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Evening of Percussion Takes Place at Canton High School on Friday

PercFlyerCourtesy of John Solomon

The 4th Annual An Evening of Percussion, a concert put on by the Canton High School Percussion Ensemble, will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday April 22, 2016 in the High School auditorium.  The concert will contain pieces across a wide range of musical styles performed by the High School Percussion Ensemble as well as featured pieces by the 7th and 8th grade percussion classes and the High School advanced percussion class.

Under the direction of Artist in Residence Bob Rush, the Canton High School Percussion Ensemble has put on An Evening of Percussion for the past 3 years, growing each year as it has attracted greater audiences to appreciate the wonders and beauty of percussion music.

This year’s program promises to accommodate practically any and all musical cravings, including some standard repertoire from composers Alexander Lepak and  Alice Gomez, as well as dual composer and mathematician Stephen Reich. The Middle School percussion classes will be featured on pieces by Ralph Hicks and a more contemporary selection by Sting as well as helping out on the evening’s Caribbean-style grand finale, “Wildwood” by Matt Bissonette.  Opposite ends of the musical spectrum round out the evening’s program with Bob Rush’s original arrangement of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays’ “Tell It All” from First Circle, “The Rock Syndicate,” a piece for Body Percussion by Murray Houliff, and timeless classic, Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” transcribed for Marimbas.

I hope that you are able to accept this invitation and look forward to seeing you at the concert.  There will be no charge for admission at the door but be sure to arrive a little early to check out the Percussion Petting Zoo in the lobby that will represent a vast selection of percussion instruments.

Collinsville-Based Artist to Host Reception for ‘Photographs of Gazelle Powers’

On Friday, April 22, Kevin Stiles will host a reception for “Photographs of Gazelle Powers.” Photo by Kevin Stiles

On Friday, April 22, Kevin Stiles will host a reception for “Photographs of Gazelle Powers.”
Photo by Kevin Stiles

By John Fitts

It was approximately two years ago when Collinsville-based artist Kevin Stiles began working with Maryland model Gazelle Powers.

That work has resulted in a series of photographs – and a few drawings – that showcase Powers’ sultry female figure, often nude, in the midst of some of the area’s most beautiful natural settings. Among the locations featured are those in Collinsville, Litchfield, Cornwall and Hartland.

This Friday, Stiles will host a reception for “Photographs of Gazelle Powers” at his Collinsville studio on River Street. It will be an evening with art, refreshment and live music.

For Stiles, Powers brings a natural beauty, inquisitive mind and creative spirit.

“She’s just really good in terms of being a creative person,” Stiles said.

Stiles said he had run across from Powers on modeling/photographer sites and first met her when a Virginia-based photographer came up to have Stiles perform some tattoo work. He brought Powers along.

And while there was no set agenda to working with a black model, Stiles said it has become purposeful and he’s thrilled to showcase a less common version of beauty and expand “visual dialogue.”

“Our culture is saturated with the Caucasian version of beauty and its representation in nature and the world around us,” he wrote in an artist’s statement. “It was important to me that this black woman, Gazelle, represent beauty and nature in a way not often given a platform. And by doing so – help us expand our visual dialogue beyond what we typically see.”

… Continue Reading

Jeff Holmes Big Band to Perform April 24 Canton High School

Jeff Holmes.

Jeff Holmes.

Submitted Release

CANTON — Canton Parents for Music and the Canton Public Schools Music Department are proud to host Jeff Holmes Big Band on Sunday, April 24, 2016 as the final concert in their 2016 benefit concert series to support the Canton Public Schools music program.

The Jeff Holmes Big Band featuring vocalist Dawning Holmes will be playing jazz, blues and soul. Band leader/trumpeter/pianist Jeff Holmes is responsible for the ensemble’s book of arrangements and original compositions and has contributed works to the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Ernie Watts, the Big Apple Circus, John Abercrombie and Sheila Jordan among others. He is also Director of Jazz Studies and Artistic Director of Jazz In July at UMASS Amherst. In addition to her work with the big band, Dawning Holmes has sung in jazz clubs from New York City to London and has guested with both Paul Winter and the UMASS Studio Orchestra/Jazz Ensemble I. She performs pieces made popular by Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Sam Cooke, Amy Winehouse and many more.
… Continue Reading

Exhibition Explores One Man’s Passion For The Visual Arts

Kevin Rita

Kevin Rita

Submitted Release 

CANTON – The Annual Maxwell Shepherd Memorial Invitational Exhibition will explore one man’s passion for the visual arts through his private collection that ranges from paintings to sculpture to book illustrations to other expressions of the human hand and mind.

“The Collections of Kevin Rita: Connections from a Life in Art,” will run from Friday, April 22 to Sunday, May 22 at the Gallery on the Green, corner of Dowd Ave. and Route 44. The exhibition is organized and sponsored by the Maxwell Shepherd Memorial Arts Fund.

Kevin Rita has spent most of his life immersed in the arts as a curator, collector, and dealer of rare books and fine art. He fell in love with books at an early age. As he grew older his interest in books expanded beyond the stories within their covers. He came to appreciate the work of illustrators whose art gave books an additional creative dimension.

This lit the fire that led him to frequent galleries and expand his knowledge of, and appreciation for, artistic creation. For more than three decades he has collected a wide variety of objects, many of which are included in the Gallery on the Green exhibition. His interest is primarily American art, encompassing a variety of genres from landscapes to abstract pieces.

“My collection is very personal,” Rita said. “Every piece matters to me.”

… Continue Reading

Canton Library Patrons Now Have Access to On-Demand Digital Service for Movies, Music, eBooks and More

Canton Public Library has partnered with hoopla digital to offer streaming and temporary downloads for numerous items. Photo by John Fitts

Canton Public Library has partnered with hoopla digital to offer streaming and temporary downloads for numerous items.
Photo by John Fitts

Thanks to the Friends of Canton Public Library, patrons now have access to thousands of movies, television shows, music, eBooks, audio books and more.

On Thursday, the library formally announced a new partnership with hoopla digital, which gives Canton residents with a library card access to the service for streaming and temporary downloads. More than 500,000 titles are available. Canton is the thirty-seventh library system in Connecticut to partner with hoopla digital.

“The reality is that people, at this point, are used to online content,” said Sarah McCusker, Director at Canton Public Library. “We see this as a way to meet our users where they are.”

McCusker said there are many advantages to the service including the availability of content for all ages, the on-demand type service, vast selection and compatibility with many platforms on smartphones, tablets and computers. … Continue Reading

Time in Collinsville Helped Inspire Parsonsfield

Parsonsfield in Collinsville. Winter Caplanson

Parsonsfield in Collinsville.
Winter Caplanson

By John Fitts 

COLLINSVILLE — For members of the band Parsonsfield, recording and rehearsing at an old factory complex, in the shadow of the Farmington River Trail, certainly had its highs and lows.

From May to October of 2015, the self-described alt/folk band set up shop in a space at the former Collins Company complex.

“Having a dedicated space for our creativity and our work was something we hadn’t really experience before,” said Chris Freeman, (vocals, guitar, banjo, pump organ and saw). “It was an inspiring place (but) creepy at night.”

But the band took advantage of that ambience, letting some of the sounds from the creaky buildings, barking dogs, and rumblings from the rail trail bleed on to recorded takes.

“It’s totally part of the album and reflected on it,” Freeman said, adding that it could be too much at times. “Some things were ruined and some were helped by people going over the bike path.” … Continue Reading

Phonosynthesis to Bring ‘Grüvhaus’ to Crown and Hammer on Saturday

From left are Isaac Young, Tommy Furdon, Nick Charlton and Jon Dostou. Photo by David Stoltz

From left are Isaac Young, Tommy Furdon, Nick Charlton and Jon Dostou.
Photo by David Stoltz

By John Fitts

Get ready for the “Grüvhaus.”

On Saturday, April 16, the band Phonosynthesis will bring its infectious grooves, rock-based improvisation and jazz-funk sensibilities to the Crown and Hammer to showcase the songs on their debut album.

“I can’t wait to share the live performances with everyone,” said Collinsville resident and band guitarist Tommy Furdon.

In addition to showcasing its Grüvhaus recording, the show will marks the band’s first visit to Collinsville.

“There’s such a good scene there,” said West Hartford resident Isaac Young (vocals, piano, saxophone). “It’s going to be a listening crowd.”

Young and Hartford resident Jon Dostou (bass, vocals) formed the band in the summer of 2014. Both are formally trained musicians whose studies brought them to the University of Hartford. They didn’t cross paths there but met nearly 6 years ago at the West Hartford Music and Arts Store, where both teach music.

It wasn’t long before they were playing a sax-bass duo at Backstage Pizza Café and collaborating on other projects, including the Isaac Young Quartet.

In Phonosythesis, the two wanted to fuse their varied influences in highly musical but fun way.

“We’re trying to take the best parts of the jazz style that are still relevant to people and the best parts of the rock style that are still relevant to people,” Dostou said. … Continue Reading

Canton Resident Part of CREC’s Production of ‘West Side Story’

Submitted Release 

Kelsey Dubei

Kelsey Dubei

Students at the CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School will perform “West Side Story,” a classic musical that changed American theater more than 50 years ago, on April 29, April 30, May 6, and May 7.

The cast will feature more than 40 students from more than 25 Connecticut towns, including Kelsey Dubei, of Canton.

All performances will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Theater of the Performing Arts in Hartford.

With the book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and conception and choreography by Jerome Robbins, “West Side Story” is one of America’s most memorable musicals. … Continue Reading

Poetry Enthusiasts Share Their Favorites

Joan Hofmann, poet laureate of Canton, at "An Evening of Poetry," which took place in the town hall auditorium on April 7, 2016. Photo by John Fitts

Joan Hofmann, poet laureate of Canton, at “An Evening of Poetry,” which took place in the town hall auditorium on April 7, 2016.
Photo by John Fitts

Joan Hofmann, Poet Laureate of Canton, Hosted an “Evening of Favorite Poems” at Canton Town Hall on Thursday, April 7.

Marjorie Clarke reads "Splitting An Order," by Ted Kooser. Photo by Joan Hofmann

Marjorie Clarke reads “Splitting An Order,” by Ted Kooser.
Photo by Joan Hofmann

In addition to Hofmann, those who came out to read included Virginia Shreve, David Leff, Michele Begley, Beth Vrabel, Emma Vrabel, Sue Hoben, Ron Todd, Janot Bente, Annie Barrett, Howard Banow, Marjorie clarke, John Fitts, Ev Kubas, Lynn Hunter, David A. Howard, Veda Leone, Gail Deutsch, Mary Eichhorn Fletcher, Geoffrey Bok and Simone.

Poems read included:
“Valentine for Ernest Mann,” Naomi Shihab Nye
“Pretty Isn’t a Nice Word,” Nikola Gill
“To a Moth Seen in Winter,” Robert Frost
“At Ease, Carry On,” Sandra Hoben
“Marginalia,” Billy Collins
“Gashleycrumb Tinies,” Edward Gorey
“Cremation of Sam McGee,” Robert William Service
“One Art,” Elizabeth Bishop
Photo by Joan Hofmann

Photo by Joan Hofmann

“Kindness,” Naomi Shihab Nye
“Linguistics,” Abigail Yannaway
“Dover Beach,” Matthew Arnold
“Splitting An Order,” Ted Kooser
“A Blessing,” James Wright
“Where I’m From,” George Ella Lyon
“To the Rose Upon the Road of Time”
“Song of Rain,” Kahil Kibran
“Today Means Amen,” Sierra DeMulder
“A Road Less Traveled,” Robert Frost
“Sabbath Poems, 1979, VIII,” Wendell Berry
“To a Dear Friend,” Brian Doyle
“Prospero’s Monologue,” William Shakespeare
Editor’s Note: We are missing the name of one selection but will add it when possible. 
 

Images of Canton: Evening of Jazz 2016

On April 6, 2016, the Canton Public Schools Music Department presented “Canton Evening of Jazz.” The show featured jazz ensembles and combos from Canton Intermediate, Canton Middle and Canton High schools, with special guest artist Bruce Eidem on trombone. Groups were directed by Mark Buonfiglio, Donna Corbett and John Mastroianni.

On Sunday, April 24, the Jeff Holmes Big Band, with the CHS Jazz Ensemble, will play at Canton High School. Tickets are $15 and $20 and can be purchased at http://cpmjeffholmes2016.eventzilla.net/web/event?eventid=2138843261

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