LAMOINE —Masks were worn and chairs were placed 6 feet apart in the Lamoine Grange parking lot, but nonetheless, Lamoine Community Arts (LCA) pulled off another production Saturday. This time, it was to honor one of their own, the late David Sanderson, with a dedication ceremony for the newly built ramp and entryway that adorns the outside of the Grange hall.
Sanderson was a founding member of LCA, which has been renting space from the Grange to offer events and performances for the last 10 years. With COVID-19 hindering many of LCA’s fundraising efforts, Sanderson’s family “stepped up,” as Sanderson often did, and donated most of the funds needed for the ramp’s upgrades, said Carol Korty, one of LCA’s founding members.
Ed Hamor of Acadia Building and Developing, alongside his cousin, Wes Hamor, built the ramp in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Grange and LCA chipped in the remaining funds, and an Ellsworth business wishing to remain anonymous offered a discount on materials in addition to donating.
Korty emceed the event, which included a performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” performed by Faith Perkins and Jim Crotteau, at the request of Sanderson’s widow, Diane. The event also included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the opportunity for residents to reflect on Sanderson’s memory.
“David believed deeply in the power of community,” said Sanderson’s neighbor and colleague Gordon Donaldson.
“How fitting it is that this wonderful, new ramp be dedicated to David Sanderson, a friend and neighbor of us all and somebody who devoted much of his professional life and a good deal of his personal life to the building of community and resources like this,” Donaldson said.
He recalled Sanderson’s tenure with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and consulting work with nonprofits, towns, cities, schools and Native American tribes in his efforts to help “communities create their own community assets.”
“We need more Davids,” said LCA board member Lolly Lovett, when describing how Sanderson exemplified the organization’s mission.
“He supported the creativity of everyone,” Lovett said, adding, “he was always available to undertake any task, including heading committees.” Lovett noted how the organization’s fundraising committee has “suffered greatly since we lost him.”
Korty gave a history of the Grange, explaining all the ways it has been integral to Lamoine’s community spirit. From yard sales, New Year’s Eve bonfires and Chuck Weber’s “flatbed of plants and vegetables” outside in the parking lot, to dance workshops, open mic nights and potluck suppers held inside the Grange, maintaining the building allows the Grange to remain a space for the community to gather.
LCA’s plans amid the pandemic include possibly performing play readings via Zoom videoconferencing, said LCA board member Carol Mason. A survey was recently sent out to gauge the community’s comfort level with having performances inside the Grange that include a small cast and audience who will comply with pandemic safety guidelines, Mason said.
At the end of the ceremony, Sanderson’s son, Matthew, presented a plaque honoring his father, which will be placed inside the Grange’s entryway. The plaque is a temporary one, while a permanent, bronze plaque is made.
“This ramp is dedicated in loving member of David Sanderson, actor, LCA board member, director and friend,” Matthew read. “To which I will add father, husband and so many other things that he’s been to all of us.”
As Matthew dedicated the plaque, a breeze blew, sounding a gong that was placed in front of the event’s sound system, to which the audience laughed and applauded.
Sanderson’s daughter, Laurel Grant, followed by offering her gratitude to the LCA community.
“The opportunity to see [David] in a totally different way than my father was always here on the stage. I thank you for giving me that opportunity,” she said. “The memories that I have of him on that stage, interacting with you, will be with me forever.”
Diane Sanderson concluded the ceremony by cutting a red ribbon at the ramp’s entryway. Korty invited spectators using crutches and wheelchairs to demonstrate the ramp’s accessibility as Faith Perkins and Jim Crotteau performed the song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”