December 11, 2017

Child & Family Hosts Essex Holiday House Tour Today

File photo of a beautifully decorated home from the 2015 tour.

ESSEX — Saturday, Dec. 9, will highlight a memorable stroll through Essex, one of New England’s most picturesque towns, for its 14th biennial holiday house tour.  Created and organized by the Essex Auxiliary of the Child & Family Agency of Southeastern CT, the tour consists of seven distinctive private homes beautifully decorated for the holidays, the Essex Historical Society properties, and the Connecticut River Museum with Steve Cryan’s special holiday train show.  The Essex Art Association will also offer free chili.

Home base for the tour will be the Essex Town Hall at 29 West Avenue, where tickets may be purchased or picked up, and where there will be a large Boutique with vendors offering clothing, jewelry, gifts, home décor items, holiday arrangements and other alluring items.  Several drawings for donations by the vendors will be held here at the end of the day, and, during the day, Santa’s Café will offer snacks and refreshments.  The Boutique will be open from 9:30 to 5:00, and admission is free.

Tickets for the tour are $30 in advance, $35 the day of the tour.  Checks payable to Child & Family Agency may be sent to:  Essex Holiday House Tour, 168 River Road, Essex, CT 06426.

Tickets are also available in advance at www.childandfamilyagency.org; at the Griswold Inn Store, One North Main, and Walker Loden in Essex; Centerbrook Cheese Shop in Centerbrook; Saybrook Country Barn in Old Saybrook; Lark in Chester; Celebrations in Deep River; Bowerbird in Old Lyme; Walker Loden in Madison and New Haven; and the Child & Family Agency in New London, (806)443-2896, ext. 1403.

All proceeds from the tour go to funding Child & Family Agency’s programs addressing the mental health, educational, and healthcare needs of children and their families to promote the well-being and development of all children.

Services are offered from birth through high school in southeastern Connecticut and include child guidance, early childhood development, and after-school academic, recreational, and artistic activities.  Adult services include parenting education as well as prevention training for scholars and professional practitioners.  Healthcare services address both physical and mental health issues facing children.  Office-based, community-based, and home-based mental health services are available from New Haven to Stonington, and 14 school-based health centers provide healthcare options to children in Waterford, New London, Groton, Norwich, and Stonington. Child Guidance centers are based in Essex, New London, and Groton.

Last year, with a professional staff of more than 190, Child & Family provided services to over 18,000 children and their families in 79 towns in New Haven, Middlesex, and New London Counties.

In other words, your enjoyment of the Essex Holiday House Tour will benefit thousands of children in our neighborhoods, so come and help us celebrate the holidays by exploring lovely historic homes, including a mansion, in a picture-book setting!

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Essex Land Trust Hosts Hike This Morning in Doanes’ Woods, James Glen Preserves

Hike in Doane’s Woods Preserve, Dec. 9.

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust invites all to visit its newest property, Doanes’ Woods on Saturday, Dec. 9, meeting at 9 a.m. It is a large flat wooded area that drops steeply to the east and adjoins the James Glen Preserve. The two properties combined represent 21 acres and include trails that connect with each other.

Doane’s Woods was acquired in 2016 and includes a wooded ravine with creek, rock outcroppings and spectacular tulip trees as well as other deciduous trees. A great winter hike to explore some local geological features with our stewards.

Access is at the James Glen Preserve at the end of Hudson Lane off of River Road.

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Deep River Historical Society Offers Trees, Traditions and Legends Today, 4-9pm

DEEP RIVER — Deep River Historical Society will be holding their 4th annual holiday event and welcome all to come and partake in the festivities. Both the Carriage House and Stone House, 245 Main Street, Deep River will feature decorated trees and holiday decorations. The houses will be open for viewing on Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9, from 4-9 p.m.

The event is free to all that wish to foster some Holiday Spirit.

This event has been popular in the past years and the theme this year will be the Legends of Deep River and feature interactive activities for the family. The trees are decorated by various civic organizations.

Categories include Best Theme, Traditional and Most Creative Use of Materials. Voting for your favorite trees will only be Friday night, so that the winners are announced and featured for the Saturday viewing.

As part of the Legends theme, we will feature our latest publication Deep River Stories. Books will be available for sale for all of the history buffs on your Christmas list. A scavenger hunt on finding the Legends in the Stone House will be a highlight.

This activity coincides with the Holiday Stroll that is sponsored by the Deep River Park and Recreation and includes town wide activities.  Include a visit to see us while taking part in their planned fun adventures and support our local merchants in our small town community.

Come join the fun and bring the whole family.

For more information contact: Rhonda Forristall, Curator at 860-526-5086

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‘Con Brio’ Presents its Christmas Concert in Old Lyme This Evening, Tomorrow

Danielle Munsell Howard is the soprano at the Con Brio Christmas Concerts this weekend.

Con Brio presents two performances of its acclaimed Christmas Concert this weekend on Saturday evening, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoon, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m., both at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme.

Imagine sitting in the center of the bright, high-ceilinged space of Christ the King Church in Old Lyme. The music begins. First from behind you. Then to your left, your right, up in front. It is surround-sound live – provided by the voices of the Con Brio Choral Society arrayed around the great space.

As each of 19 – yes, nineteen! –  parts begin to sing, the sound moves from place to place, the voices echoing one another, harmonizing and weaving a musical fabric that envelopes you.

It’s not like any other Christmas concert you have ever attended … unless you have been to one of Con Brio’s Christmas Concerts before. Attend one of this year’s concerts and experience a musical treat to calm your mind and move you into the Christmas spirit.

Under the baton of Dr. Stephen D. Bruce, Con Brio will perform with the professional 31-piece Con Brio Festival Orchestra, and soprano soloist Danielle Munsell Howard, acclaimed by Opera News Online for her “bright, pretty timbre and remarkable facility.”

Con Brio has sung many Magnificats over the years but Rutter’s setting manages to maintain the traditional approach to the well-known text while infusing it with lush contemporary harmonies and textures. Soloist Danielle Munsell Howard, has a voice well-suited to expressing the wonderment of Mary. The choral movements range from the delicacy of Esurientes (The poor) through the power of Fecit potentiam (He has shown strength) to the thrill of the Gloria Patri.

Stunning is the word often used to describe Morten Lauridsen’s Sure on This Shining Night. Its glistening harmonies and melodies so clearly express poet James Agee’s text and the magic of a December night. In 2007, two years after this piece was composed, President George W. Bush awarded Dr. Lauridsen the National Medal of the Arts, the highest artistic award in the United States.

Two pieces will be sung in the round—now a Con Brio tradition. The chorus loves to take advantage of the spacious and acoustically exceptional sanctuary of Christ the King Church. First will be the a cappella, eight-part, antiphonal motet, In Dulci Jubilo, by 15th century composer Michael Praetorious. That will be followed by the 19-voice Buccinate (Blow the trumpet), by Giovanni Gabrieli.

Other pieces include Fum Fum Fum in a playful arrangement by Mack Wilberg; Pietro Yon’s familiar Gesu Bambino which will feature the soprano soloist; Still, Still, Still in a special arrangement for chorus and harp; perennial favorite Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (Lo, How a Rose); Hodie Christus natus est (Today Christ is born) is one of the greatest renaissance motets; and Claude Debussy’s spritely and expressive Yver, vous n’estes qu’un villain (Winter, you are nothing but a villain).

Also, Con Brio will perform a rousing arrangement of the famous spiritual, Go Where I Send Thee. The concert will close with Stephen Mager’s wonderful arrangement of Ding Dong Merrily on High, which starts with a simple rendition of the familiar melody, accompanied by winds, and slowly transforms it into a thrilling finale featuring the full orchestra.

As always, each Christmas concert will include carols for audience participation.

Con Brio, over 70 voices strong, is the Shoreline’s auditioned chorus, known for the variety of its repertoire, and the strength of its programming and musical skills. Since it was founded in 1997, Con Brio has performed regularly to a growing and loyal local audience. Singers hail from more than 15 towns: from East Haven to Mystic and from Old Saybrook to Moodus. The choir has made six overseas concert tours, with the most recent to Portugal and Spain in 2016. The seventh will be to Slovenia and Croatia in May/June 2018.

Follow Con Brio on Facebook @conbriochoral or visit www.conbrio.org

Tickets are $30 each, $15 for students. Purchase them in advance online; major credit cards are accepted.

For more information, call 860-526-5399.

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Old Saybrook BOE Receives Distinction Award at Major Education Convention

Gathered together to celebrate after receiving the CABE Level Two Leadership Award of Distinction are from left to right, Kelly Kennedy, Old Saybrook Board of Education Chair), Jan Perruccio (Old Saybrook Superintendent of Schools), and board member Eileen Baker. Photo by Lifetouch National School Studios

OLD SAYBROOK — The Old Saybrook Board of Education was presented with the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) Level Two Leadership Award during the annual CABE / CAPSS (Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents) Convention held at the Mystic Marriott on Friday, November 17 – Saturday, November 18.

CABE believes that Boards of Education and Superintendents which exhibit the most effective leadership are characterized by their ability to work together as “teams.” The CABE Board Recognition Awards are designed to recognize Boards which work effectively in this manner. In order to appropriately recognize those Boards which are truly exemplary, CABE has now established a second level of awards, the Board of Distinction Award. Only Boards which have achieved Level One distinction at least twice in the prior four years are eligible to receive the Board of Distinction Award. Boards must achieve at least two Level Two items in each Level Two category to receive this award.

The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) serves local and regional school districts in Connecticut and is dedicated to improving the quality of education throughout the state and the nation. CABE’s membership includes 154 school districts. CABE is a leading advocate for public education at the State Capitol and in Washington D. C., and offers many types of support services to local boards of education including the Board Member Academy, a continuing education program for local board of education members.

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CT River Museum Offers Range of Winter Wildlife Programs, Activities

Eagles on Ice: White-headed adult eagles can be seen in numbers along the lower Connecticut River. Photo by Mark Yuknat.

ESSEX — Winter along the Connecticut River brings many things – including cold winds and grey skies.  But the change in seasons also signals a shift in the ecology of New England’s Great River.  The osprey, the swallows and the egrets may be gone, but in their place now are mergansers, goldeneyes, and the highlight – bald eagles.  These once rare, majestic birds can be seen fishing along the unfrozen lower Connecticut River, a testament to one of the greatest environmental recoveries of the last half century.  To highlight these winter wonders, Connecticut River Museum (CRM) has planned a range of programs and activities.

Connecticut River Museum is happy to again partner with Connecticut River Expeditions to offer Winter Wildlife Eagle Cruises in February and March.  These popular trips offer visitors a chance to get out on the River in winter to see eagles, as well as other winter species that visit the estuary such as harbor seals.

This seal is relaxing on the Connecticut River ice. Photo by Bill Yule.

Cruises aboard the environmentally friendly R/V RiverQuest provide passengers with a comfortable, heated cabin supplied with hot coffee and tea, as well as binoculars to aid in spotting and narration from a staff naturalist.  These cruises depart Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at various times in the morning and early afternoon, and are $42 per passenger.  Museum members get 10 percent off and group rates are available.

In addition, the Museum will offer its annual Eagles of Essex exhibit, which offers a wealth of information about bald eagles and their return to the lower Connecticut River.  Patrons can try their hand at building an eagle nest, and marvel at life size silhouettes of Eagles and other large raptors, a map showing good shore viewing locations, and other displays.  On the opening day of the season, Saturday, Feb. 3, the exhibit will host Family Activities related to the return of the Eagles from 1 to 4 p.m., free with Museum admission.

On Saturday, Feb. 17 and March 17, award-winning photographer Stanley Kolber returns to CRM to offer his annual Bird Photography Workshop.  Kolber has been photographing birds for years, and takes great pleasure in sharing his experience with aspiring photographers of all levels, through anecdotes, slides, and question and answer.  In addition to helping skills development, his greatest pleasure in giving workshops is the opportunity to kindle and encourage his audience’s interest in the natural world.  He hopes that young people as well as adults will attend the workshops, so that he can impart some of his own enthusiasm to the next generation.  These popular programs are also free with Museum admission.

Species other than Eagles visit our River during the winter months. Photo by Joan Meek.

A Live Birds of Prey Show will be offered on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 4:30 p.m.  CRM will partner with Horizon Wings Raptor Rehabilitation Organization for this annual show, which features a bald eagle and several other species of raptors.  Visitors will be able to get an up close look at the birds while learning more about the lifecycle and ecology of these magnificent animals.  This event will be held at the Centerbrook Meeting House and is free to the public.

For a full listing of event details, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.  The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is open Tuesday – Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Connecticut River Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River.

For more information, call CRM at 860.767.8269 or RiverQuest at 860.662.0577.

 

 

 

PHOTO CAPTIONS: 

Eagles on Ice-credit Mark Yuknat-“White headed adult eagles can be seen in numbers along the lower Connecticut River.”

Seal on Ice- credit Bill Yule:  “Seal lounging on the River ice”

Coyote on River Edge – credit Joan Meek: – “Species other than Eagles visit our River during the winter months”

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Community Music School Hosts Holiday Concert at VRHS, Sunday

The CMS String Ensemble will perform at the 2017 Holiday Concert.

AREAWIDE – ‘Tis the season of celebration and the Community Music School’s (CMS) Holiday Concert scheduled to take place on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. at Valley Regional High School’s auditorium.  Free and open to the public, this community-wide annual event brings together faculty and students to perform vocal and instrumental holiday favorites.

This family-friendly concert will include performances by the Community Music School New Horizons Band, Suzuki Violin Group, Americana String Band, and full String Orchestra, in addition to some beautiful solo piano holiday music performed by CMS’s top students.  Music Director Tom Briggs has arranged a special Holiday Jazz Ensemble to play some contemporary holiday favorites including “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Christmas Time is Here,” and more.

Bring your family and enjoy some of the best music of the season!

For additional information, visit www.community-music-school.org/holiday or call CMS at 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  Learn more at www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

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Death of Barbara (Seim) Hill Announced

Barbara (Seim) Hill, Sept. 7, 1925 – Dec. 1, 2017

Barbara (Siem) Hill

Barbara (Seim) Hill, 92, passed away peacefully at home, Bay Village, Sarasota, Florida on December 1, 2017. She was born in Bridgeport, CT September 7, 1925, daughter of Harry E. and Vera (Bertilson) Seim. She obtained her nursing degree from Simmons College. Her beloved husband of 64 years, Nicholas S. Hill IV, predeceased her in 2012.  She retired from a nursing career which culminated in 16 years as Supervisor of the Visiting Nurses Association in Old Saybrook. She resided in Old Lyme for 34 years, where she raised her six children, then Old Saybrook for 31 years, before moving to Sarasota, Florida.

Barbara will be remembered for her sweet kindness, her brightness of spirit and her determination to make the world around her a better place, which she passed on to her children and everyone she met. She saw the positive in every situation. “She was the best mother and grandmother in the world” and she will be dearly missed.

She is survived by her children: Pamela Vernon of Quechee, Vermont; Nicholas S. Hill V (Sophia) of Sherborn, MA; Penny Hill (Larry Wild) of Sarasota, FL; Wendolyn Hill (Richard Sutton) of Lyme, CT; Melinda Hill (Mark Yuknat) of Haddam, CT; and Jeffrey Hill (Sherry) of Old Saybrook, CT.  She is also survived by 9 grandchildren: Kayt and Colin Vernon, Kyra and Alyssa Hill, Hester and Isabel Sutton, Alex Yuknat, Bethany Benak and Samantha Hill; and four great-grandchildren; and her best friend, Ann Daum.

There will be a private service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to Visiting Nurses Southeastern CT: VNASC, 403 N Frontage Road, Waterford, CT 06385or Planned Parenthood of Southwest Florida, 736 Central Avenue, Sarasota, Fl 34236.

Online Guest book located at www.wiegandbrothers.com

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Inaugural Men’s Shopping Night to be Held in Chester, Wednesday

 CHESTER – The first annual men’s shopping night when all the downtown businesses will be open until 8 p.m. offering refreshments, unique presents to give, wish lists and gift wrapping will be Wednesday, Dec. 13 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Participating merchants will have wish lists of gifts the special people on shoppers’ lists have already filled out on previous visits making selection a snap.

At Perfect Pear, homemade mini pretzels and beer will be served and a free wood-handled knife given with every purchase of $50 or more.

At Lori Warner’s, bourbon and caramels will be served and at French Hen, there will be a scotch tasting by Chester Package Store and pigs in the blanket served.

Meatballs, beer and wine will be offered at Maple and Main Gallery while Lark will have a beer tasting by Chester Bottle Shop, homemade salsa and chip and wrapped chocolates for stocking gifts.

Caryn Davis will sign copies of her book, “A Connecticut Christmas: Celebrating the Holiday in Classic New England Style,’’ at Leif Nilsson’s Gallery.

The Pattaconk is offering $1 off your first beverage and half price appetizers for all shoppers Wednesday night.

Also participating with refreshments, wish lists and gift wrapping: Black Kat, Ruba Ruba and Dina Varano.

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Chester Ornaments From Prior Years for Sale at Maple & Main

These wonderful Chester ornaments from prior years are for sale at maple & Main Gallery.

CHESTER — Each year for a number of years, a Chester artist designed a pewter ornament and a limited number were made and sold at this time of year to support local, non-profit organizations.

The last one was done in 2015, and there are no plans to continue the tradition, making the remaining ones definite collector items. Each one has the singular Chester seal, designed by Cummings and Good, on one side; the art on the other.

There are about 70 of these terrific treasures left from the various years, and they’re for sale at $10 each at Maple and Main Gallery while they last. They make excellent stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, additions to your Christmas tree and even classy pulls for window shades.

All the proceeds go to the Chester Merchants to help with their efforts on behalf of the town.

Maple and Main is open Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Partnership Co-Op Now Open Weekends in Main St. Store in Old Saybrook

Gifts hand-crafted by the Lakota Indians will be on sale at the Partnership Cooperative.

The Partnership Co-Op hosts its Annual Holiday Sale from Thursday, Dec. 7, through Sunday, Dec. 17.  The Partnership Co-op features Native American crafts, Haitian art and Palestinian goods from respectively Tribal Crafts, Inc. with Lakota art and crafts, the Crosby Fund for Haitian Education and the Tree of Life Educational Fund.

Join the organizers for the Grand Opening Reception on Thursday, Dec. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. Wine, snacks and a raffle will be offered at the Co-op’s store in the former Southern Exposure building located between Cartier Optical and Nail Spa at 264 Main Street in Old Saybrook.

Assorted Lakota crafts and jewelry

Storefront hours are as follows:
Opening Reception Thursday, Dec. 7: 6 to 8 p.m.
Fridays, Dec.8 & 15: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturdays, Dec. 9 & 16: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sundays, Dec. 10 & 17: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Partnership Co-operative is a collection of several non-profit organizations based out of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. All proceeds are returned to the artisans of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, participating Haitian artists and the Tree of Life Educational Fund.

To learn more about this collective of non-profits, visit these websites:

Tribal Crafts, Inc. featuring Lakota art and crafts: www.tribalcrafts.org
The Crosby Fund for Haitian Education: www.crosbyfund.org
Tree of Life Educational Fund: www.tolef.org

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See ‘Scrooged..with a Twist’ at Chester Meeting House, Dec. 15-17 

Galen Donovan plays the title role in ‘Scrooged — with a Twist.’

CHESTER — Madhatters Theatre Company presents ‘Scrooged..with a Twist’ at Chester Meeting House 4 Liberty Street Chester.  Performances are Friday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.mSaturday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. and 7p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 adults and $15 children 12 and under.  To reserve tickets, email: madhattersctc@aol.com or call (860) 395-1861.

This production is a benefit for Old Lyme Animal Control.

For more information, visit www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

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Community Renewal Team Accepting Submissions for 2018 National Arts Program

AREAWIDE — For 27 years, Community Renewal Team (CRT) has served as the sole host in the state of Connecticut for the annual National Arts Program® (NAP), providing an opportunity for local artists to showcase their art within the community.

Professional artists, along with youth, teens, amateurs and intermediate artists from Middlesex and Hartford counties are invited to submit their work now for the 2018 art show, which will be on display at Capital Community College (950 Main Street in Hartford, CT) from Jan. 19 – Feb. 7, 2018.

All forms of visual arts are accepted for this show; from paintings and photographs to sculptures, crafts and textiles.

Applications are being accepted until January 11, 2018, and it is free to submit work for the show.

The NAP provides materials and funding for this visual art exhibit, including cash awards totaling $3,450.

More information about how to get involved in the 2018 National Arts Program is available on the CRT website at http://www.crtct.org/en/events/national-arts

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Enjoy an ‘Ivoryton Playhouse Christmas Radio Hour’ with David Pittsinger & Friends, Dec. 21-22

David Pittsinger performs in ‘The Man of La Mancha.’ File photo.

IVORYTON — World-renowned artist David Pittsinger will be performing a holiday show on Thursday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. An old fashioned Christmas celebration of holiday standards and sacred songs featuring David with his wife, Patricia Schuman and Carly Callahan, Katie Weiser and Charlie Widmer.

Set in a 1940s radio station, the show will take you back to the days when the radio had pride of place in the living room and the family gathered round in the evening to listen to their favorite shows. Baby, it’s gonna be cold outside so come on down to the Ivoryton Playhouse to warm your heart with music we all know and love.

This concert is a benefit for the 106-year-old Playhouse to further its mission to provide theatre of the highest quality to the residents and visitors to our community.

Tickets for this special event are $50. Seating is limited; call the theatre box office at 860.767.7318 to reserve your seat for these two special events.  The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

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Looking Ahead to 2020, CBSRZ Leaders Network This Week With Thousands of Peers at URJ Biennial in Boston

CHESTER –  Leaders from Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester will join 5,000 Jewish leaders for the 2017 Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial, being held in Boston, Massachusetts, from Dec. 6-10.

The URJ Biennial is the largest Jewish religious gathering in North America. Clergy, professionals, lay leaders, educators, youth leaders, and high school and college students will come together to learn, pray, share ideas, network, celebrate, make Reform Movement policy, and create engagement opportunities for the 2 million people – representing nearly 900 Reform Jewish congregations in the U.S. and Canada – who comprise the Reform Jewish community.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is one of 138 Reform Jewish congregations from across North America who will send a group delegation to the conference. Participants from 480+ congregations in 57 states/provinces will attend intensive leadership training and learning sessions about congregational life, designed to enrich personal skills and knowledge, and deliver tangible take-aways to bring back to their congregations.

Attendees may choose from more than 200 learning sessions from 400 expert presenters. Programming is organized within five intensive tracks that reflect the top priorities of the URJ’s bold 2020 Vision action plan: Strengthening Congregations, Audacious Hospitality, Tikkun Olam (social justice), Youth Engagement, and Transforming Texts (presented in partnership with the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion). View the detailed schedule.

“For clergy, synagogue professionals, and lay leaders, the URJ Biennial offers new and creative solutions about every aspect of congregational life,” said Chair of the URJ Biennial 2017 Luise Mann Burger. “Biennial is simply the best way for local leaders to learn from, share ideas, and network with peers and leading experts.”

“URJ Biennial is like a big family reunion – you get to learn, pray, share best principles, network, and catch up with 5000 of your closest Reform Jewish friends and colleagues,” shares Rabbi Marci Bellows, spiritual leader at CBSRZ. “I always return from Biennial feeling refreshed, as well as reinvigorated with new, creative programs, music, and other ideas for our wonderful congregants back at home.”

Biennial attendees will hear from a variety of speakers and expert practitioners, including:

  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren
  • Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker
  • Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, social justice leader of Moral Mondays, Repairers of the Breach
  • Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Michigan State University-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative: her study exposed elevated lead blood levels in Flint children
  • David Grossman, Israeli author and activist, just named the winner of Man-Booker International Prize for Literature
  • Krista Tippett, host of On Being public radio show and podcast
  • Jodi Nussbaum, VP, Sesame Workshop
  • Rabbi Rick Jacobs, URJ President
  • Daryl Messinger, Chair of URJ North American Board of Trustees

Visit www.urj.org/biennial for event info. Use hashtag #URJBiennial. Follow the URJ on Facebook & Twitter.

 

For more information about URJ, visit www.URJ.org

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Climb Aboard Essex Steam Train’s ‘Santa Special!’

Such fun aboard the Santa Special!

ESSEX — All aboard the Santa Special for a one-of-a-kind, daytime holiday experience. Make sure you’re camera-ready for that special moment when Santa and Mrs. Claus visit each child! Enjoy the spirit of the season as you relax with family and friends aboard festive railway cars adorned with vintage decorations.

•       Tickets are $24/coach, $40/first class (individual armchair seats with cash beverage service). Reindeer Breakfast upgrade is available on Santa Special days from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. for $15 adults / $5 children (age 1-6).
•       Dates: November 24-26December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23
•       Departure times: 9:30 a.m.10:00 a.m.11:00 a.m.11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. & 1 p.m.
•       Rudolph and Pablo the Penguin will be on board to spread holiday cheer.
•       Each child receives a small holiday gift from Santa’s Elves!
•       Special Christmas performance by Sunny Train on Nov. 24, 25, 26 and Dec. 2,3,9,10,16,17, and 23. Shows are at 9:30, 10 & 11:30 am12:15 and 1 pm.
•       Write and Mail your “Letter to Santa” at Santa’s Post Office.
•       Take your family pictures in Santa’s sleigh.
•       Visit “Create a Card!” Station
•       Enjoy fresh baked cookies & other goodies in the Klaus Kitchen.

Visit essexsteamtrain.com/seasonal-excursions/santa-special for tickets and more information!

Tickets:
https://essex-steam-train-riverboat.myshopify.com/collections/select_santaspecial-11-2017
Location: Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, 1 Railroad Avenue, Essex, CT, 06426
Contact: Pam Amodio
Phone: 860.767.0103
Email: pamodio@essexsteamtrain.com
Price range: $24-$55. $24/coach, $40/first class. Reindeer Breakfast upgrade available for $15/adult, $5/child (age 1-6)

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CT Valley Camera Club Hosts Award-Winning Travel Photographer at Tomorrow’s Meeting

‘Native Girls in Ethiopia’ by Bobbi Lane.

AREAWIDE: The guest speaker at the Monday, Dec. 4, meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be the award-winning travel photographer Bobbi Lane, who will give a presentation titled “Travel Portraits: Capturing Light and Life.”  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lyme’s Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn. All are welcome.

Photographing people anywhere, home or abroad, presents many challenges to the traveling photographer. The technical concerns about light, camera angle and lenses, backgrounds, selective focus, and composition can sometimes overshadow the importance of making a connection with another human being. Honoring, respecting and communicating with your subject are the first steps to making a meaningful and storytelling photograph. Language barriers can be overcome with a smile, a great attitude and tone of voice, allowing you to communicate without words.

It’s imperative to use good lighting techniques, both natural and with flash, to create the mood and description of the scene and capture the essence. Patience and observation help the photographer choose the right time and place to capture the subject appropriately.

Lane will share her many tips and multiple experiences in both the common place and exotic locations. This presentation will help photographers connect with people, develop a deeper understand of what all humans have in common, and assist them in making photographs that emotionally affect and enlighten the viewer.

Lane is an award-winning commercial photographer specializing in creative portraits in studio and on location for editorial, corporate, and advertising accounts. Lane’s multi-faceted approach to photography incorporates over 40 years of technical experience with innovative artistic interpretation. Lane’s honest and fun connection with her clients allows them to feel relaxed and authentic.

Come on this journey, laugh and cry with Bobbi and her travels to Ethiopia, Myanmar, Venice for Carnival, Turkey, Hong Kong, Dubai and Oman and discover the keys to making great portraits.

The CVCC is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers.  The group offers a variety of presentations and interactive workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills.  Photographers of all levels of experience are welcomed.  The club draws members from up and down the river, from Middletown to Old Saybrook; from East Hampton to Old Lyme; and along the shoreline from Guilford to Gales Ferry.

For more information, visit the club’s website at https://ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com. CVCC meeting dates, speakers/topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage/

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Ivoryton Playhouse’s Holiday Show ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Runs Through Dec. 17

From left to right, Moira O’Sullivan, Daniel Nischan and Sarah Kozlow rehearse their roles in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life!’ Photo by Jacqui Hubbard.

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Playhouse Holiday Show opens on Dec. 7, and runs until Dec. 17. It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play by Joe Landry was inspired by the classic American film by Frank Capra, It’s a Wonderful Life. This production is performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast in front of a studio audience. Five actors perform the dozens of characters in the radio play as well as produce the sound effects.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play premiered in 1996 at Stamford Center for the Arts in Stamford, Conn., and has since been produced around the country to great critical acclaim

The play works like a fable, sort of a “Christmas Carol” in reverse: Instead of a mean old man being shown scenes of happiness, we have a hero who plunges into despair. As fans of the movie know, George has grown up in Bedford Falls, an idyllic small town, determined to get out. He plans to see the world and build skyscrapers or something else huge when he grows up but circumstances keep him at home.

When the accidental loss of $8,000 leaves George on the verge of disaster, he contemplates killing himself and is saved by Clarence, George’s slightly bumbling 292-year-old guardian angel. By showing George what Bedford Falls and numerous loved ones would have been like if George had never been born, Clarence manages to turn him around. Lifted from a suicidal depression, George Bailey is a man with a reawakened appreciation of his life and the people he loves.

It all happens on Christmas Eve, and of course, an angel gets his wings.

Bursting with feel good holiday spirit, It’s a Wonderful Life is traditional, family friendly entertainment for all ages.  Directed by Sasha Bratt, this show is an antidote to cynicism and a love letter to good old fashioned Christmas fun. Musical Director is Frank Natter and the cast includes Playhouse Associate Artistic Director, Daniel Nischan, as George Bailey, Norm Rutty, David Cardone, Moira O’Sullivan, Rick Malone, Sara Kozlow, Michael Hinton, Addison Marchese, Antonia Marchese and Finnian Boyles. Set design by Dan Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott, sound by Tate Burmeister and costumes by Elizabeth Cipollina.

Make the Playhouse part of your family holiday tradition this year.  Come and visit the village of Ivoryton, decorated with over 500,000 Christmas lights – have dinner and take in a great show at the Playhouse.

Performance times are Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. and evening performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at  7:30 p.m.There is also a Wednesday matinee on Dec. 13and a Saturday matinee on Dec. 16.

Tickets are $35 for adults, $32 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

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Deep River Congregational Church Hosts Festival of Christmas Music This Afternoon

DEEP RIVER — The month of December is an especially busy time for the congregation of Deep River Congregational Church and offers many opportunities for members of the community to join them as they celebrate the Christmas season.
Begin the month by attending the 51st Annual “Ye Olde English Christmas Faire” Week-end.  To order tickets for the Dessert by Candlelight or Festival of Music Concert, call (526-5045) or stop in at the church office, which is open Monday – Friday9:00 – 2:00.
  • Friday, Dec. 1   ~  Dessert by Candlelight ~ Two Seatings:  6:00  & 7:30 p.m.                                
       Enjoy gourmet desserts & Coffee/Tea ~ $5.00
  • Saturday, Dec. 2  ~Ye Olde English Christmas Faire, 8:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.                          
    Stroll among decorated booths with unique gifts and baskets filled with surprises;  home baked pies, cakes and sweets; knitted and crocheted items; toys & games for the children; and of course photos with Santa.  Stop by the Country Kitchen and take home seafood bisque, chili or a fresh-made loaf of bread.  Be sure to visit Reindeer Restaurant for a light lunch or snack.
  • Sunday, Dec.3 ~ Festival of Christmas Music, 3:00 p.m. featuring Pianist, Bil Groth followed by a reception hosted by Adult Fellowship.  Tickets: $10.00, Children under 6:  Free
 Check the church website, www.deeprivercc.org  for more information about the church.  You may also contact the church office at 860-526-5045 or email: office.drcc@snet.net.
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Essex Library Hosts ‘Best of Enemies,’ Discussion Follows with Tanenhaus, Pressman, Wednesday

ESSEX — The Emmy Award-winning documentary, Best of Enemies, recounts the legendary debates between conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. and liberal Gore Vidal held in 1968 by ABC Television as part of their coverage of the national Democratic and Republican conventions. The film captures the dramatic context of American politics and culture that year and shows how the rancorous sparring in the debates inaugurated a revolution in television programming that not only survives but thrives today.

The film will be screened at the Essex Library on Dec. 6, at 6:30 p.m. Following the screening, Sam Tanenhaus, who appears as a commentator in the film, and Michael Pressman will discuss the Buckley-Vidal debates in the context of the ’68 election and the political issues of the day, how it was covered by the media, how the tenor of the debates and ratings for ABC affected future television coverage and gave rise to a Point/Counterpoint-style of television programming, and how the debate degenerated into the infamous name-calling.

Sam Tanenhaus, the author of bestsellers “The Death of Conservatism” and “Whittaker Chambers,” is working on a biography of William F. Buckley Jr. He was editor of the New York Times Book Review from 2004 to 2013.

Michael Pressman spent more than 30 years as a national broadcast journalist for both ABC News and NBC News, on programs that included: ABC News 20/20, Dateline NBC, the Brokaw Report, and the Today show. Mostly working in “long-form”—news magazines and documentaries—as a producer, director, and writer, he is the recipient of the Overseas Press Club’s Edward R. Murrow Award, Emmy, and Cine Golden Eagle awards.

Admission is free and open to the public for this special event. Advance registration is suggested. Please call the Essex Library to register or for more information at (860) 767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Musical Masterworks Presents Second Concert This Afternoon

Violinists James Ehnes and Amy Schwartz Moretti, violist Richard O’Neill, and Musical Masterworks’ own Artistic Director, cellist Edward Arron perform in this weekend’s concerts.

OLD LYME — This December, Musical Masterworks debuts internationally acclaimed violinist James Ehnes and the Ehnes Quartet on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 3, at 3 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Hailed as “an important new force in the chamber music arena” with a “dream-team line-up” (Strings), the Ehnes Quartet is comprised of four internationally-renowned string musicians: violinists James Ehnes and Amy Schwartz Moretti, violist Richard O’Neill, and Musical Masterworks’ own Artistic Director, cellist Edward Arron.

Formally established in 2010, the members of the Ehnes Quartet have played chamber music together in various formations for more than 20 years. The quartet’s highly refined, sensitive and expressive performances have delighted audiences and critics across North America, Europe, and Asia, and have made them one of the most sought-after chamber groups performing today.

Pre-Concert Talks 

Musical Masterworks continues its popular pre-concert talks before both concerts.  Concertgoers are invited to join Edward Arron one hour before each of the December concerts for an in-depth discussion about the composers and music featured that weekend:  Haydn, Bartók and Beethoven.

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Deep River Re-Names Town Hall After Beloved First Selectman Dick ‘Smitty’ Smith

The plaque that dedicates the Deep River Town Hall to Richard H. Smith, known to all as ‘Smitty.’ The popular Deep River First Selectman, who had served in that role for 27 years, passed away unexpectedly in 2016.

DEEP RIVER — State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) and State Representative Robert Siegrist (R-36th) attended the Deep River Town Hall renaming ceremony that took place on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Deep River’s Town Hall is now named the Richard H. Smith Town Hall after Richard H. Smith, also known as ‘Smitty,’ who dedicated 27 years of service to the people of Deep River as First Selectman. Over 100 individuals attended the renaming ceremony and the Secretary of State Denise Merrill spoke about Smith’s service to the town of Deep River and State of Connecticut.

“Words cannot express how great of a man Mr. Smith was. He left a lasting mark on the town of Deep River that will live on for years to come,” said State Representative Robert Siegrist. “It was great to see so many people in attendance to support such an amazing guy. Elected officials, community activists and residents from all over came to honor Mr. Smith – and rightfully so. He left Deep River a better place, his ‘second home’ was the Town Hall and it’s only right to dedicate it to him.”

Sen. Linares (center) talks to Jim Olson (right) and another ceremony attendee.

“Dick Smith gave so much of himself to Deep River and its residents,” Sen. Linares said. “Naming the town hall after him is a perfect way to memorialize the impact he has had on the community.”

Richard H. Smith Town Hall, Democratic First Selectman of Deep River for 27 years passed away unexpectedly in 2016.

Sen. Linares represents the 33rd District communities of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook. State Rep. Siegrist represents the 36th District communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.

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Christmas Craft Fair Today at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Essex

ESSEX — Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Essex will host its annual Christmas Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There will be a silent auction, a basket raffle, children’s gift buying table, face painting, a craft table, bake sale and a café for lunch, coffe and bagels.

Come to our old-fashioned church fair, and catch the spirit of this beautiful season, and Christmas shopping without the stress.

Our Lady of Sorrows Church is at 14 Prospect St. Essex, CT

For more information, call Our Lady of Sorrows, 860-767-1284

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United Church of Chester Holds Christmas Fair Today

CHESTER — The United Church of Chester, 29 West Main Street, Chester, CT holds its annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Come enjoy shopping for hand-crafted items and delicacies, decorations, greens, knitted goods and mouth-watering morsels for holiday giving.  There will also be a silent auction, tea-cup auction and Grandma’s attic to prowl through for Christmas treasurers and charitable gift-giving possibilities.

Lunch will be served between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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Cappella Cantorum Presents Their Holiday Concert Tonight in Madison


The Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus will present its Holiday Concert Saturday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Madison on the Green, Meetinghouse Lane (off Route 1), Madison.

Start the holiday season with a joyful evening of music. Cappella’s new director Simon Holt of the Salt Marsh Opera will conduct the chorus, professional soloists and orchestra in the performance of Bach’s Cantata 140 (“Sleepers Wake!”), Rutter’s “Gloria” and Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on Christmas Carols.”

Christmas carols will be sung at the end of the program.

Tickets are $30 online or at the door. Visit www.CappellaCantorum.org. Students are free.

For more information, visit the website or call 860-526-1038.

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Essex Land Trust Leads Archaeology Hike Today in The Preserve

A trail through ‘The Preserve.’

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust is organizing an exploratory hike of The Preserve from the perspective of archaeologists Nicholas Bellantoni and Lucianne Lavin. Come see the landscape “through the eyes of an archaeologist” on Saturday, Dec. 2, starting at 9 a.m. in the West Parking Lot at end of Ingham Hill Rd., Essex.

Archeologists look at the land a little differently from most people, so they will share what they see of the stone built environment and the cultural use of the land people may not see. Learn the secrets of past lifeways and land use. Bad weather cancels.

Dr. Nicholas F. Bellantoni serves as the emeritus state archaeologist with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Archaeology Center at the University of Connecticut. He has been excavating in North America for over 40 years.

Lucianne Lavin is Director of Research and Collections at the Institute for American Indian Studies, a museum and research and educational center in Washington, CT. She is an anthropologist & archaeologist with over 40 years of research and field experience in Northeastern archaeology and anthropology.

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Chester Celebrates ‘First Friday’ Tonight

CHESTER – Tree lighting, carol singing, hot chocolate, cider, wine, homemade cookies passed around by St. Lucia girls, luminaries by local boy scouts , music, art openings, shops in their winter wonderland glory with special gift ideas, tastings and more are all part of the annual Holiday Night/First Friday, Dec. 1, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The Christmas tree, donated by Camp Hazen and decorated by Chester Elementary students, at the corner of Maple and Main streets will be lit at 6 p.m. accompanied by caroling.


And, at Maple and Main Gallery, homemade cookies by Camp Hazen and the Guest House will be offered along with cider. Along with the Holiday Exhibit, “Luminous Perspectives,’’ opens that day in the Stone Gallery featuring landscapes by gallery artist Janine Robertson, and there will be a free drawing for the painting ‘Waiting for Mr. Claus,’ by Rosemary Serfilippi shown above.

An opening for the annual Postcard Show – dozens and dozens of original works postcard size or smaller – will be at the Chester Gallery.  Champagne by the fire will be served.

The Perfect Pear will introduce Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salts with a tasting and talk by the company co-founder and refreshments will be served.

At Harvest Moon Design, there will be an opening reception for an art show by Chelbi Wade and Jaime LeDeuce, and the musical group, the Grays will entertain from 8 to 10 p.m on this and subsequent First Fridays.

The French Hen will celebrate “A White Christmas” with a signature cocktail, “snow” dusted cookies and gift ideas while spiced hot cider will be served at Strut Your Mutt.

New jewelry designs from Dina Varano.

Lark will host a tree full of hand-made, fair-trade, African ornaments with the proceeds from sales going to the organization, “Ornaments 4 Orphans.” Peppermint Stick hot chocolate will be served.

New paintings of the Connecticut River and the artist’s garden will be shown in the Holiday Exhibit at Leif Nilsson’s Gallery. His house band, Arrowhead, will   photographer Caryn Davis signs copies of her new book, “A Connecticut Christmas: Celebrating the Holiday in Classic New England Style.”

Dina Varano Gallery will introduce Dina’s annual new collection of jewelry and wine will be served while Black Kat will host potter Ave Rivera and Jewelry Artisan Sea Glass Designs.

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Heated Boat Storage Facility Now Open at Chester Point Marina, CT.

CHESTER –  Over the past five years, the marina industry has been sailing along with increased revenue growth and rising profit. While most marinas cater to small boats and recreational boaters, Chester Point Marina is now providing heated storage for larger yachts with their newly completed 15,000-sq. ft. boat storage facility. The largest of its kind on the Connecticut River, this storage facility is 150’ deep.

Pelletier Construction Management joined by Butler Manufacturing designed the facility that met the needs of the marina and their customers. The new facility is designed to enable boat travel lifts to enter and store full- size yachts within the new structure. The innovative pile-supported new design was engineered to withstand hurricane force wind loads and associated potential storm surge.

The demand for boat storage has increased due to rising disposable income, recreational expenditures and the number of boat owners.

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See ‘Images of Essex Steam Train & Riverboat’ at Essex Steam Train’s Oliver O. Jensen Gallery through Dec. 29

Visit the Essex Steam Train’s Oliver O. Jensen Gallery for a unique display of local artwork from the Essex Art Association’s, Images of the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat.

The exhibit is open to the public free of charge through Dec. 29 during Essex Station’s regular operating hours.

Members of the Essex Art Association were invited to exhibit their work, all of which are for sale, in the Oliver O. Jensen Gallery in the River Valley Junction building at The Essex Steam Train, in Essex, CT. Their work represents the steam train, riverboat, or any of the structures located on the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat grounds.

Visit the Images of the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat exhibit this holiday season for a delightful collection of original art, any of which would make the perfect holiday gift.

Visit http://essexartassociation.com for more information.

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Carol Stroll Down Main Street, Then See ‘Trees in the Rigging’ Today

Boats in the annual Trees in the Rigging Lighted Boat Parade are decorated with holiday lights. Photo by Jody Dole.

ESSEX – Kick off the holiday season in Essex with the annual Trees in the Rigging Community Carol Sing and Lighted Boat Parade.   The Connecticut River Museum, the Essex Board of Trade, and the Essex Historical Society combine to present this annual event that includes a traditional, lantern-lit carol stroll down Main Street where spectators are invited to bring their own lanterns or flashlights and join in with the Sailing Masters of 1812 Fife and Drum Corps and a parade of antique cars.

Participants can gather at the Essex Town Hall at 4 p.m. The stroll steps off at 4:30 p.m. beginning on West Avenue and ending at the Connecticut River Museum with a parade of vessels dressed out in holiday lights and passing in review along the Connecticut River.  Santa and his elves will arrive by one of the parade boats for visits with children on the lawn of the Connecticut River Museum. The Connecticut River Museum will also be open that evening for all to attend the 24th Annual Holiday Train Show at a reduced admission of $6.

Register Your Boat for the Lighted Boat Parade

A critical and crowd-pleasing part of this free community event is the parade of boats dressed in holiday lights that sail along Essex’s waterfront. The decorated boats are part of a friendly competition.  A modest 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize will be awarded to the best dressed boats. Winners will be invited to receive their prize and participate in a photo-op on Monday, Nov. 27 at 4:30 p.m. at the Connecticut River Museum.

Registration is required to participate in the boat parade that usually begins around 5:15 p.m. from the south end of Essex Harbor. To register, send emails to: kperkins@ctrivermuseum.org. Information should include: vessel name; type of boat and description; owner(s) name; contact information (phone and preferred email); decorating scheme (if known at time of registration). Registration must be received by Monday, Nov. 20 at 4:30 p.m.  

To make your own lanterns at home:
Step 1: fill an empty aluminum can with water and freeze. This will make it easier to punch holes for the design in the can.
Step 2: using a hammer and nail, punch holes in the can to make a connect-the-dots style picture of a holiday design. Use plenty of holes to allow the light to shine through.
Step 3: punch two holes near the rim to attach a wire handle.
Step 4: after the ice is melted, attach a votive or other small candle to the inside bottom of the can.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 am – 5 p.m.  For more information, call 860.767.8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.

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‘Ranky Tanky’ Brings American Roots Gospel Music to Chester This Afternoon

Ranky Tanky will play the final Collomore Concert, Nov. 26.

CHESTER — Their music has been called “soul-stirring” and infectious, intoxicating and exotic,” and they’ll be at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, Nov. 26, at 5 p.m.

The Ranky Tanky quintet from Charleston, South Carolina, revives the extraordinary Gullah music of America’s southeastern Sea Islands, mixing the low country traditions with large doses of jazz, gospel, funk and R&B. Their music is a variety of traditional tunes, from playful game-songs to ecstatic shouts, and heartbreaking spirituals to delicate lullabies.

Fresh out of college, trumpeter Charlton Singleton, guitarist Clay Ross, bassist Kevin Hamilton and drummer Quentin Baxter originally worked together as an in-demand jazz quartet on the Charleston scene in the late 1990s before splitting off to each make their way as freelance musicians, working with names like Houston Person, Freddy Cole, Cyro Baptista and René Marie.

Gaining years of valuable experience plus international acclaim, Grammy nominations and thousands of performances around the word, they developed a deeper appreciation for the South Carolina Gullah tradition they came from. They reunited and formed Ranky Tanky, along with the dynamic low-country vocalist Quiana Parler, celebrated for her big, stunning, soulful voice. (Ranky Tanky translates loosely as “Work It,” or “Get Funky!”)

Their Chester Meeting House concert is brought to you by the Collomore Concert Series in the last concert of its 44th season. Tickets are $28 for adults and just $5 for students (up through grad school) and can be purchased online at www.collomoreconcerts.org or by calling 860-526-5162. The concert will be followed by an informal reception, with refreshments by La Vita Restaurant at Goodspeed Landing. More information about Ranky Tanky is available on the website.

“Ranky Tanky proved that exotic music can be both unfamiliar enough to be surprising, and yet familiar enough to provoke swinging hips and nodding heads. When it works, it’s the best of both worlds.” – Paste Magazine

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Garden Club Decorates Essex for the Holidays

Hard at work on decorations for the Town of Essex are, from left to right, Diane Sexton, Pat Mather and Renate Houchin.

ESSEX — In preparation for the holidays, members  of the Essex Garden Club decorated merchant window boxes,  and tubs of the villages of Essex using a variety of evergreen cuttings from members and other generous donors from the community.

Decorating the “Silent Policeman” are, from left to right, Gay Thorn, DeeDee Charnok and Sandy Meister.

The “Silent Policeman” has been decorated with layers of evergreens, berries and lights. The gazebo also has been decorated with garlands and lights.

The Essex Garden Club has helped the town put on a festive face for Trees in the Rigging on Nov. 26, and the Holiday Stroll on Dec. 1.

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Enjoy, Explore Festively-Decorated Pratt House Today

ESSEX — Got a houseful for Thanksgiving Weekend? Then skip the malls and deck the halls!

Join Essex Historical Society as members usher in the holidays at the beautifully decorated Pratt House, 19 West Ave., Essex, on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25, from 11 a.m. through 2 p.m.

Learn about life in an early seaport town from our knowledgeable guides. The house will evoke scenes from Christmases past, decorated with locally-sourced materials. Guided tours are free. The Museum shop will be open for holiday gifts.

For more information, visit www.essexhistory.org or call 860-767-0681.

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Deep River Historical Society Extends Hours to Offer a ‘Feast on History’ Today

Stone House, owned by the Deep River Historical Society, will be open Friday and saturday

DEEP RIVER — The Stone House, 245 Main St. Deep River will be open after Thanksgiving to encourage visits over the holiday weekend.  Both Friday, Nov. 24, and Saturday, Nov. 25, the doors will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Make it a Tri-Town history adventure since both Essex and Chester Historical Societies will also have additional hours.

The Stone House will be focusing on Deep River Legends and have interactive activities planned.

For more information, call Rhonda Forristall, Curator, at 860-526-5086.

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Local Historical Societies Open Today

Entertain the kids during the Thanksgiving break with a visit to one or more of the local museums. It’s a great chance to get them away from one of their electronic devices.

AREAWIDE — College students home over the Thanksgiving break? House guests who have eaten more turkey than they wanted to and looking for something to do? Free entertainment and getting to know more about our local towns can all be accomplished during the extended hours at the Chester, Deep River and Essex historic museums and houses. Such a welcome alternative to dealing with crowds at the malls!

For the fifth year in a row, the historical societies of Chester, Deep River and Essex are helping you entertain your guests on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Chester Historical Society president Skip Hubbard said, “This year will be the fifth year our museums have been open over Thanksgiving and it’s become a popular thing to do.  Some people even visit more than one of the three sites. The combination of free admission, rekindling memories and learning more about the local area can be hard to resist.”

The Chester Museum at The Mill, at 9 West Main St., Chester, will be open both Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Deep River Historical Society’s Stone House, at 245 Main Street in Deep River, will be open on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Essex Historical Society’s historic Pratt House, located at 19 West Avenue in Essex, also will be open to visitors Friday, Nov. 24 and Saturday, Nov. 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Hadlyme Hall Artisans Show Continues Today


The 16th Annual Artisan Show at Hadlyme Public Hall will be held over Thanksgiving weekend from Friday through Sunday.

Hadlyme Public Hall

Kick off your holiday shopping by coming to support local artists, community spirit, and tradition. This annual venue of local artists and artisans will include oil and watercolor fine art, handmade jewelry, cement décor, pottery, and many other mediums as well as new exhibitors.

Buy Raffle Tickets at the show for ‘one of a kind’ raffle prizes.

at_the_showThe show opens with a reception on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m.  The show is then open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  on Sunday.

Admission is free on all three days.

For further information, click here.

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12th Annual Black Friday Concert Tonight at the Kate Benefits Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries

The Ebin-Rose Trio plays in the Black Friday Concert at the Kate.

OLD SAYBROOK – Local musicians come together at the Kate on Nov. 24 at 8 p.m. for the annual Black Friday Concert to benefit the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries (SSKP). Now in its 12th year, this concert has become a community tradition and a wonderful event that embodies the season of giving.

With an emphasis on melody, lyricism and harmony The Ebin-Rose Trio, Carter Gowrie, Leonard Wyeth, Ian Meadows, and Lauren Agnelli will perform with special guests. Brian Wolfe of the Ebin-Rose Trio and Len Wyeth have been organizing the concert since its inception in 2006.

“We’re very happy to be hosting this special concert again in support of such a magnificent organization,” said Brett Elliott, Executive Director, the Kate. “It’s always a special night when local artists take the stage, but when they do so to give back to the community, it’s the perfect occasion to partner and kick off the holiday season of giving.”

Last year, the SSKP distributed enough food for over 1 million meals through five pantries and nine hot meal sites to people in need in the towns of Madison, Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Essex, Old Lyme, East Lyme, Lyme, Deep River, Chester, and Killingworth. This year, the number of meals needed on the shoreline has risen over nine percent.

“The financial support we receive through this wonderful concert and the generous Gowrie Group Challenge match allows SSKP to meet the needs of the community. Thank you to all of the musicians for their time and talent and to our friends at the Kate,” said Ellen Rabin, Executive Director, SSKP.

The concert is generously sponsored by Wyeth Architects LLC and AcousticMusic.Org and all proceeds will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Gowrie Group Challenge. Every year between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, Gowrie Group, Connecticut’s largest independent insurance agency, challenges their local community of businesses and friends to team together to raise money to benefit SSKP.

Tickets are $25 and can purchased online through www.thekate.org or by calling the box office at 877-503-1286.

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, “the Kate,” is a non-profit performing arts organization located in an historic theatre/town hall on Main Street in Old Saybrook. Originally opened in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Kate has been renovated with public funds from the Town of Old Saybrook and donations raised by the Trustees.

It includes a 250-seat theatre and a small museum honoring Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook’s most celebrated resident. As befits an organization born of such a public/private partnership, programming is eclectic, offering something for all ages and income levels on more than 250 days each year. For more information on tickets for any shows at the Kate, please visit www.thekate.org or call the Box Office at 877-503-1286.

SSKP is an interfaith service that provides food and fellowship to those in need and educates our community on hunger and poverty. The mission is to provide food and fellowship to those in need and educate our community about hunger and poverty. SSKP provides enough food for over 1 million meals each year. This includes home-style meals served each day at one of nine meal sites, weekly groceries available at five food pantries, and frozen and microwaveable meals prepared by Heat & Eat kitchens. SSKP is an interfaith ministry with all locations hosted by faith communities. For additional information, please visit www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

We wish a very happy Thanksgiving to all our readers, their families and friends — we hope you all enjoy a wonderful day!

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Chester Historical Society Hosts Lecture, Book-Signing by Dr. Gary Ford Today; Author of Constance Baker Motley Book

Photo Credit: Library of Congress Prints, Courtesy of the Author

CHESTER — On Sunday, Nov. 19, at 4 p.m. at the Chester Museum at the Mill, the Historical Society will host a lecture and book signing by Dr. Gary Ford Jr, author of the just published book, Constance Baker Motley: One Woman’s Fight for Civil Rights and Equal Justice Under Law (University of Alabama Press)The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Ford, a professor of Africana Studies at CUNY’s Lehman College, with degrees from Harvard and Columbia Law School, will offer a treasure trove of exciting new facts, stories and unique insights into Motley’s unrecognized and under-represented contributions to the civil rights movement, and ultimately, her significance in American history.

According to Ford, Motley was a key strategist and brilliant courtroom litigator for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the only woman on its legal team.  “As such,” said Ford, “she was the person most often sent to the South, and the one to argue the difficult and important desegregation cases involving public schools, colleges, universities, housing, transportation, parks, and other places of public accommodation.”

Between 1946 and 1964, she litigated and won over 200 desegregation and discrimination cases across 11 southern states at every court level, including the U.S. Supreme Court, where she became the first African American woman to argue a case.

“Winning those cases,” says Ford, “was an integral part of the civil rights movement. The cases legally ended Jim Crow in the South and created a sea change in both the law and public perception, but went under-represented in traditional narratives of civil rights history.”

Ford argues in his book that Motley’s quiet courtroom battles were essential to the success of the street protests, sit-ins and marches because they turned those public campaigns for integration, equal rights and equal access, into codified American law. “This was Motley’s great, but little understood contribution to American history,” said Ford.

Constance Baker Motley (1921-2005), a native of New Haven was a resident of Chester for 40 years, and had a seasonal home on Cedar Lake Road. She was an active member of the community, who involved herself in preserving local history. Her part-time residence in Chester coincided with her second career as a distinguished Federal Judge in the Federal District Court of NY, (1966-2005), appointed in 1966 as the first African American woman by Pres. Lyndon Johnson. She spent weekends, summer vacations and holidays in Chester.

Prior to her Chester house purchase in 1965, Motley briefly entered public service (1964-1966), first as a state Senator from New York, and then as President of the Manhattan Borough Council, both firsts for an African American woman. Before that, she spent 20 years in the South as the chief litigator for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund arguing the most important desegregation cases that arose from the 1954 Brown vs Board of Education ruling that declared separate but equal unconstitutional. (See boxed civil rights history below).

As an African American woman, Motley broke countless barriers and raised the glass ceiling for all women. Her path-breaking work was honored when she was inducted into the National and Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame (1993 and 1998 respectively), and awarded the Presidential Citizen Medal of Honor (2001). Her autobiography, Equal Justice Under Law, (Giroux, 1998) has been in constant circulation.

This past summer, the Chester Land Trust acquired her 8-acre property off Cedar Lake Road, and dedicated the land as the Constance Baker Motley Preserve to honor and commemorate her life. Since her death in 2005, the Chester Rotary has provided a summer scholarship in her name to a child from New Haven to attend Camp Hazen in Chester, one of the earliest integrated YMCA camps in Connecticut, financed by her own New Haven benefactor, Clarence Blakeslee, who supported her education at NYU and Columbia Univ.

Last June, the Chester Historical Society, of which Judge Motley was a founding Trustee in 1970, mounted its first exhibit about her life at their Museum at the Mill. That exhibit will serve as the backdrop for Dr. Ford’s lecture and offer the last opportunity to view it before the Museum closes for the winter. The exhibit, also includes the celebrated documentary on her life (Justice is a Black Woman) produced by Dr. Ford and Quinnipiac University in 2012, and which airs annually on PBS.

Ford’s popular video on Motley—Justice Is a Black Woman—produced at Quinnipiac University in 2012, and shown on PBS, will also be available as part of the Motley exhibit currently on view at the Museum.

The Museum at the Mill is located at 9 West Main St (Route 148) in Chester. (Attendees should park in the Chester Library parking lot just up the hill from the Museum.)

For directions to the Chester Museum at the Mill, 9 West Main St (Route 148), click here

For more information, contact: Marta Daniels at marta.daniels@snet.net or 860-343-3191

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Sen. Formica Welcomes Old Saybrook North Cove Dredging Project

From left to right, State Rep. Devin Carney, CT Ports Authority Chair Scott Bates, State Senator Paul Formica, Evan Matthews, and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder

OLD SAYBROOK – State Senator Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) joined the Connecticut Port Authority alongside state and local officials on Nov. 14 to announce the start of the North Cove dredging project in Old Saybrook.

At a press conference at the Vicky Duffy Pavilion at Saybrook Point, officials detailed the project, overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, intended to boost maritime activity and business in the Old Saybrook area. 

“Growing our maritime industry is an economic catalyst to development in our cities, towns and communities throughout the state,” said Sen. Formica. “This is an investment that will lead to new opportunities for business development and job growth. I thank all those who have worked hard to launch this project, including all the efforts by the Connecticut Port Authority, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact of a strengthened port system throughout Connecticut.”

The North Cove Federal Navigation Dredging Project will remove 290,000 cubic yards of fine grain sediments to restore the width and depth authorized throughout the cove and its entrance channel.

The Connecticut Port Authority will invest $4.3 million in this project to make all moorings available for use and increase vessel safety and access to the cove at all tide levels.

According to the Connecticut Port Authority, river flows and natural tidal actions have deposited significant shoals in both the cove and the channels, in some areas reducing depth to as little as 4 feet. The entrance channel is authorized to 11 feet and the anchorage area is authorized to both 11 feet and 6 feet at different locations. All three areas will be restored to their authorized levels. The dredged material has been analyzed and determined suitable for deposit in the Central Long Island Sound Disposal Site.

The Connecticut Port Authority was created in 2014 that is responsible for marketing and coordinating the development of the state’s ports and maritime economy.

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Help Winterize Cross Lots Preserve Tomorrow with Essex Land Trust

ESSEX — Cross Lots lovers come help Essex Land Trust put this land trust preserve to bed for the winter, get a mild work out and connect with your neighbors in a beautiful setting.

The event will be held Saturday, Nov. 18, 9 a.m., at Cross Lots Preserve, 40 West Ave., Essex.

Refreshments will be served. Bring rakes, blowers, etc. Families welcome. Dogs too.

Rain date: Sunday, Nov. 19.

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It’s Holmes for the Holidays! Final Weekend to see ‘The Game’s Afoot’ at Ivoryton Playhouse

Hard at work in a rehearsal for ‘The Game’s Afoot’ are, from left to right, Katrina Ferguson, Michael Iannucci, Molly Densmore, Erik Bloomquist, Craig McDonald and Maggie McGlone Jennings. Photos by Anne Hudson.

IVORYTON – On Wednesday, Nov. 1, the Ivoryton Playhouse continues the Halloween season with a murderously funny thriller set in William Gillette’s Connecticut Castle – Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot.

It is December 1936 and Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his theatrical portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast-members to his Connecticut castle for a weekend of revelry. But when one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. Then it’s up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of his beloved Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim appears.

In the vein of the best “whodunit” murder mysteries, the plot takes many twists and turns. The dialogue is witty and face-paced; there’s suspense within the laughter and even when you think you’ve figured out who the bad guy is, you will start to question yourself when the plot takes an unexpected twist.

An intense moment during a rehearsal for Victoria Bundonis and Craig McDonald.

The Cleveland Examiner writes about The Game’s Afoot, “From the intriguing opening mini play within a play to the surprise last scene a split second before final curtain, The Game’s Afoot gives you everything you love about great live theatre. Billed as a comedy thriller you will find yourself swept along for a wild and funny ride.”

The Game’s Afoot is directed by Playhouse Artistic Director Jacqueline Hubbard and features Ivoryton favorites Erik Bloomquist, Victoria Bundonis*, Katrina Ferguson*, Michael Iannucci*, Maggie McGlone Jennings and Beverley J. Taylor, as well as Craig McDonald*, making his Playhouse debut as William Gillette and Molly Densmore* as the beautiful Aggie.

Set design is by Daniel Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott, sound by Tate R. Burmeister and costume design by Kathleen T. Gephart.

The Game’s Afoot opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse runs through Nov. 19. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $50 for adults; $45 for seniors; $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

 

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Estuary Senior Center Hosts Annual Holiday Craft Fair Tomorrow

OLD SAYBROOK — The Estuary Senior Center is holding its annual Holiday Craft Fair on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Center is located at 220 Main St., Old Saybrook. All ages are welcome.

Local vendors will display their hand crafted items ranging from handmade jewelry, scarves, bookmarks, handmade knits, holiday ornaments, baskets, greeting cards quilts, blankets and pottery.

There will be a Baked Goods Table with home made cakes, pies and breads just in time for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Donations of baked goods to the Fair would be greatly appreciated.

This year breakfast will be served from 8am till 11am. Santa will also be making an appearance from 9am to 11am

All profits from the fair go to funding the many programs at the Estuary. Plan to join the Estuary for a perfect start to the Holiday season.

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‘Knit Together’ at Deep River Public Library Tomorrow

Photo by MabelAmber® on Unsplash

DEEP RIVER — Come join Deep River Public Library for Knit Together, which will next meet on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Bring your latest project or your wish list. The group is intended to create new knitters as well as an enthusiastic community for those who want to share the craft. Bring your own supplies or purchase the basics at the meeting. Adults and children with an adult are welcome.

Wendy Sherman will facilitate the group and offer her knowledge based on 30-plus years of her own knitting. Call the library for additional information.

For more information, visit http://deepriverlibrary.accountsupport.com and click on our monthly calendar, or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pm; Tuesday 10 am – 6 pmWednesday 12:30 – 8 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm.

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Final Collomore Concert Features Soulful Sounds of ‘Ranky Tanky,’ Nov. 26

Ranky Tanky will play the final Collomore Concert, Nov. 26.

CHESTER — For its 44th season, the Robbie Collomore Music Series will offer all four of its concerts in the fall, between Sept. 24 and Nov. 26. These will be on Sundays at 5 p.m. in the historic and charming Chester Meeting House. It is now the time to buy your season subscription.

In recent years, Jason Vieaux and Julien Labro have thrilled Collomore Concert audiences separately – Jason playing classical guitar in a solo concert and Julien playing accordion with the Detroit Hot Club. When the Collomore committee heard they had joined forces touring, playing the guitar and bandoneon, they jumped at the opportunity to have them return to Chester on Sunday, Oct. 15.  You can expect something “entertaining, fun, exciting, virtuosic in the unusual pairing of these two instruments. The program contains some modern classical, world music from Brazil and Argentina, and even some pop music.”

Latin Jazz comes to Chester on Nov. 5, with the Curtis Brothers Quartet featuring Ray Vega, percussionist.  The Curtis Brothers Quartet takes bold steps towards a modern Latin Jazz sound, fearlessly pushing their musical approach into new territories. Their unique rhythmic concept is what separates them from most other jazz quartets. All of their music, original or not, is based on the percussive concepts that they have accumulated through their various musical experiences.

And on Nov. 26, the soulful songs of the Gullah culture will be brought to life by Ranky Tanky, a five-piece band of native South Carolinians who mix the low country traditions with large doses of jazz, gospel, funk, and R&B. They’ve been called “infectious, intoxicating and exotic” with
“frisky and hypnotic rhythms with a bone-deep mix of spirituals and gutbucket blues.”

Buy a season subscription now and save money, plus you’ll be certain you will have a seat even when a concert is sold out. A subscription to all four concerts is just $98. Individual concert tickets cost $28. For students from elementary through graduate school, a subscription is $15 ($5 per concert). Tickets and subscriptions can be purchased online at www.collomoreconcerts.org using PayPal. All ticket-holders are invited to stay for a reception after the concert to meet the performers. For more information, check the website or call 860-526-5162.

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Enjoy Chester’s Holiday Market on Sundays Between Thanksgiving and Christmas

CHESTER – Local farms and artisans will sell their honey, fish, maple syrup, cheese and more along the sidewalks in the town center while merchants serve food and drink and offer unique holiday gift ideas during the four Sundays between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Called Holiday Market, this annual event features food from the vendors in the popular Summer Sunday Market from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. including Upper Pond Farm, Wood-Fired Pizza, the Hay House, Terra Firms Farm, Maple Breeze Farm, Four Mile River, The Local Catch and more.

The Sundays also give merchants a chance to show visitors their specialties.

On Dec. 3, pink flamingos will arrive at Lark.

At Lark, on Nov. 26, it’s 20 percent off all socks; on Dec. 3, pink flamingos will arrive and a new line of cotton clothes will be introduced; Dec. 10: the Sugar Bakery Cupcake Truck will be in front of the store and on Dec. 17: snowball gifts for all customers.

Maple and Main Gallery will have a silent auction for four paintings on each Sunday and will serve cookies and hot chocolate with marshmallows and candy canes.

‘Old Cottage by the Sea’ will be sold by silent auction at Maple & Main Gallery.

On Nov. 26, from noon to 3 p.m. at Dina Virano’s, author Cynthia Parzych will sign her book, “Connecticut Made.” The following Sunday, knits in alpaca and cashmere will be offered; a nature-inspired tabletop collection will be featured Dec. 10 and on Dec. 17, accessories that sparkle will be highlighted.

Photographer Caryn B. Davis will sign copies of her new photography book “A Connecticut Christmas: Celebrating the Holiday in Classic New England Style” at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the first three Sundays.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit Homewardboundct.org. that finds homes for rescue dogs.

At the French Hen, scrumptious holiday treats will be served and at Strut Your Mutt on the third Sunday, holiday pictures with Santa will be offered.

And, at downtown businesses, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, shoppers can opt to round up to the nearest dollar on their purchases with the proceeds going to charities of the business’s choice.

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Essex Elementary School Foundation Kicks Off Annual Appeal


ESSEX —
The Essex Elementary School Foundation (EESF) is kicking off its annual appeal and needs your help.  This not-for-profit, volunteer organization provides funds for enrichment programs and tools at EES.  Examples include a 3D printer, an iPad lab, the Justus W. Paul World Cultures Days and an Engineering with Legos program.

On Tuesday, Nov. 14, members met in the school’s media center to stuff envelopes, all part of the foundation’s annual direct mail campaign to Essex area residents and businesses.  In the photo above, board members Chet Kitchings, Marta Collins, Sarah Whitney, Linda Reamer and Bill Jacaruso are seen stuff envelopes.

Send donations to Essex Elementary School Foundation, P.O. Box 882, Essex, CT 06426.

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Flag Tribute to Veterans with Lymes’ VFW Post #1467 This Morning in Essex

ESSEX — A short Flag Tribute to Veterans will be held this morning at 10 a.m. in the Essex Town Park across from Saint Johns Episcopal Church assisted by 15 members of the Lymes’ VFW Post#1467 in their Uniform of Blues and Grays with VFW caps & white gloves.
All are welcome to come and stand in tribute to the flag of the United States of America.  The ceremony is anticipated to last around half an hour.
The outline of the ceremony is as follows:
– Opening of Funeral Flag (1 minute)
– Opening Prayer Lymes’ VFW Post #1467 Chaplain Capt. (Ret) Larry Olsen (2 minutes)
– “Amazing Grace” Recorded Music (2:30 minutes)
– Lymes’ VFW Post Rifle Volley followed by TAPS
– Echo TAPS by Charles and Susan DeLinks in honor of those who died in service to our country (3 minutes)
– Scottish Bag Pipe marching music (2 minutes)
– Playing of Armed Forces Medley: Service members invited to come up, touch the flag, and stay with their left hand as their theme is played (5 minutes)
– Pledge of Allegiance Led by St. Johnʼs Youth (2 minutes)
– “God Bless The USA” by Lee Greenwood Recorded Music (4 minutes)
– The United States National Anthem Recorded Music (2 minutes)
– Dismissal: Observe silence while the flag is folded (3 minutes)
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Chester Historical Society Hosts Free Program Today on Town’s Earliest Industry: The Waterhouse Grist Mill

Nathan Jacobson with his intricately designed scale model of the Waterhouse Grist Mill, the subject of a free program in Chester on Nov. 12. Photo by Skip Hubbard

CHESTER — In 1729 two brothers, Abraham and Gideon Waterhouse, aged 29 and 16, moved to the wilderness later named Chester and within a few years built a grist mill. Of course they had no power machinery, yet that didn’t stop them from constructing a two-story wooden building, about 22 feet square, complete with a wooden waterwheel and other wooden machinery, plus two granite millstones weighing about a ton and a half each.

And you think you work hard!

Nathan Jacobson, a registered professional engineer who has spent most of his life living near the site of the old Waterhouse Grist Mill, spent several years researching the history of the old mill. The Chester Historical Society recently published Jacobson ’s book, “The Waterhouse Grist Mill Saga.” Additionally, Jacobson created an intricate scale model of the grist mill for permanent exhibit at the Chester Museum at The Mill.

On Sunday, Nov. 12, at 4 p.m., at the Chester Meeting House, Jacobson will demonstrate how the Waterhouse mill would have been constructed and how it worked. Through a Powerpoint program and the grist mill model, he will show how the Waterhouse brothers would have used the different parts of the machinery to grind the corn and grain for the early settlers. 

This is a free program sponsored by the Chester Historical Society and refreshments will be served. Jacobson ’s book will be available for purchase following the program.

The Chester Meeting House is at 4 Liberty Street in Chester.

For more information, visit chesterhistoricalsociety.org or call 860-558-4701.

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Community Music School Faculty Gives Annual Concert Today

Community Music School faculty member Russ Becker will perform in the school’s upcoming annual Faculty Concert.

CENTERBROOK – On Sunday, Nov. 12, members of the Community Music School faculty come together to perform an array of chamber music and other works at 3 p.m. at the Centerbrook Meetinghouse, 51 Main Street, Centerbrook. This annual event offers the community a unique glimpse into the wealth of talent and experience of the Music School’s faculty as they collaborate on a wide variety of selections.

The concert is free and open to the public and a meet-and-greet reception immediately follows. At-will donations are gratefully accepted.

Among the works to be performed are Horn Concerto no. 4 by Mozart, Sonatina for Clarinet by Rozsa, Jaqueline’s Tears by Offenbach,Contrasts for Solo Vibraphone by Briggs, The Godfather Suite by Rota, and Libertango by Piazzolla.  Performers include Andrew Sherwood on clarinet, Tom Briggs on vibraphone, Bruce Larkin on recorder, John Birt on guitar, Audrey Estelle on piano, Christine Coyle on cello, Nathan Pawelek on French horn, Patricia Hurley on trumpet, and Ling-Fei Kang on oboe.  The concert will feature several original works by Community Music School faculty, some for the first time.

For additional information, call 860-767-0026 or visit www.community-music-school.org.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.

Learn more at visit www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

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