If these walls could talk (coincidentally the name of a 1996 Emmy award-winning HBO movie with Lindsay Crouse), or more aptly, could sing, the hills of Annisquam would be alive with the sound of music.
Or, more aptly, "The Sound of Music."
If that's confusing, just follow the bouncing ball - maybe one that Oscar Hammerstein lobbed across Washington Street from the Crouse manse of the 1950s, to what was once a little guest house at 2 Lane Road, behind the Annisquam Village Church.
Here, it turns out, was where most of the storied "Sound of Music," which opened in 1960, was written, Lindsay Crouse described in an interview earlier this week.
"Here were four very gifted men, at the height of their careers," Lindsay Crouse says of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lindsay and Crouse — who were hunkered down to create what she calls "a musical based on fear, with a religious underpinning, on making life and death decisions during the war, written not long after." The latter pair were Howard Lindsay and his musical partner Russel Crouse, the actress's late father who named his daughter for his colleague.
"They worked on it for four years," Lindsay Crouse recalls. During much of that time, Howard Lindsay stayed in the guest house across the street, which was owned by family friends, the Elys.
"When they were making the movie," Lindsay continues, "(Brother) Tim and I would have to say to people here's what was written, it's not cute."
The movie became "more commercial, more about the product than the content," says Lindsay, "and it was misunderstood. But it still has a punch."
"When 'The Sound of Music' is done right," she says, "It's not Disney."
Sister city visitors
Again, this year, five students and two chaperones from Gloucester's sister city of Tamano, Japan, will visit from July 25 to Aug. 5, and local organizers are looking for host families for the young teens. The Tamano homestay group's visit has been part of the city's tradition for more than 15 years.
During the 12-day homestay, the students are kept busy from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the week, taking English classes, and learning about American history, culture and all about Gloucester. They spend evenings and weekends with the host families which is a learning experience for both the Japanese students and their Cape Ann host families.
This year's Tamano students include Hiroaki Mihara, a 14-year-old high school freshman boy; the others are four girls, all middle school-level students: Misaki Nishimura, 14, and Hana Kuroguchi, Yurka Imada, and Minami Maeda, all 13.
The students will be accompanied by two female chaperones who will also need host families.
Those families who have served as hosts have all said that they got at least as much from the experience as their Japaneses guests, said Bob Whynott, the Gloucester city councilor and one of the local organizers. Some families have hosted students multiple times, and most have stayed involved with the program..
Anyone who would like to help out in any way, including being a host family, or helping find a host family, contact Bob Whynott at 978-283-8230 or email@example.com; and/or Angela Sanfilippo at 978-281-0650 or firstname.lastname@example.org
An 'arts destination' again
The Society for the Encouragement of the Arts — better known as seARTS — has announced that Gloucester and Cape Ann have been awarded AmericanStyle's top arts destination for the second straight year in the "Top 25 Small Cities" category in the United States.
Gloucester this year ranked No. 6 behind Sante Fe and an impressive lineup of peers in the South — Sarasota and Bradenton, Fla., Asheville, N.C., and Florida's Key West.
Small cities are identified as having populations under 100,000, and the nomination for this category was submitted in 2011 for the first time. The top finishers were then chosen via online voting.
SeaARTS spearheaded the Campaign for Cape Ann from December 2011 to March 2012, and it will happen again starting this coming December to make the June 2013 AmericanStyle issue.
AmericanStyle is a highly respected national publication that focuses on arts, crafts and travel, and is seen as an excellent resource for artists and art enthusiasts.
The flag at the Veterans' Center will fly this week in honor of World War 11 veteran Morris Brown Andrews. Born Dec. 29, 1912, he entered the United States Army on April 14, 1942. A heavy equipment operator, the Corporal served with 370th Fighter Squadron. He served in Air-Offensive Europe, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes.
Corporal Andrews was awarded the European African Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Distinguished Unit Badge, 8th Air Force June 1945.
He was discharged Oct. 7, 1945, and died June 11, 1962.
The flag was requested to fly in his honor by Office of Veterans Services.
Anyone wishing to fly a flag in honor of a deceased veteran can call the Office of Veterans' Services at 978-281-9740.