On a rare quiet morning in the cramped quarters that serve as the base for Newtown’s busy Volunteer Ambulance Corps, newly elected Chief Mike Collins was much more interested in talking about his 50-plus active and dedicated colleagues than himself. And if he has his wish, in the coming year or so, he will have plenty more new colleagues to talk about. One of the primary goals of the volunteer company’s new leader is to more than double the number of volunteers serving the community and its almost 60 square miles encompassing homes, businesses, forests, farms, and the thousands of commuters who pass through Newtown 365 days a year its roadways and adjacent interstate.
Reed Intermediate School sixth grade chorus and concert choir members crowded onto risers in the practice room at their school on November 26, for the first of multiple sessions of music teacher Michelle Tenenbaum’s fifth and sixth graders to meet with the Connecticut-based indie rock band Alternate Routes. Led by founding band members Tim Warren and Eric Donnelly, the band was at the school for a run-through of their original song, “Nothing More,” which they will perform with the students at the January winter concerts. The song was originally written for Newtown Kindness, the organization founded after 12/14 to encourage kindness "as a guiding principle of humanity." Half of the proceeds from the sales of “Nothing More” on iTunes support Newtown Kindness.
Angels of Hope Inc.’s website says their angel statues “serve as beacons of hope for those suffering from the emotional and physical absence of a child.” In October an Angel of Hope statue was delivered to Newtown. The angel has a face of a The angel has a face of a child and stands 4’ 3” with a wingspan of 5’ 2”. The word Hope is inscribed inside its wing. Lisa Brown says she remembers waking up shortly after 12/14 and thinking she had to get Newtown an angel. The first person the Waterbury resident called was best-selling author Richard Paul Evans, who wrote "The Christmas Box." The book created the basis for the statues. Donations for from around the world helped cover the cost of creating and installing the statue, which will be formally dedicated on the evening of December 14.
Caroline Previdi was the kind of child who was always thinking of others. “She realized at a very young age that she was blessed, and she wanted other children to be able to have gifts underneath their Christmas trees,” said Sandy Previdi, Caroline’s mother. For two years, when she was just 4 and 5 years old, Caroline would visit St Rose Church and donate all of the money from her piggy bank to The St Rose Knights of Columbus Toy Chest. After their daughter was killed on 12/14, Sandy and Jeff Previdi asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to their daughter's favorite charity. The Knights of Columbus recently renamed the program The Caroline Previdi Toy Chest, to honor the young girl's generosity.
Western Connecticut State University sits so quietly in the center of Danbury that we sometimes might be tempted to take it for granted, and in so doing, miss out on its depth as a powerhouse in the fields of theater arts and music. All you need do to discover this, however, is to take in one of their annual musical productions at the Berkshire Hall Theater. Not only are these an entertainment bargain, at $20 a ticket, but they are in fact, spectacularly good — filled with professional caliber singing and dancing, and staged with technical perfection in the areas of costumes, lighting, and sets. A case in point was the recent rendition of the Kander, Ebb and Fosse musical Chicago, which was offered last month. While it was directed, choreographed and designed by members of the faculty, the production showcased the talents of the many dozens of students who are attending Western to major in theatrical performance.
The 28th Annual Holiday Festival on brought both a touch of tradition and something new to guests this year.
For the first time, the festival on Sunday, December 1, benefiting Newtown Youth & Family Services, (NYFS) welcomed guests to board one of the three planned trolley tours of Main Street where Town Historian Dan Cruson pointed out architectural details, spoke of residents who lived and worked there, and told anecdotes about Newtown’s benefactress Mary Hawley, for example, and her link to many historic structures in town. The trolley looped around The Pleasance at the intersection of Route 302 and made its way slowly uphill where the flagpole loomed.
Volunteers and family members answered the call to help unload trees on November 29 after a truckload of holiday trees arrived for the Sandy Hook Fire & Rescue benefit tree sale. The annual activity, chaired again this year by company members Michael Burton and his daughter Kelly, will continue daily until Christmas Eve — or until all the trees are gone. The company sold its first tree before all of this year's inventory was unloaded from the truck. Justin Birtwell, who arrived with his son and nephews, picked out their Christmas tree last Friday afternoon.