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Collinsville String Band to Play Back-to-Back Shows This Weekend

By John Fitts

COLLINSVILLE — The Collinsville String Band does play outside of the village but band members have no problem with the fact that many of their shows, including two this coming weekend, take place right here.

“If you’re going to build up a fan base, Collinsville is a great place to do it,” said Steve English, a guitarist and vocalist in the band.

On Friday night, the band returns to the Crown and Hammer. The following night comes its debut at Bridge Street Live, for which the group will share the stage with Switch Factory, a string band from Litchfield County.

“We look forward to playing a venue that has a good sound system and the crowd listens and watches,” said English, a Canton resident. “We hope to make an impression on them that allows us back to open for national acts in the Bluegrass/country/roots music genre.”

In addition to English, Collinsville String Band members include John Turner on bass and vocals, Seth Hagymasi on vocals, guitar and mandolin and Aaron Shaw, on vocals, mandolin and guitar.

The band has also announced that banjo player Dave Connelly, a long-time collaborator with Shaw, will play this weekend’s shows.

… Continue Reading

Canton Resident Wins 5 Arts Connecticut Youth Logo Design Contest

Edgar and Cie Peterson from 5 Arts Connecticut.

Edgar and Cie Peterson from 5 Arts Connecticut.

Submitted Release 

Edgar Schafer, a freshman at CREC’s Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and a Canton resident, recently won the 5 Arts Connecticut Youth Logo Design Contest. His winning design will become the 5 Arts Connecticut official logo and will be prominently featured in promotional materials.

Images of Canton: Bridge Street Live Kicks off 2016 Season

Bridge Street Live kicked off its seventh season last Saturday night with a special St. Patrick’s themed edition of its New York vs. Boston comedy series, a show headlined by Tom Briscoe and Sean Lynch. Comedians Mark Riccadonna and Dr. Jay Sutay, the stand up Pediatrician, also entertained.

The Tipperary Knights, a popular Irish band, opened the evening.

This week, the venue kicks off its Homegrown Thursday series with Nate Ginnetty and his friend Daniel Amedee of New Orleans. On Saturday, it’s a night of string band music with Switch Factory and The Collinsville String Band. Tickets for both shows start at just $10.

The venue is located at 41 Bridge Street in Collinsville. See more details and a full schedule at http://www.41bridgestreet.com/calendar/index.php?id=573

The Sebastians Come to Collinsville on April 10

The Sebastians Contributed Photo

The Sebastians
Contributed Photo

Submitted Release

COLLINSVILLE, Conn. — The Sebastians, a dynamic ensemble specializing in Baroque and classical music, will perform “Over the Alps” on Sunday, April 10, at 4 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Collinsville. The concert is part of the Shepherd Music Series sponsored by the Maxwell Shepherd Memorial Arts Fund.

The Baroque style of art, music and architecture flourished in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. However, due to the formidable barrier of the Alps that separated Italy from the Austro-German regions to the north, communications, travel and cultural exchanges between the countries on either side were limited.

… Continue Reading

The Underground Gallery to Host First 2016 ‘Meet the Artist’ Reception on Friday Night

Lisa Sharp and Tom Kutz will host the first of the 2016 Meet the Artist receptions on Saturday. Photo by John Fitts

Lisa Sharp and Tom Kutz will host the first of the 2016 Meet the Artist receptions on Saturday. 
Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts 

COLLINSVILLE – For the owners of The Underground Gallery, featuring Connecticut-based artists is a way to showcase local talent, bring in visitors and foster artistic ventures.

From 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 18, the gallery hosts the first of its 2016 “Meet the Artist” receptions with Jessica Fallis, a Southington painter who loves to “explore nuances of water and reflections, along with the fragmentations and abstractions that occur in the natural world.”

The gallery, which opened in July of 2014, has stayed true to its original mission.

“We want this to be an opportunity for Connecticut artists to showcase their work,” said gallery manager Lisa Sharp.

The Underground Gallery features three distinct exhibit areas. Artists will display for three weeks on a rotating basis, with an opening each Friday night.

… Continue Reading

Bridge Street Live Looks to Strengthen Community Ties, Broaden its Audience

Royal Southern Brotherhood plays at Bridge Street Live in March of 2015. Photo by John Fitts

Royal Southern Brotherhood played Bridge Street Live in March of 2015.
Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts 

COLLINSVILLE — While Bridge Street Live will continue to showcase national acts during its seventh season, the venue is also looking to strengthen community ties, broaden its audience and add some new features for 2016.

One of those aspects will be Homegrown Thursdays, select evenings that will showcase regional and local musicians. While the venue has featured some local acts in the past, Bridge Street really wants to develop deeper community connections and showcase talent in its back yard, said Rebecca Castellani, director of marketing and public relations for the venue.

“We have such talent in the area,” she said. “There’s no reason we can’t integrate that more into Bridge Street.”

Shows in that series include a March 24 date with Hartford area musician Nate Ginnetty and his friend Daniel Amedee of New Orleans.

While it’s not a Thursday, the general theme continues on March 26 with two area string bands – Litchfield County based Switch Factory and The Collinsville String Band, a locally based band with members from several area towns, including Canton, Avon, and Torrington.

On Thursday April 7, Collinsville singer-songwriter Krista Johnson will open for French-American singer Francesca Blanchard.

Another great thing about the homegrown series is the ticket prices, which generally run $10 and $15, Castellani said. She hopes that is more accessible to those who can’t afford a higher ticket price.

“We’re trying to encourage a wider demographic to attend and listen to music,” Castellani said. … Continue Reading

Canton High School to Present ‘Damn Yankees’ this Weekend

While teaching at Canton High School, Terri Schulman choreographed a production of “Damn Yankees.”

That was circa 1999 and now she is once again involved in a production of the musical comedy, which takes place at Canton High School this weekend.

“It’s kind of neat to be back and directing it,” Schulman said. “I’m really excited about that.”

Approximately 60 students are involved in the production, which has been in the works since December.

The musical comedy, set in the 1950s, is about a Washington Senators baseball fan, Joe Boyd, who would do nearly anything – even sell his soul – if the team could just beat those “Damn Yankees.” He gets that chance but finds out that talent, fame and fortune might not be worth the price of leaving his life behind.

“It’s just an upbeat, fun, kind of show to do,” said Schulman, who added that the production is truly a team effort.

Performances take place at 7 p.m. on Friday March 18 and 19 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 20. Advance tickets are $8 for students/seniors and $12 for adults via http://cantondamnyankees.bpt.me. Door prices are $10 and $14. The show takes place at Canton High School, 76 Simonds Ave., Canton, CT.

See full-screen photos or order prints or downloads at https://johnfitts.smugmug.com/Damn-Yankees-at-CHS/

Portraits of Canton: André Balazs

These days, André Balazs’ musical excursions are generally solo. On Saturday night, however, the New Hampshire resident brings the Bipolar Jukebox experience to the band’s old stomping grounds — the Crown and Hammer Pub in Collinsville.

“I love playing with the guys. They’re really exceptional – Dennis Fancher on guitar and Charlie Dye on drums – just really, really, really killer musicians,” he said. “Almost all the other gigs I do are solo, so it’s kind of a blast to play with the band . . .  It just raises your game as a player.”

Saturday is a homecoming of sorts for the Farmington native, who also lived in Collinsville for several years.

“I haven’t been floored by the quality of players that I’ve met up in New Hampshire yet,” he said. “Definitely you appreciate how lucky we are in Connecticut. I took for granted just having monsters around. I didn’t have to travel very far to get humbled or to learn a few moves.”

“It’s also a home crowd,” Balazs added. “The requests are for originals, which is kind of a neat thing. You take that for granted when you go to a new place like New Hampshire. Slowly it’s happening, but it takes time.”

Balazs also plays at La Trattoria in Canton every Thursday night from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The gig at ‘The Crown,” 3 Depot St., Collinsville, starts at 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 12, 2016.


Jeff Holmes Big Band to Perform April 24 at Canton High School  

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 concertin 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. … Continue Reading

Images of Canton: More than $2,500 Raised at Fundraiser for Scott Lindsay

A Saturday night fundraiser for local resident Scott Lindsay netted more than $2,500, organizers said.

The event, held at Wilson’s Pub, was to help Lindsay make it through as he deals with medical bills. In January, he was rushed to the hospital and later diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Lindsay is getting stronger daily but still has many diet and other restrictions.

Saturday’s event included a silent auction on numerous items donated by local businesses and residents, live music by Steve Jones and friends and a book signing by “American St. Nick” author Peter Lion.

“I‘m just overwhelmed by the kindness everybody’s shown,” said Lindsay, who was able to attend for a short time Saturday. “I feel like Tom Sawyer at his own wake.”

Lindsay, a New Jersey native, has lived in Collinsville for the past several years. He is an avid baseball player, hiker and kayaker. He also volunteers time reading to kids at Bakerville Library in New Hartford and also volunteers at Mary’s Kitty Korner in Granby.

On Sunday, Lindsay’s friend Kristen Stevens, the primary organizer of the event, said more than $2,500 had been raised. The total was a bit of a moving target as some additional items were up for bid Sunday and other amounts were being tallied.

It was a packed house Saturday and Stevens said she was just “amazed” at the generosity of local residents.

“That’s really all I can say – wow,” she said.

To access a full-screen gallery of the above photos, visit https://johnfitts.smugmug.com/Scott-Lindsay-Fundraiser/ 

John Fitts


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