GRANT #354:

Booming With Community Music

A Little Town In Vermont Wants “Wild Boomers” So Tourists Will Stop On Their Way To Someplace Else

The railroad used to stop in Swanton, and so did tourists driving to Canada or Lake Champlain. The trains and tourists began passing through without a pause and the place just wasn’t the same. So Judy Paxman and three other people founded the Swanton Arts Council, hoping to bring back the vitality, the color, and the fun to their town. Now the SAC has hundreds of members and an ambitious plan to spark awesomeness by creating a new brigade of “Wild Boomers.”

The Wild Boomers were legendary in Swanton. They were (you guessed it) a bunch of older people (you didn’t guess this part) playing Stumpf Fiddles.

Don’t know what a Stumpf Fiddle is? We didn’t either. (Those things stack against a wall in one of the photos here? Stumpf Fiddle!)

Anyway, Judy and the gang thought it would be great fun to get the community involved in making and playing these crazy instruments like the Wild Boomers used to do back the day, and this AWB grant will buy enough materials to make ten of them. Swanton artisan Scott Rheaume has offered to donate his time and skill to create the prototypes.

The big idea is to bring people together at the library to learn how to make the instruments and play them together. Judy says Stumpf Fiddles create a real party atmosphere and she’s picturing the new Wild Boomers (of any age) enlivening community gatherings, local events, and parades. Her not-so-secret agenda is to lure people to Swanton, and to get the people of Swanton to show up to see (or be) Wild Boomers in action. The secret agenda: She thinks if people come to the government meetings to hear the Boomers, they might stick around and get more involved in the business of their community.

Go deep with the project here, and follow along with the Swanton Arts Council on Facebook!