December 23, 2014

Essex Library’s January Art Exhibit Features Maryanne Rupp

The signature work for Maryanne Rupp's upcoming exhibition at Essex Library is "Fragile Dunes."

The signature work for Maryanne Rupp’s upcoming exhibition at Essex Library is “Fragile Dunes.”

An art exhibit will be held at the Essex Library, 33 Essex Avenue,  through the month of January, 2015, featuring guest artist,  Maryanne Rupp.

Rupp is a retired Hospice nurse who has been painting intermittently for most of her life but more seriously over the last five to six years.  She works in both oil and pastels, but considers herself primarily a pastelist, enjoying the pure, intense color and spontaneity that is possible with that medium.

Rupp is a signature member of the Connecticut Pastel Society (CPS), Academic Artists, Lyme Art Association, Clinton Art Society, Mystic Art Center, Guilford Art League, and Madison Art Society where she serves on the Board of Directors. She has exhibited with all of the previous associations, being accepted into many of their juried exhibitions over the last eight years.

Rupp has been accepted into the CPS Renaissance in Pastel Juried Exhibit for the last five years. In 2011, she was juried into the New Britain Museum of American Art Member Show, where she had completed their docent training program. She has also been juried into the Academic Artist National Exhibit in 2012 and 2014 as well as into Pastel Painters of Cape Cod in 2012 and 2013.

Madhatters to Hold Auditions for ‘Seussical,’ Jan. 3

Madhatters Theatre Company is now accepting appointments for auditions for their spring production of ‘Seussical’ to be performed in May at the Chester Meeting House.  Auditions are being held Jan. 3, at the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, 59 Lyme St., Old Lyme from 9 2 p.m.

To schedule an appointment and for further information, call (860) 395-1861 or e-mail

Sweet Honey in the Rock to Perform in Chester on MLK Weekend


SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK, photo by Dwight Carter

Luring the Grammy Award nominated and internationally adored African-American singers, SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK, to perform during the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend was a dream of Miriam Gardner-Frum, longtime director of the Chester concert series, Music & More.    The concert will be held on Sunday, January 18 at 3:00 pm at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.

There are of course many ways to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King, but one the most meaningful, Miriam thought, would be through the uplifting harmonies of SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK, or as one music critic wrote, “The GOLD STANDARD… Their voices are all fabulous, and they unite to create a sound so pure and smooth and homogeneous that is does not seem humanly possible.”

Over the years, Miriam has brought many remarkable musicians to Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ), and she saw her opportunity with Sweet Honey when she read that the group had received an award from Common Ground, an organization that recognizes exceptional efforts in humanitarian work.

As a supporter of Common Ground’s work, Miriam saw the stars aligned – potentially. “I thought how amazing it would be to have them here in our beautiful synagogue. They combine two exceptional features – great a capella music that lifts hearts even as it calls attention to great injustices of our world. This seemed a natural fit for us at CBSRZ.  Through our Social Action efforts, we do much work along those lines as well.”

But of course theory and practice are not easy to reconcile. For Miriam, there were logistics to address in scheduling and in daunting terms of the performance contract.

“When I first contacted their agent, it didn’t seem possible that we could do this, but we worked with them, and they were very helpful, and here we are!  I am grateful for their flexibility, and that they are eager to come to a synagogue and help spread the message of love that Dr. King expressed.”

Carol Maillard, one of the founding members of the group and still singing with it, says that Sweet Honey has celebrated Dr. King’s birthday in concert many times but never in a synagogue. She says, “We’re very excited about coming and we hope that folks will come with an open mind and heart. We hope they’ll feel uplifted and won’t be afraid to show they’re having a good time.”

The name of the performance group was indeed derived from a song, based on Psalm 81:16, which tells of a land so rich that when rocks were cracked open, honey flowed from them.

SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK is rooted in African American history and culture. The ensemble educates, entertains and empowers its audience and community through the dynamic vehicles of a cappella singing and American Sign Language interpretation for the Deaf and hearing impaired. Sweet Honey’s audience and community comes from diverse backgrounds and cultures throughout the United States and around the world, and includes people of all ages.

Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg, spiritual leader of CBSRZ, says this concert is a perfect way to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy.  “We honor him every year because of the Jewish People’s historical commitment to the struggle for human rights. But more importantly, we recommit ourselves to the ongoing work of demanding justice and equal treatment for all people living in this country.”

Tickets for the general public are $30 and advance ticket purchases are highly recommended.  For more information, please call CBSRZ at 860.526.8920.

The Secret Life of Bees, Essex Library – Jan. 8

Movie Secret Life of BeesESSEX —  The Essex Library, 33 West Avenue, will be hosting the film: The Secret Life of Bees, on Thursday, January 8, 6:30-8:30 PM.

The Secret Life of Bees is adapted from the novel of the same name by Sue Monk Kidd, starring Queen Latifah, and Jennifer Hudson, about a 14-year-old girl who finds comfort in the world of beekeeping while delving through her family history.

This dramatic introduction to the world of honeybees may inspire those attending the upcoming program at Essex Library, “What’s the Buzz?  Honeybees and Beekeeping!” held on January 22, at 6:30 PM.

Please register to attend by calling the library at: (860) 767-1560, or stop by and register in person.

Con Brio Auditions New Singers – Jan. 5

Con Brio announces its next audition is scheduled for Monday, January 5th, 2015 at 7 pm at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Road, Old Saybrook, CT.

No prepared pieces are required. If you would like to learn more, call Sue at 860 575 9668 or visit

LVVS Has an Affordable Gift Idea

In the spirit of affordable giving, Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc. is having a “Fill a Bag for a Buck” December book promotion on specially selected books. The LVVS bookstore has a large variety of hardcover, paperback, and children’s books that include selections by well-known authors and topics such as gardening, crafts, and religion. Buy a bag full and fill a basket or stocking for a special reader or favorite teacher in your life.

LVVS is located on the lower level of the Westbrook Library, 61 Goodspeed Drive.

Book sale hours are Monday-Thursday, 9-2:00 and the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, 10:00AM-Noon.

Visit or call at 860-399-0280.  All book sales, promotion or otherwise, benefit the LVVS tutoring programs in English as a Second Language or Basic Reading.

Chester Holiday Market – Nov. 30 – Dec. 21

Buy Chester Holidays 2014

Buy Chester! The Chester Rotary’s hats (in lots of colors and sizes), the Chester Merchants’ pewter ornaments (from years 1992-2001, plus 2013), and the Chester Historical Society’s books about Chester and “It Happened to Jane” movie make great – and affordable – gifts for everyone who loves Chester. Look for the Buy Chester! table at the Holiday Markets (Sundays till Dec. 21) in Chester Center and at the Holiday Night Festival onDec. 5 (at the Al Malpa Photography Gallery on 4 Spring St.). On weekdays, all items are sold at the Century 21 Heritage Company office on Main Street.