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'Grover's Corner' dedicated with memories and music behind Town Hall in Great Barrington

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Kathy Jo and Althea Grover

David Grover's widow Kathy Jo and his grand-daughter Althea Grover perform at the gazebo behind Great Barrington's Town Hall to remember the late musician with friends, family and the community during a dedication of the park on Saturday. 

GREAT BARRINGTON — Amid short bursts of light rain, the voice of the late David Grover emanated from the grandstand behind Town Hall.

Singing along was his wife, Kathy Jo, and one of his grandchildren, Althea. With a multi-piece band, they and others who loved the local musician held a memorial concert and park dedication late Saturday morning.

The sign "Grover's Corner," with the gazebo in the background

The gazebo and park behind Great Barrington's Town Hall was named "Grover's Corner," after Berkshire native and musician David Grover during a dedication of the park on Saturday. 

“I love the earth. I love the sky. I love this day we share together,” went the lyrics.

“This day will pass, and so will I,” sang Grover on the amplified recording. “But the earth and the rocks will live forever.”

Grover, 69, died in November after a car crash, but his legacy thrived at the park around the gazebo, which is now called Grover’s Corner.

Althea told the crowd it was never bothersome when it rained at one of his past performances there, because it just brought them all together closer under the gazebo, listening to an acoustic set.

A view into the park from the gazebo

The gazebo and park behind Great Barrington's Town Hall was named "Grover's Corner," after Berkshire native and musician David Grover during a dedication of the park on Saturday which included performances of songs and remembrances from the community and friends. 

For decades, Grover sang to children and adults, many of whom are now grown, including Cassandra Johnson, 24, of New York.

After joining Kathy Jo at the gazebo to sing a verse of “You Are My Sunshine,” Johnson said she’d watched Grover there as a child, for just about as long as she could remember. She recalled his warmth and generous energy.

Kathy Jo and Cassandra Johnson sing

David Grover's widow Kathy Jo and Cassandra Johnson sing "You Are My Sunshine," at the gazebo behind Great Barrington's Town Hall to remember the late musician with friends, family and the community during a dedication of the park on Saturday. Johnson, now 24, used to attend Grover's performances when she was a child and got up to sing as children and adults took turns singing during the celebration. 

“Those memories are still who we are today,” Johnson said.

A musician for about 50 years, Grover toured with Arlo Guthrie, and had his own musical outfit, called the Big Bear Band. He created a PBS television children’s show about music called “Grover’s Corner” in 1989, and a special called “Chanukah at Grover’s Corner,” about the Jewish festival of lights.

People enjoy a musical performance

Several dozen people enjoy music from the gazebo and park behind Great Barrington's Town Hall which was named "Grover's Corner," after Berkshire native and musician David Grover during a dedication of the park on Saturday. 

Grover turned much of his attention to entertaining and inspiring children after the birth of his own child, said Kathy Jo. Perhaps, she said, he wanted to give young people the childhood that he himself did not have.

But for certain, Grover wanted children to “feel comfortable in their own skin. And he wanted to teach them to be good, like citizens. To care for the planet, and to care for each other,” Kathy Jo, who played with her late husband for decades, said. “All the things that he believed.”

Several generations of children grew up with Grover, she said.

The sign "Grover's Corner," with the gazebo in the background

The gazebo and park behind Great Barrington's Town Hall was named "Grover's Corner," after Berkshire native and musician David Grover during a dedication of the park on Saturday which included performances of songs and remembrances from the community and friends. 

“I meet them all the time,” said Kathy Jo. “Many of them have become musicians. It’s great. It’s great to see. Some of them have not — they’re lawyers or doctors — but they are still David Grover fans.”

Not only are they fans of the music, she said, but the messages that Grover wanted to imbue through song seem to have stuck.

“They are people who do care about the planet, and do try to make the world a better place and, and took the messages of the David Grover songs with them as they became adults,” she said.

Focused on helping to form and encourage youth, Grover was never preoccupied with being rich or famous, said Kathy Jo, describing her late husband as a “really sweet, unassuming, open, welcoming guy.”

People enjoy a musical performance

Several dozen people enjoy music from the gazebo and park behind Great Barrington's Town Hall which was named "Grover's Corner," after Berkshire native and musician David Grover during a dedication of the park on Saturday. 

As Kathy Jo and Althea sang with the accompaniment of musicians who also played alongside Grover for years, people young and old filtered through Grover’s Corner, with a core group of about 50 people watching, and sometimes dancing and singing along. Birds chirped in the trees overhead.

“He’s just beloved by everyone. Myself included,” said Kathy Jo.

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6296.

Cops and Courts Reporter

Amanda Burke is Cops and Courts Reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. An Ithaca, New York native, she previously worked at The Herald News of Fall River and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.

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