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Merestead Event to Aid Bedford Hills Free Library

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y.— This June, Merestead, an elegant Westchester Country house built in 1907, will give local residents the rare opportunity to see inside its walls.

On June 3, the house will host the Bedford Hills Free Library's annual fundraiser, which will feature Music from Copland House and a tour of the historic home.

At Merestead's final concert of the year, "Strings, Mallets, Hammers and Ivory," the ensemble will include pianists Michael Boriskin, executive and artistic director of Copland House and Michael Barrett, chief executive and general director of the head of Caramoor.

Boriskin and Barrett will be accompanied by percussionists Kory Grossman and Andrew Stenvall for a performance of Bartok’s "Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion" and the New York premiere of "Klang," by acclaimed composer and former Copland House resident Pierre Jalbert.

Before the concert, ticketholders will be treated to a rare tour of the historic Merestead house, 455 Byram Lake Road, followed by a luncheon in the house's dining room. After the concert at 3 p.m., musicians will join guests at a reception.

"The house tour should be really interesting," said library trustee Fiona Mitchell.

Once the country home of William Sloane, who founded the Sloane Furniture Company, Merestead is a 26-room Georgian Revival. The house is part of a 130-acre estate that was once a dairy farm, Mitchell said. Outside, it features expansive views of the hills of Westchester, and inside, there still are many artifacts of the family who once lived there.

Mitchell notes a two-story servants’ wing that is "reminiscent of grander days, like in the era of ‘Downton Abbey.'"

Library Board president Heide Shilstone noted the servants' quarters even have the old-fashioned bells to summon them.

“It’s like a time capsule of the family life there,” she said. “It really is an interesting picture of what that kind of country house life was like right here in Bedford,” she said.

For last year’s fundraiser, "Art in the Afternoon," Bedford-based art collector William Louis-Dreyfus opened up his private gallery in Mount Kisco to benefit the library, Shilstone said.

“We are depending now on these annual fundraising events to make up for our operating costs,” she said.

The library is partially paid for by the Town of Bedford, but otherwise is dependent upon donations from community members.

Like many towns departments, the library is experiencing budget cuts, Shilstone said, so these fundraisers help the library maintain its present levels of service and operating hours.

Those interested in purchasing tickets for the benefit, should call (914) 666-6472 or visit the library's website by Monday. Tickets are $100, $75 for seniors and students.

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