Music stars in Brubeck show opening in Wilton

WILTON — Somewhere, Dave Brubeck was smiling.

The main gallery at the Wilton Historical Society was filled with the sounds of live jazz — including Brubeck’s epic Take Five — at the opening of the exhibition “Remembering Dave: A Brubeck Family Album on Feb. 21.

The music was performed by students from Wilton High School, who provided the background for visitors enjoying the photos and artifacts that told the story of Brubeck’s life from his days on a cattle ranch through his early career to national and international recognition, as a jazz ambassador, civil rights activist and family man at home in Wilton.

The students who performed were Jake Arnowitz, Stephanie Baptista, Lara Burke, Emily Bostwick, Francesca Goncalves, Alex Jelilian, Ian Kineon, Jack Nanez, Mattias Onnerud, Harris Patnaik, Isadore Palacpac, Moses Trujillo and Zara Wiest.

Central to the exhibition is a film the Brubeck family put together for the Jazz Education Network’s annual conference in New Orleans in January. It includes film footage of Brubeck on horseback during his “cowboy” days, being interviewed by Walter Cronkite, and performing around the world.

In a gallery dedicated to photos of the Brubeck home on Millstone Road, Vivian Wesson said she thought the exhibition “is absolutely spectacular.”

The historical society, she said, “has the pulse of the community to highlight an artist of such renown.”

Wesson, who lives in Weston, volunteers with her husband and children at the historical society. She was especially impressed by the students’ performance.

“I love the idea of the kids playing — the richness and tapestry of music through the generations,” she said.

Christina Lampe-Onnerud grew up in Sweden listening to Dave Brubeck records.

“It’s amazing, it’s so fun,” she said, admiring the home photos. “I grew up in Sweden listening to his music and then wound up living on his street.”

Former Wilton Fire Capt. Karl Dolnier found the show “very impressive. I knew bits and pieces but never knew the whole lineage.”

Looking at the home designed by architect Beverley David Thorne, Dolnier joked, “Of all the houses I’ve been in in Wilton, I’ve never been in this one.”

Rebecca Lin is on the historical society’s board of directors and said she is “really excited the historical society can pay tribute to someone like Dave Brubeck who brought so much to jazz” and for “Wilton to be able to nurture him and his family and for that to be brought to light.”

Tish Brubeck, wife of Dave Brubeck’s son Chris, said it was “very rewarding to see [the exhibition] in our hometown.

“They did a great job with it,” she said, “and it makes us very happy.”

She was especially fond of the section dedicated to the family, where there are photos of Dave and his wife Iola just before their marriage in 1942 and in their later years. There is also a lovely photo of Dave, Iola and their children taken for Dave’s 90th birthday in 2010.

The exhibition will be on view through April 18. Information: or call 203-762-7257.