Two weeks after summer break began, Head O’ Meadow School classrooms were abuzz again, this time with excitement as Summer Music And Arts (SMART) Camp celebrated its opening day on July 1. This year is the 22nd summer the SMART Camp has offered continuing education programs for children exiting kindergarten through sixth grade. Monday was the first day of two two-week programs, comprising 21 different subjects, focusing on art, music, science, and other subjects. Instructors wasted no time getting campers immersed in hands-on projects, such as crafting clay pinch pots in the Great Clay Adventure class; synthesizing oobleck, a non-Newtonian fluid, in the Icky Sticky Ooey Gooey Chemistry class; and performing dramatic skits in the Theater and Performance Workshop. Each class runs an hour and a half, and is taught by professional artists and teachers.
Liz Carroll, the legendary Irish fiddler and composer, was having a very good week when I spoke with her. She had just got back from teaching at the O’Flaherty Irish Music Youth Camp in Texas; her hometown hockey team, the Chicago Blackhawks, had won the Stanley Cup; and she was looking forward to her upcoming concert in Newtown with her longtime friends and fellow Chicago residents, tenor banjo player Pauline Conneely and flutist and uilleann piper Sean Gavin. Fairfield County’s Shamrock Traditional Irish Music Society will bring the trio to Newtown Meeting House on Thursday, July 11, at 7:30 pm. This is a rare chance for folks in this to see — and hear — a collaboration between some of the best in Irish traditional music in America.
Artist and resident Jim Chillington propped his easel on the sidewalk outside The Newtown Bee at 5 Church Hill Road and quickly sketched a view. Taking shape on his canvas was the newspaper’s façade, and in quick strokes the branches of a Japanese Maple and the busy knots of flowers along the sidewalk. Leaning in with bold strokes, he dashed out the lines of Church Hill Road, topped by the flagpole. The end result will be a vivid oil painting.
The fifth annual National High School Musical Theater Awards ceremony was held on Monday, July 1, at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway. Newtown High School Class of 2013 graduate Taylor Varga, winner of the Connecticut High School Musical Theater Awards, performed in the national competition in front of a sold-out house and won Best Performance by An Actor. His winning performance of “Santa Fe,” from the musical Newsies, “brought down the house with thunderous applause,” Sabrina Post, Taylor’s vocal coach of more than six years, said the following morning.
Life is ascendant under the sun, endlessly cycling in little eddies cast in the wake of successively larger cycling seasons, planets, stars, and galaxies. Each cycle has its own frequency, its own back and forth, hither and yon, its own signature in the guest book of eternity.
Einstein supposedly said “Everything in life is vibration,” which makes sense when you think about the pulsing physics of subatomic particles. If everything in life is vibration, then everything has a frequency, like the tone produced by a guitar string or piano wire. Summer days are strung tight across the long heated expanse between dawn and dusk, relaxing only slightly through the night.
You can hear it in the cicada’s song, in the caustic caw of the crow, in the whine of tire treads incessant on the interstate. And in the afternoon heat on our back terrace, you can hear it humming in the honeysuckle.
Those who are familiar with the annual Friends of the C.H. Booth Library Book Sale know that the volunteers strive to make each year bigger and better than the previous one. Whether it is a change of venue that offers air-conditioned comfort, precise categorization of fiction and nonfiction books, or the discovery of rare editions that provide exciting opportunities, the Friends freshen up the popular event every summer. This year, donations have provided the Friends with plenty of new material to offer to the public. There is a large sci-fi collection ready for this year's sale, which opens at Reed Intermediate School on July 13. More than 1,000 DVDs will also be offered this year and, thanks to a recent purchase by the Friends, most will no longer be sold "Buyer Beware."
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 showsincluding 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.