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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

Collinsville Congregational to Present Spring Events

The Sebastians Contributed Photo

The Sebastians
Contributed Photo

Submitted Release 

Collinsville Congregational Church, 7 South St., is hosting a number of events this spring, starting with this weekend.  With most of them being FREE admission.  For further information, you may visit www.collinsvillecongregational.org/bulletinboard/ or call 860-993-7866.

April 10, 2016 – The Maxwell Shepherd Memorial Arts Funds presents:  “The Sebastians – Over The Alps” at 4:00 p.m.

April 16,2016 – The way of the Master; Seek and save the lost the way Jesus did. 8:00 am Cost $15.00

May 1, 2016 – THE CALL!  Living on the Point!  Featuring Rev. Chuck Schleich 4:00 p.m.

May 5, 2016 – National Day of Prayer. Pray for our Nation, the government, education, the churches, families, business, the media, arts and entertainment, and Military, Police and the Fire/Ems Department.  7:00 p.m.

Roaring Brook Nature Center Continues to Provide an Intimate Listening Room

By John Fitts

When Roaring Brook Nature Center began producing concerts some three dozen years ago, it was one of just a few area stops on the folk circuit.

Today there are more options, including newer venues with larger stages, more sophisticated equipment, stiff drinks and full dinner choices.

But what Roaring Brook might lack in amenities it more than makes up for in character. Renowned performers still come to play among the natural wooden walls that Eric Anderson once famously likened to “playing inside a Martin guitar.”

“It’s a very intimate, all wooden room and a friendly, small venue,” said Stan Sullivan, volunteer booking agent and concert manager for the series. “You’re in close proximity to the artist. You’re almost part of the band.” … Continue Reading

Additional Benches, Bike Fix-It Station Coming to Collinsville Trail

These 8-foot benches were recently installed along the Farmington River Trail in Collinsville. Photo by John Fitts, via instagram

These 8-foot benches were recently installed along the Farmington River Trail in Collinsville.
Photo by John Fitts, via instagram

By John Fitts 

The recent installation of two eight-foot benches along the Farmington River Trail in downtown Collinsville signify just part of what is to come to the area.

The two galvanized steel benches, installed along the trail in front of the Crown and Hammer Pub and Restaurant, were crafted by New London artist Jesse Maxwell Good.

Good also crafted four additional four-foot benches that were also recently delivered to the town. Those are due to be placed along the trail near the information kiosk but weren’t immediately installed because of the sideways slope to the trail. Good is now investigating ways to level the benches without sacrificing their structural integrity.

The benches were part of the first phase of Streetscape improvements for downtown Collinsville. Most of that work was done last year at an approximate cost of $500,000, from which $387,000 was from a Connecticut Main Street grant.  … Continue Reading

Collinsville Film Festival Continues Saturday and Sunday

Following a performance by local singer-songwriter Krista Johnson and a short film, Collinsville Film Festival officially opened Friday Night with “Thank You for Your Service,” a poignant documentary about the alarming numbers of suicides and other emotional issues facing veterans – and the lack of support they receive from the military.

Approximately 50 people came out to see the film, which also featured a question and answer session by Director Tom Donahue and producer Matt Tyson.

“We brought another great film to Collinsville and the community really came out and supported it,” said Collinsville Film Festival founder Jonathan Napolitano. “You want to see people come out, enjoy it and get something from it.”

Children have their own free program of short films starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 2.  The three films – Aria for a Cow, My Stuffed Granny and Treeples – will charm and enlighten children of all ages. From the bovine diva who demands respect beyond milk and cheese to the band of girls who rid the woods of monsters to the ever-hungry granny – the genius of independent filmmakers is vivid and fresh.

Adults have their own free program of five short films starting at 12 PM on Saturday and repeated at 11 a.m. Sunday. These films explore personal identity, aging, autism and romance in locations as far away as Tokyo and as close as Massachusetts.

Following the adult short block, the Collinsville Film Festival offers two feature films – “Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi,” starting at 3 p.m, and Saturday night’s film “A Dog Named Gucci,” starting at 7 p.m. Director of “A Dog Named Gucci,” Gorman Bechard, will also be present for the screening and will take part in a Q+A following the film’s completion.

Sunday opens with a repeat of the Saturday short block at 11 AM, a second performance of “A Dog Named Gucci” at 1:45 p.m. and the  festival’s closing night film at 4 p.m.“Janey Makes A Play.”

Films are shown in the auditorium of Canton Town Hall, 4 Market St., Collinsville.

Ticket prices for the feature films range from $5-$7 and are available at the door. An all-festival pass, sold at $50, includes access to the Saturday night after party at nearby Gallery 526 (Some of the photos above show the Friday night after party).

Ten percent of the proceeds benefit the Canton Historical Museum.

See more at http://www.collinsvillefilmfestival.com.

Theatre Guild Presents ‘The Dining Room’

Theatre Guild of Simsbury presents The Dining Room over the next two weeekends.

Actors in the production play varying roles and characters of varying ages, in different time periods – all set in an upper, middle-class dining room.

With the complex story lines and parallel interactions, it was a challenging production to piece together in just six weeks time, said director Rosemarie Beskind.

“It was hard for the actors to get used to that because you don’t normally perform that way, so that part was kind of fun,” she said. “I think for the actors playing different ages was kind of cool.”

Beskind said the cast was also a fun group to work.

“This is a good cast – good group of people,” she said. “I’ve worked with a lot of them before and they’re wonderful.”

Performances take place at 8 p.m. on April 2, 8 and 9 and at 2 p.m. on April 3 and April 10 at Simsbury United Methodist Church, 799 Hopmeadow St. (Route 10). Tickets range from $16 to $20. See more at http://www.theatreguildsimsbury.org


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


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