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VIDEO: Haskell Opera House appoints new director

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead/Video

DERBY LINE — The trustees of the Haskell Free Library and Opera House recently announced the appointment of Hal Newman of Stanstead, Quebec as the new director of the Haskell Opera House.

In keeping with the cross-border nature of the Haskell, Newman was raised in Montreal West and attended university in the United States. After a career as, among other things, a paramedic, he and his family moved to Stanstead six years ago, where he works as a chief marketing officer for a cardiovascular research company and social media specialist for emergency management.

Newman has been involved in the arts throughout his life. Over the past two years, he has been the organizer and chief concert host of the Stanstead House Concerts Network, which has brought dozens of artists to Stanstead and region, including Oh Pep! from Australia and Canadian band The Great Lake Swimmers.

“We’re excited to welcome Hal to the Haskell team,” said Haskell board president Matthew Farfan. “He cares about the community, and he brings with him an awareness of the performing arts culture on both sides of the border. We look forward to Hal putting his vision and acute networking skills in place to make the Haskell Opera House a must-perform venue for artists.”

Founded in 1901, the Haskell Free Library and Opera House supports the cultural needs of the community on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, both English and French, through access to information, reading material, a broad range of library services and programming as well as the visual and performing arts.

As a heritage building and as a cultural centre, the Haskell plays a critical role in enriching the lives of its members and the community.

“It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” coming to Derby Line

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions continues the celebration of its 24th season by presenting the holiday classic, It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, adapted by Joe Landry.

QNEK has developed a strong tradition of appetizing audience’s hearts for this “most wonderful time of the year,” with hilarious and thoughtful stage entertainment.

In this year’s holiday production, QNEK takes on a radio play version of the beautiful and iconic story that has become a Christmas Eve television staple of families for generations.

If you’ve never seen or heard it live, with sound effects, you won’t want to miss this chance.

Based on the famous 1946 film directed by Frank Capra, It’s A Wonderful Life, Joe Landry’s adaptation of this American holiday classic for all ages will transport audiences straight to Bedford Falls, NY, through a live 1940s radio broadcast.

The show is directed by Phil Gosselin.

The story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he discovers what the world would be like without him in it. This international cast features five actors playing all of the roles and doing all of the sound effects live on stage.

The show stars Steve Gonyaw, Marilee Andres, Aidan Mulroy, Tiffany Quinn, and Brian McCrae.

Close to 70 years after it’s screen debut, the story of George Bailey, Mary Hatch, Clarence the Angel, little Zuzu, and all of Bedford Falls still touches the hearts of all ages.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play performs at the First Universalist Parish Hall in Derby Line on December 9 -11, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Refreshments will be served at all performances.

Tickets are available by visiting qnek.com, calling the QNEK Box Office at (802) 334-2216, at The MAC Center for the Arts, by visiting catamountarts.org, or by calling the Catamount Arts Box Office at (888) 757-5559.

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    Photo by Jason Griffith.

Andrea Webster of Glover competes for Miss Vermont this weekend

in Arts and Entertainment/Glover

GLOVER — The Miss Vermont USA Pageant will be held this weekend at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in Stowe, and one of the contestants in this year’s competition is Andrea Webster, of Glover.

The Miss Vermont USA pageant preliminary show will be held on Saturday, November 19, at 8 p.m. The contestants will be competing in the evening gown and swimsuit competitions.

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, contestants will once again take to the stage and ultimately the field will be narrowed down to the finalists.

The final five will each have a final question which will help the judges determine who will be the next Miss Vermont USA.

The new Miss Vermont USA will go on to represent the state in the Miss USA Pageant.

Portrait of a Forest exhibit opens at the MAC Center this Friday

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts will host an Exclusive Opening for its new exhibit, “Portrait of a Forest: Men and Machine,” on Friday, from 5 to 7 p.m.

The opening is in conjunction with the annual Holiday Reception at the MAC.

The exhibit, on loan to MAC from the Vermont Folklife Center, combines contemporary photographs by Weybridge photojournalist, George Bellerose, with historical photographs and commentary by the logging and forest products community, will run through December 31.

“Unlike Vermonters of the past, many of us no longer have a direct connection to the working landscape,” Bellerose said of the origin of his project. “We see logging trucks and the occasional roadside log collection, but rarely do we have contact with loggers or fully understand their importance to the state.”

Coverage ranges from solo loggers with a chainsaw to multi-machine chipping operations, from backyard sawmills to state-of-the-art flooring mills.

“My hope is that this documentation will help everyone better understand the challenges facing the industry today and appreciate its role in preserving a healthy forest,” Bellerose added. “This project is an essential part of the Vermont Folklife Center’s mission to help people become visible to one another,”

Greg Sharrow, co-director of the Center commented, “George Bellerose’s photography opens a powerful window into the lives and work of loggers in Vermont.”

The exhibit and projected book are companion pieces to an earlier Bellerose and Vermont Folklife Center project, Forty-Six Years of Pretty Straight Going: The Life of a Family Dairy Farm.

“Both occupations involve long days and hard work,” Bellerose commented. “Both are often a generational way of life and a tough way to make a living. Both have shaped the landscape and culture of Vermont. Both face economic challenges today, and both often feel that the work they do is not understood or appreciated.”

This exhibit and reception is free and open to the public.

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

Act 1 Theatre Workshop Group Photo - Finale Pose Front (l to r) Alician Socia, Sophia Aiken, Evvi Tower-Pierce, Ben Gonyaw, Josie Pearson, Dayna Alexandre, Annika Socia Back (l to r) Thomas Alexandre, Brandan Alexandre, Grace Castle, Hannah Poginy, Kaeleb Bertiuame, Marianna Barrett, Emily Wilkie, Aaron Nichols

Academy for Children in Theatre debuts in Newport

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — A local theater workshop for young people was recently showcased in Newport. This new and timely venture that has emerged at the MAC Center for the Arts, is called the Academy for Children in Theatre.

Conceptualized and created by Lynn Leimer and Sunny Naughton, a pair that began working together over 20 years ago, the project aims to bring their knowledge to area theater lovers, both young and old alike.

Participants recently completed the ACT 1 Workshop, and ranged in ages from 8-13, hailing from Derby, Newport, Barton, Westmore and even downtown Manhattan.

The ensemble spent eight hours learning the business of Broadway, choreography, staging, vocalization and high-speed musical training.


“Knowledge is power and we intend to fill each student with an arsenal of theatrical savvy, on stage and behind the scenes,” said Leimer.

Organizers say the workshop will not only enhance the cultural tone of the community, but sustain the mission of the Memphremagog Arts Collaborative and their commitment to all facets of the arts.

Leimer is a founding and charter member of MAC and sits on the Board of Directors as Secretary, and is the Chair of the Performance Committee.

Naughton is a MAC member/writer/performer and sits on the Performance Committee.


Before the end of 2016, Leimer and Naughton will announce the spring workshop schedule with upcoming programs.

“They say to be the person you needed when you were a kid,” said Naughton. “I had exposure to a lot of wonderful artists here in the Kingdom so I didn’t need much. However, after working in theater across the country, what I do believe our theater lovers can benefit from is a place to come together, outside of rehearsal for our wonderful community theaters and high school productions, to hone their craft.”

Naughton and Leimer say they want a space where all students who want to put in the time and effort can learn to appreciate not only the stage, but all aspects of putting on a show.

They plan to produce workshops for musicians, wardrobe, hair and make-up, scenic design and more.

The pair believes that in the past fifteen years more students have gone into paying jobs in the arts than the larger community realizes.


For more information about upcoming workshops keep an eye on the MAC Center website or email nekacademy@gmail.com or www.maccenterforthearts.com

WATCH: Newport songwriter releases heartwarming song and video to honor mother’s memory

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — Last fall, when Tod Pronto stepped out on the stage at the Haskell Opera House, he brought with him a very personal song to share with the audience. The song was called “Hide Away (From the Sun).”

With the first strum of his acoustic guitar the packed house went silent. The audience hung onto every word of this touching song he had recently penned for his mother.

“Eskimo kisses and a faded smile is my last memory to hold onto for a while,” he sang.

As a child, Pronto’s mother used to give him “eskimo kisses” before bed almost every night. It was the last thing he gave back to her before she passed.

Pronto lost his mother to a rare form of cancer. Pierrette Marsh was born on April 29, 1953 and passed away on Tuesday, June 30, 2015. “Pret,” as people called her, was a much loved member of the Newport community.

She was a cosmetologist who owned and operated Pret’s Beauty Shop in Newport for years. When she received her teaching degree she was hired by the North Country Career Center, where she helped develop the Cosmetology Program from the ground-up.

“She loved teaching and being with her students and was very proud of her work at the school,” Pronto said. “She was very kind and would help anyone in need, lend an ear and always had a smile.”

Hide Away (From the Sun) continued to be performed by Pronto out on the road, and it quickly became the song most people resonated with and would ask him about. So he decided to release it as a single instead of waiting for his new album to be finished.

“It’s sad to say, but almost everybody has been affected by cancer in some way, and if I was able to tap into that emotion then I’m glad I could in my mother’s honor,” Pronto said. “She was the strongest person I will ever know. She fought for almost ten years. I wanted to honor her and the only thing I really know how to do well is write songs.”

The song itself only took Pronto about 20 minutes to get down, describing the songwriting process as being something that just “poured out” of him.

“I remember I tuned my guitar down to a drop D tuning and threw a capo on the guitar and the song was done,” he said. “I really believe that my mother had a hand in making this song come to life. I never needed to tweak the arrangement or anything. I knew that it needed no more or no less.”

Today Pronto has released the single, as well as a beautiful music video that was filmed at one of Pret’s favorite spots, Seymour Lake.

The single can be purchased through iTunes.

For more details go to www.todpronto.com .

Music video note:

The video was shot by Paul Barnard. Barnard has a long history in filmmaking, and after a number of films across North America he settled in the Northeast Kingdom where he does videos on the side. He is the owner of North Mountain Financial.

[VIDEO] Local foliage, local music

in Arts and Entertainment

NEWPORT — It’s a typical Vermont tradition: The weather cools, the leaves start to change and leaf peepers come out in droves to see the brilliant fall colors.

But up until the invention of unmanned aerial vehicles, or, as they are better known, drones, nobody got to peep these colors from the perspective of a bird, soaring through the forest.

Local videographer Paul Barnard, and musicians Tod Pronto and Nathan Michaud combine forces in this video to bring this unique perspective of fall foliage 2016 over the Northeast Kingdom.

Pronto and Barnard recently worked on shooting a music video for one of Pronto’s songs, which we will be posting more about on Friday, when the single is released.

Until then, enjoy the sights and sounds.

After jamming with James Taylor, Phish, the InoraBrass Quintet comes to Newport

in Arts and Entertainment

NEWPORT — The Now Playing Newport music series continues with a talented group of musicians from the Burlington area coming to town on October 23.

InoraBrass Quintet will play on Sunday, October 23, at 3 p.m. at St. Mark’s Church, located at 44 Second Street, Newport.

InoraBrass first played together in 2012 as part of a music composition mentoring program. They had such good chemistry and so much fun they decided to incorporate and start playing concerts.

Amongst the five players, they have more than a century of experience playing music in venues all over the world.

Two of the members are native Vermonters, and two are Grammy winners.

Members of InoraBrass have played with the Nashville Symphony, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Phish, the Vermont Symphony, Itzhak Perlman, Taylor Swift, Robert Shaw, James Taylor, Gustavo Dudamel, for 5 U.S. presidents and many other dignitaries in the U.S. and abroad.

Members:

Chris Rivers – trumpet
Jason Whitcomb – trumpet
Joy Worland – horn
Lori Salimando-Porter – trombone
Bill Keck – tuba

Free, On-Farm Community Dinner in Newport

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS) is teaming up with Smitty’s Farm in Newport, as part of their On-Farm Community Dinner series.

The evening will feature a free dinner that uses Vermont seasonal produce and brings together community members for a celebration of local agriculture and the season’s harvest.

Taking place on Friday, October 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Smitty’s Farm located at 1292 North Derby Road in Newport, the On-Farm Community Dinner is free and open to the public.

The meal will be prepared on the GMFTS Lunchbox food truck and the menu will feature berries from Smitty’s Farm along with other seasonal produce from surrounding, local farmers.

Community members attending the event will also get a chance to explore the farm through a family-friendly activity that will give them an up-close of a small, Vermont farm.

“We’re bringing together community members and farmers to celebrate the season’s harvest over a delicious meal,” says Becca Mitchell, consumer education coordinator with GMFTS. “The Northeast Kingdom is full of great farmers and amazing, local food and we want to show that off to the community.”

This year marks the fourth year that GMFTS has partnered with local farms for the On-Farm Community Dinner series. The series was created to raise awareness about the abundance of local, healthy food available in the Northeast Kingdom and to cultivate relationships between communities and the area’s farmers.

The events have been held all over the NEK including Joe’s Brook Farm in St. Johnsbury, Peace of Earth Farm in Albany, and Harvest Hill Farm in Hardwick to name a few.

“Everyone wins when communities support their small, local farmers,” says Katherine Sims, executive director of GMFTS. “Residents are eating tasty, healthy foods, farms are taking advantage of new market opportunities, and it’s creating a shared sense of community.”

Plein Air Exhibit at MAC Center for the Arts celebrates beauty of the NEK

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts is getting ready to present its latest exhibition, “Plein Air Northeast Kingdom.”

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The opening reception is Friday, September 16, from 5-7 p.m. at the MAC Center, 158 Main Street, Newport.

The Plein Air Exhibit consists of work by landscape artists who have painted all over the Northeast Kingdom this summer.

The art work is in direct response to the beauty the painters find in nature. They use a variety of media, from oils, through watercolors and pastels.

Plein Air painting was developed in France in the mid-19th Century and is becoming increasingly popular. Presently, there is a nationwide following of both Plein Artists and Collectors.

The juried artwork produced at these paint-outs will be on exhibition at MAC Center for the Arts, in the downstairs Gallery, September 16th, 2016 – October 15, 2016. 

“There is a joy about painting outdoors and this is a chance for people to see the result of works produced by professional artists,” event organizer Donna Walsh says. “At Plein Air Northeast Kingdom we paint tomorrow’s history today, onsite.”

The event is FREE and open to all. Many of the pieces are for sale.

Collectors and art enthusiasts will not want to miss this unique and unprecedented event.

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

September 16, 5-7 Reception, 158 Main Street Newport.
Exhibition run: September 16-October 15

MAC Center for the Arts highlights local authors

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts will be participating in the Newport is for Booklovers Event, on September 24.

Five of the eight authors that belong to MAC will be reading from their original works. Award-winning authors: Lynda Graham-Barber, Tanya Sousa, Patty Oliver-Smith, Jerry Johnson and Cat Holm will share the spotlight as follows:

11:00 a.m. – Cat Holm – Reading from Voice Lessons. Award-winning author Catherine Holm’s writing ranges from literary fiction to cat-themed memoir and fantasy fiction. She is a freelance writer, life coach, and yoga instructor and loves gardening, outdoor recreation, and the thrill of new experiences and new places. She lives in Norton. 

11:15 a.m. – Tanya Sousa – Reading from The Starling God. Sousa writes books, short stories, essays and articles that promote empathy. Her books and essays have received awards, accolades and excellent reviews – including her most recent novel, “The Starling God”, which made the short-list for the national “Green Earth Book Awards.” Tanya was raised and still lives, in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

11:30 a.m. – Patty Oliver-Smith – Reading from Martha’s Mandalas. Martha (Patty) Oliver-Smith was born in Rhode Island into a family of writers, artists, and scholars. She spent most of her childhood moving between her grandmother’s home in Peace Dale, RI and living in New York City. In 1972, she moved to the west coast to begin her teaching career and raise her family. She returned to the east in 2002 to live and work in Vermont. She earned an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2006. After 36 years of teaching college and high school literature and writing courses, Oliver-Smith retired to complete the biographical memoir Martha’s Mandala based on her grandmother’s life as an artist who struggled with mental illness. She lives with her husband, two cats, one dog and six chickens in Albany, where she is working on a second memoir.

2:00 p.m. – Lynda Graham Barber – Reading from her children’s book SAY, BOO. Lynda Graham-Barber lived for over two decades in New York City, where she worked as a free-lance magazine writer, children’s book editor, and writing teacher.  The author of 14 books, 12 for children, Lynda lives in a stone cottage on 160 wooded acres in the Northeast Kingdom with her artist-husband, David, and their rescue dog, Biscuit.  

2:15 p.m. – Jerry Johnson – Showing a DVD of Children’s Book – Noah’s Song. Author of Up the Creek Without a Saddle, Noah’s Song and A Bed of Leaves. In Jerry’s own words: “I was blessed when Jon Gailmor and Pete Sutherland, two legendary Vermont master musicians, took a number of my poems in Up the Creek Without a Saddle and set them into song for a beautiful CD album to accompany the book.

The three additional authors featured at MAC are Internationally renowned photo journalist/author – Diana Henry, Women on the Move and new release – Through the Photographer’s Eyes; and works carried posthumously by John Stevens – Woodshed Wisdom, More Woodshed Wisdom, and Memorable Fish and Fisherman; and Phyllis Joy Hammond aka P.J. Hammond – Traveling with Flowers (from Newfoundland to Alaska); Through the Eyes of Children (traveling with the Artist), and Iceland (a Second Visit…a Necessity).

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, MAC Center for the Arts, 158 Main Street, Newport VT 05855 802-334-1966 www.maccenterforthearts.com

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    Susan Granfors in Farce of Nature.

Farce of Nature, QNEK’s final mainstage show of the season starts September 9

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions is rounding out its season with the comedy “Farce of Nature,” by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten.

The non-stop hilarity of this southern-fried farce highlights a day in the life of the Wilburn family of Mayhew, Arkansas. D. Gene Wilburn is taking desperate measures to save his fishing lodge the Reel ‘Em Inn, while his wife Wanelle is taking equally desperate measures to save their marriage.

Add in a wacky sister, a mobster in protective custody, the guy he ratted out, a lovelorn couple, and a pack of wild animals, and you begin to see the wild and wonderful world of the Wilburns come to life.

The show stars Judy Castonguay, Lisa Foster, Stephen Gonyaw, Phil Gosselin, Susan Granfors, Deborah Mackay, Brian McCrae, Andrea Webster, and John Young.

Jenny Dunne directs with Elisabeth Barnes-Flint as the stage manager, along with scenic designer Bradleigh Stockwell, set engineer Rick Gosselin, and light and sound board operator Benjamin Barrup.

You don’t want to miss this ridiculous southern romp and QNEK’s final Mainstage show of the 24th Season.

Farce of Nature plays at the Haskell Opera House September 9th – 18th, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-334-2216, reserving online at qnek.com, by advance purchase online or by phone at catamountarts.org and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559, and by advanced purchase at the MAC Center for the Arts in downtown Newport.

The Rescignos return to the Haskell on August 13

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line

DERBY LINE — The Rescignos will return to the Haskell stage for a night of uproarious comedy, on Saturday, August 13.

After a fantastic show last year, this twin act is headed back to town with new material and native musician Adam Podd on the piano.

Donning sweater vests and each armed with a razor-sharp wit, Paul and Robbie Rescigno star in this comedy show that hearkens back to an old-school vaudeville act, mixing contemporary material and new music.

The show features musical parody, satire, original comedic music, and the funniest banter around.

Come see The Rescignos appearing at the Haskell Opera House on August 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are available for advance purchase at QNEK.com, by calling the box office at 802.334.2216, by visiting catamountarts.org, or at the MAC Center in Downtown Newport.

While all in good fun, this show should be considered PG-13 for some adult humor.

NEKHO Kingdom Brewfest this Saturday at Kingdom Brewing in Newport

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The biggest beer festival around is coming to Newport this Saturday, July 23, as Dr. Les Lockridge and the Northeast Kingdom Hematology Oncology (NEKHO) gear up for the Second Annual NEKHO Kingdom Brewfest, taking place at Kingdom Brewing in Newport.

The event will feature brew, food, live music and fun as NEKHO celebrate and work to replenish their Patient Caring Fund, which helps to fill in the healthcare gaps faced by their patients.

Last year the event raised $14,000, and this year the goal is to add $30,000 to the fund.

All money stays local to help local cancer patients with their living expenses during treatment. Proceeds go directly to patients who need it the most, whether that is a food card, a gas card, or medication and treatment co-pays.

The cost is $20 for one person, $35 for two people, which includes a full BBQ dinner, live music, beer tasting and a special event glass.

Festivities start at 1 p.m. and continue until 6 p.m.

Additional beer will be available for purchase from the event sponsors at Kingdom Brewing, which is located at 353 Coburn Hill Road, in Newport.

All are welcome, with plenty of fun scheduled for kids as well, so come on down.

QNEK Productions Presents SEUSSICAL starting July 21

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions, the award winning international theatre company in residence at the historic Haskell Opera House, continues their 24th season with the perfect show for the entire family, SEUSSICAL.

QNEK’s production of SEUSSICAL will run July 21 – 31, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tony winning writers, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, have brought to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters in a musical caper for all ages.

The Cat in the Hat serves as our guide through the wonderful world of Seuss. We enter the story of Horton Hears a Who and soon find ourselves meeting any and every kind of character from the Seuss universe including Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie, and Jojo the Who.

SEUSSICAL has an incredible cast featuring actors from both sides of the border.

Lynn Leimer, QNEK’s Founder and Artistic Director, stars as the mischievous Cat in the Hat along with Steve Gonyaw, Charli Kellaway, Josie Pearson, Ruth Ann Fletcher, Jessi Sackett, Suzanne Norwood, Tiffany Quinn, John Young and more.

Jenny Dunne directs with choreography by Phil Gosselin and costume design by Lisa Foster.

The production also has benefit performances for two local nonprofits. Come and enjoy a wonderful show while supporting local businesses.

The first is for the MAC Center on Friday, July 29, and the second is for the First Universalist Parish of Derby Line on Sunday, July 31.

There will also be a talkback with the cast and creative team on Sunday July 24. Any and all ticket holders are welcome to come for this questions and answer session following the show.

Tickets are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-334-2216, reserving by email at qnek.com, by advance purchase online or by phone at catamountarts.org and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559, and by advanced purchase at the MAC Center for the Arts in downtown Newport.

MAC Center for the Arts presents sixth annual Art in Bloom

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The Sixth Annual Art in Bloom will open on July 21 at the MAC Center for the Arts, with a reception beginning at 5 p.m.

A summertime favorite, Art In Bloom boasts over 20 floral arrangements that glean their inspiration from the magnificent artwork currently on display in the MAC Gallery.

Working in concert are the members of the Four Seasons Garden Club and MAC Center for the Arts, exquisitely tailoring the annual fundraiser where nature meets art.

July 21 is a ticketed event to benefit both organizations.

Interpretation and unique creativity provide this festival of insouciant charm and patrons can enjoy these displays through Saturday, July 23.

Come gaze upon the distinctive presentations on both levels of the gallery with the Art in Bloom in the main gallery, and the summer exhibition, Phyllis J Hammond – A Retrospective, in the lower gallery.

The Hammond exhibition will be running through September 10.

For tickets or more information, please call 802-334-1966 or visit them online at www.maccenterforthearts.com or fourseasonsgardenclub.org.

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Upcoming MAC Center exhibition honors Newport artist Phyllis J. Hammond

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts is proud to present Phyllis J. Hammond – A Retrospective. An opening Reception and Vernissage will be held Friday, July 1, from 5-7 p.m. at the MAC Center for the Arts, 158 Main Street, in Newport.

Hammond Retrospective_Version 2 - Letter Size-1

The exhibit continues through September 10, 2016.

Phyllis Joy Hammond, a longtime resident of Newport Center, Vermont, died on February 3, 2016 at the age of 88.

A prolific artist working primarily in watercolors and acrylics, Hammond operated from her tiny PJ Hammond Art Gallery on the Lake Road, which was the former barn of her beloved Morgan horse, Smoky.

Her work was highlighted at the MAC Center for the Arts along with her three books that captured her love of wildflowers, northern landscapes and sharing art with children.

Phyllis was born in July 4, 1927, the daughter of Gordon Crothers Sleeper and Martha Moler Sleeper in Long Island, New York. As a youngster she studied watercolor with Elsa Bley. She attended Wellesley College and later studied with Hyman Bloom and took courses at the New York Botanical Gardens, presaging her life-long love of flowers.

Hammond began traveling to Lake Memphremagog as a child, where her parents owned summer homes and in 1957 she married Milton Dale Hammond. Phyllis and Milton were married for 54 years until Milton’s death in 2012.

Hammond had a long love affair with northern landscapes, she lived several miles from the Canadian border.
Underlying themes of her work were wildflowers, forest foliage, mountains and seeing more spiritually.

In 1998, at the age of 71, her life took a decidedly entrepreneurial turn with the writing and publication of “Traveling with Wildflowers: from Newfoundland to Alaska.” As a result of the book’s publication, Hammond was invited to speak in Denali National Park, Alaska, St John’s Botanical Garden in Newfoundland and at many flower shows.

An article featuring her and her book appeared in Vermont Magazine. Along with book sales, she sold thousands of lithographs, prints, postcards, and bookmarks base on the artwork in Traveling with Wildflowers.

The family of Phyllis Hammond have provided a philanthropic caveat for the exhibit, that all books and prints sold will be a 100% benefit to the MAC Scholarship fund.

For more information about this exhibit, please visit www.maccenterforthearts.com or call 802-334-1966.

Island Pond Friday Night Live concert series set to kick off tomorrow night

in Arts and Entertainment/Island Pond

ISLAND POND — The Island Pond Friday Night Live music series is back again this summer, featuring a variety of local and regional bands every Friday night all summer long.

The concert series starts this Friday, June 17, featuring Evansville Transit Authority performing from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

There will be food and craft vendors on hand with something for everyone.

The season continues on June 24, featuring Mark Shelton, July 1, with The Atlantic Effect and a bonus edition on July 2, with Dark Horse followed by the spectacular Fireworks Extravaganza on the lake.

The season resumes on Friday July 8, featuring the music of the Beatles with Studio Two, July 15, with local favorite Rock On, July 22, with The Hitmen, and July ends with Classic Rewind on July 29.

August heats up with The Party Crashers on August 5, Without Ray on August 12, and The Adams Band on August 19.

The season ends like it started with a party on the lake featuring Evansville Transit Authority.

The entire Island Pond Summer Events schedule can be found at www.VisitIslandPond.com, including a full listing of all Fourth of July weekend activities.

Free Summer Block Party on Thursday at Gardner Park

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The 3rd Annual Summer Block Party in the Kingdom, a free community-wide event, will be held June 16 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Gardner Park in Newport.

Kids 18-years-old and younger will be treated to a free meal from the Lunchbox food truck as Green Mountain Farm-to-School officially kicks off its summer meal program, which will be serving free meals to kids in the NEK the rest of the summer.

There will also be over 15 community partners with booths, live music, and a family fun-run that begins at Gardner Park.

“We’re love kicking off our summer meal program with the Summer Block Party because it’s one of our ways of saying thank you to the community who continues to support Green Mountain Farm-to-School each year,” said Becca Mitchell, consumer education coordinator with GMFTS, “It also gives us an opportunity to showcase the important work we continue to do even when school isn’t in session.”

The family-fun run, which will be a free, one-mile run or walk for all members of the family beginning and ending in Gardner Park at 3 p.m., will be hosted by Kingdom Games, a local group that organizes and promotes outdoor activities in the Northeast Kingdom. All ages are encouraged to bring their sneakers and run or walk.

Games and activities for families will include a petting zoo, free ice cream from Kingdom Creamery, a climbing wall from the Vermont National Guard, and a selection of food for adults that are available for purchase from the Lunchbox food truck.

“We hope to see the whole community come out and enjoy a fun afternoon,” said Katherine Sims, executive director, GMFTS.

The event is free and open to the public thanks to local businesses like Community National Bank.

NACO gearing up for 5th annual Spring Concert

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The Newport Area Community Orchestra is presenting its 5th Annual Spring Concert on Sunday, June 5th at 3:00 p.m. at the United Church in Newport.

This year, the orchestra will be featuring its largest ensemble to date, now totaling 45 members. The orchestra has established itself as an international ensemble, with members from the Northeast Kingdom, Maine, Japan, Taiwan, China, Canada, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

They will be featuring Bob Smith, trumpet, Howie Arzt, clarinet, and Peter Storrings, tenor saxophone, as soloists for the concert.

Also featured will be Molly Kelly as the orchestra’s first assistant conductor who will be conducting “The Prayer of St. Gregory,” for solo trumpet and strings by Alan Hovhaness.

The program will include music by Hovhaness, Prokofiev, Verdi, Von Weber and Bizet.

This concert promises to be one of the orchestras best, so mark the date on your calendars.

Admission will be a donation of $5 at the door.

MAC Center for the Arts to present evening of music and prose

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts is presenting a presentation of authors and musicians called “LUNARt MADNESS,” crafting words and song in celebration of the full moon and spring.

The event will take place Saturday, May 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the MAC Center for the Arts, located at 158 Main Street, in Newport. The event is open to the public, and all are invited to attend.

The exclusive lineup of MAC writers includes Jerry Johnson, Lisa Foster, Mary Brenner, Dianne LaPlante and Mary Liz Riddle.

MAC musicians include Nate Sargent, Janice and Ben Luce, Brian McCrae, John Selmer with Emcees Susan-Lynn Johns and Lynn Leimer.

Original prose, original songs, classic music and audience participation sing-alongs will embellish the enchantment of seasonal equinox.

Seating will be limited, but if you buy your tickets in advance, you can enjoy a 10 percent discount at either Newport Ciderhouse or Dusit Thai.

LUNARt Madness is a benefit for the MAC Center and general admission is $7.00.

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

MAC Center photography exhibit “Far and Wide, Near and Dear” opens May 6

in Arts and Entertainment

NEWPORT — MAC Center for the Arts hails a new photography exhibit opening Friday, May 6, running through Saturday, June 11, 2016.

The exhibit, “Far and Wide, Near and Dear,” by photographer and MAC member, Cindy Smith, display her myriad of luscious images gleaned from her vast travels.

“My wife, Gerry Cahill, and I both retired from Lake Region Union High School in 2010,” Smith said. “I had been teaching there for 26 years. She for 42 years. Rolling many factors together, I decided to begin the second phase of my life.”

Her choice of medium during her teaching days had been sculptural, using wood, clay, and glass. Retirement opened a new realm for her as an artist, which quickly became photography.

“This was an art form that I could take with me anywhere,” Smith said. “The world is my studio. As luck would have it, photography is a perfect marriage of many of my interests. The love of travel, the outdoors, being in wild and pristine places and seeing some of these places before climate change affects them forever. We live on an amazing planet. I cherish her.”

There will be an Opening Reception, Friday, May 6, from 5-7 p.m.

The exhibit can be seen during regular business hours: Tues-Sat 10-5 until June 6, when summer hours begin, which means the MAC will be open on Mondays as well.

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


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    All photos by Tanya Mueller.
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“Rumors” keeps audiences laughing during QNEK’s opening weekend at the Haskell

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions, the award-winning international theatre company in residence at the historic Haskell Opera House, opened its 24th season over the weekend with the uproarious Neil Simon farce, “Rumors.”

The show features a stellar cast from both sides of the border.

Mike Desjardins, Alan Franklin, Kim Gannon, Phil Gosselin, Mary Hoadley, Sue Kuzma, Audrey Langlois, Rhonda Lucas, Ross Murray, and Chris Planetta make up the ensemble cast that kept audiences laughing at every turn.

The show is Directed by Jenny Dunne.

If you missed opening weekend, be sure to catch one of the upcoming shows taking place this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m. Sunday will be the final performance at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-334-2216, reserving by email at qnek.com, by advance purchase online or by phone at catamountarts.org and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559, and by advanced purchase at the MAC Center for the Arts in downtown Newport.

Please note that this play contains adult language.

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    Top Row L - R: Mary Hoadley, Chris Planetta, Phil Gosselin Middle Row L - R: Rhonda Lucas, Mike Desjardins, Audrey Hamilton Bottom Row L - R: Alan Franklin, Sue Kuzma, Kim Gannon, Ross Murray.
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    Clockwise from top L: ​Mary Hoadley, Chris Planetta, Rhonda Lucas, Phil Gosselin.

QNEK kicking off 24th season with Rumors opening April 22 at the Haskell

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions, the award winning international theatre company in residence at the historic Haskell Opera House, is opening its 24th season with the uproarious Neil Simon farce, Rumors, opening April 22.

The show will feature a stellar cast from both sides of the border. Mike Desjardins, Alan Franklin, Kim Gannon, Phil Gosselin, Mary Hoadley, Sue Kuzma, Audrey Langlois, Rhonda Lucas, Ross Murray, and Chris Planetta make up the ensemble cast that will keep you laughing at every turn.

Deputy Mayor of New York City, Charley Brock, and his wife, Myra, are throwing a fabulous fête to celebrate their ten year anniversary, with their best friends in attendance. The problem? Charley’s had a mysterious accident and Myra is missing in action. His lawyer, Ken and wife Chris have to get their story straight before the others arrive and start asking questions. But, it seems time has run out just as the play begins and the evening quickly spins off into farcical hilarity.

The show is Directed by Jenny Dunne.

The production is underwritten by North Country Hospital and Lynda Graham Barber, in Memory of Ray C. Barber. Additional support comes from Community National Bank and Community Circle.

Don’t miss this hilarious start to QNEK Productions 24th season at the historic Haskell Opera House.

Rumors by Neil Simon runs April 22 – May 1.
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-334-2216, reserving by email at qnek.com, by advance purchase online or by phone at catamountarts.org and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559, and by advanced purchase at the MAC Center for the Arts in downtown Newport.

Please note that this play contains adult language.

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    Andy Titus age 5. All photos by Diana Poulin.
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    Brianna and Kailee Herman with mom, Melissa Herman.
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    Bianca Davis.

MAC Center for the Arts works with local school

in Arts and Entertainment/coventry

COVENTRY — The Memphremagog Arts Collaborative recently participated in the creative adventures at Coventry Elementary School called “Dabble Day,” sponsored by Building Bright Futures with the support of area businesses and organizations.

Children up to the second grade and their favorite adult companions were invited to enjoy a day filled with activites. Many youngsters “dabbled” with Diana Poulin and Patty Oliver-Smith from the MAC to make unique, colorful and imaginative fish puppets.

These puppets were made to tie in with the presentation of “Swimmy,” based on the book by Leo Lionni, a story about a little fish who shows his friends, with ingenuity and teamwork, how to overcome danger.
 
NEKPA and Community National Bank presented a puppet show by PuppeTree, an Artist-in-Residency program through the Vermont Arts Council.

PuppeTree is a nontraditional puppet theater company that was created by Ann Legunn in which various community venues, from school to senior centers, become active participants in all aspects of theatre arts.

PuppeTree is unique in that the participants not only build the puppets, but are encouraged to handle those made by Ann Legunn, the way you would handle props, costumes and scenery.

For more information about MAC Center for the Arts, a local non-profit, visit www.maccenterforthearts.com or call 802-334-1966.

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    Photo: 2015 Season Highlights. Top, L-R: Ruth Ann Fletcher, Mike Desjardins, Brian McCrae, Tim Daley. Bottom, L-R: Jenny Dunne, Robbie Rescigno, Mary Hoadley.

QNEK announces 2016 season

in Arts and Entertainment

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions, the award winning International theatre company in residence at the historic Haskell Opera House, is proud to present their 24th season lineup.

QNEK will kick off its season with the raucous Neil Simon comedy Rumors, directed by Jenny Dunne and featuring QNEK Producer Phil Gosselin. Four couples find themselves in a bind when they show up for a dinner party where the hosts are indisposed to say the least.

Up next is a journey into your imagination with Seussical by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, based on the works of Dr. Seuss. Adults and children alike will love this musical for all ages. This unforgettable musical caper will star QNEK’s Founder Lynn Leimer as the Cat in the Hat.

Rounding out the season is an uproarious comedy Farce of Nature, directed by Phil Gosselin. What happens when a mobster in protective custody, the guy he ratted out, a desperate housewife, and a pack of wild animals descend on a fishing lodge in the Ozarks? Hilarity ensues.

Check out QNEK.com or call 802.334.2216 for more information on all of the plays this season, and to take advantage of the special pricing for 2016 Season Passes which will only last until March 11.

QNEK continues to celebrate quality and community in it’s 24th season, so don’t miss it.

Island Pond Winter Carnival this weekend

in Arts and Entertainment/Island Pond

ISLAND POND — The Island Pond Chamber of Commerce is inviting everybody to attend their Winter Carnival this Saturday and Sunday February 13th and 14th.

The event will feature many perennial favorites including hay rides by Narrow Gate Farm, pastries and hot chocolate by Bob the Baker, sugar on snow by the Osborne Family, pond golf-in and the bonfire provided by the Twelve Tribes.

New this year is their first annual Chili Cook Off.

Due to the lack of snow this year a couple events have been canceled including the open house at the Northwoods Stewardship Center, the cardboard sled race and the snow sculpture contest.

They have however added two new events in their place including making natural bird feeders at the Welcome Center and the coloring contest held at and sponsored by The Pond’s Edge Pub & Brewery.

You can view the complete up to date schedule on the events page of their website at www.VisitIslandPond.com

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Upcoming exhibition at the MAC will take viewers on a photographic journey to ANTARCTICA

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/Orleans

NEWPORT — While the Northeast Kingdom has been experiencing an unusually warm winter, replete with green grass and significant absence of snow and ice; there is one spot in Newport that you can glance the glaciers and feel the chill.

The MAC Center for the Arts is proud to announce the exclusive exhibit, opening February 20 in the downstairs gallery: ANTARCTICA – a Photographic Journey, by photographer, Stephen K. Malshuk.

Malshuk was born in Newport, Vermont in 1952. He holds a B.S. in Secondary Education, University of Vermont, 1974 and J.D., University of Puget Sound, 1985.

Steve spent his formative years in Orleans before going to Burlington, Vermont to attend college. To keep him from being too bored growing up; he spent lots of time at the Jones Memorial Library. While there, he found his favorite magazines contained the most photographs. What Orleans lacked for excitement, the photos in those publications compensated for.

He tends to favor photographing landscape since a landscape subject has never made a comment on what he could do to make it look “better.”

The photos in this exhibit are part of his “bucket” list of visiting all seven continents. Recently, he visited Asia. His remaining two continents are Africa and Australia.

Malshuk’s photographs have appeared in “California”, 1980, (Polaroid Type 52), Camera Arts Magazine, April, 1983; “Mt. Rainier”, 1986, Seattle P-I, June 17, 1999; “Self Portrait – watching my children at the beach”, 2001, (quad-black digital print) Seattle .

Fundraising event this Saturday to help library pay for smoke damage cleanup

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — After a furnace malfunctioned and blew sooty smoke throughout the Goodrich Memorial Library last month, the library is now open and having a fundraising event this weekend to help pay for the damages.

After a month-long cleaning, all traces of the smoke damage are gone. Restoration Unlimited and the staff of the Goodrich have done a fantastic job restoring the library to its former glory, with new displays as well as offering regular services.

The library’s insurance will cover most of the restoration costs, but are still left with a $5,000 deductible payment.

If you would like to help, come out this Saturday to the library from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., for a special day filled with activities. All events are free and open to the public with the hope that donations will be generous.

Activities will include:

10:00 a.m. – Special story time featuring “SkippyJon Jones,” and other stories, a variety of crafts for kids with a chance to win SkippyJon Jones stuffed animal.

11:00 a.m. – Music by Nate Sargent and his guitar.

1:00 p.m. – We’ll be showing a brand new movie based on the bestselling novel about an astronaut who is presumed dead, after being left behind on a journey to Mars! Starring Jeff Daniels, Matt Damon, Michael Pena.

All Day – “Know Your Library Better Challenge.”

All Day – Bake Sale.

Raffle tickets on sale, and prizes include: 3 month Wellness Center membership, PumpHouse tickets for 4, Greens fee at Orleans Country Club, and more.

[VIDEO] Local Music Director Ken Michelli featured as WCAX “Super Senior”

in Arts and Entertainment


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