Morgan Bay Zendo
July 10, 2022
In a benefit concert for the Morgan Bay Zendo, an independent Zen Buddhist Community in Surry, ME, the Gawler Family offered a benefit concert of wonderful fiddle tunes, vocals and otherwise uplifting and entertaining riffs that they have cultivated, with seeming effortless talent and familial support through decades of refinement, performance and audience connection.
The subset of the Gawlers who were able to make this performance included the multi-talented Molly Gawler, not only a world-class fiddler, a wonderful singer, but also a talented circus performer, dancer and choreographer, Ellen Gawler, a wonderful fiddler and singer and mother of the three daughters who form the core of the family ensemble, Edith Gawler, a great banjo player singer and fiddler, and Bennett Kosesni, identified as brother and related to the family in some way and a wonderful guitarist, singer and songwriter. Missing from this particular outing were the Dad, John Gawler, and the cellist daughter, Elsie Gawler.
What is clear is that this family has cultivated musicianship with incredible love, verve and joy and their capacities are multiple and continually provide a source of amazement. One or the other puts down a fiddle which she has just played expertly, and picked up something else – maybe a banjo – and starts playing that with abandon as well.
They all seem to have mastered the unbelievable ability to smile. If Molly Gawler decided to give it all up and just open a smiling academy, she’d do very well. I wish I could smile once daily as broadly as she seems to smile six times a minute.
A very moving and lovely performance filled out the afternoon on the lawn of the Morgan Bay Zendo which is seeking to raise funds to update its Pond House, one of the three buildings on its site. The community has persisted in one way or another from the early 1970s when, established under the guidance of Zen teacher and musician Walter Nowick, it `built the Zendo and associated buildings. Since the mid 1980s when Nowick retired from teaching, the Zen community has functioned autonomously and has continued to support Buddhist meditation practice with a regular schedule of meditations and related activities.
This concert is the latest in a series of efforts to build support for the continued regeneration of the facilities of the Morgan Bay Zendo. The warmth and support offered at this event, along with the commitment of the community members who sponsored it and motivated it, indicate the vibrancy of the community and its continued efforts to preserve serious Buddhist practice in the area.
– BADMan (aka Charles Munitz)