Editorials


Plucked From The Heart Of Newtown

Published: October 19, 2017 at 12:00 am

Print

In plucking the strings of violins, violas, and cellos, members of the Brentano and Daedalus string quartets were also plucking the heartstrings of the audience that filled the Edmond Town Hall Theatre, Sunday afternoon, October 15, for the final program presented by the Newtown Friends of Music (NFM). After 40 years of bringing world class musical performers to the little stage in Main Street's former town hall, NFOM has passed the baton on to other 501(c)3 music organizations in the area.

The decision to dissolve NFM was one made by the board, not quite two years after the death of longtime supporter, president, and in arguably the driving force behind the group, Ellen Parrella.

What NFM brought to Newtown was a chance to experience the talents of top musical performers from around the world. Through its partnership with the schools, this organization introduced and inspired numerous young musicians, rewarding some of the most promising with scholarships, and overall broadening young people's appreciation of music and composition. Performances were always free to young people accompanied by an adult, and over the four decades, hundreds of families took advantage of that offer.

With the dissolution of this local organization, Newtown loses a bit of history and a rare level of artistic culture. The group has done its best though, to ensure that its patrons continue to find sources for the appreciation of classical music.

Paying it forward, funds still in the treasury of NFM were dispersed to Wilton Candlelight Concerts, the Danbury Concert Association, the Pawling Concert Series, the Sherman Chamber Ensemble, and the Danbury Music Centre, so that these groups dedicated to fine music can pursue their goals, and allow music lovers in this region to continue to find solace in the notes that soar from the instruments of world renowned performers.

It is sad to bid farewell to an organization that has served the public well. Filling the niche will be a challenge, but it must be remembered that NFM was preceded by the Newtown Orchestra Society in the 1930s. Who knows if this is but an opportunity for yet another promising group to take root?

There is wisdom in the board's acknowledging that taking the final bow at the top of its form is preferable to hanging on with a sense of uncertainty, and current board members Bill Timmel, Paul Gehrett, Lea Attanasio, Michel Dolivo, Dorothea Labelle, and especially Ms Parrella's daughter, Kaia Fahrenholz, can be praised for the courage to do so.

Newtown music lovers and those who traveled many miles to Edmond Town Hall to enjoy the exquisite examples of musicianship for four decades can be uplifted by the memories of exhilarating performances - even as their heartstrings tremble.

The curtain is pulled on NFOM, but the high note on which it has ended will linger for years to come.

Change Text Size:

This Week's Poll

Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is presenting or coordinating on six weeks of special events. Which event are you looking forward to the most? (Visit our Features page for a full story with details about all of these events.)

“In The Bag” exhibition, on view to September 28
0% (0 votes)
The Lords of 52nd Street concert, September 14
0% (0 votes)
Newtown Arts Festival weekend, September 15-16
50% (1 vote)
“An Evening of the Arts,” September 15
50% (1 vote)
“The Fox on the Fairway” production by Town Players of Newtown, weekends September 21-October 13
0% (0 votes)
“The Main Street Replica Project,” launching September 25
0% (0 votes)
Someday Cinema Series screenings of “The Blues Brothers,” September 30
0% (0 votes)
Photography display “In Our Rearview Mirror” by Marleen Cafarelli, et al, October 1-30
0% (0 votes)
“Love, Laughter, and Rhubarb” with Tinky Weisblat, October 3
0% (0 votes)
Newtown Day, October 6
0% (0 votes)
The 3rd Annual Newtown-Sandy Hook Restaurant Week, October 8-14
0% (0 votes)
Basket weaving workshop with Tina Puckett, October 13
0% (0 votes)
“Courageous Conversations in A Complex World,” October 17
0% (0 votes)
Live at ETH: David Wax Museum concert, October 19
0% (0 votes)
The 2nd Annual Fall Carnival at Fairfield Hills, October 19-21
0% (0 votes)
Connecticut Author’s Reading Series, October 21
0% (0 votes)
Natalie’s Open Mic, October 21
0% (0 votes)
“The Wordsmiths,” October 24
0% (0 votes)
Pianist Konstanza Chernov, October 28
0% (0 votes)
Someday Cinema Series double feature screenings of “Bride of Frankenstein” and “The Beast with Five Fingers,” October 29
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 2