Just past noon Wednesday, Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys stepped on stage as a crowd of families, summer day campers, and parents grew. The first concert of the new Summer Jam Concert Series was about to begin. By 12:30 pm Parks and Recreation Director Amy Mangold introduced Ms Trien, a friend of her from “years ago,” and two members of her band, from Boston. Joining Ms Trien onstage Wednesday were Jumping Monkeys guitarist and vocalist Julie Rama-Winslow and stand-up bass player Paul Kochanski. Concerts scheduled through August 7 will take place weekly on Wednesdays at 12:30 pm at Dickinson Park. The free outdoor concerts bring music to families and children (ages 10 and under).
This is the 12th installation of a series of stories that share with readers special events that continue to take place as Newtown heals following the events of 12/14 at Sandy Hook School. It is also a continuation of anecdotes from across the country, of people offering kind gestures on behalf of our town.
Students in Newtown Middle School 8 Purple Cluster learned more than grammar and punctuation, mathematics and geography this past semester. They were among those whose teachers incorporated life lessons into their curriculum this past spring, including the idea of paying kindness forward. Guided by a suggestion from English teacher Danelle Egan, the students began by doing a few acts of kindness for a classroom in Detroit. They then surprised their teacher by taking up their own collection to send for the restoration of schools and classrooms in Moore, Okla. “They have impressed me this year with their sensitivity to others and their desire to give back,” Ms Egan said.
This year Musicals at Richter has departed from its usual format by having their first production be a two-week run of Some Enchanted Evening, a review of the songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein, some forty numbers chosen from their most popular shows including Oklahoma!, Carousel, The King and I, South Pacific, and The Sound of Music, as well as some from shows you’ve probably never seen: State Fair, Allegro, Flower Drum Song, Me and Juliet, and Cinderella. The good thing about this format is that, with no story line to distract attention, it allows audiences to recognize just how amazingly talented this duo was, and to realize how many of Rodgers’ haunting melodies are engraved in our collective memory, while appreciating what a great lyricist Hammerstein really was.
Sandy Hook resident Ryan Tani, 11, is driven. The third generation go-kart driver won’t let hair-raising speeds of 60 miles per hour, road rash inducing crashes or lack of racing budget raise a red flag on his racing career. Ryan has been able to avoid the pitfalls and obstacles with the help of his family and family friends, and is excelling this season at Oakland Valley Speedway in Cuddebackville, N.Y., where he currently sits at second place in the Junior Stock division.
Volunteers recently gathered for a potluck supper to mark the 30th anniversary of FAITH Food Pantry, a nonecumenical pantry based out of St John’s Episcopal Church in Sandy Hook. While it was an event to mark three decades of helping people put food on their tables, cades of helping people put food on their tables, the fact is FAITH — and its Social Services counterpart at Town Hall South — is still a necessity in Newtown. FAITH co-chairs Barbara Krell, Lee Paulsen and Nancy Taylor were joined by new and longtime volunteers for the June 5 gathering.
The six-month anniversary of 12/14 was chosen to unveil a new display at C.H. Booth Library. A gift to the library by artist and former Sandy Hook resident Jean A. Mann, a miniature porcelain carved dragonboat is now enclosed in a glass case near the main checkout desk. The piece, carved in 1979, was created in memory of Ms Mann’s friends Hazel Crawley, Jessica Davidson, and Marni Wood. Her dragonboat, now permanently on display, will honor the 12/14 victims. “I gave my carved porcelain dragonboat to the C.H. Booth Library in memory of and after the terrible murders at the Sandy Hook School," Ms Mann, a former Sandy Hook resident, said on June 14. According to Eastern philosophy, she added, “the purpose of a dragonboat is to gather the spirits — souls — of those who have died and to take them to their next incarnation.”
Among the more than 120,000 books featured at the Annual Friends of the C.H. Booth Library Book Sale each year are some gems that pique the interest of book collectors and bibliophiles. Those books, winnowed from the many donations, make up the Specials Collection. Some of the books are very rare; others are valuable because of signatures or inscriptions. This year's sale is scheduled for July 13-17.