By Connie Leinbach
Along with the highly visible rock, folk and bluegrass band concerts, Ocracoke has hidden pockets of culture.
In March, about 20 islanders gathered for a classical house concert at the home of Susan Stuck. A part-time islander who makes her other home in Vermont, Stuck, a flutist, brought two musician friends to play a small concert.
“This is a debut concert,” Stuck said with a chuckle as islanders arrived.
Husband and wife team of Jeremiah and Annemieke McLane of Sharon, Vt., made for an unusual musical pairing as Jeremiah on the accordion, and Annemieke on piano performed a mix of world, folk and classical pieces. His accordion sounded at times like a string section, a horn or a pipe organ accompanying Annemieke’s lovely piano playing.
“This was amazing,” said Debbie Wells after the concert. “This couple was on this intimate journey through music and we were watching it.”
A few weeks earlier, a small group gathered at Peter Vankevich’s home for a “French Evening” with a Quebecois family traveling through Ocracoke.
Annie Lawrence and her husband Francis Roy and her teen-aged daughter Eva braved a wild, rainy night to converse with Daphne Bennink, Genevieve Sansone- Gracovetsky, Vankevich and Connie Leinbach, all of whom speak French. Daphne’s husband, Howard, who does not speak French, was a good sport to attend.
“I never thought there were so many people who spoke French here,” Annie said. Hailing from St. Hugues, Quebec, near Montreal, the family had met Vankevich in the summer when they stopped into Ocracoke Island Trading Company and he noticed they were speaking French. Vankevich, who is fluent in French and Spanish, he spoke to them in their language.
For their March trip, Annie and Eva had flown to Florida where they met Francis, who had been on a week-long canoe trip in the Everglades. The family voyaged back to Canada via the Outer Banks.
“When we travel, we look for national parks to visit,” Annie said about their detour to the Cape Hatteras to the National Seashore.