St. Mark's to host concerts?

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The proud new owner of one of Warren's oldest churches still doesn't know what he'll do with the former St. Mark's Church. But he's got some interesting ideas.

"Residence? Art center? Artists retreat? Brewery? I'm listeing to everyone for now," owner David Wescott said.

Mr. Wescott, who owns the mill at 30 Cutler St. and also manages the former I Shalom factory property on Main, purchased St. Mark's earlier this month from the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island, after hearing of the church's plan to sell the iconic 1830 structure to a pair of Warren developers. He reached an agreement with the men which allowed them to step aside gracefully, and paid the church what they'd offered Æ $150,000. "My only thought was to save the building," he said at the time.

Last week, Mr. Wescott celebrated the official signing over of the deed by inviting the neighborhood over for a sort-of open house. A few dozen showed up, all excited for the many possibilities. Right now, though, Mr. Wescott said he's not sure exactly what will happen. One idea is to hold concerts there and get the church's organ up and running again.

"I'm hoping to do some choral concerts and put the organ to use again," he said.

Otis Read, a Washington Street musician who recently staged a concert of many early American religious hymns composed by one of his ancestors, may put on another show there, and there are other possibilities too.

"I'm really up for using it as a performance space at least until final decisions are made about its ultimate use," Mr. Wescott said.

— Ted Hayes

David Wescott

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