Sandy Lafleur

Sandy Lafleur -- Music and Collaboration

Sandy LafleurSandy Lafleur built her first dulcimer from a kit when she was in college.

“It was a rough instrument, but it got me started,” she recalled. “I didn’t even know what it was, I just knew I wanted to do it. I taught myself to play.”

She started going to dulcimer festival, built two more instruments, and has been teaching the instrument for over 25 years. “Students come to the house, or on Zoom, from Virginia or Rhode Island, and I teach at festivals all over New England. It’s a beautiful instrument and easy to get started on.”

DulcimerMusic is a part of almost everything Sandy does. “Music brings people together.”

Bringing people together is what she does as the coordinator of the Wilton Collaborative Space at the Congregational Church Parish House. She hosts an open mic every month and has several musical events planned.

And contra dancing. “I love contra dancing.” She is a caller and has traveled all over New England “b.c.,” before Covid. “It brings all generations together, breaking down barriers. You don’t need a partner, just come. You’re not with the same person all evening.” She organized the Milford Contra Dances years ago and hopes they will soon return.

Sandy moved to Wilton in 2013 and says she’s a “native of New Hampshire, I’ve lived here all my life.” She graduated from UNH with an associate’s degree in plant science. “I did some extension work and floral design, the Green Thumb Program at Southern N.H. Services, teaching preserving and canning.”

She lived in Amherst for over 30 years and worked as an assistant to the Milford High School nurse, teaching CPR and doing the bookwork. She left that position in 2020. Prior to that, she raised her two children in Amherst. “I needed to go to work so I got my commercial driver’s license and drove a school bus for nine years. “I really enjoyed it. We had an open mic on the bus on Fridays. Probably the only bus that did that.”

She likes to organize things, she said, get things done, and find ways to bring people together, She organizes the music for the Milford Farmers’ Market, both inside, where it is now, and outside in good weather. “I find the musicians – I have a lot of contacts.”

WCSShe also organizes the Wilton Folk Café which will be returning in March at the Wilton Collaborative Space. Previously Sandy organized the Acoustic Café at the Milford Public Library.

She is one of the coordinators of the Wilton Community Garden on Carnival Hill, and is now coordinator for the Wilton Collaborative Space, and is working with a committee to return the Still Good Shed to the Recycling Center. “That has to have rules and volunteers to make it work,” she said. It should be open soon.

She helped with the long-running documentary film series at the Town Hall Theater, finding speakers to lead a discussion afterward. “Dennis would like to bring that back.” But, she added, “we need more people to attend.”

She’d also like to bring back the Souhegan Sustainability Fair, a regional event held at the high school for several years before Covid. “We did a survey and had 20 ZIP codes. That was really fun, brought a lot of people together,” and promote another of her goals – a greener environment.

She has taken training as an end-of-life doula and is finding that work rewarding. “It is a personal time that people don’t want to talk about. There is a taboo in our culture to talk about death.” She has found that music helps there, too, brings ease and comfort. Sandy is a promoter of ‘green burials,’ – she was in a segment on N.H. Chronicle – and is active foe of littering. She has coordinated trash pickups as a fund raiser several times, supporting local charities.

StoneBut Stone Soup may best describe Sandy’s philosophy which she lives. “If everybody contributes a little, great things can be accomplished.” Stone Soup is adapted from a fairy tale and requires a ‘magic stone’ -- hers is a baseball sized well-polished river stone. To make the soup, participants contribute vegetables – any kind - to which the magic stone is added. “If the stone sinks, it will be good soup. Mine always sinks.” She made her first one “in 1999 or 2000 at a week-end campout” and has held several in Main Street Park for the Wilton Community Center. “If it’s a quirky thing to do, I love it.”

She asked, “How do we get people out of their homes? If we could interact more, more barriers would come down. We need to party more.”

She added, “I want harmony in music and interactions. I see this Collaborative Space as bringing some of this to happen. Come, we need more collaboration!”

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