April 18, 2014

Conniff Presents Inaugural LOL Education Foundation Lecture, April 27

Richard Conniff

Richard Conniff

The Lyme Old Lyme Education Foundation (LOLEF) has announced that its first annual lecture, hosted by the Lyme Art Association (LAA), will be an evening with Old Lyme’s own Richard Conniff on Sunday, April 27, at 5:30 p.m.

The title of Conniff’s lecture is “Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time:  My Life Doing Dumb Things with Animals.”  His vast experience with animals includes collecting tarantulas in the Peruvian Amazon, tracking leopards with !Kung San hunters in the Namibian desert, climbing the Mountains of the Moon in western Uganda, and trekking through the Himalayas of Bhutan in pursuit of tigers and the mythical migur.  With humor and insight, he recounts his adventures in the strange and fascinating world of wild animals.

Book cover of "Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time"

Book cover of “Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time: My Life Doing Dumb Things with Animals.”

Conniff writes about behavior, on two, four, six, and sometimes eight legs.  His latest book is The Species Seekers:  Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth, about the great age of species discovery.  He won a National Magazine Award in 1997 and a 2009 Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism.  He was a 2007 Guggenheim Fellow.

His articles have appeared in Time, Smithsonian, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, and other publications.  He is a frequent commentator on NPR’s Marketplace and in The New York Timesand has written and presented television shows for the National Geographic Channel, TBS, and the BBC, among others.

Conniff is the author of seven books, including Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time:  My Life Doing Dumb Stuff with Animals (Norton, 2009), The Natural History of the Rich: A Field Guide (Norton, 2002) and Spineless Wonders:  Strange Tales of the Invertebrate World (Holt, 1996).

Wine and light hors d’oeuvres will be served.  Tickets are $12 for non-members of the LAA and $10 for members.  Call the LAA at 860. 434.7802 to reserve your seats.

Proceeds to benefit the LOLEF,  a non-profit organization which supports supplemental excellence in programs and technologies in the Region 18 schools and community.

For more information about LOLEF, visit www.lolef.org.


Senior Studio Exhibition on View at Lyme Academy College

Senior Studio postcard 2014
An exhibition of artwork by seniors at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts is on view at the College’s Chauncey Stillman and Sill House Galleries through May 17.  These seniors are studying for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and will graduate in May 2014.

The Senior Studio experience at the College allows students to refine their vision and develop a skill set in order to create a body of work that exemplifies their individual interests, talents, and artistic sensibilities.  The Senior Studio Exhibition 2014 reflects the culmination of this project.  Students will be present at the opening reception and available to discuss their work.  Both the reception and exhibition are free and open to the public; all are welcome.

Each student conceives their own project for the exhibition, and—with ongoing support and input from the faculty and their student peers   ̶  executes and presents it within a set amount of time.  Hayley Ashkenas (BFA Painting) of Berkeley, Calif., explains it this way, “It’s a pre-cursor of real life with gallery deadlines.  With so much buzzing around in your head, you have to not worry about the final product and just think clearly and slowly as you go through the process.” Chris O’Flaherty (BFA Painting) of Griswold, Conn., adds, “It’s definitely a challenging ride!  It’s the bridge between here and the next step.”

Sally Seaman, Dean of Academic Affairs at Lyme Academy College, comments, “This is such an exciting time for the seniors as they create a unified body of work. In the fall they experiment with different ideas using what they have learned from the previous three years at the College. Finally, after a great deal of work and many group critiques involving faculty and the other seniors, it all comes together. It’s absolutely phenomenal how this happens each year and quite exciting to watch and experience.” Magdalena Pawlowski (BFA Painting) from Nantucket, Mass., sums up the senior experience this way, “We all work very hard. It takes a lot of devotion and really prepares you for life.”

Both the Chauncey Stillman and Sill House galleries are free and open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The College gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Leon and Bernadette Olivier, Outthink, Sennheiser Electronic Corporation, and Saybrook Point Inn/Fresh Salt, for this exhibition.

For more information about the exhibition or Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, contact the Director of Marketing and Public Relations at 860-434-3571, ext. 135 or ologan@lymeacademy.edu


Exhibition Commemorating the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 at the CT River Museum

As part of the 200th anniversary of the British Raid on Essex, the Connecticut River Museum is hosting a traveling fine art exhibit by members of the American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA).  Twenty-five paintings by 16 different artists illustrate the various arenas of military action that unfolded during this War which was largely fought on the water.

The exhibit is comprised of three theaters of war: the oceans; the Great Lakes; and the bays, estuaries, sounds and rivers of the Eastern United States.  The paintings include oils and watercolors, and depict scenes of famous engagements as well as lesser known vessels and locales.  While many of the works of art present traditional views of the great navy vessels on the high seas or in action, others feature more personal views of men, giving the war a human face.

The American Society of Marine Artists was founded in 1978 by a small group of professional artists, who shared a love for all things maritime.  The Connecticut River Museum is delighted to have teamed with ASMA for this themed exhibit.

The Connecticut River Museum is one of five national venues in which this exhibit will travel.  It will be on display during the bicentennial of the April, 1814 British Raid on Essex.  The Raid has been the subject of considerable research and attention at the Museum in recent years and will culminate during the spring of 2014 with this special exhibit along with a series of related programs and events.

For more information on the exhibition and related programs, visit ctrivermuseum.org.  The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Mondays.


Sunshine of Lyme Wins 2014 Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year, Age 13-16

Braiden Sunshine of Lyme performs at the NACMAI competition in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Braiden Sunshine of Lyme performs at the NACMAI competition in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Last month, Braiden Sunshine of Lyme was named the 2014 Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year for age 13-16 in the ‘New Country’ category  by the North American Country Music Associations International (NACMAI) at their national competition held at Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Nacmai_trophy_2014_301KBSunshine had previously participated in the Southern New England Country Music Awards (SNECMA), which covers Connecticut and RI, where in August he won the title of 2013 Male Vocalist of the Year in his age group 13-16 for New Country Music.
He then moved on to the New England completion and in November won his category again.  All state winners are eligible to compete in the National competition in Tennessee.
There were three main genres of music being performed in Pigeon Forge; Gospel, Bluegrass and Country (Traditional and New Country).  Sunshine competed in the New Country category as it was the closest to his style of music.  The performers took the stage at the Country Tonight Theatre every eight minutes from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. each night Monday to Saturday.
Each day, Sunshine and his mother, Liz, watched some of the performers, making a point to see all the other Connecticut performers.
After the performances, Sunshine would practice and join in the jams in the hotel conference rooms.  Liz comments, “This was the real fun, getting 20 performers in a circle playing and singing, building off each other.  They would go around the circle taking turns as to who would lead the next song.  It was amazing to watch and outstanding to listen to.  There is an incredible camaraderie that these artist have with one another [in that] they almost don’t have to speak they just follow the music.”  She adds, “The jam sessions went late into the night.  Braiden would tell me that his fingers were in agony from playing for five hours straight.”
During the competition, Sunshine’s performance caught the eye of Mike Jennings and Sunshine was asked to be on the Nashville Spotlight Television Show.
Locally, you can see Sunshine perform on April 18, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Buckley House, 111 Bank St., New London or Captains Pizza on Sunday, April 27, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Congratulations, Braiden!

Cappella Cantorum Presents Durufle’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Sunday

Barry Asch

Barry Asch

Cappella Cantorum’s 45th anniversary celebration begins April 6 with a performance of Maurice Durufle’s ” Requiem” and the Easter section of Handel’s “Messiah,” under the continuous musical direction of co-founder Barry B. Asch.  The concert will begin at 3 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Road, Deep River (exit 5 off Rte. 9.)

Durufle’s “Requiem” reflects a haunting and spiritual Gregorian chant influence, while Handel’s “Messiah” is uplifting and inspiring in true Easter fashion.

Simon Holt, artistic director of Salt Marsh Opera, will be organist for the Durufle “Requiem” with Chamber Orchestra, and Deborah Lyon will be organist for the Easter section of the “Messiah.”

Tickets are $25 and may be purchased on www.CappellaCantorum.org or by calling 860-767-8452 or at the door.


Auditions Today for ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ at Ivoryton Playhouse

The Ivoryton Playhouse will be holding local auditions for Equity and non union actors for La Cage Aux Folles on Wednesday, April 2, from noon to 8 p.m. in the Rehearsal Studio, 24 Main Street, Centerbrook.

La Cage Aux Folles by Harvey Fierstein, Jean Poiret and Jerry Herman runs Aug. 6 – 31, 2014.  The Playhouse is looking for singers, dancers and actors over 21.

Auditions are by appointment only.  Bring a headshot and resume, and prepare a song.

For audition appointments, call 860-767-9520, ext 203


Master Class Open to All at Community Music School Today

French Hornist Leelanee Sterrett will be one of the guest artists at the Essex Winter Series Master Class to be held at the Community Music School, March 31.

French Hornist Leelanee Sterrett will be one of the guest artists at the Essex Winter Series Master Class to be held at the Community Music School, March 31.

Essex Winter Series will present a Master Class for French horn, trumpet, and trombone on Monday, March 31 at 4 p.m.  Held at the Community Music School at 90 Main Street in Centerbrook, brass students will perform select pieces for critique and tips by guest artists Leelanee Sterrett (French horn), Paul Murphy (trumpet) and Stephen Dunn (trombone).

Sterrett is the Essex Winter Series 2014 Fenton Brown Emerging Arist.  She joined the New York Philharmonic as assistant principal and utility horn in June 2013. She was previously a member of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and the La Crosse and Fox Valley Symphonies in Wisconsin.

After attending Interlochen Arts Academy, she earned degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as a student of Douglas Hill, and the Yale School of Music, with William Purvis.  She is a past prizewinner in the International Horn Competition of America.

This special opportunity to gain a deeper knowledge and appreciation for the performing arts is free and open to the public, and is one of the many programs through which Essex Winter Series presents community outreach activities. It is also another chance to experience the gifted talent of Sterrett who will be performing with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra at the Essex Winter Series concert on March 30.

Now in its 31st year of enriching the Connecticut Valley-Shoreline communities by offering outstanding private and group music instruction for all ages, the Community Music School is a private, non-profit organization that sponsors many ensembles, orchestras and events covering a broad spectrum of musical interests while focusing on public performances and community outreach programs as a key component of its mission.

For more information on the Community Music School, visit www.community-music-school.org or call 860.767.0026.



Prizewinning Pianist to Perform in Chester, April 6

International prizewinning pianist Kuok-Wai Lio will perform at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, April 6, at 5 p.m.

International prizewinning pianist Kuok-Wai Lio will perform at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, April 6, at 5 p.m.

The Collomore Concert Series, celebrating its 40th anniversary season, is welcoming Kuok-Wai Lio, a 25-year-old brilliant performer, to the historic Chester Meeting House on Sunday, April 6, at 5 p.m.  The concert is the third in this season of the Robbie Collomore Concert Series.

Born in Macau in 1989, Kuok-Wai began his piano studies at the age of five.  In 1997 he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, and in 2006 he entered the Curtis Institute of Philadelphia. His principal teachers have included Gabriel Kwok and Gary Graffman.  Most recently, Kuok-Wai has been working regularly with András Schiff at international master classes and festivals in Europe.

His recent performances include solo recitals at the Ravinia Festival, Vancouver Recital Series, as well as chamber music concerts at the Salzburg Festival.  A regular participant of Open Chamber Music Prussia Cove, and the Marlboro and Santa Fe Chamber Music festivals, Kuok-Wai has also performed with the Macau Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, China Philharmonic, Pan Asia Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Curtis Chamber Orchestra, Russian Symphony Orchestra and Camerata Salzburg.  He has given solo recitals in Japan, Germany and Italy.  In 2013 Kuok-Wai Lio was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant Award.

His Chester concert will include Schubert’s Four Impromptus, the “Waldstein” Sonata in C Major by Beethoven, and Schumann’s Fantasy in C Major.

Tickets for his Chester concert are $21.  For students from elementary through graduate school, a ticket is $5.  All ticket-holders are invited to stay for a reception, with refreshments provided by Simon’s Market, after the concert to meet the performer.

For tickets, call (860) 526-5162 or visit www.collomoreconcerts.org.  The Chester Meetinghouse is located on Goose Hill Road in Chester.  The concert is sponsored by First Niagara Bank.



Master Watercolorist Speaks at Lyme Academy Tonight

Artwork by Jeanne Potter.

Artwork by Jeanne Potter.

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts Alumni Association hosts another engaging presentation this evening in its lecture series, “Inside My Studio: The Artist Revealed,” featuring master watercolorist Jeanne Potter.  The evening begins with a reception at 6 p.m. before Potter speaks at 7 p.m.

Reservations are required at $10 per person and should be made by contacting Ann de Selding at 860.434.3571 ext. 117 or adeselding@lymeacademy.edu.

Having spent her career as an artist, art teacher, and gallery director, Potter will share highlights and insights into how she creates her portrait and architectural works, illustrated travel journals, teaching methods, and the world of art gallery management.  As a master watercolorist, she will also cover ways to conquer the challenging medium ofwatercolor.  Potter is a former Professor of Painting and Drawing at the Corcoran College of Art + Design and is currently in her ninth year as Director of the Maritime Gallery at the Mystic Seaport Museum.

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts continues the academic tradition of figurative and representational fine art while preparing students for a lifetime of contemporary creative practice.  The College offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drawing, Illustration, Painting, and Sculpture (full- and part-time study); Certificates in Painting and Sculpture, a Post-Baccalaureate program; Continuing Education for adults; and a Pre-College Program for students aged 15-18.  The College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the National Association of the Schools of Art and Design, and the Connecticut Department of Higher Education.  The College is located at 84 Lyme Street, Old Lyme CT 06371.

For more information about this event or Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, call 860.434.3571 ext. 135 or email ologan@lymeacademy.edu


SHOUT! Mod Musical Opens New Season at Ivoryton Playhouse

The all-female cast of SHOUT! Tamala Baldwin*, Mikah Horn, Monica Bradley*, Jennifer Lorae* and Bethany Fitzgerald.* * Denotes member of AEA

The all-female cast of SHOUT! Tamala Baldwin*, Mikah Horn, Monica Bradley*, Jennifer Lorae* and Bethany Fitzgerald.*  (* Denotes member of AEA.)

The last British raid on Essex was 200 years ago and 27 ships were burned.  This year, they are coming back — but not burning ships this time, but definitely shaking up the town with the fab music of London in the 60s and 70s.

SHOUT! is the mod musical magazine that brings back the beautiful birds and smashing sounds that made England swing in the 60′s.  Created by Phillip George and David Lowenstein, SHOUT! features new arrangements of such classic tunes as “To Sir With Love,” “Downtown,” “Son of a Preacher Man,” and “Goldfinger.”

SHOUT! travels in time from 1960 to 1970 chronicling the dawning liberation of women.  Just as Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, and Cilla Black were independent women with major careers, English and American women were redefining themselves in the face of changing attitudes about gender.  SHOUT! (and its all-female cast) reflects that through the unforgettable music of the time.  With a shimmy and shake, the songs are tied together by hilarious sound bites from the period — from 60s advertisements to letters answered by an advice columnist, who thinks every problem can be solved with a “fetching new hair style and a new shade of lipstick.”

The songs in this musical resonate with a timeless quality, which appeals across the generations.

The show is directed by Jacqueline Hubbard, musical director is Kyle Norris and choreographer is Cait Collazzo.  Set designed by Dan Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Kari Crowther.

SHOUT! The Mod Musical is currently being performed in Ivoryton and runs through April 6.  Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.  Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.


Final Concert of Essex Winter Series Celebrates Johann Sebastian Bach, April 13

Tara O'Connor

Flutist Tara O’Connor

The final concert of the 2014 Essex Winter Series season will be a celebration of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), the most prominent musician of the Baroque period, and a composer revered by many as the greatest composer of all time.  The concert, which takes place on Palm Sunday, April 13, at 3 p.m., offers some of Bach’s most beautiful soprano arias as well as several instrumental masterworks.

The featured soloists are Lisa Saffer, soprano; Tara Helen O’Connor, flute; Ani Kavafian, violin; and Linda Skernick, harpsichord.  Rounding out the instrumental ensemble are Benjamin Hoffman, violin; Colin Brookes, viola; Jerrian van der Zanden, cello; and Samuel Suggs, double bass

Violinist Ani Kavafian enjoys a prolific career as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician.  She has performed with virtually all of America’s leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and many others.  Her numerous solo recital engagements include performances at New York’s Carnegie and Alice Tully halls, as well as in major venues across the country.

Kavafian has served as a guest concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and was recently appointed to the concertmaster position of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.  She is a participant in numerous summer festivals, including Virginia Waterfront Festival, the OK Mozart Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Music@Menlo, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, and Music From Angel Fire Festival among many others.

Kavafian has appeared frequently over the past thirty years with her sister, violinist and violist Ida Kavafian. A sought-after chamber musician, Kavafian is an Artist Member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and with violist Barbara Wesphal and cellist Gustav Rivinius she is a member of the Trio da Salo.  She has teamed with clarinetist David Shifrin and pianist Andre-Michel Schub to form the Kavafian-Schub-Shifrin Trio with whom she tours frequently.  With cellist Carter Brey, she is co-artistic director of the New Jersey 10 concert chamber music series “Mostly Music.”

Kavafian has premiered and recorded a number of works written for her, including works by Henri Lazarof, Tod Machover, Michelle Ekizian, and Aaron Jay Kernis.

Kavafian has received the Avery Fisher Career Grant and was a winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, an organization where she now serves as president of the Alumni Association.  She has appeared at the White House on three separate occasions, and has been featured on many network and PBS television music specials. Her recordings can be heard on the Nonesuch, RCA, Columbia, Arabesque, and Delos labels.

Born in Istanbul, Turkey of Armenian heritage, Kavafian began piano lessons at the age of three.  At age nine, in the United States, she began the study of the violin with Ara Zerounian and went on to study violin at the Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian, eventually receiving a master’s degree with highest honors.  Kavafian is Professor of Violin at Yale University and plays the 1736 Muir McKenzie Stradivarius violin.  She lives in Westchester County in New York with her husband, artist Bernard Mindich.  Their son, Matthew, lives and works in the Lost Angeles area.

Flutist Tara Helen O’Connor is a charismatic performer sought after for her unusual artistic depth, brilliant technique and colorful tone in music of every era.  This past season she premiered a new chamber work by John Zorn, gave her a debut performance at the Mainly Mozart festival with Windscape and a concerto with Maestro David Atherton and made appearances at the Ocean Reef Chamber Music Festival and the Avila Chamber Music Celebration in Curaçao, premiered Jonathan Bergers new opera with the Saint Lawrence String Quartet in Stanford and performed concerts in Hawaii and Georgia with CMS.

A frequent participant in the Santa Fe chamber music festival, she has also appeared at Zankel Hall, Symphony Space, Music@Menlo, the Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass, Spoleto USA, Chamber Music Northwest, Music from Angel Fire, the Banff Centre, and the Bravo! VailValley Music Festival.  O’Connor has appeared on A&E’s “Breakfast for the Arts” and Live from Lincoln Center.  She has recorded for Deutsche Gramophon, EMI Classics, Koch International and Bridge Records.

She is a founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning New Millennium Ensemble and a member of the woodwind quintet Windscape, teaches at the Bard College Conservatory and Manhattan School of Music, is professor of flute and head of the wind department at Purchase College Conservatory of Music and holds a summer flute master class at the Banff Centre inCanada.  Winner of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a two-time Grammy nominee, she was the first wind player to participate in the CMS Two program and is now an Artist of the Chamber Music Society.

Soprano Lisa Saffer has graced opera and concert stages worldwide with her versatility, intelligence, and musicality in a range of repertoire.

Saffer is recognized for her skill as an interpreter of contemporary scores and of the music of Handel. She has been particularly associated with the music of Oliver Knussen and was a participant in a landmark series of Handel recordings and performances with conductor Nicholas McGegan.

She has worked with opera companies all over the world including the Metropolitan Opera, the Liceu in Barcelona, Chicago Lyric, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera National de Paris, English National Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, the Netherlands Opera, and the Santa Fe Opera, and has had particularly close relationships with New York City Opera and Glimmerglass Opera.

Saffer has appeared with major symphony orchestras including those of New York, Cleveland, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, and Philadelphia. She has also sung with the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Sinfonietta , the Orchestra of St Luke’s and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

She loves chamber music and has worked with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Schoenberg Ensemble and the New York Festival of Song among others.

She has recordings on DGG, Harmonia Mundi, New World, Telarc and Virgin Classics. For her portrayal of Berg’s Lulu at the English National Opera, she was honored to receive the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for best vocal performance and was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award.

A native of Ann Arbor, she now makes her home in Maine, where she has built a house in Brownfield with her partner, Andy Buck, a timber framer.  She teaches at her alma mater, the New England Conservatory, and is on the faculty of Songfest. She is a voracious reader, loves to cook and is contemplating gardening.

Linda Skernick‘s career as a harpsichordist includes solo recitals at the Los Angeles Harpsichord Center, Washington DC’s Phillips Collection, the Cleveland and Birmingham Museums of Art, New York’s Lincoln Center, the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, as well as at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments and at Wesleyan University.

She has toured with Alexander Schneider’s Brandenburg Ensemble and performed with Gerard Schwarz’s Mostly Mozart Festival, as well as the Seacliff Chamber Players’ Long Island Bach Festival, and many local CT series, including the Robbie Colomore concerts, in Chester, the Essex Winter Series, in Essex, the George Flynn Classical Concerts, in Clinton, and Music Mountain, in Falls Village.

Skernick was a member of New York’s “Tafelmusik” Ensemble and the New York Baroque Consort, and has been soloist with many of the orchestras and chamber series throughout Connecticut; she has performed with Philip Setzer, violin, Abraham Skernick, viola, baritone Richard Lalli, and flautist Michael Parloff, and cellist Carter Brey, among others; she was on the distinguished roster of Affiliate Artists, during that group’s existence, and has twice been the recipient of grants from the Sylvia Marlowe Harpsichord Society.

Skernick appeared both as soloist and in chamber music with the Connecticut Early Music Festival and John Solum’s Hanoverian Ensemble.  She was also a founding member of “The Klezzical Traition”, a group playing traditional klezmer and classical music.  Many of Skernick’s performances, including several guest concerts at Music Mountain, Falls Village, CT, have been broadcast by National Public Radio.  She appeared live on WQXR’s”The Listening Room” (New York City) and WGBH’s “Morning Pro Musica” (Boston).

Recently, during the 2010-2011 season, she is played solo concerti with Orchestra New England and the Falmouth (Massachusetts) Chamber Players Orchestra featuring works of J. S. Bach.  At this time she is working on a series of solo harpsichord recordings.  Skernick has been a member of the music faculty at Connecticut College, teaching both piano and harpsichord since 1979, and is on the faculty of the Thames Valley Music School in New London. She also teaches and coaches privately.

It is unremarkable to have Bach’s sacred and secular music performed together; for Bach, there was no sharp divide between the two.  To his mind, all music was a celebration of God’s glory, and his output in both genres was extraordinary.

The Essex Winter Series program will include six arias chosen from various cantatas, St. John Passion, and Easter Oratorio.  The instrumental works include Sonata No. 1 in E-flat for Flute and Harpsichord, Trio Sonata in C minor from The Musical Offering, and the popular Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, which features flute, violin, and harpsichord soloists.

The concert will take place at Valley Regional High School, Kelsey Hill Road, in Deep River, Connecticut.

Tickets, all general admission, are $30 ($12 for students) and may be purchased online at www.essexwinterseries.com or by phone at 860-272-4572. The concert is sponsored by the Edgard and Geraldine Feder Foundation


Shriver Collection of Ukrainian Art on Display, For Sale at Fresh Ayer Gallery, Today and Sunday

A piece from the Shriver's extensive collection of Ukrainian art.

A piece from the Shriver’s extensive collection of Ukrainian art.

While Old Lyme resident, Dick Shriver, was teaching Market Economics and Finance in 1990 in Kiev in the Soviet Union, his wife, Barbara, was busy in Kiev’s dissident art community.  Dissident artists were those who did not toe the Communist line of art that either glorified Soviet life or said nothing important.

The Shriver’s entire collection of Soviet and Ukrainian art and artifacts, currently more than 100 items spanning as many years, will be on display Saturday, March 22 and 23, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Fresh Ayer Gallery at 19 Halls Rd. in Old Lyme.  Refreshments will be served.

In addition, Professor of history, Magda Teter, from Wesleyan will make a few timely remarks on “the geo-political situation in Ukraine today” (Saturday evening only).

The Shrivers lived in Ukraine a total of eight years, one in the nation’s capital, Kiev, and seven in the largest city in western Ukraine, L’viv.

According to Barbara Shriver, “All their lives, Ukrainians and the diaspora dreamed of independence from Soviet domination.  This exhibit is to showcase Ukrainian culture – how artists and other creative people fashioned beautiful and useful artworks in spite of Soviet attempts to suppress the Ukrainian culture.”


Lyme-Old Lyme Youth Art Show on View Through March 29

This signature piece for the 2014 Lyme-Old Lyme Youth Art Show is by Mercedes Crespo.

This signature piece for the 2014 Lyme-Old Lyme Youth Art Show is by Mercedes Crespo.

The 29th Annual Lyme-Old Lyme Youth Art Show is on view through Saturday, March 29 in the Sill House Gallery at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts located at 84 Lyme Street.

Sponsored by Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB), the show features work by students in Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools from Kindergarten through Grade 12.

The Sill House Gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.  Admission is free. All are welcome.


Chester Historical Society Hosts Silent Auction Event, Saturday

F:DPFMonday NewsStorrs Convention of Characters #     February  24 2013  Al Malpa

Photo by Al Malpa
David Rau, Director of Education and Outreach at the Florence Griswold Museum, created “As Seen From Above” for the Chester Historical Society’s Unearthed in Chester Challenge & Reception. Using the rusted Es found buried in an early Chester property, David says his answer to the challenge is “a bird’s-eye view of the earth from above. As soon as I saw the shapes, I saw the openings as small doors. You can imagine the scene as a setting for an interesting archaeological dig, which might unearth more Es.” David is known far and wide for his fairy house creations for the museum.

Dipping back into Chester’s roots as a manufacturing town, the Chester Historical Society has created its fourth challenge for area artists, sculptors, photographers, engineers, and all others with a creative mind.

This spring’s creative challenge is named “Unearthed in Chester,” because it is based on flat, rusted iron pieces found buried in an early Chester Center property – one of the oldest houses in Chester.  These rusty pieces measure 1 ¼ by 2 inches and look like the capital letter E.

The finished pieces of art, jewelry, sculptures, photographs, etc. will be exhibited and sold by silent auction at the Historical Society’s Unearthed in Chester Reception on Saturday, March 22, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the historic Chester Meeting House.

“The Society has staged similar challenges over the past ten years.  In 2004 we started with Brooks for Hooks, which used hooks and screw eyes manufactured by M.S. Brooks & Sons,” said Skip Hubbard, Historical Society president. “Our last two challenges utilized 2-inch-square knitting gauges made by C. J. Bates & Son and bone handles from Bishop & Watrous.”

There is still time for artists and other creatively minded people to get involved in this year’s Unearthed Challenge. Call Sosse Baker at the Chester Gallery, 860-526-9822, for details.

To attend the reception, which will feature hearty hors d’oeuvres and white wine, tickets are $30 and can be purchased at Chester Gallery and Ceramica, both in the center of Chester, or by calling Sosse Baker at Chester Gallery.

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


Musical Masterworks Hosts Chamber Music Concert in Old Lyme Today

Pedja Muzijevic

Pedja Muzijevic performs this evening in the Musical Masterworks concert at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Musical Masterworks will continue its series of chamber music at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme with concerts on Saturday, March 15 at 5 pm and Sunday, March 16 at 3 pm.  Featured performers will include pianist Pedja Muzijevic, violinist Tessa Lark, violinist/violist Erin Keefe, and double bassist Kurt Muroki.  Musical Masterworks Artistic Director Edward Arron will perform on cello and serve as host for the concerts.

The program will feature one of the most popular works in the chamber musicrepertoire:  Schubert’s Quintet in A Major for Piano and Strings, known as the “Trout” Quintet.  Also on the program are works by Rossini, Bartok, and a piece by bluegrass-inspired composer Mark O’Connor: his Appalachia Waltz.

Tessa Lark

Tessa Lark

Pianist Pedja Musijevic has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s greatest orchestras, and is a frequent performer with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.  Violinist Tessa Lark won first place in the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition and many other prestigious awards.

Erin Keefe, who will perform on violin and viola, was just named the Concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra. Double bassist Kurt Muroki is an artist member of the Chamber Music Society, performs with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and many other ensembles worldwide.

Edward Arron is widely known as one of the foremost cellists of his generation.  He has been the Artistic Director of Musical Masterworks since 2009.  He will host a post-concert, free for audience members,  discussion immediately after the Sunday, March 16 concert.

Tickets for the March 15 and 16 concerts are $35 with $5 student tickets available.  Please call 860-434-2252 or visit www.musicalmasterworks.org for more information.

The First Congregational Church is located at 2 Ferry Road in Old Lyme, CT 06371.


Traveling Tea-Cart is Art Student’s Dream, Business Funding Campaign Currently Underway

Erik Peterson

Erik Peterson

Erik Peterson is an accomplished artist.  A senior at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, he will graduate in May of this year, but rather than pursuing his craft  in the more traditional fields of the post-graduate art world such as illustration or teaching, Peterson has chosen a very different path.

Fascinated by the tea-making process since a young age, Peterson has formed a company called Thorn Tea with the goal of building a traveling  tea-cart that he can, “Bring out of a trailer alongside a road, in the city, at a farmer’s market.”  He plans not only to sell cups of his own freshly-brewed, hand-blended tea from the cart but also to sell the tea itself.

Sketch by Erik Peterson.

Sketch by Erik Peterson.

Peterson’s aspirations, however, go far beyond the sheer financial side of the business.  He explains that the mission of Thorn Tea is, “to bring strangers together over a cup of tea,” or as he puts it another way, “to re-establish personal communications between people through tea.”  Peterson feels strongly that people have what he describes as, “such small circles,” and asks rhetorically, “Why not extend them through tea?”

Peterson is currently working to raise seed capital for his business through Indiegogo.com, which is, according to the company’s website, “a platform [used] to raise millions of dollars for all types of campaigns.”  The Thorn Tea  campaign is open through Thursday, March 20, and readers can contribute directly to Peterson’s project at this link, where Peterson has created a mini-website with extensive information about his plans.

Although his future is in tea, Peterson’s skills as an artist are not going unused.  He has designed all the company’s promotional materials, including its attractive logo, and is also working on the construction specifications of his tea-cart concept.

Thorn Tea packaging features Erik Peterson's original designs.

Thorn Tea packaging features Erik Peterson’s original designs.

Peterson, who says he has been making tea since “around the age of 14,” blends and packages his teas himself:  he has a variety of organic blends with exotic names like Morning Mint and Queen of Wild Flowers, along with the more traditional Chai.  Sales of his teas have been growing steadily among family and friends, but Thorn Tea is his first foray into the business world.

Driven by the idea of the old-fashioned tea-house, where, in his words, there is, “community, support and love,” Peterson is passionate about bringing “that ritual back into everyone’s lives,” and giving people the opportunity to “break down the barriers” that are keeping them from communicating effectively, thus “bringing people together again” — and all through the medium of Thorn Tea.

Editor’s Note: For more information about Thorn Tea or to donate to Peterson’s project, visit http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/thorn-tea–2

Click here to see more art by Erik Peterson.


Lyme-Old Lyme HS Art Department Amasses Awards at Recent Contests

Lyme-Old Lyme High School seniors Mercedes Crespo and Madelyne Grabowski were both awarded Gold Keys at the Connecticut Scholastic Awards.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School seniors Mercedes Crespo (left) and Madelyne Grabowski (right) were both awarded Gold Keys at the Connecticut Scholastic Awards, along with Hannah Lacey (not pictured.)

The Art Department of Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) is enjoying an exceptional year.

Seniors Madelyne Grabowski, Mercedes Crespo and Hannah Lacey were each awarded Gold Keys for their art portfolios at the 25th annual Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Awards.  All three are now being judged on the Scholastic Art Award national level.

Art work by Mercedes Crespo.

Art work by Mercedes Crespo.

Grabowski and Crespo were also two out of only 13 students statewide to be awarded, on the basis of their portfolios, $20,000 annual scholarships from the University of Hartford Art School. This is the highest level of scholarship awarded by that school, which also hosts the Scholastic exhibit.

Others recognized at Scholastic were Anais Bolduc, Jennifer Dill and Elizabeth Scott, all for sculpture.  Bolduc and Dill earned Silver Keys, while Scott won honorable mention.  The Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Awards is the largest juried student art exhibition in the state, with over 1,500 total art entries.

In the Shoreline Arts Alliance 2014 ‘Future Choice’s Juried High School Student Art Competition and Exhibition, currently hanging in the Sill House Gallery at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts on Lyme St., Madelyne Grabowski and Mercedes Crespo took First and Second Place in Drawing respectively, while Jordan Bourne took top honors in the Video category.

'Skatepark' by Madeline Grabowski.

‘Skatepark’ by Madeline Grabowski.

Isabel Ritrovato took Second Place in ceramics and Jennifer Dill earned an Honorable Mention in the same category. Samantha Lee and Laura Yee both earned Honorable Mentions in Painting, while Anais Bolduc and Jennifer Dill both were awarded Honorable Mentions in sculpture.

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts awarded a total of three $10,000 scholarships, two of which were awarded to LOLHS students, namely Madeleine Grabowski and Hannah Lacey.  Also, three out of six Pre-College scholarships presented by Lyme Academy College, were awarded to LOLHS students Jordan Bourne, Alida Dahlke and James Kolb.

Other LOLHS students juried into the show, which encompasses students from 24 area towns, include Elizabeth Scott, Sophia Restrepo, Lexi Sibley, Meredith Kegley, and Kaetlin Kolar.

On top of all the individual successes at these two prestigious contests, the LOLHS Art Department as a whole was awarded the Judy Streeter Outstanding School Award by the Shoreline Arts Alliance on the basis of its level of participation in the competition and the number of awards it received.

Congratulations to all these outstanding artists and their fine teachers!


Vintage! OLHS Popular Antiques, Art Appraisal Event Takes Place This Afternoon

A member of the Old Lyme Historical Society looks on as Carol Brevard of Brevard Appraisal and Estate Services examines an antique candelabra at the Old Lyme Historical Society’s antiques appraisal event “Vintage!” in March 2013.

A member of the Old Lyme Historical Society looks on as Carol Brevard of Brevard Appraisal and Estate Services examines an antique candelabra at the Old Lyme Historical Society’s antiques appraisal event “Vintage!” in March 2013.

Vintage!, the Old Lyme Historical Society’s antiques appraisal event that benefits its scholarship fund, takes place this afternoon between 1 and 4 p.m. at the Old Lyme Town Hall.  This year Jeff Cooley of The Cooley Gallery and Norman Legassie of Stepping Stones Antiques will join the outstanding group of returning appraisers that were present at last year’s popular event.

The appraisers’ collective expertise covers a broad range of antiques specialties including books, toys, textiles, farm tools, precious metal jewelry, artwork, and coins.  Each verbal appraisal costs $5 per item and there is a three item limit per person.  If you’re a fan of the “Antiques Roadshow” or if you have been wondering what some of your vintage items are worth, this event is for you.

This year’s appraisers are Jeff Cooley, Norman Legassie, Steven Lutar, Isaiah Griffith, Curt Wendler, Nancy Hoffman, and Carol Brevard.

Jeff Cooley, of the Cooley Gallery in Old Lyme, specializes in paintings from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Norman Legassie, of Stepping Stones Antiques in Old Saybrook, is a generalist appraiser, with experience in fine art, decorative arts, furniture, jewelry, postcards, and books.  Steven Lutar is the owner of The Guilford Coin Exchange. Isaiah Griffith, the fifth generation in a family of antique dealers, has expertise in vintage toys, hunting and fishing items, and sterling silver.

Curt Wendler has been in the book business buying and selling fine used books for over 30 years, his background includes experience with firms in New York and New Haven, 10 years as co-owner of Centerbridge Books in Essex, and more recently as the owner of a private book company in Old Saybrook. He will examine books, autographs, photos, posters, and ephemera.

Old Saybrook resident Nancy Hoffman is a long-time antiques dealer specializing in textiles and early country items. She will appraise textiles, linens, coverlets, quilts, sewing, kitchen items, farm implements, and primitive country furniture.

Carol Brevard of Brevard Appraisal and Estate Services has been certified through Rhode Island School of Design and ASA to handle your valuation questions.  A thorough researcher, she is a very able generalist in the antiques field and is known for her diligence, professionalism, and compassion in estate liquidation.  In addition to antique items in general, she will appraise paintings, prints, engravings and other art work, pottery, ceramics and related items.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the Old Lyme Historical Society’s scholarship fund.  Each year a scholarship is awarded to an Old Lyme senior who plans to major in history in college.  Students living in Old Lyme, including those who attend schools elsewhere, are eligible to apply.

To make a donation, send a check to OLHS, PO Box 352, Old Lyme, CT.  For information on how to apply for the scholarship, email info@oldlymehistorical.org.  For further information about the “Vintage!” event contact the Old Lyme Historical Society at 860-434-0684.

To find out more about the Old Lyme Historical Society and its interesting activities explore the web site www.oldlymehistoricalsociety.org or stop by its office in the Genealogy Room at The Old Lyme–Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library. Hours are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

To volunteer with the Old Lyme Historical Society, look for opportunities on the Old Lyme-Lyme Volunteer Connection website http://volunteer.truist.com/ollvolunteer/volunteer/


Opening Reception for ‘Color Harmony’ This Evening

ARt by Sunil Howlader will be on display at the Fresh Ayer Gallery in an exhibition opening tonight at 5 p.m.

ARt by Sunil Howlader will be on display at the Fresh Ayer Gallery in an exhibition opening tonight at 5 p.m.

A new exhibition, Color Harmony, featuring work by Sunil Howlader, opens at the Fresh Ayer Gallery at 19 Halls Rd., Old Lyme Shopping Center, this evening from 5 to 7 p.m.  The gallery is located opposite the Hideaway.

All are welcome.

Admission is free.


Gala Reception Friday Night at LAA for Four Exhibitions

Joan Wallace's 'Still Life with White Vase' in oil, 12" x 16", is one of the signature paintings at the LAA.

Joan Wallace’s ‘Still Life with White Vase’ in oil, 12″ x 16″, is one of the signature paintings at the LAA’ s ‘Holding Still’ exhibition, currently on display.

A gala reception will be held tomorrow evening from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Lyme Art Association for four new exhibitions Each exhibition, Nocturne: Images of the Night; Holding Still: An Exhibition of Still Life Work; Pulled and Pressed: Fine Contemporary Prints, and A Contemporary Look: Evolving the Representational Tradition, has a different theme and will be on view in the Lyme Art Association’s historic galleries through April 12.  

Nocturne features paintings created from dusk ‘till dawn. Holding Still showcases still life paintings by member artists.Pulled and Pressed promises an exciting collection of hand-pulled works showcasing a variety of printmaking techniques by member and invited artists, with the Stonington Printmakers Society as invited special guests. A Contemporary Look is an invitational exhibition of abstracted, yet still representational, work by regional artists.

Nocturne, A Contemporary Look, and Holding Still were juried by Amy Kurtz Lansing, Curator of the Florence Griswold Museum.  Jane and Derek Allison of Allison Gallery, members of the International Fine Print Dealers Association, served as jurors for Pulled and Pressed.

The Lyme Art Association was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community.  The Association is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within a national historic district.

Admission is free with contributions appreciated.  Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call (860) 434-7802.