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Waiting out coronavirus, Pronto and Shelton harmonizing NEK music community

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — For Tod Pronto and Cynthia Shelton, nothing can stop the music.

Hunkered down in reaction to the global pandemic, the two have teamed up to form a “Socially Distant Chorus,” inviting the community to harmonize and play along with Pronto on his version of “What a Wonderful World.”

So here are the rules:

You listen to the .mp3 version of Pronto’s song through your headphones and use your cell phone to record yourself singing along.

Shelton will put it all together and everyone will sing along as a chorus in the edited version.

If you want to participate, write to Shelton at: and she will send you a copy of the .mp3 as well as provide additional instructions.

“We were looking for a general theme of hopefulness and beauty, as well as a song that is well known enough that everyone could sing along,” Pronto said. “What a Wonderful World has been a staple of my live performances for years. As a songwriter, it’s just one of those rare perfect songs that you wish you were smart enough to write yourself.”

Pronto released a studio version of What a Wonderful World back in 2016 and says it’s one of his favorite songs.

“When Cynthia approached me about doing a virtual sing-along I just couldn’t resist.”

Before COVID-19 interrupted the world as we know it, the two had been talking about several different projects they wanted to do to bring the community together.

Suddenly, anything that could unite the community became even more important than it already was.

“The main concept is just to bring people together and focus on the positive,” Pronto said. “We see every day how heart aching this situation is, but it’s also important to remember how beautiful the gift life is.”

NCUHS student-curated exhibit to open at the Red Wall in Newport, March 18th

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Three seniors in the art program at North Country Union High School are curating a new exhibit of Diana Mara Henry’s photographs in color at the Red Wall Meeting Place and Gallery on Main Street, in Newport.

The opening of the exhibit titled “As Yet Unseen,” will take place on March 18, from 4-7 p.m.

The public is invited to a free festive reception that day.

Raiden S. Brown, Tarah Michelle Vasquez, and Lindsay Wiggett, students of April Caspari and Natalie Guillette in the NCUHS Visual Art Program, are gaining experience in their chosen paths for careers in the arts, including art history and criticism.

Raiden, a Presidential Scholar, and accomplished photographer is headed to art school in Edinburgh this fall.

Lindsay, an illustrator, and a graphic artist will be going to SUNY Plattsburgh.

Tarah Michelle Vasquez, is a fine artist who works in charcoal.

All three students contributed to the multi-faceted tasks of choosing and preparing the work for display.

“The Visual Arts Program at NCUHS serves hundreds of students each year within our Visual Arts Enrichment Program,” said Natalie Guillette, co-teacher in the Arts and Communications Academy at the high school in Newport. “Students who become involved may travel to places like Montreal, North Adams, Massachusetts, New York City, Europe, and several other local destinations.

Guillette says she feels that enculturing a global perspective within students helps foster a deeper understanding of the world, a richer educational experience while with us during high school, and a desire to continue their travels as they enter adulthood.

Diana Mara Henry’s images “As Yet Unseen” were first developed as a project during her residency at Vermont Artist’s Week at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson.

Unusual for her work, which is better known for its black and white photojournalism of the women’s movement, politics and the social scene in NYC, the images chosen by the students are all from color slide originals.

They offer intriguing glimpses of people and landscapes, from a boy in the dunes of Cape Cod to a couple going to be wed in Haiti, Carnaval at the Waldorf Astoria, a Parisian grande dame at home, and lush nature scenes.

A portion of the sale of the fine art prints produced by special arrangement with Don Whipple will contribute to the arts program, with pricing on the night of the reception or by advance sale.

The exhibit will be on view through May.

The gallery is open from 3 on weekdays and on Sundays from 10-4.

The artist’s website is

Lake Memphremagog “Ice Out” contest underway

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — With ice as thick as 30 inches some winters, Vermonters never tire watching for any indicative sign of the changing season.

To celebrate this time-honored tradition, Newport Parks & Recreation runs the annual “ICE OUT” contest for residents and visitors on Lake Memphremagog.

Each year a weighted Ice Out “mascot” is placed in the bay at Gardner Memorial Park attached to a time clock.

The facade can be seen from the Causeway bridge and stands steadfast through snowstorms until the ice beneath finally gives way to the early warmth of spring.

When the mascot drops, the clock stops and records the official moment that the ice is out in Newport.

“People keep pretty close tabs on the facade as they pass the Causeway,” said Jessica Booth, Director of Parks & Recreation for the City of Newport.

Parks Foreman Mac McKenny comes up with a ‘theme’ for the contest each year.

This year it’s a math pun. A play on the phrase ‘ice cube,’ by showing an ice chest with an exponent of three, or ice CUBED.

Booth and McKenny say they’re always inundated with calls and emails as soon as the mascot goes under.

“Checking the clock throughout the day is part of the fun while we work around the park,” says McKenny who is in charge of making the official call for ice out time. “But if the ice goes out on the weekend or in the evening when we’re not around, there’s plenty of people ready to report in.”

When the ice finally does go out on Lake Memphremagog, the news is always welcome to one lucky contestant who entered the closest prediction in the annual contest.

The nearest prediction, without going past, to the actual date and time wins 50 percent of the contest pool.

Last year the winning amount was over $1,500.

The other half of Ice Out proceeds will benefit the Gardner Memorial Park Playground & Splashpad Project.

Memphremagog Ice Out tickets can be purchased at Azur’s Liquor Store, Hoagies Pizza & Pasta, Jimmy Kwik, Westside Market & Deli, The Pick & Shovel or at the Parks & Recreation office on Main Street.

Predictions can be submitted online too at

The deadline to submit is Wednesday, April 1, 2020, or when the ice goes out, whichever comes first.

No tickets/guesses are accepted after the ice is out.

For more information, call Newport Parks & Recreation at 802-334-6345.

Newport’s Winterfest finds a new home

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News/Outdoors

NEWPORT — Over 800 community members came out Saturday to enjoy Newport’s Winter Festival from a new location on the banks of Prouty Beach.

The event, which had been hosted at Gardner Park for decades, included music, horse-drawn wagon rides, hot food, fireworks and thanks to some excavation work at the park this fall, a brand new community sledding hill.

“The Waterfront Recreation Path was a project we began at Prouty Beach in October to connect the bike path with the new trails going in at the Bluffside Farm next summer,” said Jessica Booth, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Newport. “During construction, our Public Works crew removed a lot of material from the park leaving behind some rolling hills and slopes next to our summer camp building. It didn’t take long for us to realize the potential for sledding there in the winter.”

On Saturday, local kids came in droves and tried out their snowboards, tubes, and sleds in every shape and size.

The evening was spent fearlessly traversing the hillside with friends, siblings, and pairs of parents and kids eager for their next turn to ride down.

Thrill-seekers branched off and made new trails in the nooks and crannies of the hilly shoreline, breaking only for sips of hot cocoa and a roasted marshmallow.

The more mellow guests, who were less intrigued by the sledding hill, enjoyed a variety of family activities including a progressive story walk hosted by the Vermont Land Trust and scenic wagon rides with breathtaking views of Lake Memphremagog.

Many snowmobilers rode-in off the V.A.S.T. trail to warm up by the bonfires and enjoy the food and fireworks.

“We are very pleased with the turnout and plan to make Prouty the new, permanent home for Newport’s Winter Festival,” Booth said. “It’s all part of the City’s effort to highlight Lake Memphremagog and create more outdoor recreation opportunities for our residents and visitors.”

Prouty Beach is closed to vehicles during the winter, but Parks & Recreation staff plan to keep a path plowed for access to that area of the park for sledding.

Families can leave vehicles at North Country High School and walk a short distance across the soccer field to go enjoy the hill.

Snowmobilers are also permitted in the park on the marked V.A.S.T. trails.

Peace Project at Newport City Elementary School

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts was invited to celebrate the Newport City Elementary School’s PEACE PROJECT, which is in full swing schoolwide.

The colorful art concept was designed by Lynn Leimer-Flint, of a tree with every student’s hands adorned with peace symbols to represent leaves on the tree.

Using the motto of “Many Hands make light work,” the collaboration manifested the Peace Tree in a record 45 minutes.


Completed project photo: (l to r) Jenna Walsh, Cadence Sanville, Julliette Perkins, Gwen Roberge, MAC members Joyce Flint, Debra Gosselin, Lynn Leimer-Flint (MAC President), Janice Luce (MAC Secretary), Angela Gluck, and Pam Ladds (MAC VP)

Students Gwen Roberge, Julliette Perkins, Cadence Sanville, and Jenna Walsh, building the Peace Tree.

Borderline Players to hold auditions for The Addams Family, March 7

DERBY LINE — Auditions for The Addams Family: The Musical will take place Saturday, March 7, from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. at the First Universalist Parish Hall in Derby Line.

Borderline Players will present this production in the Haskell Opera House on August 7-8-9 and 14-15-16, 2020.

In the kooky world of the Addams Family, to be sad is to be happy, to feel pain is to feel joy.

Nonetheless, this quirky family still has to deal with many of the same challenges faced by any other family, and the spookiest nightmare faced by every family: the kids are growing up.

Gomez and Morticia’s dark, macabre daughter Wednesday is now a young woman who has fallen for a sweet, smart boy from a normal, respectable family.

In one fateful, hilarious night, the Addams family must face the one horrible thing they’ve managed to avoid: change.

The show will be directed by Sarah Comtois, with music direction by Mark Violette, both of whom were last seen in 2019’s production of Mamma Mia!

Roles are available for all voices and ages, including ensemble roles.

View character details at

For more information or to reserve a time, contact

MAC Center for the Arts offering FREE workshops for youth

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts in Newport is presenting a new series called ARTQUEST.

These are five free workshops for youth beginning March 28 through May 9.

Registration begins March 1 and is required as space is limited. Applications are available at the MAC Center for the Arts on Main Street.

March 28 – 10 -11:30 am – Tie Dye T-Shirt with Sharpies Workshop with Nancy Nash:

Create a totally unique t-shirt, using sharpie markers. Yes, you can actually color a cool design on a T-shirt and turn it into your own unique tie-dye shirt. Make it for yourself or as a great gift! Don’t have an idea of what to design? No worries… when you arrive, there will be several examples of possible designs to get you started. You’ll leave with a unique t-shirt, and the skills to make more! Bring your own favorite tee shirt or tank top if you wish….. just make sure it’s white and cotton! No tee-shirt, no worries MAC will supply it upon request. Ages: 9-14; Class Size: 8. March 20 deadline for registration.

April 18 – 10 am-12 pm – Soap in a Sweater Craft Workshop with Pam Ladds:

Learn how to make a “sweater” for a bar of soap! Great gift. Felted soap is a bar of soap wrapped in wool. The soap lasts longer, is less slippery, and the exfoliating wool can replace a washcloth in the shower or tub. Pretty and Fun! Ages: 5-17 (Children under 10 should be joined by a parent/guardian. Class Size: Limit 8; Registration by April 9.

April 25 – 9:30 am – 12:00 pm – Theatre Workshop with Lynn Leimer and Judy Castonguay:

MAC’s ACT 1 (Academy for Children in Theatre) presents Broadway in a Nanosecond – Annie Workshop. Participants will learn a brief history of the Broadway musical and then learn songs, dance, and acting from the Musical “ANNIE” with a presentation for friends and family at 11:30. Ages: 5-10; Class Size: Limit 8; Registration by April 18.

MAY 2 – 10 am-12 pm – Kids Having Fun Writing Poems with Jerry Johnson:

Making use of proven methods, poet and writer Jerry Johnson will inspire and teach children to write their own poems. Pads and pens provided. Ages: 7-10;Class Size: Limit 8; Registration by April 25.

May 9 – 10-11:30 am – Drum Clinic with Terry Difazio:

Instructions on drum kit types, cymbals, sticks, hardware etc. followed by a discussion/Q&A segment; a drum demonstration using various beats and riffs. Rehearsal sticks provided. Ages: 9-17; Class size: Limit 8
Location: NEK TV – 374 West Main Street Newport VT 05855 NEK TV phone for day of the clinic only- (802) 334-0264; Registration by May 2.

A waiting list is available if a class is fully booked.

For more information or 802 334-1966

MAC Center accepting applications for special exhibit open to all artists

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Ecosystems Through an Artist’s Eye, the upcoming and unique exhibit organized in collaboration with the MAC Center for the Arts, Memphremagog Watershed Association, and the Orleans County Natural Resources Conservation District, opens at the MAC Center on Friday, April 3.

The show highlights farm visits, but for those who could not attend the paint-outs, it will also focus on wetlands, soil health, forest, flood plain and pollinators as the five focal points of the exhibit.

This special partnership exhibition is open to all artists and all work will be juried.

The deadline for artwork submitting applications is March 2, 2020.

Application forms are at the MAC Center for the Arts, and all work should be dropped off by Wednesday, March 18 through Saturday, March 21, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Ecosystems Through an Artist’s Eye will run until May 16, 2020.

For more information, please visit, or call 334-1966.

Local fisherman wins $5,000 ice shack from Newport Recreation Committee

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News/Outdoors

NEWPORT — The 2nd annual NEVBA Pike Tournament on South Bay turned out to be a very lucky day for one unsuspecting fisherman.

Jonathan Cote didn’t bring in the biggest fish that day, but he did purchase two raffle tickets from the Newport Recreation Committee to support the Gardner Park Playground and Splashpad project.

The tickets led to exciting news a few weeks later.

“We originally planned to raffle an ATV, but decided to go in a different direction after another local organization announced they’d be selling tickets for the community to win a 4-wheeler,” said Jenn Smith, chair of the Newport Recreation Committee. “Someone suggested an ice shack and it seemed like a good fit since we like to encourage outdoor recreation on the Lake.”

The committee, made mostly of non-fisherman, took their cue from member Vaughn Cloney.

“Ice fishing is big in this area and I knew there would be a lot of people interested in getting their hands on one of these shanties,” Cloney said.

The committee specced out a 6×10’ model with extra features like a fold-down table and sliding windows to entice ticket buyers.

“We picked a higher-end shack that people might not spend their own money on, but would give a few bucks for a chance to win, especially for a good cause,” Cloney explained.

Tickets were priced at $25.00 each or two for $40.00.

Once the unit had been delivered, it took less than a month to sell all 300 tickets and raise $2,500 for the Gardner Park Playground & Splashpad project.

The drawing, which was originally scheduled for Newport’s Winter Festival on February 29, was moved up to February 7 and the winner announced live on the radio.

The winning ticket belonged to Jonathan Cote who took home his $5,000 ice shack the following Monday.

The Newport Recreation Committee plans to host another SnoPro Ice Shack raffle next winter as an annual fundraiser for committee projects.

Community members interested in Recreation Committee happenings can visit or call the Parks & Recreation office at (802)334-6345.

4 women in their 70s to swim at Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News/Outdoors

NEWPORT — Four septuagenarian women will be among the 90 winter swimmers participating in this year’s Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival on February 29 and March 1.

They will be swimming in a 25-meter, two-lane pool cut in the ice near the EastSide Restaurant in Newport.

Water temperatures typically run about 30.5 F and air temperatures during the swims in previous years have ranged from -10 F to 30 F.

Ginny Peck, age 76, of North Woodstock, NH, will be swimming in her fourth festival.

Local, Pam Ladds, of Newport, just turned 70 and will be swimming in her third festival.

Sharon Purdy, of Toronto, ON, also 70, swam last year for the first time.

New this year, will be Anne Coen, 77, of Canton, Ohio.

She is a member of a six-person team, “The Buckeye Bluetits,” who will be traveling to the Festival from Ohio for the very first time.

The Winter Swim Festival is now in its sixth year.

Each year it has grown, with this year participants coming from 18 states, 2 Canadian provinces, and Ireland.

Online registration is still open but will close on February 15, 2020.

For more information: CLICK HERE.

Photo by Bradleigh Stockwell.

MAC Center for the Arts celebrates ADA upgrades to facility

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Recently, the MAC Center for the Arts underwent a major upgrade to become ADA compliant.

The facility added a handicap bathroom and changed the blueprint of the floor plan to accommodate wheelchair accessibility.

While the process was costly, they say the results are priceless.

The renovation began January 5 with a concerted effort on the part of the artists to deconstruct the venue of all artwork to allow the construction and overhaul to begin.

The two-week endeavor and redeveloped space greeted customers with a Grand Re-Opening on January 25.

During the entire month of February, a “RAFFLE” is being held to help continue the funding for more ADA upgrades.

Come see the new MAC or take part in the raffle by stopping in during winter hours, Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For more information call 802-334-1966.

Full Schedule: Island Pond Winter Carnival Feb. 7 – 9

in Arts and Entertainment/Brighton/Island Pond

ISLAND POND — Organizers say the Island Pond Winter Carnival is bigger and better than ever this year and will kick off Friday, February 7, through Sunday, February 9.

Brighton Recreation will be featuring a winter obstacle course all weekend in Lakeside Park behind the Brighton Town Hall.

Visitors will see snow sculptures being erected around the downtown all weekend in preparation for the judging on Sunday afternoon.

Cucina Di Gerardo will be featuring a “Warm-Up & Fill Up” pasta special all weekend.

The weekend starts at 4:00 p.m. on Friday with a surf & turf dinner special at Hobo’s Café.

Brighton Recreation will be holding a Family Dodge Ball Competition in the Town Hall Gymnasium starting at 5:30 p.m.

Then they will be moving over to the American Legion at 7:00 p.m. for one of the most popular events, the Cornhole Tournament.

Entry is only $5 per person.

Saturday starts at 8:00 a.m. with the annual Winter Carnival Breakfast Buffet at the American Legion.

Only $10 gets you a full breakfast guaranteed to leave you feeling satisfied.

From there, head on over to the Island Pond Public Library from 10:00 a.m. to noon for free donuts and maple cider along with a book and DVD giveaway.

Northwoods Stewardship Center will be holding a Winter Wildlife Tracking event from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., registration is only $15.

Jesse’s Little Kitchen is offering $2 off large pizzas all day.

The Chili Cookoff will be held at the Island Pond Welcome Center from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

It’s free to enter the competition. Just bring your crockpot full of chili to the Welcome Center by 10:30 a.m.

Hundreds of dollars in prizes will be awarded to the top three scoring chilis.

If you would like to serve as an official “judge” it is only $5 to get your spoon and clipboard and then you can sample and rate all the entries.

If you especially liked one you can enjoy a full bowl at no charge.

Vulgar Display of Poutine will be hosting a warming station in front of their restaurant starting at noon featuring hot chocolate and their own special mulled wine.

The Village Farm will be providing horse-drawn sleigh rides from noon – 3:00 p.m.

If weather conditions permit they will take place on the lake, otherwise they will be at the Village Farm.

The Blessing of the Snowmobiles will take place at the Lakeside Park Pavilion at 1:00 p.m.

The Hearth & Home Country Store will hold a Winter Carnival Wine Tasting from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Tickets are only $8 and are available at

Northwoods Stewardship Center will be featuring Owls Talking to You at 3:00 p.m., admission is free.

Hobo’s Café will be grilling up their Cabin Fever BBQ starting at 4:00 p.m.

The Cardboard Sled Race will take place under the lights on Applebee Hill starting at 5:00 p.m.

The Brighton Snowmobile Club will light up the night starting at 7:30 p.m. with the Snowmobile Parade of Lights.

Decorate your sled and join them at the Lakeside Park Pavilion.

Saturday ends with the first-ever Island Pond Idol karaoke event at the American Legion.

Karaoke with NEKaraoke starts at 7:00 p.m. and the contest to pick the winner of our Golden Microphone Award starts at 10:00 p.m.

Sunday morning starts at 9:00 a.m. with a Circuit Workout class at the Brighton Town Hall Gymnasium.

All skill and fitness levels are welcome and encouraged to join.

After your workout, head on over to Vulgar Display of Poutine as they will be launching their first Sunday Brunch from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Simon the Tanner will be featuring maple demos and Sugar on Snow from 10:00 a.m. to noon.

The weekend ends with a relaxing and fun Paint ‘n Sip at the Essex House featuring Natalie Ann.

Admission of $50 includes all supplies, instruction, two drinks, and a light snack.

Space is limited and guaranteed to be sold out so get your tickets early at

MAC Center for the Arts Grand Re-Opening, January 25

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — After weeks of renovations, the MAC Center for the Arts is ready to unveil their new and improved Gallery Space on Saturday, January 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Come explore, browse, and rediscover the arts in this delightful redesign.

Thanks in part to grants and fundraising, a new ADA compliant bathroom has been added and redesign of the floor space to accommodate wheelchair accessibility has been accomplished.

To support the ADA continuing efforts, MAC will hold a “Leap Year” raffle beginning January 25 through February 29.

The winning tickets will be pulled on February 29, leap day.

MAC artists have donated pieces that are a celebration of the collaborative.

Featured in the raffle are a painting by Victoria Mathiesen, valued at $300, painting by Pixies Durand, valued at $100, Sterling Silver with Garnet earrings by Ellie Roberts, valued at $78, pottery bowl by Diana Poulin, valued at $60, pottery bowl and plate by Nancy Nash, valued at $56, pottery “face” vase by Arlene Goldberg, valued at $50, photograph on canvas by Nancy Nash, valued at $45, Polymer Pendant Necklace by Isobel Marks, valued at $25, and a Book by author, Susan Sanders, valued at $10.

All money raised will go to the ADA improvements at the MAC Center for the Arts.

For more information, visit or call 802-334-1966.

Winter hours are Wednesday through Saturday, from 10-5, and closed Sunday-Tuesday.

Michael Arnowitt and the ImproVisions Jazz Quintet to perform in Newport

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Pianist Michael Arnowitt will return to Vermont with his ImproVisions Jazz Quintet, featuring the outstanding New York City musicians Dave Smith on trumpet and Rick Rosato on bass, joined by Vermont favorites Dan Silverman on trombone and Caleb Bronz on drums.

The concert will take place Saturday, January 18, at 7 p.m. at the United Church of Newport.

Michael Arnowitt will perform a colorful and diverse program of jazz past and present.

Music on the concert includes his creative version of the jazz standard There Will Never Be Another You, and his interesting blending of Jobim’s Brazilian jazz song How Insensitive, with Chopin’s famous Prelude in E minor which inspired Jobim’s song.

Arnowitt’s wide-ranging musical interests can be seen in other offerings on the program, from selections from his Jazz Suite from West Side Story based on the Leonard Bernstein musical, to the music of Stravinsky’s ballets Petrushka and The Rite of Spring, Joni Mitchell’s 1970’s Edith and the Kingpin and jazz-influenced by Bulgarian and Syrian music.

For the music of today, the quintet will perform a song from a recent Dave Holland recording and Michael Arnowitt’s original jazz compositions Pirouette, Migratory Mood, and Bulgarian Hoedown from his 2018 CD “Sweet Spontaneous” which he recorded with Dave Smith, Rick Rosato, and a dozen other stellar New York City musicians.

A special feature of the concert will be spoken word artist Therisa Rogers who will join the quintet to perform poems of Langston Hughes for a classic combination of poetry and jazz.

Michael Arnowitt’s upcoming activities include an 8 concert tour of China in October 2020 with the guitarist Steve Blair where the duo will perform in Beijing and other Chinese cities.

The Washington Post said of a concert Michael Arnowitt performed at the National Gallery of Art, “he played with an exquisite sense of touch, color and musical imagination.”

The concert is presented under the Now Playing Newport banner.

Tickets are $15, general admission.

For more information, email or call 624-6454.

Borderline Players holding auditions for 2020 season in Derby Line, Jan. 3-4

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — Borderline Players will hold auditions for its spring and fall shows on Friday, January 3 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, January 4 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the First Universalist Parish Hall in Derby Line.

The first production of the season will be the classic comedy Noises Off! by Michael Frayn and directed by Steve Gonyaw.

Performances are May 8-9-10 and 15-16-17, 2020 at the Haskell Opera House.

This play-within-a-play captures a touring theatre troupe’s production of Nothing On in three stages: dress rehearsal, the opening night and a performance towards the end of a run.

Frayne gives us a window into the inner workings of theater, progressing from flubbed lines and missed cues in the rehearsal to mounting friction between cast members in the final performance.

Noises Off is a backstage farce, complete with slamming doors, falling trousers, and flying sardines.

The cast includes 9 characters, 5 males and 4 females.

The fall production will be the comedy-drama, The Tin Woman by Sean Grennan and directed by Benjamin Tabah.

Performances are slated for October 16-17-18 and 23-24-25, 2020 at the Haskell Opera House.

Reeling in the wake of an unexpected heart transplant, Joy finds herself drawn to contact the donor’s family.

A tempestuous meeting ensues resulting in a roller coaster of tears, laughter, and healing. An intimate and poignant play that explores the power of human connection.

The cast features 6 roles, 4 females and 2 males, including two for actors 60-plus.

For further character details, visit

Borderline Players’ summer musical will be announced soon, with auditions at a later date.

For more information or to reserve an audition time, contact

VSO Brass Quintet & Counterpoint Chorus reunite for festive collaboration in Newport

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Vermont Symphony Orchestra (VSO) Brass Quintet and Counterpoint Chorus, join forces again to celebrate the snowy season with performances across the state featuring popular holiday melodies, carol singalongs, and all-around festive fun.

The group will be at the United Church of Newport tomorrow, December 20.

The show will start at 7:30 p.m.

The ensemble will be led by guest conductor Kevin Quigley, a member of Counterpoint himself, and director of the Thetford Chamber Singers.

Quigley’s passion for experimental media and his enthusiasm for collaboration among the arts will make for a dynamic and exciting performance together with the VSO’s Brass Quintet.

Selections range from a brass arrangement of a Bach chorale to popular beloved tunes including “Sleigh Ride,” “Let It Snow,” and “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

Attendees can also look forward to a new student composition, as well as selected favorites by the legendary conductor, arranger, director and Counterpoint founder, Robert DeCormier.

FACES, MAC Center for the Arts final exhibit for 2019 opens Dec. 13

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts is getting ready for their final exhibit for 2019, titled “FACES.”

The opening reception is Friday, December 13, from 5-7 p.m. in the Downstairs Connection.

This is a free event and open to the public.

As Kurt Vonnegut once said, “We are what we pretend to be. So, we must be careful what we pretend to be.”

Faces can be represented in various ways.Faces are everywhere.

Whichever way we see and are seen, recognized or not, the profile or headshot evokes emotions well beyond what emojis could possibly capture.

This subject is open to multiple interpretations and they will all be on display by a plethora of MAC artists as well as art on loan in mixed media, clay, bronze, oil, 2D, 3D, fiber and jewelry.

All are on display until January 4, 2020.

This exhibit is curated by Victoria Mathiesen, Andrea Strobach and Arlene Goldberg.

Come enjoy the juxtaposition of emotions captured, aesthetics created, and ethereal atmospheres FACES can conjure in MAC’s 2019 FINALE exhibit, located at 158 Main Street, in Newport.

For more information call 802-334-1966, or visit

MAC Center for the Arts presents Elinor Osborn this Friday

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts will be showing a new exhibit in the Downstairs Connection entitled “Owls Talking to You,” by renowned award-winning nature photographer, Elinor Osborn.

The opening is Friday, November 8, 5-7 p.m.

Osborn’s stunning work will also include a 30-minute talk, Owl Vocalizations, and a Q&A.

This is free event and open to the public.

In her own words, “Photography enables me to see details of nature which remain hidden from casual observation. There are so many exciting aspects of plants, animals, weather phenomena etc. to find and learn about, that I enjoy being outdoors more than anything else, especially here in Vermont….My photography includes a variety of outdoor subjects, including natural history, scenics and outdoor sports—cross country skiing and sled dogs.”

Using a digital camera and computer, she enjoys creating both traditional photo prints and creative “Art Image” prints.

All are giclée prints that she brings to life on glossy, fine art or metallic papers.

She was the 2009 winner in Nature’s Best Photography Backyards Contest sponsored by Nature’s Best, the most prestigious nature photography magazine in the U.S. Magazines, such as Vermont Life, Click, Cross Country Skier, Stowe Guide, Northern Woodlands, Vermont Sports, Vermont magazine, VT Sports and many books have published my photos.

Watersheds United Vermont just used her river photo for a cover for Living in Harmony with Streams.

Project UltraSwan, (a children’s book published by Houghton Mifflin), which she wrote and photographed, tells the story of the trumpeter swan migration project following ultralight aircraft.

Her pictures have been published in a plethora of books including Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of Vermont, Peterson-Hummingbirds of North America, Ortho-All About Attracting Hummingbirds and Butterflies, Weisel-Cross Country Ski Vacations, The Nature Conservancy National and many more.

Come meet this fascinating world-class photographer at the MAC Center for the Arts, 158 Main Street, Newport, November 8th.

The exhibit runs through December 7th.

For more information, or call 802-334-1966.

Let’s Murder Marsha at the Haskell Opera House

in Arts and Entertainment

DERBY LINE — Borderline Players is getting ready to present the comedy Let’s Murder Marsha! by Monk Ferris at the Haskell Opera House.

The show will run October 18-20 and 25-26.

In this madcap romp of murderous plots, a happy housewife named Marsha, hopelessly addicted to crime thrillers, overhears her loving husband discussing her upcoming birthday surprise with an interior decorator…or are they planning foul play?

With the help of her maid and neighbor, Marsha schemes to turn the tables.

The play is directed by Todd Cubit and stars Mary S. Hoadley as Marsha Gilmore, Roderick J. Owens as Tobias Gilmore, Kathryn Maurice as the maid Bianca, Ross Murray as neighbour Virgil Baxter, Jessi Sackett as designer Persis Devore, Jaime Comtois as Lynette Thoren, Marsha’s mother, and Raiden Brown as Ben Quade, Bianca’s boyfriend.

Showtimes are 7:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays with Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm.

Prices are $15 for adults (18-64), $12 seniors (65+) and $12 students.

Tickets are available at the Colby-Curtis Museum in Stanstead and at the door, or reserve by contacting

Tickets also available online (U.S. funds) at

MAC Center to present Victoria Mathiesen – A Retrospective

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts is getting ready to host an opening reception celebrating the extraordinary work of renowned artist, Victoria Mathiesen.

The event will take place October 4, from 5:00 -7:00 p.m. in the Downstairs Connection.

“Notably, a retrospective looks back, and at a certain age looking back seems to be more a part of life than looking forward though that is not exactly true if you are a painter,” Mathiesen said.

Mathiesen works in both oil and watercolor, switching between both as need dictates.

Architecture, particularly that of her first home in the UK, has always provided a rich source of beautiful structures and an insight into the artist’s past.

“The idea that I can recreate on paper aspects of a thousand-year-old cathedral or a five-hundred-year-old cob cottage is simply astounding to me, and something I treasure deeply,” Mathiesen said.

This is her first exhibition at the MAC Center for the Arts since joining after moving permanently to Vermont many years ago.

“Someone remarked somewhere that all you had to do was hang a camera out the window and you had a beautiful picture,” Mathiesen sais. “I can’t remember who said it, but it is true, in all seasons but one. Fortunately, mud season is relatively short. It is also untrue of myself since for me photography is a means to an end, and not an end in itself, something I am constantly reminded of when I see the beautiful work of photographers. Painting, however, is the end in itself. Living here in this lovely environment provides a different way of seeing the world and one which I attempt to convey in what I do.”

This is event is free and open to the public. The Exhibit runs thru November 2, 2019.

For more information, visit, or call 802-334-1966.

Border humorist Ross Murray releases new collection “A Jerk in Progress”

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

STANSTEAD, QC – Eastern Townships writer Ross Murray will release his third collection of humor, A Jerk in Progress, at Black Cat Books in Lennoxville on Sunday, September 15 at 3:00 p.m.

Subtitled “Various Nonsense,” the collection features more than 80 columns and essays that originally appeared in The Sherbrooke Record and Life in Quebec magazine as well as in audio form on CBC Radio’s afternoon program “Breakaway.”

The book can be purchased on Amazon through this link.

The book is split into two sections – “From the Makers of Rictusol,” which contains satire and whimsy covering everything from public service announcements to Bethlehem’s Three Kings at the shopping mall; and “Contains Minimum Two Dead Mice,” which offers up episodes from the author’s life.

Ross Murray has written a weekly column for The Sherbrooke Record for over 15 years and prior to that in The Stanstead Journal.

He has also been a regular contributor to CBC Radio, McSweeney’s Internet Tendencies, and other publications.

In addition to his two previous collections, Murray published his debut novel, A Hole in the Ground, in 2016, and in May of this year directed his original play, All Together Now, based on a local legend about how the former Beatles almost met at the Haskell Free Library.

The launch at Black Cat Books is free and open to the public.

Murray will also be at the Townships Expressions table at Townshippers’ Festival in Cowansville on Saturday, September 21 and will be participating in the Townships Authors round table at the Knowlton Literary Festival, Saturday, October 19 at 9:30 a.m.

You can order the book by emailing Murray at: or through his Facebook page.

You can also sample his writing at his website Drinking Tips for Teens at:

MAC Center for the Arts presenting Musings & Music September 22

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — MAC Center for the Arts is getting ready to present their first annual “Musings and Music” series, which they promise will “illuminate the colors of your world audibly.”

The event will take place on September 22, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the United Church of Newport.

Everyone is welcome to come explore and enjoy this unique afternoon of readings by MAC Center authors and poets, as well as music by their gifted MAC performers.

Come hear the colors of Jerry Johnson, Patty Oliver-Smith, Ron Lavalette, Susan Sanders, Isa Oehry, Peggy Sapphire, Dianne Laplante, and Mark Creaven, as they share their insight, humor, and poetry as well as Janice Luce, Ben Luce, Ben Kinsley, Linda Schneck, and Deb Wesoja performing vibrant music that will provide a myriad of kaleidoscopic sounds.

Emcee for the afternoon show is Lynn Leimer.

MAC Center for the Arts is a local non-profit and is fundraising to create an ADA compliant venue for our community at their158 Main Street Gallery.

The organization says that community support of this event is appreciated and donation is tax-deductible.

For more information,visit www.maccenterforthearts, email or call 802-334-1966.

New exhibit “AOENOIC” by sculptor Sterling Trail opening at the MAC

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts will be opening a new exhibit, ANECHOIC, by sculptor Sterling Trail.

The opening reception takes place on August 23, from 5-7 p.m. in the Downstairs Gallery, located at 158 Main Street, in Newport.

A truly unique title, ANECHOIC, defined as free from echo, artist Sterling Trail describes his work as ”focused on aesthetic.”

“Aesthetic is how an object is made, the choices made by the maker to uncover a cohesive form,” Trail said. “I hope that my works capture a balance. I hope that the reader will either find an understanding in my work or an aesthetic enjoyment.”

Trail’s work is distinctive and one of a kind. His art is the reimagining, repurposing, and redesigning of hardscapes.

“I see discarded machines, their vacant husks laying scattered, partially submerged in the annual sediment of the summers now past. These machines are the corpses of function, returned to the earth, devoid of a conduit beyond the artist’s appreciation for their form. I can’t tell you what these forgotten things will be tomorrow or the day after, all I can tell you is what they were made from,” he explains.

“I have made the journey down the old road, through trees and shallow puddles to another world that is divided by an intersection. The world I seek is obscured by a vacancy of necessity; it was left behind by its previous stewards who only dealt in abandonment. Now all that remains of the ritualistic discarding of functionless articles are the remnants of machines and structures, submerged under accretions and deposits made annually by the silent sentinels of the forest.”

This sculpture exhibit is a first for the MAC Center for the Arts and celebrates emerging artists.

Curated by Victoria Mathiesen, Andrea Strobach and Arlene Goldberg, MAC has hosted several exhibits this season by touring artists, members, and invited artists.

These exhibits are free and open to the public.

Stop in to see this extraordinary display of modern art. ANECHOIC runs through September 22.

For more information, please visit or call 802-334-1966.

The MAC Center to present “Yves Klein: The Man Who Invented Blue”

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — As a special presentation on the final weekend of the MAC Center’s stunning exhibition “Blue: an Exploration of the Colour,” local artist, filmmaker, and MAC Center member Bradleigh Stockwell will present a lecture about “Yves Klein: The Man Who Invented Blue.”

This event will take place on Saturday, August 17, at 2:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

When he died in Paris in 1963 at the age of 34, Klein was a successful artist and poised for international fame.

In his brief career, he created many of the performance and artistic techniques which would become standard practices in the decades to come.

Among his most notorious was creating art in front of an invited audience as musicians performed.

More important was his creation of a special type of blue paint, now known as International Klein Blue.

Klein made it his artistic signature, applying it to large canvases, sponges, sculptures, massive murals, and even models who became, in his words, “living paintbrushes.”

The MAC Center exhibition includes a large work created with “IKB.”

Mr. Stockwell’s lecture will include a live demonstration of this hue.

Also on the program: a fascinating filmed interview with Klein’s widow, Rotraut.

This film is being shown by special arrangement with Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark.

Please note that this half-hour film contains brief, artistic, but explicit female nudity.

Gallery hours at the MAC are Mon-Sat 10-5 and Sun 10-6.

For more information visit or call 802-334-1966.

ABBA musical Mamma Mia! opens August 9 at the Haskell

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — The crowd-pleasing musical Mamma Mia! comes to the Haskell Opera House in Stanstead and Derby Line, on August 9-11 and 16-18.

Featuring over 20 songs by the Swedish pop phenomenon ABBA, the musical centers around Sophie, whose dream of a perfect wedding includes her father giving her away.

The problem? Sophie doesn’t know who he is. Her mother, Donna, refuses to talk about the past, so Sophie secretly invites her three possible fathers to the wedding, convinced that she’ll know her father when she sees him. But when all three turn up, it may not be as clear as she thought.

“After years of waiting for Mamma Mia! to be available for community theatres, this production is a dream come true for me,” said director Mary Hoadley. “It has personal meaning for me, but it’s truly a fun and uplifting show. You simply can never hear enough ABBA, and our cast is so abundantly talented that it just makes it that much better.”

The cast features local stage veteran Ruth-Ann Fletcher as Donna and Holly Lillis as Sophie.

Potential dads are played by Mike Desjardins, James Merriam and Todd Cubit, joined by Sarah Comtois and
Tiffany Quinn as Donna’s former bandmates along with a large supporting cast from both sides of the
Canada-US border:

Meghan Corbett, Jessi Sackett, Lourdes Ortiz, Thomas Alexandre, Shannon Quinn, Roderick Owens, Jaime Comtois, Amy Nadeau, Autumn Cubit, Debbie Bishop, Dayna Alexandre, Emmie Wilkie, Dorothy Moffatt and Charli Kellaway.

Choreography is by Hope Guisinger.

The performances will include the live band last seen backing last summer’s hit production of Little Shop
of Horrors and will once again be led by musical director Mark Violette on keyboards, with Gideon Yellin,
guitar; Lloyd White, bass; and Alex Lepanto, drums.

Showtimes are Friday and Saturday, August 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee Sunday, August 11 at 2:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, August 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m., with a second matinee Sunday, August 18 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets (at par) are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors and are available at the MAC Center for the Arts in Newport and the Colby-Curtis Museum in Stanstead or online (U.S. funds only) at

Tickets also available at the door.

Reserve in advance by contacting Borderline Players via email or Facebook.

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