Music Under the Stars at the Greenwich Historical Society


By: Richard Kaufman 

Summer has traditionally been filled with long beach days, traveling, family vacations, taking in a ballgame, and going to concerts.

While this summer has been anything but normal, the Greenwich Historical Society has still found a way for the community to safely enjoy some good music under the stars, with its Music on the Great Lawn Series, presented by the First Bank of Greenwich.

“We’ve been excited to get people back on our campus, and make this space here in Cos Cob and our Great Lawn a place where the community can gather safely,” said Cai Pandolfino, Director of Communications, Strategy and Business Development at the Historical Society. “It just seemed like in a difficult time this was the best way to provide something to our community and bring people to our site.”

The first concert was held on July 30, and featured The Merlin Band, a local rock group.

On Aug. 26, coinciding with the Historical Society’s exhibit and centennial celebration of the women’s suffrage movement, Justine Goggin performed songs written and composed by women. Goggin grew up in Greenwich and attended Greenwich High School.

On Sept. 3, the Vinny Nobile Jazz Alliance performed. The next concert will be held at the Historical Society on Sept. 17, as The Merlin Band returns.

The Historical Society charged a ticket fee, or offered people the chance to purchase memberships. Pandolfino said the Historical Society has received almost 75 new family memberships and individual memberships over a five week span.

“In difficult times like this for organizations like ours and small museums, that’s a huge win for us,” said Pandolfino. “The performers were willing to be here and they were so happy to have a place to perform again. People were willing to come and support us by purchasing memberships. Hopefully they’ll be able to benefit from free and discounted events with us throughout the year. Hopefully it’s the gift that keeps on giving for us and them.”

The First Bank of Greenwich (FBOG) jumped at the opportunity to sponsor the series. FBOG President and CEO, Frank Gaudio, has long been a supporter of the arts and music, and small organizations like the Historical Society.

“We’re a community bank supporting the community. We feel it’s very important to support all the community efforts to keep things within the community, such as community jobs, community events,” Gaudio said. “To partner with the Greenwich Historical Society was a natural place to be.”

Daniel Suozzo, Special Events Manager at the Historical Society, called the FBOG a “perfect match.” Pandolfino agreed.

“It was very easy working with Frank at the First Bank of Greenwich. Frank has been so generous. I think our interest in bringing the community together are really well aligned,” Pandolfino added. “It was kind of the right place, right time, right location, with a great partner.”

Attendance at the concerts are capped to 100, and people must remain in their own groups, distanced 12 feet apart from other groups. Attendees must wear masks while walking through the Historical Society lobby, and masks are encouraged outside. People brought their own picnics, chairs and blankets. The inside of the facility was cleaned as people walked through.

“We thought it would be a bigger challenge than it was. I think everybody is on board with what the rules are. Our staff was on hand to ensure safety,” Pandolfino said. “It was a pretty easy flow of people, and people were respectful of the space.”

For more information on upcoming events at the Historical Society, or to register for tickets to the Sept. 17 concert, go to greenwichhistory.org.