February 1, 2015

Acton Public Library Hosts ‘Then & Now’ Oscar Movie Series Starting Feb. 16

The Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook will be hosting an Oscars “then and now” movie series featuring a tribute to Robin Williams and movies with varied Oscar awards on third Mondays  from February through May at 1 p.m.

On Feb. 16, Dead Poets Society will be shown, on March 16, Bonnie and Clyde will be shown; on April 20, Good Will Hunting will be shown and on May 18, The Theory of Everything will be shown.

For more information, call The Acton Library at 860-395-3184, or visit the library during regular hours: Monday through Thursday 10am – 8:30pm, Friday and Saturday 9am – 5pm, and Oct – May on Sundays 1pm – 5pm or visit on-line at www.actonlibrary.org .

Also, visit www.commonsensemedia.org for movie ratings and recommendations.

Big Red Tasting (and Tunes!) Benefits Community Music School, Feb. 7

Julius Angelini of Angelini Wine LTD and Lisa LeMonte of Guilford Savings Bank look forward to welcoming guests to the Big Red Tasting (and Tunes!) on Feb. 7.

Julius Angelini of Angelini Wine LTD and Lisa LeMonte of Guilford Savings Bank look forward to welcoming guests to the Big Red Tasting (and Tunes!) on Feb. 7.

CENTERBROOK – A special red wine tasting and lively game of “Name That Tune” will take place Saturday, Feb. 7, at Angelini Wine LTD in Centerbrook with proceeds to benefit scholarships and outreach programs at Community Music School.

The Big Red Tasting (and Tunes!) event is presented by Guilford Savings Bank and includes a guided tasting of bold red wines, hearty hors d’oeuvres, chocolates and sweet treats. Guests will test their musical knowledge with a game of “Name That Tune”.

Over the past year, Community Music School has partnered with Angelini Wine LTD to present unique benefit events that blend the arts with intimate guided tastings offered behind the scenes at the Angelini warehouse. Guilford Savings Bank joined as presenting sponsor in 2014 and will support two such events this year. “We are so lucky to have wonderful community partners in Guilford Savings Bank and Angelini Wine,” said Robin Andreoli, the Music School’s executive director. “They both are enthusiastic supporters of arts education and are ‘in tune’ with our community outreach efforts.”

Led by Julius Angelini and Ron Plebiscito, the tastings allow guests to sample high-end wines, learn about the process of wine making, and ask questions of the experts. The Feb. 7 event will feature Corte Rugolin “Crosara de le Strìe” Amarone Classico, Fattoria Colsanto Sargrantino Di Montefalco, and Barolo Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantia.

Tickets are $65 per person and advance purchase is suggested as space is limited. For tickets, call 860-767-0026 or go to  www.community-music-school.org

CMS, Musical Masterworks Present Master Class with Todd Palmer, Feb. 15

Clarinetist Todd Palmer

Clarinetist Todd Palmer

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School and Musical Masterworks present a master class with clarinetist Todd Palmer on Sunday, Feb. 15, at 12 p.m. at Community Music School, 90 Main St., Centerbrook. Palmer will offer advice on technique and performance for four student musicians, who will each play during the class. The clarinet master class is free and open to the public. Call 860-767-0026 for additional information.

Having been involved in an array of creative and diverse artistic presentations throughout his career, clarinetist Palmer has appeared as soloist, recitalist, chamber music collaborator, educator, arranger, and presenter in a variety of musical endeavors around the world.

He has appeared with many symphony and chamber orchestras including those of  Houston, Atlanta, St. Paul, Cincinnati, Montréal, BBC Scotland, and has collaborated with many of the worlds finest string ensembles such as the St. Lawrence, Brentano, Borromeo, Pacifica and Daedelus quartets.

Palmer has also shared the stage with sopranos Kathleen Battle, Renée Fleming, Heidi Grant Murphy, and Dawn Upshaw, and commissioned and appeared in the world premiere of composer Ricky Gordon’s theatre work, Orpheus and Euridice, with coloratura Elizabeth Futral on Great Performers at Lincoln Center.

Since winning the Young Concert Artist International Auditions, Palmer has appeared as recitalist and lecturer at major performing arts centers and universities in 48 states. His appearances abroad have included concerto, recital and chamber music performances in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, England, Canada, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, the Caribbean, China and Japan.

In addition, Palmer has been closely associated with composer Osvaldo Golijov, and is regarded as the champion of his great klezmer clarinet quintet The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind. He recorded this work with the St. Lawrence Quartet for EMI Classics which received two Grammy Award nominations in addition to the Classical Prelude Award from the Netherlands. Palmer worked extensively with Golijov on the newly orchestrated version which he premiered with the Santa Rosa, Oakland and Marin Symphonies in 2006.

Palmer will be performing for Musical Masterworks on Saturday, Feb. 14, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 15, at 3 p.m. with Gilles Vonsattel (piano), Bella Hristova (violin), and Edward Arron (cello) at The First Congregational Church in Old Lyme, 2 Ferry Rd., Old Lyme. They will be performing works by Debussy, Weber, Beethoven and Stravinsky.

Tickets to the concert are $35 and student tickets are $5; additional concert information can be found atwww.musicalmasterworks.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 that they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.

Additional information can be found at or www.community-music-school.org.

 

Zentangle a Valentine, Feb. 12

zentangle valentine 1Why purchase a Valentine when you can Zentangle one? Sue Zirlen will show you how on Thursday, Feb. 12, at Chester Public Library between 6 and 8 p.m. All materials will be supplied.

What is Zentangle? Some people call it “meditative doodling.” It’s a great way to relax while creating. Sue Zirlen has been teaching the art of Zentangle zentangle valentine 2at the Chester Library since the fall. The workshop is free and grownups are invited (sorry, kids!) to come and learn and practice. You’ll leave the workshop with a lovely Valentine and the beginnings of a new skill.

More information, if needed, is available by calling the library at 860-526-0018.

Celebrate Winter at Chester’s 25th Annual Winter Carnivale, Feb. 15  

Street entertainers delight the crowds at the Chester Carnivale. Photo by John Stack.

Street entertainers delight the crowds at the Chester Carnivale. Photo by John Stack.

Winter has been pretty dreary so far, but that’s not keeping the townspeople of Chester from looking forward to their 25th annual winter celebration, Chester Winter Carnivale, on Sunday, Feb. 15.

That’s when the picturesque small town of Chester is filled with people cheering on ice carvers as they create beautiful sculptures from blocks of ice, while laughing at the antics of street performers and applauding a long parade of new and antique tractors being driven down Main Street by their proud owners. All that, and food, music, art, and shopping too!

Richard Daly works on his ice sculpture during the 2014 Winter Carnivale. Daly holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest time to create ice sculptures. Photo by John Stack

Richard Daly works on his ice sculpture during the 2014 Winter Carnivale. Daly holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest time to create ice sculptures. Photo by John Stack

The day begins at 10:30 a.m. when the carvers get started on their ice sculptures. Both professional and student ice carvers will be hard at work, demonstrating their techniques to onlookers while they try to be finished by 1 p.m. for judging.

Meanwhile, the Chester Hose Company is holding its 15th annual “Chilly Chili Cook Off” fundraiser. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., go to the Chester Hose Company Fire House at 6 High Street and pay your $5 admission so you can taste all the different chilis cooked and dished out by restaurants, caterers and fire departments. You can vote for your favorite fire department chili, favorite restaurant chili, most original chili, and best dressed chili serving table.  Beverages will be sold. All proceeds go to the Chester Hose Company.

Still hungry? There’s pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, chowder, soups, and lots more available inside and outside the restaurants in town. Also, hot chocolate, popcorn, kettle corn, and cupcakes – everything to satisfy every taste.

Tractors and more tractors descend on Chester on Carnivale day for the 14th Annual Tractor Parade. Photo by John Stack

Tractors and more tractors descend on Chester on Carnivale day for the 14th Annual Tractor Parade. Photo by John Stack

Just be sure to be back out on Main Street by 2 p.m. for the 14th Annual Chester Tractor Parade. Colorful and rusty, big and small, antique and new, decorated and plain – tractors are driven through the town center in an incredibly long parade. You never knew there were so many tractors in the Connecticut River Valley!

There is no shortage of free activities to keep the whole family entertained for the day. Colorful beads and balloons will be handed out throughout town all day and face painting is available at Century 21 Heritage.

The Chester Museum at The Mill will be open at no charge, offering a place to explore Chester history.

A photo booth will be at Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art, where there will also be a free workshop for kids between 6 and 11 years, led by artist Carol Young from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. Each child will get a workbook handmade by Carol with art projects centered on bees, and they will make the three-dimensional bee depicted in the book.

Other galleries and shops will be open, many with special events. The Spring Street String Band, Arrowhead, will be playing from noon to 2 p.m. at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery. Winter sales – including a complete storewide sale at ELLE Design – will be going on at a number of stores.

Chester Winter Carnivale is held rain or snow or shine.  Main Street will be closed to traffic. Free parking is available in the commuter lot on Rte. 148 at the foot of Rte. 9 and in the Roto-Frank parking lot on Inspiration Lane (exit 6) and at Greenwald Industries on Rte. 154 (212 Middlesex Avenue). (Follow the signs.) All lots will be served by courtesy shuttle buses to the town center.

For more information, go to facebook.com/chesterctwintercarnivale or https://finditinchesterct.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

Caption: Street performers, balloons, beads and face painting add free fun for all ages to Winter Carnivale. Photo by John Stack

 

Caption: Richard Daly works on his ice sculpture during the 2014 Winter Carnivale. Daly holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest time to create ice sculptures. Photo by John Stack

 

Caption: Tractors and more tractors descend on Chester on Carnivale day for the 14th Annual Tractor Parade. Photo by John Stack

Essex Winter Series Features Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, Feb. 8

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks will perform at Valley Regional High School, Feb. 8

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks will perform at Valley Regional High School, Feb. 8

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, one of the world’s most renowned bands specializing in jazz from the early decades of the twentieth century, will perform on the Essex Winter Series (EWS) on Sunday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. at Valley Regional High School in Deep River. The Grammy Award-winning 11-piece band is well known for providing the soundtrack to the acclaimed HBO series Boardwalk Empire and for their many appearances over the years on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion.

Tickets, all general admission are $35, $5 for full-time students, and may be purchased on the EWS website, www.essexwinterseries.com, or by calling 860-272-4572.

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks have appeared in films, including The Cotton Club, The Aviator, Revolutionary Road, and Finding Forrester, and in concert at Town Hall, Jazz At Lincoln Center, the Newport Jazz Festival, and many other major venues and festivals.

Recording projects include soundtracks for Ghost World, The Savages, The Good Shepherd, Away We Go, Public Enemies, Kill Your Darlings, along with HBO’s Grey Gardens, Todd Haynes’ HBO miniseries Mildred Pierceand an upcoming Haynes’ film Carol. The Nighthawks are also seen and heard in the USA Network series Royal Pains and the PBS series Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook.

Mihae Lee is the artistic director of Essex Winter Series (EWS), and the appearance by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks has been arranged by EWS’s jazz artistic advisor, Jeff Barnhart. The Feb. 8 performance is the 2015 EWS Stu Ingersoll Jazz and is co-sponsored by The Clark Group and Tower Laboratories.

Meet Retired Guide Dog, Fairbanks, at Chester Library, Feb. 7

Retired guide dog Fairbanks

Retired guide dog Fairbanks

On Saturday, Feb. 7, the 4th Annual Take Your Child to the Library Day, visit the Chester Public Library at 11 a.m. to meet Fairbanks, a retired guide dog for the blind. He will be brought in by his original trainer, Karen Bradley, with whom he is living in his retirement.

Bradley will tell the story of Fairbanks and explain what his guide dog duties were. She will also read a short story about guide dogs and have fun handouts for the children. A theme-related snack will be served.

Any children who attend will have the opportunity to sign up for a library card of their own if they do not already have one.

Take Your Child to the Library Day, officially held on the first Saturday in February, is an international initiative that encourages families everywhere to take their children to their local library. The program was launched in Connecticut in 2011 by Connecticut librarians to raise community awareness about the importance of the library in the life of a child, and to promote library services and programs for children and families.

This program is open to all ages. If you have any questions, call the Chester Library at 860-526-0018.

 

Make ‘n’ Take Unique Valentine Cards at The Hammered Edge, Feb. 7

Hearts by Lisa Fatone

The Hammered Edge Studio & Gallery in Ivoryton is hosting an afternoon of fun and creativity on Saturday, Feb. 7, at a Valentine’s Make & Take Workshop from 1 to 4 p.m.  All are welcome.

Make your own precious handmade greetings with area artist/designer Lisa Fatone.  Participants are welcome to bring along sentimental embellishments to give the cards a special touch.

The admission fee includes materials to make ‘n take 3 collage-technique cards.  Admission is $25 per person and by reservation only.

To make a reservation, contact Kathryne Wright at The Hammered Edge @ 860-581-8038 or kathryne@hammerededge.com

The Hammered Edge is located at 108 Main St., Ivoryton.

A ‘Concert in the Garden’ Featuring Dan Stevens, Braiden Sunshine, Feb. 8

Dan Stevens

Dan Stevens  (Photo by Caryn B Davis)

CHESTER – The second ‘Concert in the Garden’ of 2015 at Leif Nilsson’s studio, 1 Spring St., Chester, will feature Ramblin’ Dan Stevens of Old Lyme on Sunday, Feb. 8, from 4 to 6 p.m.  The concert will be opened by Braiden Sunshine of Lyme.

Stevens performs an eclectic mix of traditional fingerstyle blues and originals and has entertained audiences throughout the US, Germany, UK, Canada and Virgin Islands. Of special interest is his unique style of “bottleneck” slide playing popularized by early Mississippi delta bluesmen including his use of a homemade, three stringed “Cigar Box Guitar” and one stringed “Diddly Bow”, both primitive blues instruments.

Stevens has been lauded for the authenticity of his approach gained by many years on the road as a traveling blues musician. Dan has appeared with such artists as Arlo Guthire, Richie Havens, Charlie Daniels, James Cotton, Gatemouth Brown and many others.

Braiden Sunshine sings with a friend

Braiden Sunshine (right) sings with a friend

Opening act Sunshine was born with a love of music. From the moment he could talk, he sang. He has been performing, acting, and singing since the age of five. He plays in three bands and also the electric and acoustic guitar, bass and keyboards. Sunshine loves singing, motocross and playing out with his bands.

A $10 donation is requested and the event is picnic/BYOB inside the Gallery
Gates open half hour before the show and seating is bistro style with a first come, first seated policy observed.

For more information on Dan Stevens, visit www.danstevens.net or Braiden Sunshine, visit www.braidensunshine.com

For more information, call (860) 526-2077 or visit www.nilssonstudio.com

Essex Land Trust Sponsors Hike of the Month at Bushy Hill, Feb. 7

Enjoying the animals at Bushy Hill Nature center

Enjoying the animals at Bushy Hill Nature center

The Essex Land Trust is sponsoring a perfect winter outdoor experience for all, especially families. Led by Bushy Hill Nature Center Director Steven Trojan, the group will hike the grounds of the 700+ acres of the Center located in Deep River and Ivoryton.

The diverse surroundings offer the perfect setting for an outdoor experience, with miles of trails, a working tipi and wigwam site, a mile long spring fed lake, and a working farm.

Depending on weather, a visit to a maple sugar shack will be offered.

Meet at 9 a.m. at the Nature Center at 253 Bushy Hill Rd. The event is free and open to the general public. Any questions or need for further information, contact Judy Saunders at 860-581-8108.

 

Learn How to Tap your Trees at Chester Library: Maple Sugaring at Home, Feb. 5

Sweeney - maple sugaring

Maple syrup from your own yard? Delicious!

On Thursday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m., at the Chester Public Library, Anna and Paul Sweeney will share their practical experience with maple sugaring in their Maple Street yard here in Chester. They will cover the basics, from identifying your sugar maple trees to explaining the equipment you will need. They will show you how to place a tap in a practice log and will review basic procedures for gathering the sap and processing it into syrup.

Celebrating Bees Though Art at Maple and Main, Opening Party, Feb. 6

"The Bee's Knees" is one of the signature works of the exhibit.

“The Bee’s Knees” by Pam Carlson is one of the signature works of the exhibit.

Chester – At the ‘Celebrating Bees’ show in the Stone Gallery at Maple and Main Gallery, opening Wednesday, Feb. 4, visitors will experience the beauty, value and wonder of bees and the plants they pollinate as interpreted by artists.

A special opening party is planned for Friday, Feb. 6, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. with wine, appetizers and a taste of mead (honey wine) believed to be the earliest alcoholic drink.

There will be a free “bee” workshop for children between 6 and 11 years of age in the Stone Gallery during the annual Winter Carnivale, Sunday, Feb. 15, from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. Each child will get a workbook hand-made by gallery artist Carol Young with art projects having to do with bees and during the workshop. Carol will help children make a three-dimensional bee depicted in the book.

Space is limited. Register in advance by calling the gallery at 860-526-6065.

Maple and Main Gallery, One Maple St., is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. mapleandmaingallery.com; 860-526-6065; mapleand main@att.net.

Old Saybrook Library Hosts Drop-In Storytime, Wednesdays & Fridays

The Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook hosts two year round, drop-in story time children’s programs.

“Story Times for Wee-Ones” is held every Wednesday morning at 10:30 a.m. for children ages birth to 2 and includes stories, songs, hand rhymes and time for grown-ups to socialize.  And “Preschool  Story Time” is held every Friday morning at 10:30 for children ages 2 – 5 and includes stories, songs, hand rhymes, creative activities and lots of fun.

For more information, call The Acton Library at 860-395-3184, or visit the library during regular hours: Monday through Thursday 10am – 8:30pm, Friday and Saturday 9am – 5pm, and Oct – May on Sundays 1pm – 5pm or visit on-line at www.actonlibrary.org  .

Save the Date for the LVVS 8th Annual Road Race, April 11

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) have announced that their upcoming 8th Annual April Fools 5K Run, 3K Walk & Backward Mile will be held on Saturday, April 11. There is something for everyone including a Lollipop Run for children age 6 and under.

This year’s Backward Mile is dedicated to President Emeritus Erl Nord who passed away last year. This portion of the race will be named for him in this and future year’s in memory of all he meant to the LVVS family and the Town of Essex.

Runners-sign up on www.fasttracktiming.com.

For more information,contact LVVS @ 860-399-0280 or visit www.vsliteracy.org.

Celebrated Canadian Architect to Present Her Work at Essex Library, Feb. 6

"The Cube" open air performance venue in the center of Winnipeg, Canada.

“The Cube” open air performance venue in the center of Winnipeg, Canada.

Acclaimed Canadian Architect Johanna Hurme, a founding partner of the Winnipeg based firm, 5468796 Architecture, will present and discuss her work at the Essex Library on Friday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. The Rice Design Alliance of Houston recently deemed “546” to be “one of the most talented young design firms worldwide.”

Hurme’s portfolio encompasses residential, cultural, civic and even marine projects, among them “The Cube,” which is a gleaming open-air performance venue set against the backdrop of historic warehouses in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. She has also taught design at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba since 2007.

In the past seven years, the firm’s work has skyrocketed to national and international acclaim.  It has garnered numerous awards, including Progressive Architecture Awards; Awards for Emerging Architecture & Future Project Award from the Architectural Review; and Awards of Excellence from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. It was featured in Architectural Record’s Design Vanguard issue and represented Canada at the Venice Biennale of Architecture.

Hurme came to Canada from Finland 20 years ago, earning her Masters of Architecture and establishing 5468796 Architecture with Sasa Radulovic in 2007. Working around a single table, the practice unites the diverse knowledge and experience of 12 young professionals. The firm believes that there are opportunities for exploration within every budget, and that each client, user and civic environment deserves an outcome that advances architecture.

Her talk is free and part of the Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series, which is one of many programs that are offered regularly by the Essex Library (http://www.youressexlibrary.org/). Call the library at (860) 767-1560 to register.

Sponsored by Centerbrook Architects, the series is in its seventh year.

February Art Exhibit at Essex Library Features Lesley Braren

"Kitchen Fruit' by Lesley Braren is one of the featured paintings in the February exhibition of the artist's work at Essex Library.

“Kitchen Fruit’ by Lesley Braren is one of the featured paintings in the February exhibition of the artist’s work at Essex Library.

An art exhibit will be held at the Essex Library, 33 West Avenue,  through the month of February, 2015, featuring guest artist,  Lesley Braren.

Lesley Braren, a member of the Essex Art Association, lives in East Hampton, Connecticut and has been painting for many years.  She is an avid outdoor, plein air painter and works mostly in oils when on location.  Lesley states that she is inspired by being out of doors and the challenge of trying to record a fleeting moment on canvas as only she sees it.  She’s not so much trying to record an accurate record as trying to convey a personal response to that moment.  She enjoys using color and brush strokes to convey her vision.

Lesley is not limited to oil and works extensively in watercolor both on location and in the studio and enjoys doing monotypes and experimenting with other mediums.  She credits her long experience with painting on location and her love of nature and being out of doors for inspiring her artwork.

More of her work may be seen on her website: www.LesleyBraren.com

 

Chinese Cultural Program at Essex Library, Feb. 5

Chinese_women_in_pink,_dancing_(2007-07-05)

The Essex Library, 33 West Avenue, will be hosting an event titled, ‘Reviving 5000 Years of Chinese Civilization,’ on Thursday, Feb. 5,  from 7 to 8 p.m.

This program will explain the essence and uniqueness of traditional Chinese culture and demonstrate how the authentic culture is reemerging through genuine artistic values and presentation, such as the New York-based nonprofit organization, Sheen Yen Performing Arts.  This is a free program and open to all.

Register early at (860) 767-1560 to assure your space.

Community Music School Presents New Horizons Band, Feb. 15

The New Horizons Band.

The New Horizons Band

The New Horizons Band of Community Music School (CMS) will perform three local concerts this winter.  The first concert was on Friday, Jan. 16, at Chester Village West in Chester.  The next concert was on Sunday, Jan. 18, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Centerbrook. Finally, the band is performing on Sunday, Feb. 15, at 2 p.m. at Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road in Essex.

The New Horizons Band is part of a national program that was introduced in Rochester, New York in 1991, the brainchild of Roy Ernst of Eastman Conservatory.  Today there are about 150 New Horizons bands, choruses and orchestras in the United States and Canada, with thousands of participants. These organizations provide an entry point for adults who have either never studied music or who have been away from it for many years, allowing them to share the joyful experience of recreational music making.

The CMS program has 15 members, who rehearse twice a week under the direction of Patricia Hurley. Brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments are featured and musical selections include film scores, Broadway show tunes, folk music, and works from the American Songbook.

Those interested in the program are invited to attend a rehearsal on Tuesday or Thursday mornings at the Music School. No previous experience is necessary.

All concerts are free and open to the public and offer an opportunity to speak with band members and the director to learn more about the program.

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. Music School programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so that they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.

Visit www.community-music-school.org or call 860-767-0026for program information.

Old Lyme Church Celebrates 350 Year Heritage with Organ Concert, Feb. 8

FCCOL_historical_image_v2

Illustration by Arthur L.Keller taken from a 1906 edition of the Ladies’ Home Journal

 

Throughout 2015, the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme will celebrate 350 years of history. A series of concerts and a talk on the historic landscape of Lyme Street will commemorate the rich legacy of the past and ongoing connections that link the church and the larger community.

Two events are planned to kick off the year-long celebration, one in January and the second in February, as follows:

The American Organ Society’s Children’s Choir Festival
Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015 at 4 p.m.

Simon Holt: An Organ Recital
“Spanning 350 Years of Organ Music”

Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015 at 4 p.m.

Public worship began on the east side of the Connecticut River in 1664 when the Court acknowledged that there were “thymes and seasons” when inhabitants could not attend Sabbath meetings in Saybrook and ordered them to agree on a house where they would gather on the Lord’s Day. A year later, Articles of Agreement defined a “loving parting” that created a separate “plantation” on the river’s east side, which would soon be named Lyme.

The first minister, Moses Noyes, a Harvard graduate from the Boston area, settled in the growing community in 1666. Rev. Noyes helped to found the Collegiate School in Saybrook that later became Yale and was elected the twelfth Trustee of the college. Most famous among Lyme’s ministers was Rev. Stephen Johnson, who used a pen name to publish fiery letters in a New London newspaper urging colonists to resist British authority and fight for liberty. He later served as chaplain in the regiment led by Col. Samuel H. Parsons from Lyme and reached Roxbury at the end of the fight for Bunker Hill.

In colonial times, the meetinghouse was not only a place for public worship but also for town meetings and, after stocks were erected in 1685, for public punishments. Over the centuries, community disputes, family quarrels and local scandals played out within its walls. Beginning in 1719 with the creation of a separate Congregational parish in North Lyme, other churches, first Baptist and Methodist followed by Episcopal and Roman Catholic, met the religious needs of the community.

The first three meetinghouses stood on a hill overlooking Long Island Sound. After a lightning strike destroyed the third of those structures in 1815, the church was relocated to its present site closer to the village. Master builder Samuel Belcher from Ellington was hired to design a fourth meetinghouse beside the town green and the cornerstone was laid on June 10, 1816.

That stately white church with its graceful steeple and columned façade, painted repeatedly by the country’s most prominent landscape artists, burned to the ground on July 5, 1907, in what was almost certainly an act of arson. Rebuilt to replicate Belcher’s design after a community-wide, fund-raising campaign, the fifth meetinghouse, dedicated in 1910, remains today as both a vibrant center of faith and fellowship and the town’s most important historic landmark.

For more information, visit www.fccol.org or call the church office at (860)-434-8686.

The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme is located at the intersection of Ferry Road and Lyme Street in Old Lyme, CT.