FALMOUTH – Al Moniz was wondering if anyone would show up.
It was 20 minutes before the start of his inaugural New Year’s Eve “procession,” an informal walk down the sidewalks of Main Street, Falmouth.
“We look at every car expectantly,” he said, thinking aloud, wondering if they would stop and join in.
He was wearing a tall top hat, a sturdy wool black coat and a mischievous smile. He was about to play the role of the Piped Piper of Hamlin. Only there would be drummers, not pipers. And this was Falmouth, not Hamelin.
He had planned the event with drummer Lisa Esperson, as a way to do something special on New Year’s Eve, to ward away the evil spirits and start the year off right.
It was planned as a low key, arts-driven event for families, artists, musicians, and people who like to wear funny hats.
People began to gather little by little and soon there were dozens of people of all ages. It was cold but they were smiling.
“Huddle close together is my recommendation,” Moniz said.
“Like penguins,” the man on a unicycle offered, helpfully.
People began to don the funny colorful hats that Moniz provided—they had been lent by local artist Jon Goldman of Woods Hole. The hats, Moniz said, could be acquired at the end of the event for a small donation to the Falmouth Cultural Council, of which Moniz is the current chairman.
As the group got larger, and there were drummers, families, and people wearing funny hats, cars drove by honking their horns and cheering. The event was not yet underway but excitement was building.
By the time 7 p.m. New Year’s Eve rolled around, there were approximately 40 people, young and old, families, couples, and people who like to wear funny hats, gathered at the kiosk at Town Hall Square.
Moniz stood on a stone wall and declared the event underway. He dedicated it to the memory of Marty Tulloch, a longtime chairman of the Falmouth Cultural Council, who had died the previous day.
“Marty would have liked what we’re doing here today,” Moniz said.
The drummers started up, a solid tribal beat, good walking music for New Year’s Eve.
As Moniz stopped traffic waving colorful half-circle of scarfs, the group crossed over the the north side of Main Street and travelled to Peg Noonan Park, people joining along the way.
At the park, folks paraded around the towering evergreen tree, still decorated for Christmas with blue lights.
On the small stage at Peg Noonan Park, the man on the unicycle juggled glowing balls. “No flash photography,” Moniz admonished.
The chill was setting in. The group needed to keep moving and Moniz led the procession across Library Lane and then across Main Street at the crosswalk.
Back down Main Street, the procession passed restaurants full with New Year’s Eve revelers. People strolling on the sidewalk smiled at the procession and some joined in.
The group—by now about 60 strong—again crossed Main Street ending up on Academy Lane, where a small performance took place. Some singing, some flute-playing, and a skit about the old year and the new year that involved swordplay. There was juggling of flaming torches.
And then Moniz said it was over. But the drummers continued to drum. And some people stayed and listened, together.
– Please like us on Facebook.
– Laura M. Reckford