The Gawler Family Band performs at a Summer Series event at the Readfield Union Meeting House in 2019. Photo courtesy of Ben Rodriguez

READFIELD — Late last month, live music returned to the historic Readfield Union Meeting House for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Two shows have taken place, and the annual Strawberry Festival is slated for 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday.

“We are really excited to open up the meeting house again, and provide opportunities for the community to come together,” said Ben Rodriguez, events coordinator for the 2021 Summer Series.

The next show up for the series will be Brad Terry and Peter Herman on July 20. Other shows planned include High Spirits on August 3, Kevin Libby on August 17, and Pat Colwell and the Soul Sensations on August 21. All of those concerts start at 7 p.m., and tickets are $10.

The Readfield Union Meeting House also will host a free organ recital with Rosalea Kimball and Christina Misner Rao on August 14.

“So many people are eager to re-engage with the community,” said Rodriguez. “We have a perfect building to do that in — there is so much history behind it.”

For events, it was stated the Meeting House website, they will adhere to coronavirus guidelines suggested by the Center for Disease Control “to ensure the health, safety and comfort of all attendees.”

Those guidelines include enhanced ventilation through the use of fans and screens throughout the Meeting House, and masks or face coverings required by those in attendance. Production crew and performers are excluded from the face covering requirement.

According to its website, the Meeting House was place on the National Register of Historic Sites in 1982. The building’s nonprofit organization, the Readfield Union Meeting House Co., is undertaking a large renovation project. In March, the group reported it had raised about $200,000 of its $722,000 goal for its “Push to the Top” project.

The project includes the installation of a 30-foot, octagonal spire, restoration of a clock tower, repainting the trim and various interior improvements. According to the Meeting House Facebook page, the restored clock is expected to be returned after renovations in September.

Preserving the Meeting House is a community-wide effort, Rodriguez said.

“Because of the people’s hard work over the years, the building still stands,” he said. “Future generations don’t need to hear about the bygone day of the building that was, but through investment, it is a building that is.”

“There seems to be something about this building that sticks with you; it’s a brick building that doesn’t seem like much from the outside, but once you step through the door, the sun shines through the glass windows and everything comes to life,” Rodriguez added. “When I talk to other people, they say that there is something unique about this building.”

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