Nicole Densmore brings music to her community

Nicole Densmore, who’s been teaching and playing music in the Lake Sunapee region for 25 years. “Our motto (in class) is, ‘The purpose of this class is to use music to show children the beauty of the world.’ ”

Nicole Densmore, who’s been teaching and playing music in the Lake Sunapee region for 25 years. “Our motto (in class) is, ‘The purpose of this class is to use music to show children the beauty of the world.’ ” GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Nicole Densmore, has been teaching and playing music in the Lake Sunapee region for 25 years. “Our motto (in class) is, ‘the purpose of this class is to use music to show children the beauty of the world,’ ” said Densmore.

Nicole Densmore, has been teaching and playing music in the Lake Sunapee region for 25 years. “Our motto (in class) is, ‘the purpose of this class is to use music to show children the beauty of the world,’ ” said Densmore. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Nicole Densmore ha™s been teaching and playing music in the Lake Sunapee region for 25 years. “The purpose of this class is to use music to show children the beauty of the world,” is her class motto.

Nicole Densmore ha™s been teaching and playing music in the Lake Sunapee region for 25 years. “The purpose of this class is to use music to show children the beauty of the world,” is her class motto. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Students from the Kearsarge Regional Elementary School began the New London town meeting on Wednesday night by leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.

Students from the Kearsarge Regional Elementary School began the New London town meeting on Wednesday night by leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. Courtesy

By RAY DUCKLER

Monitor staff

Published: 03-18-2024 5:03 PM

Modified: 03-18-2024 5:53 PM


New London’s Town Meeting began as it has for the last 14 years, with students from the Kearsarge Regional Elementary School leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.

Music teacher Nicole Densmore invited all students in the small elementary school to join and 26 arrived, their young voices distinct and audible from the adults.

It’s an appropriate way to start the meeting, said Densmore.

“It’s a reminder the decisions they make that night will affect the next generation,” she said.

Densmore’s world is full of music. She began teaching music in the Claremont school system nearly 30 years ago. She teaches music to about 340 students at Kearsarge Regional Elementary School in New London, and has taught music in the Kearsarge Regional School District for 25 years.

“Your attention when you’re playing is to create beauty,” Densmore said. “Our motto (in class) is, ‘The purpose of this class is to use music to show children the beauty of the world.’ ”

Her dedication to incorporating music and singing into the lives of the community’s youth – is why Gail Goddard nominated her friend to be a Hometown Heroes, writing, “The children are so well disciplined and obviously respect Nicole.”

Her presence floats through the area like a melody, to the point where, when busy, she sometimes sends her husband grocery shopping due to the number of residents who will stop her to chat about music and the children she touches.

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“Everyone knows me, that’s fair to say,” Densmore said. “It’s part of the job and it’s part of the joy of being in a small town.”

Densmore got her start at 8 years old while spending the night at a friend’s house and finding a flute under her friend’s bed.

Densmore said the sounds she made that first time were noticed immediately.

“I’d take out the head joint and make sounds,” Densmore said, “and someone was running up the stairs and I thought I was in trouble and she was angry, and she asked if I’d made that sound and said it took her two weeks to play it.”

Her parents bought the friend’s flute for Densmore when she was 9. She began taking private lessons. She got noticed, at places like church, where she was asked to accompany Mr. Bryant, playing piano, to join him during his solo.

“We played ‘Faith of Our Fathers,’ ” Densmore said. “That was in our lesson book for church.”

Since then, Densmore has expanded her passion. She and two other women, playing piano and mandolin, formed Folk Fusion, becoming a house band at the Episcopal Church of St. Andrew.

She opened last year at the Summer Music Association’s 50th anniversary and was asked to accompany Fred Moyer, who’s performed at the Sydney Opera House and Carnegie Hall and has played with many major orchestras in the country and around the world.

“I got to rub elbows with him and it was spectacular,” Densmore said. “It catapults you onto a whole new level.”

Her latest project is affiliated with the youth choir at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in New London, where 30 children walk with her to the church each Monday from January through June, singing songs for two hours.

She’s incorporated African drumming into her students’ lessons. Not only does her young chorus sing at the New London Town Meeting, they also sing patriotic songs at the annual Veterans Day tribute.

That’s one of Densmore’s favorite musical moments.

“The kids are so loud in their little Mickey Mouse voices,” Densmore said. “You’re in tears after 30 seconds because they sing it with such conviction.”