February 19, 2017

‘The Maccabeats’ to Perform in Chester at CBSRZ, March 19

The Maccabeats, who will be performing at CBSRZ, March

CHESTER — The Maccabeats, a singing group that set a record for a video going viral (more than 10 million hits in eight days), and that performed for President Barack Obama in the East Room and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion, will bring their unique brand of harmony, humor, and musical inventiveness to Chester on Sunday, March 19, at 5 p.m., at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.

David Zeleznik, producer of the synagogue’s Music & More series, says, “The Maccabeats are an a cappella group from the heart of Brooklyn that started at Yeshiva University with incredibly hunky young men, terrific voices, and a good dose of humor that is the closest thing to a Jewish youth sensation these days. And adults should not feel left out, these guys are just plain fun and joyous.” See video of The Maccabeats at https://www.youtube.com/user/MaccabeatsVideos.

The group, with its name inspired by the Maccabeats, heroes of the Chanukah story, became literally an overnight sensation during the holiday season in 2010.  It used a tune by Taio Cruz, “Dynamite,” and turned it into “Candlelight,” a playful Chanukah celebration — “I flip my latkes in the air sometimes, saying ‘ay-oh,’ spin the dreidel” — that it went viral so fast that it soon became number one on the Billboard Comedy Digital Track Charts.

The Maccabeats have followed up with a variety of songs and albums that have reinvented Jewish music, and have been cheered by audiences on five continents. Recently, the group released another video, this one reinterpreting the smash Broadway hit “Hamilton” as a Jewish story.  https://youtu.be/u3UubcYj49k

A sell-out crowd is expected so advance ticket purchase is highly recommended. Advance general admission tickets are $35 for adults (or $40 at door, pending availability) and free admission for children 16 and under.  As always at Music & More concerts, ticket price includes an after-concert reception and an opportunity to meet the band.

For tickets and more information, see www.cbsrz.org, or call the synagogue office at (860) 526-8920.

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‘Kate’s Camp for Kids’ Presents ‘ARF!’, Rehearsals Begin March 15

AREAWIDE – The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Community Music School are partnering again under the umbrella of their performing arts summer camp, Kate’s Camp for Kids, to present a spring program and show entitled “ARF: A Canine Musical of Kindness, Courage and Calamity!”

This exciting program takes place at The Kate, 300 Main Street in Old Saybrook, and runs for six weekly sessions on Wednesday afternoons from 4 to 5 p.m. beginning March 15.  Launched in 2013, Kate’s Camp for Kids is a performing arts camp for children in grades K-5 incorporating music, dance, theater, and visual art.

Directed by Martha Herrle, a 15-year-member of the Community Music School faculty and certified Kindermusik educator, this year’s camp theme will be “ARF!”  Students will be acting out the personalities of their favorite canine characters from Doggie Town including General German Shepherd, the singing Dalmatians, and Rover the mutt. Featuring five original songs and easy-to-learn rhyming dialog, the program culminates in a lively performance for friends and family.

Tuition for this camp is $125 and scholarships are available for families with a financial need.

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

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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Join the ‘Common Good Gardens’ to Discover the Benefits of Volunteering; Orientation Meeting, Mar. 11

OLD SAYBROOK — Each year, the Common Good Gardens in Old Saybrook raise nearly four tons of fresh vegetables and fruit, and then then donates them to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries  And they do it entirely with volunteers – volunteers who have kept it going and improved it for 15 years.

You’re probably thinking, “How unselfish … doing all that work to benefit other people,” and they are for sure.  But, according to new research, volunteers are also on the receiving end of some amazing benefits; and most likely, they don’t even know it.  They just know that they feel better when they leave the garden.

Never too young … all ages can volunteer at the Common Good Garden.

Solid data on the benefits of volunteering has appeared in a variety of current publications, ranging from the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Health Letters, to a review from the Corporation for National & Community Service, which states,

On average, volunteering 40 to 100 hours per year increases personal satisfaction and happiness, decreases depression, improves functional capacity; and results in fewer illnesses and a longer life span.

Similar articles from the Huffington Post, Atlantic Monthly as well as research released by Johns Hopkins, The London School of Economics and University of Exeter Medical School have all told a similar story.

Greatest Gains for Seniors

Volunteering has health benefits — especially for seniors!

While there are potential gains to be had for high-schoolers and middle-aged persons, the greatest gains related to volunteering are for those 65 and older.  Some researchers suggest this greater gain for seniors may be because they start out lower before volunteering. Their health may not be as good as that of younger people or they may have lower self-esteem and more social isolation due to retirement.  Even if that proves true, starting to volunteer at an earlier adult stage seems to correlate with fewer health issues later in life.

Regarding functional capacity, the Hopkins study showed improved brain function associated with activities that get you moving and thinking at the same time.  As for happiness, though some of the happiness data is based on self-reporting alone, other data show hormone levels and brain scan activity consistent with physiologic changes associated with happiness.

Studies in UK

In addition to the improvements shown above, a large review of nearly 25,000 articles in the UK notes increased coping ability, better parenting skills and richer personal relationships.

Impact on Chronic Illness and Longevity

Several studies examined in particular the impact for those with chronic illness. They found that these volunteers reported decreased pain and depression. People with a prior heart attack also had lower incidences of depression after volunteering.

A United Health Group survey showed these striking figures:

  • 25% reported volunteering helped them live better with chronic illness
  • 76% reported feeling healthier
  • 78% reported lowered stress levels
  • 94% reported improved mood
  • 96% reported an enriched sense of purpose

Finally U.S. census data confirms that those states with high volunteer rates show greater longevity and lower rates of heart disease.

Come Join the Common Good Gardens

There’s always room for an extra pair of hands …

Come join us at the Common Good Gardens.  Whatever your age, level of health, or skill set, there’s a way for you to contribute while benefiting from volunteering.

Yes, gardeners are needed to plant, weed and harvest, and beginners are always welcome. But also needed are people with computer skills, carpentry skills, writing and speaking skills;   people who can drive a car to deliver produce; leaders to organize small groups and work with public schools; people who love nature or are excited about nutrition, and folk who want to help experiment with natural ways to deter pests or make soil richer.

Common Good Gardens by the numbers

  • 14: Number of years garden has been in existence (2002-2016)
  • July 7, 2011: Date the garden incorporated and received non-profit 501(c)3  status
  • 10: Number of Board members
  • 220,000: Total pounds of produce grown, collected and delivered 2004-2016 through garden volunteer efforts
  • 50: Number of core active volunteers (gardeners, drivers, other)
  • 3,000: Number of volunteer hours donated annually
  • 1/2 acre: Size of garden located at rear of Grace Episcopal Church, 336 Main Street, Old Saybrook
  • 22: Number of different varieties of fruits and vegetablesgrown at the garden during 2016
  • 6,900: Pounds of produce grown at the garden in 2016 season
  • $17,200: Dollar value of produce grown at the garden in 2016 season
  • 7: Number of farm stands that donate excess produce to garden for distribution to pantries in 2013.

Many hands make light work at the Common Good Gardens.

Current volunteers at the Common Good Gardens encourage you to get involved so that together, a healthy future for the garden, ourselves, and our shoreline community can be created.

If interested, contact Common Good Gardens at PO Box 1224, Old Saybrook, CT 06475 or call Barbara Standke at 860-575-8645 with questions, or to sign up for the annual new volunteer orientation on March 11.

Editor’s Note: The authors of this piece, Kate Wessling and Barbara Standke, are respectively Common Good Gardens President and Common Good Gardens Volunteer Coordinator.

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Author Talk with Yale Professor Dr. Paul Freedman on ‘Ten Restaurants That Changed America,’ March 6

ESSEX — From Delmonico’s to Sylvia’s to Chez Panisse, a daring and original history of dining out in America as told through 10 legendary restaurants. Combining a historian’s rigor with a foodie ‘s palate, Ten Restaurants That Changed America reveals how the history of our restaurants reflects nothing less than the history of America itself.

Paul Freedman, the Chester D Tripp Professor of History at Yale University, will give an illustrated talk at the Essex Library on Monday, March 6, at 5 p.m.

Whether charting the rise of our love affair with Chinese food through San Francisco’s fabled The Mandarin, evoking the richness of Italian food through Mamma Leone’s, or chronicling the rise and fall of French haute cuisine through Henri Soulé’s Le Pavillon, food historian Paul Freedman uses each restaurant to tell a wider story of race and class, immigration and assimilation.

Dr. Paul Freedman

Freedman also treats us to a scintillating history of the then-revolutionary Schrafft’s, a chain of convivial lunch spots that catered to women, and that bygone favorite, Howard Johnson’s, which pioneered mid-century, on-the-road dining, only to be swept aside by McDonald’s.

Lavishly designed with more than 100 photographs and images, including original menus, Ten Restaurants That Changed America is a significant and highly entertaining social history. Copies of his book will be available for purchase and signing.

Professor Freedman specializes in medieval social history, the history of Catalonia, comparative studies of the peasantry, trade in luxury products, and the history of cuisine. Freedman earned his BA at the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MLS from the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He received a Ph.D. in History at Berkeley in 1978. His doctoral work focused on medieval Catalonia and how the bishop and canons interacted with the powerful and weak elements of lay society in Vic, north of Barcelona. Freedman taught for 18 years at Vanderbilt University before joining the Yale faculty in 1997.

This program is free and open to the public. Call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560 to register or for more information. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Movie of the Moment? See ‘1984’, at Deep River Library, March 4; Free Admission

DEEP RIVER — See the topical and iconic film, 1984, based on the book of the same name by George Orwell at the Deep River Public Library on Saturday, March 4, at 2 p.m. This classic dystopian film stars the late John Hurt’s character, Winston Smith as he attempts to resist against the bleak and loveless existence of the totalitarian state of Oceania. This groundbreaking work explores the consequences of a world where every thought is monitored and every human instinct is forbidden.

No registration is required. Running time for this film is 113 minutes.

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

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Ivoryton Library Hosts Fundraising Trivia Night at Centerbrook Meetinghouse, March 4

Clear your calendars for Saturday, March 4, for an exciting Trivia Night, a fundraiser for the Ivoryton Library. Hosted by the folks at What Trivia!, this is a fun show to be held at the historic Centerbrook Meetinghouse.

An ideal way to stay warm on a March winter night and be with your friends, make a couple of new friends, and get some mileage from your stock of trivia, this event is completely interactive. Are you a walking library of trivia? Do you have random pieces of knowledge that have lodged themselves in your brain, just waiting to be unearthed? This is your opportunity to make all that useless stuff you know work for you. There’s something for everyone: the artistic crowd, the creative media types, the scholarly, the sports minded, and the rest of you guys.

Teams are made up of four to eight people so sign up as soon as possible as a team, or even as a single. Answers aren’t blurted out, they’re written down and if you don’t know an answer, best scenario is to guess. Points are awarded, wagered and, perhaps, lost. Lots of very interesting prizes will be awarded.

There will a cash bar and light fare for $25 a head, ahead of time, and $30 at the door. The fun stuff starts at 7:00pm, see you there!

For more information, visit www.ivoryton.com or call the Ivoryton
Library at 860 767-1252.

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‘Stop Ageism’ Forum Scheduled at Essex Library, Feb. 28

St. Luke’s Gatekeeper Community Services, a non-profit in Middletown, is hosting a Stop Ageism Forum at Essex Library on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 5:30 p.m.

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Acton Library Hosts Two Movie Series, See “Constitution USA,” Feb. 24

OLD SAYBROOK  — The Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook will be hosting two film series on Fridays beginning this January and running through May of 2017 using new film projection equipment and a new 12 ft. movie screen in the Grady Thomas Room.  All are welcome to both series. Admission is free.

“Explore the World Through Arts and Adventure” will run second Fridays at 1 p.m. and will include films that explore other countries and cultures through various art forms such as dance and music, and through adventure. Details of the series are as follows:

Jan. 13: An American in Paris
Feb. 10: Seven Years in Tibet
March 10: White Nights
April 7: Out of Africa (first Friday due to April 14th closing)
May 12: to be a announced on the APL website and in the library.

“The School Series” will run fourth Fridays also at 1 p.m. and will include artistically and historically educational films. Local school groups will be invited to join for these films at Acton. Details of the series are as follows:

Jan. 27: Fantasia
Feb. 24: Constitution USA with Peter Sagal
March 24: O. Henry’s Full House
April 28: Selma
May 26: to be announced on the APL website and in the library.

For more information, call The Acton Library at 860-395-3184, or visit the library during regular hours: Monday through Thursday 10am – 8:00pm, Friday and Saturday 9am – 5pm or visit on-line at www.actonlibrary.org .

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Scrabble Done Differently, Feb. 23

Like to play Scrabble? Like to, um, bend the rules? “An Evening of Words with Friends — Minus the Electronics” hosted by Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore might be right up your alley!

Come to the First Congregational Church of Madison Meetinghouse at 27 Meetinghouse Lane, Madison, CT. starting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb.23, to enjoy the most unique format you have ever seen and some fun, refreshments and prizes!

A donation of $25 per player is requested. Call Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore at 860-399-0280 or visit vsliteracy.org for information.

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Deep River Public Library Hosts Calligraphy Class, Feb. 22

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Public Library will be hosting a calligraphy class on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 6:30 p.m.

Calligraphy is the art of writing beautifully. Come learn how to draw letters and transform your writing into a work of art. Calligraphy is a great way to add flair to cards, personal correspondence and special notes.  The way you hold your pen and touch it to paper makes each alphabet uniquely your own.

In this fun class you will learn the technique for one of the calligraphic alphabets and become familiar with the instruments of calligraphy including felt-tip calligraphy pens, template sheets and calligraphy paper.  You will leave knowing the fundamentals of calligraphy and you will have a beautiful interpretation of your name by your own hand.

Ned Farrell will be instructing the course.  He is the co-owner of the Bee Company of Clinton, Conn. and has been doing calligraphy for years.  There is a $5 fee for supplies, including a pen, template and calligraphy paper, which will be yours to keep.

To register, call the library at 860-526-6039 or visit the library’s Sign Up Genius at http://www.signupgenius.com/go/409044fabaf29a6fa7-learn1.

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Steven Cryan is Estuary’s February Artist of the Month

Steve Cryan stands in front of a tug-boat.

Steven Cryan graduated from Paier College of Art in the early 1970s. Since that time he has been painting maritime and railroad subjects. His luminous, realistic watercolors have won numerous awards and hang in private and corporate collections throughout the world, including The Quinnipiac Club in New Haven, CT and The Connecticut River Museum. One of his paintings was added to the art collection on board the Queen Mary II.

Cryan has illustrated many covers and center spreads for magazines including Keystone, Steamboat Bill, Shoreliner, Trains Magazine, Nautical World and Moran Corporation’s Towline Magazine. His illustrations can be seen in the books, Where Rails Meet the Sea and Tugboats.

His artwork has also been featured on the cover of Lionel Trains’ catalog.

Cryan has been the guest curator of the CT River Museum’s holiday exhibit Trains, Tracks and Trimmings, for which he designs and builds large operating HO train layouts. His modeling skills can also be seen at the Pizzaworks restaurant in Old Saybrook.

Cryan  is a leading authority on trains, tugs and maritime history. His photography collection on the subject is one of the largest in the U.S.A. He gives slide shows and lectures throughout the country.

When not painting or building models, Cryan  can be found pursuing his love of music as he plays harmonica and trombone with three different bands at a variety of local venues.

View his work online at www.stevencryan.com

Meet Cryan  at our Marshview Gallery Artist Reception on Friday, Feb. 10, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Estuary Council of Seniors, 220 Main St, Old Saybrook. All are welcome. Light refreshments are served.

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Tri-Town Offers Parent-Toddler Play & Support Groups, Feb-April

AREAWIDE — Tri-Town Youth Services, 56 High Street, Deep River will host weekly support groups for parents of young children.  Parents have opportunity to socialize and talk about family challenges while toddlers play.  The Parent Resource Coordinator will present a new parenting theme each week and invite parents to browse the extensive Parent Resource Library.  Toddlers will enjoy free play and art exploration.  Each session will include a seasonal circle with songs, yoga and finger-plays, followed by a shared snack.

“Outstanding Ones” for children under two, will meet Tuesdays from Feb. 7 to April 4.  The group gathers from 10:30 to 11 a.m. and the program costs $45 for Tri-Town residents. 

“Terrific Twos” for children 24-36 months, will meet Wednesdays from Feb. 8 to April 5 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and costs $60 for Tri-Town residents. 

Call 860-526-3600 to reserve your spot or register and pay securely online at www.tritownys.org.

Tri-Town Youth Services supports and advances the families, youth and communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex.  They coordinate and provide resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most.  Discover more programs and information for families at www.tritownys.org.

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February Children’s Programs at Deep River Public Library

Thursdays are terrific at the Deep River Public Library! Join BABY BOUNCE, a lap-sit program for babies up to 24 months and their caregivers, followed by open play and social time. Older siblings may attend. No registration is required. Dates for this program will be on the following Thursday mornings: Feb. 2, 9, 16, and 23. Starts at 10:30 am

Don’t forget FUN FRIDAY, Feb. 10, 17 and 24! Join Preschool Power Hour with stories and songs in an interactive setting, followed by open play. Starts at 10:30 am; open to all ages. The Deep River Drive In returns on Feb. 3, for a special 10:30 am showing of Stick Man.

Feb. 9 & 23: Brick Bunch meets from 3:45 – 4:45 pm for open Lego construction. This is a drop-in program. There are now large blocks for the younger kids.

Join a special encore of the Deep River Drive-In on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 10:30 am. The library will be showing Stick Man, a delightful story of a stick father and his misadventures trying to get back to his wife and family. Open to all, no registration required. Running time, 30 minutes.

For more information on any of these programs, call 860-526-6039 or email drplchildrensdept@gmail.com

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Two New Shows on View at Maple & Main Through April 2

‘Cool’ by Deb Munson is the signature painting for the Winter Exhibition at Maple & Main. Munson is also the juror for the Juried Show running concurrently.

CHESTER – The Seventh Annual Winter Exhibit and the Second Annual Juried Show are on view at Maple and Main Gallery through April 2.

Both exhibits will showcase newly created art by over 100 artists in a vast variety of styles and medium from classic still lifes to impressionistic landscapes to large, vivid abstracts.

The Winter Exhibit will be hung on the ground floor of the gallery and in the Small Works room while the Juried Show will be in the lower level in the Stone and Joslow galleries.

Maple and Main is open Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.; Friday, noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 860-526-6065; mapleandmain@att.net.

Visit mapleandmaingallery.com where there is a selection of works in both shows as well and on Facebook as well.

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Evening Dance Class Offered Thursdays at the Estuary Council

AREAWIDE — The Estuary Regional Senior Center at 220 Main St., Old Saybrook, has a Ballroom Dance Class that meets Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. The six-week class is $10 a class or six classes for $50.

It is a fun way to spend an hour and you can join with or without a partner.

For more information, call Amy at 860-227-5211

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