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By Daniel Curtin
Hometown Weekly Reporter
As the sun set below the thick green foliage at Hale Reservation, painting the partly-cloudy sky a muted cotton-candy blue last Thursday night, the acoustic stylings of several local musicians brought the quiet night alive. Visitors to Hale’s Andrew Cucchiara Learning Center had heard original music by three different groups: Cold Car, Jenee Halstead and Conor Ryan Hennessy.
As night approached, the small grey barn was illuminated with the fluorescent twinkle of Christmas lights hanging on the rafters above, while folk music poured out of the space.
Brian London, whose family has lived in Westwood for about 25 years, attended his first musical performance at Hale after seeing one of the musicians perform at his church.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said London. “Especially a beautiful setting like this, you get to hear some really great music … I’m not a fan of the big concert crowds, so this is perfect for me - a night out that is low-key and low-stress.”
Hale Reservation’s ACLC Barn hosts music year-round. The first adult musical soirée, which took place about a year and a half ago, was supposed to be played on Hale’s beach, but inclement weather threw a wrench in the gears. Organizers moved the event inside to the barn and fell in love with the location.
For Lorraine Sousa, who is the director of philanthropy at Hale, the live music reflects the variety of different events hosted at the reservation.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to share Hale with the community,” said Sousa. “I think a lot of people view it from one perspective. If they are a camp family, they know us from camp. If they know us from the Hale Summer Club, they know us from that … [the concerts are] a great way to bring people in from all those different perspectives and [help them] see us in a new light.”
“It’s such a cozy little spot, and this community is great. I had no idea this was here,” said performer Conor Ryan Hennessy.
Ken Carter, who was the first ever to perform at the ACLC Barn music series, took the stage again as part of the group Cold Car.
“This is the best thing happening in Westwood, hand down,” Carter emphatically said. “There is nothing like this close to here.”