KeepHealthCare.ORG – Former Resident Of Amagansett Life-Saving Station Will Perform In Her Childhood Home – Amagansett
Jun 15, 2018 4:58 PM
By Julia Halsey
The setting for Deborah Carmichael’s next concert will be a familiar one for her, and that’s not because she’s performed there in the past.
On Friday, June 29, the singer will return to a place that she holds close to her heart: her childhood home, the Amagansett Life-Saving Station.
The federal life-saving station switched hands and locations many times before it became the museum that it is today. Its history dates back to 1880, when it was one of the first life-saving stations built after the establishment of the U.S. Life-Saving Service. Back then, the original building stood on the north side of Bluff Road, east of what is now Indian Wells Highway. Nineteen years after the original station was built, the U.S. Life-Saving Service replaced the original station with a new one closer to the beach on Atlantic Avenue. This new station was completed in 1902, and remained manned by crew who would keep watch from the lookout tower searching for boats in distress. The station was responsible for rescuing sailors and passengers from shipwrecks until it was decommissioned in 1944.
The building fell into the hands of the Carmichael family in 1966 when Joel Carmichael purchased the building for one dollar after a 20-year period of abandonment. He moved it up onto the bluff above, and it remained a family home until Mr. Carmichael’s death in 2006.
“It has left me with magical memories,” Ms. Carmichael said of her childhood home. “The house was an adventure. It was inspiring and fun. I could hear the ocean from the tower. We had goats running around the lawn in the summertime.”
After the Carmichael family gave the building back to the Town of East Hampton in 2011, the Amagansett U.S. Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station Society moved it back to its original location and initiated a six-year restoration of the station to its 1902 design. The building now stands as a museum and important landmark in Amagansett history.
Even though the Life-Saving Station has only been open to the public since last spring, a concert has been in the works for Ms. Carmichael ever since her family returned the station seven years ago.
“When my family gave the house back to the town of East Hampton, I requested that it be written into the contract that I could do two concerts a year there,” Ms. Carmichael said. “This is the first time we have been able to do this. I love the idea of benefit concerts, of contributing to a cause or organization I believe in through music, so it was natural to make the first concert in this building a benefit for the building.”
Ms. Carmichael is now a singer and music teacher specializing in the “libero canto” approach to singing, a style that emphasizes freedom and authenticity.
The singer said she is excited to perform in the unconventional venue, and is looking forward to embracing the opportunities and challenges that the performance at the Life-Saving Station will bring.
“In this case, there are many specific benefits,” she explained. “The beauty of the building, my long relationship with it, the fact that we have a circle of friends in the area, the fact that the building has such an interesting history. I think it will be a wonderful experience for the other musicians to play there. There are some interesting challenges, like the columns in the boat room, the need to move the boat out, the issues around moving a piano into the room.”
Ms. Carmichael will be joined at the benefit concert by singers Kinga Cserjési, Marisa Michelson and Sara Serpa, and the group will sing along next to musical accompaniment. Members of the Choral Society of the Hamptons will also make an appearance.
The concert benefiting the historic Amagansett Life-Saving Station will take place at the station on Friday, June 29, at 7 p.m. A $25 donation is suggested. Visit amagansettlss.org for more information.