NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

September 5, 2013

Golden opportunity

Couple mark 50th anniversary with public concert, donation to NEF

(Continued)

“It’s rare to have all three Harrises play,” said Betsy, who writes children’s songs and has been studying with Harris Sr. for the past three years.

The concert will also feature Aubrey’s bass teacher, Mark Carlsen, along with pianists Jack Senier and Chris Plante and vocalists Allyn Warner Gamble and Stephen Faria.

Plante, who was the keyboardist for popular Amesbury band The Brew, has been studying with Harris Sr. since the eighth grade, but this will be the first time the two have performed together, Betsy said.

This isn’t the first time that the Woodmans have invited the entire city to celebrate with them at the Unitarian church.

When the couple were celebrating their 40th birthdays in 1981, they organized a concert with the Portland String Quartet from Maine. More than 750 people attended.

“People still remember that concert,” Betsy said.

They chose the quartet because its violist, Julia Adams, is the wife of their close friend Eliot Stanley, who was the best man at their wedding 50 years ago and will attend Saturday’s concert.

With friends and family coming from all over the United States this weekend, this celebration will be a much larger affair than the small marriage ceremony they had in Oklahoma City on Oct. 3, 1963.

The Woodmans, who met their freshman year at the University of Cincinnati, had just moved to Oklahoma for Jonathan’s new job when they decided to elope at the First Unitarian Church. The church is where they met Stanley, at a youth group meeting discussing urban renewal, a topic that interested the pair.

The church community welcomed the Woodmans with open arms, and they knew that church would be the perfect place for their wedding.

“They took care of us,” Betsy said. “It was a storybook wedding because of these people we met.”

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