June 24, 2019

Legislators, Superintendents, Residents Express Universal Opposition to Forced School Regionalization

Special to LymeLine.com

Sitting in the front row of the audience at Monday night’s forum on school regionalization were local school superintendents (from right to left) Ian Neviaser (Lyme-Old Lyme), Pat Ciccone (Westbrook) and Jan Perruccio (Old Saybrook.)

Over 100 people turned out for an Education and Regionalization Forum at Old Saybrook Middle School on Thursday, April 11. The event was hosted by Rep. Devin Carney, (R-23rd), with Senators Paul Formica, (R-20th), and Norm Needleman, (D-33rd).

While the two parties differ on Connecticut road tolls, all three local officials said they are against forced regionalization of school district bills proposed by Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, Senators Bob Duff and Cathy Osten, Deputy President Pro Tempore, and by Governor Ned Lamont.

Rep. Carney said there was an enormous public outcry by small towns and school districts, thousands of pieces of testimony received and hundreds of people, including students from Region 18 schools, who testified in March hearings.  While this probably means that the idea of aligning school districts with recently consolidated probate districts is not advancing, the matter of reducing and reallocating education costs is very much still alive, and pieces of proposed legislation could still become law.

“Nothing is truly ever dead until we gavel out at midnight on June 5,” Rep. Carney said, explaining the state legislative process and timelines of the ongoing session in Hartford. 

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) addresses the audience Monday night while (left) State Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th) awaits his turn to speak. Almost hidden from view, State Sen. Norm Needleman (D-33rd) stands to Rep. Carney’s right.

Of the six bills introduced that address regionalization of schools or services, three have been passed by the Education Committee and further action could be taken on them:

  • Governors Bill 874 establishes an appointed Commission on Shared School Services that is charged with developing shared school services recommendations, requires boards of education (BOEs) to report on currently shared school services and requires regional BOEs to post online monthly current and projected expenditures and to submit information to their town’s legislative body. The commission would issue a report in December 2020, recommendations could be binding on towns and districts. Because of costs of setting up a commission, the bill has been referred to Appropriations Committee;
  • HB 7350 requires regional education service centers (RESCs) to distribute an inventory of goods and services to member BOEs, and the Department of Education (DOE) shall develop a report of best practices by RESCs for regional cooperation. (LEARN, at 44 Hatchetts Hill Road in Old Lyme, is a RESC);
  • SB 1069, proposed by Sen. Needleman, which allows the DOE to study the effects of towns working together as Local Education Agencies, is intended to encourage voluntary regional cooperation and maximize efficiencies and cost savings without being mandated to become regional school districts.

Superintendents Ian Neviaser (Lyme-Old Lyme), Jan Perruccio (Old Saybrook), and Pat Ciccone (Westbrook) addressed how their districts have been sharing services and resources to reduce costs while maintaining the quality of curriculum along with educational, extracurricular and sports activities and programs.  Standard practices include health and dental insurance, energy, financial software, food service and supplies, plus student transportation for specialized programs.

Old Saybrook, Westbrook and Region 4 (Chester, Deep River and Essex plus the three elementary schools for each of those towns, which are not part of Region 4) school districts already share staff, Perruccio said, in an arrangement that has the flexibility to change yearly based on each districts’ demographic needs.

Perruccio said she was alarmed that the forced regionalization bills showed a lack of regard and understanding of how school districts are already sharing resources with a focus on quality of education.

Ciccone cited how the districts are coordinating to provide professional development for their teachers, and how Westbrook’s school facilities, sports programs and fields are utilized by the Town Parks and Recreation Department and local YMCA. The schools and town share legal and financial services support, as well. 

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser stands at the podium during Monday evening’s forum.

“There is a money issue here, we need to be frank about it,” said Neviaser, pointing out that significant redistribution of wealth from school districts with higher property values and tax base already occurs. 

Fifty-one percent of New London’s school budget is paid by the state, he said., as is over 60 percent of Norwich’s, 33 percent of Montville’s and 14 percent of East Lyme’s school budgets. Meanwhile, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools receive less than one percent of operating expenses from the state.

“There was no mention of improving educational outcomes in these regionalization proposals,” commented Tina Gilbert of Lyme. “It is because of our school district’s focus on that, we are in the top four in the country in education.  There is no discussion of parent involvement in schools; we are not wealthy or privileged people, we chose to live in this school district for our children.  What it takes to build [highly performing schools] is parent involvement, working with parents.”

When asked if they moved to their town because of the quality of the schools, a high number of people in the audience raised their hands.

While the majority of questions and comments addressed specifics of proposed legislation, the overarching issue of state fiscal problems and how to address government spending arose. Lyme and Old Lyme residents were some of the most vocal about the impact of proposed legislation on property values, taxes and the quality of local school districts.

“The majority of the state doesn’t have a problem, town government works in Connecticut, but Hartford is not responsible,” said Curt Deane of Lyme, pointing out a seven-page summary of education service-sharing produced by LEARN in February.  “The initial [regionalization] proposals would have raised my property taxes by 50 percent overnight. Taxes go up, property values go down. People have to understand, this is going to hit our property taxes and hit hard. This isn’t going to go away.” 

“We can’t be a state with only great little towns and not great cities,” Sen. Needleman said, citing imbalances of health care outcomes and school performance between wealthier communities and the state’s large cities. He continued, “While we don’t want to mess up what we have, we can’t turn our backs on the disparities.”

The legislators encouraged voters to speak up, write letters, follow grassroots organizations such as Hands Off Our Schools or form their own group to express concerns to elected officials.

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Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah’ to be Performed This Afternoon by Cappella Cantorum

The conductor for Cappella Cantorum’s April concert will be Simon Holt.

This spring brings a treat to area concert-goers: Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus will perform Felix Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” Sunday, April 14, 3 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River.

Simon Holt of the Salt Marsh Opera will direct the chorus and professional soloists and orchestra.

Audiences will enjoy Mendelssohn’s lyricism and use of orchestral color in this Romantic oratorio that depicts the events in the life of the prophet Elijah. Chorus selections include the well-known anthems, “Lift Thine Eyes to the Mountains” and “He, Watching Over Israel.”

A reception will follow the concert.

Tickets are $30 purchased in advance, $35 at the door. They may be purchased from chorus members or on-line at www.CappellaCantorum.org.

For more information, visit the website or call 860-941-8243.

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Essex Winter Series’ Presents ‘Chanticleer’ This Afternoon in Old Saybrook

The final concert in this season’s Essex Winter Series will feature ‘Chaticleer.’

Essex Winter Series’ presents Chanticleer, the Grammy Award-Winning ensemble dubbed an orchestra of voices, on Sunday, April 7 at 3 pm at Old Saybrook High School, 1111 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook.

They are celebrating the ensemble’s 40th anniversary with the program, Then and There Here and Now, which contains music by some of Chanticleer’s favorite composers. From Palestrina and Victoria to Mason Bates and Steven Stucky, with lustrous examples of the South American baroque, as well as audience favorite arrangements by Jennings, Shaw and others. This program reflects the expansive aesthetic and seamless virtuosity in ensemble singing which have been Chanticleer’s hallmark for four decades.

Essex Winter Series is honored to be part of Chanticleer’s anniversary year and concludes its season with this fabulous program.

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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Needleman Proposes New School Regionalization Plan, Public Hearing Today on Another Proposal on Same Subject

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

Yesterday State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd) proposed a new plan for school regionalization. His proposal would create legislation tailored to help school districts and municipalities cooperate to share services and resources on their own terms, in contrast to recent legislation that would mandate school changes.

Needleman appeared with East Haddam Selectman Robert Smith, Chester First Selectman Laurent Gister, Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Essex Board of Education member Lon Seidman, Portland First Selectman Susan Bransfield and CABE Deputy Director and General Counsel Patrice McCarthy.

Watch this news clip from NBC to see a summary of what Needleman proposed.

The 33rd Senatorial District includes the Town of Lyme.

Today a public hearing will be held at 11 a.m. in Hartford on HB 7192, AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL AND REGIONAL OPPORTUNITIES AND EFFICIENCIES, a Governor’s Bill dealing generally with regionalization and shared services for local governments

Sections 7-10 of the bill are the same as Sections 1-4 of SB 874, the Governor’s Bill on school regionalization and shared services. If you have already submitted testimony to the Education Committee on school regionalization bills, this is an opportunity to comment before a different committee specifically on SB 874.

– Make sure to read the four sections of HB 7192 (again) and comment on them specifically (of course, you may also comment on any other sections you choose).

– Include only HB 7192 (same as first sections of SB 874) in your testimony, as this is the only language from the three school regionalization bills that is before Planning & Development.

Written testimony should be submitted by 9 a.m. to PDtestimony@cga.ct.gov

Sign-up to speak between 9 and 10 a.m. (lottery) in Room 1D.

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Puccini, Saint-Saens Featured at Cappella Cantorum Concert This Afternoon

Tenor Brian Cheney will be a soloist in the Dec. 2 Cappella Cantorum concert.

Bring in the spirit of the holiday season by attending Cappella Cantorum’s Christmas Concert Sunday, Dec. 2, 3 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, One Winthrop Road, Deep River.

Cappella’s Masterworks Chorus will perform Puccini’s “Messa Di Gloria” and Saint-Saens’ “Christmas Oratorio,” two glorious works from the late 1800s.

Featured soloists will be soprano Abigail Paschke, tenor Brian Cheney and baritone Paul Fletcher. Simon Holt will direct the chorus and professional orchestra.

Tickets are $30 purchased in advance, $35 at the door.

Puccini is best known for his later works, the operas “Tosca,” “La Boheme,” “Madama Butterfly” and “Turandot.” His “Messa Di Gloria” was composed earlier but is no less masterful. Saint-Saens is perhaps best known for his opera “Samsun et Dalila” and “The Swan” from his “Carnival of Animals.”

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

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State Awards $1.25M to Valley Shore Emergency Communications for Upgrades

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman stands with Paul Fazzino, President of Valley Shore Emergency Response after the announcement was made.

After years of planning and local town coordination, the Valley Shore Emergency Communications received critical state funding to upgrade emergency communications for numerous towns in the region. Valley Shore Emergency Communications serves the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme along with Chester, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Middlefield, and Westbrook. 

The State Bond Commission approved $1.25 million in grant-in-aid to the Town of Essex on behalf of the Valley Shore Emergency Communications, Inc. The funding will be used for upgrades to the outdated emergency radio dispatch system serving 11 towns. The upgrades will interconnect all member towns and allow coordination with adjoining systems to allow for better communication for police, fire and ambulances.

“I want to thank the tremendous work of the various public safety departments to make today a reality,” said Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman. “Throughout this process we worked together to bring our local emergency communications into the 21st century. This new funding will strengthen the safety of our towns and allow our public safety employees to better serve our communities.”

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Democratic Candidates Come to Town: Old Lyme Forum Offers Opportunity to State Positions, Take Questions

Ned Lamont, a Democratic candidate for Connecticut Governor, addresses the audience at Monday evening’s forum in Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.  All photos by M.J. Nosal.

Around 100 residents of Lyme, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook turned out at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Monday night for a Democratic Candidate Forum arranged by the Democratic Town Committees of the three area municipalities.  Local residents heard from and were able to ask questions directly of: Ned Lamont, candidate for governor (pictured above);

Old Lyme Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder stands at the podium to introduce Denise Merrill.

Denise Merrill, incumbent candidate for secretary of the state;

Shawn Wooden is one of the candidates running for State Treasurer — State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) is another.

Shawn Wooden, candidate for state treasurer;

Matt Pugliese will challenge State Rep. Devin Carney (R- 23rd) in the November election.

Matthew Pugliese, candidate for state representative in the 23rd District, which includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook;

Martha Marx.

Martha Marx, candidate for state senator in the 20th District, and

Lyme Selectman John Kiker (left) listens to Essex First Selectman and candidate for State Senator (20th District) Norm Needleman speak.

Norm Needleman, candidate for state senator in the 33rd District.

The Tri-Town Democratic Town Committees’ event started at 6:30 p.m. and lasted two and a half hours.

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Cappella Cantorum to Perform Haydn’s ‘Creation’ This Afternoon with Pittsinger, Cheney, Callinan as Soloists

Tenor Brian Cheney

Bass David Pittsinger

AREAWIDE — Celebrate Earth Day and the creation of this beautiful planet by attending Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus’ performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Creation” on Sunday, April 22, 3 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River.

Simon Holt will lead the chorus, professional soloists and orchestra. Soloists will be internationally known bass David Pittsinger, tenor Brian Cheney and soprano Sarah Callinan.

Haydn’s oratorio depicts the creation of the world from darkness and chaos to the creation of light, order and harmony. It is considered one of Haydn’s finest works.

Tickets are $25 purchased in advance, $30 at the door. For more information or tickets, visit www.CappellaCantorum.org or call 860-526-1038.

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Tickets on Sale Now for Community Music School’s 35th Anniversary Gala, April 27

Making plans for this year’s 35th anniversary CMS gala are, from left to right, CMS Music Director Tom Briggs, CMS Trustee and Gala Sponsor Bruce Lawrence of Bogaert Construction, CMS Trustee and Gala Sponsor Jennifer Bauman of The Bauman Family Foundation, and CMS Executive Director Abigail Nickell.

Community Music School’s (CMS) largest annual fundraiser is the CMS Gala and this year the organization is  celebrating its 35th anniversary with For the Love of Music! The event takes place on Friday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m. in Deep River at The Lace Factory and includes fabulous musical entertainment provided by CMS faculty and students. Enjoy cocktail jazz and an exquisite dinner show, as well as gourmet food, dancing, silent auction, fine wines and more.

Featured faculty and student performers include Music Director Tom Briggs, Noelle Avena, John Birt, Amy Buckley, Luana Calisman-Yuri, Audrey Estelle, Joni Gage, Silvia Gopalakrishnan, Martha Herrle, Ling-Fei Kang, Barbara Malinsky, Matt McCauley, Kevin O’Neil, Andy Sherwood, and Marty Wirt.

Support of the Community Music School gala provides the resources necessary to offer scholarships to students with financial need, as well as weekly music education and music therapy services for students with special needs.

For The Love of Music sponsors include The Bauman Family Foundation, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Bogaert Construction, Clark Group, Essex Savings Bank, Essex Financial Services, Grossman Chevrolet Nissan, Guilford Savings Bank, Jackson Lewis, Kitchings & Potter, Maple Lane Farms, Reynold’s Subaru, Ring’s End, Shore Publishing, Thomas Alexa Wealth Management, Tidal Counseling LLC, and Tower Labs LTD.

Early bird tickets for the evening are $125 per person ($65 is tax deductible) by April 13 and $135 thereafter. Event tickets include hors d’oeuvres, gourmet food stations, wine and beer, live music, and dancing. Tickets may be purchased online at community-music-school.org/gala, at the school located at 90 Main Street in the Centerbrook section of Essex or by calling 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 35 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. The 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.  To learn more, visit www.community-music-school.org or call (860)-767-0026.

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Cappella Cantorum to Perform Haydn’s ‘Creation,’ April 22

Franz Joseph Haydn

Celebrate Earth Day and the creation of this beautiful planet by attending Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus’ performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Creation” on Sunday, April 22, 3 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River.

Simon Holt will lead the chorus, professional soloists and orchestra. Soloists will be internationally known Bass David Pittsinger, Tenor Brian Cheney and Soprano Sarah Callinan.

Haydn’s oratorio depicts the creation of the world from darkness and chaos to the creation of light, order and harmony. It is considered one of Haydn’s finest works.

Tickets are $25 purchased in advance, $30 at the door. For more information or tickets, visit www.CappellaCantorum.org or call 860-526-1038.

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Acclaimed Bass-Baritone David Pittsinger Performs This Afternoon at Essex Winter Series

David Pittsinger

Essex Winter Series artistic director Mihae Lee welcomes the return of bass-baritone David Pittsinger to the series with pianist Simon Holt on Sunday, March 4, at 3 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 John Winthrop Middle School Drive, Deep River.

Pittsinger is internationally renowned for his magnificent voice and dramatic performances. His first Essex Winter Series concert in six years will be a unique program that includes Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn and Brahms, as well as selections from the American Songbook to celebrate the American spirit.

With a busy performance season that has taken him all over the world, Mr. Pittsinger conveyed a message while abroad at the Dutch National Opera: “I look forward to seeing you all soon. Returning to my community in anticipation of my performance for EWS has really buoyed my spirits through all my recent travels.”

Essex Winter Series’ 2018 season concludes on April 8 with The Quodlibet Ensemble, a New York-based string chamber orchestra of young, dynamic artists who regularly present a range of great music, from the Baroque to the modern day. The concert takes place on April 8 at Valley Regional High School and will include Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, as well as music by Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Nathan Schram.

All performances take place at 3 p.m. and seating is general admission. Tickets may be purchased by visiting www.essexwinterseries.com or calling 860-272-4572.

The 2018 Essex Winter Series season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Guilford Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, Tower Laboratories, and BrandTech Scientific. Media sponsor is WSHU Public Radio and outreach activities are supported by the Community Foundation of Middlesex County and donors to the Fenton Brown Circle.

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Cappella Hosts Spring Concert Featuring Haydn’s ‘Creation,’ April 22

Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus will present their spring concert, Sunday, April 22. The concert will feature Haydn’s masterpiece, “The Creation,” that includes the well-known “The Heavens are Telling the Glory of God.”

It will be performed with professional soloists and orchestra with Simon Holt of the Salt Marsh Opera directing.

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

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Award-Winning Photographer Presents ‘Tools of Travel Photography’ at CT Valley Camera Club Meeting

Shadows of camels and their riders in the Sahara desert in Erg Chebi, Morrocco (Photo by David H. Wells)

The guest speaker at next Monday’s (Oct. 2) meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be award-winning photographer/videographer David H. Wells, who will give a presentation titled, “The Tools of Travel Photography.” The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn.  All are welcome.

Wells uses whichever technology he feels is most appropriate for the specific situation to create visual narratives. He is based in Providence, RI, affiliated with Aurora Photos and is also a photo-educator. One editor described him as a “… specialist in intercultural communication and visual narratives that excel in their creative mastery of light, shadow and sound, stills and video.”

Wells became the photographer he is today by first trying on the styles and/or methods of other well-known and historic photographers. Then he mastered the challenging discipline of color slide film. He fused all of these experiences, over 30-plus years, to develop his own style, built on a mastery of light, exposure and tonality, framing and composition with predictable and consistent control over focus and depth of field.

As a photography educator, he leads students to learn how to master consistently these same elements of photography. He was featured in Photo District News as one of “The Best Workshop Instructors.”

A Sicilian sunset (Photo by David H. Wells)

His project on the pesticide poisoning of California farm workers was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Over the years he has worked on assignment for such magazines as Fortune, Life, National Geographic, Newsweek, The Sunday New York Times, Time, etc. He also worked for corporations such as Consolidated Natural Gas and DuPont as well as for non-profits such as the Ford Foundation and the New Israel Fund.

His work has been featured in more than 50 exhibitions and he has taught workshops at the International Center for Photography in NYC and at the Maine Media Workshops. He has received two Fulbright fellowships, a grant from Nikon/N.P.P.A., a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation’s Program of Research and Writing on International Peace and Cooperation.

For more information on David H. Wells, visit his website.

Connecticut Valley Camera Club is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers. The club 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 both sides of 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/. The Club’s 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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Cappella Cantorum Concert Registration Scheduled for Monday

Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus by Madeleine Favre of Deep River.

Registration and first rehearsal for Cappella Cantorum’s 2017 Christmas concert will be Monday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River. No auditions are required.

All are welcome to join Cappella Cantorum and its new director, Simon Holt, to prepare for the Dec. 2 concert. Holt is also the artistic director of the Salt Marsh Opera and director of music at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. He joins Cappella in its 48th year.

The program will feature Bach’s Cantata #140 (“Sleepers Wake”), Rutter’s “Gloria” and Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on Christmas Carols.”

Registration fee is $40; music is $20. Late registration will be Sept. 18, same time and place. Use the rear entrance.

For more information or to register in advance, visit www.CappellaCantorum.org.

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Cappella Cantorum Presents Medleys from Phantom, Les Mis, Choral Showcase in Concert This Afternoon

Drawing by Madeline Favre of Deep River of Cappella Cantorum inspired by a performance in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Old Saybrook.

On Sunday, March 26, Cappella Cantorum will present Medleys from Phantom of the Opera & Les Miserables & A Choral Showcase,  including: He Watching Over Israel, How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place, Precious Lord, Take my Hand and Down by the Riverside.

The performance will start at 3 p.m. at Valley Regional High School, Deep River. A reception will follow the concert. Tickets are $25 at the door or online at www.CappellaCantorum.org 

For more information, call Barry Asch at 860-388-2871.

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Emergency Vigil in Deep River This Afternoon in Response to Refugee, Immigration Ban

The Valley Stands Up will host an emergency vigil outside Deep River Town Hall at 4:30 pm today (1/29/17) to show solidarity with protests across the nation in response to the refugee and immigration ban.

At 3 p.m., the group will hold a public meeting at the Deep River Public Library to discuss further actions. “You are welcome here” yard signs will be available for purchase.

The Valley Stands Up is an independent civic group created to unite our diverse communities in the Lower Connecticut River Valley area through outreach, organizing, and advocacy to support the dignity and human rights of all.

Contact:
thevalleystandsup@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/groups/valleystandsup/

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Hear Cappella Cantorum Sing Handel’s ‘Messiah’ This Weekend; Old Lyme Church Choir to Accompany Chorus

handel-messiah
Come and celebrate the beginning of the Holiday Season with the Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus performing Handel’s Messiah (Christmas Section), Saturday, Dec. 3, 8 p.m. at St. Paul Roman Catholic Church, 170 Rope Ferry Rd., Waterford CT 06385. The concert will be repeated Sunday, Dec. 4, 3 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Road, Deep River 06417. 

The chorus will be joined by members of the choir of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme and will be accompanied by a professional orchestra. Simon Holt will conduct at the Waterford concert, and Barry Asch will direct at the Deep River performance.

Messiah is one of the most popular choral works and is a joyous start to the season. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at the door or at www.CappellaCantorum.org

Cappella Cantorum is the lower Connecticut River Valley and Shoreline’s premiere non-auditioned community choral organization whose primary purpose is to learn, perform and enjoy great choral music while striving for excellence and the enrichment of its singers and audience.

For more information, call Barry Asch at 860-388-2871.

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CT Port Authority Chair Tells Lower CT River Local Officials, “We’re All on One Team”

Enjoying a boat ride on the Connecticut River but still deep in discussion are (from left to right) Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Old Lyme First Selectwoman and and Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) Board Member Bonnie Reemsnyder, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr.

Enjoying a boat ride on the Connecticut River, but still finding time for discussions, are (from left to right) Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Old Lyme First Selectwoman and Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) board member Bonnie Reemsnyder, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr.

There was an overarching message both throughout the Connecticut Port Authority’s (CPA) meeting in Old Lyme’s Town Hall Thursday afternoon and during a subsequent boat ride on the MV ‘Victoria’ for members and local officials on the Connecticut River.  It was, in the words of CPA Chairman Scott Bates, that, “We’re absolutely committed to river communities.”

Scott Bates, CPA Chairman, receives input regarding the town's needs from Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman.

Scott Bates, CPA Chairman, receives input regarding the town’s needs from Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman.

In addition, while sailing from Essex down to Old Saybrook and then back up to Hamburg Cove on a perfect afternoon, Bates stressed, “Part of our mission is protecting these beautiful waters … and the quality of life we have here while preserving access to the river.”

View of the Connecticut River from the "Victoria."

View of the Connecticut River from the “Victoria.”

Bates noted that to have “five local officials (Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald Jr., Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, all of whom were on board, and Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, who was unable to join the trip) “involved” was a really positive sign in terms of  “building a coalition.”  This, Bates explained, was key to the development of a strategic plan for the CPA—something the Authority has been charged with preparing with a deadline of Jan. 1, 2017.

Gathered for a photo are (from left to right) CPA board member John Johnson, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Old Lyme First Selectwoman and CPA board member Bonnie Reemsnyder.

Gathered for a photo are (from left to right) CPA board member John Johnson, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Old Lyme First Selectwoman and CPA board member Bonnie Reemsnyder.

The  CPA is a relatively new quasi-public agency created in 2014 with board appointments made in 2016.  Bates said the agency was responsible for 35 coastal communities and with this trip, he would now personally have visited 28 of them. Since the CPA has not created a strategic plan previously, Bates said he is determined, “to include everyone,” in the process, adding that he regards part of the Authority’s mission to be “getting small town and big cities together.” and, in turn, “to make great things happen for our state.”

Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr. (left) chats with RiverCOG Executive Director Sam Gold aboard the 'Victoria.'

Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr. (left) chats with RiverCOG Executive Director Sam Gold aboard the ‘Victoria.’

Apart from Bates and the four local First Selectmen and Selectwomen, also on board were Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments (RiverCOG) Executive Director Sam Gold, River COG Deputy Director and Principal Planner J.H. Torrance Downes, CPA Board of Directors member John Johnson and Joe Salvatore from the CPA.  Reemsnyder is also a board member of the CPA.

Connecticut Port Authority staff member Joe Salvatore points out a river feature to Reemsnyder and Johnson.

Connecticut Port Authority staff member Joe Salvatore points out a river feature to Reemsnyder, Bates and Johnson.

At the earlier meeting in Old Lyme, Downes had given a presentation to CPA members to introduce them to the Lower Connecticut River during which he had described the geography of the estuary, noting it had, “very little industry and very little commercial development.”  He described it as a “really prime area for bird migration” and highlighted numerous points of scenic beauty.

J.H. Torrance Downe, Deputy Director of River COG, takes in the view of the Connecticut River.

J.H. Torrance Downes, Deputy Director of River COG, takes in the view of the Connecticut River.

Bates noted one of the CPA’s responsibilities is to pursue state and federal funds for dredging and, while sailing under the Baldwin Bridge towards the Connecticut River’s mouth where several tributaries join the main river, Reemsnyder commented that Old Lyme had been a beneficiary of a $1.6 million state grant for dredging two of those tributaries — the Black Hall and Four Mile Rivers.  She noted that it had been a successful exercise thanks in part to Salvatore, who had, “held our hand through the whole project.”

John Johnson, CPA board member (right) checks in with the captain of the 'Victoria.'

John Johnson, CPA board member (right) checks in with the captain of the ‘Victoria.’ Joe Salvatore stands at rear.

Johnson, whose life and business career according to the CPA website, have “a common underlying element: the coastal waters,” also confirmed the benefits of a dredging program, saying, “There is a need for depth of water — both elements, marine and maritime, need depth of water.”  Still on the dredging issue, Bates said he had met separately with Old Saybrook First Selectman Fortuna and told him that he could have “whatever he needs to keep the mouth of the Connecticut River open.”

John Johnson (left) and Bonnie Reemsnyder (right), both CPA board members, chat with the CPA Chairman Scott bates.

John Johnson (left) and Bonnie Reemsnyder (right), both CPA board members, chat with the CPA Chairman Scott bates.

Reemsnyder took a minute to commend Bates for his leadership of the CPA, saying, “Scott has given focus to coastal communities,”  while Johnson added, “We are blessed with our new chairman.”

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

Glancing around at the numerous boats docked both in marinas and on the river itself,  Reemsnyder remarked, “Add up the money in these boats … [they represent] lots of economic drivers.”  On the same theme, Bates noted that the state is marketing its ports for the first time using “national expertise” in some cases with the aim of moving “more people and goods in and out of Connecticut.”  He added, “We have some great assets [in terms of ports in the state] but we could do more.”

Eyes on the Cove -- guests on the 'Victoria' gaze at the view across the calm waters of Hamburg Cove.

Eyes on the Cove — guests on the ‘Victoria’ gaze at the view across the calm waters of Hamburg Cove.

As the “Victoria’ pulled gently back into dock at Essex Yacht Club, Bates summarized the benefits of the boat trip saying that by spending time with these local leaders, he had been able to “see their waterfronts, assess their needs,“ and gain an “appreciation of the vitality of the Lower Connecticut River basin,” emphasizing one more time, “This is really about pulling together as a state … we’re all on one team.”

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Cappella Cantorum Celebrates Mozart in Concert This Afternoon in Deep River

Daniel Juarez

Daniel Juarez

Listen to the magic of Mozart when Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus presents a Mozart Celebration on Sunday, April 10, at 3 p.m., in John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River.

Mozart’s Requiem, Regina Coeli and Ave Verum are the featured choral works.

Featured soloists singing with the professional Cappella Cantorum Chamber Orchestra will be: Patricia Schuman, soprano; Heather Petrie, contralto; Daniel Juárez, tenor; and Christopher Grundy, baritone.

Internationally acclaimed Patricia Schuman, soprano, has performed with Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus, most recently with the production of Fauré Requiem and Schubert Mass in G.

Heather Petrie

Heather Petrie

Hailed as a true contralto, Heather Petrie is becoming a familiar voice throughout the Northeast. She has performed with Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus, most recently with the production of Bach Magnificat and Vivaldi Gloria.

Praised as a rising star who brings eloquence and musicality to a performance, Christopher Grundy, baritone, has given frequent recitals across the United States of repertoire spanning seven centuries.

A leading resident tenor of the CT Lyric Opera, Daniel Juárez’s operatic credits include Erik in Wagner’s Der Fligende Hollander, Don José in Bizet’s Carmen and other leading tenor roles in many opera programs.

Tickets are $30 (free for age 18 and under), from CappellaCantorum.org or by calling 860-388-2871. A reception follows the performance.

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Essex Winter Series Continues with Jeff Barnhart And His Hot Rhythm, Feb. 21

Jeff Barnhart

Jeff Barnhart

The 2016 Essex Winter Series (EWS) continues Sunday, Feb. 21, at Valley Regional High School at 3 p.m. with the Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert featuring Jeff Barnhart and His Hot Rhythm.

The 2016 EWS season, which has been designed by Executive Director Mihae Lee for its quality and variety, promises to be an exciting one, with three very different programs all by world-class artists. Enjoy great chamber music, hot jazz, expressive vocal music, and the thrill of a full orchestra.

All of the concerts are on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. in Deep River. Concerts take place at Valley Regional High School, with the exception of the March 6 concert, which will be presented at John Winthrop Middle School. The schedule is as follows:

Feb. 21: Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert
Jeff Barnhart and His Hot Rhythm
Valley Regional High School

Jeff Barnhart, our jazz artistic advisor, has thrilled EWS audiences for years with his performances of hot jazz. The renowned pianist, vocalist, arranger, bandleader, re­cording artist, composer, educator, and entertainer will perform seminal jazz and pop standards from the first half of the 20th century with a top-notch band: Scott Philbrick on trumpet, banjo, and guitar; Joe Midiri on reeds; Paul Midiri on vibes and trombone; Anne Barnharton flute and vocals; Vince Giordano on bass, tuba, and bass sax; and Jim Lawlor on drums. Co-sponsored by The Clark Group and Tower Laboratories

March 6: Patricia Schuman, soprano
John Winthrop Middle School

We are delighted to welcome back to our stage the internationally-celebrated soprano Patricia Schuman. Her program, “Winter Romance,” will feature songs of love and loss as well as lighter fare from the great Amer­ican songbook and musical theater. She will be joined by harpist Megan Sesma, pianist Douglas Dickson, and a special surprise guest artist. Ms. Schuman has been engaged by the most distinguished opera houses throughout the world, and has collaborated with many of the foremost conductors and directors of our time. Co-sponsored by Essex Savings Bank and an anonymous foundation

April 3: Fenton Brown Emerging Artists Concert
New Haven Symphony Orchestra with violinist Tessa Lark
Valley Regional High School

Now in its 121st year of continuous operation, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra is one of the country’s finest regional orchestras. Returning to our series, the orchestra under music director William Boughton will perform Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, Haydn’s “London” Symphony, and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, featuring our 2016 Emerging Artist, Tessa Lark. Lark won the prestigious Naumburg International Violin Award in 2012, and is one of today’s most sought-after young violinists. Co-sponsored by Guilford Savings Bank and an anonymous foundation

All tickets to Essex Winter Series concerts are general admission. Individual tickets are $35; four-concert subscriptions are $120, which represents a $20 saving over the single-ticket price for four concerts. Tickets may be purchased on the EWS website, www.essexwinterseries.com, or by calling 860-272-4572.

More program information, artist biographies and photos, and much more is available on the Essex Winter Series web site, www.essexwinterseries.com.

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