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Canton hosts German musicians

By John Fitts 

CANTON – It was 17 years ago when John Mastroianni, Canton K-12 music chairman, first came across the Rittersberg High School Big Band.

In 2000, Markus Lücke, associate principal and band director at Rittersberg High School, was looking for places to play and discovered Hall High School in West Hartford, where Mastroianni was teaching at the time.

Since then, the two have remained friends, so, when Lücke arranged for another trip to the United States, Mastroianni was thrilled to arrange for Canton to host his 34 young musicians.

The Rittersberg High School Big Band joined Canton groups for the Canton Public Schools District Jazz Concert the evening of April 5. The event also featured performances from the Canton Intermediate, Middle and High school jazz ensembles, The CMS Improvisational group, the CHS combo and an International Jazz Jam with the combined upper-level bands.

Read more in this week’s Valley Press.

Collinsville Film Festival Returns this Weekend

By John Fitts 

Each year Jonathan Napolitano looks to bring something new and different to the Collinsville Film Festival. This year, the change should be a popular one. Thanks to sponsors, all the films are free.

“It was kind of our way of saying thank you to the community so people can enjoy all the films,” said Napolitano, who is founder and programming director of the festival.

This year, the festival, now in its fourth year, takes place in the Canton Town Hall Auditorium, 4 Market St., Collinsville, March 31 and April 1. There will be two feature films, complete with filmmaker question and answer sessions, and children’s and documentary and narrative shorts blocks.

See more in this week’s Valley Press and at universe.com/users/collinsville-film-festival-0FBM1.

Piano-Duo Concert Scheduled March 19 in Collinsville

Sun-A Park

Submitted Release

COLLINSVILLE – The  piano duo of Henry Kramer and Sun-A Park will present a program of solo and four-hand selections on Sunday, March 19, at 4 p.m. in a Shepherd Music Series concert at the Collinsville Congregational Church.

Sponsored by the Maxwell Shepherd Memorial Arts Fund, the concert features two rising talents in the classical music world. Their program will include works by Scarlatti, Schubert, Ravel and Albeniz.

Kramer, a native of Maine, won the silver medal in the 2016 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium. This competition brought together 76 pianists of 23 nationalities to compete before a prestigious international jury. He has won a number of other top prizes in events such as the Honens International Competition, the Montreal International Music Competition and the China Shanghai International Piano Competition. The New York Times has praised his playing as “triumphant” and “thrilling.”

… Continue Reading

Collinsville Resident Featured in ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’

Darrell Cookman as Mitch Mahoney Photo by Anna Zuckerman-Vdovenko

Submitted Release 

The Farmington Valley Stage Company in Collinsville’s season continues with the Tony award-winning Broadway hit musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” the hilarious tale of six young people in the throes of puberty, overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, competing in the spelling championship of a lifetime.  The spellers soon learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser.

Though the spellers are all supposed to be between the ages of 10 and 13, they are played by adults.  This unique musical comedy features a cast of many Farmington Valley audience favorites, including Collinsville’s own Darrell Cookman, making his first appearance with the FVSC as “Mitch Mahoney Comfort Counselor”.  During the day, Darrell encourages homeschooling teens to push the limits of their passion and talent at True North located in the Collins Ax Factory. … Continue Reading

Images of Canton: Finding Success on the Stage

Canton Music Theatre will present “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” March 17-19.

Shows take place at 7 p.m. Friday, March 17 and Saturday, March 18, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 19. Pre-sale tickets are $8 for seniors and students and $12 for adults. At the door, the prices are $10 and $15. The production is in conjunction with Music Theatre International. For tickets, call 860-693-7707, or log on to cantonmusictheatre.org. Also, see more in this week’s Valley Press.

Images of Canton: Songs of the Continents

The Canton Public Schools Music Department recently presented “Songs of the Continent.” The March 2 concert, held at Canton High School, featured the freshman chorus, concert choir and chamber singers. Brett Gottheimer directed the performances with Diana Lawler as accompanist. See http://www.cantonmusic.org for upcoming concerts

Images of Canton: CrownAid2017


Photos by John Fitts 

This past weekend, two events were held to benefit Crown and Hammer Pub and Restaurant employees, who have had limited economic opportunities following the fatal Jan. 23 accident, in which a vehicle crashed into the kitchen of the building, causing extensive damage.

On Feb. 25, fellow Collinsville businesses Wilson’s Pub and LaSalle Market hosted fundraisers for the employees. At Wilson’s, CrownAid2017 was spearheaded by local musician Corey Michael Rieman with the help of other area artisans and owner Esther Witkos. That event featured numerous musicians and generated $3,000, a total which was then matched by a private individual.

At LaSalle, Jean-Claude Trans/Am played a special Give Back Series event, which raised more than $900.

With some additional donations on Monday, the funds collectively raised had reached approximately $7,000.

Crown owner Lisa Maurer is targeting mid March for re-opening the 3 Depot St. restaurant.

See a full-sized gallery at https://johnfitts.smugmug.com.

Images of Canton: Prisms Through Time

The Canton Music Department, along with numerous senior class leaders, presented “Prisms Through Time” Feb. 4. The program, produced by Anna Holland, Noah O’Leary and Elizabeth Raynor, used a moving storyline of the “Belmont” family to illustrate musical and arts pursuits over time. To accompany each of the stories, Canton High School bands played a variety of musical styles that included medieval, baroque, classical and romantic, impressionism and modern. 

Images of Canton: Aladdin Jr. Comes to Middle School Stage

The Canton Middle School Drama Club presents Disney’s Aladdin Jr. at 7 p.m. Friday Jan. 27 and Friday, Jan. 28. Tickets are $5 for seniors, children and students and $8 for adults. 

The show takes place in the auditorium of the Canton Middle/High School campus at 76 Simonds Ave. Buy tickets at the door or via www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2811936.

See more in this week’s edition of The Valley Press

Coffee House Performances at Canton High School on Friday, Jan. 6

Submitted Release 

CANTON, CT  — Canton Parents for Music and the Canton Public Schools Music Department are proud to host a Coffee House featuring Canton High School students performing live music for the community in a casual environment. 

The Coffee House will be held on Friday, Jan. 6 in the Canton High School cafeteria. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and performances will run until 9 p.m. There is no cover charge for attending. Hot beverages and snacks will be available for purchase. People are encouraged to bring their friends and family and maybe some cards or a board game to settle in and enjoy a relaxing evening of live music.

Canton High School is located at 76 Simonds Ave, Canton, CT. … Continue Reading

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