Wicked Local Dover-Sherborn: Magical Strings perform at Peace Abbey in Sherborn

By Theresa Knapp
Wicked Local Dover-Sherborn

Sherborn –Folks filled the Peace Abbey Coffeehouse on Saturday night to enjoy what could have been the last concert in that venue.

“It may be the last time we assemble here to experience music in this space,” said Peace Abbey founder Lewis Randa at the start of the program that featured Philip and Pam Boulding of the Celtic ensemble, “Magical Strings.”

Randa called the concert “fitting” since Philip’s mother, Elise Boulding (a world-renowned sociologist and peace activist who died in 2010 at age 89), was a long-time friend of the Abbey.

Many of the Peace Abbey collections, including a “peacemaker’s table” dedicated to Elise Boulding, will soon be transferred to the University of Massachusetts at Boston where all items – including the National Registry for Conscientious Objection where people can register their objection to personal, national and international violence – will be catalogued and available for students and the public to peruse.

“Even though it looks like it might be a sad time, it’s really a wonderful time because we’re going to be able to have a lot of things archived and there will be a lot of new people” exposed to the works of the Peace Abbey, said Dot Walsh, the Abbey’s program coordinator.

Peace Abbey officials are in the process of finding someone to occupy the building.

“The Peace Abbey is really our favorite place to play music,” said Pam Boulding, who has traveled with her husband around the world offering concerts, workshops and composing original music. “Our first time coming to the Peace Abbey, we were really changed and a little bit of the Peace Abbey always comes out in our music.”

“Magical Strings” enchanted Saturday’s audience with their Celtic music, songs and storytelling.

The Bouldings played many instruments, including the dulcimer (one hand-made by Philip), pennywhistle, harp, accordion, and others, to create many Irish jigs, slip jigs, reels, as well as several original works including a song Philip finished at his mother’s bedside during the last week of her life.

“Many of you knew her well,” said Philip of his mother who lived in Needham. “I would like to play, in memory of her and her deep love for the Peace Abbey, ‘A Lullaby for Elisa.'”

To mark the Abbey’s upcoming transition into UMass Boston, Philip also created a musical piece and poem that Walsh described as “hopeful.”

Walsh said the Peace Abbey remains open and invited people to stop in and learn more about the work of the Abbey where “good things are happening.”