April 20, 2015

Essex Historical Society Celebrates its 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.

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.

For more information on the Essex Historical Society, its events and membership, visit www.essexhistory.org or call 860-767-0681.

Essex Winter Series Presents Attacca Quartet Master Class for Strings This Afternoon

The Attacca Quartet will conduct a Master Class in Essex,

The Attacca Quartet will conduct a Master Class at the Community Music School in Essex, April 20,

CENTERBROOK - Community Music School (CMS) and Essex Winter Series present a master class with the Attacca Quartet on Monday, April 20, at 4 p.m. at Community Music School, 90 Main St., Centerbrook. Members of the Quartet will offer advice on technique and performance for student musicians who will each play during the class. The master class is free and open to the public.

The internationally acclaimed Attacca Quartet has become one of America’s premier young performing ensembles.  Praised by Strad for possessing “maturity beyond its members’ years,” the group was formed at the Juilliard School in 2003, and made their professional debut in 2007 as part of the Artists International Winners Series in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.

From 2011-2013, the quartet served as the Juilliard Graduate Resident String Quartet, and for the 2014 – 2015 season the Attacca Quartet was named the Quartet in Residence for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Attacca Quartet was featured as the 2015 Essex Winter Series Emerging Artists and performed at their second StringFest this past January.

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. The 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.

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

Acclaimed Naturalist Himmelman Speaks Tomorrow on ‘Butterflies in our Gardens’

John Himmelman

John Himmelman

ESSEX – The Essex Land Trust hosts John Himmelman, naturalist, author/artist of 70 books, and co-founder of the Connecticut Butterfly Association who will give a talk on butterflies, Tuesday, April 21, at 7 p.m., in the Essex Library, 33 West Ave., Essex.

Did you know that over 100 species of butterflies could be seen in our Connecticut gardens? Hear about their intriguing lives and learn how to attract and identify these often unnoticed but important animals of our region. This popular presentation answers many of the questions that are asked about the lives, and preferences, of this fascinating group of insects.

ButterflyThe photos taken in and around Himmelman’s home in Connecticut are used to illustrate the show.  Some topics covered are; butterfly families and species, life cycles, finding butterflies, and creating butterfly habitats.

The event is free and open to the public.  Himmelman will also bring along some of his books for those who might be interested in making a purchase.

Ivoryton Playhouse Looks at (Older) Love in “The Last Romance,” Opens Wednesday

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

Lori Warner Gallery Hosts Terrarium Workshop with Famed Horticulturalist

Tovah.IMG_0929
CHESTER – Margaret Atwood said, ‘In the Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” This is one of the Lori Warner Gallery’s favorite quotes and it will ring true on May 3 when the Gallery welcomes back Tovah Martin, famed horticulturalist, lecturer and author of The New Terrarium, 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.

Deep River FD to Hold Annual Lime Sale Saturday, 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.

CT River Museum to Fiddle the Night Away with Angelini Wines, Saturday

1.Angelini Vineyards and Estate 1 – The Angelini Family vineyards are located in the timeless central region of Le Marche, Italy

The Angelini Family vineyards are located in the timeless central region of Le Marche, Italy

ESSEX — This coming Saturday, April 25 the Connecticut River Museum brings back its popular 1814 Tavern Night.  This lively 19th century evening will take place at the museum’s historic Samuel Lay House overlooking scenic Essex harbor.  The house will be transformed into a candlelit seaside tavern from the War of 1812.

The evening includes a wine tasting with Angelini Vineyards & Estate, fiddle music and drinking songs by noted folk musician Craig Edwards, tavern games, and a food pairing of early American cuisine provided by Catering by Selene.  There will also be select popular historic wines such as claret and port to sample.   Additional wine and beer will be available at the cash bar.

Craig Edwards performs a broad range of American roots music and will perform fiddle music and drinking songs at the April 25th Evening at the Lay House.

Craig Edwards performs a broad range of American roots music and will perform fiddle music and drinking songs at the April 25 evening at the Samuel Lay House.

Edwards plays a broad range of American roots music. He first began playing music as a child growing up in Staunton, Va. He majored in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University where he studied West African drumming with Abraham Adzenyah, and traveled to Ireland, Louisiana and Nova Scotia to learn from old-timers there.

After graduating, Edwards formed a series of bands playing old-time, Irish, Cajun, Zydeco, blues and other roots styles. He worked as a staff musician at Mystic Seaport for many years and served as director of the Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival. He now performs solo and with several groups playing a variety of genres, teaches Traditional Fiddle Styles at Wesleyan University, and designs music installations for historic music exhibits at museums.

Named a Connecticut Master Teaching Artist by the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, Edwards has won numerous fiddle and banjo contests.

Tastings take place at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.  Space is limited and reservations are required.  Call to reserve tickets at 860-767-8269 or visit ctrivermuseum.org.  Tickets are $22 for museum members or $27 for the general public (must be 21 or older and show valid ID).  Admission includes wine tasting, light bites, and entertainment.  The evening is sponsored in part by Guilford Savings Bank.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Mondays until Memorial Day. Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, $6 for children age 6-12, free for children under 6.

For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org

Tidy the Town! Old Saybrook Hosts 3rd Annual ‘Green Up Day’, Saturday

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 this coming 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.

Riverway Studio Presents ‘Methuselah’s Guide to Online Dating’

Methuselah

DEEP RIVER — Riverway Studio is proud to present a new theatrical production: “Methuselah’s Guide To Online Dating (For Those With Reading Glasses),” created by Todd Alan Little and Ira Sakolsky.

Join the performers for a hilarious and touching look at the world of online dating for the 0ver-40 crowd. Suitable for ages 15 and up, the production includes audience participation and improv, as well as scripted elements and music.

The play will be produced at the Deep River Town Hall Theater, 174 Main Street, Deep River, Conn., on Friday, May 1, and Saturday, May 2, at 8 p.m.

Guests are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the Deep River Food Bank.”

Tickets are $25 (general seating) and reservations are required. Tickets may be reserved by calling 860-873-3404, or by emailing Methuselahsguide@gmail.com.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/methuselahsguide.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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 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.

Deep River Rotary Auction Set for Saturday, April 25

The Auction at the Academy will be a major benefit fundraiser of the Deep River Rotary Club, to be held Saturday, April 25, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Academy at Mt. St. John.    The school is located at the foot of Kirtland Street in Deep River,  on a beautiful hilltop overlooking the Connecticut River.
            
An outstanding assortment of country furnishings, folk art, pottery, china and glass, rugs and lamps, toys, prints and frames, brass and iron beds, and so much more and will be up for bid.  Items to be auctioned will be on display for preview beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Academy
            
Proceeds from this annual event benefit the outreach projects of the Rotary Club, including an annual Scholarship Fund, an ongoing “student of the month” award, an elementary school Dictionary Project, and international efforts like our Sister Cities Haiti Library project and a sanitation project in Oaxaca, Mexico.
            
The club will be accepting quality antiques and collectible items for this sale.   Those wishing to consign items for auction will receive 75% of the selling price.     Quality Collectibles of Deep River is in charge of the auction, and consigned or donated objects may be brought to their store at 156 Main St. in Deep River prior to the auction.   Or you may call for pick-up.  
            
At the auction there will be a 10% buyer’s fee.    All items must be taken the night of the auction, but trucking will be available.  Photos and listing of items already committed for auction can be viewed at auctionzip.com .
            
Food and drinks will be available during the auction, catered by the culinary department of the Academy.  For details please call Chuck at 860.227.5125 or Quality Collectibles at 860.526.8343

“Getting Ready for Change” at John Winthrop MS, May 5

Patricia Cournoyer runs her “Getting Ready for Change” program for fourth and fifth grade girls and their female caregivers on May 5 at 6:30 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School library.

This program costs $25 and admission is limited to 12 families.  Call Tri-Town Youth Services at 860-526-3600 to register.

Essex Library Presents ‘Right Plant, Right Place’ Landscaping Program Tonight

The Buttonbush is always a good addition to your landscaping plans.

The Buttonbush is always a good addition to your landscaping plans.

ESSEX – Wondering why certain flowers, shrubs or trees never seem to thrive in your yard? Want to know what plants are best suited for the insects and birds in our area? Based on the Right Plant, Right Place principle, learn from this illustrated talk by Master Gardener Gail Kalison Reynolds what ecological processes affect your backyard, how native plants facilitate ecological balance, and why native plants are appropriate for backyard landscaping and gardening.

This event will take place on Thursday, April 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Essex Library. Admission is free.

Gail Kalison Reynolds, MFS, directs the UConn Master Gardener Program in Middlesex County and is an independent ecological and technological consultant.  She has both undergraduate and master’s degrees from Yale University and many years of technological experience, including five information security professional certifications.  In addition, she is the Chair of the Haddam Conservation Commission and the Manager of the Higganum Farmers’ Market.

Call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 for more information and to register.  The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue, Essex CT 06426

TTYS Hosts ‘Outstanding Ones’ Playgroup Starting April 15

Calling all toddlers!  Tri-Town Youth Services, at 56 High Street in Deep River, offers an Outstanding Ones play group led by Parent Resource Coordinator, Meredith Adler.  The groups offer a mixture of free play and circle time.  Caregivers have a chance to chat with each other and browse the parent resource library.  Outstanding Ones meets Wednesdays, April 15-June 17 from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. with a cost of $45 for Tri-Town residents and $55 for non-residents.  Register at www.tritownys.org or call Tri-Town 860-526-3600.

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

Photographer Tony Donovan Exhibits at Essex Library During May

tony 4.tif
ESSEX — 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, see photo above. 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.

Second Session of ‘Beowulf’ Seminar in Essex Library, April 28

beowulf-coverESSEX – Who was the first superhero in the English language?

Whose epic adventures greatly influenced J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit?

It was Beowulf, of course.

Follow the Old English story of Scandinavian warrior Beowulf who, armed with only a magic sword and a heroic code, vanquishes the monster Grendel –and Grendel’s mother too. After becoming a wise and noble King of the Danes, he battles a mighty, fire-breathing dragon with tragic consequences.

Using the Northern Ireland Poet Laureate Seamus Heaney’s magnificent translation, University of New Haven faculty member Chuck Timlin will lead a seminar looking at the great 3182 line poem that stands as the beginning of English Literature.

This seminar will also look at several passages of the poem in the original Old English.

The five-seminar sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings April 14 & 28 and May 5, 12 and 19 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Essex Library. This seminar is free and open to the public. Register in advance by calling 860-767-1560.

The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue, Essex, CT.

‘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”

SJS_Twinderella_2015
OLD SAYBROOK — More than 30 fifth to eighth 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!

Celebrate the End of Winter Today at Chester’s Spring Carnivale

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.

CHESTER – What a winter we had! Chester’s 25th Annual Winter Carnivale had to be cancelled because of the weather on Feb. 15, but now it’s back, reborn as Spring Carnivale.

On Sunday, April 12, the picturesque small town of Chester will be 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. Professional ice carver Rich Daly has been a regular at Chester Carnivale through the years. He recently won the National Ice Carving Championship. Come watch his prizewinning talent in action! 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, soups, and lots more available inside and outside the restaurants in town. Also, lemonade, 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.

Celebrate spring at Spring Carnivale by making an origami butterfly at Connecticut River Artisans on 4 Water Street during Carnivale.

Celebrate spring at Spring Carnivale by making an origami butterfly at Connecticut River Artisans on 4 Water Street during Carnivale.

Other galleries and shops will be open, many with special events from prize drawings to origami. The Spring Street String Band, Arrowhead, will be playing from noon to 4 p.m. at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery.

Main Street will be closed to traffic. Free parking is available in the commuter lot on Rte. 148 at the foot of Route 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/

‘Concert in the Garden’ Today Features Singer/Songwriter Robert Nasta

Robert Nasta

Robert Nasta

Leif Nilsson hosts another Concert in the Garden, Sunday, April 12, from 4 to 6 p.m. in a Concert for World Peace featuring singer/songwriter Robert Nasta aka Chester “Big Boy” Coda and Special Guests. This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

Gates open half hour before the show — first come first seated.  Seating is Bistro Style in the amphitheater.  The concert will be moved indoors in the event of inclement weather.

A $10 donation is appreciated.  The event is BYOB – buy your own wine or beer at the Chester Package Store across the street.

Nasta is a composer, performer, multi-instrumentalist and educator. He studied music at The Berklee College of Music, The State University of New York ( B. A., Music), Wesleyan University (M.A., Ethnomusicology, Experimental Music), and The Hartt School of Music (D.M.A., Composition, Music Theory). Like many composers of his generation he has composed and performed in a wide variety of musical settings, and his work has been influenced by the whole of European/American concert music, as well as blues, jazz, and various musical traditions from around the world.

In addition to composing for “traditional” instrumentation, Dr. Nasta has developed a repertory of work based on his exploration of the sonic properties of various found objects. He has performed his compositions at numerous venues throughout the United States and has received grants from Meet the Composer, The New York Foundation for the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts, and Arts In Education.

His music is recorded on The Sonic Utensil label, with additional recordings on Heffley Records, Didjeridu Planet, and World In One labels. He has received commissions from the town of Otego, NY, and The Foreman Gallery, Hartwick College.

In addition to his own work, he has featured the music of John Cage, Alvin Lucier, Morton Feldman, Earl Brown, Iannis Xenakis and James Tenney. He has taught at the high school and middle school levels, The State University of New York, The Hartwick College Music Camp, privately, and was a teaching fellow at the Hartt School of Music. He has been a Lecturer in Music at Middlesex Community College, Middletown, CT since 1999. – See more at:http://robertnasta.com/bio/#sthash.Q1OreFha.dpuf

Cynthia E. Rockwell, Associate editor,Wesleyan Magazine says, “Chester “Big Boy” Coda was so good—clever and true-hearted lyrics, with foot-tapping rhythms, gravely-voiced melody, and quick-picking notes for his stories of ghosts, love, politics, religion, aging, near-death experiences—all with wry sweet humor.”  See more at:http://robertnasta.com/chester_big_boy_coda/#sthash.BjjGZlY2.dpuf

Essex Savings Bank Donates Over $29,000 as Part of Community Investment Program

ESSEX – Results of the recent voting by Essex Savings Bank customers who participated in the Bank’s Community Investment Program were announced at a meeting of employees, directors and trustees at the Bank’s Plains Road Office on Wednesday, April 8.

The Top Ten Winners in attendance received special recognition.  They were in order by number of votes:

  1. The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries
  2. Forgotten Felines, Inc.
  3. Old Saybrook Fire Company Number One, Inc.
  4. High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc.
  5. Tait’s Every Animal Matters (TEAM)
  6. Dog Days Adoption Events, Inc.
  7. The Essex Fire Engine Company No. 1
  8. Bikes for Kids, Inc.
  9. Pet Connections, Inc.
  10. Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley, Inc. (VNLV)

The customer balloting portion of Essex Savings Bank’s 2015 Community Investment Program, began on Feb. 2 and concluded on March 2. The program entitles the Bank’s customers to select up to three charities from a list of 90 qualified non-profit organizations. Fund allocations are awarded based on the results of these votes.

Gregory R. Shook, President and Chief Executive Officer of Essex Savings Bank stated, “At Essex Savings Bank, we believe the way to move the world forward is by giving back. Our Community Investment Program is designed to provide vital financial support to those organizations that enhance the quality of life in our communities.”

Each year, the Bank donates 10 percent of its net income to non-profit organizations within the immediate market area consisting of Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. This year, the Bank has allocated $98,741 to assisting non-profit organizations who offer outstanding services to our community and one third of that amount is then voted upon by the Bank’s customers.

According to Thomas Lindner, Vice President and Community Relations Officer for Essex Savings Bank, 6,987 votes were cast this year for a total of $29,620. By year end 2015, the total distribution of charitable funds will reach 4 million dollars since the inception of the Bank’s Community Investment Program in 1996.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and Shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and subsidiary Essex Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC. Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value, are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.

Click here to see the full results with voting numbers and amounts donated to each organization.

Local Fire Departments Host Areawide Food Drive Today

Food donations collected last year are gathered beside an Old Saybrook firetruck

Food donations were collected in Old Saybrook last year by the Old Saybrook Fire Department.

AREAWIDE – For the fourth year, local Fire Departments are hosting an area-wide food drive to collect non-perishable food for area residents in need.

The fire stations will be open to receive donations of non-perishable food on Saturday, April 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The donations will go to five local food pantries run by the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP).

SSKP hopes to include as many fire departments as possible in the 11 shoreline towns they serve. So far, the Old Saybrook, Chester, Killingworth, Clinton, Niantic and Westbrook fire departments have committed to the event. All fire departments are welcome to participate.

At a time of year when food donations are low, this food will help to restock the pantries and ensure that everyone in our communities will have a place at the table.

The Soup Kitchens’ five pantries combine to distribute approximately 17,000 pounds of food every week. Only 40 percent of this food comes from the CT Food Bank; the remainder must be either purchased or donated, so every item is appreciated. Last year’s drive raised 6,500 pounds of food. Join the effort by bring your donation to a participating firehouse on April 11.

The most needed items are:

Canned Meats (tuna, chicken, salmon)

Canned Fruits & Vegetables

Peanut Butter

Canned & Boxed Meals

Canned or Dried Beans

Pasta & Rice

Cereal

Items that cannot be accepted:

Rusty or Unlabeled Cans

Perishable Items

Homemade Items

Noncommercial Packaged or Canned Items

Alcoholic Beverages & Mixes

Open or Used Items

For more information call (860) 388-1988 or cbellerjeau@shorelinesoupkitchens.org or visit www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River. Founded 26 years ago, in 1989, at the Baptist Church in Essex, the agency continues in its mission to feed the hungry in body and spirit. Last year with a small staff and over 900 dedicated volunteers, SSKP served almost 950,000 meals worth of food to shoreline neighbors in need.

Run Forwards or Backwards Today! Race Event in Essex Benefits LVVS

And they're off!

And they’re off!

ESSEX – This coming Saturday, April 11, Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) will hold its 8th Annual Backward Mile and 5K Run/3K Walk.  Registration for the races begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Essex Town Hall, on West Avenue. The Erl and Dot Nord Memorial Backward Mile race, open to runners older than 18, begins at 8:30 a.m.; the 5K race and 3K walk both begins at 9:15 a.m.. T-shirts will be given to the first 100 runners.

Runners below the age of six can participate in the Lollipop Run, which begins at 8:50 a.m.  All Lollipop runners will receive lollipops.

Registration forms are available from the LVVS offices, (860) 399-0280 or you can register online at www.register.fasttracktiming.com. Fees for those signing up prior to March 31  are $18 for the backward mile, $23 for either the 3K walk or 5K run, $5 for the Lollipop race and to compete in any combination $40. Students can participate for $10 per race or $15 for any two races.

Runners with additional questions about the race may contact Elizabeth Steffen, Race Director at esteffen@vsliteracy.org .

‘Chester Creative Challenge’ Variations to be Unveiled This Evening

David Rau’s "Bull Market" for this year's Hooked Again! Creative Challenge to support the Chester Historical Society was inspired by two hooks, commissioned by the New York Stock Exchange in the 1970s and made in Chester by M.S. Brooks & Sons.

David Rau’s “Bull Market” for this year’s Hooked Again! Creative Challenge to support the Chester Historical Society was inspired by two hooks, commissioned by the New York Stock Exchange in the 1970s and made in Chester by M.S. Brooks & Sons.

CHESTER – This spring the Chester Historical Society is hosting its fifth annual Creative Challenge, dipping back into Chester’s roots as a manufacturing town. For five years, area artists, sculptors, photographers, engineers, jewelers, and all others with a creative mind have accepted the challenge to use artifacts from Chester’s rich manufacturing history to create items for a silent auction and reception to raise funds for the Chester Historical Society.

This is just another great example of making history current, the ‘then and now’ that is often part of the Society’s exhibits at Chester Museum at The Mill.

Those accepting the 2015 Hooked Again! Challenge issued by the Historical Society are working with assorted sample hooks, handles and hardware, which were still enclosed in small sealed manila envelopes, from Chester’s former M.S. Brooks & Sons factory.

“Hooked on Mandalas” by Bill Vollers is a framed, signed, archival digital image.

“Hooked on Mandalas” by Bill Vollers is a framed, signed, archival digital image.

The finished pieces of art, jewelry, sculptures, photographs, etc. will be exhibited and sold by silent auction at the Historical Society’s Reception on Saturday, April 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Chester Meeting House.

The reception will feature hearty hors d’oeuvres and desserts from Chester kitchens served with wine and non-alcoholic beverages.

Tickets for the evening are $30 and will be limited. They can be purchased at Chester Gallery and Ceramica, both in the center of Chester, or by calling Sosse Baker at Chester Gallery, 860-526-9822.

All the proceeds from the event will benefit the Chester Historical Society and its programs, including Chester Museum at The Mill. Information is available on the Society website, www.chesterhistoricalsociety.org or at Facebook.com/chestercthistoricalsociety.

Caption:

Caption:

Caption: To create “Hooked on Amazonite,” Donna Carlson used Amazonite stone and the special order hooks created for The Tigers Den by M. S. Brooks.

Old Saybrook HS NHS Hosts Food Drive Today for Shoreline Soup Kitchen

OLD SAYBROOK – The Old Saybrook High School’s National Honor Society hopes to involve the town in their fundraiser for the Shoreline Soup Kitchen by encouraging Old Saybrook residents to leave a bag filled with non perishable foods at the end of their driveways on the morning of Saturday, April 11.

Students will be picking up the donations from 8 am to 9 am. All are also encouraged to drop off any additional donations at the left entrance of Old Saybrook High School any time between  8am and 10am.

Suggested items include canned tuna, jam/jelly, canned vegetables, canned foods, pasta, rice, cereal, and other canned foods.

All donations are much appreciated- be sure to try and support this wonderful cause!

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.

‘Closer Look at Birds’ on Show at Maple and Main Through April 30

'Spring Please' by Claudia van Nes

‘Spring Please’ by Claudia van Nes

CHESTER – Natural Influences: A Closer Look at Birds is on show in the Stone Galleryin the Stone Gallery at Maple and Main, One Maple Street. through April 30.  Bird, nest, feather and birdhouse paintings and sculptures by the gallery artists will be on display.

The show offers the opportunity to experience the natural world and the deep transformative experiences that humans can have in nature expressed in the drawings, paintings and sculptures of the gallery artists.

The Spring Exhibition of all new paintings by 37 artists is also on display in the Main, Joslow and Small Works Galleries.

The galleries are open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visit www.mapleandmain gallery.com, call 860-526-6065 or email mapleandmain@att.net. for more information and to purchase art not in the gallery.

Community Music School Hosts Free Concert by Multi-Generational Orchestra

CMSStringEnsemble_FullStagePhoto

Close to 50 string musicians of all ages will fill the Valley Regional High School stage for the Community Music School’s Sinfonia and String Ensemble Concert on Tuesday, April 28 at 6:30. The concert is free and open to the public.

CENTERBROOK – On Tuesday, April 28, at 6:30 p.m., nearly 50 string musicians will take the stage at Valley Regional High School in Deep River for the Community Music School’s Sinfonia and String Ensemble Concert.  Ranging in age from nine to eighty-four, members of the two multi-generational performance groups will play a variety of classical pieces, including works by Vivaldi, Bach, and Dvorak, all under the direction of Martha Herrle.  The free concert is open to the public and sponsored by the Essex Winter Series.

Both Sinfonia, a group of 10 beginning violin, viola, and cello musicians, and String Ensemble, a group of 35 intermediate to advanced players, are a rare breed of orchestra and quite possibly the only of its kind in Connecticut.   “There are many youth orchestras and many adult orchestras around the state but I am not aware of any ensembles where all ages are allowed and encouraged to participate,” stated Martha Herrle, conductor and founder of both orchestra groups.

Herle continued, “As a musician and a teacher, it is a joy to work with various ages and backgrounds, to have school-age musicians playing alongside adult members.  The String Ensemble is a very mixed bag of some very talented people  –  students, several teachers, an inventor, a physician, a veterinarian, an attorney, a pastor, even two professional opera singers – all who share the same passion for music.”

String Ensemble members come from several shoreline towns (and beyond) to rehearse together at Old Saybrook High School for 26 weeks beginning in September and ending just prior to the annual concert performance.  Compared to its modest start in 2002, with just four children and one senior adult, the orchestra’s growth is a testament to its all inclusive policy of being open to all intermediate to advanced string musicians, regardless of age and with no audition requirement.

The orchestra also serves as a great opportunity for family members to share in their musical interests and spend time together.  In fact, the current ensemble boasts three sets of mother and child musicians.  East Haddam resident Irene Haines and her 16-year old daughter Bridget is one.

“Martha has a special gift. She is able to teach, nurture and direct young, old and everyone in between with varied abilities into an amazing performance,” commented Irene Haines. “I am the luckiest mom in the world as I get to share a stand with my daughter in the viola section – what a great way to spend quality time together!”

Herle received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Hartt College of Music, studying both violin and viola. She spent the following year studying string quartet literature at the University of Connecticut with the Laurel String Quartet. She is the founder of Goodwin Strings, a before-school group violin instructional program for 2nd and 3rd graders at Goodwin Elementary School in Old Saybrook.

She also presents the Community Music School’s weekly music program for the collaborative preschool students at Essex Elementary School and is a teaching artist for Kate’s Camp for Kids. Martha is the founder and conductor of CMS Sinfonia and CMS String Ensemble orchestras, and the Chamber Connections program.

For more information on the Sinfonia and String Ensemble Concert taking place at Valley Regional High School, located at 256 Kelsey Hill Road in Deep River, or other Community Music School events, visit www.community-music-school.org or call 860.767.0026.

The Community Music School, located at 90 Main St. in Centerbrook is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to building community through music since 1983.

Panelists “Looking Both Ways” Discuss End-of-life Issues; Free Event, 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.

VRHS Students Travel to Paris, Transport to JFK Paid by Chris Belfoure Memorial Fund

Ready for take-off: Valley Regional HS language students gather for a photo at the school immediately prior to departure.

Ready for take-off: Valley Regional HS language students gather for a photo at the school immediately prior to their departure across ‘The Pond.’

REGION 4 – The Valley Regional High School (VRHS) World Language Department organized a week-long trip to Paris over the 2015 spring break.

A $1,300 grant from the Christopher Belfoure Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County provided for the group’s transportation to John F. Kennedy airport in New York City for their flight to Paris. These funds were, as in years past, generated by the Run For Chris 5K, held annually in Essex in Belfoure’s memory.

"Embark on your journey and only look forward. Not too fast but not too slow. It is the ones that remain idle that get lost in the memories of the past and not the dreams of the future. We as human-beings need to dream again once more.”   These words were written by Chris Belfoure to his friend Valerie Tinker.

“Embark on your journey and only look forward. Not too fast but not too slow. It is the ones that remain idle that get lost in the memories of the past and not the dreams of the future. We as human-beings need to dream again once more.”  These words were written by Chris Belfoure, pictured above, to his friend Valerie Tinker.

Belfoure was just 24 when he tragically died in July 2011. Yet his passions – his belief in the global community, his dedication to teaching and the environment – will be shared through the Chris Belfoure Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC).

A graduate of VRHS and West Virginia University, Belfoure spoke fluent Mandarin and was pursuing a career as a corporate trainer in Shanghai. He is remembered as a charming, intelligent, ambitious man with a zest for life and adventure.

Belfoure believed knowledge to be a bridge between cultures and a key in developing innovative approaches to education and customer service. He loved to talk and knew that overcoming the barriers of language provided people an opportunity to learn about one another, to share hopes and dreams, and that just by talking, one could encourage people to see themselves as members of a global community.

Belfoure’s mother and stepfather, Robin and George Chapin, established the Chris Belfoure Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation in January 2012. This designated Fund supports Middlesex County-Lower County public schools and public library programs focused on integrating multicultural experiences, learning foreign languages, and environmental programs into the curricula.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 12.12.48 AMThe Chapins and a host of family friends launched the Fund with the first annual Run for Chris – Run for Education on Saturday, June 23, 2012, in Essex; the proceeds were donated to the Chris Belfoure Memorial Fund.

This year’s event will be held June 27.  There will also be a 2- mile walk, 1-mile run for ages 7-14, and a kids’ Fun Run. Registration is open at ARatRace.com

Robin Chapin says, “Keeping Chris’ dreams alive is so important to us. Chris was passionate about life, and I want to share his passion and determination with others, so they can grow and enhance their lives. He was always smiling and inspiring others to pursue their dreams.” She continues, “The Fund allows us to provide opportunities for schools and libraries to fund their foreign language programs and global education programs. Giving back to the community was a part of who Chris was. This all helps to keep his memory alive.”

Editor’s Note: Information about and the photograph of Christopher Belfoure and the fund named after him have been taken from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County website.

‘First Mondays:  Get Plugged in’ Course for Seniors at Saybrook Library Starts May 4

Join Acton Public Library for First Mondays: Get Plugged In from 1 to 2 p.m. starting May 4.  The library is offering beginner’s workshops on computer literacy.
Spring topics will include email and internet security as well as Facebook (June  1).

These free sessions are targeted primarily at seniors, but all are welcome.

Essex Land Trust Hosts ‘Hike of the Month’ Today at Heron Pond

ESSEX – The Essex Land Trust hosts its April Hike of the Month tomorrow, Saturday, April 4 at Heron Pond Preserve, Heron Pond Road, off Rte. 154.  Meet at 9 a.m. to join the hike, which will be led by Karen Carlone.

With two lively watercourses flowing down separate valleys with a ridge in between, Heron Pond is a stream-follower’s delight. The 30-acre preserve’s easy-walking terrain is crisscrossed by four trails reaching from high ground and rocky outcroppings to sandy streambeds. Trails can be wet, and stream crossings are unimproved.

Heron Pond, once the homestead of John Clark Pratt and later, his son, Ralph, was acquired through the private development of surrounding property and opened in 2007. Traces of old roadbeds and stonewalls hint at the land’s early uses, which included logging and the pasturing of farm animals.

The new-growth forest canopy has kept undergrowth to a minimum, giving Heron Pond an open feel. A prominent grove of evergreens and birch surround the pond, which is on private property. Larger maple, beech and oak trees appear on higher ground among the eroded rock ledges.

Also, keep a look for ferns and mountain laurel—and don’t be surprised to see Barred Owls throughout the year.

Spring Book Discussion at Chester Library, April 21 & May 5

American Pastoral, Philip Roth’s 1997 novel, a runner-up for the New York Times Best Novel of the Past 25 Years, might also be called a modern Book of Job.

It will be the subject of a two-part book discussion series at Chester Library this spring.

The deeply ironic book title makes reference to the life of Swede Levov, who appears to have fulfilled the American Dream and to live an American idyll. Roth examines the enigmatic figure through the character of Nathan Zukerman, Swede’s younger admirer.

The revelations unfold a historical perspective through first generation immigration, assimilation, WW II, and then the radical ’60s.  Career and life appear to be at an apogee, but . . . and there hangs a tale.

The discussion series will be on Tuesdays, April 21 and May 5, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Edward Wheeler, retired Dean of Faculty of the Williams School, will lead the discussion.

Books are available at the library  Call to register (860-526-0018) or visit the library website at http://chesterct.org/?page_id=286 to register online (look under Upcoming Programs and Events).

Brett Elliott Appointed New Executive Director at ‘The Kate’

Brett Elliott

Brett Elliott

OLD SAYBROOK – The Board of Directors of the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (“The Kate”) has announced the appointment of Brett Elliott as Executive Director.

Elliott served as ‘The Kate’s’ Interim Director since founding Executive Director Chuck Still announced his departure in December.

Sonny Whelen, President of the Board of Trustees, stated, “We couldn’t be happier having Brett join us as our next Executive Director. In his position as interim director, Brett has shown us that he has all of the skills and leadership qualities to bring the Kate forward as we continue to expand our role in the community. This is a very exciting time for all of us”.

Starting in 2012, Elliott spent two years in Chicago where he received his MFA in Arts Leadership from DePaul University, a joint program with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Elliott produced several projects for Chicago Shakespeare including the world premiere of “Since I Suppose”, a technology driven, live interactive performance developed by Australia’s one step at a time like this. Elliott also spent a brief period in the finance and operations department at Broadway in Chicago.

Elliott is no stranger to Eastern Connecticut or the Kate. He worked at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center from 2009-2012. He then found his way to ‘The Kate’ through lighting and production work.

Holding a BA in Theater from Saginaw Valley State University, Elliott is a proud product of the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival, an organization, which gave him his start.

“After six years, there is no doubt about the quality, quantity, and variety of entertainment at ‘The Kate'; it truly is a cultural gem on the shoreline,” Elliott stated. “I am very proud to not only be back at ‘The Kate,’ but to lead this organization at such a vibrant and exciting time. I look forward to getting to know those in the community, as well as the thousands of patrons that come to the Kate each year,” Elliott concluded.

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, ‘The Kate,’ is a non-profit performing arts organization located in the historic theatre/town hall on Main Street in Old Saybrook. Originally opened in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, ‘The Kate’ has been renovated with public funds from the town of Old Saybrook and donations raised by the Trustees of the Center.

It includes a 250-seat theatre and a small museum honoring Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook’s most celebrated resident. As befits an organization born of such a public/private partnership, programming is eclectic, offering something for all ages and income levels on the Connecticut shore and in the lower river valley.

‘Five Women Wearing the Same Dress’ Opens in Chester April 24

CHESTER – The Meeting House Players Present Five Women Wearing The Same Dress, a comedy written by Alan Ball (American Beauty, HBO’s True Blood).    The production opens on Friday, April 24 and continues on Saturday, April 25.

The play will be performed twice more on May 1 and 2, at the Meeting House located on 4 Liberty St. in Chester, Conn.  The curtain rises each evening at 8 p.m. and at 2 p.m. for a matinee performance on Saturday, May 2.

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress is set in 1992 during an ostentatious wedding reception at a Knoxville, Tenn., estate. During the reception, five reluctant, identically-clad bridesmaids take refuge in an upstairs bedroom, each with her own reason to avoid the proceedings below. As the afternoon – and alcohol – wears on, these very different women discover a common bond in this wickedly funny and touching celebration of female friendship.

The play’s six member ensemble spotlights a gifted troupe of area actors that features Beth Nischan, Abby Roccapriore, Jessica Davis, Vanessa Vradenburgh, Kristine Donahue and Daniel Nischan.  The play is being directed by Missy Burmeister.

Tickets for Five Women Wearing The Same Dress are on sale now.  Tickets prices are $20 for Preferred Seating tickets and $15 for Open Seating tickets.  Reservation requests for both Preferred and Open seating are available by calling 860-526-3684 or by e-mail at TheMeetingHousePlayers@gmail.com.  Unreserved tickets will be available at the door.

Payment is accepted by cash or check only — no credit cards.  Please note that this play contains adult language and themes and may not be suitable for all audiences.

For additional information please contact Debbie Alldredge at 860-526-3684. The Meeting House Players is a not-for-profit community theatre organization.  We pursue the theatre arts with the talents and interests of people throughout Connecticut.

Essex Art Association Hosts Two Shows in April

Artwork by Jill Beecher Matthew.

Artwork by Jill Beecher Matthew.

The Essex Art Association (EAA) has announced the start of the 2015 exhibition season.  Two exciting events are being held this month at the EAA Gallery.

Ron and His Shadow

“Ron and his shadow”

The Essex Rotary Club is hosting an exhibition on Saturday, April 18, (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and Sunday, April 19, (12 to 4 p.m.) The exhibition’s opening reception is scheduled for Friday, April 17,  from 5 to 8 p.m.  EAA artist members will also have works on display that weekend.

The following week the traditional Valley Regional High School Student Show will be held. Visitors to the gallery will be able to view student work between the hours of 3 and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22, and Thursday, April 23, with the show opening Tuesday, April 21, from 4 to 6 p.m.

The EAA is looking forward to this new season and hopes readers will join them at these two exhibitions. The Association is located at 10 North Main St. in Essex.

For further information, call 860-767-8996 or email essexartct@gmail.com

Community Music School Presents New Horizons Band in Concert, April 23 & 26

The New Horizons band of the Community Music School gather for a photo.

The New Horizons band of the Community Music School gather for a photo.

The New Horizons Band of Community Music School (CMS) is performing two concerts on April 23 and April 26. The band will present a joint concert with Groton New Horizons at the Groton Senior Center, 102 Newtown Rd. in Groton at 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 23. Both bands will perform separately, and then collaborate on several pieces in a variety of styles.

The CMS New Horizons Band will also play on Sunday, April 26at 3 p.m. at the Acton Library, 60 Old Boston Post Rd. in Old Saybrook.

The band is a beginning adult band of 17 members, many of whom had never played an instrument before joining, and is part of a national network. Under the direction of Patricia Hurley, the CMS New Horizons Band will perform marches, jazz selections, and music from the stage and screen. Hurley has provided guidance to the musicians who have started the Groton chapter.

Both concerts are free and open to the public. Readers are invited to come and meet Hurley and the members of the band to find out more about the program. Prospective new members are invited to attend a rehearsal any time. The band rehearses on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:45 a.m. to noon at the Community Music School, 90 Main Street, Centerbrook. No previous experience necessary.

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.

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

Calling all Chester Poets, Submit up to Three Poems for ‘Chester Voices’ by April 23

CHESTER – For five years, the Chester Public Library has presented a reading by Chester poets in celebration of National Poetry Month. This year, “Chester Voices” will be on Monday evening, May 4, at the Chester Meeting House.

The featured poets each year have been published Chester poets as well as a few Chester Elementary sixth graders who worked with Chester poet Pamela Nomura.

This year, the library is taking a slightly new direction. Besides several published Chester poets who will read their work on May 4, everyone from Chester of any age is asked to submit a poem to the library’s contest by April 23. The submissions will be read by several judges, who will then select several to be read at the May 4 “Chester Voices” evening.

The guidelines for writing the poems are:

In keeping with the “Chester Voices” theme, all poets must be Chester residents

Poets of all ages are encouraged to submit no more than three poems each

All poems must be original to the poet

All poets must be willing to read their poem aloud to the audience at the “Chester Voices” evening, May 4

All submissions should not contain language unsuited to an audience that will include children

All submissions must be labeled with the name of the poet and age group into which the poet falls:  up to 12 years old, 13-18, or 19 +.  Unlabeled submissions will not be accepted

Decisions of the judges are final

The poems must be emailed to Library@chesterct.org or delivered to the Chester Public Library by Thursday, April 23, at 6 p.m. The library phone number is 526-0018 if you have questions.

‘New Deal’ Art Exhibition on View at CT River Museum

The Connecticut River Museum’s spring exhibit, New Deal Art Along the River, will open April 2nd. This painting, On the Rail by Yngve Soderberg is a watercolor on paper on loan from the Lyman Allen Art Museum. Photo courtesy of Lyman Allen Art Museum.

The Connecticut River Museum’s spring exhibit, New Deal Art Along the River, opens April 2. This painting, On the Rail by Yngve Soderberg is a watercolor on paper on loan from the Lyman Allyn Art Museum. Photo courtesy of Lyman Allen Art Museum.

During the depths of the Great Depression, the federal government created work relief programs to put unemployed Americans back to work. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” programs provided all types of jobs – including opportunities for out-of-work artists. The Federal Art Project (1935 – 1943) paid artists to paint murals and easel art, sculpt, and teach art classes. Their art was always located in a public place such as a school, library, or government building so that all Americans had access to it for inspiration and enjoyment.

The subject matter for much of this artwork is known as the “American Scene” – showcasing regional history, landscapes, and people. The Connecticut River Museum’s new exhibit has selected artwork that represents artists from the Connecticut River Valley, or that depicts views of regional or maritime traditions of the Connecticut River and coastline.

“These paintings offer us a glimpse at Connecticut from sixty years ago,” says Museum Curator Amy Trout. “We think of that time as being dark and depressing, but these paintings show us a vibrant time and place.”

The exhibit contains 20 works of art ranging from pastels, etchings, watercolors, and oils. There are also examples of bas relief work from Essex sculptor Henry Kreis who designed the state’s Tercentenary medal and coin in 1935 under the Civil Works Authority (CWA) funding. The paintings come from area museums such as the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Mystic Arts Center, Connecticut Historical Society, and the Portland Historical Society, among others.

Even though these paintings were originally intended for public viewing, many have found their way into museum storerooms and are rarely seen. “It’s important to get them out on display and remind people of the wonderful legacy that was left to us. It gives us a chance to talk about Connecticut during the 1930s and appreciate the art that gives us greater insight into that period,” says Trout. The artists are also relatively unknown. Many continued in the field of art after the Depression, but few achieved great fame. “They needed to make a living, so many became commercial artists, illustrators, or teachers.”

The exhibition will open Thursday, April 2, with a preview reception at 5:30 p.m. featuring a short lecture by curator Amy Trout.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. and closed on Mondays after Columbus Day. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for children age 6-12, free for children under 6.

For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org

Despite Snow, Determined Pettipaug YC Members Successfully Put Docks Into CT River

It was not an easy task and, at one point, a dock almost got away.

It was not an easy task and, at one point, a dock almost got away.

ESSEX – “Even when it’s snowing, club members have been excellent when it comes to giving us a hand,” said the Pettipaug Yach Club’s Rear Commodore, Kathryn Ryan, on Saturday.

Pettipaug Yacht Club house where the dock party took place.

Pettipaug Yacht Club house where the dock party took place.

She added, “We scheduled this day to put the docks in, and a nice mix of old and new members showed up to give us a hand.”

The puddled driveway down to the club house.

The puddled driveway down to the club house.

All told some 24 club members checked in — navigating challenging conditions en route to the club — to put the dock in the water for the upcoming sailing season.

Club members straining to put the dock’s in rapid Connecticut River waters

Club members straining to put the dock’s in rapid Connecticut River waters

The club had originally scheduled putting in the docks two weeks ago, but the weather did not clear until this past weekend.

Despite the wait, the weather was still not particularly nice with a steady light snow, and a chilling temperature of 34 degrees.

But the job was done!

Chester Historical Society Hosts Baseball ‘Crackerbarrel’ Program Today

Before Valley Regional, Chester and Deep River High Schools played well over 50 times and, truth be known, Chester was usually the loser. If “he who laughs last laughs best has merit,” we can take solace in Chester winning the last of those games in the spring of 1951 in Chester (Ridge Road). It  was the only loss Deep  River suffered that year. Sliding into Base and Down the Hills: Stories of Chester’s Games and Recreation Anecdotes and memories of sports and recreation in Chester, in both winter and summer, will be shared in a Chester Historical Society "crackerbarrel" program on Sunday, March 29, at 4 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House. Named “Sliding into Base and Sledding Down the Hills,” the program will be led by several great storytellers who grew up in Chester – Fran Malcarne, Dave Sepowski, Dual Bibbiani and Peter Zanardi – who promise lots of laughs, whether it’s about town team baseball and high school games or winter sledding and ice skating.  As with all the Historical Society’s “crackerbarrel” programs, we’re hoping you’ll bring your own Chester sports and recreation stories and memories to share.  The program is free and open to all ages. If more information is needed, check the website, chesterhistoricalsociety.org or Facebook.com/chestercthistoricalsociety.  Photo:  Baseball has a long history in Chester, and it’ll be a feature of the Chester Historical Society’s program on Sunday, March 29 at the Chester Meeting House. This photo from the Chester Historical Society archives shows the 1946 town team, taken at the Middlesex Garage (later known as Meyer's Garage) on Middlesex Ave. Front: Bill Gorman, Bibb Deuse, Babe Zanardi, Trent Bibbiani, Fran Grote, Vern Westmore, Bud Zanardi, Frank Monte (manager). Back: Frank Cart, Carl Johnson, Rich Capellini, Jim Grote, Dual Bibbiani, Len Jamison, George Watrous, Al Martorell. Bat boy: Roycroft Monte.

Baseball has a long history in Chester, and it’ll be a feature of the Chester Historical Society’s program on Sunday, March 29 at the Chester Meeting House. This photo from the Chester Historical Society archives shows the 1946 town team, taken at the Middlesex Garage (later known as Meyer’s Garage) on Middlesex Ave. Front: Bill Gorman, Bibb Deuse, Babe Zanardi, Trent Bibbiani, Fran Grote, Vern Westmore, Bud Zanardi, Frank Monte (manager). Back: Frank Cart, Carl Johnson, Rich Capellini, Jim Grote, Dual Bibbiani, Len Jamison, George Watrous, Al Martorell. Bat boy: Roycroft Monte.

CHESTER – Before Valley Regional High School existed, Chester and Deep River High Schools played well over 50 times and, truth be known, Chester was usually the loser. If “he who laughs last laughs best has merit,” one can take solace in Chester winning the last of those games in the spring of 1951 in Chester (Ridge Road). It  was the only loss Deep  River suffered that year.

Anecdotes and memories of sports and recreation in Chester, in both winter and summer, will be shared in a Chester Historical Society “crackerbarrel” program on Sunday, March 29, at 4 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House.

Named “Sliding into Base and Sledding Down the Hills,” the program will be led by several great storytellers who grew up in Chester – Fran Malcarne, Dave Sepowski, Dual Bibbiani and Peter Zanardi – who promise lots of laughs, whether it’s about town team baseball and high school games or winter sledding and ice skating.

As with all the Historical Society’s “crackerbarrel” programs, the organizers are hoping you’ll bring your own Chester sports and recreation stories and memories to share.

The program is free and open to all ages. If more information is needed, check the website, chesterhistoricalsociety.org or Facebook.com/chestercthistoricalsociety.

Photo:  Baseball has a long history in Chester, and it’ll be a feature of the Chester Historical Society’s program on Sunday, March 29 at the Chester Meeting House. This photo from the Chester Historical Society archives shows the 1946 town team, taken at the Middlesex Garage (later known as Meyer’s Garage) on Middlesex Ave. Front: Bill Gorman, Bibb Deuse, Babe Zanardi, Trent Bibbiani, Fran Grote, Vern Westmore, Bud Zanardi, Frank Monte (manager). Back: Frank Cart, Carl Johnson, Rich Capellini, Jim Grote, Dual Bibbiani, Len Jamison, George Watrous, Al Martorell. Bat boy: Roycroft Monte.

Essex Winter Series Presents Season Finale Today

Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee has been captivating audiences throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia in solo recitals and chamber music concerts

Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee has been captivating audiences throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia in solo recitals and chamber music concerts

For the fourth and final concert of the Essex Winter Series (EWS) 2015 season, pianist and artistic director Mihae Lee will take the stage with two other celebrated artists in a program of masterpieces of the rich piano trio repertoire.

The concert will take place on Sunday, March 29, at 3 pm at Valley Regional High School in Deep River. Making their EWS debuts in this program, “Mihae Lee and Friends,” will be violinist Chee-Yun and cellist Julie Albers. Both have performed as soloists with many of the world’s major orchestras, are highly-regarded artists on the chamber music circuit, and have recorded extensively.

The selections include piano trios from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. First on the program will be the Trio No. 39 in G major by Joseph Haydn, who, along with Mozart, developed the genre by adding a cello to the violin-piano duo to create many more interesting musical possibilities. Written in 1795, the piece is nicknamed the “Gypsy” trio after its finale in the Hungarian style.

In contrast to Haydn, who ultimately wrote 45 piano trios, the early twentieth-century composer Maurice Ravel wrote just one. This 1914 work, completed just before his enlistment in the French army at the start of World War I, has become a staple of the repertoire and will be performed before intermission.

The concert will conclude with the second and final trio by one of the great nineteenth-century composers, Felix Mendelssohn. His C minor Trio from 1845 is among the romantic master’s finest and most beloved works.

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

The March 29 concert is dedicated to the memory of Marilyn Buel, former member of the board of trustees of EWS, who passed away in August, 2014. Mrs. Buel, an ardent supporter of the arts, helped build support for Essex Winter Series’ Fenton Brown Emerging Artist Concerts and also served as president of the board of Chestnut Hill Concerts.

About the artists:
Mihae Lee

Praised by Boston Globe as “simply dazzling,” Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee has been captivating audiences throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia in solo recitals and chamber music concerts with her poetic lyricism and scintillating virtuosity. She has performed in such venues as Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Jordan Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Academia Nationale de Santa Cecilia in Rome, Warsaw National Philharmonic Hall, and Taipei National Hall.

An active chamber musician, Lee is an artist member of the Boston Chamber Music Society and is a founding member of the Triton Horn Trio with violinist Ani Kavafian and hornist William Purvis. Her recordings of Brahms, Shostakovich, Bartok, and Stravinsky with the members of BCMS were critically acclaimed by High Fidelity, CD Review, and Fanfare magazines, the reviews calling her sound “as warm as Rubinstein, yet virile as Toscanini.”

Lee has appeared frequently at numerous international chamber music festivals including Dubrovnik, Amsterdam, Groningen, Festicamara (Colombia), Great Woods, Seattle, OK Mozart, Mainly Mozart, Music from Angel Fire, Chamber Music Northwest, Rockport, Sebago-Long Lake, Bard, Norfolk, Mostly Music, Music Mountain, Monadnock, and Chestnut Hill Concerts.

In addition to many years of performing regularly at Bargemusic in New York, she has been a guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Speculum Musicae; has collaborated with the Tokyo, Muir, Cassatt, and Manhattan string quartets; and has premiered and recorded works by such composers as Gunther Schuller, Ned Rorem, Paul Lansky, Henri Lazarof, Michael Daugherty, and Ezra Laderman.

In addition to her concert career, Lee maintains her commitment to give back to her community and help many worthy charities. At the invitation of the Prime Minister and the First Lady of Jamaica, she has organized and performed in concerts in Kingston and Montego Bay to benefit the Jamaica Early Childhood Development Foundation. For many years she brought world-class musicians, both classical and jazz, to perform in fund-raising concerts for the Hastings Education Foundation outside of New York City, and she recently launched an annual Gala Concert for the Community Health Clinic of Butler County, a free health clinic outside of Pittsburgh.

Born in Seoul, Korea, Lee made her professional debut at the age of 14 with the Korean National Orchestra after becoming the youngest grand prizewinner at the prestigious National Competition held by the President of Korea. In the same year, she came to the United States on a scholarship from the Juilliard School Pre-College, and subsequently won many further awards including First Prize at the Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition, the Juilliard Concerto Competition, and the New England Conservatory Concerto Competition.

Lee received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School and her artist diploma from the New England Conservatory, studying with Martin Canin and Russell Sherman. She has released compact discs on the Bridge, Etcetera, EDI, Northeastern, and BCM labels.

Violinist Chee-Yun's flawless technique, dazzling tone and compelling artistry have enraptured audiences on five continents

Violinist Chee-Yun’s flawless technique, dazzling tone and compelling artistry have enraptured audiences on five continents

Chee-Yun

Violinist Chee-Yun’s flawless technique, dazzling tone and compelling artistry have enraptured audiences on five continents. Charming, charismatic and deeply passionate about her art, Chee-Yun continues to carve a unique place for herself in the ever-evolving world of classical music.

Winner of the 1989 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and the 1990 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chee-Yun performs regularly with the world’s foremost orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, and the Toronto, Houston, Seattle, Pittsburgh and National symphony orchestras. Additionally, she has appeared with the Atlanta Symphony, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and has performed with such distinguished conductors as Hans Graf, James DePriest, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Michael Tilson Thomas, Krzysztof Penderecki, Neeme Järvi, Pinchas Zukerman, Manfred Honeck and Giancarlo Guerrero.

Internationally, Chee-Yun has toured with the Haifa Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Germany’s Braunschweig Orchestra and the MDR Radio Leipzig and performed with the St. Petersburg Camerata, the Bamberg Philharmonic, the Bilbao Symphony, the London Festival Orchestra, the Nagoya Philharmonic, and the KBS Symphony Orchestra.

Her orchestral highlights include a concert with the Seoul Philharmonic conducted by Myung-Whun Chung that was broadcast on national network television, a benefit for UNESCO with the Orchestra of St. Lukes at Avery Fisher Hall, and her tours of the United States with the San Francisco Symphony (Michael Tilson Thomas conducting), and Japan with the NHK Symphony. Recent and upcoming engagements include return subscription weeks in Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, as well as the Colorado and Austin symphony orchestras and the National Philharmonic.

Julie Albers

Cellist Julie Albers is recognized for her superlative artistry

Cellist Julie Albers is recognized for her superlative artistry

American cellist Julie Albers is recognized for her superlative artistry, her charismatic and radiant performing style, and her intense musicianship. She was born into a musical family in Longmont, Colo., and began violin studies at the age of two with her mother, switching to cello at four. She moved to Cleveland during her junior year of high school to pursue studies through the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Richard Aaron.

Albers soon was awarded the Grand Prize at the XIII International Competition for Young Musicians in Douai, France, and as a result toured France as soloist with Orchestre Symphonique de Douai.

She made her major orchestral debut with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1998, and thereafter has performed in recital and with orchestras throughout North America, Europe, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand. In 2001, she won Second Prize in Munich’s Internationalen Musikwettbewerbes der ARD, and was also awarded the Wilhelm-Weichsler-Musikpreis der Stadt Osnabruch . While in Germany, she recorded solo and chamber music of Kodaly for the Bavarian Radio, performances that have been heard throughout Europe.

In 2003, Albers was named the first Gold Medal Laureate of South Korea’s Gyeongnam International Music Competition, winning the $25,000 Grand Prize.

In North America, Albers has performed with many important orchestras and ensembles. Recent performances have included exciting debuts on the San Francisco Performances series and with the Grant Park Music Festival where she performed Penderecki’s Concerto Grosso for 3 cellos with Mr. Penderecki conducting. Past seasons have included concerto appearances with the Orchestras of Colorado, Indianapolis, San Diego, Seattle, Vancouver, and Munchener Kammerorchester among others.

In addition to solo performances, Albers regularly participates in chamber music festivals around the world. 2009 marked the end of a three year residency with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two. She is currently active with the Albers String Trio and the Cortona Trio. Teaching is also a very important part of Albers’ musical life. She currently is Assistant Professor and holds the Mary Jean and Charles Yales Cello Chair at the McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.

Albers’ debut album with Orion Weiss includes works by Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Schumann, Massenet, and Piatagorsky and is available on the Artek Label. Julie Albers performs on a N.F. Vuillaume cello made in 1872 and makes her home in Atlanta with her husband, Bourbon.

Deep River Congregational Church Hosts Men’s Palm Sunday Breakfast Today

Dr. Hornbake

Dr. Hornbake

Every Palm Sunday, men, young and old, from congregations throughout the Connecticut River Valley gather in Deep River for the annual Palm Sunday Men’s Communion Breakfast.  All are welcome at 7 a.m. on Palm Sunday, March 29, to share in an ecumenical Communion Service, a bountiful breakfast, and an inspiring message from the speaker, Dr. Rodney Hornbake.   The event will end by 9 a.m. so that those participating will have time to attend worship services in their own churches.

Plan to join other men from throughout the Valley Shore for this long-time Valley-Shore tradition  by calling the Deep River church office before Tuesday, March 24 (860-526-5045), or by e-mailing your reservations to office.drcc@snet.net.   Or sign up on the sheet on the bulletin board across from the kitchen.
The speaker will be Dr Rodney Hornbake,  who is currently president of Essex Internal Medicine, a group medical practice in Essex, Conn., and part of ProHealth Physicians a state wide multispecialty group practice. He has previously led group medical practices in New Bern, North Carolina and Rochester NY.   He has held senior executive positions at major US hospitals and public corporations.  He is an Active/Senior Attending physician at Middlesex Hospital.  Board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, Dr. Hornbake provides comprehensive medical care for older adults including home visits.

Dr. Hornbake and his wife Deborah  also have founded New Mercies Farm.   It is a five-acre organic farm nestled in the quiet countryside of  Lyme, CT.  They bought the property for the farm after a 2011 fire destroyed a pre-Revolutionary home in Lyme. The idea behind the farm is to provide quality food to local residents, preserve Lyme’s agricultural land for future generations and allow a young resident farmer to earn a living wage.   On the New Mercies Farm web page is the text of the hymn Great Is Thy Faithfulness, pointing to Dr. Hornbake’s deep faith

VRHS Seeking Hall of Fame Nominations, Deadline is April 30

AREAWIDE – Nominations and applications are being accepted for the 32nd annual Valley Regional High School (VRHS) Hall of Fame Award. Anyone may nominate a VRHS graduate who has gone on to excel in a particular profession, avocation, business, hobby, sport, etc., and who was graduated from Valley at least five years prior to nomination.

Call the VRHS office  at 860-526-5328 for an application, or write to the principal, Mrs. Kristina Martineau, 256 Kelsey Hill Rd., Deep River, CT 06417, listing the name of the candidate, address, telephone number, year of graduation and his/her outstanding accomplishments. Deadline for submitting applications is April 30, 2015.

The winner of the Hall of Fame Award will be honored at the graduation ceremony at VRHS on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Spring Exhibit on View at Maple and Main

'You Can't Keep a Good Turnip Down' by Gray Jacobik of Deep River.

‘You Can’t Keep a Good Turnip Down’ by Gray Jacobik of Deep River.

CHESTER - The opening reception for Maple and Main Gallery’s fifth annual Spring Exhibition is Saturday, March 28, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The show will feature all new art by 37 artists, three of whose work is featured in this article, from traditional landscape paintings of the Connecticut countryside and waterways to contemporary abstracts.

'Daybreak' by Pam Carlson of Essex.

‘Daybreak’ by Pam Carlson of Essex.

'Lobster Pots' by Claudia van Nes of Chester.

‘Lobster Pots’ by Claudia van Nes of Chester.

Appetizers, the gallery’s signature selection of chocolates and wine will be served throughout the evening and from 6 to 7 p.m., the Chester Package Store will offer a spring wine tasting.

A special show of nature paintings will be on view in the Stone Gallery downstairs and there will be a number of smaller works offered in our Small Works Gallery on the main floor.

The show opens Wednesday, March 25 and runs through Sunday, May 24.

Maple and Main Gallery, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visit the gallery on Facebook and at mapleandmaingallery.com where there is information about events and classes and where art may be purchased online.  For more information, call 860-526-6065 or email mapleandmain@att.net.