2017 Rhinebeck Grange Events




Rhinebeck Grange presents… A.R. Gurney’s Romantic Comedy: Love Letters               A Valentine Treat if there ever was one! 

On Sunday, February 12, 2017 the Rhinebeck Grange #896 will present a one-time performance of Love Letters, a play by A. R. Gurney at the Morton Memorial Library and Community Room. Two long-time Rhinecliffers and thespian friends, Joe Baer (Christmas Carol (2016), Vince Dirango (2011, 2012) Camelot (2013), and Lorna de Zengotita (Night Mother (2012), will perform as two childhood friends, Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III. Staged sitting side by side, the friends read notes, letters and cards they received from one another over a time span of nearly 50 years. Through their lifelong correspondence, the audience learns of their hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, and victories and defeats that have passed between them throughout their separated lives.

Coincidentally, the play was first performed by the playwright himself and Holland Taylor at the New York Public Library. In the late ’80s, he was ready to perform the piece in front of an audience but needed a venue and a leading lady. As the story goes, according to Lindsey Champion (Broadway.com, 2014):

Gurney was scheduled to give a speech at the New York Public Library—but instead, armed with his friend and collaborator, actress Holland Taylor and a stack of letters, the pair read Love Letters to the crowd. “We started at 4:00, and I put in an arbitrary intermission at 5:00, saying, ‘Well, I’m sure a lot of you have to go,’” Gurney recalled. “And nobody wanted to leave! So I figured we had something.”

Later that year, the show premiered at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT in 1988.

The event will begin at 2pm and the price of admission includes a festive array of Valentine treats throughout the show. Live music will precede the play. Seating will be arranged as tables of two with a beverage and appetizers served prior to the show, a selection of desserts and coffee or tea served during intermission and a cordial and chocolate delight to conclude the afternoon entertainment. The event will benefit the Rhinebeck Grange #896, a family-based community organization with  a mission to serve the communities of Rhinebeck, Red Hook, Tivoli, Rock city and West Milan. Fund-raising supports Grange efforts to offer educational programs, implement service projects such as planting trees, and funding food pantries and offer quality social interactions. Rhinebeck Grange welcomes new members interested in continuing their legacy of service. To learn more, call Cynthia Baer at 845.876.5738.

Don’t miss Love Letters, Sunday, February 12, 2017 at Morton Memorial Library and Community Room. Doors open at 1:30pm. Reservations are encouraged as seating is limited. Pre-sale tickets are $30.00 for a table of two, $20.oo per person. Tickets at the door will be $25.00 per person and are based on availability. For tickets and more information call Joe Baer, 845-876-6488.


Comedy PC A free-will donation will benefit Morton Memorial Library & Community Room


GrangeLuncheonRhinebeck Grange Celebrates Members’ 70 Years of Community Service

APRIL 2016. Rhinebeck, NY. Recently the Rhinebeck Grange held their annual luncheon within the walls of the Beekman Room at the historic Beekman Arms. This year the lunch was held to honor three very special members all celebrating 70 years of membership and faithful service in the Rhinebeck Grange: Catherine Hall and Raymond Cookingham of Rhinebeck and David F. Queen of Red Hook. Says Grange Master, Cynthia Baer, “When I think about my own life, as much as I would like it to be true, there isn’t anything that I will be able to say that I did consistently for 7o years. I have so much admiration and respect for Catherine and David. The fact that they have persevered in serving the Grange and The Rhinebeck community and have kept the values of the Grange vital throughout the course of their lives, is simply inspiring.” The Grange is a family-oriented organization that supports agriculture and the Rural Communities that thrived particularly during the 1920s, 30, and 40s. Despite loosing their actual Grange building in the 1980s (now the Steven Melley Law Office at 24 Closs Street) the Rhinebeck Grange is still active today.

Catherine Hall comes from a family of Grangers. Her mother and father, Rita and Harry Goldsmith, were active in the Grange and her son, Lester Hall is also currently a member. She joined the Junior Grange when she turned 14 years old and has earned all seven degrees of the Grange. She has served as the Rhinebeck Secretary, Treasurer and Grange Master. In addition, she was active in County and State Grange branches. In 1972, Catherine accepted a position as manager for the Grange Food Concession at the Dutchess Co Fair. For more than 25 years, she not only made a home and raised her children, but also ran a tight ship for the Pomona Grange Food Booth, building it into one of the best fair concessions around, “with the biggest value for your buck” at the fair. The Grange concession became one of the main incomes for the Dutchess Co. Grange and remains a vital part of Grange activities during the fairtime. Today, Catherine continues to hold the office of Treasurer.

Raymond Cookingham participated in Grange activities through out his life as well. He had a small farm and worked in equipment repair. He knew how to fix a piece of agricultural equipment like no other. According to fellow Granger and former Master, Stuart Queen, “He grew and supplied some of the best produce for our Grange exhibits. He was active in Grange sports, Dartball, and picnics.He stands about 6 ‘7” so he was always a sought after player.” Although Ray is seen less around town now than in earlier years, he is still a Granger.

David Queen started with the Grange in the 1940s and held a variety of offices including Overseer and Grange Master, equivilant to V.P.. and President. Together with his wife, Ruth, he helped plan and participated in many Grange sports events, dances and plays. He worked to promote the work of the Grange not only by designing and creating many Grange exhibits at the Dutchess County Fair but by his actions: working on projects such as the rebuilding of the Boy Scout pavilion at Ferncliff Forest in Rhinebeck, getting new street signs for the Village of Rhinebeck, and paving a walkway from Rhinebeck to the Starr Library. In addition David has been a great advocate of the Grange and has always been willing to help others. He is keenly aware of how many people in our community need food and, to this day, promotes and distributes food donations for those in need. Says Baer, “The Rhinebeck Grange continues to be vital in serving the Rhinebeck Community. Although the organization has its roots in agriculture, the mission of the Grange has always been to help improve the lives of the every man. We are actively looking for new members, with fresh ideas and for ways in which we can make life better  where we live.”

The Rhinebeck Grange meets at the Rhineclff Firehouse the first Thursday of each month. Pot luck dinner begins at 6pm with a meeting from 7pm – 8pm. Everyone is welcome.  For more iformation call Cynthia Baer 9845) 876-5738.


2015 Mission: The Growing Need for Food & Our Local Food Pantries          

Rhinebeck Grange Joins In ion memorial Day Celebration!                  

MAY, 2015. This year has been a building year for Rhinebeck Grange P of H 896.
We had a slow start to the new year with all the bad weather so it was
decided that our Grange mission for the year would continue to be about helping supply food to the local food pantries.

In May, member David Queen, had an idea to bring awareness to our
mission of food distribution by participating in the Rhinebeck Memorial Day Parade.
With the help of family, he set out and made a 5 x 7ft. float that was adorned with canned goods donated by local supermarkets. His granddaughter dressed up as the Goddess Flora and threw candy and kisses while his son drove the truck. Afterward, all the food was donated to eight local food pantries.


CLARENCE DARROW: A One-Man Play/ November 6, 7 & 8, 2015

NOVEMBER 2015. The Grange P of H 896 is proud to present CLARENCE DARROW: A One-Man Play written by David W. Rintels, based on Irving Stone’s Clarence Darrow for the Defense. Three performances will feature Joe Baer as Clarence Darrow on Friday and  Saturday, November 6 & 7 at 8pm and Sunday, November 8 at 2pmat the Morton Memorial  Library Community Room, Rhinecliff, NY 12574. The price is $15. per person. There will be refreshments and silent auction during intermission. All proceeds will go to the Rhinebeck Grange.

Who is Clarence Darrow? 

Clarence Darrow (1857- 1938) was an American lawyer and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union. He was one of the first attorneys to be called a “labor lawyer.”  During his lifetime, he fought the good fight for the “every man” trying to get ahead and people living on the outskirts of society. It is a story of one man, a champion of the underdog, a loner, a fighter for causes. (Tony Mastronianni, Cleveland Press). It is the story of a man who believed that he could make a difference through his actions.

In the 1890s, he started out working as the general attorney for the Chicago & North Western Railway. However, he soon began to sympathize with the workers, and resigning his position. Thus began a brilliant career of defending the underdogs.

In more than 100 cases, Darrow only lost one murder case. However, Darrow’s most infamous case occurred in 1925 when he defended John T. Scopes, a public high school teacher accused of teaching evolutionary theory in violation of a Tennessee law. The trial became known as The Monkey Trial and caused a great stir, owing to a stewing national controversy over the origins of homo sapiens. Other notable trials included Leopold and Loeb, Ossian /Sweet, and the Massie Trial.

At a time in our nation, where violence and hate seem to be boiling to the surface, The Rhinebeck Grange felt that this play would create a time for pause to refect on the ebbs and flow in our justice system, our sense of fairness within all of society, and somehow, renew the vision for higher civility and equality within our nation.

The Morton Memorial Library and Community Room is located  82 Kelly St, Rhinecliff, NY  12574. For ticket information, call 845-876-6488 or email: baerhands@aol.com.