August 18, 2018

Archives for August 2018

Leif Nilsson Hosts ‘The Honey Hill Band’ in Tonight’s ‘Concert in the Garden’

The Honey Hill Band will play the next ‘Concert in the Garden,’ tonight at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts a ‘Concert in the Garden,’ this evening from 7 to 9 p.m.,  featuring The Honey Hill Band at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center.

With roots stemming from New England to North Carolina to Norway, Honey Hill finds it’s musical base within a potion of hearty folk, pop, and punk influences. A blend of banjo, guitars, keys and vocal harmonies with the intention of lyrics at the forefront.

Helene, Karl, and Justin have been singer-songwriters in their own domains long before the group came together and bonded over the beauty of cadence, melody, and the craft of original songwriting. With some brave performances under their belt in NYC and the surrounding New England area, the group is part of a hopeful rise of the folk spirit within young artists.

Honey Hill offers their confessions, self-reflections, and professions of love to every audience they find, always leaving traces of sweetness.

This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

Gates open half hour before the show — first come first seated. Seating is Bistro Style in the amphitheater. The concert will be moved indoors in the event of inclement weather.

A $20 donation is appreciated. The event is BYOB – pack a picnic and bring your own wine or beer or buy it across the street at the Chester Package Store.

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Vote for Fred! Hearing-Impaired Brooke of Old Lyme is One of Three National Finalists for ‘Focus on People’ Award

Fred Brooke of Old Lyme is the founder of AngelRide and one of the three finalists for the Oticon ‘Focus on People’ award.

Frederick Brooke of Old Lyme is a finalist for a national award.

The Oticon Focus on People Award celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of individuals with hearing loss, and Brooke is one of the top three individuals across the country in the Adults category.  His final placement in the Awards now depends on online votes, which are open through Aug. 24.

Brooke doesn’t let his hearing loss slow him down.

In 2001, inspired by 12-year-old Angel Uihlein, he swam across Long Island Sound, raising enough money for Angel’s mom to stay at home with her seriously-ill daughter.  AngelSwim continued over the following years, as Brooke swam 850 miles along the coast of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine to reach the Canadian border, all to benefit sick children.

In 2004, Brooke and his partner Lynn McCarthy started AngelRide, a trans-Connecticut (135 miles, two-day) charity bicycling event with nearly 100 percent of the money raised donated to The Hole in the Wall Camp, founded by actor Paul Newman for children too sick to go to conventional camps.

The money raised enabled the camp to start a Hospital Outreach program that sends specially-trained employees to enrich the lives of children in oncology wards. Today, AngelRide is an annual Memorial Day event that has raised more than $5.75 million to benefit hospitalized children.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Oticon Focus on People Awards, the first national awards program recognizing individuals who challenge outdated stereotypes and demonstrate that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to make a difference. Through the awards program, Oticon continues its mission to raise awareness and open doors of opportunity for people with all degrees of hearing loss.

The other two finalists in the Adult category for this year’s Focus on People Awards are Garth Baker of Twin Falls, Idaho and Clare Wolf of Rubicon, Wis.

“For 20 years, the Oticon Focus on People Awards program has brought inspiring individuals into our lives, and this year is no exception,” says Nancy Palmere, Director of Consumer Marketing and Public Relations. “We’re honored to introduce the country to our finalists and celebrate how they defy the stigma of hearing loss. Each story is unique and we encourage people to visit our website to cast a vote.”

Voting is open through Aug. 24, and the results will be announced in October. All finalists receive a cash prize. First place winners also receive a donation to a charity of their choice.

To vote and to learn more about the awards, visit www.Oticon.com/FOP.

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It’s ‘First Friday’ in Chester Tonight!

Chester Gallery will be open for the grand opening of its new Celebration of Summer exhibition tonight during First Friday.  The sculpture in the foreground is by Old Lyme sculptor Gil Boro.

It’s ‘First Friday’ tonight in Chester when Chester restaurants, galleries and shops stay open until at least 8 p.m. with special offerings for visitors to the downtown.

Chester Gallery has a fresh coat of paint inside and will host the grand opening of their Celebration of Summer Exhibition featuring sculptures, paintings, baskets and glass works by the area’s finest between 5 and 8 p.m. 

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Chestnut Hill Chamber Music Concert Series Opens Tonight at the Kate, Program Feature Bach’s 5th Cello Suite


OLD SAYBROOK — Now in its 49th season,Chestnut Hill Concerts will present four programs of chamber music this August at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook. The prestigious series is highly-regarded, not only for its programming, but also for the world-class musicians that artistic director Ronald Thomas invites for the performances.

The concerts will take place August 3, 10, 17, and 24, all Friday evenings at 8 p.m. Cellist and artistic director Ronald Thomas will host and perform in each concert.

The Aug. 3 concert features Ronald Thomas performing the 5th Bach Cello Suite. The remainder of the concert presents John Novacek’s Rags for Violin and Piano, and the Brahms Piano Quartet in  G minor, Op. 25. In addition to Ronald Thomas, artists include Steve Copes, violin; Matthew Sinno, viola; and Randall Hodgkinson, piano.

On Aug. 10, Chestnut Hill presents two string sextets and a string quartet. Chestnut Hill welcomes the Amernet String Quartet, whose members include Misha Vitenson, violin; Franz Felkl, violin; Michael Klotz, viola; and Jason Calloway, cello. The quartet will perform Schubert’s String Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 125, No. 1. The quartet will be joined by Vivek Kamath, viola and Ronald Thomas, cello to perform two string sextets: Richard Strauss’ String Sextet from Capriccio, Op. 85 and Tchaikovsky’s String Sextet Souvenir de Florence, Op. 70

The program on Aug. 17 presents music by Debussy, Kodály, and Dvořák. Ronald Thomas and Mihae Lee will perform Debussy’s Sonata for Cello and Piano; Catherine Cho, violin, Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu, violin, and Todd Phillips, viola will perform Kodály’s Serenade for Two Violins and Viola, Op. 12; and the ensemble will perform Dvořák’s Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81.

The season finale on Aug. 25 explores the music of Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Schumann, including the rarely-heard Horn Quintet in E-flat by Mozart, K. 407, written for one violin and two violas. The concert also includes Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 49 and Schumann’s Piano Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 47. This performance introduces Frank Huang, concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, to the Chestnut Hill audience, and brings back some of its favorite performers: William Purvis, horn; Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu, violin and viola, Cynthia Phelps, viola; Ronald Thomas, cello; and Mihae Lee, piano.

The 2018 season of Chestnut Hill Concerts is made possible with support from the Connecticut DECD Office of the Arts.

All concerts are Friday nights at 8 p.m. at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (The Kate), 300 Main Street in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Subscriptions to the four concerts are $140 (orchestra) and $120 (balcony). Single tickets are $40 for orchestra seats and $35 for the balcony. Kids and teens come free. To purchase tickets, contact The Kate’s box office at 860-510-0453, or visit www.thekate.org.

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New Driver Education School Opens Serving Local Area, ‘APC Driving’ Offers a “Boutique” Approach

Brent and Suzanne Thompson stand outside the doors of the newly-opened APC Driving in the Old Lyme Marketplace. Brent co-founded the business with Chris Robson. Photo submitted.

OLD LYME — APC Driving has opened its doors at 19 Halls Rd. in the Old Lyme Marketplace near The Hideaway, offering driver education programs for teens and adults, as well as advanced driver training. Co-founder Brent Thompson, who lives in Old Lyme, explains, “We didn’t want to be like any other driving school … we hope to develop more of a lifestyle approach [to driving.]”

This photo of the exterior of APC Driving in the lower left shows its prime location in the Old Lyme Marketplace next to the Hong Kong II restaurant.

Chris Robson is the other co-founder and he has over 25 years of experience as a professional race car driver and instructor.  Both men share a lifelong passion for all things automotive or in Thompson’s own words, “We’re both ‘Gearheads.'”

A small selection of Chris Robson’s extensive racing trophies and memorabilia decorates the walls.

Thompson grew up in Texas and Colorado and graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  A sales and marketing executive with years of experience leading teams across the U.S., Canada and Australia, Thompson has had a life-long passion for cars.  Working with the Franklin Mint and its die cast car models division in the 1990s, he created, negotiated and executed marketing programs with world-class partners in historic and collectible automotive fields.  He moved on to executive management in the men’s clothing industry.  

When Thompson’s employer was bought out by competitor in 2016, he decided to get off of corporate travel treadmill and see what he could create locally.  He maintains his full competition license with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and is chief motorsports correspondence for the Auto Chat Show podcasts, which has a subscriber base of over 100,000 listeners.

APC Driving co-founders Brent Thompson (left) and Chris Robson stand together on a racetrack in Brazil after Robson had completed a race there. Photo submitted.

Robson, APC Driving’s chief driving instructor, grew up in a racing family in the quiet corner of Connecticut.  A former chief driving instructor at Performance Motorsports Karting School in Columbus, Ohio, he has over 100 U.S. and international podium finishes in recognized racing organizations and over 25 years of professional racing and instructor experience.  Thompson describes Robson affectionately as, “the real deal behind the wheel,” noting, “The kids love him!”

Chris Robson drives through rain in this race. Photo submitted.

Asked how the idea of opening a driving school was conceived, Thompson explains, ” Chris and I met at a business networking event in West Hartford in 2017. Small talk quickly turned to cars and racing, so we set about figuring out how to create a business.”

The spacious teaching area will never accommodate more than 10 students at any one time.

 
He continues, “We’re taking a boutique approach to teaching people how to drive, with small classes of never more than 10, personalized assessments of their skills, abilities and confidence levels, and providing the training they need,” said Thompson, adding, “Whether you’re first learning to drive, want to have a safer commute or simply like to drive, the skills that you can learn at APC Driving will help you achieve your goal.” 

Both men take safe driving seriously.  Robson seeks to teach young drivers precision and control at the wheel, not speed and thrills.  Thompson’s academic approach to driver education focuses on building a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding what it takes to be safe and happy behind the wheel at any level.  The business partners also both have daughters, so Thompson notes sanguinely, “We have a vested interest. We look at safe driving from the perspective of parents, too.”

The driving simulator is a real boon to the business.

The office that APC Driving occupies is spacious and comfortable.  It is divided into a reception area and a teaching space while a driving simulator occupies one corner, retail sales another and advanced driving programs another.  The walls are covered with automobile-associated artwork and maps, and a large display case houses a number of Robson’s trophies and a fascinating selection of his his racing paraphernalia. Thompson comments, “Everything is fluid,” meaning the artwork and memorabilia will change regularly and as retails sales of clothing, equipment and model cars expand, he anticipates increased inventory necessitating more space being given over to them.

Brent Thompson sometimes mans the reception desk when he’s not teaching.

Brent is married to local writer and radio personality Suzanne Thompson, who is assisting APC Driving with their publicity and promotional planning.  Suzanne explains with a smile, “I’m more into kayaking and gardening than cars,” noting she hosts a weekly radio show about gardening and nature on WLIS 1420 AM/Old Saybrook and WMRD 1150 AM/Middletown and writes regularly for The Day and its weekly publications on environmental matters.  Suzanne stepped back from corporate communications in 2005 to raise her family, and since then she has served on Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau board for six years and in June became a board member of Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce.

Suzanne describes herself and her husband as “a couple of misplaced Midwesterners, who enjoy Connecticut’s New England feel and coastal shoreline.”  The Thompsons moved to Old Lyme in 2002 and have two daughters, who both attend Lyme-Old Lyme Schools.

Looking into the APC Driving area, one can see the teaching one on the left and the advanced skills program area at the rear.

 
APC Driving is licensed by the State of Connecticut to teach the eight-hour Teen Drug and Alcohol and 30-hour Full Course classroom sessions for 16-17 year-olds, including the mandatory two-hour Parent Class, as well as classes for 18-year-olds and adults seeking their Connecticut Driver’s License.  These include behind-the-wheel training with a certified APC Driving instructor in an APC car. 
 
The school also offers specialized training for new and licensed drivers to prepare them to drive on today’s roads.  Students can master their parallel and other parking challenges in PARK IT, hone their big-city driving skills in RUSH HOUR, or sign up for additional Individual Driving Hours.  APC Driving also offers PRIMETIME for mature or senior drivers and in-car training for anyone who needs help understanding all of the technologies in today’s cars. The AUTO SELECT program helps people choose and purchase their vehicle.
 
Courses and training are described on APC Driving’s website, www.apcdriving.com, where parents and students can see the class schedule and register online.  Classes are held Monday through Friday and the school offers flexible hours for in-car instruction.  APC Driving is open Monday through Friday10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or call for an appointment. 
 
APC Driving is a subsidiary of Accelerated Performance Coaching, LLC.
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