What is the Merryall Community Center in New Milford?
The Merryall Community Center has served as a creative hub for more than 65 years, and this summer’s programming seems well-suited for the lively mix of locals and weekenders who have come to cherish this little hall, situated in one of New Milford’s loveliest neighborhoods.
Some Merryall faithful are undoubtedly descendants from the 250 families who turned out for the center’s dedication in July 1952. At its luminary kickoff, the renowned actor Frederic March, a Merryall resident, recited “The Declaration of Independence” and legendary contralto Marian Anderson, then living in Danbury, performed “The Star-Spangled Banner.” A hefty $150,000 grant, and other generous local contributions, fueled a full restoration of the building in 2008. And along the way, other local boosters have stepped up to the plate, whether it was the gift of the Yamaha grand piano of the late Skitch Henderson, or volunteers who worked to secure the building’s National Historic District designation.
Programmers interpreted the center’s commitment to “hospitality and democratic living,” with a friendly exploration of American performance arts, whether it’s poetry, or an evening of Appalachian dulcimer or banjo, or nights penciled in for an old-fashioned square set, or sing-a-longs of favorite rock tunes or songs from the Great American Playbook. There are also performances of contemporary singer songwriters, and what promises to be an infectious evening of klezmer. Dual pianists and a special foray into the realm of the paranormal are other offerings designed to make for memorable summer evenings.