August 13, 2020

Archives for April 2011

Second Opportunity to Hear Author Richard Buel at Essex Library

With an overflow crowd at author Richard Buel’s recent talk at Essex Library, a second book talk has been scheduled and Buel will speak again the library on Monday, April 25 at 7 p.m. Buel will talk about his newest book, Joel Barlow: American Citizen in a Revolutionary World. 

Professor Emeritus at Wesleyan University, Buel has spent the last five years researching this fascinating but little-known figure from America’s founding: Connecticut poet turned entrepreneur, diplomat, and international revolutionary, whose circle included Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Tom Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, Lafayette, and Yale classmates Noah Webster and Oliver Wolcott.      

Hear about how Barlow, born in humble circumstances, made a name for himself in a revolutionary era; his experiences during America’s war of independence (1775-1783); his efforts to sell Ohio lands to the French at the beginning of their Revolution; his revolutionary writing in England that made him persona non grata there, while the French granted him citizenship and asked him to run for the National Assembly(he lost); his response to the Terror and subsequent assignment by Pres. Washington to free American sailors from the Barbary Pirates; his eventual return to America and his purchase of an estate (at Jefferson’s suggestion) that he named Kalorama (just north of DuPont Circle in DC); and his last diplomatic appointment (by Pres. Madison) as ambassador to Napoleonic France. Also his secret marriage to Ruth Baldwin, their unusual relationship, and later their intimate friendship with Robert Fulton.

Books will be available for sale and signing. Please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 to register. The program is free and open to all.


Ivoryton Celebrates Earth Day

Please gather your friends, family or community group and join the Ivoryton Gardeners as they clean up Ivoryton Village.

Meet at The Gather, 104 Main Street, Ivoryton, 9 a.m. – 10:30.a.m.


Essex Finance Board Makes No Changes to 2011-2012 Budget After Public Hearing

ESSEX— The board of finance made no changes to the proposed $6.78 million town government budget and proposed $7.4 million appropriation for Essex Elementary School after a relatively quiet budget hearing Monday.

About 25 residents turned out for questions and comments on the proposed spending plans for 2011-2012. The proposed $7,407,913 elementary school budget is up by $211,866, or 2.94 percent, with proposed town government spending of $6,782,158 that is up by $283,912, or 4.37 percent. The town and elementary school budgets are combined with the town’s $7,406,944 share of the Region 4 education budget for a total spending levy of $21,597,015, an amount that is up by $764,285, or 3.67 percent, from the 2010-2011 spending total.

After nearly an hour of presentations and questions, there were only two direct calls for further reductions in the budget. John Ackerman urged the finance board to take a closer look at the town government appropriation with a goal of avoiding a hike in the property tax rate. “Even a small increase could impact a lot to people who are having trouble making ends meet,” he said.

Former Selectman Vince Pacileo, who served the minority Republican selectman from 2003-2009, also urged the finance board to “pare down” the increase in the town government budget.

Board of Finance Chairman Jim Francis said Tuesday the board made no changes to the proposed budgets during a special meeting after the hearing. Francis said residents should anticipate a small increase in the tax rate that would be comparable to increases in recent years. The current tax rate is 17.63 mills, or $17.63 in tax for each $1,000 of assessed property value. The rate had increased last July by .68 mills to fund spending for the current year.
Francis said the increase in the tax rate could be lower if the board decides to transfer money from the town’s undesignated fund balance to defray a portion of any increase in the mill rate. The fund balance currently contains over $2 million, and has not been tapped for several years to limit any possible increases in the tax rate.
Francis said the finance board has followed a policy goal of keeping the fund balance at about 10 percent of total annual operating expenses. “It is now more than that,” he said, adding that some members may be willing to consider a one-time transfer from the fund balance.

Barring any petition for a referendum vote, the town government and elementary school spending plans go the voters for approval at the annual budget meeting on May 9. The Region 4 education budget goes to the voters of Chester, Deep River, and Essex in a May 3 referendum. If the spending plans are approved by voters, the board of finance would set the tax rate for 2011-2012 at its regular meeting on May 19.


Bike and Pedestrian Alliance of Clinton Announces 1st Annual Clinton Bike Fest & Street Fair on May Day

Town Hall, Clinton

CLINTON – Are you ready for spring? The Bike & Pedestrian Alliance of Clinton (BPAC) is planning the First Annual Clinton Bike Fest on May Day – Sunday, May 1, 12 – 5 pm.

 The event will begin at noon at Town Hall with an hour-long Family Fun Ride/Walk out to the Clinton Marina (registration begins at 10:30 am). At the same time, a longer ride for more road-savvy cyclists will head out to the beach by way of Beach Park Road.

From 1 – 5 pm there will be activities behind Town Hall, including food and information booths, music, bike demos, pedicab rides, and a bike rodeo (bike and helmet required).

Lots of exciting events will also be happening on Post Office Square all afternoon, where we’ll have singing, dancing, yoga and zumba classes, musician performances and an open mike for jamming. Museums and many shops on Main Street will be open for business as well.

 Check out our web site at for more information on this event or download a registration form here for the Family Fun Ride/Walk. The Bike Fest is a free event, and all ages are welcome.


The Man Behind the Curtain: An Interview with Goodspeed’s Enduring—and Endearing—Executive Producer Michael Price

Michael Price - Executive Producer of the Goodspeed Opera House and Vice President of the American Theatre Wing. He has been overseeing the Goodspeed musical productions since 1968 (Photo courtesy of Ira Lewis)

Michael Price is the Executive Producer of the Goodspeed Opera House and Vice President of the American Theatre Wing.  He has been overseeing the Goodspeed musical productions since 1968.

Old Saybrook High School senior Rachel Berliner and Shoreline Web News LLC intern (… and Broadway aficionado) sat down with Price to talk about the upcoming 2011-2012 theatrical season.

As Rachel walked through the door into Price’s office, she found herself spellbound.  The walls were adorned with theatre memorabilia from Price’s numerous Goodspeed seasons (he has been in charge there since 1968) and also Broadway itself.  Quickly composing herself, she posed a series of questions to Price as follows:

Q:  How do you choose the shows in general for the seasons at Goodspeed and the Norma Terris Theatre?

A: : Each theatre has its own separate process for choosing shows.  The Goodspeed season is a balance between dance and drama.  We work from a list of about 30 musicals we have an interest in doing.  We add and subtract from that list every year.  In October or earlier (September), we start looking at what we would like to do the following year.  We are even doing some work on what we would like to do a year from now.

I do this along with two other producers.  The music director is also involved in it.  And the marketing director who needs to ensure we can sell all of our tickets.  We look at: “Do we like the show?”, “Do we have the right talent?”, “Do we have a director to do it?, “Do all the shows look alike so they are not all tap dance musicals?”  We try to balance it out for the season.  They have to tell a good story and have good tunes.  For some musicals, there are certain limitations and they are too broad for us to do.  There are some musicals that are too small for us to do.  Our audience expects a certain production value.

The Chester season (Norma Terris Theatre) has all new shows and it’s just as exciting as what we do upstairs in this theatre.  We see hundreds and hundreds of auditions of new musicals a year.  The two producing members of the staff read several hundred scripts a year and out of that, we come up with three that we would like to do.

Q: Where do you hold the auditions?

A: We do most of our auditions in New York.  Once a year we do local auditions here (East Haddam).  Basically, all of our actors come from New York.

Q: Since you have been at Goodspeed since 1968, do you have a favorite production or season?

A: Well, no.  I have a lot of musicals I like.  You can’t pick one.  Out of the several hundred musicals we have produced from the time I’ve been here, I don’t think I could pick one.

Q: What are your goals for the future of Goodspeed?

A: Goodspeed will continue to produce three musicals a year: three old and three new.  We are running a vast educational program during the off-season.  We teach musical directors how to be musical directors, we teach scenic artists how to paint, and high school students how to audition for conservatories.  There is a lot of work that we do to make shows, make new theatre personnel, and to educate them.  Every season we set the bar a little bit higher.

Q: Annie will be celebrating its 35th anniversary next year and had its pre-Broadway run at Goodspeed.  What was your role behind the scenes during the production?  Did you think that it would go as far as it did?

A: I was the producer.  I put together the designers and choreographer (Peter Gennaro) with the cast.  I never thought that it would be alive and well and exciting as it is today.  The Broadway revival will be exciting.

Q: What are you thoughts about the planned “Annie” Broadway revival to be directed by James Lapine (librettist for the Stephen Sondheim musicals “Sunday in the Park with George” and “Into the Woods)?

A: Just the same way we (Goodspeed) take a look at an old musical 35 years later, it’s time to take a new look at Annie.  We know it is still relevant today, but how relevant?  What changes might we make to make it even more so (relevant)?

Editor’s Note: We are indebted to Mr. Price for giving up his valuable time to meet with Rachel.


“Thank You” from Literacy Volunteers for Supporting Backward Mile

Dear Editor:

I am writing this letter as a “thank you” to those who made Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc. even better on April 2, 2011. That day we sponsored the 4th annual April Fools Backward Mile/ 5K Race. This is especially appropriate during National Volunteer Week.

The April Fools race would not have been possible without the help of our volunteers: Jean & Rich Alexander, Don Male, Linda Morales, Ann Fogg, Ann Lander, Rebecca Harris, John McGirr, Mac Walker, Ron& Mary DeMartino, Chris Egri, Pam Skelly, Ada Wilson, Donna Bowden, Nan Strolha, Suki McLaren, Paula Ferrara and the Boy Scouts of Troop 12. I also want to thank our staff and Board members whose time and effort cannot be ignored.

We appreciate the support of the Town of Essex, the Police department and resident Trooper Kerry Taylor, First Selectman Phil Miller and the Essex Parks Department.

Donations from The Clark Group, Tower Laboratories, Guilford Savings Bank, Essex Savings Bank, Edward Jones Investments, Bogaert Construction, Kearney Insurance, Thompson and Peck Insurance, The Clinton Floor Store, The Valley Courier and Cohen’s Bagels without whose support this community event would not be possible.

I want to thank the participants for supporting Literacy Volunteers. We hope they all had a good time and plan to come back next year.

I especially want to thank our Race Director, Cathy Bishop, who spent countless hours organizing and directing this race. The race would not have been nearly as successful without her efforts.

To all those I have mentioned, and to those I am forgetting, I cannot express in words the gratitude that we at Literacy

Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc. feel. THANK YOU!

Michael A. Noto
Executive Director


New Biography Brings William Gillette Back to Life; Created Image of Sherlock Holmes

More than 70 years after his death, a new biography tells the story of one of the American theater’s greatest stars. William Gillette is best-remembered today as the living personification of Sherlock Holmes.

 He wrote the first popular play about the detective and brought Holmes to life and established for all time the image of Holmes with the deerstalker cap, the bent briar pipe and the profile, creating what may be the most instantly recognizable icon in the world. And it was from Gillette’s play that Hollywood film-makers derived the famous phrase, “Elementary, my dear Watson.”

“Gillette established the manner in which Holmes was to be portrayed,” author Henry Zecher explained. “Mysteries in general have been staged on the template he created; and, until Jeremy Brett did his own interpretation, actors playing Holmes for the next several decades did it the way Gillette did it.”

More than bringing Holmes to life, however, Gillette was among the nineteenth century’s most successful actors and playwrights. In a career spanning six decades, he was one of the best-known celebrities in the Western world.
“Gillette was a towering figure in an age of towering figures,” Zecher added. “Among his friends were Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Theodore Roosevelt, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Thomas Nast and Maurice Barrymore. He built a castle on the Connecticut River and a miniature railroad to run around it. Among the guests who rode on that train were President Calvin Coolidge, physicist Albert Einstein and Tokyo Mayor Ozaki Yukio, who gave to America the cherry blossoms in 1912. James M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, wrote two hit plays for which he specifically asked for Gillette to star in.”

As a playwright Gillette was known for the stark realism of his sets, costuming, dialogue and actions. He developed realistic and dramatic lighting and sound effects. And he led the way in making American drama truly American.
“American arts tended to be like the British,” Zecher continued, “and the British had a very poor opinion of American drama. Then Gillette took his first Civil War play – Held by the Enemy – to London in 1887 and it was the first American play with a thoroughly American theme to be a major success on British stages.”

As an actor, he developed the philosophy of The Illusion of the First Time, in which an actor speaks his lines each night, not as if he has spoken them a hundred times before, but as if he is making them up as he goes along, as real people do. Actors were to enter the room of the set the same way, looking about as they go rather than blithely walking in as if they had done so many times before. The idea, Gillette said, was to create the illusion of life on the stage.

Among the young stars Gillette helped at the dawn of their careers were Ethel Barrymore, Charles Chaplin and Helen Hayes, and later screen stars made their film debuts in productions of his plays: William Powell in Sherlock Holmes in 1922, starring John Barrymore as Holmes; Meryl Streep in the 1976 Broadway Theater Archive filming of Gillette’s greatest play, Secret Service, co-starring John Lithgow; and Christian Slater in Sherlock Holmes in 1981 opposite Frank Langella as Holmes.

Gillette played Holmes more than 1300 times in both America and England between 1899 and 1932. Upon his death in 1937, the New York Times declared, “His comedy bordered on farce, his drama on melodrama, but it would be hard to convince that portion of the American public that knew and followed him that any better actor had ever trod the American stage. And it might be impossible to find any other actor who at 76 could revive a role from the Nineties and make a smashing tour with it through two seasons over the length and breadth of the country. It would be conservative to say that Mr. Gillette was the most successful of all American actors.”

For generations of theater-goers and Holmes enthusiasts, Gillette remained the definitive Sherlock Holmes of all time. This is the first full biography ever published on him. Profusely illustrated, it is published by Xlibris Press in Bloomington, Indiana.


It’s a Play Date: YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day Aims to Get Families Moving Through Play

On Saturday, April 30, the Valley-Shore Y is encouraging all kids and parents in the CT Shoreline and River Valley to come to the Y for a play date and commit to being active every day. It’s all part of the YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day™ – the nation’s largest health day for families. The free event will take place at the Valley-Shore Y at 201 Spencer Plains Road from 1-4 p.m. and feature activities such as Fire and Ambulance tours, face painting, the moonwalk, contests, t-shirt and prize give-a-ways, clowns and more.

As a leading nonprofit strengthening community through healthy living, the Y holds Healthy Kids Day to teach healthy habits to kids and inspire a lifetime love of physical activity. At a time when one in three children in the United States are overweight or obese (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), developing healthier habits that include increased physical activity is more important than ever.

“In the Valley-Shore community, we know that some parents struggle with and wish they had more time to incorporate more healthy activities and better life habits into their kids’ scheduled routine,” says Paul Mohabir, CEO, Valley-Shore Y. “At the Valley-Shore Y we are passionate in making sure we are able to offer as many healthy opportunities for our community at a very affordable rate. On Healthy Kids Day on April 30th we encourage parents to make a play date with their kids, with two key requirements – be active and have fun!”

As part of Healthy Kids Day, the Y encourages families to make play dates everyday as a simple way to become healthier, more active and connected. The Valley-Shore YMCA recommends five simple activities families can do to play together:

  1. Schedule a Game Night: Play games with the kids that incorporate physical activity, such as Charades.
  2. Dance, Dance: Turn on your favorite party music and dance! Make this activity more fun with a dance contest.
  3. Go Riding: Find a new bike path or park for a fun afternoon outdoors; grab your helmets and go rollerblading or bike riding.
  4. Channel Your Inner Youth: Remember playing hopscotch, jump rope, Simon Says or freeze tag as a kid? Teach your favorite childhood game to your kid(s) and play them together.
  5. Play Outside: Visit your neighborhood park or camp out in your backyard for some outdoor fun. Get everyone moving with fun sports like soccer, basketball or baseball.

Healthy Kids Day will be celebrated at nearly 1,600 Y’s across the country, with more than 700,000 families expected to attend this year.

Healthy Kids Day is sponsored by Essex Savings Bank. In addition, the Valley-Shore YMCA is proud to host representatives from the Westbrook Fire and Ambulance Department, who will be opening their fire trucks and ambulance’s for the kids to see. Lunch will be provided by Lenny & Joe’s Fishtale.

Nationally, Healthy Kids Day is supported by the Dodge brand, PepsiCo and Sam’s Club.
For more information, contact the Valley-Shore Y at 860-399-9622 or visit our website at


Middlesex Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore! Public Grand Opening

Middlesex Habitat for Humanity cordially invites you to ReStore’s Public Grand Opening on April 16, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Come celebrate Earth Day and Earth Week by buying green.  Your purchase will aid in our effort to recycle reusable materials, which would otherwise go into landfills.

The ReStore is a store that sells new and pre-owned building supplies, furniture, and appliances at rock bottom prices.  All net proceeds from the ReStore benefit Middlesex Habitat for Humanity.  Your purchase will help build a Habitat for Humanity house in Middlesex County.  Going green is not only about buying green but also donating.  For more information about visiting the ReStore or donating materials we invite you to check out our website at

The ReStore is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.      Remodel, reuse, renew, and restore with the Middlesex Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, and help rebuild your community one decent, affordable house at a time.  Join us at our Grand Opening on April 16, 2011 to learn more!


Auditions for “The Producers” at the Ivoryton Playhouse

Ivoryton, CT:  The Ivoryton Playhouse will be holding local Equity and non-Equity auditions for the summer musical production “The Producers” by Mel Brooks and Tom Meehan on Saturday, April 16 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the Rehearsal Studio, 24 Main Street, Centerbrook, CT 06409.

Auditions are by appointment and actors should bring a picture and resume and prepare a song in the style of the show.

1st rehearsal: June 21, 2011. Runs: July 6 – 31, 2011.  Matinees:  Wednesday, Sunday. Evenings: Wednesday through Saturday.

For audition appointments, call 860-767-7318

Theatre’s mailing address:  Ivoryton Playhouse, PO Box 458, Ivoryton CT  06442.


Where Have All the Songbirds Gone?

Potapaug Audubon presents “The Plight of Connecticut Songbird Populations” April 7 at the Essex Town Hall at 7:30 p.m., with guest speaker, Dr. Min Huang, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Wildlife Biologist & Leader of the Migratory Gamebird Program.

Many Connecticut songbirds are in decline and no one knows why.  This program explores the possible reasons.

For more information, call 860-399-9673.


Police Hire and Beavers Again Topics for Essex Board of Selectmen

ESSEX— Cops and beavers, two issues that dominated the March 16 meeting of the board of selectmen, were under discussion again at the board’s meeting Wednesday.

The hiring of a new town police officer was not on Wednesday’s agenda, though First Selectman Phil Miller had said last month that he would announce the hiring of Paul Kennefick as the new town officer at the April 6 meeting. There was no announcement at the meeting, but Miller said Thursday that Kennefick was hired earlier this week.

“He’s definitely hired,” Miller said, adding that it had “just slipped my mind” to formally announce the hire at the meeting. “It was on my list of information items for the meeting,” he said.

The selection of Kennefick, who has just retired as a Connecticut State Police lieutenant and commander of the Troop F barracks in Westbrook, has drawn a public campaign of opposition from John Orr, a town resident and former Essex police officer who left the force amid unexplained circumstances in the summer of 2005. Orr had claimed at the March 16 meeting that Kennefick mishandled a police internal affairs investigation of him in 2005, and was currently the subject of a police internal affairs investigation. Miller had said at the March 16 meeting that he knew nothing of an investigation of Kennefick.

Orr Wednesday presented Miller with a written confirmation that Kennefick had recently been the subject of an internal affairs investigation based on a complaint from another officer. “If there is such a complaint it is probably not one to be taken seriously,” Miller replied.

Miller said Kennefick is expected to begin patrol duties by the end of the month after a required retraining for service as a municipal police officer. He said Kennefick, with 21 years of experience as a state trooper, had received a top ranking from about 35 applicants screened by an area wide Law Enforcement Council review panel.

The recent lethal trapping of beavers in the smaller pond at Viney Hill Brook Park was also under discussion Wednesday. The trapping, which was approved by the conservation commission to prevent flooding and damage to trees at the park, had drawn strong objections from some residents.

Miller said the trapping had been completed last week, but declined to specify how many beavers had been killed in the process. He also predicted that beavers would return to the pond and wetlands at the 100-acre park, and suggested the conservation commission would further explore alternatives to lethal trapping.

Miller said the commission would consider all input received from the public on other options for responding to beaver problems, and would “be very thoughtful” before authorizing any future trapping. “It’s going to be a long-term management issue,” he said.

Selectman Joel Marzi said he was gathering information on options for beaver management, and would be attending meetings of the conservation commission when the issue is discussed in the future. “There may be some workable alternatives that can at least be talked about,” he said.


Gillette Castle Egg Hunt Set for April 16

Kids of all sizes will have fun at the annual Easter Egg Hunt on the grounds of Gillette Castle State Park on Saturday, April 16, a week before Easter Sunday. Participants are urged to arrive early to ensure parking and participation.

The hunt, sponsored by the Friends of Gillette Castle State Park, will begin at 12:15 p.m. promptly, rain or shine, and the kids will be divided into three age groups — 0 to3, 4 to 7, and 8 to 11. Then, they’ll be guided into the “wild” with their baskets and bags in search of the Easter Bunny’s treasures — candies and small prizes cunningly packed into plastic eggs by Friends volunteers a couple of days beforehand, and cleverly hidden on that morning (in not-too-difficult places) in the nooks and crannies of the park’s trees, shrubs, and walls.

At least one of the eggs in each age group will contain “gold stars” for special awards. There is no admission charge and the hunt will continue until no more eggs are out there to be found…which won’t be long!

Informal raffles, snacks and goodies, pine-cone bird-feeder preparation, and and a guest appearance of Smokey Bear will keep egghunters active. The hunt day officially ends at 1:30 p.m.

Adults are asked to bring along a basket for their own kids to use, and to have a good time looking on!

For more information, call the Friends at 860.873.1153.


Park and Recreation is Pleased to Present their Spring & Summer 2011 Program Brochure

The new brochure contains information on all the upcoming programs, like the new YOGA class, summer camps, the new Summer Squirts Kindergarten Camp, concerts and special events like the Essex Eggstravaganza Egg Hunt, Fishing Derby, Family Picnic & Concert, 4th of July Parade, Wiffle Ball Tournament and More!!!

Please feel free to contact P&R if you have any questions-860-767-4340 x110

View the brochure, download registration forms or register on line* at (Choose Park and Recreation Tab on the Right).

*On line registration is not available for Summer Day Camp at EES & Summer Squirts Kindergarten Camp please use the link to all the appropriate information & forms on the park and recreation home page-click on the Summer Camp at EES tab located on the left


Region 4 Presents Two High School Principal Finalists to Handful of Residents at Public Meeting

REGION 4— Region 4 school officials presented two finalists for the position of principal at Valley Regional High School to a handful of community residents at a public meeting Tuesday.

Superintendent of Schools Ruth Levy said the finalists are Kristina Martineau, the former assistant principal who has served as interim principal at the high school since last October, and Todd Snyder, the current assistant principal at Mark T. Sheehan High School in Wallingford. The Region 4 Board of Education is expected to interview a single candidate, and make a hiring decision, at a closed session meeting on April 12.

The principal job at the high school became vacant last fall after the abrupt departure of Eric Rice, a Chester resident who was hired for the job in July 2010. Rice resigned and received a severance package last October amid reports he had been given a resign-or-be-fired ultimatum by Levy after only weeks on the job. Levy has declined to comment of the reasons for Rice’s departure, which generated a lingering controversy in the Chester- Deep River-Essex school district.

In a sign the controversy over the principal job may have subsided, only four parents or community members, two with previous ties to the school district, turned out for the unveiling of the principal finalists. Levy said there were 15 applicants for the position, with six selected for telephone follow-up interviews with Levy, Region 4 Board of Education chairwoman Linda Hall, Assistant Superintendent Ian Neviaser, and Doreen Marvin, a consultant from the Project Learn 24-town regional education consortium.

Levy said four candidates were presented for interviews held last week with small and large groups comprised of selected teachers, parents, students, community members, and school board members. These interviews resulted in the selection of the two finalists.

Snyder, a Rocky Hill resident, said his career in education was preceded by military experience in the Army National Guard, and work in the insurance business. After working at two private schools for special education students, Snyder worked for six years as a social studies teacher and department head at Windsor Locks High School, and three years in the same roles at Newington High School. He has served as assistant principal at the Wallingford high school since 2007.

Answering questions from the group at the meeting, Snyder said he is interested in what happens in the classroom “because I still do consider myself a teacher,” adding that he views the role of a principal as “about being caring and concerned while at the same time firm.” Snyder said he hopes to be “the next long-term proud principal of Valley Regional High School.”

Martineau, a Guilford resident and mother of two children ages 5 and 11 months, began her career as an English teacher at Fairfield Ward High School in Fairfield, spending seven years in the classroom and one year as dean of students. She began working as assistant principal at Valley Regional High School in July 2008, and was named as interim principal by the board of education after Rice’s departure last October.

Describing the principal position at VRHS as “my dream job,” Martineau said student participation and involvement is a “measure of success” that goes beyond test scores.” This is a really exciting time for Valley and I want to be a part of that,” she said.


Camp Hazen YMCA Summer Camp Open House

On Sunday, April 17, Camp Hazen YMCA will host an Open House from 2-4 PM.   Families are encouraged to attend to learn more about summer opportunities for children.  Camp Hazen YMCA, located at 204 West Main Street on Cedar Lake in Chester, offers one and two week session of both day and resident camp. 

Some sessions already have waitlists so it is imperative for families to plan their summer now.  Camp Director, Danita Ballantyne, states “Attending an Open House provides a valuable opportunity for families to meet the Camp Directors and see the facilities to determine if Camp Hazen is the right choice for their family.” 

Camp Hazen YMCA is committed to helping youth develop valuable life skills through camping experiences that build healthy bodies, open minds and awakened spirits.    Traditional camp activities like swimming, arts and crafts and campfires – along with more unique programs including a Skate Park, Alpine Tower, Mountain Biking and Windsurfing are available for campers.  All activities are designed to ensure that campers are having fun, making friends and learning valuable life lessons such as independence and leadership which are the core ingredients of the camp experience.

Camp Hazen YMCA believes the summer camp experience is a vital part of a child’s development and offers a tier pricing program to make camp affordable for all.  For more information, contact Danita Ballantyne at 860-526-9529 or visit


Community Services Room Opens at Essex Library

Library volunteer Stuart Warner puts the finishing touches on the Essex Library’s new Community Services Room

Thanks to a grant from the Essex Community Foundation, as well as carpentry contributed by Stuart Warner and designs supplied by J. Harding Dowell of Centerbrook Architects, the Essex Library has transformed a seldom-used study room into a Community Services Center, a hub for information which features brochures and informative pamphlets from a host of government agencies and service organizations, along with computer access to online resources.          

“We felt that patrons would appreciate a space in which to research issues like mental health, substance abuse, health and safety, domestic violence, consumer issues, and eldercare, as well as educational opportunities and resources for homeschoolers,” explains Essex Library Director Richard Conroy. “The room’s computer will be bookmarked with websites that offer further information and links to private and governmental agencies.”              

The Essex Library invites the public to visit its new Community Services Center, and thanks the Essex Community Foundation, Stuart Warner, and J. Harding Dowell of Centerbrook Architects for making it possible.


Massenet’s Werther: A Talk with Musical Excerpts

In their current study of opera, “Read, Hear, See” Ivoryton theatre have recently completed an examination of Shakespeare’s and Verdi’s Macbeth. They  learned that no one could write a farewell to the world better than Shakespeare: “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.  It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

Verdi never tries to match Shakespeare’s words because he doesn’t have to. He does it with music. In Claude D’Anna’s film, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s ambitious hours of strutting and fretting upon the stage were performed to the delight of the audience gathered by the Ivoryton Library.

As an added treat, Samantha Talmadge, an opera singer living in Ivoryton and voice teacher at the Community Music School, related to the audience that she had met and worked with Shirley Verdett who sings Lady Macbeth in the film.

Massenet’s Werther, based on Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther, is our next stop. Werther is a young, idealist who falls in love with very beautiful Charlotte. Like Hamlet, Werther is sensitive and intellectual, and seeks only perfection. Both Goethe and Massenet place Werther in two worlds: his and the external world where the conflict between the two is intolerable. He is a Romantic: his world is one he imagines.

When Goethe wrote The Sorrows of Young Werther, there were many young men who, influenced by this hero, were willing to die for their beliefs. Only death, they thought, would join them with their ideals, combining what they didn’t have with what they wanted. Because Goethe was upset with this trend, he wrote an article explaining that the novel was written for self-healing.  He himself had been madly in love with a Charlotte who was older and, unfortunately, married.

Watching the opera highlights, the audience will hear Werther’s pain in song and it will be unforgettable. Jonas Kaufmann performs as Werther and when he sings “Claire du Lune,” one’s only problem will be fighting all the tingles in one’s body.

Come and  “Read, Hear, See” Goethe’s and Massenet’s Werther at the Ivoryton

Ivoryton Congregational Church Thursday, April 24,  28, and 29 at 4 p.m.  This series has been funded  by the Middlesex County Community Foundation.


April 11 Hearing Set on Essex Town Government and Elementary School Budgets for 2011-2012

ESSEX— A proposed $6.78 million town government budget and a proposed $7.4 million budget for Essex Elementary School will be presented at the annual budget hearing set for April 11 at 8 p.m. in the auditorium at town hall.

The proposed $6, 782, 158 town government budget that was endorsed by the board of selectmen last month represents a $283,912, or 4.37 percent increase, over the current appropriation for town government. The proposed $7,407,913 elementary school budget that was recommended by the Essex Board of Education represents a $211,866, or 2.94 percent, increase over the current appropriation for the elementary school.

The proposed town government budget includes a two percent wage/salary increase for elected officials and non-union town employees. The budget includes $281,250, an increase of $25,000, for the volunteer fire department, and $158,305 for parks and recreation. The spending plan includes $365,000, an increase of $16,000, for the town’s two public libraries, and $791,464, an increase of $48,788, for the highway department.

The budget includes $333,552 for police services, an increase of $13,304 from the current appropriation, and $106,316 for the resident state trooper. The spending plan includes $164,131 for sanitarian services, and $20,000 for a part-time director of health.

The proposed budget for the elementary school includes $121,000 in new salary and benefits costs for school employees, and $18,450 for repairs and maintenance of the school building. The spending plan calls for the elimination of one classroom teacher position due to a drop in student enrollment, a savings of $31,281, and addition of one new part-time special education aide at a cost of $8,993. Enrollment at the kindergarten through sixth grade school is expected to drop from the current 548 students to 527 students in 2001-2012, a decrease of 21 students.
The town government and elementary school appropriations are combined with the town’s $7,406,944 share of the Region 4 education budget for a total  proposed spending amount of $21,597,015, an increase of $764,285 from current total expenditures.

The current tax rate is 17.63 mills, or $17.63 in tax for each $1,000 of assessed property value. A tax mill is expected to generate about $1.1 million in revenue in 2011-2012.

The board of finance will hold a special meeting after the public hearing Monday to consider any adjustments to the town government and elementary school budgets based on input received from residents at the hearing. The annual budget meeting vote on a total spending plan for 2011-2012 is set for Monday May 9, unless a decision from the board of selectmen or a petition from residents sends the budget to a referendum vote later in May. The Region 4 education budget that funds the operation of Valley Regional High School and John Winthrop Middle School goes to the voters of Chester, Deep River and Essex in a May 3 referendum.


Community Music School Flute Ensemble Concert April 5

Welcome spring with a lively and eclectic concert by the Community Music School Flute Ensemble on Tuesday, April 5 at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library.

Under the direction of Pamela Dubey Allen, members Margaret Very, Linnea Hagstrom, Jean Hester, Alex Interlandi, and Megan Doran will perform a variety of classical repertoire, including pieces by Bach, Mozart, Dvorak, Debussy and others, along with an assortment of folk tunes.

 The concert is free and open to all, and you can register by calling the Essex Library at 860-767-1560.


Connecticut River Eagle and Osprey Viewing Cruises


RiverQuest wil be offering osprey and eagle viewing cruises this spring to experience wildlife on the Connecticut River.  Cruises will depart from Haddam, Eagle Landing State Park, Route 82, (across the river from the Goodspeed Opera House).

Join the crew aboard RiverQuest as they cruise the lower Connecticut River to view returning ospreys, resident eagle nests, hawks, ducks and other early spring wildlife.

The extremely quiet RiverQuest has an enclosed cabin or enjoy the pristine beauty of the river on our open decks. Listen and observe as our experienced crew point out and educate all on our local wildlife and other points of interest. Bring your binoculars or borrow theirs. Complimentary coffee, tea and light snacks.

These cruises are over 2 hours in length and are $30 per person.  One lucky passenger will win a gift certificate for 2 to a Public Daytime/Sunset Cruise on each trip. Departures are April 16 and May 14 at 4:00-6:15 p.m. and April 30 at 9:30-11:45 a.m.  For more information, reservations, visit: or call 860-662-0577.


Lion’s Pig Roast and Chicken Barbecue Luau

Deep River – Chester Lions Club will be hosting a Pig Roast, Chicken Barbecue Luau on April 16, starting at 6:00 p.m. at St Joseph’s Parish Center in Chester. Potato and macaroni salads, baked beans, corn on the cob and pineapple upside-down cake will also be served.

There will also be music, raffles and other exciting contests.  And don’t forget to wear your favorite Hawaiian Shirt!

 Adults – $12.00    Children 10 & younger – $8.00.  Tickets available at the Deep River Hardware store or from any Lion Member.


Talking Transportation: Who’s In Charge of Our Transportation Future?

Is anyone guiding our state’s transportation future?  One wonders.

Three months into the Malloy administration, we still don’t have a Commissioner at the Department of Transportation.  Yet, the Governor is pushing legislation to eliminate the Transportation Strategy Board just a decade after its creation.

It’s clear that we are far from solving our transportation mess, so it’s disconcerting that no individual or advisory board seems to be in charge.

We’ve had five Commissioners at the DOT since Jodi Rell became Governor, the most recent leaving last July under the cloud of an alleged scandal.  So why the lack of a firm hand on the tiller of this 3,400-employee, $725 million capital budget agency?

Well, first, who would want the job?  The CDOT has careened from scandal to cost-overrun, from investigation to calls for reorganization.  It’s the agency we love to hate.  So it’s no surprise that Governor Malloy’s national search for a new Commissioner has turned up empty so far.

The last Commissioner, Joseph Marie, came to Connecticut after a national search and made tremendous progress at rebuilding morale in the agency.  His candor was refreshing.  His experience on the rail side (having just designed and built Phoenix’s light rail system) was hailed as a turning point in the agency previously dominated by highways veterans.  His deputy Commissioner, Jeff Parker, was similarly well versed and widely respected.

But when Marie was forced to resign amid unproven allegations of sexual improprieties… without so much as formal charges or investigations… Parker took over only to leave last month, impatient at the new Governor’s inability to give him the full title or replace him. 

Why then, with the CDOT in limbo, does Governor Malloy want to eliminate the Transportation Strategy Board?  At least that body had the mandate of taking a longer-term view of a 20-year plan for rail and road, airports and ports.

Created in 2001, the TSB was complemented by regional advisory TIA’s, or Transportation Investment Areas, including “The Coastal Corridor TIA” (on which I have served since its creation).  With input from the TIAs, the TSB issued its first recommendations in 2003 in a comprehensive report prioritizing long overdue investment in transportation, including ordering new rail cars for Metro-North.

There were updates in 2007 and 2011 as the body explored the links between transportation and economic development.

The first TSB Chairman, Oz Griebel, went on to run for Governor.  His successor, businessman Kevin Kelleher, missed many meetings and didn’t seem engaged in the TSB’s ongoing work.  A third Chairman, Bruce Alexander from Yale turned the TSB into a debating club, achieving little.

On one important policy issue, tolls on our highways, the TSB did a terrible job.  Unable to come to any consensus on this crucial traffic mitigation and funding source, they did what everyone previously has done with transportation:  they called for another study.  But the resulting report was so jumbled, offering nine different alternatives, that choosing among them was impossible and political suicide.

It didn’t help that then-governor Rell had rejected any tolling idea even as the million dollar report was being written.  Neither did a series of public hearings held by the TSB around the state when the report was issued.  The agency sought public comment without any explanation of the study or its proposals.

At the hearing in Norwalk only a handful of TSB members were present (with Chairman Kelleher again absent) to listen as 50 uninformed residents spouted the same old objections to tolling.  What a waste.

The tolling issue has not gone away.  Nor have questions about how we will fund mass transit with an ever-dwindling gasoline tax.  We still don’t know if Bradley Airport should be sold or continue to be run by the state… or when we’ll replace the crumbling Stamford rail station garage.  How about delays on the M8 cars due to the Japanese quake?  New highway spending, repair on hundreds of decrepit  bridges, so-called ‘high speed rail’ from New Haven to Springfield, development of our ports, overdue expansion of rail station parking… none of these issues seem closer to being addressed without leadership.

So as the TSB is legislated into oblivion and the Commissioner’s office at the CDOT continues to be occupied by Acting and Interim-titled placeholders, just who is watching over our state’s transportation future?

JIM CAMERON has been a Darien resident for 20 years.  He is Chairman of the CT Metro-North / Shore Line East Rail Commuter Council.  But the opinions expressed here are only his own.  You can reach him at or


Avoiding An Eldercare Crisis: Free seminar

People who care for an aging relative often worry about the risk of a sudden crisis. The Essex Library is presenting a free seminar on Thursday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m., to answer the questions you may face in this new role.

Ms. DeWeese, Community Outreach Coordinator at VNA Community Healthcare

Presented by Molly DeWeese of the VNA, the program will help you rate the risks for your loved one, learn how to keep your relative safe, find local resources and become a more effective, and less stressed caregiver.      Ms. DeWeese, Community Outreach Coordinator at VNA Community Healthcare, has worked with individuals with memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s for 18 years. She now runs the non-profit home care agency’s Caregiver Resource Center in Old Saybrook. 

 The program is open to all; please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 to register.


Essex Historical Society presents: The Common Soldier and the Civil War

The Civil War began 150 years ago this year.   To commemorate this anniversary, the Essex Historical Society (EHS) is proud to sponsor The Common Soldier and the Civil War on Wednesday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Essex Town Hall. 

This presentation by area attorney and Civil War buff Fred Vollono of Ivoryton provides insight into the experience of the common soldier during the Civil War.  Vollono also shares artifacts from his personal Civil War collection including uniforms, weapons and equipment.

Vollono, who dresses the part for his presentation, is noted for an accurate historical depiction of the lives of the ordinary soldier, including lore from both the Union and Confederate sides.  While many know much about famous generals like Lee, Grant and Sherman, Mr. Vollono’s focus is on the life and hardships of regular soldiers.  Recruitment, training, camp life, marches, what they ate and wore, and weaponry are all part of the evening, accompanied by poignant period music.

The program is free to Essex Historical Society members and $3 for non-members.


Senator Blumenthal, Congressman Courtney and DEP Commissioner Esty Joined Save the Sound to Kick Off Earth Day Celebration

On Saturday morning, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2) and Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel Esty joined Save the Sound, a program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and more than 75 local volunteers to kick off a month long celebration of Earth Day at a planting at the Bride Brook restoration project in Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme. Saturday’s planting is the final phase of the restoration project that began in 2009.

Bride Brook is a wholly unique estuarine system that hosts the second largest migratory fish run in the state, bested only by the Connecticut River. As part of the Bride Brook restoration project, Save the Sound coordinated the replacement of the collapsing culvert to allow herring to swim through it on their way to Bride Lake to spawn. Last season, more than 164,000 herring swam passed through the new culvert. Herring have already started to migrate through the culvert in the 2011 spawning run.

The Bride Brook restoration project was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which awarded Save the Sound $1.5 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 to support two marsh restoration projects — the Bride Brook culvert replacement and the West River tidal gate replacement in New Haven. NOAA, in conjunction with funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, FishAmerica Foundation, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and Restore America’s Estuaries, made the Bride Brook project a reality


Railroad Crossing Safety – Essex Steam Train Begins Seasonal Operation!

Essex Steam Train #40 at Chester (Photo courtesy of Caryn Davis)

Essex, CT —The Valley Railroad Company wishes to make all local residents aware that seasonal train operations began on April 1, 2011. 

Motorists and pedestrians in Old Saybrook, Essex, Deep River, Chester and Haddam should renew their sense of caution and alertness when traversing the crossings of the railroad.  Railroad STOP signs, flashing lights, and gates carry the full weight of the law. Pedestrians are also not permitted, by law, to walk along the tracks of active railroad.


Plans in Hand to Restore Town Hall Auditorium as the “Jewel of Deep River”

Deep Town Hall River Auditorium

Two wonderful events in two months – that was how the year began for the Deep River Town Hall auditorium.

 In January, the Deep River Historical Society sponsored an educational lecture by the Connecticut Paranormal Research Society.  Then in early February, a fundraiser for the Sanctuary at Shepardfields, which included a silent auction, live music and dancing, was organized by the Executive Director of the Sanctuary, Jen Taylor.

In late February, the board of directors of the Restoration Association announced that the auditorium will be closed to the public while Deep River Town Hall construction projects are being completed.  The board eagerly anticipates the town hall changes, which will make the auditorium more comfortable for patrons and performers. 

These updates include air conditioning in the auditorium, an easy-access bathroom on the second floor, and a dressing room space connected to the backstage area.  Construction in old buildings takes time and special care — Deep River First Selectman, Richard Smith, is leading the project. 

When the projects are complete the Restoration Association has significant plans to continue restoring what is said to be, “The Jewel” of Deep River.  There is hope for a beautiful antique chandelier, new window and stage curtains, a refinished floor and balcony seating. 

The Restoration Association is looking for volunteers to help with these projects and more in the near future.  Running an auditorium takes a team.  The Restoration Association is looking for members to join the team at the volunteer level or as a board member. 

The current board of directors is Joseph Miezejeski, William L. Bouregy, Frances Strukus, Ted Mackenzie, Sally Carlson Crowell and Ken Wood. 

Lastly, Linalynn Schmelzer has recently been contracted to manage and promote the auditorium.  Schmelzer will be handling future bookings and promotion.  She comments, “I am excited and humbled to be a part of this project.  The Deep River Town Hall Auditorium contains an abundance of history and it has so much potential to be a central part of the town — as it once was.  I am looking forward to bringing the history to the public and showing the auditorium as the jewel it is”.

For more information on the Deep River Town Hall Auditorium or how to get involved, contact Schmelzer at or 860-304-8459.


Public Hearing on Region 4 Education Budget Put Off to April 14

REGION 4— The public hearing on a proposed $17.1 million Region 4 education budget for 2011-2012 has been rescheduled for April 14. The budget hearing had initially been set for Monday night.

Superintendent of Schools Ruth Levy said Friday the hearing was postponed because of a delay in the required publication of a newspaper legal notice about the hearing. The hearing will convene on Thursday April 14 at 7 p.m. in the library/media center at John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River.

The proposed $17,112,557 budget represents a net increase of about $332,000, or 1.98 percent, over the current Region 4 appropriation. The budget, which funds the operation of Valley Regional High School and the middle school, was approved on a 7-1 vote at a March 3 meeting, with board member Richard Strauss of Chester opposed. The net budget is divided between the member towns of Chester, Deep River, and Essex based on the number of students from each town attending the two secondary schools.

Levy said the Region 4 board would hold a special meeting after the hearing on April 14 to make any adjustments to the spending plan based on input received from residents at the hearing. At the special meeting, the board would vote on a final proposed budget for 2011-2012 that would go to the voters on the three towns for approval in a May 3 referendum. The Region 4 budget referendum is conducted from 12 noon to 8 p.m. at the regular election polling places in Chester, Deep River, and Essex.


Successful Women Invest In Themselves

While caring for others—spouse, children and parents —many women neglect to make themselves a priority. Creating sound financial goals can be a smart first step toward taking care of yourself—and can potentially help put you in a better position to support those most important to you.

This event is sponsored by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and will take place in Essex on May 11 at 5.30 p.m – 7.30 p.m.

Date: Wednesday, May 11 , 2011
Time: 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Location: 64 South Main Street, Essex


Essex Land Trust Property-Wide Spruce Up – Volunteers Needed

As part of their ongoing Earth Day celebration efforts, the Essex Land Trust is again organizing a town-wide spruce-up of preserves in Essex, Ivoryton and Centerbrook. Meet at the Essex Town Hall parking lot at 9am and help the Land Trust restore its preserves after a long winter by picking up debris and brush and clearing trails and streams. Some of the tasks we plan to tackle are spreading topsoil and wood chips at Osage Trails and Cross Lots, clearing and marking a new trail at Heron Pond, and attacking the invasives at Millrace Preserve.

If you can, plan to bring the following tools:  lawn rakes, garden rakes, loppers, wheelbarrows and shovels.  Be sure to wear good gloves; and dress warmly.

Make this a family event! All ages and abilities are welcome, including local groups and organizations. Refreshments will be served. The spruce-up lasts from 9 am to 12 pm. Rain or shine. For more information please contact our chief steward Al Macgregor at 860-767-0693 or


Con Brio Spring Concert featuring Essex Soprano, Patricia Schuman Sunday

Con Brio returns on April 10, 4 p.m. to Christ the King Church in Old Lyme

Well-known in the shoreline area since 1997 for offering superb concerts, Con Brio returns on April 10, 4 p.m., to Christ the King Church in Old Lyme, joined by internationally-acclaimed Essex soprano, Patricia Schuman.  The concert’s featured work will be the timely, powerfully beautiful, and, at moments harrowing, mass, “L’Homme Arme,” or “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace,” by the contemporary Welsh composer, Karl Jenkins. At its first performance in 2000, Jenkins’ mass was declared a “rapturous performance, by turns visceral and ethereal…that drew prolonged shouts of approval from the audience.”

While Jenkins is contemporary, his musical sounds and his theme resonate through many centuries.  As the group’s director Dr. Stephen Bruce describes it, “Jenkins’ music is very accessible.” Jenkins’ subject is perennial, for it is war and peace:  war, building again and again in far different places and times, from Rome, to India, to Japan, war voiced by many poems and poets, the Mahabarata, the Psalms, Mallory, Dryden, Swift, Kipling, Tennyson, Toge Sankichi, a survivor of Hiroshima. The popular 15th century theme undergirding the work, “The armed man must be feared,” was, says Dr. Bruce, a “hit tune” in its own time, one set to music by composers as diverse as Josquin, Dufay, and Palestrina. Interspersed with traditional movements from the mass, Jenkins moves through the build up to war, describes the inevitable and tragic aftermath of destruction, and then expresses our longing for healing and peace, spoken through many religious languages, Jewish, Muslim, Christian.  Near the end Jenkins, using Tennyson’s words, asks us our world’s always most pressing question: can we “ring out the old and ring in the new?”

In its broad weaving of history and diverse musical styles, Jenkins’ mass was the perfect dedicatory work for the opening of The Royal Armouries, Britain’s oldest historical museum.  Dr. Bruce, will offer a 25 minute master class on the Jenkins’ mass beginning at 3pm the day of the concert.

The second half of the spring program opens with Marietta’s Lied from Korngold’s opera, Die tote Stadt, a song used in the Coen brothers’ film The Big Lebowski. The opera was quite successful after its premier in 1920, and was performed at venues around the world including the Metropolitan Opera in New York. But the opera was banned by the Nazi régime because of Korngold’s Jewish ancestry. After World War II it fell into obscurity, only recently enjoying a revival. The next three songs, on water, echo the war and peace theme of the first half of the program. Beethoven’s Meerstille and Gluckliche Fahrt (calm waters and prosperous voyage)–settings of two Goethe poems–is followed by John Rutter’s sing-along arrangement of Down by the Riverside and Kirby Shaw’s arrangement of Bridge Over Troubled Water, favorites of audiences and singers everywhere. The concert closes with the famous Easter Hymn from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana.

Joining Con Brio and a full orchestra for this concert will be the renowned soprano, Patricia Schuman, from Essex.  Schuman, who first appeared with Con Brio in 2005, has appeared at numerous international venues.  She is a well-known Mozart soprano, having sung Donna Elvira (“Don Giovanni”) and Contesse Almaviva (“Le nozze di Figaro”) at the Metropolitan Opera, the Rome Opera, and at the opera in Aix-en-Provence and Madrid.  She will be joined by Con Brio’s own, tenor, Bill Sorensen, of Guilford, and bass, Karl Stofko, of East Haddam.  Susan Saltus of Essex is the group’s accompanist.

Con Brio, an all-auditioned chorus, draws talented singers of all ages from Branford to Westerly.  Dr. Bruce explains that the chorus is kept intentionally small (50 voices) to lend a more intimate quality to its concerts.  Con Brio has sung with numerous other choruses and made several European tours in past years.  A non-profit, Con Brio gratefully welcomes contributions from individuals and corporations.  For more information on how to contribute, please contact:  Treasurer, Con Brio Choral Society, Inc., P.O. Box 312, Centerbook, Ct. 06409 or visit the Website:

Tickets:  $25 per person, $15 students, available from Con Brio members or, by telephone charge, at 860 526 5399.  Some tickets may be available at the door.