Music George Washington May Have Heard

April 23rd, 2017

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Concert Marks Washington’s Visit to Westport

On June 28, 1775, some two months after the Battle of Concord and Lexington, George Washington passed through Westport and visited the old West Parish Meeting House with its pastor, the Rev. Hezekiah Ripley. “A comely little church,” Washington said afterward. 


Westport Historical Society will host a concert of period songs and instrumental music at Greens Farms Church as part of the Society’s observance of American Revolution Month in Westport.


Church organist Rick Tripodi has enlisted a group of local musicians to perform at what he has dubbed an evening of “Music George Washington May Have Heard” when he visited the church almost 217 years ago. “May have heard,” Tripodi says, because there are no detailed accounts of the general’s visit.

Tripodi has called on sopranos Jennie Foster of First Church of Christ Scientist, Westport, and Samia Bahu of Greens Farms Church, baritone Joseph Brewer of GFC, violinist Lauren Schmidt, a student at Staples High School, and flutist Ardrianne Greenbaum of Fairfield to perform selections of popular tunes during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Greenbaum, who teaches flute at Mount Holyoke College, is well-known in the music world for her performances on period instruments.     

Tripodi’s playlist will include American organ music from the Colonial and Federal eras and English compositions by Handel and Purcell. Altogether, Tripodi says, there will be at least six to eight songs, organ pieces, a violin piece, a variation on “The Star Spangled Banner” and “The Bristol March” by American composer Oliver Shaw. Born in 1799, Shaw is considered to have been America’s first composer. Tripodi says that although he wrote music after the Revolutionary era, Shaw’s pieces are similar to those that would have been played in the 1770s.

In 1779, roughly four years after Washington’s historic visit, the West Parish Meeting House was torched by British troops commanded by Brig. Gen. William Tryon. The meeting house had been on Greens Farms Road at what is now the intersection of the Sherwood Island Connector. Its replacement was built on Hillandale Road at the site of the present Greens Farms Church.

Tryon is the same British officer who landed troops at Cedar Point on April 25, 1777, and marched them up Compo Road on their way to the historic Raid on Danbury. “American Revolution Month in Westport” celebrates the 240th anniversary of that raid as well as the bravery of Patriot regulars and militiamen who battled the Redcoats in Ridgefield and again at Compo Hill as they returned to their boats.

A Julliard graduate with bachelor’s and master’s degree in organ performance, Tripodi has been an organist at numerous area churches over a long career. He has been the organist at Greens Farms Church for the past year and a half.   

A $10 donation is suggested