October 22, 2014

Secret Garden Growing At Valley Regional High School

Valley Regional Musical Productions cast and crew members help move a tree limb to be used to construct the set for the production of THE SECRET GARDEN on March 14-16 at Valley Regional High School. (from l-r):  Greg Magruder,  Zach Crosby, Dan Leffingwell, Michael Leffingwell, Madison Estelle, Eryn Star, Olivia Wilkinson and Charlotte Boland.

Valley Regional Musical Productions cast and crew members help move a tree limb to be used to construct the set for the production of THE SECRET GARDEN on March 14-16 at Valley Regional High School. (from l-r): Greg Magruder, Zach Crosby, Dan Leffingwell, Michael Leffingwell, Madison Estelle, Eryn Star, Olivia Wilkinson and Charlotte Boland.

Deep River, CT – Despite a few early snowstorms and a prolonged holiday break, Valley Regional Musical Productions cast and crew has been eagerly cultivating the production of The Secret Garden, with four performances scheduled for March 14 through March 16. Based on the classic novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett and set in Victorian England, the emotionally deep story of struggle and survival will be told through lyrics/book by Marsha Norman and music by Lucy Simon (sister of Carly Simon). With a total of 116 students participating, including 76 cast members, 34 crew members and 6 orchestra pit musicians who will be partnered and mentored by 15 professional musicians, the production’s large vocal ensembles, varied set designs and challenging mix of music should be well tended.

 

As the production’s title suggests, nature plays a key role in the story and presents one of a few new challenges in casting and staging according to VRMP Director Ingrid Walsh. “One important role is Robin, an English robin who lives in the secret garden and imparts many life lessons while interacting with the other characters,” stated Ms. Walsh. “We have decided to use puppetry to bring Robin to life and have reached out to puppetry schools for guidance and assistance. It will be a great learning experience and very exciting for all of us to stretch our creative technique.” In addition to the human and non-human characters, the cast also includes several ghosts and scenes with the ghosts remembering a past moment in time. Special choral groups and projection will be used to help the audience distinguish between characters and place in time.

 

Tickets for the musical are $10 each and will go on sale in early February at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, Gather in Ivoryton, Toys Ahoy! in Essex, Celebrations in Deep River and The Wheatmarket in Chester. More information will be available at the school’s website at www.vrhs.reg4.k12.ct.us. Anyone with experience in the field of puppetry and interest in helping with the development of Robin should email Ingrid Walsh at mailto: iwalsh@reg4.k12.ct.us or call the school’s office at 860-526-5328.

 

 

 

Pearl Twirl Hits High Note for Community Music School – Raises Over $55,000

Pearl Twirl auctioneer and radio personality Damon Scott generates bidding action  (Photo by Kim Tyler Photography).

Pearl Twirl auctioneer and radio personality Damon Scott generates bidding action (Photo by Kim Tyler Photography).

Centerbrook, CT – The milestone was significant and the support even greater at the Community Music School’s 30th anniversary benefit gala that took place on April 20.  Presented by Landscape Specialties, The Pearl Twirl: A Swellegant Affair turned out more than 150 celebrants while raising over $55,000 to support music scholarships, music therapy services and community outreach programs.

Community Music School instructor Joni Gage with Joe Bouchard of Blue Oyster Cult celebrating the school’s 30th anniversary at the Pearl Twirl benefit gala   (Photo by Joan Levy Hepburn).

Community Music School instructor Joni Gage with Joe Bouchard of Blue Oyster Cult celebrating the school’s 30th anniversary at the Pearl Twirl benefit gala (Photo by Joan Levy Hepburn).

 

Pearl Twirlers gathered on the lawn of the Lyme Art Association (LAA) to enjoy savory bites, fine wine, Swing era music performed by the school’s faculty, silent auction and a live auction emceed by radio personality and local resident Damon Scott.  Later, an Artful Patron Dinner was served inside the LAA galleries and featured a four-course dinner prepared by Owner/Chef Jonathan Rapp of the River Tavern restaurant with a wine selection from Angelini Wine carefully paired to compliment each course served.

(l-r) Community Music School Trustee Margaret Very, Student Services Coordinator Dawn Swope, and faculty members Adele Huffman and Shari Wilcox get ready to greet Pearl Twirl guests (Photo by Joan Levy Hepburn).

(l-r) Community Music School Trustee Margaret Very, Student Services Coordinator Dawn Swope, and faculty members Adele Huffman and Shari Wilcox get ready to greet Pearl Twirl guests (Photo by Joan Levy Hepburn).

In addition to ticket sales and auction bids, funds were also raised through a special appeal to support scholarships for the new summer arts program being launched by the Community Music School in partnership with The Kate in Old Saybrook.  “CMS Sells Seashells by the Seashore for Scholarships” provided donors with an oyster shell that correlated to one of many fun premium gifts.  Of note, was as a commemorative tab belt featuring a CMS logo ribbon custom designed and donated by Leather Man LTD.   A 1930’s style photo booth, where guests donned feather boas, hats and other props and received a photo strip as a keepsake, rounded out the evening’s activities .

(l-r) Dr. Katrina Wall, Sponsor Peter Wallace of Professional Planning Group, John Bauman, and Community Music School Trustee Jennifer Bauman under the tent at the Pearl Twirl benefit gala (Photo by Kim Tyler Photography).

(l-r) Dr. Katrina Wall, Sponsor Peter Wallace of Professional Planning Group, John Bauman, and Community Music School Trustee Jennifer Bauman under the tent at the Pearl Twirl benefit gala (Photo by Kim Tyler Photography).

“We are thankful for the many friends and sponsors who joined us for this celebratory evening. Their extraordinary support provides a firm foundation for us to continue to expand our programs and community outreach so more people can benefit from the arts in their life,” said Robin Andreoli, executive director.

Community Music School Trustee and Event Chair Monique Heller takes a twirl with  Trustee Emeritus  Peter Bierrie at the Community Music School’s  benefit gala (Photo by Joan Levy Hepburn).

Community Music School Trustee and Event Chair Monique Heller takes a twirl with Trustee Emeritus Peter Bierrie at the Community Music School’s benefit gala (Photo by Joan Levy Hepburn).

Event sponsors included Covenant Kitchens & Baths, Inc.; Essex Savings Bank; Essex Financial Services; Bogaert Construction Co., Inc.; Fusco Corporation; Gowrie Group; Grossman Chevrolet Nissan; Kitchings & Potter LLC; Tower Laboratories, LTD; AJ Shea Construction, LLC; Brewer Pilots Point Marina; Cigna; Clark Group; Dime Bank; Essex Marine Group; Guilford Savings Bank; Leonardo & Associates PC; Lewitz, Balosie, Wollack, Rayner & Giroux, LLC; Madison Veterinary Hospital;  Periodontics  PC; Professional Planning Group; Reynolds’ Garage & Marine; Ring’s End; and Saybrook Ford.  In-kind sponsors included Angelini Wine LTD; Coca Cola Bottling Company of Southeastern Connecticut; Joan Levy Hepburn;  KimTyler Photography; and Leather Man LTD.

Since its inception in 1983, the school has grown from five instructors teaching 40 students to 30 instructors teaching over 500 students of all ages through private and group lessons, instrumental and voice ensembles, orchestras, music therapy, special events and summer programs.  Located on Main Street in Centerbrook, its geographic reach goes beyond the Connecticut shoreline with faculty and students from as far north as Hartford and west to New Haven.   For more information on CMS programs and special events, go to www.community-music-school.org or call (860) 767-0026.

Ticket Sale for Brigadoon at Valley Regional High School Starts Feb 14

Valley Senior Anna D'Agostino as Fiona MacLaren performs for a video sequence that will be used to establish a character’s memories of time in Brigadoon.

Valley Senior Anna D’Agostino as Fiona MacLaren performs for a video sequence that will be used to establish a character’s memories of time in Brigadoon.

Deep River, CT – While cast members are in full rehearsal mode and the production crew is busy building sets, Valley Regional Musical Productions (VRMP) has announced that tickets are now on sale for the school’s performance of Brigadoon set for Friday, March 22 at 7:00 pm, Saturday, March 23 at 1:00 pm and at 7:00 pm, and Sunday, March 24 at 1:00 pm.  Set in a Scottish village that comes out of the Highland mists for one day every 100 years, Brigadoon is a whimsical musical fantasy created by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe.  This beloved classic tells a story of tradition, family and the importance of being true to oneself.

“Our goal is to transport the audience to a magical time of tradition and authenticity while telling a story that takes place in the very past and the very present,” commented VRMP Director Ingrid Walsh. “We have all enjoyed immersing ourselves in the heritage and culture of the Scottish people and aim to do them proud.”

A relatively new set design technique of projecting animated images will be used to present two scenes, one in the past and one in the present, on stage at one time.  The animation sequence is being created by the school’s Set Design art class taught by Val Krop.

Ticket sales will start February 14.  All seats are $12, general admission.  A special preview show on Thursday, March 21 has been added to this year’s production dates, giving the audience an opportunity to sit in on the full dress rehearsal for a lower ticket price of $10 per person.  Tickets can be purchased at Gather in Ivoryton, Celebrations in Deep River, The Wheatmarket in Chester, Toys Ahoy! in Essex and Valley Regional High School.  More information is available at vrhs.reg4.k12.ct.us or by calling the school at 860-526-5328.

Community Music School Kicks Off 30th Year Celebration

Essex Ed and other winter revelers help kick off the Community Music School’s 30th anniversary celebration in Essex Village.

Essex Ed and other winter revelers help kick off the Community Music School’s 30th anniversary celebration in Essex Village.

Centerbrook, CT – On January 27, there was much cause for celebration in the Connecticut River Valley area as Essex Ed, a nine-foot tall fiberglass groundhog, made his annual parade appearance in Essex Village dressed as ‘The Music Man’ in honor of the Community Music School’s 30 anniversary year.  Patricia Hurley, who founded the school in 1983 on the top floor of Essex Town Hall, served as parade Grand Marshall while members of The New Horizons Brass Ensemble, a CMS group of adult beginners, performed “Seventy-six Trombones”.   After the ceremonial activities, well over 100 revelers enjoyed a cupcake and cocoa reception hosted by CMS at Essex Town Hall.

The New Horizons Brass Ensemble performs as part of the Essex Groundhog Parade where special tribute was given to the 30th anniversary of the Community Music School.

The New Horizons Brass Ensemble performs as part of the Essex Groundhog Parade where special tribute was given to the 30th anniversary of the Community Music School.

“I can’t think of a better way to kick off our celebration of 30 years of building community through music than with Essex Ed and his long tradition of bringing the town together to make some noise and have fun,” commented Robin Andreoli, who joined CMS in 2010 as Executive Director.  “ It is a great prelude to the many new and exciting programs and events that we will present this year. ”

Now located at 90 Main Street in Centerbrook Village, the school has grown from 5 instructors teaching 40 students to 30 instructors teaching 500 students of all ages through private and group lessons, instrumental and voice ensembles, orchestras, music therapy, special events and summer programs covering a broad spectrum of musical interests.   As a private, non-profit organization, the Community Music School’s mission is one of enrichment with a focus on public performances and community outreach.

Next up for CMS is the Essex Winter Series Master Class for clarinet, oboe and bassoon on  Monday, February 11 at 4:00 pm.  Planning is also underway for The  Pearl Twirl: A Swellegant Affair, a 30th anniversary gala scheduled for April 20 as well as for Kate’s Camp for Kids, an exciting and new comprehensive summer performing arts camp to be launched this year in partnership with the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center .  For more information on these and other Community Music School programs, go to www.community-music-school.org or call 860.767.0026.

Essex Ed stands guard at the top of Main Street in Essex dressed as The Music Man in honor of the Community Music School’s 30th Anniversary.

Essex Ed stands guard at the top of Main Street in Essex dressed as The Music Man in honor of the Community Music School’s 30th Anniversary.