Wilton receives new sound system from Milford Rotary Club

Wilton Town Hall.

Wilton Town Hall. Ashley Saari—STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI

By CAMERON CASHMAN

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 06-20-2024 11:01 AM

Wilton has received a high-end portable audio system as a gift from the Milford Rotary Club in celebration of the club’s 75th anniversary.

The system consists of several microphones, speakers and related accessories that can be packed up and transported for use at various town events. The Milford Rotary Club worked with the Wilton Alliance to facilitate the gift.

During a public hearing Monday to accept the gift, Jennifer Beck, representing the Wilton Alliance, described the system and detailed how the gift came about.

“The Rotary serves a number of towns besides Milford – Wilton is one of them – and they approached us with the idea of giving us $10,000 for a project that was ‘plaque-worthy’ for their 75th anniversary,” Beck said. “I went and looked around town, talked to other nonprofits, a number of people, and finally landed on a professional sound system.”

Beck and resident Mike McGonegal, who helps set up audio for town events, worked with Sweetwater Sound to assemble a system of high-end audio equipment.

“They gave us a heck of a deal – we actually ended up with a sound system that’s worth probably worth $12,000 for [only] $6,100.” Beck said.

Beck added that the system has already been used during the town’s Memorial Day event, for an event at the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School and one of the town’s board meetings.

“It did perform well at the Memorial Day services. If any of you were there, it did a singer doing ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’ It did a recording of people singing off of a cellphone; it accommodated various speakers. It all went down flawlessly,” Beck said.

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Select Board member Tom Schultz, who was in attendance during the Memorial Day event, vouched for the system’s versatility.

“The microphones are from EarthWorks – they got an international design award out of Germany for how wonderful these things are,” Beck said. “Dolly Parton uses these microphones, so there you go.”

EarthWorks Audio is based in Milford, and its founder David Blackmer attended High Mowing School. Heidi Blackmer, the company’s director, and CEO Gareth Krausser reside in Wilton.

Select Board member Kermit Williams noted that the Milford Rotary was offering similar gifts to the other towns it serves. According to Beck, the Milford Rotary Club was excited about Wilton’s project in particular.

“They did say that Wilton had the best and most-beneficial project of all the towns that submitted one,” she said. “So it was a win-win for everybody.”

Beck also noted that, in lieu of a plaque commemorating the Rotary Club’s 75th anniversary, there is a requirement to give credit to the club in the form of an announcement any time the system is used.

“I said to them, ‘You know, a plaque – maybe there’s a ceremony around it, and that’s it. This means people in town will be heard.’ We have open mic nights at the collaborative; we have a concert series we could do. We have speeches we can give,” Beck said. “So that’s right at the top of the instructions – the line that you have to say to give credit to the Rotary, in perpetuity. And they were thrilled with that idea.”

Beck said that the Wilton Alliance is using the remaining $4,000 gifted by the Rotary Club to book performances and other events that will use the new sound system.

In another matter, the Select Board discussed an upcoming construction project involving the railroad crossing on Burns Hill Road that will impact traffic on Main Street. According to Select Board Chair DJ Garcia, construction begins on June 24, and Island Street will be closed to through traffic from July 12 to July 19. The road will be reduced to one lane and traffic will be directed by flaggers for the duration of the construction work.

To prepare for the increased traffic on Main Street through downtown Wilton, the parallel parking spots adjacent to the Town Hall will be closed. Residents should also be aware of large trucks that will be diverted through Main Street during the length of the project.

Also, the Select Board officially authorized the removal of the concrete barrier blocking the path to Garwin Falls, and a sign indicating the path is closed will also be taken down. The board emphasized that the path is still closed to vehicles.

To replace the barrier, one or more large rocks will be placed along the entrance to prevent vehicles from passing.