Marlborough resident, 67, wore a tan suit and his brown hair was in a ponytail. He performed the national anthem confidently, as if he were a long-time music educator.
Parshall’s talent is not limited to the guitar. Parshall is an avid singer, and lends his vocal talents to the Keene Cheshiremen Chorus.
He is also a dancer and will be joining others on May 1 for the annual Morris dance at the Nelson Commons. The men will be carrying sticks, dressed in green, with short pants and a white handkerchief hanging from their back pockets, white knee socks, and bells on the shins. The English folk dance dates back to the 15th Century and is meant to celebrate the change of seasons and banish winter.
Parshall’s passion was early for performance.
He was one of seven children born to a police officer and a mom who stayed at home. He grew up in the Finger Lakes Region, New York. He recalls a happy childhood but had a strong desire for the circus. He ran away twice to try to join it, once at 13 for a group in his hometown of Penn Yan and again the next year for a circus near Buffalo. He spent a few days at each circus, before he was encouraged by his family to return home. He realized his childhood dream as a driver and cook at Circus Smirkus in northern Vermont.
He graduated from Ithaca College in New York with a bachelor’s in music and Binghamton University in New York with an MBA. As a student, he worked in wine production, trimming vines, and delivering the product to customers in an 18-wheel tractor-trailer.
Parshall was later employed in corporate relations by WNYC in New York. He decided that the Big Apple wasn’t for him so he moved to Massachusetts and became an administrator at the Cummington Community Of The Arts. He met Christine, who would be his wife, and they moved to Cheshire County. He received his teaching credential through Keene State College. After 20 years of teaching music in Marlborough schools, he retired.
He loved working with young people, sharing his love of music, and enjoyed being a part of their lives.
He said, “It’s an language that allows you bring your own meaning to the it.” It lights up every part in your brain.
He plays the piano and guitar most of the time, but he also plays the Renaissance lute and a variety of other instruments. He has many different stringed instruments including banjos, harps, and many acoustic as well electric guitars.
“A musical life is more important than any other. If you can make music yourself, it’s even better. Sometimes words are not enough. It was my other voice.
When it comes to his political lives, however, he relies heavily on the written and spoken word. This was during the divisive period of the Vietnam War.
Parshall stated, “I had a brother that volunteered to do its patriotic duty to preserve democracy & to fight Communism.” “He really, truly believed that. He came back a changed man. He felt like he was being sucked into it and saw the hypocrisy.
Parshall began asking questions and developed antiwar sentiments.
“Do we really need the ability to blow ourselves up seven more times? What point can we stop trying to be insane?
He has questions. He continues to wonder how people who are so passionate about the sanctity and life of abortion are so opposed to gun regulations that protect life.
He believes that women should have the right to choose whether or not they want to abort.
He said that it wasn’t his call to be a moral judge or jury for women across the nation and across the state, and that he doesn’t believe it’s right for people to dictate their views to others.
“Not everyone believes like I do. A mature mind should be able take on a different perspective and see how it will affect them. We are far from that.
Parshall announced that he resigned from his education career in 2020 and ran for the Legislature to make positive change, especially in sustainability and environmentalism. He is a Democrat. This is his second year representing Marlborough & Troy in the N.H. House.
He is the sponsor for House Bill 1111, which would create a commission to examine companies’ responsibilities regarding the disposal of solid waste from the packaging of their products.
He stated that the “one challenge of our age” and the one thing his generation has not done well was to leave a more livable planet. “I am aware there are climate denier out there, and I deal directly with them in the House. But I believe it’s the issue of our times.”
He would like to see the country get rid of the petroleum industry.
Parshall stated, “I believe we’d be much better off if it was an active pursuit solar, wind. I would even put nuke on the table at the point any fuel that is really choking the atmosphere, choking the climate.”
Christine, a former Keene Board of Education Member, is Christine’s nutrition education specialist for UNH Extension. William, aged 26, works at the 21 Bar & Grill Keene. Liza (20), assists local artists. Liza (20) works part-time in a local Market Basket. The family has lived in Cheshire County 25 years.
Parshall stated that she feels fortunate to live in one state’s most progressive areas. “This means we are better equipped culturally to take care of one another. How we take care one another is the mark of a society.
Jim Peale, a North Swanzey resident, sings with Parshall and other singers to sing old sea songs to songs by Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Stan Rogers.
Parshall’s humor, sense of humor, and eclectic nature are appreciated by Peale. These qualities are good traits for legislators, Peale stated.
“That’s exactly what I look at in legislators, intellectual depth and expertise in more than one area.”
Rick Green can be reached at RGreen@KeeneSentinel.com or 603-355-8567