December 12, 2018

Archives for 2017

Happy New Year!

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

We wish all our readers, advertisers and friends a very Happy New Year 2018.

We hope it brings you and yours peace, good health and happiness.

Thank you for all your support this past year and we look forward to serving you with even stronger coverage of the towns of Chester, Essex and Deep River next year.

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Final Days to Enjoy ‘The Magic of Christmas’ at Florence Griswold Museum

Father and son enjoy the beautiful Palette Christmas Trees at the ‘Magic of Christmas’ exhibition

The holiday season is always something to celebrate at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn. Visitors of all ages can enjoy The Magic of Christmas from Dec. 1 – 31. For over 10 years, visitors from across the region have admired the painted palettes on Miss Florence’s Artist Trees.

The idea of contemporary artists creating paintings on artists’ palettes is a nod to the Museum’s history as the center for the Lyme Art Colony, and alludes to the door and wall panels the artists painted throughout Miss Florence’s boardinghouse over a century ago. The palette artists’ styles and subject matter are as varied as the individuals. Oils, acrylics, watercolors, ceramics, glass, and collage are used to transform the palettes into traditional holiday scenes, delightful landscapes, and more than a few surprises!

This beautiful palette titled Road Less Traveled, 2017 was painted by Beverly Schirmeir of Westbrook, Conn.

Nearly 200 noted artists from across the country have donated works to this one-of-a-kind holiday icon.  “My first visit to the Florence Griswold Museum was profound and literally changed the course of my work, explains artist Stephanie Marzella from Johns Island, SC.  “It was my first awareness of the American tonalist movement. I began to paint what I feel, not what I see. I am forever grateful for the day I walked into that museum. When asked to contribute a palette I was truly honored.”

This design titled My New Christmas Bonnet, 2017 by Denise Flynn of Great Barrington, Mass., is one of this year’s new palettes.

Artist Denise Flynn, who lives in Great Barrington, MA says, “I was born and raised in Connecticut and still retain a great love for my state.  After a trip to Old Sturbridge Village as a ten-year-old child, I was completely taken by New England in its early days. I envision that ‘my lady’ felt very much at home in any Connecticut town in the Victorian era.”

The palettes will be displayed on three trees in the Krieble gallery, along with the current exhibitions,

In the historic rooms of the Griswold House, visitors can see how families celebrated Christmas in 1910, as historically accurate decorations reveal homespun creativity and the use of surprising materials. The 1910 time period was an important era for the Griswold House. It was the heyday of its use as boardinghouse for the artists of the Lyme Art Colony. Christmas was also Miss Florence’s birthday! She was 60 years old in 1910. Three designers will create elaborate Fantasy Trees in the Florence Griswold House.

Many special events and programs are held in conjunction with the Magic of Christmas. Christmastime Teas are among the most popular events. Delectable scones with clotted cream, assorted tea sandwiches, and cookies prepared by Gourmet Gallery, a caterer known for their delicious flavors and impeccable presentations, are accompanied by “Miss Florence’s Tea,” a special blend from Sundial Gardens in Higginum. Miss Florence’s Tea is a special blend of superior Ceylon and China black tea enhanced with a touch of delicate spices. The tea celebrates the camaraderie and creativity of the Lyme Art Colony with each cup. Teas are held December 5 through 23 on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 3 to 5pm. New this year – two seating on Saturday, 12 to 2pm and 3 to 5pm.

Other events and programs include special events for families, including a visit from Periwinkle the faerie and hands-on crafts for children and adults.

Unique gifts from The Shop and memberships to the Museum make thoughtful holiday and hostess gifts.

The town of Old Lyme and its merchants continue the merriment with “Light Up Old Lyme,” with a schedule of holiday activities in the historic town. Learn more about specials from local shops and restaurants at the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce website, VisitOldLyme.com.

Located on a 13-acre site in the historic village of Old Lyme, the Florence Griswold Museum is known as the Home of American Impressionism. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, where the artists of the Lyme Art Colony lived, the Museum features a modern exhibition gallery, education center, landscape center, extensive gardens, and a restored artist’s studio. The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95 and is open year-round Tuesday through Saturday from10am to 5pm and Sunday 1 to 5pm. The Museum is closed Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 students, and free to children 12 and under. For more information, visit the Museum’s website www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or call 860-434-5542 x 111.

Magic of Christmas Activities

New this year, Museum Store Sunday Nov. 26 from 1 to 5pm.
Similar to Small Business Saturdaythis celebration puts the spotlight on mission-related products found in museum stores. On this day, all items are 15 percent off (25 percent for museum members).

Dec.1-24
Daily Specials in the Museum Shop
One day you might save on all books or art supplies, the next, maybe everything sparkly or all snowmen. Check FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org for a calendar of items and days.

Dec. 5 – 23
Christmastime Teas
Tuesday through Saturday enjoy an elegant tea of savories and sweets overlooking the wintery splendor of the Lieutenant River. Catered by Gourmet Galley. Guests enjoy a 10 percent discount in The Shop. Reservations required, call 860-434-5542 x 111 for information and reservations.

Sundays, Dec. 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31 from 1 to 5pm
Joy in the Making
Each Sunday visitors can experience the joy of making a hand-made card or ornament during the weekly drop-in creative programs. Fun for all ages. This event is free with Museum admission and children 12 and under are free.

Periwinkle will entertain all ages in three shows on Saturday, Dec. 9.

Saturday, Dec. 9, shows at 11:30am12:30pm, and 1:30pm
Periwinkle the Faerie
Join Periwinkle, Peri to her friends, for an afternoon of story and song, with fun hands-on craft in-between shows. A sister to Tinkerbell, Peri is a frost-talent faerie who thrives in the cold of the winter woods. Crafts will have a snowy and frosty theme, perfect-for-gift-giving.

Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2pm
Old Christmas and Winter Traditions of Long Ago
 Join musician Thomas Hooker Hanford for songs and stories.

Thursday, Dec.14, 5:30 to 7pm
Art•Bar Happy Hour

Combine creativity and cocktails! Enjoy an evening making winter paper lanterns. Get friends together or come make new ones! For adults 21+. $25. Register online at FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org

Sunday, Dec. 17 at 2pm
Gallery Talk
Director of Education and Outreach David D.J. Rau speaks about Miss Florence’s Artist Trees in the Gallery. This event is free with Museum admission.

Wednesday, Dec. 27 from 11am to 3pm
Miss Florence’s Birthday Party
Visitors share in this hands-on-creative celebration of Miss Florence’s Christmas Day birthday. Birthday cake and fun celebratory activities to honor the woman who started it all.

Faith Leitner will play her harp in the afternoon on Dec. 31.

Sunday, Dec. 31, from 1 to 5pm
Ode to the New Year: Harp Music by Faith Leitner
The harp was Miss Florence’s favorite instrument. Visitors can see the one her father brought back for her from England in the Florence Griswold House. Accomplished harpist Faith Leitner will perform in the gallery. A beautiful way to end the year! This event is free with Museum admission.

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Masonicare Acquires Chester Village West, Community to now be called “Masonicare at Chester Village”


CHESTER —
Masonicare, the state’s largest not-for-profit provider of senior healthcare and retirement living, has acquired Chester Village West, pictured above, from Iowa-based Life Care Services (LCS), an acquisition which fits seamlessly into Masonicare’s plan for sustained, smart growth and future success in Connecticut.

A Life Plan/Continuing Care Retirement Community set on 55 acres in the Connecticut River town of Chester, the community consists of 105 cottages and apartments.  “The addition of Chester Village to our organization is a win-win for all,” said Jon-Paul Venoit, President/CEO of Masonicare.  “We have extensive experience in the retirement living arena and our cultures are very similar.  We are retaining nearly all of their employees, and we expect to invest in some capital improvements on the campus as well.”

Hilde Sager, Vice President for Residential Services at Masonicare, added, “We’re delighted to welcome Chester Village West residents and staff into our Masonicare family.  We love the Chester area and look forward to Masonicare at Chester Village now being an integral part of the full continuum of senior care we are able to offer statewide.”   

Venoit noted that through its extensive continuum of care, Masonicare will be able to bring Assisted Living services to Chester Village residents as well as offer in-home care through its home care agencies. 

Masonicare’s continuum includes the 360-unit Ashlar Village in Wallingford, which is also a Life Plan/Continuing Care Retirement Community.  In April, Masonicare celebrated the grand opening of Masonicare at Mystic, a rental model with 179 Independent and Assisted Living apartments.

Editor’s Note: Masonicare affiliates include Masonicare Home Health & Hospice, Masonicare at Ashlar Village, Masonicare at Home, Masonicare at Mystic, Masonicare at Newtown, Masonicare Health Center and The Masonic Charity Foundation of Connecticut.

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Reading Uncertainly? ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ by Amor Towles

“By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration, but our reconsideration – and our unwavering determination to withhold our opinion until we have engaged with them in every possible setting at every possible hour.” This is the theme of a compelling, engrossing, and forever cheerful story of an Russian aristocrat condemned to lifetime “house arrest” in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel in 1921.

Through the eyes and experiences of Count Alexander Rostov, in five segments (1921-22; 1923-46; 1950; 1950-53; and 1954), we are treated to a history of Russia, the Soviet Union, European literature, art, music, medicine and architecture. And dining: the Count becomes the Head Waiter at the hotel’s superlative dining room. An entire chapter is devoted to the creation of a sumptuous bouillabaisse – a foodie’s delight!

Consider this analysis: “Surely, the span of time between the placing of an order and the arrival of appetizers is one of the most perilous in all human interaction. What young lovers have not found themselves bat this juncture in a silence so sudden, so seemingly insurmountable that it threatens to cast doubt upon their chemistry as a couple? What husband and wife have not found themselves suddenly unnerved by the fear that they might not ever have something urgent, impassioned, or surprising to say to each other again?”

The good Count is forever curious, of people, events, and changing circumstances. On reading: “After all, isn’t that why the pages of a book are numbered? To facilitate the finding of one’s place after a reasonable interruption?” On how he spends his time: “dining, discussing, reading, reflection.” On history: “the business of identifying momentous events from the comfort of a high-backed chair.” On life itself: “ … life does not proceed by leaps and bounds. It unfolds. At any given moment, it is the manifestation of a thousand transitions.” And, given his confinement, also exercising: squats and push-ups every morning, plus climbing stairs to his attic rooms.

Towles names the Count’s barber at the hotel, Yaroslav Yaroslavl, provoking my own recollections of travel in Russia, first to St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) at its Hermitage in 1984 and later to Moscow and Yaroslavl in 1992. And the Count also states emphatically that, “all poets must eventually bow before the haiku,” a statement which — as a modest haiku composer myself — I endorse with pleasure!

So the Metropol becomes hardly a “prison” for Count Alexander, but rather it is his own wide, wide world.

One unusual note: all chapters have titles beginning in the letter A. And the end of the story has an unnamed lady waiting for the Count. But we know her name both begins and ends with an A …

The keynote of the eminently readable novel is “Montaigne’s maxim, that the surest sign of wisdom is constant cheerfulness.”

Editor’s Note: ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ by Amor Towles is published by Viking, New York 2016.

Felix Kloman

About the Author: Felix Kloman is a sailor, rower, husband, father, grandfather, retired management consultant and, above all, a curious reader and writer. He’s explored how we as human beings and organizations respond to ever-present uncertainty in two books, ‘Mumpsimus Revisited’ (2005) and ‘The Fantods of Risk’ (2008). A 20-year resident of Lyme, he now writes book reviews, mostly of non-fiction that explores our minds, our behavior, our politics and our history. But he does throw in a novel here and there. For more than 50 years, he’s put together the 17 syllables that comprise haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry, and now serves as the self-appointed “poet laureate” of Ashlawn Farms Coffee, where he may be seen on Friday mornings. His wife, Ann, is also a writer, but of mystery novels, all of which begin in a bubbling village in midcoast Maine, strangely reminiscent of the town she and her husband visit every summer.

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Essex Savings Bank Chester Branch Celebrates Fifth Year Anniversary

CHESTER — On Dec. 14, 2012 the Chester Branch of Essex Savings Bank first opened its doors to the public.

On Nov. 28, the Branch held a gathering to celebrate their 5th anniversary. Joining the branch staff in hosting the evening were members of the Bank’s Board of Directors as well as numerous Bank employees. The overall turnout for the evening was outstanding with over 100 RSVPs from residents and businesses throughout the local area. In addition, all three Selectwomen from the Town of Chester were available to help celebrate.

Guests enjoyed refreshments provided by local businesses The Villager and The Chester Bottle Shoppe. There was also a raffle with Chester themed gifts and gift certificates from The French Hen, Lark, Simon’s, The Wheatmarket, The Villager and Chester Finders’ Market.

The evening provided the opportunity to thank the customers and businesses in Chester and the surrounding towns for their support over the last five years.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Division, Essex

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Celebrate Miss Florence’s Birthday Party Today at FloGris Museum

Florence Griswold celebrated her birthday on Christmas Day.

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme hosts Miss Florence’s Birthday Party tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 27, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Visitors can share in this hands-on-creative celebration of Miss Florence’s Christmas Day birthday. Birthday cake and fun celebratory activities will be on offer to honor the woman who started it all.

The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95 and is open year-round Tuesday through Saturday from10am to 5pm and Sunday 1 to 5pm. The Museum is closed Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 students, and free to children 12 and under.

For more information, visit the Museum’s website www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or call 860-434-5542 x 111.

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Season’s Greetings

Christmas-Bow-Picture_512x384We wish all our readers and advertisers a wonderful, peaceful and enjoyable holiday season.

Thank you for all your support this past year and we look forward to serving you with even stronger coverage of the towns of Chester, Essex and Deep River next year.

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Enjoy a Fundraising ‘Ivoryton Playhouse Christmas Radio Hour’ with David Pittsinger & Friends Tonight

David Pittsinger performs in ‘The Man of La Mancha.’ File photo.

IVORYTON — World-renowned artist David Pittsinger will be performing a holiday show on Thursday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. An old fashioned Christmas celebration of holiday standards and sacred songs featuring David with his wife, Patricia Schuman and Carly Callahan, Katie Weiser and Charlie Widmer.

Set in a 1940s radio station, the show will take you back to the days when the radio had pride of place in the living room and the family gathered round in the evening to listen to their favorite shows. Baby, it’s gonna be cold outside so come on down to the Ivoryton Playhouse to warm your heart with music we all know and love.

This concert is a benefit for the 106-year-old Playhouse to further its mission to provide theatre of the highest quality to the residents and visitors to our community.

Tickets for this special event are $50. Seating is limited; call the theatre box office at 860.767.7318 to reserve your seat for these two special events.  The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

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Partnership Co-Op Open Today, Tomorrow in Old Saybrook Store

Gifts hand-crafted by the Lakota Indians will be on sale at the Partnership Cooperative.

OLD SAYBROOK — It has just been announced that the Partnership Co-Op’s Annual Holiday Sale has been extended for three additional days as follows:

Thursday, Dec. 21 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 22 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 23 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Co-op’s store is in the former Southern Exposure building located between Cartier Optical and Nail Spa at 264 Main Street in Old Saybrook.

The Partnership Co-op features Native American crafts, Haitian art and Palestinian goods from respectively Tribal Crafts, Inc. with Lakota art and crafts, the Crosby Fund for Haitian Education and the Tree of Life Educational Fund.

Assorted Lakota crafts and jewelry

The Partnership Co-operative is a collection of several non-profit organizations based out of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. All proceeds are returned to the artisans of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, participating Haitian artists and the Tree of Life Educational Fund.

To learn more about this collective of non-profits, visit these websites:

Tribal Crafts, Inc. featuring Lakota art and crafts: www.tribalcrafts.org
The Crosby Fund for Haitian Education: www.crosbyfund.org
Tree of Life Educational Fund: www.tolef.org

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Climb Aboard Essex Steam Train’s ‘Santa Special,’ Saturday

Such fun aboard the Santa Special!

ESSEX — All aboard the Santa Special for a one-of-a-kind, daytime holiday experience. Make sure you’re camera-ready for that special moment when Santa and Mrs. Claus visit each child! Enjoy the spirit of the season as you relax with family and friends aboard festive railway cars adorned with vintage decorations.

•       Tickets are $24/coach, $40/first class (individual armchair seats with cash beverage service). Reindeer Breakfast upgrade is available on Santa Special days from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. for $15 adults / $5 children (age 1-6).
•       Dates: November 24-26December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23
•       Departure times: 9:30 a.m.10:00 a.m.11:00 a.m.11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. & 1 p.m.
•       Rudolph and Pablo the Penguin will be on board to spread holiday cheer.
•       Each child receives a small holiday gift from Santa’s Elves!
•       Special Christmas performance by Sunny Train on Nov. 24, 25, 26 and Dec. 2,3,9,10,16,17, and 23. Shows are at 9:30, 10 & 11:30 am12:15 and 1 pm.
•       Write and Mail your “Letter to Santa” at Santa’s Post Office.
•       Take your family pictures in Santa’s sleigh.
•       Visit “Create a Card!” Station
•       Enjoy fresh baked cookies & other goodies in the Klaus Kitchen.

Visit essexsteamtrain.com/seasonal-excursions/santa-special for tickets and more information!

Tickets:
https://essex-steam-train-riverboat.myshopify.com/collections/select_santaspecial-11-2017
Location: Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, 1 Railroad Avenue, Essex, CT, 06426
Contact: Pam Amodio
Phone: 860.767.0103
Email: pamodio@essexsteamtrain.com
Price range: $24-$55. $24/coach, $40/first class. Reindeer Breakfast upgrade available for $15/adult, $5/child (age 1-6)

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Santa Claus is Coming to Chester Today! 

CHESTER — Join The Chester Hose Company Elves as Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive to Downtown Chester by fire truck Sunday, Dec. 17, at 5 p.m.

In case of inclement weather, Santa will arrive to the firehouse.

All the members of The Chester Hose Company wish our readers a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Safe New Year!

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Rebekah Beaulieu Appointed Director of the Florence Griswold Museum

Becky Beaulieu is the new Executive Director of the Florence Griswold Museum.

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn., has announced the appointment of Rebekah (Becky) Beaulieu as Director of the Museum. With a distinguished career that traverses both art museum and historic site administration, Beaulieu has most recently been the Associate Director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine. She begins her new role on Feb. 19, 2018.

Beaulieu was selected from a highly qualified pool of candidates after a rigorous national search led by a committee of trustees. She follows Jeffrey Andersen, who has served as the Museum’s Director for the past 41 years. Beaulieu and Andersen will briefly work together in February to effect a smooth management transition.

“It was important for us to get this right,” states Ted Hamilton, President of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. “We’ve not had to look for a director in over 40 years and we were very fortunate to find a wonderful candidate that is such a good fit for the institution. Not only is Becky’s academic record outstanding, but she comes with the highest of recommendations as well. We’re all looking forward to welcoming her aboard.”

“I am thrilled to lead the Florence Griswold Museum into its next chapter,” notes Beaulieu. “The Museum has experienced tremendous growth during Jeff Andersen’s remarkable tenure, and I look forward to working with board, staff, and volunteers to continue its upward trajectory. It is my honor to join the Florence Griswold Museum family.”

As the Associate Director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Beaulieu managed all administrative activities including staffing, finances, communications, visitor experience, and operations. Besides being well versed in the administration of an art museum, Beaulieu has experience managing historic sites. As the first Executive Director of the Winchester Historical Society (MA), Beaulieu managed operations for the Society and its cultural site, the Sanborn House Historical and Cultural Center. This breadth of experience makes her an exceptional fit for the Florence Griswold Museum.

The Museum has grown from an historic house museum to a place-based art museum featuring a modern gallery for temporary exhibitions of American art; education and landscape centers; and the National Historic Landmark Florence Griswold House (1817), interpreted today as the boarding house of the Lyme Art Colony. The Museum is located on thirteen acres along the Lieutenant River in Old Lyme.

“Becky is a consummate museum professional who understands well the value of cultural institutions in our communities,” states Anne Collins Goodyear and Frank H. Goodyear, Co-Directors of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. “As the Associate Director at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, she has played an important role in expanding the number of exhibitions and programs we offer and has worked closely with her colleagues to broaden access to the Museum and its collections. She will be greatly missed at Bowdoin. We wish her every success in this new chapter in her professional life and congratulate the Florence Griswold Museum on selecting a great new leader.”

Beaulieu brings an outstanding educational background to her new post.  She holds a B.A. in American Studies from George Washington University. She earned two Masters degrees, one in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and another in Arts Administration from Columbia University, before completing her Ph.D. in American and New England Studies at Boston University.

Beaulieu is committed to local community service. She serves as Trustee for the Pejepscot Historical Society in Brunswick, Maine and was appointed to the Public Arts Commission and Historical Commission Review Board there. Dedicated to the museum field as a whole, she is involved in numerous professional organizations. She serves as a board member of the New England Museum Association, a faculty member of the American Association for State and Local History’s Seminar for Historical Administration, and a Peer Reviewer for the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

In addition, she has been an Accreditation/MAP Peer Reviewer
for the American Alliance of Museums, where she is also a board member for the Historic Houses and Sites Network. “When I first met Becky, my impression was ‘this woman is one to watch,’” remembers Dawn Salerno, Deputy Director for Public Engagement & Operations at the Mystic Museum of Art. “The next year, I was recruiting her for the board of the New England Museum Association, where I’m thrilled to have her as a colleague. And now I couldn’t be happier to have her as a colleague in Connecticut.” Beaulieu and Salerno are working with Mark S. Gold as editors of The State of Museums: Voices from the Field, to be published in the fall of 2018 for the hundredth anniversary of the New England Museum Association.

Beaulieu has written, edited, or contributed to books and scholarly journals in her field. Besides her former position as the Managing Editor for Modern Intellectual History, an academic journal published by Cambridge University Press, Beaulieu has written Financial Fundamentals for Historic House Museums (2017), which outlines the basic tenets of organization and financial management for small museums. Stephanie Meeks, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has hailed this book as a “superb” contribution to the field.

“Becky values the identity of the Florence Griswold Museum as a place where art, nature, and history intersect,” remarks John E. Noyes, Chair of the Search Committee. “She also understands how important it is to grow, to reach new audiences, and to develop new initiatives.”

Looked to as a leader in the art and history communities, Beaulieu has spoken at local, regional, and national events, conferences, and symposia, including annual conferences of the New England Museum Association, the College Art Association, and the National Council for Public History.

Beaulieu will relocate to the area with her husband Patrick Ford.

A trustee-led search committee composed of eight members with diverse backgrounds in business, academia, and the arts led the process. The committee’s members were John E. Noyes (Chair), Andy Baxter, Jeffrey W. Cooley, David W. Dangremond, Frank W. (Ted) Hamilton, Andrea Griffis Inglis, Lee Pritchard, and Carolyn Wakeman. The search process was coordinated by Naree Viner, Principal, Nonprofit Practice, New York for the executive search firm Korn Ferry.

The Florence Griswold Museum has been called a “Giverny in Connecticut” by the Wall Street Journal, and a “must-see” by the Boston Globe. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, with its unique collection of painted doors and walls left by the members of the Lyme Art Colony, the Museum has renowned collections of American art, including the Hartford Steam Boiler Collection presenting three centuries of art associated with Connecticut. The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Connecticut. Visit FlorenceGriswoldMusuem.org for more information.

About the Bowdoin College Museum of Art
The collections of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art are among the most comprehensive of any college museum in the United States. The Museum is housed in the landmark Walker Art Building designed in 1894 by Charles Follen McKim, and features murals by John La Farge, Kenyon Cox, Elihu Vedder, and Abbott Thayer. The Museum is the centerpiece of Bowdoin’s vibrant arts and culture community and offers a wealth of academic and educational programs. Visit Bowdoin.edu/art-museum for more information.

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Despite Snow, Record Numbers Attend to View, Vote on Deep River Historical Society’s Holiday Trees

Church Street Child Care won the Deep River Historical Society’s 2017 Festival of Trees ‘Best of Show’ award with this delightfully decorated tree.

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Historical Society’s (DRHS) 5th Annual Festival of Trees, Traditions and Legends was held on Dec. 8 and 9in both the Stone House and Carriage Houses on 245 Main St. in Deep River.

Despite the snowstorm, which added a special winter wonderland atmosphere to the evening, a record attendance was recorded that came to vote and view the wonderful selection of trees and decorations for this year’s event. 

Voting was done by people’s choice in both Adult and Youth Categories and there was a Best of Show special ribbon award also.  The categories were Best Theme, Traditional and Most Creative Use of Materials. 

Trees were presented by different civic organizations in Deep River and youth groups.

Some visitors searched for the legends that were highlighted from the DRHS’s newest publication Deep River Stories.

Award winners:

Best of Show: Church Street Child Care     (see photo above)

First Place Ribbons: Adult Category

Best Theme: Deep River Democratic Town Committee

Most Traditional: Club 60

Most Creative: Deep River Democratic Town Committee

First Place Ribbons: Junior Category

Best Theme: Deep River Junior Ancient Fife & Drum Corps

Most Traditional: Deep River Junior Ancient Fife & Drum Corps

Most Creative: Deep River Congregational Church Green Team & Sunday School

Second Place Ribbons: Adult Category

Best Theme: Winthrop Cemetery Association

Most Traditional: Winthrop Cemetery Association

Most Creative: Deep River Garden Club

Second Place Ribbons: Junior Category

Best Theme: Girl Scouts

Most Traditional: Deep River Congregational Church Green Team & Sunday School

Most Creative: Deep River Junior Ancient Fife & Drum Corps

Third Place Ribbons: Adult Category

Best Theme: American Legion Post #61 and Deep River Ambulance (tied)

Most Traditional: Fountain Hill Cemetery Association

Most Creative: Winthrop Cemetery Association

Third Place Ribbons: Junior Category

Best Theme: Deep River Congregational Church Green Team and Sunday School

Most Traditional: Girl Scouts

Most Creative: Girl Scouts

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More Madhatters ‘Scrooged … with a Twist’ Shows Over Weekend

Galen Donovan of Old Lyme plays the title role in ‘Scrooged — with a Twist.’

CHESTER — Madhatters Theatre Company presents ‘Scrooged …with a Twist’ at Chester Meeting House, 4 Liberty Street Chester.  Performances are Friday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.mSaturday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under.  To reserve tickets, email: madhattersctc@aol.com or call (860) 395-1861.

This production is a benefit for Old Lyme Animal Control.

For more information, visit www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

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Letter From Paris: Deaths of Two Icons Leave a Nation in Mourning

Nicole Prévost Logan

From Les Invalides to the Champs Elysees, intense emotion grips France at the passing of two iconic personalities.

Within 24 hours France lost two familiar figures: Jean d’Ormesson, 92, man of letters, and Johnny Hallyday, 74, the popular singer who, for almost 60 years, enthralled millions of fans. The intensity of the emotions was incredible. For a week, politics, wars, economic crises, were suspended and replaced by an immense sadness, which united the nation. No matter how different the two men were, they shared a great simplicity and the gift of connecting with the people.

It is not unusual for the French to express their collective grief in the public place. In 1885, two million people attended the national funerals of Victor Hugo. Simone Weil, the courageous woman who showed exceptional fortitude in her public life by being a pioneer of the right to abortion, received the highest honors by being laid to rest in the Pantheon. In 1963, a human tide surged toward the Pere Lachaise cemetery to say goodbye to Edith Piaf.

Count Jean d’Ormesson

Count Jean d’Ormesson, at age 48, was the youngest “immortal” to enter the Academie Française – a literary institution created by Louis XIII to uphold the French language. He died as the dean of that 40-members council. Son of a French ambassador, d’Ormesson was part of the French aristocracy, with degrees in history and philosophy. He directed the conservative daily Le Figaro, became a prolific writer, publishing a book per year, with the last one completed three days before his death. His smiling face and piercing blue eyes were a familiar sight for the viewers of countless televised literary shows, such Bouillon de Culture, Apostrophe or La Grande Librairie.

An elegant conversationalist, he spoke with wit, lightness, and optimism. His remarks, studded with literary quotes, included gems of uplifting philosophy, such as,”Life is beautiful because we are lucky to die”, and “In the New Testament, the myth of the Wandering Jew is condemned to immortality by Jesus.”

During the strikingly sober ceremony, in the courtyard of the Invalides, a small group of guests, representing the world of politics and culture, stood stoically, whipped by a glacial wind. The eulogy given by French president Emmanuel Macron, matched the literary sophistication of the deceased academician.

Johnny Hallyday was a monument in France with an amazing longevity. From the first time he appeared on the stage at age 17, this blond, tall young man became an adulated performer and he remained a star for almost 60 years. For millions of fans, his disappearance meant the loss of a chunk of their own life. Fighting lung cancer for several years, in spite of the terrible pain, he continued performing until the very end. People thought he was indestructible, hence the extreme shock people felt when they learned about his death on Dec. 6th.

Abandoned by his father at the age of eight months, Hallyday did not grow up in the security of a proper family but bounced around from one relative to another. A cousin gave him his stage name.

Facts about his career are staggering: more than 28 million spectators attended the 3,300 concerts he gave in 40 countries; he sold 110 million records. He had a real talent in choosing the best composers and song writers, which allowed him to produce 1,000 songs, many of them in Gold albums.

Johnny Hallyday

Hallyday went through all the styles of music from rock n’roll, pop, blues, soul, country, and hard rock. Among the best known hits is, “Ah Marie, si tu savais, tout le mal que l’on m’a fait” (Ah, Marie, if you only knew how much they hurt me) about a young man, fighting in the WWI trenches and writing to his fiancee.

It is a paradox that, in spite of his love for the US, that country barely knew him. Driving full speed on his Harley Davidson with his buddies from the Midwest to California was one of his greatest pleasures. He sang with Sammy Davis Junior. Michel Berger wrote for him a song called “On a tous quelque chose de Tennessee” (We all have something of Tennesse.) The lyrics recall lines from “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

He spent the last 10 years of his life in Los Angeles, Calif., with Tom Hanks and Ben Affleck as neighbors and only returned to France to perform in concerts. Some of his concerts became giant productions of a size never seen before. The absolute zenith of his career was right after France won the soccer World Cup in 1998 when Hallyday flew over the Stade de France by helicopter and was lowered into the hysterical crowd.

The public funeral of Hallyday was an incredible spectacle offered to millions of fans. The cortege moved slowly down the Champs Elysees, led by a white coffin. This was followed by a caravan of black limousines filled with family, close friends and dignitaries and then – even for people who do not particularly like motorcycles – the incredible sight of 700 bikers, who had come from all over France.

On the steps of the Madeleine church, President Emmanuel Macron, paid his respects to the rock star and invited the crowd to bid farewell to “Mr. Johhny Hallyday.”

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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Old Lyme Town Band Gives ‘Holiday Pops Concert’ Tonight at ‘the Kate’

AREAWIDE — The Old Lyme Town Band will perform their ‘Holiday Pops Concert’ at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, ‘The Kate,’ in Old Saybrook on Thursday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m.

‘The Kate’s’ program information states, “Nothing says the holidays like the Old Lyme Town Band playing some festive selections for the season.”

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children and available at this link.

Visit OldLymeTownBand.org or thekate.org for more details.

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Join a ‘Messiah’ Sing or Listen, Christmas Section, at the Kate on Sunday

AREAWIDE — A ‘Messiah’ Sing or Listen, Christmas Section, will be sponsored by Cappella Cantorum on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 4 p.m. at The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, (The Kate), 300 Main St., Old Saybrook 06475. There will be a short rehearsal for singers at 3:30 p.m.

Soloists will be Soprano Danielle Munsell Howard, Mezzo-Soprano Rachel Abrams, Tenor David Finley and Baritone Christopher Grundy. The Sing is open to all, under the direction of Barry Asch and accompanied by Deborah Lyon.

Bring ‘Messiah’ scores if you have them or they will be provided. There is a $10 fee for singers and audience. Singers will sit in sections, the audience is invited to sit in the back, witness the short rehearsal, and then the Sing will begin at 4 p.m.

Tickets will be available online at www.thekate.org and through the Box Office, 877-503-1286, open Tues–Fri 10 a.m. –2 p.m., no reserved seats.

For information call Barry Asch at 860-388-2871. The Sing ends at 5:15 p.m.

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Inaugural Men’s Shopping Night to be Held Tonight in Chester

 CHESTER – The first annual men’s shopping night when all the downtown businesses will be open until 8 p.m. offering refreshments, unique presents to give, wish lists and gift wrapping will be Wednesday, Dec. 13 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Participating merchants will have wish lists of gifts the special people on shoppers’ lists have already filled out on previous visits making selection a snap.

At Perfect Pear, homemade mini pretzels and beer will be served and a free wood-handled knife given with every purchase of $50 or more.

At Lori Warner’s, bourbon and caramels will be served and at French Hen, there will be a scotch tasting by Chester Package Store and pigs in the blanket served.

Meatballs, beer and wine will be offered at Maple and Main Gallery while Lark will have a beer tasting by Chester Bottle Shop, homemade salsa and chip and wrapped chocolates for stocking gifts.

Caryn Davis will sign copies of her book, “A Connecticut Christmas: Celebrating the Holiday in Classic New England Style,’’ at Leif Nilsson’s Gallery.

The Pattaconk is offering $1 off your first beverage and half price appetizers for all shoppers Wednesday night.

Also participating with refreshments, wish lists and gift wrapping: Black Kat, Ruba Ruba and Dina Varano.

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Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International Hosts Holiday Dinner & Fundraiser Tonight

AREAWIDE —  The Connecticut Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International has announced that Jonna Gerken, President of the Society of Women Engineers, will be its guest speaker at the new chapter’s first Holiday Dinner and Fundraiser. The event, open to the public, will take place on Dec. 13, at 6 p.m. at Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant, 22 Chesterfield Rd, East Lyme. Buffet Dinner is $40 and for Students it is $30. There will be a Silent Auction.

For tickets or to donate an item, contact Deb Moshier-Dunn atDebM0727@sbcglobal.net or 860-444-9247

Gerken will address STEM (Science, Technology Engineering Math) and how young girls and women can achieve economic independence by pursuing careers in those fields. Jonna Gerken is a manager in manufacturing engineering for Pratt & Whitney. She oversees the program chief manufacturing engineers in their work to ensure all engine components meet manufacturing readiness levels appropriate to their life-cycle stage.

Gerken holds a B.S. in industrial and management engineering and an MBA in technology development, both from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is a life member of SWE, a senior member of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, and an associate value specialist with SAVE International. She received the 2016 Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award from the Connecticut Science Center, the 2014 STEP Award from the Manufacturing Institute, the 2011 Pratt & Whitney Diversity and Inclusion Award, the 2006 SWE Distinguished New Engineer Award, and was a 2004 New Faces of Engineering Finalist for IIE. The Society of Women Engineers has nearly 40,000 members worldwide.

The Connecticut Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International was chartered in February 2017. Soroptimist is an international volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. CT Shoreline members join with almost 80,000 Soroptimists in about 120 countries and territories to contribute time and financial support to community-based projects benefiting women and girls.

Soroptimist, a 501(c)(3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its programs, such as the Live Your Dream award to support women who are supporting their families and the Dream It, Be It program to empower middle and high school girls. For more information about how Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls, visit www.soroptimist.org or www.liveyourdream.org.

The Dec. 13 event will feature a silent auction with gift certificates, baskets and artwork. Funds raised will support the club’s programs and scholarships. The chapter welcomes new members. To learn more, ‘like’ Soroptimist International Connecticut Shoreline on Facebook or visit www.soroptimistner.org.

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Chester Ornaments From Prior Years for Sale at Maple & Main

These wonderful Chester ornaments from prior years are for sale at maple & Main Gallery.

CHESTER — Each year for a number of years, a Chester artist designed a pewter ornament and a limited number were made and sold at this time of year to support local, non-profit organizations.

The last one was done in 2015, and there are no plans to continue the tradition, making the remaining ones definite collector items. Each one has the singular Chester seal, designed by Cummings and Good, on one side; the art on the other.

There are about 70 of these terrific treasures left from the various years, and they’re for sale at $10 each at Maple and Main Gallery while they last. They make excellent stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, additions to your Christmas tree and even classy pulls for window shades.

All the proceeds go to the Chester Merchants to help with their efforts on behalf of the town.

Maple and Main is open Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Artist Annie Averill Displays Her Work at Essex Library During December

Artwork by Annie Averill will be on display throughout December at Essex Library.

ESSEX — Annie Averill is a self-taught artist, who was raised free-range in Carbon Canyon, Malibu, Calif., in the company of her three sisters and her donkey Lulabelle.  She attended California Institute of the Arts, did graphic design at several art magazines in LA, and later started a business doing hand-painted clothing and fabrics for New York Designer Alexander Julien as well as major California retailers.

Averill later moved to Amsterdam, where she started an enterprise hand-painting Irish linens in China patterns for Gumps department store in San Francisco.

Averill now works from her studio at home, in the company of any number of dogs.  She has broadened the scope of her work to include murals, hand painted tiles, and a whimsical assortment of fish and fantasy painted on reclaimed wood. Her work is an extension of her quirky personality.  She combines art history and elements of the sea and shore, with a liberal dash of humor, to make art that is beautiful, fun and accessible, and occasionally even practical.

Averill’s artwork can be viewed at the Essex Library throughout the month of December during its normal operating hours.

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Understanding Your Best Friend: Phil Klein, Certified Dog Listener Speaks at Essex Library, Feb 10

ESSEX — Phil Klein will present a kind and lasting methodology for gaining your dog’s cooperation based on its instincts. Learn how canines see the world and the underlying reasons for unwanted behaviors like hyperactivity, destructive chewing, incessant barking, toileting in the house, jumping on guests, and aggression.

Learn the four main areas of canine communications, including the leadership signals that will eliminate or minimize these behaviors and turn your dog into a relaxed, joyful companion. Bring your questions, but not your dog for an informative, fun event at the Essex Library on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m.

Klein’s path to becoming a Dog Listener started when his family rescued a special dog named Abby from Labs4Rescue.  At the time, he had no idea about the journey he would be privileged to take with Abby.  Abby’s behavioral challenges were the motivation for Klein to learn a lot more about dogs and find a way to help Abby overcome her fears. 

In the process,Klein discovered Jan Fennell, The Dog Listener who had developed a revolutionary method for training dogs based on their instincts.  In April 2009,Klein attended Jan Fennell’s Foundation and Advanced Canine Communications courses, thereby becoming a Certified Dog Listener. 

Through in-home consultations, volunteer work with Labs4Rescue and other rescue organizations, and public talks,Klein has been honored to help hundreds of dog owners and their dogs.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information and to register, call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Ivoryton Playhouse’s Holiday Show ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Runs Through Sunday

From left to right, Moira O’Sullivan, Daniel Nischan and Sarah Kozlow rehearse their roles in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life!’ Photo by Jacqui Hubbard.

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Playhouse Holiday Show opens on Dec. 7, and runs until Dec. 17. It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play by Joe Landry was inspired by the classic American film by Frank Capra, It’s a Wonderful Life. This production is performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast in front of a studio audience. Five actors perform the dozens of characters in the radio play as well as produce the sound effects.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play premiered in 1996 at Stamford Center for the Arts in Stamford, Conn., and has since been produced around the country to great critical acclaim

The play works like a fable, sort of a “Christmas Carol” in reverse: Instead of a mean old man being shown scenes of happiness, we have a hero who plunges into despair. As fans of the movie know, George has grown up in Bedford Falls, an idyllic small town, determined to get out. He plans to see the world and build skyscrapers or something else huge when he grows up but circumstances keep him at home.

When the accidental loss of $8,000 leaves George on the verge of disaster, he contemplates killing himself and is saved by Clarence, George’s slightly bumbling 292-year-old guardian angel. By showing George what Bedford Falls and numerous loved ones would have been like if George had never been born, Clarence manages to turn him around. Lifted from a suicidal depression, George Bailey is a man with a reawakened appreciation of his life and the people he loves.

It all happens on Christmas Eve, and of course, an angel gets his wings.

Bursting with feel good holiday spirit, It’s a Wonderful Life is traditional, family friendly entertainment for all ages.  Directed by Sasha Bratt, this show is an antidote to cynicism and a love letter to good old fashioned Christmas fun. Musical Director is Frank Natter and the cast includes Playhouse Associate Artistic Director, Daniel Nischan, as George Bailey, Norm Rutty, David Cardone, Moira O’Sullivan, Rick Malone, Sara Kozlow, Michael Hinton, Addison Marchese, Antonia Marchese and Finnian Boyles. Set design by Dan Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott, sound by Tate Burmeister and costumes by Elizabeth Cipollina.

Make the Playhouse part of your family holiday tradition this year.  Come and visit the village of Ivoryton, decorated with over 500,000 Christmas lights – have dinner and take in a great show at the Playhouse.

Performance times are Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. and evening performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at  7:30 p.m.There is also a Wednesday matinee on Dec. 13and a Saturday matinee on Dec. 16.

Tickets are $35 for adults, $32 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

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Child & Family Hosts Essex Holiday House Tour Today

File photo of a beautifully decorated home from the 2015 tour.

ESSEX — Saturday, Dec. 9, will highlight a memorable stroll through Essex, one of New England’s most picturesque towns, for its 14th biennial holiday house tour.  Created and organized by the Essex Auxiliary of the Child & Family Agency of Southeastern CT, the tour consists of seven distinctive private homes beautifully decorated for the holidays, the Essex Historical Society properties, and the Connecticut River Museum with Steve Cryan’s special holiday train show.  The Essex Art Association will also offer free chili.

Home base for the tour will be the Essex Town Hall at 29 West Avenue, where tickets may be purchased or picked up, and where there will be a large Boutique with vendors offering clothing, jewelry, gifts, home décor items, holiday arrangements and other alluring items.  Several drawings for donations by the vendors will be held here at the end of the day, and, during the day, Santa’s Café will offer snacks and refreshments.  The Boutique will be open from 9:30 to 5:00, and admission is free.

Tickets for the tour are $30 in advance, $35 the day of the tour.  Checks payable to Child & Family Agency may be sent to:  Essex Holiday House Tour, 168 River Road, Essex, CT 06426.

Tickets are also available in advance at www.childandfamilyagency.org; at the Griswold Inn Store, One North Main, and Walker Loden in Essex; Centerbrook Cheese Shop in Centerbrook; Saybrook Country Barn in Old Saybrook; Lark in Chester; Celebrations in Deep River; Bowerbird in Old Lyme; Walker Loden in Madison and New Haven; and the Child & Family Agency in New London, (806)443-2896, ext. 1403.

All proceeds from the tour go to funding Child & Family Agency’s programs addressing the mental health, educational, and healthcare needs of children and their families to promote the well-being and development of all children.

Services are offered from birth through high school in southeastern Connecticut and include child guidance, early childhood development, and after-school academic, recreational, and artistic activities.  Adult services include parenting education as well as prevention training for scholars and professional practitioners.  Healthcare services address both physical and mental health issues facing children.  Office-based, community-based, and home-based mental health services are available from New Haven to Stonington, and 14 school-based health centers provide healthcare options to children in Waterford, New London, Groton, Norwich, and Stonington. Child Guidance centers are based in Essex, New London, and Groton.

Last year, with a professional staff of more than 190, Child & Family provided services to over 18,000 children and their families in 79 towns in New Haven, Middlesex, and New London Counties.

In other words, your enjoyment of the Essex Holiday House Tour will benefit thousands of children in our neighborhoods, so come and help us celebrate the holidays by exploring lovely historic homes, including a mansion, in a picture-book setting!

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Essex Land Trust Hosts Hike This Morning in Doanes’ Woods, James Glen Preserves

Hike in Doane’s Woods Preserve, Dec. 9.

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust invites all to visit its newest property, Doanes’ Woods on Saturday, Dec. 9, meeting at 9 a.m. It is a large flat wooded area that drops steeply to the east and adjoins the James Glen Preserve. The two properties combined represent 21 acres and include trails that connect with each other.

Doane’s Woods was acquired in 2016 and includes a wooded ravine with creek, rock outcroppings and spectacular tulip trees as well as other deciduous trees. A great winter hike to explore some local geological features with our stewards.

Access is at the James Glen Preserve at the end of Hudson Lane off of River Road.

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Deep River Historical Society Offers Trees, Traditions and Legends Today, 4-9pm

DEEP RIVER — Deep River Historical Society will be holding their 4th annual holiday event and welcome all to come and partake in the festivities. Both the Carriage House and Stone House, 245 Main Street, Deep River will feature decorated trees and holiday decorations. The houses will be open for viewing on Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9, from 4-9 p.m.

The event is free to all that wish to foster some Holiday Spirit.

This event has been popular in the past years and the theme this year will be the Legends of Deep River and feature interactive activities for the family. The trees are decorated by various civic organizations.

Categories include Best Theme, Traditional and Most Creative Use of Materials. Voting for your favorite trees will only be Friday night, so that the winners are announced and featured for the Saturday viewing.

As part of the Legends theme, we will feature our latest publication Deep River Stories. Books will be available for sale for all of the history buffs on your Christmas list. A scavenger hunt on finding the Legends in the Stone House will be a highlight.

This activity coincides with the Holiday Stroll that is sponsored by the Deep River Park and Recreation and includes town wide activities.  Include a visit to see us while taking part in their planned fun adventures and support our local merchants in our small town community.

Come join the fun and bring the whole family.

For more information contact: Rhonda Forristall, Curator at 860-526-5086

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‘Con Brio’ Presents its Christmas Concert in Old Lyme This Evening, Tomorrow

Danielle Munsell Howard is the soprano at the Con Brio Christmas Concerts this weekend.

Con Brio presents two performances of its acclaimed Christmas Concert this weekend on Saturday evening, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoon, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m., both at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme.

Imagine sitting in the center of the bright, high-ceilinged space of Christ the King Church in Old Lyme. The music begins. First from behind you. Then to your left, your right, up in front. It is surround-sound live – provided by the voices of the Con Brio Choral Society arrayed around the great space.

As each of 19 – yes, nineteen! –  parts begin to sing, the sound moves from place to place, the voices echoing one another, harmonizing and weaving a musical fabric that envelopes you.

It’s not like any other Christmas concert you have ever attended … unless you have been to one of Con Brio’s Christmas Concerts before. Attend one of this year’s concerts and experience a musical treat to calm your mind and move you into the Christmas spirit.

Under the baton of Dr. Stephen D. Bruce, Con Brio will perform with the professional 31-piece Con Brio Festival Orchestra, and soprano soloist Danielle Munsell Howard, acclaimed by Opera News Online for her “bright, pretty timbre and remarkable facility.”

Con Brio has sung many Magnificats over the years but Rutter’s setting manages to maintain the traditional approach to the well-known text while infusing it with lush contemporary harmonies and textures. Soloist Danielle Munsell Howard, has a voice well-suited to expressing the wonderment of Mary. The choral movements range from the delicacy of Esurientes (The poor) through the power of Fecit potentiam (He has shown strength) to the thrill of the Gloria Patri.

Stunning is the word often used to describe Morten Lauridsen’s Sure on This Shining Night. Its glistening harmonies and melodies so clearly express poet James Agee’s text and the magic of a December night. In 2007, two years after this piece was composed, President George W. Bush awarded Dr. Lauridsen the National Medal of the Arts, the highest artistic award in the United States.

Two pieces will be sung in the round—now a Con Brio tradition. The chorus loves to take advantage of the spacious and acoustically exceptional sanctuary of Christ the King Church. First will be the a cappella, eight-part, antiphonal motet, In Dulci Jubilo, by 15th century composer Michael Praetorious. That will be followed by the 19-voice Buccinate (Blow the trumpet), by Giovanni Gabrieli.

Other pieces include Fum Fum Fum in a playful arrangement by Mack Wilberg; Pietro Yon’s familiar Gesu Bambino which will feature the soprano soloist; Still, Still, Still in a special arrangement for chorus and harp; perennial favorite Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (Lo, How a Rose); Hodie Christus natus est (Today Christ is born) is one of the greatest renaissance motets; and Claude Debussy’s spritely and expressive Yver, vous n’estes qu’un villain (Winter, you are nothing but a villain).

Also, Con Brio will perform a rousing arrangement of the famous spiritual, Go Where I Send Thee. The concert will close with Stephen Mager’s wonderful arrangement of Ding Dong Merrily on High, which starts with a simple rendition of the familiar melody, accompanied by winds, and slowly transforms it into a thrilling finale featuring the full orchestra.

As always, each Christmas concert will include carols for audience participation.

Con Brio, over 70 voices strong, is the Shoreline’s auditioned chorus, known for the variety of its repertoire, and the strength of its programming and musical skills. Since it was founded in 1997, Con Brio has performed regularly to a growing and loyal local audience. Singers hail from more than 15 towns: from East Haven to Mystic and from Old Saybrook to Moodus. The choir has made six overseas concert tours, with the most recent to Portugal and Spain in 2016. The seventh will be to Slovenia and Croatia in May/June 2018.

Follow Con Brio on Facebook @conbriochoral or visit www.conbrio.org

Tickets are $30 each, $15 for students. Purchase them in advance online; major credit cards are accepted.

For more information, call 860-526-5399.

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Old Saybrook BOE Receives Distinction Award at Major Education Convention

Gathered together to celebrate after receiving the CABE Level Two Leadership Award of Distinction are from left to right, Kelly Kennedy, Old Saybrook Board of Education Chair), Jan Perruccio (Old Saybrook Superintendent of Schools), and board member Eileen Baker. Photo by Lifetouch National School Studios

OLD SAYBROOK — The Old Saybrook Board of Education was presented with the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) Level Two Leadership Award during the annual CABE / CAPSS (Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents) Convention held at the Mystic Marriott on Friday, November 17 – Saturday, November 18.

CABE believes that Boards of Education and Superintendents which exhibit the most effective leadership are characterized by their ability to work together as “teams.” The CABE Board Recognition Awards are designed to recognize Boards which work effectively in this manner. In order to appropriately recognize those Boards which are truly exemplary, CABE has now established a second level of awards, the Board of Distinction Award. Only Boards which have achieved Level One distinction at least twice in the prior four years are eligible to receive the Board of Distinction Award. Boards must achieve at least two Level Two items in each Level Two category to receive this award.

The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) serves local and regional school districts in Connecticut and is dedicated to improving the quality of education throughout the state and the nation. CABE’s membership includes 154 school districts. CABE is a leading advocate for public education at the State Capitol and in Washington D. C., and offers many types of support services to local boards of education including the Board Member Academy, a continuing education program for local board of education members.

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Letter From Paris: A Six-Month Performance Review for Emmanuel Macron

Nicole Prévost Logan

Six months into his mandate, French President Emmanuel Macron has been working at a dizzying pace to fulfill his campaign promises.

Hubert Vedrine, former minister of foreign affairs and expert in international and strategic affairs, made the following comment : “Emmanuel Macron immediately embodied the stature of a chief of State. ”

“The French people are impossible to reform”, said Macron during his campaign.  This is why he set out not to reform but to transform France from top to bottom.  First he brought “parity” men/women into the government. 

The “moralization” of the two legislative chambers was his second objective, which meant bringing an end to the opaque system of financial privileges long enjoyed by the deputies.  Like a breath of fresh air, the professional politicians who, since the beginning of the fifth Republic, had been playing musical chairs, faded away .They were replaced by influential members of the civil society, without any political experience.

Emmanuel Macron

As a rule, the French do not really like to work during the summer.  Breaking with that tradition, Macron spent four months talking with the trade unions.  He invited – separately – the leaders of the different groups (CGT, FO, CFDT)  in order to hear their demands and make his own proposals.

The result was amazing.

The loud manifs (street demonstrations), which traditionally are the main tool of the trade unions, rapidly run out of steam.   On the basis of the summer negotiations, changes in the labor code were formulated into executive orders before becoming law.

Macron used the same strategy – divide and conquer – to defuse the revolt of the mayors. 

There are 36,000 municipalities in France.  Some of the communes are tiny with as few as 200 inhabitants, and feel unfairly treated as compared to the large and wealthy urban centers like Paris, Lyons or Marseille. When Macron announced he would drastically slash down the dotations (subsidies) made by the State, the local officials went up in arms. 

What did Macron do? 

He invited 1,500 mayors to the Elysée Palace and developed his plan to help the small communes .

Thanks to his work experience in the financial and business world, he focused on a crucial economic problem: the cost of French labor is not competitive enough. The main reason?  The cost of labor is bloated by the inclusion of “social charges.” Macron plans to have the entire population share the burden by paying a general tax.  The other pillar of his financial program is to stop demonizing capital income by reducing the tax to a flat rate of 30 percent  – a win-win system to encourage the French population to invest.

Emmanuel Macron has been described as having a velvet smile contrasting with the steely expression of his blue eyes. From the youthful, exuberant attitude he projected during the electoral campaign, he has evolved into the image of an authoritarian leader. He delegates the day-to-day running of the country to his prime minister Edouard Philippe, who is doing his job efficiently and with discretion.  This leaves Macron time to address the big picture, particularly regarding the new place of France on the world stage.

On Sept. 26, in a major speech at the Sorbonne, Macron showed his unwavering ‘Europhile’ vision. He proposes a ‘re-invention’ of Europe with action led by countries willing to make changes. To ensure the future of the Eurozone, he proposes a single budget, a ‘Super Minister’ of economy and the creation of a European IMF. He wants a “protective Europe” in relation to workers and consumers. He believes strongly in giving a central role to culture in defining the European identity.

During his visit to Abu Dhabi for the inauguration of the new Louvre museum on Nov. 8, Macron met with “MBS” (Saudi Arabia prince Mohammed Ben Salmane ) and with “MBZ” (Abu Dhabi crown prince, Mohammed Bin Zayed)  A feverish round of diplomacy took place in which the president succeeded to  “exfiltrate” the Sunni Lebanese minister Saad Hariri from Saudi Arabia and acted as a mediator in the growing fracture of the Persian Gulf.

On Nov. 28,  after a two-hour speech to 800 students of the Ouagadougou University, in Burkina Faso, the Q and A session turned into an hilarious exchange. “Can you help us fix the frequent power outages on the campus?” asked a student. “But this is not my responsibility,” Macron answered, “Ask your president to deal with this problem.” The reaction of his audience – was at first a roar of laughter then deafening applause. A symbolic detail of the Macron’s visit to Africa was that he was accompanied on his trip by leaders of recent  start-ups instead of the CEOs of large companies such as Areva or Total.

The three-day visit to Africa in late November was an opportunity for the French president to break, not only with the colonial era, but also with the neo-colonial era of Françafrique launched by General de Gaulle in 1960.  At a summit meeting held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where the discussions at the summit meeting dealt mostly with the immigration crisis, Macron initiated a partnership whereby Europeans and Africans should share responsibilities.  Macron did not mince words when he told his audience : “The passeurs (smugglers) are not European, my friends , they are African.”

At a time when Angela Merkel is vacillating and Brexit is looming, the role of Emmanuel Macron in Europe is crucial. 

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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Community Music School Hosts Holiday Concert at VRHS, Sunday

The CMS String Ensemble will perform at the 2017 Holiday Concert.

AREAWIDE – ‘Tis the season of celebration and the Community Music School’s (CMS) Holiday Concert scheduled to take place on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. at Valley Regional High School’s auditorium.  Free and open to the public, this community-wide annual event brings together faculty and students to perform vocal and instrumental holiday favorites.

This family-friendly concert will include performances by the Community Music School New Horizons Band, Suzuki Violin Group, Americana String Band, and full String Orchestra, in addition to some beautiful solo piano holiday music performed by CMS’s top students.  Music Director Tom Briggs has arranged a special Holiday Jazz Ensemble to play some contemporary holiday favorites including “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Christmas Time is Here,” and more.

Bring your family and enjoy some of the best music of the season!

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

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  Learn more at www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

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Death of Barbara (Seim) Hill Announced

Barbara (Seim) Hill, Sept. 7, 1925 – Dec. 1, 2017

Barbara (Siem) Hill

Barbara (Seim) Hill, 92, passed away peacefully at home, Bay Village, Sarasota, Florida on December 1, 2017. She was born in Bridgeport, CT September 7, 1925, daughter of Harry E. and Vera (Bertilson) Seim. She obtained her nursing degree from Simmons College. Her beloved husband of 64 years, Nicholas S. Hill IV, predeceased her in 2012.  She retired from a nursing career which culminated in 16 years as Supervisor of the Visiting Nurses Association in Old Saybrook. She resided in Old Lyme for 34 years, where she raised her six children, then Old Saybrook for 31 years, before moving to Sarasota, Florida.

Barbara will be remembered for her sweet kindness, her brightness of spirit and her determination to make the world around her a better place, which she passed on to her children and everyone she met. She saw the positive in every situation. “She was the best mother and grandmother in the world” and she will be dearly missed.

She is survived by her children: Pamela Vernon of Quechee, Vermont; Nicholas S. Hill V (Sophia) of Sherborn, MA; Penny Hill (Larry Wild) of Sarasota, FL; Wendolyn Hill (Richard Sutton) of Lyme, CT; Melinda Hill (Mark Yuknat) of Haddam, CT; and Jeffrey Hill (Sherry) of Old Saybrook, CT.  She is also survived by 9 grandchildren: Kayt and Colin Vernon, Kyra and Alyssa Hill, Hester and Isabel Sutton, Alex Yuknat, Bethany Benak and Samantha Hill; and four great-grandchildren; and her best friend, Ann Daum.

There will be a private service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to Visiting Nurses Southeastern CT: VNASC, 403 N Frontage Road, Waterford, CT 06385or Planned Parenthood of Southwest Florida, 736 Central Avenue, Sarasota, Fl 34236.

Online Guest book located at www.wiegandbrothers.com

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Community Renewal Team Accepting Submissions for 2018 National Arts Program Through Jan. 11

AREAWIDE — For 27 years, Community Renewal Team (CRT) has served as the sole host in the state of Connecticut for the annual National Arts Program® (NAP), providing an opportunity for local artists to showcase their art within the community.

Professional artists, along with youth, teens, amateurs and intermediate artists from Middlesex and Hartford counties are invited to submit their work now for the 2018 art show, which will be on display at Capital Community College (950 Main Street in Hartford, CT) from Jan. 19 – Feb. 7, 2018.

All forms of visual arts are accepted for this show; from paintings and photographs to sculptures, crafts and textiles.

Applications are being accepted until Jan. 11, 2018, and it is free to submit work for the show.

The NAP provides materials and funding for this visual art exhibit, including cash awards totaling $3,450.

More information about how to get involved in the 2018 National Arts Program is available on the CRT website at http://www.crtct.org/en/events/national-arts

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Looking Ahead to 2020, CBSRZ Leaders Network With Thousands of Peers at URJ Biennial in Boston

CHESTER –  Leaders from Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester will join 5,000 Jewish leaders for the 2017 Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial, being held in Boston, Massachusetts, from Dec. 6-10.

The URJ Biennial is the largest Jewish religious gathering in North America. Clergy, professionals, lay leaders, educators, youth leaders, and high school and college students will come together to learn, pray, share ideas, network, celebrate, make Reform Movement policy, and create engagement opportunities for the 2 million people – representing nearly 900 Reform Jewish congregations in the U.S. and Canada – who comprise the Reform Jewish community.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is one of 138 Reform Jewish congregations from across North America who will send a group delegation to the conference. Participants from 480+ congregations in 57 states/provinces will attend intensive leadership training and learning sessions about congregational life, designed to enrich personal skills and knowledge, and deliver tangible take-aways to bring back to their congregations.

Attendees may choose from more than 200 learning sessions from 400 expert presenters. Programming is organized within five intensive tracks that reflect the top priorities of the URJ’s bold 2020 Vision action plan: Strengthening Congregations, Audacious Hospitality, Tikkun Olam (social justice), Youth Engagement, and Transforming Texts (presented in partnership with the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion). View the detailed schedule.

“For clergy, synagogue professionals, and lay leaders, the URJ Biennial offers new and creative solutions about every aspect of congregational life,” said Chair of the URJ Biennial 2017 Luise Mann Burger. “Biennial is simply the best way for local leaders to learn from, share ideas, and network with peers and leading experts.”

“URJ Biennial is like a big family reunion – you get to learn, pray, share best principles, network, and catch up with 5000 of your closest Reform Jewish friends and colleagues,” shares Rabbi Marci Bellows, spiritual leader at CBSRZ. “I always return from Biennial feeling refreshed, as well as reinvigorated with new, creative programs, music, and other ideas for our wonderful congregants back at home.”

Biennial attendees will hear from a variety of speakers and expert practitioners, including:

  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren
  • Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker
  • Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, social justice leader of Moral Mondays, Repairers of the Breach
  • Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Michigan State University-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative: her study exposed elevated lead blood levels in Flint children
  • David Grossman, Israeli author and activist, just named the winner of Man-Booker International Prize for Literature
  • Krista Tippett, host of On Being public radio show and podcast
  • Jodi Nussbaum, VP, Sesame Workshop
  • Rabbi Rick Jacobs, URJ President
  • Daryl Messinger, Chair of URJ North American Board of Trustees

Visit www.urj.org/biennial for event info. Use hashtag #URJBiennial. Follow the URJ on Facebook & Twitter.

 

For more information about URJ, visit www.URJ.org

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CT Valley Camera Club Hosts Award-Winning Travel Photographer at Tomorrow’s Meeting

‘Native Girls in Ethiopia’ by Bobbi Lane.

AREAWIDE: The guest speaker at the Monday, Dec. 4, meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be the award-winning travel photographer Bobbi Lane, who will give a presentation titled “Travel Portraits: Capturing Light and Life.”  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lyme’s Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn. All are welcome.

Photographing people anywhere, home or abroad, presents many challenges to the traveling photographer. The technical concerns about light, camera angle and lenses, backgrounds, selective focus, and composition can sometimes overshadow the importance of making a connection with another human being. Honoring, respecting and communicating with your subject are the first steps to making a meaningful and storytelling photograph. Language barriers can be overcome with a smile, a great attitude and tone of voice, allowing you to communicate without words.

It’s imperative to use good lighting techniques, both natural and with flash, to create the mood and description of the scene and capture the essence. Patience and observation help the photographer choose the right time and place to capture the subject appropriately.

Lane will share her many tips and multiple experiences in both the common place and exotic locations. This presentation will help photographers connect with people, develop a deeper understand of what all humans have in common, and assist them in making photographs that emotionally affect and enlighten the viewer.

Lane is an award-winning commercial photographer specializing in creative portraits in studio and on location for editorial, corporate, and advertising accounts. Lane’s multi-faceted approach to photography incorporates over 40 years of technical experience with innovative artistic interpretation. Lane’s honest and fun connection with her clients allows them to feel relaxed and authentic.

Come on this journey, laugh and cry with Bobbi and her travels to Ethiopia, Myanmar, Venice for Carnival, Turkey, Hong Kong, Dubai and Oman and discover the keys to making great portraits.

The CVCC is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers.  The group offers a variety of presentations and interactive workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills.  Photographers of all levels of experience are welcomed.  The club draws members from up and down the river, from Middletown to Old Saybrook; from East Hampton to Old Lyme; and along the shoreline from Guilford to Gales Ferry.

For more information, visit the club’s website at https://ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com. CVCC meeting dates, speakers/topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage/

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Deep River Congregational Church Hosts Festival of Christmas Music This Afternoon

DEEP RIVER — The month of December is an especially busy time for the congregation of Deep River Congregational Church and offers many opportunities for members of the community to join them as they celebrate the Christmas season.
Begin the month by attending the 51st Annual “Ye Olde English Christmas Faire” Week-end.  To order tickets for the Dessert by Candlelight or Festival of Music Concert, call (526-5045) or stop in at the church office, which is open Monday – Friday9:00 – 2:00.
  • Friday, Dec. 1   ~  Dessert by Candlelight ~ Two Seatings:  6:00  & 7:30 p.m.                                
       Enjoy gourmet desserts & Coffee/Tea ~ $5.00
  • Saturday, Dec. 2  ~Ye Olde English Christmas Faire, 8:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.                          
    Stroll among decorated booths with unique gifts and baskets filled with surprises;  home baked pies, cakes and sweets; knitted and crocheted items; toys & games for the children; and of course photos with Santa.  Stop by the Country Kitchen and take home seafood bisque, chili or a fresh-made loaf of bread.  Be sure to visit Reindeer Restaurant for a light lunch or snack.
  • Sunday, Dec.3 ~ Festival of Christmas Music, 3:00 p.m. featuring Pianist, Bil Groth followed by a reception hosted by Adult Fellowship.  Tickets: $10.00, Children under 6:  Free
 Check the church website, www.deeprivercc.org  for more information about the church.  You may also contact the church office at 860-526-5045 or email: office.drcc@snet.net.
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Essex Library Hosts ‘Best of Enemies,’ Discussion Follows with Tanenhaus, Pressman, Wednesday

ESSEX — The Emmy Award-winning documentary, Best of Enemies, recounts the legendary debates between conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. and liberal Gore Vidal held in 1968 by ABC Television as part of their coverage of the national Democratic and Republican conventions. The film captures the dramatic context of American politics and culture that year and shows how the rancorous sparring in the debates inaugurated a revolution in television programming that not only survives but thrives today.

The film will be screened at the Essex Library on Dec. 6, at 6:30 p.m. Following the screening, Sam Tanenhaus, who appears as a commentator in the film, and Michael Pressman will discuss the Buckley-Vidal debates in the context of the ’68 election and the political issues of the day, how it was covered by the media, how the tenor of the debates and ratings for ABC affected future television coverage and gave rise to a Point/Counterpoint-style of television programming, and how the debate degenerated into the infamous name-calling.

Sam Tanenhaus, the author of bestsellers “The Death of Conservatism” and “Whittaker Chambers,” is working on a biography of William F. Buckley Jr. He was editor of the New York Times Book Review from 2004 to 2013.

Michael Pressman spent more than 30 years as a national broadcast journalist for both ABC News and NBC News, on programs that included: ABC News 20/20, Dateline NBC, the Brokaw Report, and the Today show. Mostly working in “long-form”—news magazines and documentaries—as a producer, director, and writer, he is the recipient of the Overseas Press Club’s Edward R. Murrow Award, Emmy, and Cine Golden Eagle awards.

Admission is free and open to the public for this special event. Advance registration is suggested. Please call the Essex Library to register or for more information at (860) 767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Musical Masterworks Presents Second Concert This Afternoon

Violinists James Ehnes and Amy Schwartz Moretti, violist Richard O’Neill, and Musical Masterworks’ own Artistic Director, cellist Edward Arron perform in this weekend’s concerts.

OLD LYME — This December, Musical Masterworks debuts internationally acclaimed violinist James Ehnes and the Ehnes Quartet on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 3, at 3 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Hailed as “an important new force in the chamber music arena” with a “dream-team line-up” (Strings), the Ehnes Quartet is comprised of four internationally-renowned string musicians: violinists James Ehnes and Amy Schwartz Moretti, violist Richard O’Neill, and Musical Masterworks’ own Artistic Director, cellist Edward Arron.

Formally established in 2010, the members of the Ehnes Quartet have played chamber music together in various formations for more than 20 years. The quartet’s highly refined, sensitive and expressive performances have delighted audiences and critics across North America, Europe, and Asia, and have made them one of the most sought-after chamber groups performing today.

Pre-Concert Talks 

Musical Masterworks continues its popular pre-concert talks before both concerts.  Concertgoers are invited to join Edward Arron one hour before each of the December concerts for an in-depth discussion about the composers and music featured that weekend:  Haydn, Bartók and Beethoven.

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Deep River Re-Names Town Hall After Beloved First Selectman Dick ‘Smitty’ Smith

The plaque that dedicates the Deep River Town Hall to Richard H. Smith, known to all as ‘Smitty.’ The popular Deep River First Selectman, who had served in that role for 27 years, passed away unexpectedly in 2016.

DEEP RIVER — State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) and State Representative Robert Siegrist (R-36th) attended the Deep River Town Hall renaming ceremony that took place on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Deep River’s Town Hall is now named the Richard H. Smith Town Hall after Richard H. Smith, also known as ‘Smitty,’ who dedicated 27 years of service to the people of Deep River as First Selectman. Over 100 individuals attended the renaming ceremony and the Secretary of State Denise Merrill spoke about Smith’s service to the town of Deep River and State of Connecticut.

“Words cannot express how great of a man Mr. Smith was. He left a lasting mark on the town of Deep River that will live on for years to come,” said State Representative Robert Siegrist. “It was great to see so many people in attendance to support such an amazing guy. Elected officials, community activists and residents from all over came to honor Mr. Smith – and rightfully so. He left Deep River a better place, his ‘second home’ was the Town Hall and it’s only right to dedicate it to him.”

Sen. Linares (center) talks to Jim Olson (right) and another ceremony attendee.

“Dick Smith gave so much of himself to Deep River and its residents,” Sen. Linares said. “Naming the town hall after him is a perfect way to memorialize the impact he has had on the community.”

Richard H. Smith Town Hall, Democratic First Selectman of Deep River for 27 years passed away unexpectedly in 2016.

Sen. Linares represents the 33rd District communities of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook. State Rep. Siegrist represents the 36th District communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.

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Christmas Craft Fair Today at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Essex

ESSEX — Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Essex will host its annual Christmas Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There will be a silent auction, a basket raffle, children’s gift buying table, face painting, a craft table, bake sale and a café for lunch, coffe and bagels.

Come to our old-fashioned church fair, and catch the spirit of this beautiful season, and Christmas shopping without the stress.

Our Lady of Sorrows Church is at 14 Prospect St. Essex, CT

For more information, call Our Lady of Sorrows, 860-767-1284

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United Church of Chester Holds Christmas Fair Today

CHESTER — The United Church of Chester, 29 West Main Street, Chester, CT holds its annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Come enjoy shopping for hand-crafted items and delicacies, decorations, greens, knitted goods and mouth-watering morsels for holiday giving.  There will also be a silent auction, tea-cup auction and Grandma’s attic to prowl through for Christmas treasurers and charitable gift-giving possibilities.

Lunch will be served between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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Cappella Cantorum Presents Their Holiday Concert Tonight in Madison


The Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus will present its Holiday Concert Saturday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Madison on the Green, Meetinghouse Lane (off Route 1), Madison.

Start the holiday season with a joyful evening of music. Cappella’s new director Simon Holt of the Salt Marsh Opera will conduct the chorus, professional soloists and orchestra in the performance of Bach’s Cantata 140 (“Sleepers Wake!”), Rutter’s “Gloria” and Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on Christmas Carols.”

Christmas carols will be sung at the end of the program.

Tickets are $30 online or at the door. Visit www.CappellaCantorum.org. Students are free.

For more information, visit the website or call 860-526-1038.

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Essex Land Trust Leads Archaeology Hike Today in The Preserve

A trail through ‘The Preserve.’

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust is organizing an exploratory hike of The Preserve from the perspective of archaeologists Nicholas Bellantoni and Lucianne Lavin. Come see the landscape “through the eyes of an archaeologist” on Saturday, Dec. 2, starting at 9 a.m. in the West Parking Lot at end of Ingham Hill Rd., Essex.

Archeologists look at the land a little differently from most people, so they will share what they see of the stone built environment and the cultural use of the land people may not see. Learn the secrets of past lifeways and land use. Bad weather cancels.

Dr. Nicholas F. Bellantoni serves as the emeritus state archaeologist with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Archaeology Center at the University of Connecticut. He has been excavating in North America for over 40 years.

Lucianne Lavin is Director of Research and Collections at the Institute for American Indian Studies, a museum and research and educational center in Washington, CT. She is an anthropologist & archaeologist with over 40 years of research and field experience in Northeastern archaeology and anthropology.

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Cora Preibis’ Artwork on Show at Essex Library Through February

This still life by Cora Priebis is the signature work of the artist’s show at Essex Library.

ESSEX — Cora Preibis has been drawing and painting since she was a child. Although art was not her primary field of study, she has always been interested in art.  She started painting more consistently after her retirement from Middlesex Community College, where she was the Coordinator of the Tutoring Center and also an adjunct faculty member.

She has always been fascinated with the watercolor medium, the flow of the paint, the spontaneous nature of watercolor, as well as the delicacy which can be achieved.  Cora enjoys painting florals, landscape, and still life paintings.  She has studied with a number of wonderful artists over the years.

Her professional affiliations are with the Essex Art Association, Clinton Art Association and Middletown Art Guild, from which she has received a number of awards.  She is also an elected member of the Connecticut Watercolor Society.  She has also participated in many juried shows throughout Connecticut.

Her work can be viewed at the Essex Library during its regular hours of operation throughout the month of February 2018.

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Letter From Paris: André Derain: Major Artist, “Fauvism” Champion Featured in Parisian Retrospective

Nicole Prévost Logan

André Derain usually evokes cheerful scenes of sailboats bobbing up and down in the bright colors of a Mediterranean fishing port.

Actually, Derain (1880-1954) is a complex artist, who had a strong influence on the evolving avant-garde movements at the start of the 20th century.  The Pompidou Center is currently holding a retrospective titled, “Derain – 1904-1914. The radical decade.”

The curator of the Pompidou exhibit, Cecile Debray, comments, “Derain is the founder with Matisse of Fauvism and an actor of Cezanne’s Cubism with Picasso.” Never before had the artist been attributed such a crucial role. Derain was not only the link between the masters — Gauguin and Van Gogh — and the next generation of artists, but also an explorer of new sources of inspiration, including primitive Italians, along with African and Oceanic art. 

To quote Gertrude Stein (the writer and art collector famous on the cultural Parisian scene in the 1920s and 1930s), “Derain was the Christopher Columbus of modern art, but it is the others who took advantage of the new continents”

Not interested in the career of engineer planned for him by his father, the young Derain preferred to spend all his time at The Louvre, copying  the classics. He shared a studio with his friend Vlaminck on the Chatou island northwest of Paris where he was born. His first paintings had as subjects the Seine river, its banks and bridges, and the activities of workers. He displayed a distinctive technique of fast brush touches, (slightly different from “pointillism“), innovative plunging views and cropping, which give  his works the spontaneity of photographic snapshots.

“Collioure, the drying of the sails'” by André Derain.

In the summer of 1905, he spent the summer in Collioure with Matisse and was dazzled by the Mediterranean light. Derain defined light as the negation of shadow.  He writes, “Colors become cartridges of dynamite casting off light.”  The room VII of the 1905 Salon d’Automne, called “la cage aux fauves,” caused a scandal, (fauves mean wild animals.)  In 1907, the Russian art collector Ivan Morozov acquired Derain’s paintings from the merchant Ambroise Vollard for the sum of 600 francs.

The following summer,  Derain continued to work with Matisse at l’Estaque, near Marseille. His compositions became more structured, with strong lines, volumes, perspectives and plans.  He still used arbitrary colors.   

‘London’ by Andre Derain.

During two visits to London, he became fascinated by the bustling traffic of barges and tugboats on the Thames. He used the puffs of smoke mixed with the mist to decline all shades of whites. He found a new inspiration in the representation of water and sky. The apotheosis is an almost abstract sunset with the sun breaking through the dark clouds as if putting the sky on fire.

In 1910, Derain is part of the Cubist movement as shown in his representation of the village of Cagnes – an assemblage of cubes with red roofs scattered on a hilly landscape made of geometric lines and volumes of dense vegetation.

The versatility of Derain seems to be boundless. He played the piano, was  a professional photographer, and enjoyed fast cars (he owned 11 Bugattis.)  Using his virtuosity as a draughtsman, he created illustrations for humor publications along with stage and costume designs (for Diaghilev and the Russian ballets.)

The dance” by André Derain.

Before leaving the exhibit, the visitor will be stunned by The Dance, 1906 – a large (185 x 228 cm) decorative composition of three women undulating in a luxuriant forest.  The work is rarely seen, since it belongs to a private collection.  Derain was inspired by a poem by Apollinaire and called it L’Enchanteur pourrissant (the rotting magician) about three fairies looking for Merlin’s tomb. The gestures of the dancers are reminiscent of Egyptian and Indian art, and could have inspired Nijinsky’s choreography. The mysterious vegetation and the hidden meaning of a snake and a multicolored parrot infuse the ritual scene with symbolism.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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Reading Uncertainly? ‘Lab Girl’ by Hope Jahren

This month, let’s try an intensely introspective autobiography of a botanical scientist, wrapped in a biography of trees, flowers, and plants.

Hope Jahren, a professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu, writes the clear, coherent, and engaging story of her upbringing in Minnesota, her education, travel and work in California, Georgia, Maryland, and Hawaii, intermixed with her study and analysis of the history and lives of plants and trees. And she apparently has a photographic memory as she recalls detailed conversations with her teachers, students, science mates and husband.

But, early on in my reading, I had a nagging question: does this intense self-analysis and self-reflection indicate something else?

Jahren finally acknowledges being a “manic-depressive woman” four-fifths of the way through her writing. She is consumed with her love of and study of plants: it dominates her life.

Fellow human beings? She acknowledges an early debt to her science-minded father, but never mentions him again after her first pages. Her scientific partner, Bill, is never granted a last name, nor is her husband, Clint. And none of those three is mentioned in her credits. She devotes one of the longest chapters to the birth of her son, but he remains nameless (mentioned only as “my toddler” and “my son.” Note he is not “our” son.)

But her often lyrical phrases continue to delight you as a reader, “a leaf is a platter of pigment strung with vascular lace,” and “vines are hopelessly ambitious,” and “being able to derive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a beautiful life.” Hers is a two-part, parallel story of intense curiosity – her science and her life.

Her self-analysis close to the end reads as follows:

“I’m good at science because I’m not good at listening. I have been told that I’m intelligent, and I have been told that I am simple-minded. I have been told that I am trying to do to much, and I have been told that what I have done amounts to very little. I have been told that I can’t do what I want to do because I am a woman, and I have been told that I have only been allowed to do what I have done because I am a woman. I have been told that I can have eternal life, and I have been told that I will burn myself out into an early death. I have been admonished for being too feminine and I have been distrusted for being too masculine. I have been warned that I am far too sensitive and I have been accused of being heartlessly callous.

But I was told all these things by people who can’t understand the present or see the future any better than I can. Such recurrent pronouncements have forced me to accept that because I am a female scientist, nobody knows what the hell I am, and it has given me the delicious freedom to make it up as I go along. I don’t take advice from my colleagues, and I try not to give it. When I am pressed, I resort to these two sentences: You shouldn’t take this job too seriously. Except for when you should.”

If that doesn’t arouse your curiosity to read this book, I don’t know what will!

Jahren’s conclusion, “Our world is falling apart quietly.” And her more optimistic recommendation: go plant a tree once a year! Which is exactly what my wife and I have done in our 24 years in Lyme, Conn. We’ve planted 13 Evergreens, four Red Maples, three Acacia, two Apples, one Japanese Maple, and one Witch Hazel. Yes, we’ve cut down an apple savaged by a hurricane, plus two small apples, but the latter were promptly replaced with two pears!

Do read Hope Jahren … and plant a tree.

Editor’s Note: ‘Lab Girl’ by Hope Jahren is published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York 2016

Felix Kloman

About the Author: Felix Kloman is a sailor, rower, husband, father, grandfather, retired management consultant and, above all, a curious reader and writer. He’s explored how we as human beings and organizations respond to ever-present uncertainty in two books, ‘Mumpsimus Revisited’ (2005) and ‘The Fantods of Risk’ (2008). A 20-year resident of Lyme, he now writes book reviews, mostly of non-fiction that explores our minds, our behavior, our politics and our history. But he does throw in a novel here and there. For more than 50 years, he’s put together the 17 syllables that comprise haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry, and now serves as the self-appointed “poet laureate” of Ashlawn Farms Coffee, where he may be seen on Friday mornings. His wife, Ann, is also a writer, but of mystery novels, all of which begin in a bubbling village in midcoast Maine, strangely reminiscent of the town she and her husband visit every summer.

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Heated Boat Storage Facility Now Open at Chester Point Marina, CT.

CHESTER –  Over the past five years, the marina industry has been sailing along with increased revenue growth and rising profit. While most marinas cater to small boats and recreational boaters, Chester Point Marina is now providing heated storage for larger yachts with their newly completed 15,000-sq. ft. boat storage facility. The largest of its kind on the Connecticut River, this storage facility is 150’ deep.

Pelletier Construction Management joined by Butler Manufacturing designed the facility that met the needs of the marina and their customers. The new facility is designed to enable boat travel lifts to enter and store full- size yachts within the new structure. The innovative pile-supported new design was engineered to withstand hurricane force wind loads and associated potential storm surge.

The demand for boat storage has increased due to rising disposable income, recreational expenditures and the number of boat owners.

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Carol Stroll Down Main Street, Then See ‘Trees in the Rigging’ Today

Boats in the annual Trees in the Rigging Lighted Boat Parade are decorated with holiday lights. Photo by Jody Dole.

ESSEX – Kick off the holiday season in Essex with the annual Trees in the Rigging Community Carol Sing and Lighted Boat Parade.   The Connecticut River Museum, the Essex Board of Trade, and the Essex Historical Society combine to present this annual event that includes a traditional, lantern-lit carol stroll down Main Street where spectators are invited to bring their own lanterns or flashlights and join in with the Sailing Masters of 1812 Fife and Drum Corps and a parade of antique cars.

Participants can gather at the Essex Town Hall at 4 p.m. The stroll steps off at 4:30 p.m. beginning on West Avenue and ending at the Connecticut River Museum with a parade of vessels dressed out in holiday lights and passing in review along the Connecticut River.  Santa and his elves will arrive by one of the parade boats for visits with children on the lawn of the Connecticut River Museum. The Connecticut River Museum will also be open that evening for all to attend the 24th Annual Holiday Train Show at a reduced admission of $6.

Register Your Boat for the Lighted Boat Parade

A critical and crowd-pleasing part of this free community event is the parade of boats dressed in holiday lights that sail along Essex’s waterfront. The decorated boats are part of a friendly competition.  A modest 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize will be awarded to the best dressed boats. Winners will be invited to receive their prize and participate in a photo-op on Monday, Nov. 27 at 4:30 p.m. at the Connecticut River Museum.

Registration is required to participate in the boat parade that usually begins around 5:15 p.m. from the south end of Essex Harbor. To register, send emails to: kperkins@ctrivermuseum.org. Information should include: vessel name; type of boat and description; owner(s) name; contact information (phone and preferred email); decorating scheme (if known at time of registration). Registration must be received by Monday, Nov. 20 at 4:30 p.m.  

To make your own lanterns at home:
Step 1: fill an empty aluminum can with water and freeze. This will make it easier to punch holes for the design in the can.
Step 2: using a hammer and nail, punch holes in the can to make a connect-the-dots style picture of a holiday design. Use plenty of holes to allow the light to shine through.
Step 3: punch two holes near the rim to attach a wire handle.
Step 4: after the ice is melted, attach a votive or other small candle to the inside bottom of the can.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 am – 5 p.m.  For more information, call 860.767.8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.

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‘Ranky Tanky’ Brings American Roots Gospel Music to Chester This Afternoon

Ranky Tanky will play the final Collomore Concert, Nov. 26.

CHESTER — Their music has been called “soul-stirring” and infectious, intoxicating and exotic,” and they’ll be at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, Nov. 26, at 5 p.m.

The Ranky Tanky quintet from Charleston, South Carolina, revives the extraordinary Gullah music of America’s southeastern Sea Islands, mixing the low country traditions with large doses of jazz, gospel, funk and R&B. Their music is a variety of traditional tunes, from playful game-songs to ecstatic shouts, and heartbreaking spirituals to delicate lullabies.

Fresh out of college, trumpeter Charlton Singleton, guitarist Clay Ross, bassist Kevin Hamilton and drummer Quentin Baxter originally worked together as an in-demand jazz quartet on the Charleston scene in the late 1990s before splitting off to each make their way as freelance musicians, working with names like Houston Person, Freddy Cole, Cyro Baptista and René Marie.

Gaining years of valuable experience plus international acclaim, Grammy nominations and thousands of performances around the word, they developed a deeper appreciation for the South Carolina Gullah tradition they came from. They reunited and formed Ranky Tanky, along with the dynamic low-country vocalist Quiana Parler, celebrated for her big, stunning, soulful voice. (Ranky Tanky translates loosely as “Work It,” or “Get Funky!”)

Their Chester Meeting House concert is brought to you by the Collomore Concert Series in the last concert of its 44th season. Tickets are $28 for adults and just $5 for students (up through grad school) and can be purchased online at www.collomoreconcerts.org or by calling 860-526-5162. The concert will be followed by an informal reception, with refreshments by La Vita Restaurant at Goodspeed Landing. More information about Ranky Tanky is available on the website.

“Ranky Tanky proved that exotic music can be both unfamiliar enough to be surprising, and yet familiar enough to provoke swinging hips and nodding heads. When it works, it’s the best of both worlds.” – Paste Magazine

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Garden Club Decorates Essex for the Holidays

Hard at work on decorations for the Town of Essex are, from left to right, Diane Sexton, Pat Mather and Renate Houchin.

ESSEX — In preparation for the holidays, members  of the Essex Garden Club decorated merchant window boxes,  and tubs of the villages of Essex using a variety of evergreen cuttings from members and other generous donors from the community.

Decorating the “Silent Policeman” are, from left to right, Gay Thorn, DeeDee Charnok and Sandy Meister.

The “Silent Policeman” has been decorated with layers of evergreens, berries and lights. The gazebo also has been decorated with garlands and lights.

The Essex Garden Club has helped the town put on a festive face for Trees in the Rigging on Nov. 26, and the Holiday Stroll on Dec. 1.

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Enjoy, Explore Festively-Decorated Pratt House Today

ESSEX — Got a houseful for Thanksgiving Weekend? Then skip the malls and deck the halls!

Join Essex Historical Society as members usher in the holidays at the beautifully decorated Pratt House, 19 West Ave., Essex, on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25, from 11 a.m. through 2 p.m.

Learn about life in an early seaport town from our knowledgeable guides. The house will evoke scenes from Christmases past, decorated with locally-sourced materials. Guided tours are free. The Museum shop will be open for holiday gifts.

For more information, visit www.essexhistory.org or call 860-767-0681.

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