Stuck in Vermont: John Gordon's Granite Calliope | Stuck in Vermont | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Stuck in Vermont: John Gordon's Granite Calliope 

Episode 579

Published June 6, 2019 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated June 6, 2019 at 7:19 p.m.

John Gordon has a knack for tinkering, so it isn't surprising that when this retired resident of Groton found a large granite stone in his field, he decided to turn it into a calliope. You may have heard calliopes before at circuses and fairs. The musical instruments produce loud sounds by blowing gas, steam or compressed air through whistles. As far as John knows, this is the only calliope in the world made from a rock.

John's calliope has 45 holes and plays 45 notes with the aid of an attached laptop and compressed air. John is not a musician, but he used his computer engineering skills to tune the rock. He attached the hunk of granite to a vintage tractor, added a canopy, and brings the unique contraption on the road to events like RockFire and local parades.

In mid-May, John brought his calliope to a weekly get-together at the Groton United Methodist Church, called Groton Lunches With Friends. The Thursday gatherings provide meals to area seniors and foster community; John's wife, Susan, is a volunteer. Despite a sudden spring downpour, the group enjoyed John's after-lunch tunes until the sun shone again.

You can catch John's calliope next at the Vermont Blueberry Festival in Craftsbury on July 27th.

Shooting date: 5/16/19

This episode of Stuck in Vermont was made possible by

New England Federal Credit Union


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About The Author

Eva Sollberger

Eva Sollberger


Seven Days senior multimedia producer Eva Sollberger launched her award-winning "Stuck in Vermont" web video series in 2007. Her videos have been viewed by millions. She appears every other Friday on WCAX at 6:30pm.

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