Members of Newtown Youth Voices took a break from rehearsal last week to respond to the photographs pouring into their Facebook page from kids around the world. In preparing for Within Our Reach, the group’s live-streaming event scheduled for Saturday, June 8, Newtown Youth Voices — the same group of young residents who recorded “My Beautiful Town” earlier this year — has invited kids globally to contribute their artwork giving expression to the event’s simple message of community, hope, and love. Within Our Reach will include Peter Yarrow, poet Martin Espada, singer Vaneese Thomas, The Old Town Hall Band (members of Flagpole Radio Cafe), and many special guests. The event will stream live from Newtown Congregational Church from 9 pm until just past midnight, celebrating Newtown’s commitment to fulfilling The Sandy Hook Promise.
The Newtown Interfaith Clergy Association is planning two gatherings in June. The first will be on Sunday, June 2, beginning at 4 pm. This will be the next in the monthly interfaith services that have been held on the first Sunday of each month at various locations since April. The second, on June 14, will mark the six-month anniversary of 12/14.
All are invited to spread intentional kindness by participating in a Ben’s Bells workshop on Wednesday, June 5, from 6-8 pm, at Newtown United Methodist Church. Jeannette Maré, founder of the Ben’s Bells Project and Ben’s mom, will be at this workshop to talk about the project, which was inspired by the kindness extended to her following the sudden death of her two-year old son. The Tuscon, Ariz.-based non-profit promotes and celebrates intentional kindness.
Have you made plans yet for summer camp? The Sandy Hook Arts Center for Kids (SHACK) has a number of options planned. The SHACK, in Suite 104 at 100 Church Hill Road, will offer seven weeks of art, music and theatre-based summer activities with special projects each day. Each week with focus on a special theme with arts and crafts based around that theme. Most weeks will conclude with an open-air outdoor theater production.
“Jewish Art in Response to Newtown…,” a collection of contemporary carvings by Harvey Paris, is on display at Easton Public Library through June 30. The exhibit features 20 carvings inspired by Newtown, Peace in the Middle East, the Holocaust and Jewish tradition. The library will host an artist’s reception and talk, open to the public, on Thursday, May 29, from 6 to 8 pm.
In 1959, Chicago born playwright Lorraine Hansberry broke new ground in New York with "A Raisin in the Sun," the first play by a black woman to be produced on Broadway. Based in part on her family’s personal experience in trying to buy a house in a white neighborhood, the show ran for over two years, received prestigious awards, and has been revived, made into movies, and used as part of the curriculum in many schools. Playwright Bruce Norris was introduced to the film version in his seventh grade classroom, in an all white Texas school district specifically formed to avoid its students being bused to integrated Houston schools. It dawned on him that he and his classmates were essentially the people of Hansberry's work. Long Wharf Theatre is producing Norris's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Clybourne Park" for just a few more days, and would be worth a trip to New Haven.
Newtown Bridle Lands Association (NBLA) is planning an evening at McLaughlin Vineyards in Sandy Hook, with its wine tasting and silent auction fundraiser, planned for 6 to 9 pm Friday, May 31. The proceeds from this event will be used to help NBLA continue its mission of preserving trails and open space for horseback riding and other passive uses. Attendees will be served wines made at McLaughlin Vineyards, as well as many hors d’oeuvres. There will be a diverse assortment of prizes on display for bid in the silent auction — everything from fine art to a golf outing and riding experiences.
Newtown Youth & Family Service is looking for one youth in Newtown to be awarded an Outstanding Youth Award during NYFS’s 2013 Annual Meeting. NYFS annually recognizes a youth who has shown exemplary leadership skills as well as being a good role model for his or her peers.
Celebrating Connecticut trails day locally on June 1, Newtown Forest Association (NFA) members will conduct a two-mile hike near Sandy Hook Center. The guided two-mile spring hike at the Wasserman Preserve will cover a segment of Al’s Trail and NFA property. Newtown’s hike is one of the more than 250 planned throughout the state that day. Join NFA member Aaron Coopersmith at the footbridge on Dayton Street at 12:30 pm.
HEMMA (High school Elementary Musicianship Mentoring Association) has scheduled a Sunday, June 9, event for a student recital, dinner, and performances by local bands in Newtown High School’s cafetorium. The public is invited to attend any or all three parts of the event, which will include student performances, dinner, and live band performances.