June 20, 2019

Chester Gallery Hosts Exhibition of New Work by Locally Based, Nationally Acclaimed Artist, Gilbert Boro

Sculptor Gil Boro in his studio in Old Lyme.

When our souls become heavy with life’s burdens, art has the potential to soothe and solace.  Indeed, Pablo Picasso wrote, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” That theme will be explored in an exhibit of new works by nationally and internationally renowned sculptor Gilbert Boro at the Main Street Gallery of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester, Conn.

The exhibition titled, Coming Together, features works created by Boro, which were spawned during the period of intense grief that he experienced subsequent to the passing in 2013 of his beloved wife of 48 years, Emily Seward Boro.  An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Sunday, Feb. 3, from 3 to 5 p.m.  All are welcome and admission is free. 

Detail of a sculpture from “The Knot” series.

The exhibition is a prequel to the opening of the synagogue’s “Meditation Garden,” scheduled for 2020, which will include a large-scale sculpture loaned by Boro, who subsequently plans to donate the original model of the loaned garden sculpture to CBSRZ.  Boro lives and works at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme, where, together with his late wife, he has created an outdoor, park-like setting to exhibit more than 100 sculptures.

The show has special significance for Boro because the synagogue is the repository of a Memorial Light celebrating Emily’s life.  The period of sadness and depression that followed her passing acted as a catalyst for creativity, Boro believes, sparking multiple new ideas in his mind that culminated in his “Musical Master Works” and “What’s Knot to Like” series. Ten to 15 works of aluminum, steel, and copper from these series, plus some larger pieces, will be on public display for the first time. 

The Master Works and Knot series are Boro’s most recent works, incorporating original design concepts with a touch of playfulness. The “Musical Master Works” series transpired after attending a number of musical performances, which, in turn, inspired him to consider the tangible forms and shapes that the music might create. The “What’s Knot to Like” series reflects the many years Boro was deeply committed to offshore sailboat racing and cruising with his wife and family.

Boro credits his interaction with CBSRZ’s designer, the celebrated artist Sol LeWitt, with stirring his creative imagination at a young age. “I found LeWitt’s extensive range of artistic expression extremely stimulating,” Boro explains, noting, “He inspired and challenged me to broaden my vision, which resulted in the application of my fine arts education to architecture. Having my sculptures exhibited here therefore has special meaning for me.”

Photography by Christina Block Goldberg will also be part of the show. Goldberg’s captivating images give viewers a unique insight to Boro’s sculptures by offering intimate, close-up inspection of the joints and details. The images will be printed on thin sheets of aluminum using a dye sublimation process. 


“This exhibit is rather novel,” notes gallery curator, Linda Pinn, continuing, “in that to a large degree the works to be exhibited will be scale models of those he [Boro] anticipates placing in the garden.”  She explains that the “Meditation Garden” is envisioned to draw on the therapeutic power of nature and inspiring capacity of art since many studies now conclude that exposure to creative works is an elixir for our emotions when struggling with anxiety, depression, loss, and pain.

Pinn points out that Florence Nightingale, considered the founder of modern nursing, said, “Variety of form and brilliancy of color in the objects presented to patients are an actual means of recovery.”  Combining the two in a meditation garden, says Pinn, is an idea that “goes beyond any specific artist or garden,” adding that the intent is to bring, “art and nature together to create a peaceful, contemplative environment where people can walk, relax, and be calm.” 

The Coming Together exhibition will be on display until April 30. 

The Main Street Gallery at CBSRZ focuses on art works with themes relating to issues of concern in our society and the world at large. It is always open to the public free of charge, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Sundays when Sunday school is in session. It is located just off Rte. 154 at 55 East Kings Hwy, Chester, CT. 

For more information, visit www.cbsrz.org.

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Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation Awards Music Scholarships to Lyme-Old Lyme HS, MS Students

The Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that it has recently awarded private study music scholarships for 2018-2019 to students from Lyme-Old Lyme High School and Middle School.

Award recipients from the High School are: Emma Bass, Kate Chenery, Elizabeth Cravinho, Megan Cravinho, Jackson Goulding, Kylie Hall, Nevin Joshy, Owen Kegley, Ryan McTigue, Connie Pan, Nikolai Stephens-Zumbaum, Lian Thompson, Avery Wyman, and Connor Wyman.

Award recipients from the Middle School are: Bridget Allan, Callie Bass, Livie Bass, Micah Bass, Natalie Buckley, Shane Eastman-Grossel, Ava Gilbert, Alexis Grasdock, Nyla Goulis, Karissa Huang, Aggie Hunt, Beatrice Hunt, Phoebe Lampos, Van Lampos, Brendan Landry, Audrey LeCour, Evan LeQuire, Andrew Liu, Marielle Mather, Eli Ryan, Morgan Standish, and Luisa Warlitz.

As a supporting organization for Region #18 schools, the Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation awards scholarships to be used for private instruction to instrumental students participating in Lyme-Old Middle and High Schools band programs.

The 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation formed in 1999 after the retirement of Ruth Ann (King) Heller from Lyme-Old Lyme High School, with a mission to consistently strengthen and improve the instrumental music program in our schools.

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Two New Exhibitions on View at Lyme Art Association

The Lyme Art Association (LAA) presents two new juried exhibitions of work by member artists beginning Friday, Jan. 18. There will be an opening reception for these two exhibitions on Sunday, Jan. 27, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Caboched in oil by Rosemary Webber is one of the featured works in the new exhibitions at the LAA..

The Associate Artist Exhibition features works by both emerging and established artists. This mid-level artist membership includes both well-known professional artists, who are relatively new to the Lyme Art Association, as well as long-time member artists.

“Our Associate Artists are very invested and engaged here and bring their best work to every show. You will find varied subject matter, all executed with skill and enthusiasm. These are our base and we love to celebrate them in this show,” says Gallery Manager Jocelyn Zallinger.

The Newly Elected Artists Show features the nine artists, who passed through the rigorous selection requirements to become Elected Artist members of the Association. They are Ralph Acosta, Harley Bartlett, Melissa Imossi, Karen Israel, Randie Karl, Steve Linde, Mary Mellot, Judy Perry, and Michael Rogan.

Laurie Pavlos, LAA Executive Director says, “These are fabulous, highly skilled artists and we are proud to now name them among our Elected Artist ranks.” 

The LAA is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment. The LAA is located at 90 Lyme St. in Old Lyme, at the corner of Halls Rd.

For more information, call (860) 434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org

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The Movie Man: The Joy of Going OUT to the Movies

As the calendar progressed through December, most people were looking forward to Christmas with joy and anticipation.

For me, as I looked at the calendar last year, I found myself looking back to a December from my childhood. The year is 2003, and I am recalling the day I saw The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King on the big screen; to this day it remains my favorite movie-going experience of all time.

I’m writing this because one of my recent reviews published in LymeLine.com was for a direct-to-Netflix release, not by some forgettable children’s movie, nor an attempt at slapstick by Rob Schneider and Adam Sandler … rather it was a film by the Coen brothers.

Years ago, we witnessed the vanishing of record stores with the digital revolution via iTunes. I was not alive when it was a social occasion to go to the record store and check out whichever new album had been introduced, but I did have a high school teacher who still raves about that to this day (I’m talking to you, Mr. Braychak.)

Going to the movies has always been magical for me. I recall that Steven Spielberg shared on Inside the Actor’s Studio that even he still takes his family to the theaters.

Years ago, I wished there were ways for me to see classic films on the big screen … how they were originally released. Lately, I’ve been able to see that wish fulfilled by catching The Big Lebowski, The Shining, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly courtesy of promotions by Regal Cinema, and the treasured Coolidge Corner Theatre (for those of you who have been in the Boston area).

And I firmly hold that catching a film on the big screen in its original run is as exciting and memorable of attending a live sports event. Both sources of entertainment you can watch at home, yes, but there’s nothing like being caught up in the energy of the moment.

A while ago, I developed the mindset of thinking that seeing a film by your favorite actor or director on the big screen is akin to seeing your favorite athlete compete. I am proud to share that I frequented Fenway Park and saw David Ortiz play. In time, I’ll talk of that in the same way that older folk today mention having seen Mickey Mantle or Ted Williams play.

Similarly, the day will come when Leonardo DiCaprio departs this world, and people will tell the younger generations about being caught up in Leo-mania with Titanic; or when George Lucas leaves us, people will recount the time they saw the unexpected sci-fi empire of Star Wars take flight at their local theater in 1977.

But as this ‘release via Netflix’ trend continues to gain momentum, I have to ask if we can really imagine replacing certain occasions that are meant for the theater to be changed to accommodate the streaming method? So many romantic relationships have begun with a date at the movies (Barack and Michelle Obama saw Do the Right Thing by Spike Lee on their first time out together).

Imagine this … “Alright! I got the computer ready … wait, the battery’s dead. Let me grab my iPad! Yeah, I heard this is supposed to be really great, didn’t you say you had a crush on … oh, come on! The Wifi is down? I thought I took care of that! Give me a couple of minutes to fix this!”

It just does not work.

Photo by Julien Andrieux on Unsplash

Going to the movies is quite simply magic … even if the movie does not entertain you. I always loved the process of lining up for my ticket (and skimming the list of other flicks that are playing), getting the drinks and popcorn, and picking my seat during the idle pre-showing ads.

Then the lights slightly dim for the previews, and you make remarks to either your friends or self as to whether the movie looks interesting or you plan on skipping it. Then the lights dim all the way until they’re out, save the little ones in the aisle.

Then the real magic begins.

And when it’s over, you leave, and you chat with whoever you came with about what you thought of the movie. Good, bad, whatever, and you marvel about the people attached to the project, and when their next movie is coming out.

Photo by Karen Zhao on Unsplash

The Lord of the Rings remains one of my all-time favorite movies. My love for the trilogy is increased all-the-more whenever I recall the day I went to see the final installment on the big screen on Dec. 20, 2003 … mainly because I felt like I was on my own personal quest towards seeing this film.

From Christmas of 2002 until the day I saw The Return of the King, I was on a metaphorical journey through the trilogy, in which I waited several months for opportunities to see each installment on DVD. This was also accompanied by a move to the home in which I would spend the rest of my childhood. Granted it was from Old Lyme to Lyme, so I would not be dropped somewhere with which I had no familiarity whatsoever, but leaving the place I had spent two thirds of my life was a big deal.

Not exactly like being taken halfway across the country and plopped in a totally foreign environment, like some others experience. But I was leaving the home that I had lived in for nearly nine years — three quarters of my life. It was all I knew.

We moved from Chestnut Hill in April of that year. But we did not move into our eventual home on Hamburg Road until that November. The home’s previous resident had dozens of animals on her property (some of you may be fondly smiling as you will recognize to whom I’m referring) and her new residence was not finished.

We therefore arranged a real estate deal that involved us renting the home to her, and since we had already sold our home, we briefly rented a home on Griswold Point. It was a beautiful home right on the Lieutenant River, and my mother raves that it was her favorite house. The only downside for my brothers and me was … it had no cable. Not something kids want to hear. But no cable meant … more time for The Lord of the Rings.

When we finally moved to Hamburg Road that November, the adaptation of the journey’s end in The Lord of the Rings seemed to go hand-in-hand with the fact that my own residence journey had also ended. All I had to do was wait another month.

But lo and behold, I was never a good student, and I got in trouble academically, resulting in the loss of my media privileges for over a month, which, in turn, meant I could not see The Return of the King.

What a devastating blow to the gut!

However, my mom understood how much this movie meant to me, so she made a compromise: if I went an entire week without a teacher calling to say I was missing homework, my punishment would be lifted (how bad a student do you have to be for a compromise like that?)

Luckily for me, I made it in time, and the Saturday after the film was released, Dec. 20, I ventured off with a friend to the Marquee Cinemas in Westbrook to catch the final installment. I remember standing in the long line, fretting over whether we would find a seat with a good view, drinking all of my soda before the movie started (and subsequently suppressing my need to use the bathroom for the next three hours), and once the movie was over … clapping vigorously when the words ‘The End’ appeared on the screen.

I left the theater more than satisfied.

I left fulfilled.

But I wonder how different this story would be had Netflix started the streaming business back then, and Peter Jackson opted for this method? I could not imagine myself getting hyped up for a groundbreaking movie that I would watch at home, leaning forward on my couch at the TV, no matter how sophisticated the device is?

If this is an action/adventure movie, and special effects are supposed to be out of this world, do I really want to see it on a 50-inch TV, and miss out on the sound system the theaters have? As much as we rave about Game of Thrones and treat each new episode as a social occasion, we can tell the special effects are not of the same quality as those we enjoy in full-length features. It’s almost as if everybody in the entertainment industry understands this.

Should the next Star Wars movie have the option for watching at home, I surely would skip that and go through whatever it might take to see it on the big screen, as it deserves. My plea to Hollywood legends is to not opt for the easier option, regardless of how much profit it might generate.

I certainly pray that if Mr. Spielberg reads this (first, I would faint upon learning he decided to read LymeLine.com!), he continues to respect the importance of the social aspect of movie-going … and that the rest of movie-dom join him in that belief.

Editor’s Note: Top photo by Krists Luhaers on Unsplash

Kevin Ganey

About the Author: Kevin Ganey has lived in the Lyme/Old Lyme area since he was three-years-old, attended Xavier High School in Middletown and recently graduated from Quinnipiac University with a degree in Media Studies. Prior to his involvement here at LymeLine.com, he worked for Hall Radio in Norwich, as well as interned under the Director of Communications at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center. Kevin has a passion for movies, literature, baseball, and all things New England-based … especially chowder.

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Letter from Paris: Picasso’s Early Years on View in Blue … and Pink

Nicole Prévost Logan

In October 1900, Picasso – at age 19 – arrived at the Gare d’Orsay in Paris from Barcelona. So, it is appropriate that the Orsay Museum would host an exhibition about the young Spanish artist.

The blockbuster, which opened in the autumn of 2018, was called “Picasso. Bleu, Rose” and refers to the 1900-1906 years. It is a long overdue theme, never before treated in France.

For several reasons, this period is unique among Picasso’s long career. It reveals the precocious virtuosity of such a young person as a draughtsman;
never again will he express such intense emotions; Harlequin — a main character from the Commedia del’arte — is introduced for the first time and will remain his double throughout his life’s work. The image at right shows “Arlequin with an acrobat” (1905) portrayed as a young and emaciated boy.

Between 1900 and 1904, Picasso made several trips between Spain and Paris, until he settled permanently in the French capital where he rented a studio, along with other artists, in a dilapidated building baptized the Bateau-Lavoir (washhouse.)

He liked to hang around at the tavern of Els Quatre Gats (Four Cats) in Barcelona where he met Catalan friends – such as Santiago Rusinol or Ramon Casos. The exhibit shows hundreds of the small portraits and sketches, sometimes humorous, that he created at full speed.

With a voracious curiosity, he would watch the colorful, loud crowds at cabarets, bordellos, night clubs or caf’concs (cafés with a music hall performance) of Montmartre.

Toulouse Lautrec was his idol.

Like him, Picasso depicted the dejected night-life customers stunned under the effect of absinthe. “Arlequin and his companion” (1901, Pushkin museum, Moscow) shown at left represents a couple totally alienated from each other, sitting at a bistro table, with vacuous expressions on their faces.

The man is Harlequin, dressed in his usual costume with lozenges.

The “Portrait of Gustave Coquiot” (1901, Musee d’art moderne, Paris) at right is emblematic of this garish night life. The collector and art critic is depicted as a well-fed individual, with half naked girls dancing in the background, his mouth snarled in a lecherous grimace, under an insolent mustache.

But those years were lean years for Picasso. Both in Barcelona and in Paris Picasso lived in utter poverty.

This was the height of his “Blue Period” — the color of the bottom of the abyss. Beggars, orphans, the poor — Picasso showed his empathy for all of them.

He would take for models the former prostitutes incarcerated at the Saint Lazare prison in Barcelona, where many were dying of venereal diseases .

One usually links the Blue Period with the death of his close friend Casagemas in 1901 The painting at left of the young Catalan artist on his death bed, (1901, Musee Picasso, Paris) is realistic and shows the bullet wound on his temple after he committed suicide. The feverish multicolor strokes around the candle are reminiscent of van Gogh’s technique.

Abject poverty did not prevent Picasso from leading a lively, bohemian life among artists, poets, writers in the Montmartre district of the French capital, which was the center of the artistic world at that time.

The German art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler immediately discovered the genius of Picasso. Things started looking up when art merchant Ambroise Vollard bought several of his paintings. His melancholy disappeared when he fell passionately in love with Fernande Olivier, one of his many companions whose body and face he kept deconstructing.

The distinction between Blue and Pink Periods is rather artificial. Sadness lingered on through both periods.

Pink became predominant when the artist became interested in the circus world. Several times a week he would go to the cirque Medrano. But unlike other artists like Seurat, Rouault or Matisse, he was not interested in the spectacles per se but rather in what happened backstage and in the miserable existence of the acrobats.

In “Acrobate a la boule” (at right), a frail adolescent is trying to keep his (her) balance on a round ball watched by a heavy set acrobat sitting on a massive cube. Art historians give a deep meaning to the scene, to the contrast between the spiritual world, taking risks, being continually in motion with the stability of life grounded in the earth.

In the summer of 1906, Picasso’s life took a new turn. Being with Fernande on the hillside village of Gozolf, he seemed totally happy, enjoying the sun and inspired by the pink and ochre color of the clay. He discovered the Iberian sculptures of the fifth and sixth centuries BC influenced by Phoenician and Greek cultures as well as 12th century medieval sculptures.

His art seems to be changing course. In “Deux Nus” (1906, MOMA), shown at left, the bodies of the naked women, are deformed, with disproportionate legs and heavy torso. Picasso was ready for another discovery … African art.

Matisse showed him an African statuette in the apartment of Gertrude and Leo Stein. Picasso was stunned.

As a result, after numerous sketches, (the Steins bought most of them when Picasso was still unknown), Picasso produced the ‘Demoiselles d’Avignon’ (1907, MOMA), which remains probably the most important painting of the 20th century.

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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Sing Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah’ with Cappella Cantorum in April 14 Concert

Join the Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus for registration and its first rehearsal of Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” on Monday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m., at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River (use rear entrance).

The lyricism and use of orchestral and choral color in “Elijah” reflect Mendelssohn’s genius as an early Romantic composer.This inspiring work will be performed in concert Sunday, April 14, at John Winthrop with professional orchestra and soloists.

Simon Holt of the Salt Marsh Opera will direct. All singers and high school students are welcome; auditions are not required.

Registration is $50 plus cost of music. Late registration is the following Monday, Jan. 14, same time and place. Singers may register on-line or in person at John Winthrop.

For more information, visit www.CappellaCantorum.org or call 860-526-1038.

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New York Philharmonic String Quartet and Mihae Lee Open Essex Winter Series 42nd Season This Afternoon

New York Philharmonic Pricipal String Quartet, 11/26/16. Photo by Chris Lee

Essex Winter Series’ 42nd season begins with a stunning program of Haydn, Dvorak, and Schumann performed by the New York Philharmonic String Quartet and Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 3 p.m. at Valley Regional High School, 256 Kelsey Hill Rd., Deep River.

The New York Philharmonic String Quartet comprises four Principal musicians from the Orchestra, including Concertmaster Frank Huang; Principal Associate Concertmaster Sheryl Staples; Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps; and Principal Cello Carter Brey. The group formed in January 2017, during the Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary season, and made its debut as the solo ensemble in John Adams’s Absolute Jest in March 2017.

The Quartet will start the program with the delightful Haydn Quartet Op. 72, No. 2 and end the first half with the iconic Dvorak’s “American” Quartet. Mihae Lee will join them for the brilliant Schumann Piano Quintet in the second half. 

Essex Winter Series’ season continues on Feb. 17 with the Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert featuring the Midiri Brothers Sextet with special guest Jeff Barnhart performing the music of reeds giants Benny Goodman, Jimmy Noone, Artie Shaw and more.

On March 17, violinist Tai Murray (the 2019 Fenton Brown Emerging Artist) joins the New Haven Symphony Orchestra under the direction of William Boughton for a program featuring Mozart, Prokofiev, Barber, and Hadyn.

The final concert of the series is Chanticleer, known around the world as “an orchestra of voices,” celebrating their 40th year with a program of favorites composers, from Palestrina and Victoria to Mason Bates and Steven Stucky, as well as audience favorite arrangements by Jennings, Shaw and others on April 7.

All performances take place on Sundays at 3 p.m. with the January and March concerts at Valley Regional High School, 256 Kelsey Hill Rd., Deep River; the February jazz concert at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 John Winthrop Middle School Road, Deep River; and the April concert at Old Saybrook Senior High School, 1111 Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook.

Seating is general admission and tickets may be purchased by calling 860-272-4572 or visiting www.essexwinterseries.com.

The 2019 season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, Masonicare at Chester Village, Tower Laboratories, Guilford Savings Bank, and BrandTech Scientific.

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Tonight, Lyme-Old Lyme HS Show Choir Debuts Story of Local Syrian Family; All Welcome, Ticket Includes Pre-Event Dinner

On Thursday, Jan. 10, Lyme-Old Lyme High School’s (LOLHS) Show Choir, Amped Up, will debut its 2019 competition show, Rise, to the community in the high school auditorium. The show will be preceded by a Gala Dinner in the high school commons starting at 6 p.m., during which soloists will perform.

Members of the Lyme-Old Lyme High Show Coir rehearse ‘Rise,’ which will be performed Thursday in an event open to the community, which includies a Pre-show Gala Dinner.

What is this ‘Show Choir,’ you may ask? Well, it’s group of people singing and dancing to songs that link together to tell a story.

Think Glee. 

But this story means a great deal more than just sparkly costumes and bright lights. Darin Hamou, a junior at LOLHS, fled her home in Syria with her family two years ago and came to Old Lyme. It was then that she joined the LOLHS Chorus and met Kristine Pekar, the choral director at the high school. 

“I love her so much,” says Hamou, adding, “She is a second mom to me.”

Pekar, affectionately known as “KP” by her students, constantly works to provide the best possible experience for every child she teaches. She is always searching for new ways to share her love of music while continuing to inspire both herself and others. Her passion for performing and deep desire to continue experimenting with new ideas led to the creation of Amped Up in 2017. 

This year’s show, titled “Rise,” follows Darin and her family’s journey to the United States, featuring songs like I Gotta Feelin’ by the Black Eyed Peas, Rise by Katy Perry, and Come Alive from The Greatest Showman. The original choreography is by Ashley Racicot. 

“We hear about wars in far-flung parts of the world and the refugees spawned by conflict, but then we go about our usual lives and routines without really processing what it means on a human level,” says Pekar. “I think the show opened up a dialogue between Darin and the students here at LOLHS.”

She continued, “They now have a personal connection to Darin and have heard first-hand of the hardships she and her family faced. They now understand that this is a reality for many people in the world.”

Lyme-Old Lyme High School junior Darin Hamou, center in foreground, teaches a Kurdish dance to members of the LOLHS Show Choir in preparation for the upcoming performance of Rise. The show is based on the real-life story of her family’s escape from Syria as refugees and ultimate arrival in Old Lyme.

The students have had the opportunity to learn traditional Kurdish dancing and a few words of Arabic from Darin, a completely new experience for them. Not only have they learned about the work required to put on a performance, but they have also had the opportunity to gain an understanding of different cultures. 

Telling such a meaningful story has helped the students feel connected to the songs they are performing. “I am honored to be representing the Hamous,” says Philip Sweeney, the soloist who portrays Darin’s father in the show. “I hope this story can inspire people to help those who are struggling and provide light to this important issue.”

Other soloists include senior Hannah Morrison, who portrays Darin’s mother, and junior Emma Bass, who plays Darin. “It feels really special to know that we are representing the Hamous,” says Bass. “I think it’s making us work harder to try to make them proud of the way that we are portraying their story.”

“Telling this story through Show Choir is powerful because the audience not only sees the family and their journey through life, but they also experience that journey through music and dance,” adds Morrison. She notes, “The tones of the songs are very purposeful in that they serve to draw the audience into the story and make them feel as though they are a part of the story, rather than solely the viewers of it.”

Amped Up would like the whole community to be a part of this story. The performance on Thursday at 6 p.m. will include dinner in the LOLHS Commons while students perform solo numbers, followed by the debut of the show in the adjoining auditorium.

All net proceeds from the event will help the Show Choir offset the costs of their costumes, equipment, and other competition expenses. 

“By presenting the story with music, we can connect more to the emotions of these terrible experiences and realize that this is happening to people just like us,” says Pekar. “I hope people come to the gala to enjoy a great dinner and see a meaningful, exciting show.”

Tickets at $25, which include hors d’oeuvres, a catered buffet dinner and dessert, can be purchased at https://lolhschoirs.ticketleap.com/amped-up/

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Come Sing with Con Brio!

At the sold-out Sunday, Dec. 9 Christmas concert, the Con Brio Choral Society performed Zelenka’s Te Deum with three professional soloists and the Con Brio Festival Orchestra under the direction of conductor Dr. Stephen Bruce. The event was at Christ the King R.C. Church in Old Lyme, CT. Photo by Peter Coffey.

Perhaps you have sung in church choirs, or in school or community choruses and wonder if you’re ready for a new musical challenge. If so, even if it has been a few years since you last sung regularly, why not audition for Con Brio Choral Society? If accepted, you would join the group’s 66 singers in rehearsals each Tuesday evening from Jan. 8 through March 31.

Auditions will be held on Wed., Jan. 2 starting at 7 p.m. at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church at 56 Great Hammock Rd., Old Saybrook.

The Con Brio Choral Society begins rehearsing music for the spring Sunday, March 31, concert (start time – 4 p.m.) on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church at 56 Great Hammock Rd. in Old Saybrook.  

The spring concert will include Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, featuring renowned pianist Mihae Lee performing with the chorus and orchestra.

For more information about Con Brio or the audition process, call Sue at 860-526-5399 or visit conbrio.org.

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Ivoryton Playhouse to Hold Local Auditions, Jan. 11

The Ivoryton Playhouse will be holding local auditions for Equity and non- Equity actors for Burt & Me a nostalgic, romantic musical comedy featuring the music of Hal David and Burt Bacharach, on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Ivoryton Playhouse Rehearsal Studio, 22 Main Street in Centerbrook, Conn.

The theater is looking for seven smart, contemporary singer/actors who can dance and/or move well and have the ability to hold harmonies. Three women and four men – any ethnicity.

Directed and choreographed by Brian Feehan and musically directed by Michael Morris, the show runs from March 20 – April 7, 2019. The first rehearsal is March 5t.

All auditions are by appointment and actors should prepare contrasting songs in the style of Burt Bacharach that show range, sophistication and personality. Bring a picture and resume. More information is available on line at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org 

For audition appointments, call 860-767-9520, ext.207 or email lizzy@ivorytonplayhouse.org

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Holiday Music, Movies and More at ‘the Kate’ in December

Lunasa and vocalist Ashley Davis will play traditional Irish holiday music, Dec. 13.

From classic holiday films to live theater, to music of many genres and family programs, there is plenty to see and enjoy at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (the Kate) this December!

Celebrate the season with several Christmas-themed events, including traditional Irish holiday music with Lunasa and vocalist Ashley Davis on the 13th. 

Community traditions continue with:

>the Old Lyme Town Band’s Holiday Concert on the 12th

>Cappella Cantorum’s annual Messiah Sing or Listen on the 16th.

>the films Home Alone and White Christmas will be shown on the 9th and 20th, respectively, on the Kate’s big screen with surround sound

>an encore viewing of the Bolshoi Ballet’s stunning production of The Nutcracker takes place on the 22nd. 

Rounding out the month are performances by:

>The Weight playing the music of The Band on the 14th

>songwriter/guitarist/blueseman Chris Smither on the 15th

>the John Poussette-Dart Band on the 21st

>NRBQ on the 22nd

>singer-songwriter Dar Williams on the 30th. 

For information and tickets for all shows at the Kate, visit www.thekate.org or call 860-510-0453. 

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

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

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Faculty Exhibition Continues Through Jan. 26 at Lyme Academy

Featured artwork in the Faculty Exhibition is by Jeremy Santiago-Horseman, Golem Processes; Lily Green (detail), oil, latex, clay, shellac, tar, straw, 2016

Work by college faculty of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven is on view in the Chauncey Stillman Gallery in an exhibition titled, ‘Making Artists, Making Art,’ which was curated by Charlotte Gray, Ph.D., Practitioner in Residence, and Janis Mink, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor.

This exhibition is on view Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Jan. 26, 2019.

Admission is free to the exhibition.

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‘Deck the Walls’ on View at Lyme Art Association Through Jan. 4

‘Chandelier’ by Karen Israel  is one of the signature paintings of the exhibition.

The Lyme Art Association’s festive art exhibition, the annual Deck the Walls holiday show, is on view through Jan. 4, 2019. More than 200 original works of art by member artists will be on display and priced to sell as holiday gifts.

‘Snowy Perch’ (oil) by Melanie Watrous is the signature work in this year’s ‘Deck The Walls’ exhibition.

The opening reception on Friday, Nov. 30, from 5-7 pm, is free to the public and will feature live music. All painting purchases from 5 p.m. on Nov. 30 through 5 p.m. Dec. 1, will be tax-free.

“For Deck the Walls, the Lyme Art Association features a wide variety of appealing subjects at affordable prices that are great for holiday shopping. We hope to help solve those gift giving dilemmas – a beautiful piece of artwork is always appreciated!” says Jocelyn Zallinger, Gallery Manager.

The Lyme Art Association is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 am – 5 pm, and by appointment.

The Association is located at 90 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, at the corner of Halls Road.

Call (860) 434-7802 for more information, or visit www.lymeartassociation.org.

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CT Repertory Theatre Presents “A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration” Through Dec. 9

Christmas, 1864. With the nation at war, it is not a silent night. All is not peaceful or bright. On one side of the Potomac, an escaped slave hurries her daughter toward the capital and freedom. On the other side, a young Confederate runs away from home with hopes of joining the fight. In the capital, Mrs. Lincoln is in desperate need of the perfect gift for her husband Abe.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel creates a historical and musical masterpiece in “A Civil War Christmas,” one that is uniquely American. In the shadow of our own partisan divide, can the nation put aside its differences and share in the hope and generosity the Christmas season has to offer, and the promise of Christmas future?

Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) continues its 2018-19 season with “A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration.”  in the Harriet S. Jorgenson Theatre on the UConn campus at Storrs from Nov. 29 through Dec. 9.

The ensemble cast is led by Tony Award-nominee Forrest McClendon.  McClendon is a UConn alum and grew up in Connecticut.  He last appeared onstage at Connecticut Repertory Theatre in “Peter and the Starcatcher” in 2016.

McClendon is a Tony Award nominee for his Broadway debut as Mr. Tambo in “The Scottsboro Boys,” first created at the Vineyard and Guthrie Theaters. Post-Broadway, he received a Barrymore Award for his reprisal of the role at the Philadelphia Theatre Company. He also starred in the London premiere at the Garrick Theatre, which received the London Evening Standard Award for Best Musical, and he is featured on the Off-Broadway and West End recordings.

Forrest received his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from UConn, and made his professional debut as the Padre in “Man of La Mancha” at Nutmeg Summer Theatre.

Tabatha Gayle is an AEA Jamaican-Asian performer, multidisciplinary creative, and activist based in NYC. A 2018 BFA Acting graduate of the University of Connecticut, she performed with the Connecticut Repertory Theater in productions such as ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ (Gwendolen), ‘Shrek The Musical’ (Humpty Dumpty/Soloist), and ‘Our Country’s Good’ (Mary Brenham).

Director Elizabeth Van Dyke serves as the Producing Artistic Director of Going to the River and The River Crosses River: A Festival of Short Plays by Women of Color.  These programs support and champion the work of African-American Female playwrights and women playwrights of color. The artistic home-base for these programs is the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City.

The creative team includes: Elizabeth VanDyke (Director), Anna Brewster (Scenic Design), Matt Lazarus (Lighting Design), Corey Brittain (Costume Design), Mitchell Prescott (Sound Design), Lizz Mangan (Dramaturg), Paul Feyer (Music Director), Caitlin O’Rourke (Production Stage Manager).

Evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Select matinee performances start at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Single tickets are available now. Single tickets range from $36 to $40. All student tickets are only $10 and there is always a senior discount.

Children must be at least 4 years old to attend CRT productions. For additional ticket information or to charge tickets by phone, call 860.486.2113. All sales are final; no refunds. Play selections and performance dates are subject to change.

Call the box office at 860.486.2113 for tickets and additional information or visit www.crt.uconn.edu for specific show dates and times because performance schedules vary and are subject to change.

CRT is the professional producing arm of the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. CRT productions are directed, designed by, and cast with visiting professional artists, including Equity actors, faculty members, and the department’s most advanced student artists. The synergy between professional and advanced student artists creates extraordinary theatre and a unique learning environment.

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‘The Magic of Christmas’ on View at FloGris Museum Through Jan. 6

All ages can enjoy the beautiful Palette Christmas Trees at the ‘Magic of Christmas’ exhibition

The holiday season is always something to celebrate at the Museum when”The Magic of Christmas” happens!

During the period, the Florence Griswold House will be decorated in the holiday finery of yesteryear with a new addition to the Magic—Marvelous Mantels. In the historic areas, the mantels over each fireplace are abundantly festooned with lush greens and festive ornaments that reflect the painting that hangs above.

In the Krieble Gallery, visitors can delight in the painted palettes on Miss Florence’s Artist Trees. Nearly 200 noted artists from across the country have donated works to this one-of-a-kind holiday icon. 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.

And don’t forget Christmastime Teas are offered in Café Flo and there’s always a wonderful selection of gifts in The Shop.

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After Thursday’s Snow, Opening Reception for Cooley Gallery’s ‘Holiday Sale of Art in All Sizes’ Continues Today

Editor’s Note: We hear from our friends at The Cooley Gallery that they will be staying open tomorrow (Saturday) until 7 p.m. to welcome all the folk who were unable to attend their Opening Reception Thursday due to the inclement weather.

‘Winter Afternoon’ by Alfred T. Bricher (1837-1908) is featured in The Cooley Gallery Annual Holiday Sale opening Thursday.

The Cooley Gallery ‘s annual holiday sale featuring historic and contemporary art in all sizes opens with a celebration of the season on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m., at 25 Lyme Street in Old Lyme. All are welcome.

In this holiday sale The Cooley Gallery will exhibit newly discovered paintings by Old Lyme colony artists Louis Cohen (1857-1915), William S. Robinson (1861-1945), Wilson Irvine (1869-1936), and Charles Ebert (1873-1959) and Connecticut artist Charles Foster (1850-1931) as well as exquisite watercolors and drawings by numerous Connecticut artists.

“The prices will be commensurate with the spirit of the season,” says Jeff Cooley, owner of the gallery. Also featured are colored woodcuts – as seen on the invitation, by Gertrude Nason (1890-1969), an accomplished painter and printmaker who lived in Greenwich Village and summered in Lyme.

A select group of contemporary artists will be included in the show.

Curly Lieber’s delicate and exquisite botanical drawings are among the highlights of The Cooley Gallery’s Holiday Show opening Thursday.

Botanical artist Curly Lieber has works in the exhibition, which also includes paintings of New York City by Michael Budden and Walter Rane, intimate still-lifes by realist Barbara Kacicek, abstract works by Helen Cantrell, and landscapes by Al Barker.

Small works by trompe l’oeil painter extraordinaire Michael Theise will be exhibited near the watercolor abstractions by Pat Smith among so many more.

The Cooley Gallery is proud to introduce the works of three new artists for the gallery: Jac Lahav, a figurative painter who will have a solo exhibition at The Florence Griswold Museum in 2019, Jeanine Pennell, a ceramic artist whose sympathetic characters are sure to delight, and Ed Bishop, whose hyper-realist paintings will please the most discerning art lover.

Don’t miss the The Cooley Gallery’s opening reception, Thursday, November 15th, from 5-7 p.m.; a great gathering to launch the holiday season. This exhibition runs through Jan. 6, 2019.

Located in the beautiful little village of Old Lyme, The Cooley Gallery is an ideal spot to enjoy among the best of American art while celebrating the season with a great New England tradition. 

Founded in 1981 and located in the heart of historic Old Lyme, the Cooley Gallery specializes in fine American paintings from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, including the Hudson River School, American Impressionism, and select contemporary artists.

Gallery hours: Thursday through Saturday 12 – 5 and Sunday 12 – 4 or online anytime at www.cooleygallery.com

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Win Tickets to ‘Hamilton,’ Four Other Shows in Cappella Cantorum’s Holiday Raffle

Cappella Cantorum offers an opportunity to win two tickets to the Broadway smash hit “Hamilton” when it plays at The Bushnell in Hartford in December. Through its Holiday Happenings Raffle Fundraiser, participants may win two seats to “Hamilton” as well as tickets to four other theater productions over the holidays.

The four other prizes include a family four-pack of tickets to the “Wizard of Oz” at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, a gift certificate for two to attend the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, four tickets to “A Christmas Hour” at the Ivoryton Playhouse featuring Broadway star David Pittsinger and Patricia Schuman, and tickets to “A Connecticut Christmas Carol” at the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester. Raffle tickets are $40.

The raffle will run now through Monday, Nov. 19, and tickets will be sold by Cappella members or on-line at CappellaCantorum.org. Only 500 tickets will be sold, so odds for winning are much better than for any lottery. Drawing will be Sunday, Nov. 25, 6 p.m. at the Ivory Pub and Restaurant, 1 Kirtland St., Deep River. Winners need not be present at the drawing.

Cappella Cantorum is the valley-shore’s premier community chorus and has been performing great classical choral works with a professional orchestra for 49 years. Simon Holt is the music director.

Its upcoming concert on Sunday, Dec. 2, will feature Puccini’s “Messa di Gloria” and Saint-Saens’ “Christmas Oratorio” and will inspire a holiday spirit. Check CappellaCantorum.org for details.

For more information, call 860-526-1038.

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Architect Arelt of Old Lyme Wins Prestigious A-List Award

Christopher Arelt of Nautilus Architects, located in Old Lyme, stands with his A-List Award presented by athome Fairfield County magazine.

Christopher Arelt of Nautilus Architects, located in Old Lyme, has been awarded a prestigious A-List Award presented by athome Fairfield County magazine. Design submissions were judged by an exclusive panel of judges comprised of key influencers in the design industry of their respective fields.

The winning A-List Entryway project by Nautilus Architects is located in Old Lyme, Conn.

An interior shot of the house in Old Lyme, which was renovated to a design by Chris Arelt.

A description of the award-winning project follows:

The award-winning house in Old Lyme.

The original front entrance to this house had no cover and required venturing down into a sunken area surrounding the house and then up again to the door.  The door itself was a bland one, someone had taken siding and clad a blank door slab, then painted it to match the rest of the exterior.  There were two thin sidelites flanking it.  Inside, the foyer was undistinguished and dark.  Altogether, a great opportunity for improvement.

By extending the roof forward, a new deep cover was created, and the roofline was simplified to advantage.  Atop the flat portion of the extension, a large pyramidal skylight was positioned the center of the foyer to allow the space to be flooded with natural light.  This also established a clear hierarchy for the interior: the surrounding spaces now clustered around this important central element.

Under the deep overhang outside, a generously-proportioned ipe porch was added, at the same level as the interior, to allow the virtual space to extend beyond the walls.  The ipe continues across the sunken ground plane in the form of a bridge – no more down and up upon approach.

The dreary front door and sidelites were together about 6 feet wide.  The assembly was replaced with a single door, 6 feet wide (!), that operates on a commercial closer and pivot hinge so that, when open, it feels more like a section of wall has been removed.  The door construction is a unique combination of wood, steel, aluminum, and glass, incorporating many of the materials found elsewhere in the renovation.

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Lyme, Old Lyme Town Halls Hosts Holiday Art Exhibit by Local Seniors

‘Dream Lilies’ by Jeri Baker is one of the featured works in the Lymes’ Senior Center Art Show at Old Lyme Town Hall.

Art groups from the Lymes’ Senior Center will hold their third annual exhibit of their work for sale in the Old Lyme Town Hall during
November and December. The participating artists have been taking art classes with Sharon Schmiedel. Paintings, drawings, and mixed media pieces will be on display.

Additionally, two members of the Center’s community, Janet Cody and Peg Sheehan, will add a “Touch of Craft” with their work in traditional punch needle pieces and handmade jewelry of silver, gold and semi-precious and precious stones respectively.

Another member, Norma DeGrafft, will also display her scenic watercolors in the Lyme Town Hall.

A portion of any sale will be donated to the Lymes’ Senior Center. An opening reception for this show will be held on Friday, Nov. 9, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Old Lyme Town Hall. Light refreshments will be served.

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Lyme Artist’s Annual Sale of Work Continues Today, 10-4

This painting by Diana Lord is the signature piece of the 2018 Lyme Artists Sale of Work, which opens this Friday.

The Lyme Artists Sale will be held this year at the Lyme Public Hall on Friday, November 2nd and Saturday, November 3rd. There will be an opening reception on Friday, Nov. 2, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. to which all are welcome.  The sale is also open Saturday, Nov. 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Eight Lyme artists are featured:

  • Steven Evankow, stone bird baths;
  • Angie Falstrom, watercolors;
  • Judy Friday, paintings, hooked pillows;
  • Don Gerber, woodturning;
  • Ann Lightfoot, jewelry;
  • Diana Lord, oil paintings;
  • LinaTuck, felted bags;
  • Tina West, handknitting;
  • plus yarn, cards, calendars and more.

This annual event is sponsored by the Lyme Public Hall and is open to the public. The Hall is located at 249 Hamburg Rd. (Rte. 156) in Lyme.

For more information, contact Angie Falstrom, 860-434-3194.

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