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Concert planned to raise funds to repair Hancock vestry

Union Leader Correspondent

April 03. 2013 8:02PM

Sitting in the shadow of the Hancock Meeting House/Congregational Church is the church vestry on Main Street in Hancock. A concert Saturday is helping to fund a repair of the vestry cupola. (MEGHAN PIERCE PHOTO)

HANCOCK - The 1970s incarnation of Harvard's first a cappella singing group - The Krokodiloes - is performing at the Hancock First Congregational Church Saturday at 5 p.m. to raise money to repair the church vestry cupola this summer.

While the town and church share the costs of maintaining the meeting house/church, the 1836 built vestry that sits next to the meeting house on Main Street is owned and maintained by the church, said the church's pastor Rev. Judith Copeland.

"We use it for Sunday school and a variety of church activities, but it's also used for just about everything in town," Copeland said.

From weekly community suppers, rehearsal space for community musical groups, Tai Chi and art classes to the Fourth of July Ice Cream Social, the Hancock Vestry is often where people in town gather.

"It's a building the church makes available to the whole Hancock community," said Rick Simpson of Main Street, a member of the Kroks of the 70s. "I think their general rule of thumb is anyone can use the building as long as it's something appropriate and the time works out and all of that."

The vestry is the only large public meeting space with kitchen facilities in the community.

Groups make donations to the church to use the vestry, as they are able. And no group is turned away on account of limited funds. It's a long standing policy the church hopes to continue.

According to Copeland, some "great New Hampshire institutions were fledglings of the Hancock vestry," including the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen.

The league held one of its earliest fairs in the vestry. The event has grown into a nine-day showcase for New Hampshire artisans each August in Sunapee. The New Hampshire Association for the Blind also got its start in the vestry and recently celebrated its 100th anniversary with a special program in the vestry.

The project to repair and paint the vestry cupola costs just under $7920.

The church has received a $3,500 grant from the Ella Anderson Trust, which the church must match, Copeland said.

The concert is one of many fundraisers the church has organized in order to start the project this summer.

Simpson was asked to perform with other former Krokodiloes members from the 1970s when the 1946 founded Krokodiloes had a 60th anniversary concert in 2006.

They had such a good time they decided to meet two or three times a year to rehearse and perform.

This year it was the Kroks of the 70s turn to return to Hancock, Simpson said. So he offered to hold the performance to benefit the vestry project.

Simpson and his wife Jody Simpson understand how important the vestry is to the community, he said. "We live next door so Jody and I personally enjoy it."

Members of the Kroks of the 70s come from all walks of life from business people, educators, lawyers, doctors, judges, best-selling authors, film-makers as well as professional musicians, Simpson said. Their repertoire runs from the 1920s up to today.

You can expect some sentimental ballads and Cole Porter numbers, Simpson said. "It's both ballads and show tunes all the way from the 20s to today, except we don't do any rap or anything like that."

The concert is to be held in the First Congregational Church, next to the vestry, Saturday at 5 p.m.

There is no admission, but donations are being accepted for the vestry repair fund.

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