Chamber music concert fills St. Aidan's Chapel with sound
Every summer, the doors of St. Aidan's Chapel are opened for services, community gatherings, and, as was the case on July 18, concerts.
Two musicians from the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra joined parishioners and the general public — both year-round and seasonal Dartmouth residents — for a chamber music concert inside the Smith Neck Road chapel.
It was violinist Travis Rapoza’s first time performing at the chapel. It was a little tough to find, located nearly at the end of Smith Neck Road, and he was not quite sure what to expect.
“This is my first time, so I’m not sure what to expect,” Rapoza said as they rehearsed before the concert. “I’m not sure what’s going to happen to the hall once there’s people in it.”
For Peter Zay, who plays the cello, it was at least his eighth time performing at the chapel. He always looks forward to performing in the small, homey building, which provides unique acoustic properties.
“I think this is just an adorable, great little chapel,” Zay said. “I love the location, but the sound is really good here as well, and the intimate nature of this kind of chapel is perfect for chamber music.”
It’s that intimate, small, close-knit community that defines the chapel. Steve Hatfield, Chair of the Standing Committee which oversees the chapel, noted its regular service attendees are a mix of summer residents and those who call Dartmouth home year-round.
The chapel traces its roots to the early 1900s, when Wilson R. Stearley came from Newark, NJ to hold services at the former Salter's Point Inn. The chapel itself was built in 1917 as services outgrew the location.
Ever since then, the chapel has opened its doors for 11 Sundays between June and September, offering two regular services and special community outreach events like the concert.
“This event is part of our outreach effort,” Hatfield said. “We bring folks into St. Aidan's, even people who have not experienced it before, to show them the beauty of this gem and also provide an opportunity for musicians from the Symphony to come outside of their own regular performances.”
The chapel also supports local organizations, including the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra.
For more information about the chapel, and its schedule, visit staidanschapel.org.