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Portraits of Canton: Krista Johnson Finds Her Voice

By John Fitts

Krista Johnson is convinced her love of music came “whilst in the womb” but it’s only recently that she’s truly found her voice.

Growing up, music was always around, emanating from albums, her mother’s lips and father’s piano playing.

“Everything about music speaks to me,” said Johnson, who is 29. “I’m always humming; the breathing when I’m singing calms me down. It’s my life force.”  … Continue Reading

Portraits of Canton: Shelby York Barnhart – Blacksmith, Welder, Business Owner

By John Fitts 

Shelby York Barnhart is a fine artist but don’t expect a priceless piece to hang on the wall.

But if you need a fireplace screen, handrail, boot butter or a badass way to hold and display your wine vessels, she can deliver.

“I’ve always been more into functional art,” said Barnhart, who runs Arc and Hammer and Fat Maverick from her Canton home. “I just loved that you can make something pretty that didn’t just have to be something you stare at – that actually had a purpose.”

… Continue Reading

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

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

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.

https://www.facebook.com/bipolarjukebox/

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

Images of Canton: ‘Forbidden Broadway’

Photos by John Fitts 

Since attending a performance more than 30 years ago, Doreen Cohn has always wanted to produce ‘Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits.”

Now, as executive director of Farmington Valley Stage Company, Cohn is doing just that. She said the timing was right for the production, the company’s first musical. The talent just came together, Cohn said.

“It all came together – the perfect storm I call it,” she said.  … Continue Reading

Portraits of Canton: Repurposing with Sorek Minery

February 29, 2016 Business, Community, Photos No Comments

When Sorek Minery found some weathered wood and other materials in an attic at the the former Collins Company factory complex, he was intrigued, but cautious.

Like many woodworkers, he loves to repurpose old material but the pieces – an old flag pole, vintage fire hose, attic planks, repurposed steam pipe, hand-cut spikes and scaffolding planks – were in rough shape, well worn and, in some cases, even water damaged.

“I was so surprised to even find that,” said Minery, who for 9 years has operated his Blue Ridge Woodworks shop at the complex. “It didn’t look like anything you could use.”

But Minery managed to make of few pieces from the material including a shop cart turned conversation piece that takes advantage of a little asymmetry and plenty of imperfections.

“It’s putting a little piece of history in furniture,” Minery said. “It’s enjoyable because you have to think of how something can be reused.” … Continue Reading

Portraits of Canton: Jeff Centrone and His Lovable Canines

February 1, 2016 Community, Photos No Comments

People don’t just ask to pet Max. Often, they want to give the fluffy 4-year-old Golden a hug. At times, he even offers comfort to someone who has lost a pet or loved one.

“He just has that therapeutic ability in him,” said Max’s owner, Jeff Centrone, of Canton.

It was Centrone’s son, Derek, who wanted a dog and settled on a breed and the name.

“That was probably one of the best decisions we’ve ever made,” said Centrone of he and wife Jennifer’s agreement with Derek.

Max is somewhat a “local celebrity” and spends a lot of time with Jeff at the Avon Starbucks, the Collinsville Farmers Market and elsewhere. More recently Ani, a Great Pyrenees rescued by the family last March, has been accompanying them. She’s still working on aspects of her socialization (she can be vocal at times) but is equally attractive as her older adopted sibling.

For full sized images and other galleries https://johnfitts.smugmug.com

– John Fitts

Images of Canton: Canton Land Trust Moonlight Hike

January 30, 2016 Environment, Outdoors, Photos No Comments

Photos by John Fitts 

The Canton Land Conservation Trust hosted its annual Moonlight Hike Saturday night. Hikers walked a luminaria-lit trail off Breezy Hill Road and made their way to a private horse barn where the land trust hosted a gathering with food, refreshments and an outdoor fire pit.

The land trust, which got its start in 1972, owns nearly 2,000 acres of land. See more at http://cantonlandtrust.org

See full-screen photos at https://johnfitts.smugmug.com/2016-Canton-Land-Conservation

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Have you ever wished you could continue to bowl without putting on bowling shoes or lugging a heavy ball?  You’re in LUCK!!  Join the Canton Senior Center Wii Bowling Team, The Canton Rollers.  Show off your bowling skills or learn new ones at the Senior Center.  Mondays at 1:30pm, Wednesdays ...
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Apr
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9:00 am Wii Bowling @ Canton Senior Center
Wii Bowling @ Canton Senior Center
Apr 27 @ 9:00 am
Have you ever wished you could continue to bowl without putting on bowling shoes or lugging a heavy ball?  You’re in LUCK!!  Join the Canton Senior Center Wii Bowling Team, The Canton Rollers.  Show off your bowling skills or learn new ones at the Senior Center.  Mondays at 1:30pm, Wednesdays ...