New Harmony Bicentennial a resounding success

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By Michael Webster, Editor

By Michael Webster

New Harmony wrapped up its 200th birthday party Sunday morning with an interfaith prayer for peace at the roofless church. 

“This whole thing has been incredible,” said Connie Weinzapfel, director of Historic New Harmony and one of the bicentennial’s principal organizers. “It has brought all kinds of people together into a community, and that’s what New Harmony was founded on.”

“There were visitors from around the world,” she continued. “including from all over the United States. Our colleagues from Scotland came, a representative of the German Consul General came; all of my colleagues representing Indianapolis and the cultural institutions there were here. I think it reinforced for the citizens of New Harmony how important this place is to  history, the sciences, preservation and progressive thought; all the best concepts of community.”

“The bicentennial went perfectly,” said David Campbell, former president of the New Harmony City Council, “It brought the community together. There was a great spirit in the house of happiness and joy. We have an eclectic mix of people that made this thing work. And they were all volunteers, just public spirited people interested in the community.”

“It was great to observe New Harmony and all their celebration,” said Beth McFadin-Higgins. “I think it was a very successful weekend. Topping it off with Mr. Hagemann writing a piece for the bicentennial was outstanding. It was very well attended and I thought the music selections were excellent.”

“The bicentennial celebration has been a great success,” said Nancy Noon, director of the Wolfgang Chorus. “We’re excited to be a part of the 200 years of music. My husband sang in the chorus on Thursday night, our Dixieland group played at the picnic today, and the concert in which we played Philip Hagemann’s bicentennial composition was incredible. The community has been gracious. We’ve had wonderful crowds.”

“We had a really good feeling about the concert,” said Dennis Noon, conductor of the Wolfgang Orchestra and aforementioned husband of Nancy. “We think it went well. I have a lot of history with New Harmony, I taught at the old high school from 1975 to 1981. And we have a lot of people in the chorus and orchestra from New Harmony who were trained by Eldred Blake when she was here.”

“New Harmony is a very active, musical community,” continued Noon. “They’ve had some hard knocks lately with the closing of the school and the closing of the bridge, but they flat knocked it out with the bicentennial. Everyone worked hard to make it happen. Then, to Have New York composer Phil Hagemann, Mount Vernon class of 1950, come back and write a piece for it is fantastic. Philip’s number was just terrific. It capped it all off.”

“We’re going to do it again next year,” said Campbell, jokingly (I think). “A bicentennial plus one. We look backward but we also look forward,” he added. “That’s the essence of the New Harmony experience.