October 7, 2015

New York City Musicians Kick Off Collomore Concerts at Chester Meeting House, Sunday

Aaron Wunsch and Julia Bruskin will perform at the Chester Meeting House in the first Collomore Concert of the 42nd season on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 5 p.m.

Aaron Wunsch and Julia Bruskin will perform at the Chester Meeting House in the first Collomore Concert of the 42nd season on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 5 p.m.

CHESTER — The 42nd annual season of the Robbie Collomore Music Series at the historic Chester Meeting House begins on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 5 p.m. with a performance by young world-class musicians Julia Bruskin and Aaron Wunsch.

Aaron Wunsch and Julia Bruskin are both partners in life and partners in music. In addition to individually having active worldwide solo recital, chamber music and orchestral performance careers, they frequently perform duo recitals. Their life partnership is facilitated by having a joint base in New York City, Wunsch as a faculty member at the Juilliard School and Bruskin as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. They are co-Artistic Directors of the Skanteateles Festival in the Finger Lakes.

Since her concerto debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at age 17, Bruskin has established herself as one of the premiere cellists of her generation. Her recent CD of music by Beethoven, Brahms, and Dohnanyi was praised by Fanfare Magazine for its “exquisite beauty of sound and expression.”  A founding member of the critically acclaimed Claremont Trio, Bruskin won first prize in the 2001 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and was awarded the first ever Kalichestein-Laredo-Robinson International Trio Award.

Praised for his bold interpretations and communicative sensitivity, pianist Wunsch appears regularly on concert stages throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He has performed in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Duke’s Hall in London, and at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland. A 10-city solo recital tour of China garnered critical acclaim and enthusiastic audience responses. He has been lauded for his “masterful” chamber music performances (Hartford Courant).

At the Chester Meeting House, Wunsch and Bruskin will perform sonatas by Bach, Debussy, Britten and Rachmaninoff. After the concert, stay for the reception, with refreshments donated by River Tavern, to meet the performers.

Collomore concert tickets are $24; $5 for students, but season subscriptions for the four fall concerts are now available at $72 (four concerts for the price of three) or $15 for students. More information is at collomoreconcerts.org or email info@collomoreconcerts.org or call 860-526-5162.

Acton Library Hosts ‘Six Friday Flicks’ Through Fall, Next Movie Slated for Oct. 9

OLD SAYBROOK — The Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook will be hosting ‘Six Friday Flicks’ this fall at 1 p.m. in the Grady Thomas Room.

Far From the Madding Crowd will be shown on Oct. 9

Three Days of the Condor will be shown on Oct.  23

Saving Mr. Banks will be shown on Nov.  13

Finding Neverland will be shown on Dec. 11

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

Editorial Cartoonist Bob Englehart to Speak at DHS Event, Sept. 26

Bob Englehart, Editorial Cartoonist for the Hartford Courant, presents an entertaining evening with insight into the world of C.D. Batchelor, Editorial Cartoonist for the NY Daily News from 1929 to 1969.

C.D. or “Batch” enjoyed a career that spanned nearly 40 of the most tumultuous years in our American history and was the first Editorial Cartoonist to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1937. He was syndicated in more than one thousand newspapers and had a following of three million readers at the height of his career.

Englehart, like “Batch” is a mid-westerner and it is interesting that they both attended art school in Chicago. Bob was a finalist for the 1980 Pulitzer Prize and his work has won awards from the Overseas Press Club, the H.L. Mencken Award, United Nations Populations Institute, Planned Parenthood, the President’s Medal from Southern Connecticut State University, the Free Press Association and the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists. Englehart is the author of two collections of his editorial cartoons and a memoir.
Bob’s passion for life and his sense of humor will provide a delightful evening of entertainment. Admission is free.

The event is funded by a grant from the CT Humanities, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which supports curltural and historic organizations that tell the state’s stories, build communities and enrich lives. September 26th at 7 pm. Deep River Historical Society 245 Main Street Deep River

Essex Land Trust Outdoor Equipment Fair and Safety Seminar, Sept. 26

ChainsawThe Essex land Trust is holding an Outdoor Equipment Fair and Safety Seminar in collaboration with the New England Power Equipment Company of Old Saybrook on Saturday, September 26. Come and learn how to work safely and more efficiently in your garden or woodlot.

This event will showcase the latest chain saws, trimmers, blowers, tillers, and other tools for the outdoors.  It will also demonstrate their safe operation and provide tips on trimming, pruning, and clearing of trees and shrubs.

Essex Land Trust’s Chief Steward Tom Rutherford along with representatives from New England Power Equipment Company will be present from 10 AM to 12 PM at the Cross Lots Preserve, 40 West Avenue, Essex. Rain cancels. Any questions contact Judy Saunders at judith.saunders@comcast.net or by calling 860-581-8108.

‘Abstract Imaginings’ on View at Maple & Main

'Metalling in Nature' by Ashby Carlisle.

‘Metalling in Nature’ by Ashby Carlisle.

CHESTER — ‘Abstract Imaginings’ is currently on view at Maple & Main’s Stone Gallery in Chester.

Ashby Carlisle of Old Lyme, a sculptor, and Victoria Sivigny of Meriden, an abstract painter, are award-winning artists exhibiting major bodies of work during the month of September in this exhibition titled, ‘Abstract Imaginings,’  and on show through Sept. 30. The works of each artist invite close, careful, deep seeing and reward the viewer’s energy and time.

Sivigny works in acrylic paint on large canvases, often 36″x 36″, in a palette of neutral tones, and her mark-making varies from the extremely subtle to the grand gesture, from something so slight as to seem like a dried teardrop, to circles, grids, or pseudo grids, and other marks of time and wear.  The artist prints, scratches, paints, stamps, embeds, collages, tears, etches, pours, rakes, drips, and throws; with no end to the verbs one might use when imagining how her highly-textured marks are made.

'Point of Departure No. 3' by Victoria Sivigny.

‘Point of Departure No. 3’ by Victoria Sivigny.

There are, in some of Sivigny’s paintings, word-like inscriptions, either decorative script, or Cyrillic and Arabic letters, but the suggestion is that language is just one more graphic element, not a factor of greater signifying power than any other mark.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of encountering a Sivigny work, is alchemical: the whole is more mysterious than the sum of its parts.  One senses an artist who begins in control and ends in abandon, having tossed-up the fundamental elements of art, then stepped back as they fell into place.

Like an oxymoron, each of Sivigny’s paintings embodies an intriguing paradox: one is strangely familiar; another, naturally uncanny; or randomly ordered; or disparately harmonious.

Through the combination of a muted palette, a see-sawing of delicate and bold mark-making, patterns repeated with variations, as well as recurrent or unique gestures, Sivigny’s work is both aesthetically satisfying and intellectually challenging.

Ashby Carlisle is a sculptor whose foundation materials are fiber in the form of hand-dyed and printed paper, pages from books and magazines, metal and clay which she forms into wall sculptures contained in thin wooden boxes. Within these boxes she assembles tattered layers of papers lined with gold suggestive of sky, clouds, horizon and land.

Where the horizon separates sky from ground, Carlisle has secured a clay plate through which twisty vines penetrate the lower and upper divisions: earth and sky.  She uses the organic to suggest the supra-natural, and the natural to create objects that might be organic, but are not.

At times in her work, Carlisle inscribes the marks of culture, specifically writing and other forms of symbolizing.  Sometimes the lettering is superimposed on other lettering as if to say that not only are land and sky entirely a cultural construct, but they are a jumble, a cacophony of inscriptions over-written by “signs.’  In several of Carlisle’s works, a representation of the natural world is completely written-over, seeing itself entirely codified.

Carlisle and Sivigny are both members of GalleryOne, a cooperative of mid-career artists who exhibit along the Connecticut shoreline, and each has exhibited work in numerous local, regional and national exhibitions.  Among other opportunities, both artists have exhibited work at the John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art in New Haven, Spectrum Gallery in Centerbrook, Guilford Art Center, Golden Thread Gallery in West Hartford, and the Valentine H. Zahn Community Gallery in Westbrook.

Carlisle’s work has been on view in The Cooley, Sill House, and Studio 80 Sculpture Galleries in Old Lyme.  Sivigny has also exhibited her work at The Slater Memorial Museum in Norwich, the New Britain Museum of American Art, and West Hartford’s Art League Saltbox and Clubhouse Galleries.

Sivigny holds elected memberships with the New Haven Paint and Clay Club, West Hartford Art League, and Connecticut Women Artists.  She was awarded second prize for “Temple of the Soul” at the New Britain Museum of Art Annual Members’ Exhibition.

For additional information, visit www.ashbycarlisle.comwww.victoriasivigny.com,

Join a Historic Waterfront Tour Saturday in Deep River, Sept. 26

Deep River Historical Society will explain the history of the town's waterfront during walking tours this summer.

Deep River Historical Society will explain the history of the town’s waterfront during walking tours this summer.

DEEP RIVER — Deep River’s commercial connection to the rest of the world started at the end of Kirtland and River Streets in the early 1800’s. What is now known as the Town Landing, was a shipyard and dock, which collectively, were the linchpin to Deep River’s mercantile success. The shipbuilding provided the vessels and the dock provided the point of delivery of raw materials and the shipment of end products, that made Deep River an economic success.

A lecture and tour of Deep River’s Historic Waterfront will be offered every second and fourth Saturday morning, this June, July, August and September.  The next and final tour will be Saturday, Sept. 26.  All tours are sponsored by the Deep River Historical  Society.

The upcoming tour will start at the home of sea captain and ship builder, Calvin Williams, at 131 Kirtland St., (immediately left of the Mt. Saint John entrance pillars) at 10 a.m. promptly. Each tour is expected to last about one and a half hours.

Reservations are recommended and tickets may be acquired at the door, or in advance, from the program’s director: James Hogan, by calling 860-391-2354, or at two convenient store locations: Celebrations, 161 Main Street, Deep River and Old Saybrook Antiques Center, 756 Middlesex Turnpike, Old Saybrook.

The costs for tickets is $20 per family; $10 adults; $5 students and senior citizens. 100% of all donations will benefit the Deep River Historical Society. All donations are tax deductible. Program takes place “rain or shine”.

For more information, call James J. Hogan III  at: 860-391-2354.

‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Opens Sept. 23 at Ivoryton Playhouse

Audrey II outside the Playhouse (photo by Krista May)

Audrey II outside the Playhouse (photo by Krista May)

IVORYTON – Wednesday, Sept. 23, marks the opening of the sixth show of the Ivoryton Playhouse’s 2015 season and it arrives fully fanged and demanding blood! A deviously delicious Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi smash musical, Little Shop Of Horrors has devoured the hearts of theatre-goers for over 30 years. Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin) are the creative geniuses behind what has become one of the most popular shows in the world.

Meek flower shop assistant, Seymour Krelborn, stumbles across a new breed of plant he names “Audrey II” after his coworker crush. This foul-mouthed, R & B-singing carnivore promises unending fame and fortune to the down-and-out Krelborn … as long as he keeps feeding it blood. Over time, though, Seymour discovers Audrey II’s out-of-this-world origins and dastardly intent towards global domination …

One of the longest-running Off-Broadway shows, Little Shop Of Horrors has been a worldwide success for over 30 years.  The music, in the style of early 1960s rock and roll, doo-wop and early Motown, includes several well-known tunes, including the title song, “Skid Row (Downtown)”, and “Suddenly, Seymour”.

Little Shop of Horrors is directed by Larry Thelen (Dreamgirls, La Cage Aux Folles), musical directed by Robert Tomasulo and choreographed by Apollo Smile. The cast includes Playhouse favorites Nicholas Park* (All Shook Up) as Seymour, Carson Higgins* (Memphis) as Orin,and David Conaway (most recently The Seven Year Itch) as Mushnik. La’Nette Wallace (All Shook Up) will be joined by Azarria White, and Denielle Marie Gray as Urchins and Laura Woyasz* makes her Ivoryton debut as Audrey.

The Puppet is voiced by Steve Sabol and puppeteer is recent UConn puppetry program grad, Austin Costello. Set design is by Martin Marchitto, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Vickie Blake.

A tongue in cheek musical comedy, Little Shop of Horrors will make you think twice before you buy that potted plant!.

Little Shop Of Horrors opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse runs through Oct. 11, 2015. 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 www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.  Group rates are available by calling the box office for information. The Playhouse is located at 103 Main St. in Ivoryton.

Little Shop of Horrors is generously sponsored by Citizens Bank, The Safety Zone and Comcast.

Children’s Fall Story Times at Acton Public Library

The Fall Session of drop-in Story Times at Acton Public Library will begin the week of Tuesday, September 8 and end on Friday, December 11, 2015. All programs are free and open to all. No registration is required.


Wednesday mornings

10:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Drop in and share stories, songs and simple rhymes together. A program for children             age 0 – 2 and their families. Stay and socialize after the story time with our special toddler toys.


Wednesday mornings

11:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Expand your baby’s story time experience with a 1/2 hour of social time immediately following Wiggle Bookworms. Parents and caregivers can mingle as babies enjoy social play with toys provided by the Library.


Thursday evenings

6:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Wear your pajamas to this drop-in evening story time with simple craft.                                    For kids ages 2-6 with their families .


Friday mornings:

10:00 – 10:30 a.m.

A drop in preschool story time for children ages 3-5. Have fun sharing stories, music and a craft together. (A special Music with Miss Martha will take place on the 3rd Friday of every month. See below.)


3rd Friday of every month

10:00 – 10:45 a.m.

Sept. 18; Oct. 16; Nov. 20 and Dec. 18.

Join Miss Martha from the Community Music School for a special musical story time! Ages 3-5.

About our Story Times:

All story times are drop-in, free and open to all. No registration is required.

Although each program is designed for the specific developmental needs of its

intended age group, siblings are welcome to attend with their parent or caregiver.

Our Story Time Goals Are:

  • To foster a love of language and books.
  • To develop early literacy with stories, movement, and music.
  • To provide young children with an early group experience.
  • To foster parent connections through shared story and play experiences.

Come and share the love of books and music with us this fall

Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition Holds First Meeting of New School Year Tomorrow

TRI-TOWN — The Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition will hold its first meeting of the new school year at Tri-Town Youth Services at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9, with guest speaker, John Daviau.

The Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is a grassroots organization whose membership is open to all who live or work in the tri-town area who are concerned about substance abuse and committed to its prevention.  Many “sectors” of the community are represented on this council: schools, youth serving organizations, law enforcement, government, civic groups, parents, students, the faith community and health care to name a few.

At the September meeting, prevention programming already in place will be discussed as well as ways of strengthening the coalition.  Future meeting dates for this year are Nov. 18; Jan. 20, 2016; March 9, 2016; May 18, 2016.

Tri-Town Youth Services supports and advances the families, youth and communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex.  The organization coordinates and provides 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

For further information, call Tri-Town at 860-526-3600.

Essex Historical Society Offers Self-Guided Stroll of Five Dickinson Houses, Sunday

Pat Thompson, Event Chairman for An Afternoon Stroll Through Dickinson History, walks past the former Dickinson family home, one of five private properties that will be opened for public touring on September 13 to benefit the Essex Historical Society.

Pat Thompson, Event Chairman for An Afternoon Stroll Through Dickinson History, walks past the former Dickinson family home, one of five private properties that will be opened for public touring on Sept. 13 to benefit the Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX – On Sunday, Sept. 13, the Essex Historical Society’s 60th anniversary celebration continues with An Afternoon Stroll Through Dickinson History, a self-guided tour through five private properties formerly owned by members of the Dickinson family, founders and manufacturer’s of E.E. Dickinson Witch Hazel. The benefit event will provide a peek into the Dickinson past and will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. along the North Main and Prospect Street section of Essex village.

The White House in Essex.

The White House in Essex.

On view will be the iconic family home, the stately, columned “White House” located at 21 North Main Street; the Dickinson office building at 31 North Main now home to Wells Fargo Advisors; the adjacent Dickinson carriage house; the 1750’s Samuel Lay homestead located at 17 North Main St., which was the former home of the top sales executive for Dickinson Witch Hazel; and the once cow barn now private home just a few steps south. Dickinson family members will be onsite to lend a personal perspective.

The Carriage House

The Carriage House

Stroll guests can enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres and a quiet respite in Dickinson Park, a small swath of grassy green across from the main home. Period cars will also be on display and each attendee will receive a commemorative book documenting the Dickinson legacy.

Office building

The Dickinson office building at 31 North Main now home to Wells Fargo Advisors.

According to event chairperson Pat Thompson, “This is a house tour like no other, so steeped in history and one family’s impact on a community. We are very grateful for the current owners’ willingness to open up their homes and for the Dickinson family members who have graciously shared their memories to help us celebrate Essex’s rich heritage.”

Dickinson Stroll_CowBarn_web

The once cow barn now private home just a few steps south of 17 North Main St.

Tickets for An Afternoon Stroll Through Dickinson History are $60 per person, with children under the age of 18 admitted at no charge. All proceeds will benefit the Essex Historical Society.

The Samuel Lay House.

The Samuel Lay House.

Parking is available along North Main St. and Prospect St., at Hills Academy and Our Lady of Sorrows located at 21 Prospect St., and at Essex Town Hall. Handicap parking can be found at the Welcome Tent to be located at Wells Fargo Advisors, 31 North Main Street.

Tickets can be purchased in advance online at essexhistory.org or by calling 860-767-0681, or at the Welcome Tent on the day of the event.

Chester Library Announces Lobster Festival Basket Winner

Basket winner and longtime Chester resident Pat Holloway, who was Chester's Library Director many years ago and recently retired as West Hartford's Library Director, is shown in the photo with Linda Fox, Chester Library Director (left), and Susan Wright, Chester Rotarian (right).

Basket winner and longtime Chester resident Pat Holloway, who was Chester’s Library Director many years ago and recently retired as West Hartford’s Library Director, is shown in the photo with Linda Fox, Chester Library Director (left), and Susan Wright, Chester Rotarian (right).

The Chester Library has a winner of its Lobster Festival basket, the final reward in its Escape the Ordinary summer reading program for adults – and it’s Pat Holloway! Holloway’s award basket includes everything needed for the perfect evening at the Chester Rotary Lobster Festival on Sept. 12 – from tableware to Festival tickets.

Thanks to the Friends of Chester Public Library who filled the basket and to the Chester Rotary that donated four Festival tickets. And thanks to all those who Escaped the Ordinary with Chester Library this summer – 40 people, who read 211 books!

Holloway, a longtime Chester resident who was Chester’s Library Director many years ago and recently retired as West Hartford’s Library Director, is shown in the photo with Linda Fox, Chester Library Director (left), and Susan Wright,  Chester Rotarian (right).

Former Illustrator Newton Debuts as Sculptor at CBSRZ Exhibition Opening This Afternoon

Richard Newton sculptureCHESTER — Richard Newton, formerly an illustrator nationally known for his iconic Time, Newsweek, Businessweek, National Wildlife and Fortune magazine covers, will make his sculpture debut at  Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek’s (CBSRZ) Art Gallery on Sunday, Sept 6, from 4 to 7 p.m.  The artist will speak at 5:30p.m. and take questions.

The Sept. 6 opening will feature a wine and cheese reception with live music.  There is no charge and all art lovers are welcome.

Newton has been a professional artist for over 35 years and has mounted advertising campaigns for the U.S. Postal Service, Sprint, General Electric and Pfizer Pharmaceutical.  His exhibit will continue through Nov. 15, and will be open and free to the public Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to  3 p.m.

The artist will make a generous contribution to CBSRZ for all work sold.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  For more information call the CBSRZ office 860-526-8920

Essex Land Trust Offers ‘Hike of the Month,’ Today

ESSEX — The Essex Land trust hosts its September ‘Hike of the Month’ to Fern Ledge on Saturday, Sept. 5.  Meet at 9 a.m. next to the old Shoreline Clinic, off Rte. 153

With its steep terrain and high ledge overlooking a working farmer’s field, Fern Ledge has a unique place among the parks in Essex. Trails wind through woodlands and among old stonewalls, offering glimpses of Birch Mill Pond below. In winter, it affords distant, sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.

Note that the trail leading up to the ledge is steep.

The property sits astride the Essex-Westbrook town line. When the 10-acre parcel was purchased in 2005 from the estate of August Neidlinger and Catherine Doane, it had lain idle for many years.

The trail crosses one of the small streams feeding Birch Mill pond, vital habitat for turtles, salamanders and frogs along with ferns, Jack-in-the-Pulpit and skunk cabbage. Rare plants include Dwarf ginseng, May apple and wild leek. Look for a beaver dam in the pond.

The upper reaches at Fern Ledge are home to maple trees, oaks and birch along with mammals from fox to deer.

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Peter Jones Attains Eagle Scout Rank

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Peter Jones. Photo by Michael Rutty.

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Peter Jones. Photo by Michael Rutty.

CHESTER & DEEP RIVER — Peter Jones of Deep River, a member of Chester/Deep River’s Troop 13, has earned Scouting’s highest rank and an Eagle Scout Court of Honor was held for him on Sunday Aug. 16, at the Deep River Town Hall Auditorium.

To become an Eagle Scout, Peter earned 38 merit badges and advanced through the seven scout ranks by learning Scout and Life skills while simultaneously providing leadership to his Troop and service to his community.  One of the final requirements for the Eagle Rank is to show leadership in and complete a service project that benefits the boy’s community, school, or religious institution.

Peter’s project was to reconstruct a 20 foot long stone wall to enhance the corner of The Deep River Congregational Church’s cemetery along Platt Ln. and Essex St.  The original wall had fallen into disrepair over the years from erosion.  The completed wall complements the existing front wall of the cemetery and new plantings were added to the accent and beautify the area.

Completing this project entailed meeting with the church to determine they stone they preferred, securing donations for supplies, designing and overseeing volunteers through the construction and installation of the wall and plantings.  The completed project provides an important service to the residents of Deep River and members of Deep River Congregational Church by improving the look of the area.

Congratulations, Peter!

Troop 13 Boy Scouts serves the boys ages 11-18 of Chester and Deep River. The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is to help young men develop their character and life skills all while having fun.

There is much emphasis placed on assisting these young men to develop into strong healthy citizens who will lead our communities and country in the years ahead. The Boy Scout methods help to promote these ideals through the challenge of putting them into practice with the Troop Program. This is done in a way that is both challenging and fun.

To learn more information about joining Troop 13 please contact our Scoutmaster, Steven Merola @ 860-526-9262

Acclaimed Nature Photographer Slonina to Speak Tonight at CT Valley Camera Club

A stunning vista of the Grand Tetons by John Slonina.

A stunning vista of the Grand Tetons by John Slonina.

John Slonina, an award-winning professional nature photographer, tour leader and writer devoted to the conservation of wild places and wild things, will be the guest speaker at the Connecticut Valley Camera Club’s monthly meeting on Monday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m.  All are welcome at the meeting, which will be held in the lower level of the Deep River Library, 150 Main St., Deep River.

Slonina’s  goal is to use his photographs and writings to educate and inform as many people as possible about nature and environmental issues.  He hopes to introduce others to places and animals that they may never have the opportunity to see. His photographs are held in private collections and galleries throughout the world.

Bear cub by John Slonina.

Bear cub by John Slonina.

As a leader of photo tours to some of North America’s most beautiful and wild places, Slonina teaches participants how to create award winning images and shoot like a professional. He also hosts workshops and presentations.

For further information, visit his website at www.sphotography.com

The Connecticut Valley Camera Club meets on the last Monday of every month at 7 p.m. (except December and July) in the lower level of the Deep River Library, 150 Main St., Deep River.  Meetings are open to the public.

For more information about the Connecticut Valley Camera Club, visit their website.


Chester Artists’ Raffle Benefits Chester Library Programs

“Sorbet with Sprinkles” quilt by Sally Murray

One of the items in Chester Library’s fundraising raffle is this “Sorbet with Sprinkles” quilt by Sally Murray

CHESTER — Chester is a town of many talented individuals, three of whom have donated their works to the Friends of the Chester Public Library for a fundraising raffle, culminating on Oct. 6.

“The Chief’s Daughter” basket by Sosse Baker.

“The Chief’s Daughter” basket by Sosse Baker.

Basketmaker Sosse Baker created “The Chief’s Daughter,” a storage basket in a Cherokee pattern, 20 inches high and 16 inches wide, in dyed and natural rattan.

Baker, the co-owner of Chester Gallery in Chester Center, has been a renowned basketmaker for several decades.

There’s also “Sorbet with Sprinkles,” a lively lap quilt made by Sally Murray.  At 61 x 72 inches, it’s large enough for a couchful.  It’s all-cotton construction, machine-pieced and -quilted, washer- and dryer-friendly, and bright enough to evoke a smile.

Murray is a resource in Chester Library’s Human Library; check her out to learn more about quilting.

“Midnight Passion” mohair stole by Lisa Tollefson

“Midnight Passion” mohair stole by Lisa Tollefson

You will love to drape yourself in Lisa Tollefson’s one-of-a-kind hand-knitted lace mohair-blend stole. This original Rivergirl design, named “Midnight Passion,” is a gorgeous blue and foldable/crushable, lightweight, and surprisingly warm.

Tickets are priced at $2 each and only 1,000 tickets are being sold. The three items are on display at the Chester Library. All proceeds from the raffle will directly benefit the Friends of the Library’s programs and purchases for the library.

The Friends fund DVD and CD purchases and a Netflix membership; passes to area museums and attractions; professionally facilitated Spring and Fall book discussion series; materials for children’s story and craft hours; and the summer reading program.

The raffle drawing will be at the Chester Library on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at 5:30 p.m. Winners need not be present to win.


Leif Nilsson Hosts ‘Arrowhead String Band’ at Tonight’s ‘Concert in the Garden’

The Arrowhead String Band will play a Concert in the Garden, Aug. 27

The Arrowhead String Band will play a Concert in the Garden, Aug. 27

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts another ‘Concert in the Garden’ this evening, Thursday, Aug. 27, from 7 to 9 p.m., this time featuring the Arrowhead String Band at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center. 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.

Sorry, no pets allowed.

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

Zuckerbraun Joins Essex Savings Bank as VP, Trust Officer

David Zuckerbraun

David Zuckerbraun

ESSEX — Essex Savings Bank has announced the addition of David Zuckerbraun as a Vice President and Trust Officer.

“We are delighted that Mr. Zuckerbraun has joined us as Vice President & Trust Officer and will be working under the leadership of Ms. Moira Martin, Senior Vice President, Senior Trust Officer. His reputation, depth of experience and involvement in the community will be an asset for our Trust Department and will expand our strong focus on exceptional levels of client service,” stated Gregory R. Shook, President & CEO of Essex Savings Bank.

Zuckerbraun joins the Essex Savings Bank Trust Department after 21 years of service with The Washington Trust Company, most recently as Vice President, Senior Fiduciary Officer. His responsibilities included managing large and complex trust relationships, the settlements of complex estates, the management of departmental risk through document review, litigation oversight and assistance in the development of fiduciary policies and procedures carried out and followed by trust administration staff.

Prior to his time at Washington Trust, he was a practicing attorney for more than 10 years.

Zuckerbraun received his B.A. from Union College and his J.D. from the Syracuse University College of Law. He is the past president of both the Rhode Island Estate Planning Council and the Estate Planning Council of Southeastern Connecticut. He has also served as chairman of the James and Mary Shea Foundation, president of the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, treasurer of the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, treasurer of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, and Vice President of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center.

Essex Savings Bank offers a full complement of trust services including trust and wealth management, estate administration and settlement, charitable trusts and private foundations, and custodian and escrow services. Trust officers are always available to meet for a no-obligation consultation.

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 providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Dep

Dr. Paul Spitzer to Give Osprey Talk at Essex Library, Saturday

'Osprey' by Kristopher Rowe.

‘Osprey.’ Photo by Kristopher Rowe.

On Saturday, Aug. 29, the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) will host Dr. Paul Spitzer, a renowned Osprey researcher, for a ‘Fish Hawk Talk.’ The free event will be held at the Essex Library, 33 West Ave., Essex, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Spitzer will discuss his work in the Connecticut River Estuary and focus on the relationship between Atlantic Menhaden fish populations and Ospreys. Menhaden (commonly known as bunker) are a forage fish in the same family as herring and shad.

Connecticut’s Long Island Sound (LIS) waters and the Connecticut River Estuary (CRE) are Menhaden sanctuaries. For East Coast ecology and the Osprey, Menhaden restoration is the most important paradigm shift since the banning of DDT in 1972.

For more information, contact CRWC River Steward, Alicea Charamut at acharamut@ctriver.org or 860-704-0057.

The CRWC works to protect the watershed from source to sea. As stewards of this heritage, they celebrate the four-state treasure and collaborate, educate, organize, restore and intervene to preserve its health for generations to come. Their work informs a vision of economic and ecological abundance.

To learn more about CRWC, or to join the effort and help protect our rivers, visit www.ctriver.org.

Sidewalk Sales Slated in Chester, Saturday

“Busy Bees” by Michael Centrella of Cheshire is just one of the numerous unframed original art pieces at Maple & Main Gallery’s Sidewalk Sale event on Aug. 29.

“Busy Bees” by Michael Centrella of Cheshire is just one of the numerous unframed original art pieces at Maple & Main Gallery’s Sidewalk Sale event on Aug. 29.

At Red Pepper, you’ll find clothing, hats, handbags, scarves, handblown glass, ceramics at 20-50% off during Chester’s Sidewalk Sale Day.

At Red Pepper, you’ll find clothing, hats, handbags, scarves, handblown glass, ceramics at 20-50% off during Chester’s Sidewalk Sale Day.

The Chester Squirrel is on the run again – this time carrying a Sidewalk Sale banner for Chester’s first annual town-wide End-of-Summer Sidewalk Sale Day on Saturday, Aug. 29.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on the last Saturday of August, start exploring Chester Center shops and galleries for Sidewalk Sale specials. You’ll find unique unframed art at Maple & Main Gallery, antiques at Chester Americana Antiques & Gallery, vintage pieces at Ceramica, apparel at Compass Rose, purses at Lark, and much much more in every shop in Chester. Specials may be indoors or on the sidewalk.

Unique unframed art will be offered at Maple and Main Gallery during the Sidewalk Sale from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Out on the porch and set up inside the gallery, look for art for less because it’s not yet framed.  There will be works by the gallery’s 44 artists on paper, canvas and board; from abstract to traditional; from provocative to playful.

Custom-made frames add a considerable expense to a painting and can restrict buyers from choosing frames that better match their own taste and, of course, some people prefer no frames at all.

While you’re at the gallery, visit the summer show of over 250 works by the gallery artists.

Maple and Main Gallery, One Maple Street, is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit mapleandmaingallery.com or the gallery’s Facebook page or Instagram account  or call 860-526-6065.

When you get tired of shopping, find a Sidewalk Sale Special at one of Chester’s restaurants — and then head over to the Chester Fair for more small-town fun.

More details at FindItInChesterCT.wordpress.com or by calling 860-322-4047.

Start the fall with one of these purses found at Lark’s Sidewalk Sale.

Start the fall with one of these purses found at Lark’s Sidewalk Sale.

Essex Civic Campus Project Recognized as First STEAP Grant Success Story

Photos of the Essex Civic Campus reproduced from the Office and Policy of Management page on the State of CT website.

Photos of the Essex Civic Campus reproduced from the Office of Policy and Management page on the State of CT website at www.ct.gov/opm.

ESSEX — The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has announced that its first STEAP Grant Success Story is the Town of Essex Civic Campus Enhancement Project.

Essex was awarded a Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) in the amount of $471,500 in 2013 for the Essex Civic Campus Enhancement Project which funded the expansion, repair, and improvements to the “Essex Civic Campus” located at 29 West Ave.  The Civic Campus is a gateway to Essex and a center of municipal activity, including the Town Hall, Police Station, Essex Community Library, and Grove Street Park.

The project included the installation and replacement of the Grove Street Park Playscape to improve compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards; the renovation and expansion of the Town Hall parking area; renovations to the Town tennis courts, and improved pedestrian connectivity between the Town Hall and Library.

Essex First Selectman, Norman Needleman

Essex First Selectman, Norman Needleman

This grant provided much-needed improvements to ensure that the Essex Civic Campus is a vibrant and welcoming center of community activity, whether for recreation, public meetings, conducting business, or visiting the library.

A delighted Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman commented, “The people of the Town of Essex are deeply grateful to Governor Malloy, Senator Linares, Representative Miller, and our partners at DECD, for the investments that the state has made, via STEAP grants, in our community. The Town continually strives to be a friendlier and more welcoming place to live, work, learn, and play. The State’s investment of STEAP funds helps us get to that next level.”

Essex Land Trust Hosts First Family Outing in ‘The Preserve,’ Today

An idyllic scene of the newly acquired 'Preserve,' where the Essex Land Trust will lead a Family Outing, Aug. 22.

An idyllic scene of ‘The Preserve,’ where the Essex Land Trust will lead a Family Outing, Aug. 22.

The Essex Land Trust is hosting a Family Outing in The Preserve on Saturday, Aug. 22, starting at 9 a.m. Be among the first to explore The Preserve in a hike and exploration from the Essex access to this unique forest.

The Preserve is the recently purchased 1,000-acre forest that resides in the towns of Essex, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. This property is probably the most significant addition to Connecticut’s open space in many years. It has numerous trails, 114 acres of wetlands, including 38 vernal pools, 3,000 feet of watercourses, and a 30-acre swamp. A mature coastal forest with three rocky ridge formations, it is home to a significant and diverse population of animals and plants.

Bring the family and join Chris Cryder of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and Steven Trojan, Director of the Bushy Hill Nature Center, in exploring the critters, plants, and ponds of the new Thousand Acre Preserve.

Another view of 'The Preserve.'

Another view of ‘The Preserve.’

This outing will walk some easy trails and share adventures, followed by refreshments.  Rain cancels.  All ages are welcome.

Parking and access are off Ingham Hill Rd., which is off Rte. 153, Plains Rd., Essex.

For any questions, contact Judy Saunders at judith.saunders@comcast.net


Lori Warner Gallery Hosts Ann Lightfoot Jewelry Summer Sale Today


A plethora of jewelry by Ann Lightfoot. Photo courtesy of Ann Lightfoot Jewelry

CHESTER — In appreciation of their customers’ loyal support and enthusiasm, Lori Warner and Ann Lightfoot have teamed up to host the Ann Lightfoot Jewelry Summer Studio Sale on Saturday, Aug. 22, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Earrings by Ann Lightfoot. Photo courtesy of Ann Lightfoot Jewelry

Find a curated mix of samples, one-offs, past seasons’ pieces, as well as many designs offered exclusively at this event, all at deeply reduced prices.

A portion of all sales will help fund the art programs in local public schools through the Lori Warner Gallery Scholarship Fund.

The Lori Warner Studio/Gallery is a unique source for artwork and objects that make a lasting impression. The gallery exhibits a small number of exclusive and award winning work and regularly hosts informal events featuring their represented artists and designers.

The gallery is located at 21 Main Street in Chester, Connecticut.  For more information, visit www.loriwarner.com or call  (860) 322-4265.

‘The Story of My Life’ Continues Tonight, Sunday at Deep River Town Hall

star in 'The Story of My Life'

John Costa and Michael P. Cartwright star in “The Story of My Life”, presented by MiLo Productions. Photo by Robert Hughes.

DEEP RIVER — MiLo Productions has announced that the intimate musical comedy The Story of My Life, by Drama Desk
Award-nominees Neil Bartram and Brian Hill, will be their first stage production, running this coming Friday Aug. 21 through Sunday, Aug. 23, at Deep River Town Hall Auditorium.

Do you remember the day you met your best friend? The Story of My Life tells the story of two childhood friends and how their friendship profoundly defined their lives. Thomas Weaver is a best-selling, award-winning author. Alvin Kelby was his best friend for 30 years. But time can test the bonds of friendship, and when it does, Thomas calls on the only resource he has — his stories of Alvin — to learn where things went wrong.

A richly melodic musical, The Story of My Life is a soaring tribute to the power of friendship and the people who change our lives forever. BroadwayWorld said “See if you don’t find yourself moved to Google the name of some long-lost friend with whom you simply lost touch. The Story of My Life inspires us to reconnect with those who were part of the earliest chapters of our own life stories.”

Guilford resident Michael P. Cartwright will play Thomas. Cartwright is familiar to local audiences through his appearances at several area theatres. He portrayed the green-tinged title character in Warner Theatre’s Shrek. At West Hartford Community Theatre, he has appeared as Max Bialystock in The Producers and Javert in Les Misérables. He has been seen at Goodspeed Musicals in 1776, and in productions with Summer Theatre of New Canaan, River Rep, Ivoryton Playhouse, and Newington Mainstage, as well as Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia and Delaware Theatre Company.

The mental health issues addressed in The Story of My Life resonate closely for Cartwright, a clinical social worker for over 25 years, who currently works at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

The role of Alvin will be played by John Costa of New Bedford, Mass. Costa comes to Connecticut directly from the Festival Theatre production of Mary Poppins, where he was featured as Admiral Boom. His regional credits include Goodspeed Musicals (1776), The Huntington Theatre (Pirates!), American Repertory Theatre, NewRep (Ragtime), Lyric Stage Co. of Boston (1776, Big River), and The SpeakEasy Stage Co. (Carrie the musical).

Other credits include Herr Schulz (Cabaret), Cogsworth (Disney’s Beauty and the Beast), Max Detweiller (The Sound of Music), and Amos Hart (Chicago) with New Bedford Festival Theatre; as well as performances with Salem Summer Theatre, Star Players, Little Theatre of Fall River, Sweet Apple, and Big Star Productions.

The Story of My Life features music and lyrics by Neil Bartram and book by Brian Hill. It was produced at The Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, Conn. before making the trip to Broadway in 2009, where it was nominated for four Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Musical, and won a Barrymore Award for Outstanding Ensemble.

Bartram and Hill were commissioned to write The Theory of Relativity by Sheridan College in Toronto as a new show specifically for college-age students. It had its London, UK premiere in May of 2014 and its regional theatre premiere at The Norma Terris Theatre in 2015. Bartram and Hill’s musical Not Wanted On The Voyage received a developmental production at Northwestern University’s Barber Theatre as part of the American Music Theatre Project. The pair are currently developing musical adaptations of Disney’s famous Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Ray Bradbury’s cult classic Something Wicked This Way Comes for the stage.

Performances are Friday, Aug. 21 and Saturday, Aug. 22, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 23, at 2 p.m. at the Deep River Town Hall Auditorium, located at 174 Main Street. Tickets are $25 for general admission seating and are available at www.milo-productions.com.

The Story of My Life is produced by the Guilford-based MiLo Productions, which also produces the popular local Victorian holiday singing group Connecticut Yuletide Carolers and the Shoreline Cabaret Series.

Middlesex Habitat for Humanity Hosts ‘Happy Hour’ Tonight at Saybrook Pavilion

OLD SAYBROOK — The Middlesex Habitat for Humanity Special Events Committee, staff and board of directors will be hosting Happy Hour at the Old Saybrook Pavilion Aug. 22, from 6 to 9 p.m. There will be wine and beer, hors d’oeuvres donated by Cloud Nine Catering and Catering by Selene, NoRA cupcakes, music and raffles to raise money to help us dig and pour the foundation on Summer Street in Portland, CT.

This event is part of  the Foundation’s larger campaign, $60k in 60 days  (#60kin60days) which ends Sept. 6.

Tickets are $36; to purchase, visit http://www.habitatmiddlesex.org/about_us/news/260

Essex Historical Society Celebrates 60th Anniversary with Series of Events in 2015-16

The Pratt House in Essex is the town’s only historic house museum.

The Pratt House is home to the Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — The Essex Historical Society (EHS), a private, non-profit organization boasting 250 members and dedicated volunteer corps, is celebrating its 60th anniversary year throughout 2015 and early 2016 with a variety of special events and programs.  Of special note is the Dickinson Initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the impact of the E. E. Dickinson Witch Hazel business on Essex.

The E. E. Dickinson Witch Hazel Company was an important part of Essex for much of the 20th century.  The EHS and the Valley Railroad Company have partnered to refurbish the original Birch Mill /Yellow Label building that sits on the southern end of the railroad depot property.  As part of the project, EHS will refurbish the Yellow Label signs and install Dickinson exhibit panels in the newly repaired space.

A pre-construction kick-off took place on May 15, 2015.  The dedication and unveiling of the refurbished building is targeted for one year later on May 15, 2016.

Upcoming Events 

An Afternoon Stroll Through Dickinson History 

Sunday, Sept. 13 from 4 to 7 p.m.  A self-guided tour of private properties along North Main Street in Essex village and formerly owned by members of the Dickinson family. Tickets are $60 per person with proceeds to benefit the Essex Historical Society. Includes a commemorative book and refreshments.

Essex Historical Society Antique Car Rally 

Sunday, Oct. 18 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  The 5th Annual Fall Foliage Antique Auto Show and Tour with a Purpose:  Dickinson business and family sites. Co-sponsored with the Belltown Antique Car Club.

EHS Program 

A special program Creating the E. E. Dickinson National Brand will be presented by EHS and held at 31 North Main St., Essex, the Dickinson corporate office, now the Wells Fargo office building.

Yellow Label Building Dedication 

Sunday, May 15, 2016. Dedication of the refurbished Yellow Label Building and tour of the Dickinson Witch Hazel Plant.  Co-sponsored with the Valley Railroad Company.  Details to be announced at a later date.

Essex Historical Society: Three Villages, Two Rivers, One History 

The EHS 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 we may inspire future generations.  Our mission statement reflects this vision: Engaging and Inspiring the Community. Essex.  Ivoryton.  Centerbrook.

History of the Essex Historical Society

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, Dec. 10, 1954. 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.

The EHS serves the three villages of Essex — Centerbrook, Essex and Ivoryton.

Bartlett Tree Experts Donate Maple Tree to Town of Essex

Donated_tree_to Essex_by_Bartlett_Tree _ExpertsESSEX — Dan Estey (left) donated a Red Sunset Maple (Acer rubrum ‘Franksred’) on behalf of Bartlett Tree Experts to the Town of Essex.

He is pictured with Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden, who selected the location at 147 Dennison Rd.

Press release and photo submitted by the Essex Tree Committee

‘Longsplice’ Perform Tonight ‘On the Dock’ at CT River Museum

'Longsplice' perform Thursday, Aug. 20 "On the Dock" at the Connecticut River Museum.

‘Longsplice’ perform Thursday, Aug. 20 “On the Dock” at the Connecticut River Museum.

ESSEX — Now in its sixth year at the Connecticut River Museum (CRM), ‘Thursday’s on the Dock’ have for many become the unofficial start to the summer weekend.  This year, thanks to lead sponsor the Essex Wellness Center, the event features a different Connecticut band each night.  ‘Longsplice’ will perform this coming Thursday, Aug. 20.

Rick Spencer and Joseph Morneault join traditions of the past with contemporary arrangements to form a musical “long splice” influenced by songs and tunes from England, Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Canada and the U.S.  Their presentations feature carefully crafted a capella harmonies, dance tunes, sea chanteys, drinking songs, an occasional modern composition and accompaniment on a variety of instruments.

‘Thursday’s on the Dock’ take place every Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., through Aug. 27, on the museum’s historic steamboat dock and grounds.  Phyllis Stillman, CRM Development Manager, comments, “We are fortunate to have received more sponsorship this year that is allowing us to bring in a broad range of musical acts that will appeal to a diverse audience.”

Upcoming performers are:

  • Aug. 20 – Longsplice
  • Aug. 27 – Small Pond All Stars

Museum Director Christopher Dobbs notes that patrons will, “… hear the sounds of Dixieland jazz, classic rock, and folk.” Performances include noted Irish folk musicians Ringrose & Freeman, the Small Pond All Stars Band, and Longsplice.

Essex-Wellness-Logo-for-CRM-e1430663844569Heidi Kunzli, owner of the Essex Wellness Center and leading sponsor, said that she has always enjoyed coming down to the museum for these events, “There’s nothing quite like a relaxing evening by the harbor taking in the music and the view … it’s a wonderful experience!”

In addition to the lively music, craft beers, local wines and light snacks will be served.  The Museum’s main floor galleries and gift shop will also be open for a bit of waterfront and local history. The cover for the event that includes the live music, galleries, and views is $5 per person (members are always free).

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

The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main St. and is a membership-supported educational organization. Membership is open to all.

Madhatters Hosts Auditions for Christmas Comedy, Saturday

AREAWIDE — Madhatters Theatre Company is currently scheduling audition appointments for their December musical comedy production of ‘Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ at Chester Meeting House.  Auditions will be held on Saturday, Aug. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, 59 Lyme St. in Old Lyme by appointment only.

To schedule an appointment, call (860) 395-1861 or e-mail madhattersctc@aol.com.

For further information, visit ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

Summer Exhibit on View at Maple & Main Through Sept. 20

'Sheep in the Meadow' by Amy Knaggs of Chester is one of the signature paintings in the Summer Exhibit.

‘Sheep in the Meadow’ by Amy Knaggs of Chester is one of the signature paintings in the Summer Exhibit.

CHESTER – All new art from cutting edge to traditional is featured in the sixth annual Summer Exhibit at Maple and Main Gallery where a gala opening reception will be hosted by the gallery Saturday, July 25, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The exhibition includes paintings and sculptures by 40 Connecticut artists, some showing at Maple and Main for the first time.

'Down the River' by Claudia Van Nes of Chester.

‘Down the River’ by Claudia Van Nes of Chester.

Popular musician Alan James will play during the reception and from 6 to 7 p.m, there will be wine tasting by the Chester Package Store. The gallery will also be serving wine and a selection of hors d’ouevres, including pizza, during the evening.

'Color Jam' by Andy Teran of Essex

‘Color Jam’ by Andy Teran of Essex

Concurrently, the “Hats, Hats, Hats” show of paintings depicting hats in all manners and styles is on view in the Stone Gallery in the lower level of the gallery.

The show opens Wednesday, July 22, and runs through Sept. 20.

Maple and Main, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mapleandmaingallery.com; mapleandmain@att.net; 860-526-6065. The gallery is also on Facebook and Instagram.

Final Hours for Deep River Congregational Church Flea Market This Morning

Tag Sale (800x600)

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Congregational Church, 1 Church St., hosts its Annual Flea Market and Rummage Sale this weekend on Marvin Field and on the grounds around the church with over 80 vendors, who bring a wide variety of items to sell, from antiques to hand crafted pieces.

The Flea Market ended yesterday but this morning, Sunday, Aug. 16, from 9:15  to 11 a.m., you may fill a large trash bag with items still remaining from the Rummage Sale for a donation of your choice.


Deep River Congregational Church Tag Sale (800x557)

For further information, contact the church office at 860-526-5045 or office.drcc@snet.net or visit the church web site at www.deeprivercc.org.

Carolyn Linn is Republican Nominee for Chester First Selectman Through Ballot Petition

Republican Carolyn Linn will face Democrat Lister in the Nov. 3 election for  Chester First Selectman.

Republican Carolyn Linn will face Democrat Lauren Gister in the Nov. 3 election for Chester First Selectman.

CHESTER — There will be a contest for first selectman in the Nov. 3 election after all as Carolyn Linn claims the Republican nomination for first selectman with a ballot petition submitted to the town clerk Tuesday. Fifty-five-year-old Linn will face Democratic nominee Lauren Gister, aged 57, for the position left open with the retirement of two-term Democratic First Selectman Edmund Meehan.

Republicans came up empty on the first selectman nomination at the July 27 party caucus that nominated incumbent Republican Selectman Tom Englert for a fourth term, along with a handful of other candidates for positions on the local ballot. Gister a lawyer and former Marine, had been nominated at the Democratic caucus on July 21, with Charlene Janecek as the running-mate for board of selectmen. Democratic Selectman Larry Sypher is not seeking a new term.

But in the succeeding days, Linn, a 26-year resident and certified veterinary assistant who runs a local pet services business, emerged as a candidate. Town Clerk Debra Calamari said Linn submitted a petition signed by 47 town Republicans late Tuesday, one day before Wednesday’s deadline for primary petitions.

State election law allows a position left open by the party nominating caucus to be filled by a primary petition that must be submitted by an Aug. 12 deadline. The petition must be signed by a least five percent of the town’s 453 registered Republicans. With no other candidate, there is no primary and the new candidate claims to Republican line through the petition.

Linn, in a statement issued Thursday, said her goals include “preserving our historic personality while responsibly developing local opportunities” that would enable the town to prosper. She cited taxes and economic development as concerns, and suggested her “entrepreneurial and volunteer spirit” would benefit the town.

Linn said she was a volunteer EMT with the Chester Volunteer Ambulance Service after arriving in town in the early 1990s, and has also been involved with the Chester Winter Carnivale and the Shoreline Soup Kitchens. She is the mother of two children, both of whom graduated from Region 4 schools.

Linn is the first Republican nominated for first selectman since 2009, when former First Selectman Tom Marsh was re-elected for a third term. Marsh resigned in August 2011 to take a town manager job in Vermont. Republicans did not nominate a candidate for first selectman in 2011, when Meehan was easily elected over a challenger nominated by the Chester Common Ground Party. Meehan was uncontested for a second term in 2013, a year when there were no contests for any positions on the town lengthy ballot.

Along with a contest, this year’s nominations ensure the town’s next first selectman will be a woman, either Gister or Linn. The first, and only, woman to serve as Chester First Selectman is Bettie Perreault, a Republican who served from 1989-1993.

Malloy, Blumenthal Join Celebrations Marking 15-Year Effort Culminating in Protection of ‘The Preserve’

Governor Dannel Malloy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal cut the ribbon. (L to R: Carl Fortuna, Old Saybrook First Selectman, Alicia Sullivan, CT State Director of the Trust for Public Land, State Representative Brendan Sharkey, Speaker of the House, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Will Rogers, President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, State Representative Phil Miller).

Governor Dannel Malloy (third from left) and US Sen. Richard Blumenthal (second from right) cut the celebratory ribbon at yesterday’s event.  Also pictured from left to right are Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, CT State Director of the Trust for Public Land (TPL) Alicia Sullivan, State Representative Brendan Sharkey (D-88) who is also Speaker of the House, TPL President & CEO Will Rogers and State Representative Phil Miller (D-36.)  All photos by Nigel Logan.

OLD SAYBROOK — Governor Dannel P. Malloy and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal joined over 200 state and local officials, and local residents at a reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony in Old Saybrook on Thursday to celebrate the permanent protection of “The Preserve,” the 1,000 acre coastal woodland recently acquired primarily by the state and the Town of Old Saybrook. The Essex Land Trust also owns some 70 acres in Essex.

Hosted by the Trust for Public Land (TPL), the celebration was held at the Great Cedars (West) Conservation Area on Ingham Hill Rd. in Old Saybrook where a large tent was erected to provide seating, a refreshment area and space for a band. All guests other than VIPs were ferried on school buses from the M & J Bus Depot on Ingham Hill Rd. to the site.

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy addresses the large audience.

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy addresses the large audience.

Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna spoke briefly followed by Governor Dannel Malloy. “The Preserve is no longer the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York City and Boston, because it’s now protected,” said Malloy, stating emphatically, “This is a monument to Connecticut and who we are and what we are … part of history is now permanently preserved.”

US Senator Richard Blumenthal speaks.

US Senator Richard Blumenthal speaks.

Blumenthal enthused, “There is no way to describe in words the stunning beauty of this land,” continuing, “It will now be enjoyed by our children and our children’s children.” Prompting ripples of laughter, he also apologized with tongue in cheek to, “… all the golfers who will never have the benefit of playing on the golf courses,” that were once planned for the area.

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Phil Miller (D-36) has been deeply involved in the project to protect ‘The Preserve.’

Also sharing the celebration and offering thanks to the many thousands of individuals and organizations who helped make saving “The Preserve” possible were Connecticut State TPL Director Alicia Sullivan; Speaker of the House and State Representative Brendan Sharkey (D-88); State Representative Phil Miller (D-36); DEEP Policy Director Jessie Stratton; and TPL President and CEO Will Rogers.

Crowds gather to celebrate the successful conservation of 'The Preserve' at Great Cedars, Old Saybrook

Crowds gather to celebrate the successful conservation of ‘The Preserve’ at Great Cedars, Old Saybrook.

Refreshments, speeches and award presentations were followed by a ceremonial ribbon-cutting by Governor Malloy and Senator Blumenthal against the striking back-drop of the green trees of “The Preserve” and a brilliant blue sky.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (left) chats with State Representative Phil Miller after the ribbon-cutting.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (left) chats with State Representative Phil Miller after the ribbon-cutting.

The celebration marks the culmination of 15 years of hard work, fund-raising and collaboration by an enormous number of individuals, local, state and federal organizations and public figures. Blumenthal remarked that he was reminded of a favorite quote from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt the ability of a small group of intelligent, committed people to change the world – it is the only thing that ever has.”

Rounding off the official part of the ceremony, Rogers noted, “The Trust for Public Land has always referred to ‘The Preserve’ project as the Holy Grail,” adding with a broad smile, “We have now found the Holy Grail.”

From Blues to Classical Guitar: Four Collomore Concerts at Chester Meeting House This Fall 

Robbie Collomore SeriesCHESTER — For its 42nd season, the Robbie Collomore Music Series will offer all four of its concerts in the fall, between Sept. 27 and Nov. 29. As always, the Collomore Committee, chaired by Martin Nadel, has chosen a mix of music genres for the season. All four concerts will be on Sundays at 5 p.m. in the Chester Meeting House.

Beginning the season, on Sept. 27, is the Barbara and Edmund Delaney Young Artists Concert. Cellist Julia Bruskin debuted with the Boston Symphony at age 17 and now performs as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and internationally as a soloist. She will perform in Chester with her husband, Aaron Wunsch, an internationally known pianist and a member of the Juilliard piano faculty.

Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton takes center stage on Oct. 18.  According to the Wall Street Journal, Paxton, age 26, is “virtually the only music-maker of his generation—playing guitar, banjo, piano and violin, among other implements—to fully assimilate the blues idiom of the 1920s and ‘30s.”

The Hot Club of Detroit, a jazz ensemble specializing in the Gypsy jazz sound made famous by guitarist Django Reinhardt, performs on Nov. 8, followed on Nov. 29 by classical guitarist Jorge Caballero. He is the youngest musician and the only guitarist to win the Naumburg International Competition, one of the most prestigious and coveted awards given to performers of any instrument.

Buy a season subscription and save money, plus you’ll be certain you will have a seat even when the concert is sold out. A subscription to all four concerts is just $72 (that’s four concerts for the price of three). Individual concert tickets cost $24. For students from elementary through graduate school, a subscription is $15. A student ticket for just one concert is $5. Tickets can be purchased online at www.collomoreconcerts.org using PayPal. All ticket-holders are invited to stay for a reception after the concert to meet the performers. For more information, check the website or call 860-526-5162.

Photo: Check your calendars and order your season subscription for this year’s Collomore Concerts! All the info is on the website.

Donna Scott from IFoundFitness to Join Valley Shore YMCA’s Staff Team

Donna Scott, former owner of IFoundFitness in Deep River, is joining the Y's staff.

Donna Scott, former owner of IFoundFitness in Deep River, is joining the Y’s staff.

AREAWIDE — The Valley Shore YMCA has announced that Donna Scott, owner of the Best of the Shoreline’s Readers Poll IFoundFitness located in Deep River, will join the staff team of the Valley Shore YMCA at the end of August as a Wellness Coordinator.  Earlier in the summer, Scott had decided to close her popular fitness studio and started thinking about the next chapter of her life.

“When I looked at partnerships, there were certain criteria that had to be met;” Scott noted.  “A non-competitive, environment where my members would fit in and feel comfortable, the ability to continue and strengthen great programs like The Slim Down, programs for seniors, and the Couch to 5k program.  I want to be part of an organization that believes in giving back and supporting its members.”

“We are very excited to have Donna join our staff team,” comments Chris Pallatto, Executive Director of the Valley Shore Y, adding, “She has a tremendous reputation and created a very strong following with her professionalism, expertise, and enthusiasm.  She will be a great addition to our staff team.”

In her new role at the Y, Scott will be in charge of personal training, the Y’s Wellness Center, active older adult initiatives as well as running the ever popular Slim Down challenges throughout the year.

Editor’s Note: For further information about the Valley Shore YMCA, visit their website or call 860.399.9622.

OSW Youth Football, Cheerleading Buys Safety Equipment Thanks to Major Sponsors, Westbrook Foundation

Safety Coach Jeff Miller ensures a proper fit of the top-rated Xenith helmet on an 8th grade OSW player. Photo by Michael Yermenson.

Safety Coach Jeff Miller ensures a proper fit of the top-rated Xenith helmet on an 8th grade OSW player. Photo by Michael Yermenson.

OLD SAYBROOK/WESTBROOK — Old Saybrook Westbrook Youth Football and Cheerleading (OSW) has received a special boost to the start of their new season thanks to financial support from their major sponsors for the season coupled with a grant from the Westbrook Foundation.  Funds from these sources have enabled OSW to purchase state-of-the-art safety equipment for the 3rd, 6th and 8th grade football teams.

With the support of Yale New Haven Hospital’s Old Saybrook Medical Clinic, Bridgepoint Mortgage, and a generous grant from The Westbrook Foundation, this year OSW adds Kerr collars and Gyro caps to improve player safety.  The Kerr Collar is a functional transfer energy system worn by the player, which has a demonstrated track record of reducing impact to the neck and head during a collision. Gyro Kevlar supplemental pads further reduce impact severity.

Westbrook personal trainer Jeff Miller has served as the OSW Safety Coach for the past seven years.  He attends coaching clinics across the country to support and implement OSW’s commitment to safety including those held at the University of Alabama, UCONN, FBU (Football University) and USA Football.

Indianapolis-based USA Football is the sport’s national governing body, leading the game’s development for youth, high school and other amateur players. The independent nonprofit partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy and sport to establish important standards rooted in education.

The purpose of OSW is to teach the fundamentals of football and cheerleading emphasizing a commitment to players and their families to put safety first by ensuring that participants are outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment that has been properly certified, inspected and maintained. All coaches and assistant coaches are Heads Up trained and certified.

In addition to safety, OSW supports an all-inclusive philosophy by not excluding participants based upon athletic ability or financial circumstance.  The Westbrook Foundation grant enables OSW to offer scholarships to those in the community who wish to participate but have limited resources.

Old Saybrook Westbrook Youth Football and Cheerleading promotes good sportsmanship, teamwork, the highest moral and physical standards, as well as the importance of scholarship and academic achievement.

For more information on the 2015 football and cheerleading programs, visit www.oswyouthfootball.com.

Open Auditions This Afternoon for Tri-Town Youth Services’ Production of ‘What Got Me Through’

AREAWIDE — Tri Town Youth Services, in collaboration with Community Performance International, will be holding local auditions for non-union actors for their original production, ‘What Got Me Through,’ on Monday, Aug. 10 from 3 to 8 p.m. at Chester Meeting House.

‘What Got Me Through’ tells the stories of tri-town’s own residents — their challenges, victories, heartbreaks and resilience — in a one-act play that takes us through the lives of a Vietnam veteran experiencing PTSD, an unwed mother during the tumultuous post-war years of the fifties, survivors of fires — both physical and those that burn from within — as well as the deep, close bonds of friendship and family that hold fast through generations.

What Got Me Through’ is the uplifting tale of Tri-Town’s ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Auditions are open to actors of all ages, children and adults. Final performances will be at Chester Meeting House on Oct. 2, 3 and 4.

Call Gail or Cate at Tri Town Youth Services, 860-526-3600, for more information.

Essex Savings Bank Donates to Non-Profits

ESSEX — Gregory R. Shook, President & CEO of Essex Savings Bank announced the completion of distribution from the Directors’ portion of the Community Investment Fund. Total distributions for the year will amount to $100,000 and will surpass $4 million since the program’s 1996 inception of distributing 10% of after tax net income. Donations for this portion have been allocated to the following non-profit organizations.

Angel Charities, Inc. * Camp Hazen YMCA * The Chester Historical Society, Inc. * Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, Inc. * Community Foundation of Middlesex County * Connecticut River Museum at Steamboat Dock * The Deep River Historical Society * Essex Historical Society * Florence Griswold Museum * The Ivoryton Library Association * Ivoryton Village Alliance * Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center & Theatre * Lawrence & Memorial Hospital * Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts * Lyme Art Association * Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau * MacCurdy Salisbury Educational Foundation, Inc. * Madison Land Conservation Trust * Middlesex Hospital * Middlesex United Way * The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Association, Inc. * Rotary Club of Essex Foundation * Tri-Town Youth Service Bureau, Inc. * Valley Shore YMCA * Vista (Vocational Independent Supported Transitional Alternative).

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 providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and wholly-owned subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC.

Vista Arts Center Hosts “Paint Night” at Madison, Monday

Participants in the upcoming “Paint Night” will paint the view of Tuxis Island from the Madison Surf Club.

Participants in the upcoming “Paint Night” will paint the view of Tuxis Island from the Madison Surf Club.

AREAWIDE — The Vista Arts Center is hosting a special “Paint Night with Vista” at the Madison Surf Club on Monday, Aug. 17, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Participants will paint the view of Tuxis Island from the patio of the Surf Club alongside local celebrities Madison First Selectman Fillmore McPherson, architect Duo Dickinson and WTNH newscaster Jim Watkins. At the end of the evening, participants take their works of art home.

A social art class offered by the Vista Arts Center, “Paint Night” is open to community members of all artistic skill levels. No prior painting experience is required. The class will be led by local artist and Vista staff member Samantha Listorti, who will provide step-by-step guidance.

The cost for this special evening is $40 per person. Food will be available for purchase at the Surf Club. Because space is limited, registration is required.

To secure your seat, visit the Vista website or contact Amanda Roberts, Arts Program Manager, at 860-399-8080 or aroberts@vistavocational.org.

The mission of the Vista Arts Center is to provide quality arts programming to a diverse, adult population that promotes self-expression and learning in a nurturing, noncompetitive environment.

Based in Madison and Westbrook, Conn., Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success.

For more information about Vista, visit www.vistavocational.org

Essex Land Trust Sponsors North Cove/Falls River Kayak Trip This Afternoon

Essex Land Trust offers a kayak trip into North Cove, Aug. 6.

Essex Land Trust offers a kayak trip into North Cove, Aug. 6.

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust invites you to bring your own boat on Saturday, Aug. 6, for this popular summer kayak/canoe trip into peaceful North Cove and Falls River, accompanied by a naturalist. See the abundant wildlife and revisit the history of this waterway where many of Essex’s colonial ships were built.

North Cove
Participants should arrive at 4:30 p.m. to register on-site at Bushnell Street public boat launching site off of North Main St., Essex, and launch their crafts on the rising tide prior to the 5 p.m. departure time.  A safety boat will accompany.

Bad weather cancels. Note: this event was originally scheduled for June 6 but was postponed due to poor weather conditions.

North Cove is a 230-acre body of tidal water between the Falls River and the Connecticut River. The Cove was noted for shipbuilding, and the nearby Williams’ yard turned out sloops and schooners for the commercial trade in the 19th century.

The cove is formed in part by Great Meadow, a 174-acre “pendant bar” or levee along the Connecticut River. Great Meadow has no public access.

Empty now, Great Meadow was once a beehive of activity. Cattle were grazed, salt hay was harvested and duck hunting blinds once lined the shore. The bar was also a base for the local fishing industry and its lucrative seasonal shad run.


Community Music School Receives Grant to Fund Scholarships, Pop-Up Kindermusik Days

CMS Kindermusik teacher Nancy Thomas is joined by members of the Community Foundation of Middlesex County grants committee and participants in a Pop-Up Day. Photo courtesy of Community Music School.

CMS Kindermusik teacher Nancy Thomas (front row, kneeling, second from right) is joined by members of the Community Foundation of Middlesex County grants committee and participants in a Pop-Up Day. Photo courtesy of Community Music School.

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School (CMS) has announced receipt of a $2,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County to support the award-winning early childhood program, Kindermusik. Community Music School used the funds to present Kindermusik Pop-Up Days throughout the community during the summer and will offer Kindermusik scholarships for its fall semester.

“We are grateful for the support this year,” says Robin Andreoli, CMS Executive Director,” continuing, “More children in our community will benefit from this wonderful early childhood music program thanks to the generosity of the Community Foundation and those who support their efforts.”

The final Pop-Up Day takes place on Wednesday, Aug. 26, at 10 a.m. at CMS, 90 Main St., Centerbrook.  The classes are recommended for ages 18 months to 4 years and offer a fun-filled 45 minutes of singing, dancing, and lots of giggles!

Additionally, interested families can attend a preview Kindermusik class during the School’s Open House on Tuesday, Sept. 15.  Three distinct age-appropriate classes are offered that day: Village Class for 6 to 18-months-old will be at 9 a.m.; Time class for 18 months to 3-years-old will be at 10 a.m.; and Imagine That for 3- and 4-year-olds will take place at 11 a.m.

For more information about Kindermusik, the scholarship program, other Community Music School programs, visit www.community-music-school.org or call 860-767-0026.

The Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for the people of the County, now and in the future, by developing endowments, making grants that have impact and assisting donors in meeting their philanthropic objectives.

Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has awarded 907 grants totaling over $2.8 million for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities, environmental improvements and for health and human services.

Community Music School is a not-for-profit arts organization that has been serving the music education needs of students for nearly 30 years. Founded in 1983, Community Music School has grown steadily over the years and now occupies 6,000 square feet of space in two buildings with 17 studios and small group performance space.  Today, CMS has nearly 500 students of all ages from Essex and 17 surrounding towns throughout Middlesex, New London and New Haven counties.

The mission of CMS is to provide a full range of the finest possible instruction and musical opportunities to persons of all ages and abilities, to increase appreciation of music and to encourage a sense of joy in learning and performing, thus enriching the life of the community.

Deep River Historical Society Hosts Cartoonist C.D. Batchelor Exhibit Open This Weekend

Self portrait by C.D. Batchelor.

Self portrait by C.D. Batchelor.

DEEP RIVER  — Viewed by millions daily in The New York Daily News and syndicated in 1,000 newspapers across the country, the work of C.D. Batchelor was thought-provoking and challenged the reader to draw his own conclusions.

Batchelor was hired by The New York Daily News in 1931 and his strong, graphic cartoons filled the upper-right columns of the editorial page, seven days a week for the next 25 years. He was the first political cartoonist to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 and by 1947 his work was circulated to nearly three million readers.

Funded in part by a grant from the Connecticut Humanities, the Deep River Historical Society invites you to step into his world, view a collection of his work that spanned 40 of the most turbulent years in U.S. history.

The exhibit titled, “Draw Your Own Conclusions: The Political Cartoons of C.D. Batchelor,” will be open at the Stone House of the Deep River Historical Society at 245 Main Street, Deep River on Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. through the months of July and August.

Also in the Stone House are Victorian furniture, historic paintings, and collections of Deep River businesses and products including Niland cut glass, and ivory products of Pratt, Read & Co.   Visitors may also see the last remaining restored bleach house for piano keys.

All are welcome and admission is free.

One of C.D. Batchelor's famous cartoons.

One of C.D. Batchelor’s famous cartoons.

Editor’s Note: Connecticut Humanities, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, supports cultural and historic organizations that tell the state’s stories, build community and enrich lives.

Move to ‘Memphis’ at Ivoryton Playhouse! Show Opens to Rave Reviews

Taavon Gamble*, Michael Sullivan, Teren Carter*, Mya Rose and Kevin Moeti in a recent rehearsal.

Taavon Gamble*, Michael Sullivan, Teren Carter*, Mya Rose and Kevin Moeti in a recent rehearsal.

IVORYTON – After the first two previews and two instantaneous standing ovations, the phones are ringing off the hook at the Ivoryton Playhouse.  Memphis exploded onto the Ivoryton stage yesterday evening and audiences were captivated from the first “fantastical” number.

The Ivoryton Playhouse has now left the sunny tropical shores of the South Pacific and traveled to the sizzling backstreets of ‘50s Memphis. The show is set in the places where rock and roll was born – the seedy, underground dance clubs, radio stations and recording studios in 1950s Memphis, Tenn.

Inspired by true events, this high energy musical tells the story of DJ Huey Calhoun, who falls in love with a beautiful singer and battles cultural divides as he tries to bring her voice to the airwaves of America.

Renee Jackson* and Chawnta Marie Van in rehearsal.

Renee Jackson* and Chawnta Marie Van in rehearsal.

As their careers rise, a revolution erupts when his vision meets her voice and the music changed forever.  With an original score, this musical is filled with heart, soul and energy to burn!  Winner of four 2010 Tony Awards, Memphis was written by Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, All Shook Up) with electrifying blues, rock, ballads and gospel music created by Bon Jovi’s David Bryan.

Writer Joe DiPietro will be joining the cast on stage for talk back after the performance on opening night, Friday, Aug. 7,  followed by a reception with the cast and crew. Limited tickets are still available for this performance.

Renee Jackson* and Carson Higgins* practice a song.

Renee Jackson* and Carson Higgins* study their parts for Memphis.

The Playhouse production of Memphis is directed and choreographed by Todd Underwood, whose last work was seen at the Ivoryton Playhouse as choreographer for La Cage aux Folles and Dreamgirls.  The show features Carson Higgins* as Huey, Rénee Jackson* as Felicia Farrell, Teren Carter* as Delray, Jamal Shuriah* as Gator.

This musical is directed by Michael Morris, the set is designed by Martin Scott Marchitto, lighting by Doug Harry and costumes by Elizabeth Cipollina.


Memphis opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse in previews on Wednesday, Aug. 5, (official opening Friday, Aug. 7) and runs through Aug. 30. 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.  There will be two additional Saturday matinees on Aug. 22 and 29 at 2 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.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

This production of ‘Memphis’ is generously sponsored by:  Pasta Vita, First Niagara, Sennheiser and Saybrook Country Barn.

Final Performances of ‘Mary Poppins’ Tonight, Tomorrow

adAREAWIDE — Artful Living has announced its 2015 Summer Musical, Mary Poppins, to be performed July 31 and Aug. 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Tickets and information are available at www.ArtfulLivingCT.com  or call 860-389-1363

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15  for seniors and children (Groups of 10 or more save $1)

The show will be performed at Haddan-Killingworth Middle School at 451 Rte. 81, Killingworth in a state of the art fully accessible, fully air-conditioned theater.

Mary Poppins is one of the most popular Disney movies of all time and is now capturing hearts in a whole new way – as a hit musical!  sCome experience the enchanting mixture of irresistible story and unforgettable tunes. It features all the classic songs “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee” “Step In Time” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” to name a few- plus wonderful new music!

See over 100 adults and children from all over the state come together to create the magic of Mary Poppins. Enjoy this beloved score with a full professional orchestra.

Questions? Want to book a group? Call producer Chris Solimene at 860-389-1363.

Burt’s Photo Exhibit, ‘Hidden Lives of Baby Wetland Birds,’ on Show at CT River Museum Through Oct. 12

Tri-colored heron ©Wm Burt (15.2 x 20)

Tri-colored heron ©Wm Burt (15.2 x 20)

ESSEX — An exhibition of photos by William Burt titled, “Water Babies – The Hidden Lives of Baby Wetland Birds,” is on show at the Connecticut River Museum through Oct. 12at the Connecticut River Museum.  This is the fourth of William Burt’s photo exhibitions, each based on one of his books, to show at the Museum.

The exhibition features 40 framed archival pigment prints, all made by the photographer, and 18 text panels quoting passages from the book of the same name.  The pieces are sequenced such that every “water baby” is juxtaposed with the adult bird it becomes.

For 40 years, photographer William Burt has chased after the birds few people see: first rails, then bitterns, nightjars, and other skulkers – and now these, elusive creatures of a very different kind: the Water Babies.  They are the subjects of his coming book, and also this exhibition at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex. The book will be published in October 2015 by W. W. Norton/Countryman.

Red-necked phalarope ©Wm Burt

Red-necked phalarope ©Wm Burt

The “babies” are the downy young of ducks, grebes, gallinules and shorebirds, herons, and other wetland birds – those that get their feet wet, as it were – and challenging they are, to birder and photographer alike: quick-footed, wary, and well-camouflaged, to say the least; and temporary.

You have only a week or two each year in which to find them.  But above all else, they are endearing.  From the comic-monster herons to the fuzzy ducklings and stick-legged sandpipers, these tots have personality, and spunk.  You see it in their faces, each and every one.

To find these youngsters and adults, Burt prowled their wetland breeding grounds each spring and summer for some seven years, all over North America, from the Arctic Circle to the Gulf of Mexico.  The result is a portrait of these wild birds of the wetlands as both young and old, unknown and known, new and familiar.

Burt is a naturalist, writer, and photographer with a passion for wild places and elusive birds – especially marshes, and the shy birds within.  His feature stories are seen in Smithsonian, Audubon, National Wildlife, and other magazines, and he has written three previous books: Shadowbirds (1994); Rare & Elusive Birds of North America (2001); and Marshes: The Disappearing Edens (2007).

Burt’s photo exhibitions have been shown at some 35 museums across the U.S. and Canada.  He lives in Old Lyme, Conn.

For more information on this and other museum programs, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main St., Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information, call 860-767-8269 or visit  www.ctrivermuseum.org.

Deep River Congregational Church Hosts Flea Market, Aug. 15

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Congregational Church is busy making final preparations for its annual Flea Market and Rummage Sale, which will be held during the third weekend of August.   The Saturday, Aug. 15, Flea Market is held on Marvin Field and on the grounds around the church.

Just a few 20 x 20 foot spaces are still available for $30 and can be reserved by contacting the church office for a reservation form and map at 860-526-5045 or office.drcc@snet.net or forms can be downloaded from the church web site at www.deeprivercc.org

Join a ‘Summer Sing’ in Saybrook, Monday

OLD SAYBROOK — Cappella Cantorum and Con Brio will sponsor a Summer Sing Monday, Monday, Aug. 10, 7 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Road, Old Saybrook featuring Haydn’s ‘Lord Nelson Mass.’ This session will be conducted by Steve Bruce, Con Brio Chorual Society.

Professional Soloists will perform the solos and all singers are welcome.

An $8 fee covers the cost of the event. Scores will be available, and the church is air-conditioned.

For more information, call (860) 767-9409 or (203) 245-6947 or visit www.CappellaCantorum.org or www.conbrio.org

Noted Folk Musician, Composer Larry Kaplan to Perform ‘On the Dock’ Tonight

Larry Kaplan  will give a concert "On the Dock," Thursday, Aug. 13.

Larry Kaplan will give a concert “On the Dock,” Thursday, Aug. 6.

ESSEX — On Thursday, Aug. 6, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Connecticut River Museum will host acclaimed folk musician and composer Larry Kaplan at its ‘Thursdays on the Docks’ concert series.

Considered by many as one of the best song-makers in the folk song revival, Larry Kaplan’s music is known widely in both the US and internationally for its strong storytelling and for its simple and beautiful melody lines. His songs have been sung and recorded by many contemporary and traditional folk artists around the world.

Accompanying himself on guitar and banjo, many of his works have deep roots in his native New England, and respectfully capture the spirit that derives from small, often quiet events in history that have shaped the New England spirit, some serious, some funny, many eccentric, all real.

“Old Zeb,” “Song for Gale,” “Song for the Bowdoin,” “John,” “Get Her into Shore,” “Selling the Isabel,” “Aroostook” are just a few examples of his work — poignant stories in song, written in the truest folk tradition, honest, highly singable … always memorable.

Kaplan has just released a new CD through Folk Legacy Records, “Songs for an August Moon,” and will be introducing a new offering of music from that recording and an upcoming release along with many familiar favorites.

Visitors can enjoy the live music while taking in the views of the Connecticut River.  New this year, the Essex Wellness Center is offering free back massages during the concert.  Picnic dinners provided by Porky Pete’s BBQ (hamburgers, grilled chicken, hot dogs, and BBQ sandwiches) will be available for purchase on the night of the event.  The Museum also runs a bar with non-alcoholic drinks, beer and wine.

‘Thursdays on the Dock’ is made possible by the Essex Wellness Center and Connecticut River Dock & Dredge and takes place on the grounds of the Connecticut River Museum every Thursday night through Aug. 27 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  This concert is a benefit concert to help the Museum continue and grow its community offerings. The concert is free, donations gratefully accepted.

For more information on this and other museum programs, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information, call 860-767-8269 or visit www.ctrivermuseum.org.

Join Essex Land Trust’s ‘Hike of the Month’ at Osaga Trails This Morning

Osage_Trails_mapTake an easy stroll to one of the Essex Land Trust’s property gems, Osage Trails, on Saturday, Aug. 1, starting at 9 a.m. This walk, hosted by stewards Lisa and Jerry Baczewski, is sponsored by the Essex Land Trust and forms the August  ‘Hike of the Month.’

A gift of Elizabeth Barnes Callender in 1998, Osage Trails is a waterfront park with 
a sweeping lawn, a waterside meadow and a patch of forest where the Falls River forms Falls River Cove.

The easy, well-marked loop trail winds through woods and wetlands close to the water as well as along higher ground inland.

A Battle Site Essex sign panel on the shore of the Falls River commemorates the British raid that took place on April 4, 1814. Across the Falls River one can still see the stone bulkhead extending into the cove and a fieldstone building foundation, which are the only remains of the Williams’ shipbuilding yard targeted by the British in their attack on Essex.

To reach Osage Trails, take Maple Avenue, off North Main St. to Foxboro Rd. entrance, Essex. Refreshments will be provided.

‘Theater Along the River’ Performs ‘Titus Andronicus’ at CT River Museum This Evening

Flock Theatre presents Shakespeare’s 'Titus Andronicus' as part of the Connecticut River Museum’s Theater Along the River, Aug. 1. Photo courtesy of Flock Theatre.

Flock Theatre presents Shakespeare’s ‘Titus Andronicus’ as part of the Connecticut River Museum’s Theater Along the River, Aug. 1. Photo courtesy of Flock Theatre.

ESSEX — On Saturday, Aug. 1 the Connecticut River Museum’s Theater Along the River returns with the Flock Theatre production of William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.  Bring a picnic dinner, and enjoy a summer evening with the Bard.

Murder, revenge, and a touch of madness all feature in 'Titus Andronicus.'

Murder, revenge, and a touch of madness all feature in ‘Titus Andronicus.’

Made possible by presenting sponsor Essex Wellness Center with additional support from Wells Fargo Advisors, Titus Andronicus is thought to be Shakespeare’s first tragedy.  Written between 1588 and 1593, it was highly popular in its day but fell out of favor in the Victorian era due to its graphic violence. The story follows a fictional Roman Empire general named Titus through a cycle of revenge with Tamora, Queen of the Goths and is often viewed as Shakespeare’s attempt to emulate the revenge plays of his contemporaries.

Director of Flock Theatre, Derron Wood said that “Titus Andronicus is not for the faint of heart. It involves war, murder, horror, revenge, and a touch of madness.”  Wood invites the public to “come see this rarely produced yet thrilling play performed under the stars along the Connecticut River.”

Connecticut River Museum Executive Director, Christopher Dobbs, said that “Flock Theatre is a master of Shakespeare.  In June they stunned us with their original and creative interpretation of Twelfth Night.”  Dobbs went on to note that “I can’t wait to see what kind of enchantment and theatrical craftsmanship they pull off this time.”

The museum’s grounds will open at 6 PM for picnickers to layout blankets and chairs.  Museum staff encourage the audience to make the picnic part of the experience.  In fact, there will be a special prize awarded to the “best” picnic arrangement.

Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for children (12 and under).  No carry-in alcohol is permitted.  Tickets may be bought at www.ctrivermuseum.org or at the door starting at 6 PM the night of the performance. Curtain opens at 7 PM with a rain date of Sunday, August 2.

Flock Theatre is a professional, not-for-profit theatre company founded in 1989. The theater company is dedicated to creating original, collaborative and educational theater. Perhaps best known for their long-standing summer Shakespeare in the Arboretum, Flock Theatre performs year-round in a variety of venues, including their winter “nest” at the First Congregational Church, on the New London Pier, at the historic Shaw Mansion Museum and throughout New England.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 am – 5 pm.  For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.