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Hancock reopens community center with variety show

November 19, 2007|By HEATHER KEELS

HANCOCK ? At the Hancock Town Hall and Community Center on Sunday night, a new red curtain parted on acts ranging from a traditional band concert to a poetry reading, a hand bell performance and a variety of dance routines.

"This variety show is supposed to be a sampler for you to see the many, many forms the arts can take," Hancock Mayor Daniel Murphy told the audience.

Almost 400 people packed the room, filling all the chairs organizers could squeeze in, lining the walls and leaning in the doorway.

The turnout was a good sign for the future of the center, which was celebrating its reopening as a performing arts venue after 10 years of use as a storage room, said Sinclair Hamilton, co-chairman of the Hancock Arts Council.

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"We have a lot of talent to showcase here in Hancock, and we certainly need this extra venue for that," Hamilton said.

The stage dates back to a time when the building was used as the town's elementary school.

"This evening may be a little bit of a reminder for some of you who spent time in this room, if you're of the age where you might have performed on this stage," Murphy said, adding the town has acquired a picture of a Christmas pageant put on by students on the stage in the 1950s.

There's still some work to be done, Murphy said. The floors need to be refinished, and the lights and sound systems used in Sunday's show were borrowed.

Murphy said he hoped people in the audience would be generous with their donations to help the town finish the project after getting a taste of what it could bring.

"This is about community," he said. "This is about coming back to a place that some people have memories of."

Hamilton said the arts council had put so much effort into organizing Sunday's event that it hadn't lined up many other shows for the stage yet, but he's hoping people in the town will approach them with ideas.

Some ideas include a concert series and the possible formation of a theater group, he said.

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