End of an era: Curtain comes down on Sanctuary concert series

Judy Collins at The Sanctuary series, ,Aug 8, 2015. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Judy Collins at The Sanctuary series, Aug 8, 2015. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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This is a sad day for Greater Morristown music lovers.

The Sanctuary concerts are no more.

PASSING THE TORCH: Scott Sheldon, right, handing off Sanctuary presenting duties to Mike Del Vecchio in May 2014. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
PASSING THE TORCH: Scott Sheldon, right, handing off Sanctuary presenting duties to Mike Del Vecchio, May 2014. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Volunteers announced on Tuesday that the Chatham series is ending its stellar 16-year run because presenter Mike Del Vecchio, who took the reins from founder Scott Sheldon in 2014, has been grappling with tough health challenges for the last year.

The roster of performers who have graced Sanctuary stages, from the Watchung Arts Center to the Presbyterian Church in Chatham, could fill several Halls of Fame:

Judy Collins. Roger McGuinn. The Roches. Roseanne Cash. Arlo Guthrie.  Suzanne Vega.  John Sebastian. Felix Cavaliere. Dar Williams. That’s just for starters.

We saw Red Molly make an emotional farewell at the Sanctuary, and Aztec Two-Step celebrate milestones there. Loudon Wainwright III flipped out when we tried to shoot his performance on a Flip-cam. The late folk icon Richie Havens epitomized class and courtesy. Guitar great Al Caiola, at 94, shared succinct advice: “Just practice!”

And on and on. So many magical Saturday nights.

Sanctuary memories: Slideshow photos by Kevin Coughlin:

Judy Collins at The Sanctuary series, ,Aug 8, 2015. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Abbie Gardner, Laurie MacAllister and Molly Venter in their sixth and final gig at The Sanctuary, Aug 22, 2015 .Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Roger McGuinn of Byrds fame performing at Drew University, for the Sanctuary series, May 14, 2016. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Frank Vignola, left, and Al Caiola share a laugh at the Sanctuary. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Richie Havens with the author in 2005. Rest in peace, Richie.
Aztec Two-Step at the Sanctuary. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Sean Colvin at the Sanctuary in Chatham
The Lords of Liechtenstein at the Sanctuary. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
The HillBenders bend the rules at The Sanctuary, giving a bluegrass spin to 'Tommy.' From left: Gary Rea, Mark Cassidy. Chad Graves and Jim Rea. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Sheila Carabine and Amanda Walther of Dala, at the Sanctuary in Chatham. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
John Ford Coley, left, and Terry Sylvester at The Sanctuary series, Halloween 2015. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Maura and Pete Kennedy kick off the Sanctuary concert series in Chatham on Aug. 25.
Suzy Bogguss at the Sanctuary in Chatham. Photo by Mike Del Vecchio.
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PASSING THE TORCH: Scott Sheldon, right, is handing off Sanctuary presenting duties to Mike Del Vecchio, May 17, 2014. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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judy 2 - Judy Collins at The Sanctuary series, ,Aug 8, 2015. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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We wish Mike a swift return to health, and thank him, Scott, and all the Sanctuary volunteers for giving us the gift of music for so long, and for setting the bar so high.

What are your top SANCTUARY memories? 

Please share them here, or drop us an email.

Here’s the word from the Sanctuary:

Sanctuary Sunset 

With considerable regret and many fond memories, we have decided that The Sanctuary Concerts will be ending its 16-year run.

As many of you know, our presenter, Mike Del Vecchio, has been battling serious health issues since last year. The many roles of a presenter — booking, presenting, producing, administering, and schmoozing — are just no longer possible for him, even with the enormous help from the rest of the Sanctuary volunteer staff. 

We hope that, like us, you will always remember the fun and the spirit of The Sanctuary — the “swanky seats,” the Ice Cream Fairy, the $1 CD Sale, the “kitchen concerts,” the Michele family seat cushions, and the hundreds of incredible Sanctuary performers including Arlo Guthrie, Judy Collins, Nick Lowe, Roger McGuinn, Suzanne Vega, Marc Cohn, Rosanne Cash, Josh Ritter, The Roches, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

And who can forget the wonderful meet-and-greets with nearly every performer. Wasn’t that a time?
 
Our greatest regret is that we will not be seeing you for our regular Saturday-night gatherings of folk music and friendship. Thank you all for you enthusiasm, loyalty, and support. Together, we created something extraordinary…

Art ain’t eternal, but our memories will be.

READ MORRISTOWN GREEN COVERAGE OF THE SANCTUARY

More Sanctuary highlights; please click icon below for captions.

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