Musician aims to perform in every Vermont community

Published: May. 2, 2022 at 5:00 PM EDT|Updated: May. 2, 2022 at 7:06 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A University of Vermont music professor is kicking off a multiyear tour this week, but he won’t be leaving the state.

Music theory and composition professor David Feurzeig has been playing piano for more than 50 years. He’s traveled all around the world to perform-- Dresden, Paris, you name it.

But with the state of the climate, he’s been inspired to keep it local, packing up his solar-powered car and visiting all 251 towns in Vermont.

There are a number of things Feurzeig is passionate about, piano is just one of them.

“You can do anything on the piano. You can be your entire orchestra, your entire band. And no matter how much you play, there’s always stuff to be discovered,” he said.

He also loves Vermont and the sense of community each town holds. So, he decided a while back that he’d like to add to that sense of community and play music in places where it’s become infrequent.

“I wanted to do a tiny bit to sort of contribute to the vitality and continued activity in downtowns and village centers,” Feurzeig explained.

But above all else, Feurzeig is passionate about the environment. In the face of climate change, he’s cut back his meat consumption and cuts his emissions wherever he can.

“I have four kids. I’m not worried about their kids; I’m worried about them. I’m worried about what they’re going to be living in in five or 10 years. It’s an immediate existential crisis. It’s the biggest crisis the planet, the species has ever faced,” he said.

Since he no longer will take a plane, he’s decided to tour in the next best place behind Europe or Asia, the Green Mountain State.

“There’s this perverse incentive to go fly, fly, fly. Right, so we get prestige points if you play a national concert, you get more brownie points than a local concert,” Feurzeig said.

Play Every Town is a climate crisis statement, with an awfully sweet tune.

“Long-distance touring is unsustainable. And that isn’t just a lifestyle or brand thing, like ‘Oh I want to be sustainable!’ Unsustainable is something you can’t keep doing,” Feurzeig said.

So instead, he’ll load up his solar-powered electric car and hit all 251 towns that Vermont has to offer.

While he’s excited to play in beautiful opera houses and venues across the state, some places, he knows, will prove to be more of a challenge.

“Inevitably it’s going to be... you know, Lewis, Vermont. I’m not sure it has a building to play in. Its official population is two, although it’s a little ambiguous how many people are actually there,” he said.

Each concert, he hopes, will have a local flair to it, featuring other musicians, students or music written in town.

He plans to perform wherever there’s a piano for him to play. If there isn’t one, he’ll load up an electric keyboard and play wherever he can.

“You know, I’ll play the best instrument that’s available in a public place,” he said. “I would definitely like it to be wonderful, but it doesn’t have to be.”

As he sets out to prove you don’t have to go on a major tour to give a performance that hits all the right notes.

Feurzeig says he has wanted to do this since he moved to Vermont. He says originally saw the Vermont Symphony Orchestra do this in the ‘80s and was inspired.

His goal is to have all of the towns done by the end of 2026. With 251 towns in Vermont, he will need to average about one a week to meet that.

There are three dates scheduled so far. The first one is on May 6 in Burlington at the UVM Recital Hall. There are two others scheduled in Calais and Brownington. Click here for details.

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