Milton, Connecticut. Our good friend and neighbor Bill Lauf has a “day” job that pays the bill and keeps him on the road more than he’d like. He’s also a fine musician/songwriter and every fall for the past 37 years he’s been doing a concert at Milton Hall, a small gathering place in a small town near Litchfield, Connecticut.
My wife Anne was at the very first one in 1976. I didn’t start attending until I met her in 1989 but I’ve been going every year since and Bill has become a good friend of mine.
In the past I’ve been tasked with getting some decent shots of Bill playing for album covers and liner note photographs and I’ve brought bags of DSLR gear to this concert. This year I was free but brought the Ricoh GR (my only camera aside from my iPhone) to see what it might do in the tough lighting conditions of Milton Hall. I had to get close (no zoom, 28mm lens) but was able to get a few decent shots where the audio mic wasn’t covering his face. I love this camera, it’s a masterpiece of simple design and high usability, a nearly perfect balance of form and function.
There are many things that are great about Bill’s concerts: certainly his music is at the top of the list, it’s superb and he’s continued to grow as both a songwriter and musician over the many years I’ve known him. But, the cast of characters in the audience, some of them our neighbors, some of them familiar faces to us only from this yearly event, is fine as well, and as word spreads about Bill’s concerts more people come and he now has to book the hall for both Friday and Saturday nights. The other “character” that’s in the background but an important part of the mix is Milton Hall and the town of Milton. There’s a reason Bill chooses this venue year after year: the hall has a warmth (heated by a big old wood stove that we had fired up last night) both visually and acoustically that adds character to a folk concert like this and last night there was light snow and it was cold so the place to be was inside the hall, listening to Bill.