rockport, on Sunday, July 3, 2016. Locally, he is survived by a son, Timothy Rawley and wife Lynn, of Washington; granddaughter Amy Rife and husband James, of Jefferson; and sister Dot Means and husband Charlie, of Winslow.

JEANNETTE BEAUDOIN, 97, of Augusta, passed away on Wednesday, July 6, 2016, at MaineGeneral Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center at Glenridge, following an extended illness. Locally, she is survived by a step-daughter Lucille Suitter, of Palermo.

ROBERT L. BOWMAN, 80, of Mount Vernon, passed away on Thursday, July 7, 2016, at Alfond Center for Health, in Augusta. Locally, he is survived by a daughter Cindy Beach and husband Howard, of Vassalboro; and a sister, Donna Bowman, of Fairfield.

EDWIN R. LIBBY JR., 73, of Wiscasset, passed away on Sunday, July 17, 2016, at a Portland hospital following a period of ill health. Locally, he is survived by a sister, Jaye Libby and husband Bill Staples, of Waterville.

LORRAINE R. SIROIS, 86, of Waterville, died on Sunday, July 24, 2016, at Woodlands Assisted Living Center, in Waterville. Locally, she is survived by her children, James R. Sirois, of Sidney, Linda Bouchard and husband Leo, of Oakland, Stephanie Reardon and husband Korey, of Benton, Danielle Buebank and husband Dan, of Belgrade, and James Sirois and wife Cassey, of Winslow.

Bingham, Mayfield and Kingsbury become wind power sites

page6pict3by Dan Cassidy

Part Two and Conclusion

Electricity headed south

John Lamontagne, Senior Director of Communications for SunEdison, said  there are three Massachusetts utilities that have contracted to receive the energy from the project, National Grid, Unitil and Eversource.

“The approximate cost of the project is about $420 million to develop and build the project,” he said.  “There are a number of financial organizations who have financed the project.”

SunEdison conducts extensive environmental studies when citing a wind project, according to Lamontagne.  “We conducted bird and bat studies to ensure the project is not in the migration path of any bird and bat species.  We continue monitoring of the project after it is operational to ensure the impacts to wildlife are minimal.  Certainly, there are some impacts to birds and bats, but we want to be sure they are kept at an absolute minimum.”page6pict1

Turbines at the project are routinely maintained and inspected by an on-site crew.  Turbines go through quarterly reviews and annual inspections to ensure they’re kept in good working order as much as possible.  “In addition, the turbines are monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at our Renewable Energy Operations Centers in California and Boston,” Lamontagne said.

The project has seen about 300 full time jobs created since the site construction started.  “Once the project is completed, Bingham and surrounding communities will receive millions in tax revenues,” he said.  “Although the energy goes to out-of-state utilities, the county should see a windfall in terms of revenues to pay for goods and services.”

Lamontagne said that when the Mars Hill project was built in 2007, folks saw their taxes drop 25 percent, once the project went on-line.  When the project was completed in Oakfield last year, folks in that community are seeing a massive benefit in their tax bills.  “Bottom line, communities see benefits in terms of jobs and economic benefits when the project is built.”

Locals chime in

Many local residents have been keeping in touch with the wind tower project.  They have seen, towers, wind blades, of about 185 feet long and a lot of other pieces heavy equipment go by on the streets, headed to the job sites.


One of the towers on its side so electronics can be placed inside. The tower stands approximately 100 meters, (330 feet). Photos by Dan Cassidy

“We are totally impressed,” Steve Steward, first selectman of Bingham said.  “It is quite a big project.  When it’s all completed, the cost of the project will be over $400 million,” he said.

The tax savings in Bingham should be affected next year, according to Steward. There are 11 towers located in Bingham that will be about $4,000 per tower.  “The other towers are located in Mayfield, an unorganized territory and Kingsbury.”

The Town of Bingham negotiated $8,000 per tower that they would pay.  “There was no ceiling, $4,000 was the minimum they have to pay for tax relief, so we accepted $8,000, and I was happy with that.”

The construction is going smoothly, and most residents are comfortable with that.  A note of interest is that the 56 wind towers being erected are not visible from Route 201.

Stanley Redmond, a local long time resident and a wood harvesting Land Agent has seen a lot of heavy equipment go right by his door on Route 201 over the last several months.  “How great it is to see science so advanced today and to watch all the people involved in installing these wind towers and see how professional they are doing their great work,” he said.

“The operation of installing these giants is something entirely different than what we thought it would be,” he said.  “Everyone involved are in great hopes these wind towers will prove to be very helpful for many reasons and will be accepted with open arms by all.  It will be interesting to see the decrease cost of purchasing power from these giant wind towers once they start turning the blades.  The engineer and all the associates should receive our thanks for such a remarkable job.”

Example tower sights

Lamontagne compared the Oakfield Wind towers in Piscataquis County, as an example, “that town will receive $26 million in tax benefits and community benefit payments over the next 20 years. “As a result, folks in that community have seen their tax bills dramatically reduced.”

“Full-time Oakfield residents now receive tax breaks and an annual check for about $2,000 per year, a benefit that will be in place for 20 years,” he said.

Two committees disagree on park logging plan

by Mary Grow

At their June 27 meeting, China selectmen directed the Thurston Park Committee II and the Forestry Committee to work together and report back.

Two Forestry Committee members and eight Thurston Park II Committee members talked for two hours July 12 without making much progress.

Tim Basham and Elaine Philbrook said they and Anita Smith, who was unable to attend the joint meeting, consider themselves co-chairs of the forestry committee, which also includes Leslie French and Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux.

Basham wants to use part of the park that the 2007 park plan designates for managed forestry as a logging and teaching area where local young people starting out as foresters would gain experience and get mentioned in the town report.  His goal is to increase the supply of young commercial foresters.

His main target would be youngsters who are committed enough to have bought a skidder or other equipment and to have insurance, but who lack experience.  He suggested they be authorized to draw up and carry out their own forestry plans, and implied that income from harvesting would be theirs, referring for example, to the possibility of earning enough to pay for forestry courses.

Philbrook was noncommittal, though she did say that in her years teaching in China – she just retired – she knows of only one student who went into a forestry career.

Thurston Park Committee II members said repeatedly the park should be managed as much as possible to benefit everyone in town, not just for a few people starting careers; and any income from timber harvesting is required to be reinvested in the park or, if voters direct, another town project. Cutting should be bid out, and the bids awarded and work done with assistance from and supervision by a licensed forester, they said.

Basham reported “acres” of white pine flooded by beaver dams on the west side of the park, which is not designated for logging, and recommended cutting it while it has value.  Thurston Park II Committee members Judy Stone and Christian Wilkens cited the value of dead trees for wildlife habitat; fellow committee member Philip DeMaynadier said park management seeks to achieve many goals, including recreation, aesthetics, wildlife habitat and water quality, not just making money by selling stumpage, especially on the west side.

Reviewing June 27 recommendations from district forester Morton Moesswilde, Stone concluded the committee had met them, with the exception of establishing a relationship with a forester who would help plan and carry out timber harvesting and related activities.

Committee members agreed they wanted to talk with more than one forester.  They scheduled a park tour with one candidate for July 26, and talked about others with whom to seek to make arrangements.

The Thurston Park II Committee succeeded the Thurston Park Committee to oversee implementation of the 2007 management plan for the 400-acre parcel in northeastern China.  Under the chairmanship of recently-resigned committee member Bill Seekins, the committee has developed recreational trails and a picnic area and preserved historic areas inside the park boundary.

Committee member Steve Nelson, who lives in Albion adjacent to the park, said hooliganism and littering have diminished as recreational use of the park has increased.  The next meeting of the Thurston Park II Committee is scheduled for Tuesday evening, Aug. 9.

I’m Just Curious: Bless your heart!

by Debbie Walker

You might have already guessed that I enjoy words. I have the big dictionary, the thesaurus and the Internet with no end of words!! I love it!

I decided to have some fun tonight. I get curious about “sayings.” I am going to share some southern sayings. When I moved to Florida one of my treats was hearing the sayings!

How about:

My favorite is: In the south you can say anything about anybody as long as you follow it with “bless his heart.” “That is the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen, bless his heart.” “She needs to do something with that hair, bless her heart.” Following an elder on the highway driving 30 miles an hour you can cuss and then just cover it with, “Bless his/her heart.”

“Do you know the difference between a conniption fit and a hissy fit?” None. Just pray you are not the one who caused it!

“I brought you into this world and I can take you out and  make another one just like you!”

“Over yonder a piece” is not very far but “Way over yonder is a far piece.”

“A truth comes naked, a lie has to wear its pants.”

Southern babies know that “Gimme some sugar” is not a request for the white granulated sweet substance on the table.

A southerner knows that “fixin” is used instead of “getting ready to” any particular thing. A southerner is “fixin” to do something.

When a southern mama says, “Don’t ugly your sister,” it has nothing to do with physical appearance.

Southern mamas are good at “slap” threatening. “I’ll slap your face off.” Or “I’ll slap you so far down in your shoes you can’t see daylight,” or “I’ll slap a knot on your head.”

One southern elder I met referred to all the small children as “Chaps,” girls, boys, no matter.

If his lips movin,’ he’s lyin! One lady I know used to say about her brother, “if he has a choice between standing flat footed on the ground or climbing that big pine tree and lying, he’ll climb that tree every time!!”

If that boy had an idea, it would die of loneliness.

He’s so dumb; he could throw himself on the ground and miss!

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit!

Keep it up and I’ll cancel your birth certificate!

He fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.

I’m so hungry my belly thinks my throats been cut.

Well, aren’t you precious.

Oh yeah, this is a favorite of mine. I found out when I moved south that the south was still fighting the civil war! I had never heard the term Yankee as much as when I moved down there. They let me know that there was a Yankee and a damn Yankee. A Yankee was a northerner visiting the south. I was a Damn Yankee because I moved there!!!

Hope you enjoyed! Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com   and “Bless your heart” for reading once again!

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Yakov Kreizberg and Tops Records


by  Peter Cates

Mahler: Symphony No. 5 – Yakov Kreizberg conducting the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic; OPMC Classics 006, cd, recorded September 28, 2010.

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), whose July 7 birthday anniversary is being celebrated as I write, was one of the truly great composers, on a scale with Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius, Shostakovich, Vaughan Williams and a handful of others. He wrote ten Symphonies and several vocal works – maybe song cycles would be a better word! Recordings of this music abound on my shelves in 78, LP, cassette, CD, and download formats.

He aimed to evoke the world in all of its joy, triumph, misery and sadness, utilizing  the entire range of sonorities from the tiniest gentle whisper to the loudest eardrum- shattering climax, and thoroughly mined  the orchestra as the main instrument of communication.

Yakov Kreizberg

Yakov Kreizberg

The 5th Symphony is one very exciting work with a funeral march opening, three blistering movements testing every instrument in the orchestra and an Adagietto for strings of such eloquent beauty that it alone is often played to memorialize the passing of public figures. Leonard Bernstein conducted it at services for Bobby Kennedy.

Yakov Kreizberg, who died in 2011, delivered a very good performance less than a year before his passing at 52. There are also a sizable number of other great recordings of this music – Georg Solti, Jascha Horenstein, Gunther Neuhold, Bernard Haitink, Maurice Abravanel, Vaclav Neumann, to name just a few.

Tops – two seven-inch 45 vinyl records, Tops S41 and S42.

The reason I didn’t provide any titles or performers will be apparent as I explain this label’s  modus operandi. Tops started in 1947 as a record label founded by two New York City friends who were tired of their work-a-day, underpaid routines and left the jobs seeking a new life of success in the golden city of Los Angeles.

One thing led to another as they embarked on the production of 78s and 45s  selling for 40 cents a record, 10-inch LPs for 69 cents and the 12-inch ones for $1.50, all approximate figures. Needless to say, it was a cash cow.

Tops Records

The label would draw upon hit songs from the current top 100 to ones going back about 10 years and hire performers who sounded similar to the original stars. The records were then put on a consignment basis much of the time in mostly department stores, supermarkets and other similar venues.

The names on the label were pseudonymous but such performers as singer Mel Torme and pianist Andre Previn are believed to have been involved. If the two disks noted above are typical, each release contained five selections, thus running at least five to seven minutes – then considered good value.

A listing of some examples, along with the fake names, include the following:

Beyond the Sea, Marty Holmes; Baby (You Got What It Takes), Joni Cole and Bob Mitchell; Harbor Lights, Roy Jacobs and the Toppers; Where or When, again, The Toppers; Let It Be Me, The Charles Brothers; Country Boy, Slim Atkins.

Sometimes the performances were superior to the originals, though not on these vinyls, but they were good on their own terms.

The biggest challenge with Tops records is finding them in playable condition but these ones were a most welcome exception.