April 18, 2015

Essex Historical Society Celebrates 60th Year with Dickinson Initiative

Essex Historical Society members Herb Clark, Susan Malan and Sherry Clark outside the Yellow Label Building with Rob Bradway of the Valley Railroad (second from right).

Essex Historical Society members Herb Clark, Susan Malan and Sherry Clark outside the Yellow Label Building with Rob Bradway of the Valley Railroad (second from right).

ESSEX — The Essex Historical Society (EHS), a non-profit organization formed in 1955 and boasting 250 members today, will be celebrating its 60th year throughout 2015 with a variety of special events and programs.  Of special note is the Dickinson Initiative, a series of five events aimed at increasing awareness of the impact of the E. E. Dickinson Witch Hazel business on Essex.

According to EHS President Sherry Clark, “We wanted our anniversary celebration to have a purpose and highlighting the Dickinson legacy seemed like the perfect choice given the company’s historical significance for much of the 20th century.  We are particularly excited to unveil our plans to refurbish the “Yellow Label” building in partnership with the Valley Railroad Company.”

The “Yellow Label” building, which sits on the southern end of the railroad depot property on Plains Road, is a familiar and somewhat iconic site to area residents although most are probably not aware of its history. First constructed around 1915 as a birch mill for the production of birch oil, it served as a storefront for the E.E. Dickinson Witch Hazel products in the 1980’s.

The renovation project entails the replacement of windows, roof, and deteriorated structural elements as well as general cleaning and painting, all to be done by the Valley Railroad. EHS will refurbish the Yellow Label signs and install Dickinson history exhibit panels in the newly repaired space.

Plans are now being finalized for a Dickinson Initiative Pre-Construction Party to take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on May 15 on the grounds surrounding the Yellow Label building. The free event is open to the public and will feature tours of the Yellow Label building, Witch Hazel advertising art on display in the Jensen Gallery, River Valley Junction building, and cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. At 6:15 p.m., a short presentation of the Dickinson Initiative plans and a Yellow Label Day Proclamation by the Board of Selectman of Essex will take place.  The dedication and unveiling of the refurbished building is targeted for one year later on May 15, 2016.

Other 60th Anniversary/Dickinson Initiative events will include a special fundraising reception to take place at three Dickinson buildings on North Main Street in Essex on Sunday, Sept. 13; the EHS 5th Annual Fall Foliage Antique Auto Show and Tour of Dickinson business and family sites in partnership with the Belltown Antique Car Club on Sunday, Oct. 18; and a special program entitled “Creating the E. E. Dickinson National Brand” to be presented in January by EHS and held at the former Dickinson corporate office at 31 North Main Street, Essex, now the Wells Fargo office building.

For more information on these and other Essex Historical Society events or membership, go to www.essexhistory.org or call 860-767-0681.

Editor’s Note: The Essex Historical Society was formed and incorporated in 1955. According to news reports at the time, the Town of Essex was about to announce its intention to sell Hills Academy located on Prospect Street. It was no longer useful to the Town for classroom space and had been rented to various tenants for many years. A concerned group sprung into action and the first unofficial meeting of the Board of Directors was held at Essex Town Hall on Friday, December 10, 1954. Edwin B. Pratt was nominated President, John A. Bjerkoe, Vice President, Elizabeth J. Mundie became treasurer and William H. Matthews, curator.

The newly formed Essex Historical Society purchased the Hills Academy building from the Town for one dollar. From 1955 to 1985, Hills Academy served as the Society’s meeting house, as home to its growing collection of Essex memorabilia, and as exhibit space depicting the story of Essex history.

Then in 1985, the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (known then as S.P.N.E.A. and now renamed Historic New England) deeded the Pratt House Museum on West Avenue to the Society and the focus of activity shifted to the Pratt family narrative.


Today, Pratt House continues to interpret 18th century farm life in Essex and the nine generations of Pratt Smithies, many of whom lived in the house. The barn houses a set of panels depicting a time line of Essex history and an early loom that is worked on by an award winning group of weavers. The beautiful meadow to the rear of the property is the site of the Community Garden and often the scene of antique car shows and old fashioned summer fairs. Hills Academy provides additional meeting and exhibit space on the first floor and storage and office space on the second floor for the collection and archival files.


Essex Historical Society serves the three villages of Essex — Centerbrook, Essex and Ivoryton –  and strives to be the center of excellence for collecting and sharing historic resources for Essex and the surrounding area, and to be the facilitator among other organizations focused on the history of the area, so that they may inspire future generations.

Old Saybrook’s Andrew Pan Honored at State Capitol for Science Fair Win

On Apr. 8, Old Saybrook High School senior Andrew Pan (center) was honored at the State Capitol by Rep. Devin Carney (left) and Sen. Art Linares (right) for winning first place in the Health and Medicine category at the Southern Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair on Feb. 7.

Pan took first place for his research project entitled, “Elevated Levels of Interleukin-8 in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers induce Cell Survival During Chemotherapy.”  The legislators presented Pan with an official state citation.  Pan’s accomplishments were recognized and applauded by the Connecticut General Assembly.

Click here to read an article by our intern Adina Ripin about Pan’s accomplishments.

Essex Rotary Hosts Sail Cloth Exhibition & Sale, Opening Reception Tonight

Sail_Cloth_Art_ExhibitionESSEX The Rotary Club of Essex in partnership with the Essex Art Association presents the Sail Cloth Art Exhibition and Sale at the Association’s gallery at 10 North Main St., Essex.

The show will feature original works in oil, watercolor, and mixed media.

There will be an Opening Reception with wine and hor d’oeuvres Friday, April 17, from 5 to 8 p.m.  All are welcome and there is no charge for admission.

Weekend exhibition hours will be Saturday, April 18, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 19, from 12 to 4 p.m.

San Francisco Architects Present Their Work at Essex Library This Evening

An example of stunning architectural design by Kuth Ranier Architects.

An example of stunning architectural design by Kuth/Ranieri Architects — the Gallery Room in a Nob Hill Guest House in San Francisco.

ESSEX — Byron Dean Kuth and Elizabeth Ranieri of the innovative San Francisco architecture firm of Kuth/Ranieri will present their work at the Essex Town Hall on Friday, April 17, at 7 p.m.

Over two decades their firm has produced a broad spectrum of work, from small-scaled objects and installations to buildings and urban design proposals. They have earned a regional and national reputation for innovative works that integrate current cultural discourse with contemporary issues of design, technology and the environment. Their projects include an installation for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Soundhenge, and the Harvey Milk Memorial Streetcar.

A Fine Arts and Architecture graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Kuth has taught at California College of the Arts, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and as a Friedman Professors at the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley. He launched the Deep Green Design Alliance (DGDA), a multidisciplinary think tank for sustainable strategies in architecture and urban design.

Ranieri holds degrees in Architecture and Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design and has taught at the California College of the Arts, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and as a Friedman Professor at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. She has earned a national reputation for innovative expressions of sustainable systems at a building and planning scale. She has led the firm’s research and development on infrastructural approaches to water conservation, water treatment, and adaptive strategies to rising seas.

Their 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.

For more information on Centerbrook Architects, visit www.centerbrook.com.

Child & Family Agency’s 61st Annual Tag Sale Continues Today

Items for the Child & Family Agency 61st Annual Sale will be collected at six “Intake” locations along the shoreline and then transported to the Ella T. Grasso Technical High School, 189 Fort Hill Road, Groton, CT for this extraordinary tag sale, to be held on April 16, 17 and 18. All proceeds will support Child & Family Agency programs and services for children and families. 

Items for the Child & Family Agency 61st Annual Sale will be collected at six “Intake” locations along the shoreline and then transported to the Ella T. Grasso Technical High School, 189 Fort Hill Road, Groton, CT for this extraordinary tag sale, to be held on April 16, 17 and 18. All proceeds will support Child & Family Agency programs and services for children and families.

GROTON, CT – Child & Family Agency is gearing up for its 61st Annual Sale, which has earned a reputation for being one of the “Largest Tag Sales in New England.” Donated items are sorted, boxed and transported to Groton for a bonanza, 3-day fundraiser.

This year’s 61st Annual Sale will be held at Ella T. Grasso Technical High School at 189 Fort Hill Road in Groton from Thursday, April 16, through Saturday, April 18.

Today, Friday, April 17, items are at cost and the sale is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, April 18, opening hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., when most items are half price.

The motto “Bring the Best and Leave the Rest” has made the town of Essex a standard bearer for “quality” donations, which help to provide for an increasingly successful fundraiser. Donations are tax deductible, for which receipts will be issued at the “Intake.”

Proceeds go directly to support the many extraordinary services provided by Child & Family Agency, a non-profit organization that has served Connecticut families for over 200 years.  Last year over 17,000 children and their family members in 79 towns were helped by the agency’s staff of 190 dedicated professionals.

For more information about the work of Child & Family, visit www.childandfamilyagency.org.

Essex Garden Club “Seedy Ladies” Prepare for May Market

Pictured L>R are Dee Dee Charnok, Jane Dickinson, Coral Rawn, Gay Thorn, and Daphne Nielson  preparing tomato plants for the Essex Garden Club May Market.

From left to right, Dee Dee Charnok, Jane Dickinson, Coral Rawn, Gay Thorn, and Daphne Nielson prepare tomato plants for the Essex Garden Club May Market.

ESSEX — The Essex Garden Club hosts its May Market at Town Park, Main Street, Essex Village on May 9, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine.

A most popular feature of the sale is the home grown tomato plants.  This year there will be 24 varieties of plants to choose from including bush, early, heirloom, artisan, and grape.  The “Seedy Ladies” grow all the plants from seed in a home greenhouse and nurture them until they are ready for the sale.

These plants sell out quickly, so mark your calendars and come early to find the plant of your choice.

Corinthian YC Hosts 2015 Leukemia Cup Regatta Kick-Off Celebration in May, All Welcome

ESSEX — Set sail to save lives with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The Essex Corinthian Yacht Club is proud to join Duck Island Yacht Club, North Cove Yacht Club and Brewer Pilot’s Point Marina in supporting the 2015 Leukemia Cup Regatta. The Connecticut Westchester Hudson Valley Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has elected to hold its annual Leukemia Cup Regatta Kickoff Celebration once again at the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club, located at 9 Novelty Lane in Essex, Conn.

This year’s kick-off celebration will be held on Tuesday, May 12, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Come enjoy drinks, hors d’oeuvres and prizes, meet the 2015 Honored Skipper Devon Marcinko, and enjoy a fascinating presentation by Gary Jobson, while celebrating the launch of the 2015 regatta season and the countdown to Leukemia Cup 2015, to be held on Aug. 29.

The Leukemia Cup Regatta is a great way to combine the joy of sailing and raising funds for the lifesaving programs of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Sailors who enter their boats in the regatta are eligible to win terrific prizes, including a chance to participate in the Fantasy Sail in Bermuda in late October with Gary Jobson, National Leukemia Cup Chairman, world-renowned America’s Cup sailor and sports commentator.

Jobson became chairman in 1993, and 10 years later, was diagnosed with lymphoma. In his own words he “became a beneficiary of the research advances I had helped support”, and is cancer-free today. He continues to travel extensively supporting LLS events throughout the country.

the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club is pleased to welcome him back for the Leukemia Cup Kick-Off Celebration on May 12th, 2015.

The Leukemia Cup Regatta is an important event in support of blood cancer research, as well as all related areas of assistance for patients and their families. The Kick-Off Celebration is open to the public: everyone, no matter whether you are a sailor or not, is invited to attend and find out more on how to help support the lifesaving work of LLS.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the 2015 Leukemia Cup Kick-Off celebration on May 12 hosted by the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club, to register for the Leukemia Cup Regatta on August 29, or to purchase post-race party tickets, visit: www.leukemiacup.org/ct, contact Christine Schuff at christine.schuff@lls.org or call (914) 821-8969.

For information on becoming a sponsor of the Leukemia Cup, visit the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club website or email ecyc@essexcorinthian.org.

Tidy the Town! Old Saybrook Hosts 3rd Annual Green Up Day

April 25 is Old Saybrook's 3rd Annual Green Up Day!

April 25 is Old Saybrook’s 3rd Annual Green Up Day!

OLD SAYBROOK – In 2013, Old Saybrook resident and runner, Bill Casertano, noticed the mounting litter along the roadside. He decided to do something about it by starting the annual event, Old Saybrook Green Up Day.

Join Castertano in this effort Saturday, April 25, for the 3rd annual Green Up Day, kicking off at 8 a.m. The rain date is Sunday, April 26.

Community members will once again head-out to all parts of town, anytime throughout the day, to clean up the abundant litter found everywhere from school grounds and parking lots to marshes and parks.

Playground trashBusy day? Take a bag to the park, Little League Opening Day, the Park and Recreation’s fishing derby, or wherever your day takes you, fill it up, and throw it away. It’s a great example for kids to see everyone working together to keep their favorite places, and the roads to get to them, clean.

Collect trash individually in your own neighborhood, or meet up with others at the Green Up Meet Up on the green, 8 a.m. before heading out.

Free garbage bags are available at the Town Hall Parking Lot, Town Park on Schoolhouse Road and the Town Beach Parking Lot. Full bags may be returned to these locations as well.

Join us as we take this critical step in preventing roadside litter from becoming not only a blight on our town, but a threat to our inland waterways and Long Island Sound.  By simply walking your neighborhood, you could have a significant impact on the litter around town, which eventually finds its way to our beaches, rivers, and estuaries.

To volunteer, or for more information about how and where you can help “green up”, visit the Old Saybrook Green Up Day website, www.osgreenup.weebly.com, www.facebook.com/OldSaybrookGreenUpDay, or email bcasertano@comcast.net.

‘To the Movies and Bach': ‘Con Brio’ Presents Spring Concert on Sunday

Kerry Gotschall

Kerry Gotschall

OLD LYME – Con Brio, the shoreline’s renowned all-auditioned chorus, will present its spring concert on Sunday, April 19, at 4 p.m. at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme, Conn.  Directed by Dr. Stephen Bruce with Associate Conductor and Keyboardist, Susan Saltus, the chorus will be joined by the Con Brio Festival Orchestra and soloists:  Danielle Munsell Howard, soprano;  Kelly Gottshall, mezzo-soprano and Christopher Grundy, bass.

The concert will open with two 16th century pieces that the chorus learned on its last tour in France:  “Tourdion” and the motet “Jubilate Deo.”  Then follows the premier piece of the concert: J. S. Bach’s “Mass in F.”  Bach composed four short masses in the 1730s, borrowing from some of his finest earlier cantatas.   This short mass, or Missa Brevis, is known as one of Bach’s Lutheran Masses   These masses are not often heard, or recorded, despite being exquisitely beautiful, filled with “splendid choruses” and “deeply moving arias,” as one reviewer puts it.

Christopher Grundy

Christopher Grundy

The second half of the concert will be devoted to diverse choral music spanning four centuries, which has been used in films.  Carl Orff’s  1936 setting of a 13th century poem complaining about fortune, “O Fortuna” from “Carmina Burana,” holds the record for the past 75 years as the most popular piece of classical music. It, along with Mozart’s dramatic “Dies Irae” from his Requiem Mass, holds the record for use in films.  The best movie song of all time, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” a popular jazz version of “When I Fall in Love,” and “One Day More” are audience favorites.

Samuel Barber himself arranged his “Agnus Dei” as a choral version of his much beloved, hauntingly beautiful “Adagio for Strings.”  William Blake’s 18th century poem provides the text for Parry’s stirring “Jerusalem,” which some call the unofficial national anthem of England.  Blake’s text imagines the legend of Jesus restoring Jerusalem by coming to England and transforming the “dark Satanic mills” that mar the land.

Allegri’s 17th century “Miserere,” a translation of Psalm 51, was never supposed to be transcribed.  The story is the 14-year-old Mozart heard it just once and wrote all of it down.  Hogan’s traditional spiritual, “Elijah Rock,” cries to the prophet Elijah, the rock, for help. The concert ends with the audience joining the chorus in John Rutter’s stirring arrangement of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

All are welcome at this exceptional concert.

Tickets are $30, $15 students, and may be purchased from any Con Brio member, on line at www.conbrio.org, or by calling 860 526 5399.

Christ the King Church is located at 1 McCurdy Rd., Old Lyme, CT.

Lori Warner Studio/Gallery Hosts Terrarium Workshop with Tovah Martin

CHESTER – Margaret Atwood said, ‘In the Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” That is one of the Lori Warner Gallery’s favorite quotes and it will ring true when the Gallery welcomes Tovah Martin, famed horticulturalist, lecturer and author of The New Terrarium, back to the gallery to share her gardening expertise and guide attendees as they create their own “small worlds” under glass.

Avid gardeners and novices alike will enjoy this creative, fun and foolproof method of bringing nature indoors.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and what better way to share the day with your mother, daughter or to simply create a lovely gift? Terrarium making is “the gardening world’s most rewarding make-and-take, everyone succeeds at a terrarium workshop”, says Martin.

Martin isn’t your average gardner.  You’ll be learning from the best; she literally wrote the book on terrariums and is the author of numerous gardening books including The Unexpected Houseplant, Tasha Tudor’s Garden, A Time to Blossom, and Tasha Tudor’s Heirloom Crafts.  She has appeared on the Martha Stewart Show, The CBS “Early Show” and the PBS gardening series “Cultivating Life” where she served as editorial producer.  Her articles have been published in Garden Design, Horticulture, Coastal Living, This Old House Magazine, House Beautiful and Country Living among many others.

One of the most moving moments in her life occurred when Martin was awarded an Honorary Membership in The Garden Club of America (GCA) and the Litchfield Garden Club in May 2010 and when she became the recipient of the GCA’s medal for outstanding literary achievement. In 2013, she received the Gustav Mehlquist Award—the highest honor bestowed by the Connecticut Horticultural Society.

Lori Warner Studio / Gallery opened in the center of Chester, CT in June of 2009 and has developed a reputation as a unique source for creativity through their offerings of workshops, lectures, demonstrations and exhibitions. Her fine collection of artwork and objects truly “make an impression”.

The two-hour workshop and book-signing, will be held Sunday May 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Lori Warner Gallery in Chester. A workshop fee of $65 per participant will be charaged, plus your choice of vessel (from $8-$40, depending on size).  Appropriate for ages 8 and up. The New Terrarium book will be available for sale — Martin will personalize copies at the end of the workshop. Space is very limited.

Contact the gallery to reserve your space — a deposit of $30 will be taken at sign up.

Photographer Tony Donovan Exhibits at Essex Library During May

tony 4.tif
A photography exhibit will be held at Essex Library Association through the month of May featuring guest artist, Tony Donovan.

Ivoryton resident Tony Donovan began his photography career in Ireland in north Belfast in the early 1970s. As he puts it, “It was a difficult place to take pictures, the people were on edge and wary; suspicious of a stranger.” He shot street scenes and people he befriended, mostly children, with a handheld Leica and the available light. The situation was extreme since he had no control over events and that has shaped his work ever since. He considers himself a documentary, artistic photographer seeking to make expressive, poetic pictures from life. The photograph’s subject is the most important consideration for him.

Donovan has also captured woodsman Amos Congdon at his Lyme, Conn., sawmill. Congdon makes the perfect image of the American past; sharpening a saw, feeding cattle and tallying a woodlot. A sawmill is a wonderful place to take photos with its patterns of circles and squares, scattered pieces of wood and the lines lumber produces.

Donovan has been photographing a summer basketball tournament, more recently, for a number of years, even receiving a Middletown Commission on the Arts grant to do so in 2010. The Middletown Summer Hoopfest has offered Donovan the opportunity to record some of the drama, effort, spirit and grace played out in those games. He comments, “Photography, like any creative process, often requires a subject that summons up in the artist the will and commitment to work over a long period of time. The Hoopfest has been such a subject for me. Certainly, these basketball images have an historic value and, hopefully, some of them attain a poetic worth.”

The exhibit will be open Saturday, May 2, and run through Saturday, May 30: it is free and open to all. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue, Essex, CT 06426.

Ivory & Gold (and Maybe the Frogs of Israel!) at CBSRZ, Sunday

Jeff and Ann Barnhart

Jeff and Ann Barnhart

CHESTER – Playing the Popcorn Room at the Griswold Inn is thousands of miles away in geography and meaning from performing before 2,500 people at an outdoor concert in Israel.  But that’s the musical leap that Jeff and Anne Barnhart have made over the years in their concerts of jazz, blues and the American songbook.

The Tel Aviv show sticks out in their as one of the greatest moments in the storied career of Ivory & Gold, as the duo is known, during which they’ve played in dozens of states and many countries, and produced several recordings – Jeff on piano and vocals, and Anne on flute.

Jeff recalls, “I don’t know how you can beat that Tel Aviv concert. There were all those Israelis sitting in lawn chairs and looking out over the Mediterranean waters.  There was a moat near the stage, and when Anne and I started playing Gershwin’s ‘Summertime,’ the frogs started croaking along with us.”

And now you, too, can croak along with Ivory & Gold as Jeff and Anne return to their home base (they live in Mystic but are on the road 40 weeks a year), and perform in a Music & More concert at the Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) on Sunday, April, 19, at 5 p.m.

All this croaking, by the way, doesn’t have to be done by adults. Jeff and Anne delight in introducing the American Songbook to kids, and have many stories about how music previously unknown to them has resonated.

Not long ago, at a concert in New London, a boy in the first row listened as Jeff demonstrated how to scat, a technique used so beautifully by Ella Fitzgerald among others, and the boy, a first grader, volunteered to try it out. He wowed the crowd.

Indeed, Jeff and Anne always have fun with kids and they encourage our synagogue community to bring children even if they’ve never heard the name Cole Porter or Irving Berlin.

The kids will be humming along and stomping their feet, and agreeing with the many music critics who consider this duo to be at the top of their game. Max Morath, a legendary ragtime player, calls them “musically flawless,” and Stuart Dryden, a music writer in the UK, says, ”Enjoy the warmth and talent of this unique duo – you won’t regret it.”

Tickets are $25 and children under 16 are free. To reserve tickets, which will also be available at the door, call the CBSRZ office, 860.526.8920.

Music & More, in its 7th season, regularly brings outstanding entertainers to Chester. For a complete listing of upcoming events at the synagogue, see www.cbsrz.org.  CBSRZ is located at 55 East Kings Highway.

‘Nights on Broadway’ Gala Benefits Community Music School, Saturday

Looking forward to welcoming guests at Nights on Broadway are (standing L to R): Melissa Lieberman and David LaMay of Essex Financial Services; Robin Andreoli, CMS executive director CMS; vocalist Courtney Parrish; vocalist Richard Pittsinger; honorary co-chairs Jennifer and John Bauman. Seated are Laureen Sullivan of Essex Savings Bank and Charles Cumello, CEO of Essex Financial Services.

Looking forward to welcoming guests at Nights on Broadway are (standing L to R): Melissa Lieberman and David LaMay of Essex Financial Services; Robin Andreoli, CMS executive director CMS; vocalist Courtney Parrish; vocalist Richard Pittsinger; honorary co-chairs Jennifer and John Bauman. Seated are Laureen Sullivan of Essex Savings Bank and Charles Cumello, CEO of Essex Financial Services.

ESSEX — Curtain Up! Light the Lights! On Saturday, April 18, Community Music School students and faculty take center stage performing classic Broadway show tunes for Nights on Broadway, the School’s 10 annual benefit gala. Guests will gather at the charming Lace Factory, 161 River Street, Deep River, for a lively party with gourmet food stations inspired by Broadway hits and prepared by Cloud Nine Catering, silent and live auctions, and a fun photo booth. Nights on Broadway promises to be a magical, musical evening!

Selections from the shows Wicked, RENT, Fiddler on the Roof, and Les Misérables are scheduled to be performed. Featured student performers include Emma Hunt (vocals) of Essex; Michael Rasberry (saxophone) of Lyme; Sonny Capaccio (vocals) of Guilford; Courtney Parrish (vocals) of Westbrook; Arnold Moore (violin) of Killingworth; and Richard Pittsinger (vocals) of Essex, a recipient of the Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Music Award. Faculty performers include Karli Gilbertson (piano/vocals), Matthew McCauley (bass), Kevin O’Neil (guitar), Andrew Studenski (saxophone), and music director Tom Briggs (piano).

Support of the Community Music School gala provides the resources necessary to offer scholarships to students with a financial need, music therapy services, and outreach through arts education and community concerts. “Nights on Broadway is an extremely important event for us,” stated Executive Director Robin Andreoli, “Proceeds will help us continue our mission of enrichment through the arts with a focus on public performances and community outreach.”

She continues, ” Of course, musical theater has always been a part of our programming with Broadway Bound, a summer program for ages 8 to 15, so it’s fitting that Broadway music is this year’s theme. Programs like Broadway Bound, Kate’s Camp for Kids, the CMS Jazz Ensemble, New Horizons Band and many others allow students of all ages to build on their individual and ensemble skills for performance.”

Nights on Broadway sponsors include Essex Savings Bank and Essex Financial Services, Bogaert Construction, The Clark Group, Tower Laboratories LTD, Grossman Chevrolet-Nissan, Thomas H. Alexa – Comprehensive Wealth Management, Angelini Wine LTD, The Bauman Family Foundation, Brewer Pilots Point Marina, Essex Winnelson, Gowrie Group, Guilford Savings Bank, Leonardo & Associates P.C., W. Jay Mills CFP® – The Oakely Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, Periodontics P.C., Ring’s End, The Safety Zone, and Valley Courier.

Tickets for the evening are $100 per person ($40 is tax deductible). A sponsor ticket of $150 per person provides a greater charitable gift ($90 is tax deductible) and is also available. Tickets may be purchased online at community-music-school.org, at the school located at 90 Main Street in the Centerbrook section of Essex or by calling 860-767-0026. Now in its 32nd year of building community through music, the Community Music School is a private, non-profit organization.

St. John School Produces “Twinderella”

More than 30 5th to 8th graders formed the cast and crew of the St. John School Drama Club production, “Twinderella,” led by their coaches, Sister Gabriela (2nd grade teacher) and Ann Corcoran (5th grade teacher), assisted by St. John School alumnae, Molly Sullivan.

More information about the great performance is available on St. John School website at http://saintjohnschoolos.org/news/2015/04/drama-club-dazzles-with-twinderella

Congratulations to the cast and crew!

Ivoryton Playhouse Looks at (Older) Love in “The Last Romance,” Opens April 22, Tickets on Sale Now

Rochelle Slovin* and Chet Carlin* in "The Last Romance," which opens at Ivoryton, April 22

Rochelle Slovin* and Chet Carlin* in “The Last Romance,” which opens at Ivoryton, April 22

IVORYTON – On an ordinary day in a routine life, an 80-year-old widower named Ralph decides to takes a different path on his daily walk — one that leads him to an unexpected second chance at love. Relying on a renewed boyish charm, Ralph attempts to woo the elegant, but distant, Carol. Defying Carol’s reticence — and the jealousy of his lonely sister Rose — he embarks on the trip of a lifetime and regains a happiness that seemed all but lost.

Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro’s The Last Romance, a bittersweet romantic comedy with a little Puccini and a smidgen of dog treats, opens in Ivoryton on April 22.

DiPietro recently won two Tony Awards for co-writing the musical Memphis, which also received the 2010 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical and which will be opening in Ivoryton in August this year. DiPietro is an Ivoryton favorite; his shows I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change(the longest-running musical revue in Off Broadway history), and the Broadway musical All Shook Up were both popular successes at the Playhouse.

Stephen Mir and Chet Carlin* in "The Last Romance"

Stephen Mir and Chet Carlin* in “The Last Romance”

Directed by Maggie McGlone Jennings, the cast includes Chet Carlin* as Ralph, whose Broadway credits include Fiddler on the Roof with Theodore Bikel and the National Tour of Sir Peter Hall’s As You Like It; Kate Konigisor*, the Artistic Director of Shakespeare with Benefits, as Rose; Stephen Mir as the Young Man and Rochelle Slovin*, making her Ivoryton debut as Carol and reigniting a theatre career after spending the past 30 years as the Founding Director of the Museum of the Moving Image in New York.

The set design is by William Stark, lighting design by Tate Burmeister and costumes by Vickie Blake.

The Last Romance opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on April 22, and runs through May 10. 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 $42 for adults, $37 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 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.

Photos by Anne Hudson

  1. Stephen Mir and Chet Carlin*
  2. Rochelle Slovin* and Chet Carlin*

*Indicates member of Actors Equity Association

This production is generously sponsored by Essex Meadows and The Clark Group

Middlesex Land Trust & CT River Gateway Commission Announce Open Space Acquisition in Haddam Neck

haddamNeckMapRaulBrownFINAL031815_v2HADDAM NECK – In February of this year the Middlesex Land Trust, in partnership with the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, purchased 50 acres of open space for permanent protection in Haddam Neck. This new preserve offers breathtaking views across the Connecticut River to Haddam Meadows State Park from a rough path that runs along the base of dramatic cliffs created from the property’s historic use as a quarry.

The Middlesex Land Trust now owns the preserve and is planning to develop a trail system for the public to enjoy for hiking, passive recreation and education. The tract lies along Injun Hollow Road just north of the 585 acres Connecticut Yankee property.

The land has been named the Brainerd Quarry Preserve to reflect the historic importance of the Brainerd Family in Haddam. Daniel Brainerd was one of the 28 founding settlers of Haddam in 1662, and a century later, in 1762, Deacon Esra Brainerd opened a quarry on the now preserved site. The quarry operated for more than 150 years, shipping stone down river to New York and as far south as Maryland, Virginia and New Orleans.

A 2011 study of the history and archeology of the area describes the Brainerds as “a family of entrepreneurs in the forefront of early industry and commerce in the Connecticut River Valley” and recommends the quarry site as “an ideal candidate for use as an outdoor classroom for studies in local history, geology, mining, early American industry, the Industrial Revolution in Connecticut and other related topics for grammar school, high school and college students.”

This significant property along the Connecticut River is now owned and managed by the Middlesex Land Trust, a regional not-for-profit volunteer land conservation organization that, since 1987, has been dedicated to the preservation of open space in northern Middlesex County.

The purchase was initiated by, and made possible through grant funding from the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, a state-local compact that protects the Lower Connecticut River Valley, one of the “most important ecological landscapes in the United States” according to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

A dedication ceremony for the new Brainerd Quarry Preserve and the opening of the preserve to the public is anticipated for the summer of 2015.

A Letter from Paris: Munich Museum Celebrates Tragically Truncated Careers of Two German Artists

Nicole Prevost Logan

Nicole Prevost Logan

PARIS, FRANCE – The promise of two young men to become among the most important German artists of the 20th century was cut short when Franz Marc (1880-1916) and August Macke (1887-1914) were both killed on the front at the outset of World War I.

Animals in a Landscape by Franz Marc, 1914.

Animals in a Landscape by Franz Marc, 1914.

The Lenbachhaus museum of Munich, built at the turn of the (20th) century when Munich was the capital of German art, will hold an exhibit in May entitled. “Two Friends.”  It shows how Marc and Macke met in 1910, discovered their mutual works with enthusiasm and struck a friendship, which was to last until their death.

The eve of the “Great War” was a time of artistic explosion, not limited to the Impressionists, Cézanne and other great French masters. All of Europe, including the Russian giants like Malevich, or Tatlin, was set ablaze and the German schools of painting played an important role in the cross-pollinization of the art movements.

In 1905 Ernest Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) founded Die Brucke (the bridge) in Dresden. The human figures he painted are very distinctive with an angular and depraved look. The Nazis called him “degenerate.”  Die Brucke was part of a larger German Expressionist movement based at the Sturm gallery in Berlin and characterized by the rejection of any form of academism, the acerbic satire of the bourgeois decadence, and the crude, almost perverted, representation of the bohemian life the artists led in their studios.

In 1909, Wassily Kandisky (1866-1944) wanted to distance himself from the Neue Künstlervereinigung München (NKVM — the Munich New Artist’s Association) painters and settled in Murnau, a small village on the edge of Bavarian Alps with a group of artists including his companion Gabriele Munter and Alexej Jawlensky. For Marc and Macke, it was a pivotal moment to meet them there.

Zoological Gardens by August Marc, 1912.

Zoological Gardens by August Macke, 1912.

Even before knowing each other, Marc and Macke had shared a love for painting animals, particularly cats. Both were fascinated by the artistic developments taking place in France. In 1907, and again in 1908 Macke was in Paris and visited the galleries of Bernheim-Jeune, Ambroise Vollard and Durand Rueil, to see Pissaro, Monet, Dégas, Renoir and Seurat. Marc travelled several times to France from 1903 onwards, spending long hours at the Louvre, where he was particularly attracted to Van Gogh’s paintings.

August Macke’s city scenes showed silhouettes of slim and elegant women, admiring the latest fashion at shop windows and a sophisticated urban population sitting at cafes or strolling leisurely in a park. Macke looked for harmony in humans and in nature. His colors were vibrant and the atmosphere serene in sharp contrast with the violent, even depressive paintings of the Expressionists like Otto Dix, George Grosz or Max Beckman.

Blue black fox by Franz Marc.

Blue black fox by Franz Marc.

Before being an artist, Marc had thought of becoming a theologian. In 1909, he left Munich for the wilderness of Bavarian Alps to paint animals and eventually moved closer to Murnau. He sought the essence and the purity of animal through a theosophical view of the cosmos. Instead of being naturalistic, his representation of deers or tigers was increasingly stylized. The young wild horses seemed to bask in their freedom. In 1911 Wassily Kandisky and Marc created Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group, named after the themes of horses and cavaliers found in their paintings.

At a time when the abstraction was like a tidal wave – Picasso and Braque in France, Paul Klee in Switzerland, or Mikhail Larionov in Russia – it is not surprising that Marc and Macke were drawn to these new forms. Robert Delaunay and Italian Futurist Gino Severini became their inspiration.

But sadly this was to be a brief adventure, since both artists were killed prematurely in the war.

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

Students Support Meals on Wheels, ‘Blizzard Bag’ Drive a Great Success

OLD SAYBROOK – ‘Meals on Wheels’ in the Nine-Town Estuary region are provided to seniors along the Shoreline exclusively by The Estuary Council of Seniors and delivered by dedicated volunteers. Their volunteers brave all kinds of weather, from extreme heat to thunderstorms to snow.  They go out of their way to ensure that the nearly 200 clients have meals and a friendly visit each weekday.  However, there are days when weather conditions make it impossible to deliver meals and provide that all important personal visit.

An essential part of the Meals on Wheels program is to make certain homebound seniors have food in the case of emergency when delivery is not possible. The emergency meal is a day’s worth of shelf-stable food items, which is provided at no charge to clients. Each time meal delivery is canceled, the emergency meal is replenished.

This year, Old Saybrook students held the first annual “Blizzard Bag Drive”, collecting non-perishable food items for the emergency “Blizzard Bag” food for Meals on Wheels clients. These Blizzard Bags replaced the former pre-packaged emergency meals.  Each Blizzard Bag was decorated by local students and included a personal item for the recipient.

A meals on Wheels spokesperson commented, “The students did an outstanding job reaching out to our community and local businesses to generate incredible support of our homebound neighbors. Thank you to everyone who helped us with this first annual “Blizzard Bag” drive.”

If you, or anyone you know age 60 years old or better, need Meals on Wheels, call Carol Adanti at 860-388-1611, x217 for details.

Deep River FD to Hold Annual Lime Sale April 25, Also Food Drive

DEEP RIVER – The Deep River Fire Department will be holding its annual Lime Sale, Saturday, April 18 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.  The sale, based at Deep River Fire Headquarters, 57 Union St is a cash and carry event.

Lime will be available in;  powdered form, 50 lb. bags for $4.25 each and pelletized, 40 lb. bags for $5.25 each.

Free delivery with the purchase of one ton or more (40 Bags).

For further information or pre-sale orders, call 860-526-2319.

In conjunction with the Lime Sale this year, the Deep River Fire Department will be holding a food drive to benefit the Shoreline Soup Kitchen. Consider dropping non-perishable food off at Fire Headquarters. Donations of canned goods, pasta, juice boxes, cereal, crackers, canned tuna, pasta sauce, etc., are appreciated and welcome. These goods will help fill a need for those less fortunate in the community.

Carney, Sen. Formica to Hold Joint Town Hall Meeting in Old Saybrook

Rep. Devin Carney

State Rep. Devin Carney

State Senator Paul Formica

State Senator Paul Formica

OLD SAYBROOK – State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23) and State Sen. Paul Formica (R-20) invite residents of the 23rd district to attend a joint Town Hall meeting on Thursday, April 23, from 6 to 7 p.m. at Acton Public Library, 60 Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook

Both legislators will be available to answer questions about state government and discuss major issues defining the 2015 legislative session.

For more information and updates. visit www.RepCarney.com or http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/home-formica/

Panelists “Looking Both Ways” to Discuss End-of-life Issues, Free Event April 25 Open to All

ESSEX – Several faith communities in the Lower Connecticut River Valley will host a free event designed to educate, encourage and explore with participants medical, legal, spiritual, relational, and memorial issues confronting each of us as we (or those we love) approach the end of our lives. The event, “Looking Both Ways: Decisions of a Lifetime” will be held on April 25, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Town Hall in Essex. Check-in  and coffee are at 8:30 a.m.

Members of the clergy, medical and legal professionals, funeral home and hospice care professionals will make presentations and allow time for questions. Panelists include The Rev. Kathy Peters, United Church of Chester; Deborah Ringen, MSN, RN-BC, Faith Community Nurse of the Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley; Melanie Cama, BSN, CHPN, Middlesex Hospital Hospice and Palliative Care; Dr. Timothy Tobin, Middlesex Hospital Primary Care, Medical Director for Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley; Sam Fulginiti, Funeral Director, Robinson Wright & Weymer Funeral Home and Jeannine Lewis, Esq., Hudson and Kilby, LLC.

Participants will receive a workbook to use as a reminder and a guide for individual work on various areas of personal decisions.

Sponsors of the event are Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, Deep River Congregational Church, First Congregational Church in Essex, UCC, First Baptist Church in Essex, Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Essex, St Joseph’s Church, Chester, United Church of Chester, Hudson and Kilby, LLC, Ivoryton Congregational Church, Robinson, Wright & Weymer Funeral Home, Middlesex Hospital Hospice & Palliative Care, Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley and Valley Shore Clergy Association.

Space at the forum is limited. Advance reservations are encouraged by calling the Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley, (860) 767-0186 or The First Congregational Church in Essex (860) 767-8097. Some walk-ins will be welcome.