It was everything you could possibly hope for in a house party. A welcoming vibe, tasty libations, great music and a genuine warmth and affection for one’s hosts. At the inaugural 317 House Party at 317 Main Community Music Center in Yarmouth, guests mingled from porch to lawn to the countless rooms inside, enjoying live music and a real sense of community.

“I’ve been involved with 317 since its inception,” said Florence Lusk, a former board member and one of the evening’s hosts. “I take lessons here and my husband and son took lessons here for years. It’s an organization that I’ve really loved and I’m excited to see it grow.”

Praise for the community music center among the gathering supporters, whose attendance helped to raise funds to support programming, was genuine and abundant.

“My daughter plays guitar here,” said Tom Fremont-Smith of Yarmouth, who was joined by his wife Leandra. “I’ve lived in a lot of places, but I’ve never lived in a community with such a great program and I want to support it.”

The Smiths were joined by Dr. Ben Lowenstein and Anne Gray, both of Yarmouth.

“It’s a very special place,” said Gray. “When my kids were taking lessons here, it was the favorite part of my week to come here, have a coffee and listen to the music coming from all of the rooms. It was relaxing.”

Karen Watterson, who attended the party with her sister Marjorie Dwyer, spoke with great affection for 317.

“My daughter takes voice lessons here,” said Watterson of Yarmouth. “They are wonderful, easygoing and they have so many programs. It’s just so accessible.”

Amy Sinclair of Yarmouth, sitting on the rocks near the garden with her husband Tux Turkel, shared a similar sentiment.

“In a lot of suburban towns, the focus is really on sports,” said Sinclair. “317 is a nonprofit that has a good feeling…it’s a group of really committed people with a shared vision of kids playing music.”

Mingling from room to room, guests were treated to a diverse array of live music in one of the old home’s many lovely, spacious rooms – jazz cabaret in the café, Irish in the upstairs lounge and bluegrass/old-time on the lower floor, which opened up to the gardens and tent outside.

It was all to the revelers’ delight. Rob and Ann Billings of Yarmouth enjoyed the festivities with Emma Wilson, also of Yarmouth. Artist Susan Myer Riley was joined by her husband and 317 violin student Dr. Dixon Riley of Yarmouth. Ceci Gilson, 317’s marketing director, stopped to take it all in with 317 supporter Dr. Richard Maurer and board member Kyo Bannai.

“This is something,” said Annie Coleman, operations and business manager at the community music center, gazing out at the throngs of people gathered to celebrate and offer support. “We’ve never done this before and it’s a wonderful expression of the type of community we have. We’re just thrilled to have everyone supporting 317.”

Several of the center’s 23 faculty members were in attendance, clearly proud of both their students and their home base.

“I’ve been teaching here for almost three years,” said guitarist Lincoln Meyers. “It’s wonderful. It’s a great facility. It’s like a family here.”

Meyers was joined by fellow teachers and musicians Carter Logan, a banjo and dobro instructor, Danielle Paus, harp instructor, Robin Jellis, cello teacher and Chris Moore, director of music education. Tom Whitehead, a six-year veteran who teaches piano and guitar, chatted nearby with colleagues Jed Wilson, piano instructor, and Jason Phelps, guitar and mandolin instructor and founding faculty member of the growing music school.

“We have something for everybody,” said Phelps, who has been at 317 since its inception. “We have teachers who can help you learn your way or learn how to play in a band, which is really fun. You can learn one-on-one or in a group.”

“It’s what I really care about,” explained Peter Milliken, who began as a mandolin student of Phelps and went on to found 317 about eight years ago. “We’ve renovated the building in a way that honored the site, the outside areas are a real delight, and really, it’s about community and it’s about music. I know what music can do. It is so deeply ingrained in all of us.”

Hans Underdahl, a friend of Milliken’s and a board member of 317 who attended the house party with his wife Rosemary, recalled the day Milliken shared his vision for a community music center.

“I’ve been a guitar player for 52 years,” he explained, beaming with excitement as the live auction got under way. “I play every day and I am self-taught. When Peter told me he was starting this thing eight years ago, I said, ‘I have to be involved.’ ”

As two 317 music students departed the stage after a powerful performance of “Ring Them Bells,” Underdahl was clearly moved.

“The single highest accomplishment of humanity is music.”

For more information about 317 Main Community Music Center, please visit