Pete Coolidge is a cornerstone of our summer town of Andover, Maine (pop. 800). Just last week, he performed in the concert series on the town green that is now a fixture of Andover’s summertime scene. These concerts feature performers from all over northern New England, many of them Pete’s friends. Pete himself is an exceptional guitarist, vocalist and composer in the folk music genre with ballads extolling everything from historic barn preservation to long-term marriages through all their vicissitudes to “the only one I ever loved.”
His closing number, Small Town, describes the way in which, for all of their differences, people in small towns come together to help one another. Pete himself is a perfect example of that. Owner of the town hardware store, he also serves on the town school board where he oversees building and vehicle maintenance. His skills in both the volunteer accomplishment of needed work and the organization of larger projects (from keeping the four-bus fleet operational to heating-system overhaul and replacement of a section of the school’s main roof) are critically needed and remarkably well performed. He also brought to the elementary school an innovative “play it forward” program that teaches children guitar and provides them with guitars to learn on.