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"The Power Of Purple:" A Festival of The Arts, A Relay For Life Event



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A special event showcasing the literary, performing, and visual artistic support of Newtown’s student community, “The Power of Purple: A Festival of the Arts” will be presented Friday, June 5, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at Reed Intermediate School.

Presented one week before Newtown’s 2015 Relay For Life, “The Power of Purple” will offer performances by students of Connecticut Dance, Dance Etc, Gray School of Irish Dance, Monroe Dance Academy, and Newtown Centre of Classical Ballet.

Students of Hawley, Sandy Hook, Reed, Newtown Middle and Newtown High schools will all have works of art on display.

In addition, there will also be performances by Connecticut recording artist Stevie Fresco, lyrical dance by Ridhi Sahani (NHS Class of 2014), a vocal performance by Michelle Zarifis (‘14), and the screening of a short film by NHS sophomore Collin Todd.

The event is open to the public, free of charge. Newtown Relay For Life team members will also be on hand for “The Power of Purple.”

Even Coordinator Reena Sahani said this week that the event has grown incrementally since its introduction in 2010.

“The purpose of this is to get the schools and children involved,” she said. “Kids can express and support a cause as noble as this through their art and creativity. Not everything needs to be supported by finances and money.”

Five years ago, Newtown art teacher Arlene Spoonfeather began what has become a Newtown Relay For Life tradition: having students at the Queen Street school create a Quilt of Hope. That year, Ms Spoonfeather began giving students 12-by-12-inch squares, and having them interpret the Relay’s theme “the way they want to,” said Ms Sahani.

“That first one was displayed at the Relay event that year — the famous one,” she said, “when the tornado hit Newtown in the middle of Relay, when the theme was birthdays.

“It has survived, and added to each year,” she said.

Likewise, the idea of a pre-Relay student art show has been added annually.

“It’s beautiful work, what these kids do, ” Ms Sahani said. “It’s not necessarily created for Relay, but they are willing to share their art to support, which is wonderful.”

Some of the work has been created with Relay For Life in mind, however. NHS English teacher Elizabeth Hanna had her students write poetry for “The Power of Purple.”

“They are so emotional, and touching,” Ms Sahani said of the writings she had already read. “It makes all of us adults realize that there is so much more going on in the minds of our young adults, and they can express this through their arts and creativity.”

Ms Sahani is the daughter of an artist. Her mother was Mohini Trikha, a sculptor and painter who lived and worked in India.

“I think art is the best expression in life,” said Ms Sahani. “It’s been great” to put these student presentations together. “I’ve gotten a lot of support from art teachers I’ve been in touch with, as well as from the Relay committee. This is the way I can help, through the arts, because this is how I think.

“It’s kind of a kick-start, like Paint The Town Purple,” she said, in reference to the annual proliferation of purple ribbons that appear around town in the weeks leading up to Relay.

Reed School is at 3 Trades Lane. Contact Ms Sahani at 973-919-0642 or reenasahani@hotmail.com for additional information.

The 2015 Relay For Life of Newtown, with a Dr Seuss theme, will be Saturday, June 13, from 3 pm to midnight, at Newtown High School.

The nonsporting event is open to all ages, and will celebrate cancer patients and their caregivers, while also honoring those who have been lost to cancer. Relay is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

For additional information about Relay For Life contact Alyssa Amatura at 203-563-1511 or Alyssa.amaturo@cancer.org; or visit relayforlife.org/newtownct.

Local teams hosting full fundraising events for Relay For Life — in other words, where 100 percent of any money collected is donated — are invited to contact The Newtown Bee for free help with publicity. 
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