June 30, 2015

Klezmer’s Big Band Plays a Free Concert in Chester Today

The Nu Haven Kapelye 2015. Photo courtesy of Nu Haven Kapelye.

The Nu Haven Kapelye 2015. Photo courtesy of Nu Haven Kapelye.

CHESTER — Enthusiasts of klezmer bands may argue over which ensemble is the best in this part of New England, but there is no doubt about which one is the biggest.

Come see and hear for yourself when Nu Haven Kapelye, a group that has included as many as 30 musicians, ranging in age from 8 to 80, plays at the annual free picnic concert on the grounds of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester on Sunday, June 28, at 5 p.m.

The band was formed in the late 1990s when a small group of local musicians came together to create a concert of Jewish music for the greater New Haven community on Christmas Day.  Over the last 15 years, the group has become a full-fledged year-round Klezmer Big Band.  The members include professional musicians, students, and a whole bunch of amateur community members who love to play Yiddish song and dance classics.

The director of the Music & More series, Miriam Gardner-Frum, says, the Nu Haven “promises to bring incredible energy and spirit to this annual event.”

Though the concert, wrapping up the seventh season of concerts, is free and no reservations are required, audience members are asked to bring canned or boxed food items to benefit the Shoreline Soup Kitchen, the charity of this annual event.

Food items, such as kosher hot dogs, will be available for purchase with proceeds going to the soup kitchen.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  For more information about the concert or the congregation, call the synagogue office, 860-526-8920.

 

Photo: courtesy of Nu Haven Kapelye

Registration Open for Chester Rotary’s 37th Annual “Four on the Fourth” Road Race

Rotary 2015 Road Race logoCHESTER — On Saturday, July 4, the Rotary Club of Chester will sponsor its perennially popular 37th Annual “4 on the 4th” Road Race – a time-honored Chester tradition.  The start time is 9 a.m.   The scenic, rolling course that loops its way around and through the quaint Village of Chester is USATF sanctioned and measured.

On-line, pre-entry is available through www.Active.com until 9 p.m. on Wed., July 1.  Information is also available at www.chesterrotary.org.  Entry fee is $25.

New this year, Advanced Registration is available Friday evening, July 3, between 4 and 6 p.m. at St Joseph’s Parish Center, 48 Middlesex Ave., Chester, Conn.

Race Day Registration will be between 7 and 8:30 a.m. at St Joseph’s Parish Center.   Pre-registered runners may pick up race packets at either the Friday evening advanced or Saturday morning, race day registration. All entrants receive a road race T-shirt (while they last) and a complimentary drink ticket for use after the race.

Entertainment, food and drinks for participants and spectators will be available.  Beer will be offered at the Rotary-sponsored beer tent.  Food will be available from Chester Main Street merchants.

Chester will be closed at 8 a.m. on race day.  Parking will be limited; carpooling is encouraged.  Detour and parking data are available on-line at www.chesterrotary.org.

Chester Rotarians are dedicated to providing funding and service to local, national and international charitable organizations.  All proceeds from this event support these causes.

Letter to the Editor: Thanks to Police for Prompt Assistance, Follow-up in Home Burglary

To the Editor:
 
I live in Chester, CT and I would like to take this opportunity to publically thank our local Resident Trooper, Officer Ewing and Troop F Officer G. for all the hard work they have done on my family’s  behalf.
 
Recently, my husband entered our home and discovered we had been robbed.  He called the Trooper’s office and then he called me.  But, before I could get home, Trooper G. was already there.  Later, he was joined by Officer Ewing who at the time was on another case.
 
Both officers performed a thorough investigation and were extremely helpful.  The robbers took off with the typical stuff but it was reported by a Good Samaritan that there was no car in our driveway during the robbery. So the Troopers thought they may have taken off on foot out in the woods.  So they brought in a tracking dog to track the nearby woods.
 
So far, our things have not been recovered, but I know Officer Ewing is still looking as he has called with updates and one time stopped by the house and spoke with our family.
 
We are fortunate to live in such a lovely town that is so well protected.  I feel safer now just knowing how our security is handled. Good job Officers Ewing and Officer G.  Thank you both so, so much.
 
Sincerely,
The Monahan family including,
Christina and Steven Monahan, Chester.

Chester Library Offers Summer Fun for Kids, Wednesdays in July

Leigh Basilone (center) will once again teach kids scrapbooking techniques at Chester Library this summer.

Leigh Basilone (center) will once again teach kids scrapbooking techniques at Chester Library this summer.

CHESTER — When the kids say they’re bored this summer, offer to take them to one of the free craft programs at Chester Library.

For ages 7 and up, five craft workshops are offered on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m.  On July 8, learn Origami paper folding with Jenna and Erin. The next week, on July 15, sculpt a mythic Medusa. Decorate a photo frame with recycled re-useables on July 22, create Vegi Critters with Sandy on July 29, and learn the art of polymer (Sculpty) clay with Jenna and Erin on Aug. 5.

Ages 10 and older are invited to the scrapbooking class with Leigh Basilone on Thursday, July 9, at 4:30 p.m. Back by popular demand, Basilone will teach kids how to create a memory page with photos and more.

Registration is required for all programs. Sign up now at the library or call 860-526-0018.

Chester Library Kicks Off “Heroes” Summer Program on Monday

Margie Warner will entertain on Monday at Chester Library's Summer Reading Program kick-off event.

Margie Warner will entertain on Monday at Chester Library’s Summer Reading Program kick-off event.

CHESTER — Children of all ages and their parents are invited to the kickoff of Chester Library’s summer reading program, “Every Hero Has a Story,”  on Monday, June 29, at 10:30 a.m.

Chester’s own Margie Warner will entertain with her fun, interactive musical program, “You’re My Hero.” Warner is traveling the state all summer to give her program in recognition of the nationwide summer reading initiative about heroes.

After the program, materials will be available for all children – readers and pre-readers – to start them off in the summer reading program as a “reading hero.” Refreshments will be served.

For more information about the summer program at the Chester Library, call 860-526-0018.

Leif Nilsson’s ‘Concert in the Garden’ Tonight Features D.B. Rielly

D.B. Rielly will perform a 'Concert in the Garden' June 25 at the Spring Street Gallery. Photo courtesy of D.B. Rielly.

D.B. Rielly will perform a ‘Concert in the Garden’ June 25 at the Spring Street Gallery. Photo courtesy of D.B. Rielly.

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts another ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Thursday, June 25, from 7 to 9 p.m., this time featuring D.B. Rielly 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.

D.B. Rielly is an award-winning singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who, along with his band, performs a wide-ranging collection of Americana music, including Roots, Zydeco, Blues, and Alt-Country. WMLB in Atlanta calls him “One of the best songwriters you’ve never heard of” and Country Music People Magazine says he is “Rootsy, frequently very funny, witty and cynical, literate and highly enjoyable. Rielly is definitely someone to watch out for.” D.B. promises his listeners an “instantaneous cure for all afflictions.”

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

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

For more information, visit:
http://www.dbrielly.com
http://www.youtube.com/dbrielly
http://www.facebook.com/pages/DB-Rielly/43416220585

Miller Applauds Historic Student Loan Rate Cut

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Phil Miller

AREAWIDE — State Representative Philip Miller (D-36th) is applauding a recent announcement by the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA) that it will offer a fixed interest rate of 4.95 percent for new student loans, down from its current rate of 6.75 percent.

The rate is also significantly lower than the upcoming Federal PLUS loan rate, which will be 6.84 percent, and is the lowest rate CHESLA has ever offered. CHESLA will also be increasing the maximum allowed debt-to-income ratio from 40% to 43%.

“This announcement by CHESLA is certainly good news for students over-burdened with large student loans, along with their parents,” Rep. Miller said. “Hopefully, this development should help make higher education more affordable to more students in our state.”

These money-saving changes follow legislative passage of House Bill 6907, which asked CHESLA to develop a plan to lower student loan interest rates and increase the maximum allowable debt-to-income ratio.

Rep. Miller said students and parents can contact CHESLA at www.chesla.org for additional information or call (800) 935-2275.

Editor’s Note: Philip Miller is state representative for the 36th Assembly District comprising the Towns of  Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 Honors Eagle Scout Nathaniel Kinsman

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Nathaniel Kinsman. Photo by: Lianne Rutty

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Nathaniel Kinsman. Photo by: Lianne Rutty

CHESTER & DEEP RIVER —  An Eagle Scout Court of Honor was held recently for Nathaniel Kinsman at the First Church of Christ in East Haddam, Conn. Kinsman is a member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 13, which serves boys aged 11-18 of Chester and Deep River.

To become an Eagle Scout, Kinsman earned 54 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.

Kinsman’s project was to refurbish the playground at the First Church of Christ in East Haddam.  This included covering areas of the playground with fresh wood chips; refurbishing the two existing benches; sanding and refinishing the sandbox and refilling with clean sand; repairing the children’s playhouse; applying several coats of linseed oil to all playground swings and structures; adding new toddler swings; and landscaping the surrounding area.

Congratulations, Nathaniel!

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 enjoyable.

For more information about joining Troop 13, contact Scoutmaster Steven Merola at 860-526-9262

Chester Village West Foundation Awards Scholarships to Ivoryton, Old Saybrook Residents

CHESTER – Three Chester Village West employees and three children of employees have each been awarded a $2,5000 scholarship from the Chester Village West Foundation, Inc. The scholarships will help these employees and their children continue their education at colleges and universities in Connecticut and beyond.

Jordan  and AnnMarie Saintilis

Ann Marie and Jordan Saintil

The scholarship recipients include Ivoryton resident Jordan Saintil and Old Saybrook resident Jack Conway.

Saintil is the son of Chester Village West kitchen staff member Anne Marie Saintil. He is entering his senior year at Endicott College, majoring in sports management and participating in a work intern program. Saintil’s dream is to obtain a position in management with the Boston Celtics.

Jack ConwayConway, the son of Chester Village West activities director Marcy Conway, is a fifth-year mechanical engineering student at the University of Connecticut. Conway, who works in a computer store, hopes to get a job in aeronautical engineering upon his graduation in 2016.

“Employees of Chester Village West do so much to make this community a great place to live – they are part of our extended family,” said Joan Galliher, a four-year resident and the foundation’s volunteer president. “Every year, residents express their appreciation by generously supporting the foundation’s scholarship program to help staff members – and their children – pursue their higher education goals.”

Created as not-for profit entity in 1998 by a group of Chester Village residents, over the past 17 years the Chester Village West Foundation has raised and provided scholarships to the community’s staff and their children, helping them to further their education beyond high school. Over the past few years, the individual scholarship awards have been gradually increased to the current $2,500 per person.

Other recipients of the Chester Village West Foundation’s 2015 scholarships are:

Killingworth resident Erin Fredericksen, a receptionist at Chester Village West and daughter of housekeeping staff member Debbie Fredericksen, is a senior majoring in biology at Central Connecticut State University.

East Hampton resident Max Nadelman, stepson of Chester Village West chef Will Dallas, has just been accepted at Northeastern University, where he will begin studies in business analytics and technology in its business school.

Killingworth resident Donald O’Boyle, a member of the Chester Village West dining room wait staff, is entering his fourth year at the University of Connecticut with a double major in electrical engineering and German.

East Haddam resident Jacob “Jake” Woodworth is a member of the Chester Village West dining room wait staff. He has been accepted for his freshman year at Cambpell University in North Carolina, where he will be majoring in homeland security.

Residents of the Chester Village West community make tax-deductible contributions to the Chester Village West Foundation Inc. on a monthly or annual basis. Employee candidates for the scholarships must work a minimum of 200 hours at Chester Village West during a calendar year. Chester Village West employees submit their applications, school transcripts and recommendations to the foundation’s committee on April 1 for review. Scholarships are awarded during a June ceremony for the recipients, their families and friends.

Located in historic Chester, Connecticut, Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Within a small community of private residences that offer convenience, companionship, service and security, Chester Village West enriches lives with a comprehensive program that enhances fitness, nutrition, active life, health and well-being.

Find out more at chestervillagewestlcs.com.

Visit the community on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChesterVillageWest.

Film on LeWitt’s Landmark Synagogue to Premier Today at Madison Cinema

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CHESTER — Complete with a red carpet, the Madison Art Cinemas will host the Sunday, June 14, world premiere of We Built This House, a one-hour film telling the story of Chester synagogue Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ)—known as a global art landmark for being the only public building that acclaimed artist Sol LeWitt ever designed.

Film producer-director Jon Joslow, a lifetime member of the Congregation, will discuss the movie and a reception will follow the screening. Tickets are open to the public and may be obtained for a donation of $18 each through the synagogue office, 860 526 8920. The start time is 11 a.m.

In a 2013 profile, Town & Country’s arts editor compared the striking Chester sanctuary with a masterpiece chapel Henri Matisse created in Nice, France. But the synagogue, opened in 2001, started as a napkin sketch. LeWitt first drew a structure inspired by traditional wooden temples of Eastern Europe combined with elements of colonial New England barns.

worshipWe Built This House traces how architect Stephen Lloyd translated LeWitt’s vision into post and beam, and how the Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek community collaborated and improvised—even adapting a design discovered in a medieval English watermill—to give structure to the sanctuary’s wooden dome. LeWitt’s iconic installation on the ark drew national attention when the building opened; it prompted Town & Country to observe “modern art as [the sanctuary’s] focal point.”

LeWitt, a Chester resident who died at 78 in 2007, is recognized as one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century. The sanctuary has become known as one of the most astonishing, and spiritually welcoming, religious spaces in the world.

True to its roots, Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek has become one of the shoreline’s most vital cultural centers. Its Music & More performances draw hundreds and its art gallery features serial exhibitions from established and breakthrough artists.

Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek—Hebrew for “House of Peace Pursuing Justice”—is marking the 100th year since the founding of one of its two predecessor temples in Moodus. We Built This House is part of yearlong centennial celebrations culminating in an Oct. 3 gala and the inaugural presentation of the synagogue’s new annual Pursuer of Peace and Justice Award. Though it is located in Chester, temple members come from 36 towns, from West Hartford to Westbrook, Norwich to North Branford.

Producer/director Joslow is a crisis/transition leader for private equity who spent a year mining the history of the congregation and its building. Given time limitations in the documentary, which was conceived as a pilot, the synagogue is developing a parallel video archive to capture stories of all congregants who were part of the building’s creation. Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is also positioning the film to encourage financial contributions to support “Second Century” programming. Supporters can be listed in permanent screen credits as producers.

DVDs of We Built This House are expected to be released later this year. Given the film’s unique insights into art as architecture, and into how a community can join together in creative enterprise, organizers anticipate interest among public television stations, those engaged in architectural and design collaborations, and art museums, in airing it following the premiere.

The Madison Art Cinemas is located at 761 Boston Post Road, Madison CT.

For more information on We Built This House or Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, see www.cbsrz.org or www.ancientandcool.com. Or contact Temple Administrator Wendy Bayor at wendy@cbsrz.net or 860-526-8920.

Quinnipiac Professor, Author Thomas Reveals Gibson Guitar’s Female Workforce Story Tonight

The extraordinary craftswomen of WWII Kalamazoo.

The extraordinary craftswomen of WWII Kalamazoo

CHESTER –  When Quinnipiac University law professor, author and guitar aficionado John Thomas stumbled upon a 1940s photo of 70 female workers in front of the Gibson Guitar factory in Kalamazoo Michigan, he was determined to find them and uncover their stories. He was also intent on learning why Gibson’s advertising denied the factory was making guitars during the war, despite the fact that their female workers produced 25,000 guitars from 1940 to 1945.

Thomas’ interviews with 12 of these remarkable women – and how he and colleagues at Quinnipiac’s medical school proved the superior quality of their work as their men fought in the “Good War” – are detailed in his book, “Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of Extraordinary Women and Gibson’s Banner Guitars of WWII”.

In a free and open to the public multimedia presentation, Thomas will tell the story of Gibson Guitar’s “Kalamazoo Gals” on Friday, June 12, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Chester Village West, 317 Main Street, Chester Conn. 06412.

Space for the presentation is limited; call 860.526.6800 or email chestervillagewest@lcsnet.com to reserve your seats.

Located in historic Chester, Connecticut, Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Within a small community of private residences that offer convenience, companionship, service and security, Chester Village West enriches lives with a comprehensive program that enhances fitness, nutrition, active life, health and well being. Find out more at chestervillagewestlcs.com.

‘Concert in the Garden’ Tonight Features ‘The Dizzy River Band’

The Dizzy River Band. Photo courtesy of The Dizzy River Band.

The Dizzy River Band. Photo courtesy of The Dizzy River Band.

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts another ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Thursday, June 11, from 7 to 9 p.m., this time featuring ‘The Dizzy River Band’ at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery. This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

Tom Soboleski comments,”Dizzy River Band is one of the best original bands you’ll find anywhere. They do some covers for people like Clapton and Red Hot Chili Peppers but what makes them special is the unique original songs they’ve written and composed – great lyrics about life’s ups and downs. To top it off, they’re all outstanding musicians and their harmonies are heavenly – you need to hear them to grasp and be awed by their signature sound.”

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

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

Opening Reception Tomorrow for Wnek’s ‘Soul of the Landscape’ Photo Exhibit at CBSRZ

'Whispers of Past' by Peter Wnek illustrate's the photographer's captivating style.

‘Whispers of Past’ by Peter Wnek beautifully illustrate’s the photographer’s captivating style.

CHESTER — Award-winning photographer Peter Wnek explores the ‘Soul of the Landscape’ in his exhibition of fine art photography at the Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ), which runs through July 28, with an opening reception on Sunday, June 7, from 4 to 7 p.m.

‘Soul of the Landscape’ celebrates the beauty and spirit of our woodlands and waterways, as seen in Whispers of the Past and its breathtaking view along the Connecticut River. Wnek’s work captures the light and details one might expect from a painting—which is no accident. He has long been inspired by the purity and innocence of the American landscape as portrayed by the 19th century Hudson River painters. “I strive for that same warm light, the luminous or stormy skies, to invoke a charm or a mood,” he explains.

Wnek’s photographs often reveal the story of the landscape—its whisper of bygone days, the intrinsic cycles of nature. With a focus on local scenes, this exhibit speaks to the beauty that surrounds us, the coastal vistas and woodland spaces that are unique to our state. In a familiar kaleidoscope of colors, see the rising and setting sun, the harmony of sky and land, the collusion of rock and sea.

As Wnek explains, “I am intrigued by the soothing compositions and repetitive patterns that collectively reveal the Divine at work.”

Featured in this exhibit is Silver Glade, an image of trees on a ridge near Meriden. It recently won the Salmagundi Club of NYC’s 2015 “Henry O’Connor Award” for excellence, portraying the gentler, quieter landscape of New England.

It is that voice of New England which Wnek most hopes to capture in his photographs, “those intimate moments of our own landscapes” waiting to be revealed.

‘Soul of the Landscape’ runs through July 28, Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, 55 East Kings Highway, Chester, CT 06412.

For gallery specific information, call 860-526-8920.

For more information about photographer Peter Wnek, visit www.PeterWnekPhoto.com.

Chester Museum at The Mill Tells Chester’s Story

The Chester Museum at The Mill is the new permanent home of the two millstones from the Waterhouse Grist Mill that operated between 1740 and 1810.

The Chester Museum at The Mill is the new permanent home of the two millstones from the Waterhouse Grist Mill that operated between 1740 and 1810.

CHESTER — The Chester Museum at The Mill opened for its sixth year on May 31. Owned and operated by the Chester Historical Society since 2000, the museum is located on the historic 1850s Griswold Mill site, overlooking a waterfall and the Pattaconk Brook near the center of town. The mill site was once used to produce anchors, wagon springs and augers.

Two exhibits, filling the two floors of the museum, tell the story of the life, development and growth of Chester, since it was first home to the Wagunk Indians.

New this year is the first floor exhibit, “Pastimes in Past Times: Chester at Play,” curated by Keith Dauer and Sandy Senior-Dauer. From dolls and blocks to Lotto and Erector Sets, the exhibit focuses on the ways Chester families spent their leisure time indoors, as well as outdoors with baseball games and winter sports such as sledding and skating.

The exhibit includes an interactive section of toys and games for children of all ages.

On the second floor of the museum (reachable by elevator as well as stairs) is the permanent award-winning exhibit, “Streams of Change: Life & Industry along the Pattaconk,” which interprets the growth and evolution of Chester and how the town adapted over 300 years. Of special interest this year is a piece of the 1913 trolley track unearthed from under Main Street last December and the story of how it was found.

Dolls, a dollhouse and a doll carriage are featured in the Chester “Pastimes” exhibit as an example of playtime enjoyed by little girls for hundreds of years. This doll, owned by the Chester Historical Society, dates back to the early 1900s and has human hair.

Dolls, a dollhouse and a doll carriage are featured in the Chester “Pastimes” exhibit as an example of playtime enjoyed by little girls for hundreds of years. This doll, owned by the Chester Historical Society, dates back to the early 1900s and has human hair.

Play Ball! Baseball was a perennially favorite game in Chester, along with all the Connecticut River Valley towns. This left-handed 1920s baseball glove was made by the A.G. Spalding Bros. Company and is made of kangaroo skin.

Play Ball! Baseball was a perennially favorite game in Chester, along with all the Connecticut River Valley towns. This left-handed 1920s baseball glove was made by the A.G. Spalding Bros. Company and is made of kangaroo skin.

Outside, the front of the museum has recently been landscaped with native plantings.  Two historic millstones, probably the oldest Chester artifacts, flank the front door.  These enhancements were made possible through a grant from the Community Fund of Middlesex County and the contributions of Landscape Specialties.

The Chester Museum at The Mill is open to the public for self-guided tours on Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through the end of October. It is air-conditioned as well as handicapped accessible. Admission is free.

For more information, visit www.ChesterHistoricalSociety.org or Facebook.com/ChesterCTHistoricalSociety.

Artists of Gallery One Exhibit at ELLE Design Studio in Chester Through Aug. 30

Forced Narcissus, by Catherine Christiano, on linen, 14 x 8 inches, 2005.

Forced Narcissus, by Catherine Christiano, on linen, 14 x 8 inches, 2005.

CHESTER — Gallery One, a cooperative of mid-career artists working in a wide variety of media and styles from representational to abstract, including painting, sculpture and works on paper, will exhibit at the ELLE Design Studio from June 2 through Aug. 30, with a reception on Friday, June 5, from 5 to 8 p.m.

“We are very pleased to have this opportunity to exhibit our artists’ work in Chester,” says Judith Barbour Osborne, “and particularly at ELLE Design Studio, both of which are art destinations.”

Gallery One artists include David Brown, Old Saybrook; Ashby Carlisle, Old Lyme; Catherine Christiano, Old Lyme; Bette Ellsworth, Madison; Mary Fussell, Clinton; Gray Jacobik, Deep River; Judith Barbour Osborne, Ivoryton; T. Willie Raney, Ivoryton; Diana Rogers, Clinton; Victoria Sivigny, Meriden; and Jill Vaughn, Ivoryton.

The Artists of Gallery One, whose vision is to provide southeastern Connecticut with a stimulating resource and to support one another artists, exhibit in various locations along the Connecticut shoreline from Stonington to New Haven. The Artists will be showing at the Mystic Arts Center Sept. 25 through Nov. 7 (in the Leibig Gallery). Additional information, the artists and any upcoming exhibitions can be found at www.galleryoneCT.com.

ELLE Design Studio is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 11am until 6pm, Sunday from 10am until 4pm, and by appointment.

For more information, visit Gallery One online at www.galleryoneCT.com and the ELLE Design Studio at elledesignstudio.net

Roto Frank of America Hosts Manufacturer’s Meeting at Chester HQ

Chester First Selectman spoke at the event.

Chester First Selectman Ed Meehan gave welcoming remarks at the event.

CHESTER — Addressing the challenges of the growing availability of number of jobs with higher level manufacturers in the state and developing skilled workers to fill those positions was the focus of a special meeting for members of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Manufacturing Council on May 27, hosted by Roto Frank of America, Inc. at the company’s North American headquarters in Chester, CT.

Chris Demou (left) and Larry McHugh

Roto Frank of America President & CEO Chris Demou (left) and Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce President Larry McHugh

The well-attended event attracted more than a dozen manufacturing companies i nMiddlesex County, as well representatives from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. After welcoming remarks by Chester First Selectman Ed Meehan, Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce President Larry McHugh, and Roto Frank of America President & CEO Chris Dimou, attendees listened to presentations from members of the University of Connecticut and the German American Chamber of Commerce.

Lawrence Silbart

Lawrence Silbart

Lawrence K. Silbart, MPH, Ph.D., UConn’s Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives, discussed highlights of UConn’s Next Generation Connecticut, an initiative designed to expand educational opportunities, research, and innovation in the STEM disciplines at UConn over the next decade, which includes a new 125,000 square-foot Technology Park facility.

Anson Ma, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, in UConn’s Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Department, addressed the audience on UConn’s additive manufacturing initiatives, with a focus on the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Center and the learning opportunities for students in realizing the full potential of additive manufacturing for metals, plastics, and biomaterials.

Tom Dzimian, Director, Career Services of the German American Chamber of Commerce, discussed skills and innovation strategies that have been developed and used successfully in Germany and which can be used to strengthen U.S, manufacturing training programs.

Founded in 1979, Roto Frank of America, Inc. is a Chester, Connecticut-based manufacturer of window and door hardware. Roto Frank of America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Roto AG, a global company headquartered in Germany, with 13 production plants and 40 subsidiaries worldwide.

Roto Frank of America offers solutions for North American and European hardware applications, has an extensive product line including its renowned X-DRIVETM casement and awning window systems, sash locks, window-opening- control-devices, sliding patio door systems, and European window and door hardware, among others.

For more information, visit www.rotohardware.com

The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce is the largest Chamber in the state, with more than 2,200 members and encompassing nine geographically-based divisions throughout Middlesex County. The Chamber hosts a number of large-scale events, such as the Middlesex County Business to Business Expo, member breakfasts and dinners featuring notable speakers, including U.S. Senator John McCain and UConn President Susan Herbst.

Maple & Main Celebrates its Sixth Anniversary with New Exhibition, on View Through July 19

'In a Yellow Vase' by Claudia van Nes is one of the signature paintings of the Anniversary Exhibition at Maple & Main Gallery in Chester.

‘In a Yellow Vase’ by Claudia van Nes is one of the signature paintings of the Anniversary Exhibition at Maple & Main Gallery in Chester.

CHESTER – Maple and Main Gallery’s Anniversary Exhibit opens Wednesday, May 27, with a gala celebration Saturday, May 30, from 5 to 8 p.m.

To mark the launch of its sixth year, Maple and Main will serve appetizer platters donated by both L&E and Good Elephant restaurants located across Main Street from the gallery. Cake, champagne and wine will also be offered.

The gallery will be filled with new paintings and sculptures by 38 Connecticut artists – the vast majority of which will be shown for the first time.

Maple and Main has come a long way since its start by a handful of artists, but it still adheres to the goal set six years ago: to show only original fine art in as wide a selection of styles and medium as possible.

The Anniversary Exhibit runs through July  19.

Maple and Main, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 860-526-6065, email mapleandmain@att.net. or visit the gallery’s Facebook page and/or on-line gallery and website at mapleandmaingallery.com.

Celebrated Pianist Dalia Lazar Plays Beethoven at CBSRZ Tomorrow

Pianist Dalia Lazar

Pianist Dalia Lazar will play Beethoven at CBSRZ.

CHESTER — The celebrated classical pianist Dalia Lazar returns to Chester Sunday, May 31, at 5 p.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ). She will play a variety of Beethoven’s piano works, including the “Moonlight Sonata” and the “Pathetique.”

The first time she played for in Chester several years ago, the audience was wowed by her performance and her charm. The Music & More series didn’t expect to be able to lure her back so soon. But Miriam Gardner-Frum, producer of the program, revealed how this unexpected event came to be, and took form over the last few months.

“Dalia offered us a gift. She explained that she is starting an all-Beethoven program in Europe this fall and would love to perform it before a live audience at CBSRZ before going to Europe.  She noted the beautiful space and acoustics in our building in which she would love to play again. She offered to do this performance as benefit for the synagogue.”

Born in Croatia, Dalia began studying piano at an early age. Her first piano teacher recognized her uncommon talent and pianistic ability, and at the age of 16 she was admitted to Moscow’s P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory.  During her studies in Moscow, Lazar performed throughout Soviet Union. Immediately after her graduation at the Moscow Conservatory, Lazar decided to continue her career in New York and London where she studied with Karl Urlich Schnabel and Maria Curcio.

As a finalist in New York Concert Artist Guild Competition, Lazar made her New York debut at Rubenstein Hall, followed by her Carnegie Recital Hall debut later that year. Since then she has performed a broad repertoire as a soloist in concerts and recitals worldwide, including the United States, Russia, Venezuela, Israel, Switzerland, Croatia, Mexico and Romania.

Her chamber music repertoire includes the works for violin and piano duo and piano trio, which she performed extensively with her late husband, violinist Lucian Lazar.  Her recent CD includes works by Schumann and Chopin.

Dalia’s playing has been well received by critics, who have characterized her performance as “such noble playing,” (Yediot Achronot, Tel Aviv),  “un sentimento profundo” (Panorama, Venezuela), “that rare combination of charisma, personality and terrific pianistic facility” (pianist Tzimon Barto), and “… an inspiring display of musical excellence”  (Daily Republic).

Tickets for the general public are $25 and children under 16 are admitted without charge (this is a great time to introduce children to the work of a world-class musician.) To order advance tickets, call the CBSRZ office at 860.526.8920, or buy tickets at the door.

CBSRZ is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.

Nilsson’s Paintings on Show in CT DEEP Commissioner’s Office During Summer

Yellow Flag Iris on Seldens Creek by Leif Nilsson

Yellow Flag Iris on Selden’s Creek by Leif Nilsson, oil, 48″ x 36″, spring 2014 ©

CHESTER — Thirty paintings of Selden’s Creek in Lyme, Conn., done by Chester artist Leif Nilsson over the past 10 years from his boat will be hanging in the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner’s office for the summer months as part of the ‘Arts in the Parks’ series.

An opening reception will be held on Wednesday, May 27, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127.
Call 860-424-3000 for hours and to RSVP for the opening.
To see a preview of the works, visit http://nilssonstudio.com/deep/

Chester’s Essex Savings Bank Hosts Free Shredding Event Saturday

CHESTER — Essex Savings Bank is sponsoring a Free Shredding Event on Saturday, May 30, from 9- to 12 p.m.at its Chester Branch, located next to the Chester Town Hall. Everyone is invited to bring two boxes of paperwork to be shredded for free by Shredding Source.

The event is being held in conjunction with the Chester Branch’s food drive to help aid in stocking the Chester Food Pantry.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and wholly-owned subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC.

Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.

Shoreline Artist Elizabeth Gillies “Mike” Boyd Holds One-Woman Art Show, Reception at Chester Village West Tonight

Elizabeth Gillies “Mike” Boyd in her in-residence studio at Chester Village West

Elizabeth Gillies “Mike” Boyd in her in-residence studio at Chester Village West

CHESTER — Accomplished artist Elizabeth Gillies “Mike” Boyd will hold a one-woman art show and reception on Friday, May 22, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Chester Village West, 317 W. Main St., Chester, CT 06412.

Free and open to the public, the art show and sale will include refreshments and live music.

Boyd’s art show will offer a retrospective sampling of her talents, including a mixture of portraiture, landscape, still life, abstract and collage in various media.

Boyd’s artistic training began at an early age. She has worked with American Impressionist painter and teacher Frank Vincent Dumond and abstract artist Theodore Roszak. A member of Connecticut Women Artists, Inc., for the past 35 years, she has been active as an organizer, juror and painter with art associations and centers in Guilford, Madison and Clinton.

She has had her work shown at the Sylvan Gallery in Clinton, Gallery One in in Old Saybrook, the Cooley Gallery in Old Lyme and the Wall Street Gallery in Madison.

For more information on the May 22 art show and reception, call 860.526.6800 or email chestervillagewest@lcsnet.com.

Acclaimed Conductor Launches Book Exploring Music, Leadership Connection Today in Chester

IgnorantMaestro coverCHESTER — It is only fitting that a book that has roots in Chester will be introduced at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) before readers in China, Israel, Great Britain, Germany and other countries see it.

Therefore, on Sunday, May 17, at 3 p.m., Itay Talgam, author of “The Ignorant Maestro: How Great Leaders Inspire Unpredictable Brilliance,” will come to Chester from his home in Tel Aviv to launch an international tour in a free ‘Books & Bagels’ program at CBSRZ.

Talgam is one of Israel’s leading orchestra conductors, having founded the Tel Aviv Symphony and led the Israel Philharmonic, as well as many orchestras in other countries.

Itay Talgam

Itay Talgam

A protégé of the great Leonard Bernstein, Talgam had the idea of writing a book that explores the art of leadership from the podium. This sprung out of his very popular TED Talk on leadership (with more than five million views). His argument is that leaders in all fields can learn new insights about leadership not from music itself but from the people who make music.

Lary Bloom

Lary Bloom

It was more than two years ago that Lary Bloom, a writer and longtime resident of Chester, first talked to him about the idea, and how to write a book that readers with little or no interest in classical music would find interesting and instructive. That’s when they embarked on a collaboration that eventually resulted in “The Ignorant Maestro.”

Its primary argument is that the best orchestra conductors are perfect models for enlightened leadership everywhere because they bring a precise measure of “ignorance” to the task. That is, they are not only open to learning something new, but must, in collaboration with the people he or she rely on, do so in order to complete any new task in the best possible manner.

Talgam’s TED Talk, for example, shows Leonard Bernstein conducting only with his face – expressions, gestures, lifts of the eyebrow, closing of the eyes, etc. – leaving room for plenty of contribution and interpretation from his players.

The book, like the TED Talk, is full of funny lines, which is one of the reasons the video is so popular, and one of the reasons his speeches are in demand all over the world. He has consulted for the United Nations, the Israeli Defense Force, international banks, nonprofits, health care conglomerates, universities, and even spy networks.

The book’s publisher is Portfolio/Penguin, a subsidiary of Random House. From the dust jacket: “Choosing ignorance might seem a terrible quality to exhibit in your workplace—a sure path down the stairs and out the corporate door. But stick with me here and see how it leads you upward. You’ll understand why great leaders embrace ignorance and use it to elevate their people to new heights of achievement.”

As always with the Books & Bagels programs, there will be refreshments and a chance to meet the author. No reservations are needed.

For more information, contact the CBSRZ office 860-526-8920 or visit www.cbsrz.org. Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.

See Madhatters “Seussical” in Chester Tonight

Performing in 'Seussical' are Jalen Moody of New London as Horton the Elephant, Hannah Schwartzman of Deep River as JoJo and Erin Lynch of Middletown as the Cat in the Hat.

Performing in ‘Seussical’ are Jalen Moody of New London as Horton the Elephant, Hannah Schwartzman of Deep River as JoJo and Erin Lynch of Middletown as the Cat in the Hat.

CHESTER — Madhatters Theatre Company presents ‘Seussical’ at Chester Meeting House, 4 Liberty St., in Chester Conn,.  Performances are Friday, May 15, at 7 p.m.Saturday, May 16, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Sunday, May 17, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 adults and $15 children 12 and under.  To reserve tickets please call (860) 395-1861 or e-mail madhattersctc@aol.com.  This production is a fundraiser for ‘Willys friends’.
Further information available at: www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

Exhibition by Chester’s Leif Nilsson Currently on Show in Colinsville

The Studio with Poppies, oil, 30" x 40" , Leif Nilsson spring 2002 ©

The Studio with Poppies, oil, 30″ x 40″, Leif Nilsson spring 2002 ©

CHESTER — Gallery 526 at 20 Depot St. in Collinsville, Conn., is hosting a one-man-show by Leif Nilsson of Chester featuring 24 garden and Connecticut River paintings.

Leif (pronounced Layf) Nilsson comments, “This exhibition represents an autobiographical pictorial chronology of my process of painting and developing my gardens and understanding the Connecticut River over the past 28 years.”

Inspired by the natural beauty surrounding the Lower Connecticut River Valley, Nilsson paints his plein air impressionistic landscape compositions directly from life. Setting up his easel in and around his hometown of Chester, Nilsson creates engaging garden, Connecticut River and village paintings that invite the viewer to walk right in.

Some of the paintings are completed a la prima, meaning all at once, while others may take several sittings at the same time of day to achieve the correct harmonious atmosphere as he observes it. Generally, heavily textured paintings have more layers applied in an effort to represent the scintillating effects of light in nature over a period of time. Nilsson’s brushwork is a result of his dedication to observing nature.

Nilsson completed a full curriculum of Classical Studies at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, Conn. He enhanced that education with several sojourns to Scandinavia, Asia Minor and Europe where he studied the French 19th and early 20th century painters; Bonnard and Monet for color; Pissarro and Vuillard for composition and Van Gogh for energy.

A successful working artist for over 20 years, Nilsson continues to exhibit his paintings in several galleries throughout the United States, while also promoting his work through his website, and at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery, LLC in Chester where collectors visit him regularly to view and purchase his latest works. The studio is open on weekend afternoons from noon to 6 p.m. and other times by chance or appointment. Six times a year he hosts a gallery opening reception for his newest works along with other galleries in Chester. He also teaches painting to children and adults and gives lectures at high schools, universities, art clubs, and museums.

Nilsson has hand-made most of his Florentine style, metal leafed, finished corner frames in his studio. The soft luminous gold tone complements his paintings without overwhelming them. Now he orders them from reputable framemakers and assists collectors with their choices.

Limited Edition Fine Art Prints have been made of several of Nilsson’s original oil paintings and these will be available at the gallery.

Nilsson paints outdoors in all types of weather. He will often paint the same place over and over again, trying out different compositions and sizes at various times of day and in all seasons. These paintings often result in a series of works attempting to describe the many moods of nature on a particular subject.

Chester is a favorite subject of Leif Nilsson’s. Its uniqueness and charm have captivated his imagination for years. He has painted many scenes of Chester Center in different times of day, weather conditions and seasons. The vernacular architecture of old crooked buildings lining the curved piazza of Main Street come alive in his colorful paintings of the village in springtime with Rhododendrons in full bloom. Winter is a favorite time of year for him when the town is blanketed with virgin snow, especially at dusk when snowflakes swirl around the glowing lamppost in front of his studio.

The Connecticut River as seen from its banks in Chester to Old Lyme offers a wealth of pictorial opportunities for Nilsson to explore. From the hazy dawn of Eustasia Island in Deep River to the quiet harbors of Old Saybrook’s North Cove and from the golden marshes of Chester to the sweeping meadow of Pettipaug in Essex, there’s plenty of material to keep a landscape painter busy yearlong.

On spring mornings Nilsson is usually busy in his backyard garden tracking the sunlight with a loaded brush or knife revealing the rich colors and textures of the plants and flowers he has cultivated.

Occasionally Nilsson travels abroad to interesting European villages. His little paintings of Prague in the Czech Republic, Casares, Spain and Nova Scotia, Canada from recent trips are also favorites among his collectors. His most recent painting trip was to Cinque Terra in Italy where he produced several gems.

One of his favorite pastimes is to play the banjo. His new band “Arrowhead” will be playing at the opening reception.

For more information, visit http://www.nilssonstudio.com or http://www.gallery526.com or call 860-709-0987. Gallery 526 is open Thursday & Friday 12 – 5pm, Saturday & Sunday 12 – 6 pm, and other times by chance or appointment.

Chester Synagogue to Host Rare Discussion of Jewish Organizations Response to Palestinian BDS Movement

CHESTER — Since 2005, Palestinian organizations have increasingly called for worldwide support for a movement to boycott, divest from and sanction (BDS) Israel.  Although this movement has gained some support in the United States, particularly on university campuses, it has also engendered sharp responses from American Jewish organizations – so sharp that they have consistently refused to appear on the same program as Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), an organization which supports the BDS movement, to avoid providing any air of legitimacy to JVP and the BDS discussion.

On Saturday, May 30, from 1 to 4 p.m., Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester will host representatives of two American Jewish organizations with opposing views on BDS – J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace.  In a forum titled “Can We Talk – BDS, the Jewish Response and Anti-Semitism,” the role of BDS in the Middle East peace process will be explored.

Speaking in favor of the BDS movement will be Robert Gelbach, co-chair of the New Haven chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, co-convener of the Connecticut BDS coalition, and retired professor of political science from Southern Connecticut State University.  Learn more about JVP at jewishvoiceforpeace.org.

Speaking against the BDS movement will be Shaina Wasserman, New England Regional Director for J Street, a Jewish organization which describes itself as “the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans.”  Learn more about J Street at jstreet.org.

Audience questions will be highlighted, and there will be time for audience opinions as well.

Andy Schatz, chair of the Social Action Committee of CBSRZ, which is sponsoring the forum, stressed the significance of this discussion not only because of what it may clarify about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also for what it says about the Jewish community in the U.S.  “We think it is critical for Jewish communities and organizations to discuss openly these tough and uncomfortable issues to reach better solutions, and we are grateful for J Street for being willing to discuss the issue directly with JVP, which the other organizations we invited continued to refuse.”

He continues, “This discussion is another in the CBSRZ’ series of forums ‘celebrating diversity,’ as we think diversity of opinion within the American Jewish community is critical not only to reach those better solutions but to make clear American Jews are not some monolithic body but millions of people with oft-divergent views on issues large and small.”

Schatz noted that some of the topics likely to be discussed include:

  • Is boycott, divestment or sanction ever appropriate against democratic countries, and is any different standard appropriate as to Israel?
  • Can the BDS movement play a legitimate or positive role in the peace process in the Middle East?
  • Is the BDS movement inconsistent with support for Israel, a Jewish state, or a two-state solution?
  • Are boycotts, divestments or sanctions, which impact people and not just governments, inconsistent with religious values?
  • Is anti-Semitism increased by the BDS movement and/or by the refusal of most Jewish organizations to address it?
  • What should be the role of the American Jewish community and organizations in the debate over Israel’s future?

CBSRZ is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  There is no charge for this event, but to ensure adequate seating, register by sending an email to the CBSRZ office (bethshalom@snet.net) or calling 860-526-8920.   Light refreshments will be provided.

Chiara String Quartet Perform in Chester Tomorrow

Chiara 2. Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco.

Chiara String Quartet. Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco.

CHESTER — The Robbie Collomore Concert Series brings the award-winning Chiara String Quartet to the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, May 10, at 5 p.m. This will be the last concert of the Collomore Series’ 41st season.

The Chiara Quartet (Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung Julie Yoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; Gregory Beaver, cello) has established itself as among America’s most respected ensembles, lauded for its “highly virtuosic, edge-of-the-seat playing” (The Boston Globe). They are currently Hixson-Lied Artists-in-Residence at the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and were the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University in 2008-2014.

Now in its 15th season, the Chiara Quartet is moving forward by taking a cue from the past. Harkening back to a tradition that is centuries-old and still common among soloists, the Chiara Quartet has adopted a new way of performing: from memory, without printed sheet music. After spending countless hours working towards playing their repertoire from memory, they now feel that sheet music is a distraction to the performance, instead of an aid.

Their Chester concert will feature string quartets by Mozart, Bela Bartok and Brahms.
Tickets are $24 for adults, $5 for students, and can be purchased by calling 526-5162 or go to collomoreconcerts.org. A reception follows the concert. Refreshments will be provided by Gabrielle’s. The concert sponsor is Ryders Health Management.

 

Celebrating Chester Poets with Poetry Reading, Tonight

hester poets Suzanne Levine, Tim Napier and Ravi Shankar will be the featured readers at the Chester Library’s fifth annual poetry reading on May 4 at the Chester Meeting House.

hester poets Suzanne Levine, Tim Napier and Ravi Shankar will be the featured readers at the Chester Library’s fifth annual poetry reading on May 4 at the Chester Meeting House.

CHESTER — In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Chester Library Board of Trustees is sponsoring its fifth annual poetry reading by Chester poets. The free program will be held Monday, May 4 at 7 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House. Refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the program.

Three published poets, all Chester residents, will read some of their work. They are Suzanne Levine, Tim Napier, and Ravi Shankar. In addition, winners of the library’s poetry contest will also read their winning poems.

Suzanne Levine’s poems have appeared in Drunken Boat, Bellingham Review, Stand Magazine (UK), Permafrost, Quiddity International Literary Journal, New Delta Review, Front Range and many other publications. Haberdasher’s Daughter, her first poetry collection published in 2010 by Antrim Press, was a finalist for an Eric Hoffer Award. Grand Canyon May Be Older Than Thought is the title of her second ms. Suzanne holds an MFA from Vermont College and is co-founder of Writing at the Mark Twain House in Hartford.

Tim Napier is retired and likes to write, so he has the time and opportunity to foist himself upon an unsuspecting public from time to time. He generally has a good time at it, but he says he has never done anything so hard: finding the right word arranged in the right order, with the right look and sound as well. Tim began writing poems, critically, in college under the tutelage of Lauren Stevens and Richard Glassman, then in graduate school he had the good luck of getting into a poetry class taught by William Meredith (Pulitzer 1989), which started an association that lasted until Meredith’s death in 2007. Tim has been published in the Aurorean poetry journal, edited by Cynthia Brackett-Vincent, and its sister journal the Unrorean, edited by Devin McGuire. Tim has also been published in Sailing the Mist of Time, a collection of prize-winning poems sponsored by WinningWriters.com.

Ravi Shankar is the author of several books of poetry, including “What Else Could it Be” (2015), the National Poetry Review Prize winning “Deepening Groove” (2011), and the Finalist for the Connecticut Book Awards “Instrumentality” (2004). He co-edited W.W. Norton & Co.’s “Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from Asia, the Middle East & Beyond,” called a “beautiful achievement for world literature” by Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer, and founded Drunken Boat, one of the world’s oldest electronic journal for the arts. He’s a Professor of English at CCSU and in the international MFA Program at City University of Hong Kong.

The program is free and open to all ages. For more information, contact the Chester Library at 860-526-0018.

Free Weekend of “Soul Strengthening” at CBSRZ, May 1-3

Alan Morinis

Alan Morinis

CHESTER — The public is invited on the weekend of May 1 to 3 to learn what may seem like (and is) an obscure Jewish teaching – called Mussar – but requires no knowledge of Judaism, only a desire to strengthen one’s soul.

Alan Morinis is the director and founder of the Mussar Institute, dedicated to the idea of “improving or remedying the traits of the soul, to bring the soul to wholeness and holiness.” He explains this in a free program over a three-day span as the Sheldon Kutnick Scholar in Residence at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester.

As the cover of one of his books says, “Jewish by birth, though from a secular family, Alan Morinis, explored Hinduism and Buddhim as a young man. But in the face of a personal crisis he turned to his Jewish heritage and happened upon a spiritual tradition called Mussar. He soon realized that it is an insightful discipline for self-development, complete with contemplative and transformative practices designed to penetrate the deepest roots of the inner life…. He decided to seek out a Mussar teacher. This was not an easy task, since almost the entire world of Mussar had been swept away in the Holocaust.”

Specifically, Morinis addresses 18 soul traits: humility, patience, gratitude, compassion, order, equanimity, honor, simplicity, enthusiasm, silence, generosity, truth, moderation, loving kindness, responsibility, trust, faith and yirah (a combination of fear and awe, without a true English counterpart).

Of his most recent book, “Everyday Holiness,” the author Daniel Goleman sais, “Morinis chronicles the archetypal odyssey of the spiritual pilgrim in a warm, witty and insightful manner,” and the book has received rave reviews from Publishers Weekly and other commentaries.

Bruce Josephy, a former congregational president who arranged for Morinis’s visit, says, “At our core we are spiritual beings on a material journey, not material beings on a spiritual journey. As physical exercise strengthens one’s body, Mussar practice strengthens one’s soul.”

According to CBSRZ’s rabbi, Rachel Goldenberg, “The Mussar tradition is a beautiful example of how spiritual work can and must transform our most mundane, everyday interactions and experiences.

There is no requirement to sign up for the program. Schedule is as follows:

Friday, May 1, 6 p.m., A Dairy/Vegetarian Shabbat potluck dinner, followed at 7 p.m. by a Shabbat Evening service with an introductory sermon by Morinis, “What is Mussar and Why Should I Care?”

Saturday, May 2, 10 a.m. Shabbat morning service with a sermon by Morinis, “Torah Through a Mussar Lens., followed by a dairy potluck luncheon and, at 1 p.m., a text study entitled, “Why You Are, How You Are and What’s Your Potential?

Sunday, May 3, 11:10 a.m., Experiential workshop for parents and interested adults.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  For more information, visit www.cbsrz.org or call 860-526-8920.

Eight Fire Departments Raise 5,200 Pounds of Food for Shoreline Soup Kitchens

Members of the Westbrook Fire Department help collect food for the needy.

Members of the Westbrook Fire Department help collect food for the needy.

AREAWIDE — The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries’ 4th Annual Firehouse Food Drive was a great success, raising 5,200 pounds of food for local residents in need.  Held on April 11, firefighters and community volunteers worked together to collect food from generous donors throughout the area. The eight fire stations taking part this year included Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Essex, Chester, Deep River, Killingworth, Clinton and Niantic.

Spring can be a challenging time for many food pantries, as there are traditionally fewer food drives. This collection of over 5,000 pounds of food will help to fill the shelves out SSKP’s 5 area food pantries.

“It’s so heartwarming to know that these firefighters, who work so hard year-round to protect us, are willing to come together on a sunny Saturday to answer the call of our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Patty Dowling, SSKP Executive Director. “We saw hundreds of residents – students, families, seniors – some with one bag and others with carloads, coming down to their local fire houses to make sure our shelves would be full. We are so grateful to those who donated and especially to all the fire houses that made this year’s drive a success.”

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving 11 shoreline towns. Founded 26 years ago, they accomplish their mission with the help of over 900 dedicated volunteers. Last year SSKP distributed over one million pounds of food to over 8,300 local residents in need.

Lori Warner Gallery Hosts Terrarium Workshop with Famed Horticulturalist Tomorrow

Tovah.IMG_0929
CHESTER — Margaret Atwood said, ‘In the Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” This is one of the Lori Warner Gallery’s favorite quotes and it will ring true on Sunday, May 3, when the Gallery welcomes back Tovah Martin, famed horticulturalist, lecturer and author of The New Terrarium, to share her gardening expertise and guide attendees as they create their own “small worlds” under glass.

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘The New Terrarium’ book will be available for sale — Martin will personalize copies at the end of the workshop. Space is very limited.

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

Last Chance to See ‘Five Women Wearing the Same Dress’ Tonight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrate May Day in Chester at the ‘May Daze Flower Party,’ Tonight

Luminous glass artist Mundy Hepburn will have his unique neon flower sculptures at Chester Gallery and several other galleries.

Luminous glass artist Mundy Hepburn will have his unique neon flower sculptures at Chester Gallery and several other galleries.

CHESTER — The beginning of May is always celebrated in Chester Village with the “May Daze Night,” hosted by the Chester Merchants.

This year, May Daze Night happens to fall on May Day – Friday, May 1, the centuries-old festival celebrating flowers and Spring – so the town is celebrating with a flower party. Blooms, petals and buds will take center stage at the shops, restaurants and galleries from 5 to 9 p.m.

Visit the Spring Show at Maple & Main Gallery of Art during May Daze Night on May 1, have a sip of May Wine made with sweet woodruff flowers, and enter to win this painting, “Shower Flowers,” by Chester artist Claudia Van Nes.

Visit the Spring Show at Maple & Main Gallery of Art during May Daze Night on May 1, have a sip of May Wine made with sweet woodruff flowers, and enter to win this painting, “Shower Flowers,” by Chester artist Claudia Van Nes.

After the long and brutal winter we’ve just had, we all deserve a flower-filled Spring celebration!

Take advantage of special sales during the evening at the shops and galleries. Connecticut River Artisans will have a drawing for its handmade butterfly wreath and handmade butterflies will be given to all visitors at Bell’Oliva.

Floral accessories, such as hair ties, leather key rings and magnets, will be given away with purchases at several shops.

Enjoy the tasting of Rosé wines at Chester Package Store during the evening, a cup of May Day Flower Punch at Brown Eyed Girl Salon, and a Spring Fling Mini Cocktail at ELLE Design Studio.

Lark is celebrating flower power on May 1 during the Flower Party stroll until 9 p.m. Giant paper flowers and butterflies have landed! There will be a special sale on these blossom blouses.  Just $38!

Lark is celebrating flower power on May 1 during the Flower Party stroll until 9 p.m. Giant paper flowers and butterflies have landed! There will be a special sale on these blossom blouses. Just $38!

Meanwhile, the Dizzy River Band will be playing your classic favorites on the patio at the Pattaconk from 6 to 9 p.m. And for kids of all ages, join the Chester Land Trust at Carini Preserve (on Water Street) starting at 5 p.m. to build a “raft “out of recyclable materials (on your own or as a team).  Materials will be provided by the Chester Land Trust. Huck will perhaps be there! Come dressed as Tom, Jim, Becky, Aunt Polly or Mark Twain himself. Rafts will be launched at the “new” bridge at 6 p.m. There will be gifts for all launchers.

More details are at Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT and FindItInChesterCT/wordpress.com.

Maple & Main Offers Free Draw for Painting and More During May Daze

'Happy' by Pam Carlson of Essex

‘Happy’ by Pam Carlson of Essex

CHESTER –- Maple and Main Gallery is offering $100 unframed, original paintings of flowers and a free drawing for a flower painting during the town-wide May Daze celebration May 1 through May 3.

This year the shops, restaurants and galleries will be throwing a flower party with floral themed events and offerings, which start with the May Daze stroll Friday, May 1, from 5 to 9 p.m.

Maple and Main will be serving May wine, appetizers and chocolates.

'Lily and Eucalyptus' by Gray Jacobik of Deep River

‘Lily and Eucalyptus’ by Gray Jacobik of Deep River

The gallery will have a display of  small floral paintings – all for sale for $100 -through the weekend. Also, through the weekend, the gallery will offer a free drawing for “Shower Flowers”, a small, framed floral painting by Chester artist Claudia Van Nes.

The Spring Exhibit of paintings and sculptures by 37 Connecticut artists is on display and on the lower level in the Stone Gallery, a special, month-long show by the Shoreline Artists Workshops opens Friday, May 1.

In addition, artist Mundy Hepburn will have a neon flower sculpture in the window.

Maple and Main Gallery, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit thegallery online at mapleandmaingallery.com or email mapleandmaingallery@att.net or call 860-526-6065.

Spring Street Studio, Gallery Hosts Opening Reception During May Daze Art Stroll Tonight

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Leif Nilsson’s Spring Street Studio and Gallery hosts an Opening Reception during the May Daze Art Stroll this evening for an exhibit of paintings of the New Eyebrow Dormer Garden from 5 to 8 p.m.

The Spring Street Gallery is located at One Spring Street, Chester, CT 06412
For further information, call (860) 526-2077 or visit http://www.nilssonstudio.com

Shoreline Artists Celebrate Spring Maple & Main Show Through May

Fenwick Lighthouse by Cheryl Sorensen

Fenwick Lighthouse by Cheryl Sorensen

CHESTER – “Spring in the Stone Gallery” will be celebrated by the members of the Shoreline Artist’s Workshop, who are presenting an exhibit of over 30 paintings at Maple and Main Gallery during the month of May.

The show of watercolor and oil paintings by an Old Lyme-based group of artists, who have been painting together weekly for over six years, will be in the Stone Gallery on the lower level of Maple and Main.

The participating artists represent six shoreline communities from Niantic through Essex and include Beverly Ahlers, Cathy Castonguay, JoAnn Dongweck, Keiko Kaiser, Elin Larson. Shirley McHale, Hilde Reichenbach, Susan Simler, Cheryl Sorensen, and Sharol Stewart.

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

To view a selection of the paintings in the “Spring in the Stone Gallery” show, visit mapleandmaingallery.com and click on “events”, call 860-526-6065 or email mapleandmaingallery@att.net.

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

Jeff and Ann Barnhart

Jeff and Ann Barnhart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Street entertainers delight the crowds at the Chester Carnivale. Photo by John Stack.

Street entertainers delight the crowds at the Chester Carnivale. Photo by John Stack.

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

On Sunday, April 12, the picturesque small town of Chester will be filled with people cheering on ice carvers as they create beautiful sculptures from blocks of ice, while laughing at the antics of street performers and applauding a long parade of new and antique tractors being driven down Main Street by their proud owners. All that, and food, music, art, and shopping too!

Richard Daly works on his ice sculpture during the 2014 Winter Carnivale. Daly holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest time to create ice sculptures. Photo by John Stack

Richard Daly works on his ice sculpture during the 2014 Winter Carnivale. Daly holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest time to create ice sculptures. Professional ice carver Rich Daly has been a regular at Chester Carnivale through the years. He recently won the National Ice Carving Championship. Come watch his prizewinning talent in action! Photo by John Stack

The day begins at 10:30 a.m. when the carvers get started on their ice sculptures. Both professional and student ice carvers will be hard at work, demonstrating their techniques to onlookers while they try to be finished by 1 p.m. for judging.

Meanwhile, the Chester Hose Company is holding its 15th annual “Chilly Chili Cook Off” fundraiser. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., go to the Chester Hose Company Fire House at 6 High Street and pay your $5 admission so you can taste all the different chilis cooked and dished out by restaurants, caterers and fire departments. You can vote for your favorite fire department chili, favorite restaurant chili, most original chili, and best dressed chili serving table.  Beverages will be sold. All proceeds go to the Chester Hose Company.

Still hungry? There’s pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, soups, and lots more available inside and outside the restaurants in town. Also, lemonade, popcorn, kettle corn, and cupcakes – everything to satisfy every taste.

Tractors and more tractors descend on Chester on Carnivale day for the 14th Annual Tractor Parade. Photo by John Stack

Tractors and more tractors descend on Chester on Carnivale day for the 14th Annual Tractor Parade. Photo by John Stack

Just be sure to be back out on Main Street by 2 p.m. for the 14th Annual Chester Tractor Parade. Colorful and rusty, big and small, antique and new, decorated and plain – tractors are driven through the town center in an incredibly long parade. You never knew there were so many tractors in the Connecticut River Valley!

There is no shortage of free activities to keep the whole family entertained for the day. Colorful beads and balloons will be handed out throughout town all day and face painting is available at Century 21 Heritage. The Chester Museum at The Mill will be open at no charge, offering a place to explore Chester history. A photo booth will be at Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art.

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

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

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

Main Street will be closed to traffic. Free parking is available in the commuter lot on Rte. 148 at the foot of Route 9 and in the Roto-Frank parking lot on Inspiration Lane (exit 6) and at Greenwald Industries on Rte. 154 (212 Middlesex Avenue). (Follow the signs.) All lots will be served by courtesy shuttle buses to the town center.

For more information, go to facebook.com/chesterctwintercarnivale or https://finditinchesterct.wordpress.com/

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

Robert Nasta

Robert Nasta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Chester Creative Challenge’ Variations to be Unveiled This Evening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caption:

Caption:

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

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

'Spring Please' by Claudia van Nes

‘Spring Please’ by Claudia van Nes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The guidelines for writing the poems are:

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

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

All poems must be original to the poet

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

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

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

Decisions of the judges are final

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

Chester Historical Society Hosts Baseball ‘Crackerbarrel’ Program Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VRHS Seeking Hall of Fame Nominations, Deadline is April 30

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

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

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

Spring Exhibit on View at Maple and Main

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

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

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

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

'Daybreak' by Pam Carlson of Essex.

‘Daybreak’ by Pam Carlson of Essex.

'Lobster Pots' by Claudia van Nes of Chester.

‘Lobster Pots’ by Claudia van Nes of Chester.

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

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

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

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

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

CBSRZ Hosts Youth Program Open House

CHESTER — Congregation  Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) is hosting an Open House for its Youth Programs For Families with children from birth through age 15  on Sunday, April 19, starting at 10 a.m.

At CBSRZ, they weave Jewish traditions, history, celebrations, and values into the everyday fabric of life’s modern day challenges. By helping young people uncover the riches of their traditions, they seek to empower and nourish their inner lives, and help them to discover the possibilities within themselves and in the world.

Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the building and meet the staff, youth and parents of our diverse community consisting of many interfaith families.

If you would like more information prior to the Open House, contact the CBSRZ office at 860-526-8920 or bethshalom@snet.net.

For further information about CBSRZ Youth Programs, contact Belinda Brennan, Cantor/Educator at 860-526-8920 or by e-mail at edcant@cbsrz.org.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.

CBSRZ Hosts Immigration Forum & Program Today

Hear their stories . . .

UntitledCHESTER — Jose was nine years old when his parents brought him to the U.S. from Mexico, not by plane or bus, as Jose thought, but across the desert on foot, through thirst and contact with “coyote’s.”

Amparo and her husband brought their two sons to the U.S. legally on a tourist visa 12 years ago but stayed.  Her sons are protected against deportation and now consider themselves “Americans,” however, the parents are now deportable.  Both Amparo and her husband would like to return to Ecuador, but because their tourist visa expired, they would then have to wait 10 years before returning.

Patricia came to the U.S. from Mexico 20 years ago with her four children.  She worked as a home care worker, which she enjoyed, but when she asked to work less than 60 hours a week, they cut her to 4-6 hours a week, which forced her to find other work.  Paty’s son was also picked up by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), held and then deported back to Mexico, even though he knew no one in Mexico, because he came to the U.S. when he was one-year-old.

Mariano came to the U.S. from Mexico at an early age and remembers little or nothing about his home country.  Educated in the New Britain school system, while attending Capital Community College, Mariano was put in a detention center when he was unable to produce documents to local police investigating an unrelated crime suspect.  Mariano was on the verge of being deported when Sen. Richard Blumenthal stepped in and persuaded immigration officials to grant a rare stay of deportation.

On March 22 at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) starting at 1 p.m., you will hear these and other immigrants.

Part of this program will include attendees participating in an exercise where you will “walk in the shoes” of a new immigrant, Pablo, taking you through challenging problems facing today’s immigrants – before and after they get to America.

And come tell your story . . .

The synagogue hopes you will share your family’s story of coming to America – however many generations ago. We all know part of this story. The hope of freedom and a better life has always been the driving force for immigrants entering the United States – for all our families as well.

A discussion on immigration reform will follow.

There is no cost for this program, but CBSRZ requests an RSVP to 860-526-8920. Refreshments will be served.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.

 

Jim Kweskin & Geoff Muldaur Perform at Chester Meeting House, April 12

What better venue could there be for an “American roots music” concert than the historic (1795) Chester Meeting House?

Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur have been playing American roots music for nearly 50 years. They will be performing at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, April 12, at 5 p.m.

Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur have been playing American roots music for nearly 50 years. They will be performing at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, April 12, at 5 p.m.

On Sunday, April 12, the Collomore Concert Series presents Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur. Often referred to as “two of the most influential Americana musicians around,” Kweskin and Muldaur play jug band favorites, old-time jazz tunes, and classic country blues. They pick guitar and sing, and have also been known to perform on comb, kazoo, washboard, and jug.

Geoff Muldaur and Jim Kweskin first came together in Kweskin’s famed Jug Band. The original “Americana” band, playing everything from classic blues to hillbilly country, ragtime, jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll, perfectly captured the legendary 1960s mix of exuberant anarchy and heartfelt sincerity.

Their imitators were legion, including a San Francisco jug band that became the Grateful Dead and a New York jug band that became the Lovin’ Spoonful, but no other group attained their unique blend of youthful energy and antiquarian expertise, tight musicianship, loose camaraderie, and infectious swing. The rock critic Ed Ward once listed the most important bands of the early 1960s as the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Byrds, and the Jim Kweskin Jug Band.

In time, Kweskin and Muldaur went their separate ways, and Muldaur became recognized as one of the great white blues singers and guitarists. In the last few years, they have been performing together once again.

Their April 12 Chester concert begins at 5 p.m. Tickets are $24; students from elementary through graduate school pay just $5. Tickets should be purchased in advance. A reception is held after the concert to meet the performers. More information is at collomoreconcerts.org or call 860-526-5162. The Chester Meeting House is at 4 Liberty St.in Chester (exit 6 off Rte. 9).

Caption: Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur have been playing American roots music for nearly 50 years. They will be performing at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, April 12, at 5 p.m.

Chester Village West to host AARP Driver Safety Class, April 7

CHESTER –- Has it been awhile since you’ve brushed up on your driving knowledge and skills? Want the latest information to help you stay safe on the road? Mark your calendar for April 7 at Chester Village West, 317 West Main Street, Chester CT 06412. The independent seniors community will host an AARP SmartDriver™ Course that day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Cost for the course, payable by checks only, is $15 for AARP members and $20 for non-members. Call Chester Village West by April 2 at 860.536.6800 to reserve attendance for yourself and/or a loved one.

The April 7 SmartDriver™ course at Chester Village West, to be taught by AARP driver safety instructor Clifford McGuire, will help attendees re-familiarize themselves with the current rules of the road, defensive driving techniques and how to operate their vehicle more safely in today’s challenging driving environment.

Participants will learn how to manage and accommodate common age-related changes in vision, hearing and reaction time. They will also learn:
• How to minimize the effects of dangerous blind spots
• How to maintain the proper following distance behind another car
• The safest ways to change lanes and make turns at busy intersections
• Proper use of safety belts, air bags, antilock brakes and new technology found in cars today
• Ways to monitor your own and others’ driving skills and capabilities
• The effects of medications on driving
• The importance of eliminating distractions, such as eating, smoking and using a cellphone

After completing the course, participants will have a greater appreciation of driving challenges and a better understanding of how to avoid potential collisions and injuring themselves or others.

Connecticut is one of 35 states that offer price reductions or discounts on auto insurance to motorists who complete the AARP Smart Driver™ Course. Upon completion of the course, participants should contact their auto insurance agent to determine if they are eligible to receive an auto insurance discount.

Contact Marcy Conway (conwaymarcy@lcsnet.com) or Sara Philpott (philpottsara@lcsnet.com) at Chester Village West 0n 860.526.6800

Chester Town Meeting Approves Funding For Library Design, Main St. Reconstruction

CHESTER — Voters at a town meeting Thursday approved funding for two major town projects, including $100,000 for architectural schematic design plans for a new library at North Quarter Park, and $100,000 as the final town funding component for reconstruction of a section of Main Street east of the downtown village.

About 60 residents braved lingering snow and slick roads tor turn out for the votes at the Chester Meetings House, approving both appropriations on voice votes after about an hour of discussion. The additional funding for the Main Street Project was approved on a unanimous vote, while the appropriation for library design fees was approved on a voice vote with a handful of opposing votes.

The town will use $100,000 from the undesignated fund balance to pay for architectural schematic design fees for a new library at North Quarter Park, a 22-acre town-owned parcel on the east end of Main Street. Library supporters and the board of selectmen decided last year to pursue construction of a new library at the park, rather than pursued a potentially costly and complicated renovation and expansion of the 109-year-old existing library building on West Main Street, though some residents continued to question the plan for a new library at the park during meetings last fall.

In November, the town was awarded a $1 million state grant toward the estimated $4 million cost of a new library, funds that must be used for a building project within the next three years. A library building committee, with support from the board of selectmen, last summer hired the Pawtucket, R.I. firm of Lads & Bartells to prepare very preliminary plans for a new library at the park as part of the grant application, though there has been no decision on hiring a firm for the actual building project.

The $100,000 for the Main Street East Project is the final town funding component for an estimated $800,000 project that is mostly paid for by state grant funds. The project, which has been under discussion for years, was scaled back last November to focus on reconstruction of a 1,000-foot section of Main Street from the intersection with School Lane west to the entrance to the Laurel Hill Cemetery.

A more costly plan for reconstruction of a larger section of Main Street east to the intersection with Middlesex Avenue (Rte. 154) that included a continuous sidewalk on the north side of the street had drawn opposition from some residents. The project is expected to be put out to bid soon for a start of construction this spring.

TTYSB Encourages Residents to Get Involved in the ‘Year of the Story’

TTYS placemat
Have you noticed the “2015: Year of the Story” placemats at some of your favorite restaurants in the tri-town area, including Moravella’s, Pattaconk, The Villager and Wheat Market in Chester;  DaVinci Pizza, The Ivory, and the Whistle Stop in Deep River; and Centerbrook Pizza in Essex?

Tri-Town Youth Services Bureau (TTYSB) is grateful for the support of these businesses in getting out the word about this year’s Community Story project. Individual adults and youth are also stepping up to participate in this story-making process. Each person, whatever their involvement, does make a difference.

Do you want to pass on your knowledge, experience, sense of resilience and possibility? What has it meant for you to be part of the Tri-Town community?

TTYSB encourages everyone to beciome involved in this project to celebrate our community through stories

How?

First, consider the most challenging thing you had to face while growing up; how did you manage to overcome it? Then tell your story to a trained story-gatherer—many of these volunteers are your friends and neighbors and they will be collecting stories through April, 2015. After that a professional playwright will be turning our community members’ stories into a one-act play. T

Then during the summer of 2015, volunteer to become a member of the cast, crew or audience for the community performance to be held on Oct. 2, 3 and 4th. Three performances, two evening shows and a matinee, will ensure that every community member will get a chance to attend.

Finally, explore additional ways to build assets, community connections and supportive relationships for the benefit of individuals, families and the community throughout 2015 and beyond.