Say “I Do,” Please
“A Diamond Is Forever.” Thank you Frances Gerety. She penned it way back in 1947, and it became “The Slogan of the Century,” according to Advertising Age. It’s been in virtually every De Beers ad since (I bet you can see the graceful silhouettes and hear those opening notes from Karl Jenkins’ "Palladio" right about now.), inspiring those two romantic words: I do…
By then, the Washington County Court House, on Route 138 in West Kingston, was halfway through its official life. I live nearby, so I tend to slow down in my RAV, savoring a look. Forget its historical trials and tribulations. Look! A post-World War II doughboy inspired by that slogan is rushing in with his best girl to say those words.
The Court House – like so many beautiful old New England buildings – has long since been repurposed, and in 1989 was rechristened as The Courthouse Center for the Arts. Rhody’s own version of – hopefully- a forever diamond.
Honestly, my gushing for this South County gem is as real as Joe’s love for Marilyn, and Spencer’s love for Katharine. But in the spirit of all that’s true – like love – I’ll admit that I have a concerton Saturday, November 18 (benefitting the Courthouse children’s arts programs, so you better be there).
Bias notwithstanding, The Courthouse is brilliant, sparkly, and perfectly cut, just like a diamond.
During an advance visit for my show, Executive Director Mariann Almonte (a diamond in her own right), gave me a tour of its gorgeous facets. Galleries for local artists. Recital spaces for musicteachers and students. The children’s arts programs (remember November 18th, please. Let’s make the kids happy.).
The dressing room – it was the judge’s chambers! Spacious, ornate, and providing lots of material for jokes about disrobing. Here come the judge, indeed.
The attic. Decades of ephemera that Mariann says she’s slowly sorting through (lots of ghosts from Christmas past up there). And ghosts? There’s the haunted room. Um, no. I’ve seen “The Sixth Sense,” thanks.
The theater… sigh…This Old Courtroom - replete withstunning architecture… where the real spirits live, of the talented and legendary performers – local and world renown - who graced its stage and filled theroom with love. They’ve cut their own stunning facetsin this South County diamond. I felt awed and humbledstanding on that stage – I needed to tell the worldabout it.
So here I am. Still, I worry that this diamond won’t be forever. It’s tough for a non-profit like this to keep going, competing for an audience preoccupied by the trappings of modern life, where the current “what have you done for me lately” distraction often resides in a smartphone app.
Mariann works tirelessly – yep, cliché – making it a model of excellence and culture, and honestly a South County jewel.
A diamond. That’s what The Courthouse Center for the Arts really is. A sparkly, multi-faceted, beautifully cut, breathtaking diamond. Let’s make it forever. Please say I do…. And thank you, Frances.
Pete Silva is a singer, song-writer, poet, long-time 94HJY broadcaster, English literature teacher, New England stone wall builder, blogger, and adherent to the “Life is Good” philosophy.