Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Wesleyan Youth Gamelan Ensemble classes begin

Come for the first class—if your child likes it, sign them up! No prior musical experience necessary.

* Youth Gamelan is open to all children ages 7 to 17. The Spring 2020 session begins on Saturday, January 18 at 10-11am, with weekly rehearsals.

* Homeschool Gamelan is for those homeschooling and also ages 7 to 17. The Spring 2020 session begins on Friday, January 17 at 1-2pm, with weekly rehearsals.

Rehearsals are held at the World Music Hall, on Wyllys Avenue, at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Spring classes conclude with a performance with the Wesleyan Gamelan Ensemble on Thursday, April 30 at 7pm.

The Youth Gamelan Ensemble at Wesleyan is directed by Joseph Getter. The ensemble was founded in 2002 by Artist in Residence I.M. Harjito. Students learn traditional music from Java, Indonesia on Wesleyan's gamelan instruments. Wesleyan owns one of the finest sets of gamelan instruments in the world, a set from Yogyakarta of mostly gong and metallophone instruments made of bronze. 

Only $45 for a semester of classes plus a final performance. For more info:

Register by phone at 860-685-3355 or online:

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Second Annual Middletown Teen Talent Search January 25!

2019 Teen Talent Search finalists. Photo by Kate Pulino.

Oddfellows Playhouse is hosting the second annual Middletown Teen Talent Search on Saturday, January 25. The event is open to local performers ages 12 – 19, and there will be cash prizes of $300 - $100 for the top five acts. The final round will be held at 7 pm on Saturday, January 25 at Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown, is open to the public, and will be hosted by Connecticut State Troubadour Nekita Waller.
Anyone ages 12 – 19 from Middletown or surrounding towns is welcome to compete in the Teen Talent Search. The registration deadline is January 23, and there is a $5 per person registration fee. Qualifying rounds will be held between 1 – 5 pm on January 25, and the top twelve acts will compete for cash prizes in a public performance at 7 pm. All performance forms are welcome – music, dance, theater, circus, magic, comedy, etc. Professional sound and lighting will be provided for all performers.
Tickets to the 7 pm Finalist Showcase are $10 for adults and $5 for kids. Anyone performing in the qualifying rounds who is not invited to perform in the evening will be given a free ticket to the 7 pm Finalist Showcase. All finalists will receive two complimentary tickets to be used for family and friends.
Nekita Waller, a Middletown resident, is a singer and songwriter who started her 3 year term as State Troubadour in 2018. She will be returning to host the Talent Search for the second year, and will entertain the audience after the final act while the judges convene to make their decisions.
Snow date for the event is Sunday, January 26.
Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater, founded in 1975, is Connecticut’s oldest and largest theater program for young people. The Playhouse has always been committed to making high-quality performing arts experiences available to all local young people, regardless of ability to pay, believing that access to the arts as a young person helps develop smart, creative and generous adults.
To register for the Talent Search, or for more information, call (860) 347-6143, email, or go to You will find the full Talent Search guidelines on the website.

Photo by Rhoze Faraci.

Meet Your Greens Networking - This Thursday January 16

The Rockfall Foundation’s January Meet Your Greens networking meet-up will be this Thursday, January 16 at Lan Chi’s Restaurant, Middletown. Join us for drinks, food, and conversation 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Guest speaker Sami Jo Jensen will be talking about how to green your body care routine.

We all use facial and body care products - but when is the last time you read the ingredient labels? Our skin absorbs 60% of what we put on it, which means what we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put into them. Learn how to identify toxic chemicals in your skincare products and how to find cleaner, greener alternatives that are better for your body and for the environment.

Sami Jo Jensen is an herbalist and founder of florapothecarie, a line of handcrafted 100% natural & vegan skincare. She’s been ditching toxins and making botanically-infused beauty products for 10 years.

Admission is free. Guests pay for their own food and drink.  Please join us!

Meet Your Greens: Middletown Green Drinks is a monthly event providing networking opportunities for anyone who is interested in making connections and exchanging news about emerging environmental issues to help keep Lower Connecticut River Valley communities green. An official location of Green Drinks International, this informal monthly gathering of people drawn from the community, nonprofit groups and the business world offers time to brainstorm ideas and plant seeds for collaboration. All are welcome and there is no admission fee, unless otherwise noted. For more information, please visit The Rockfall Foundation’s website.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Scholarship Available

Scholarship Opportunity for Student Environmental Leaders
The Rockfall Foundation Now Accepting Applications

Do you know a high school junior or senior who has demonstrated leadership in an activity that benefits the environment?
Applications are now being accepted for the Virginia R. Rollefson Environmental Leadership Scholarship, a $1,000 award to recognize leadership and initiative by a high school junior or senior residing in the lower Connecticut River Valley for participation in a program, project, or activity that benefits preservation, conservation, restoration or environmental education. The scholarship is presented by The Rockfall Foundation and applications must be submitted by March 12. The scholarship is for qualified tuition, books, room and board, or supplies.  Eligible students must reside in Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Middlefield, Middletown, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, or Westbrook. The scholarship is named in honor of former Executive Director of The Rockfall Foundation, Virginia R. “Ginny” Rollefson, who retired in 2010 after 24 years with the Foundation. The award honors her long service to the Foundation, her enthusiasm, and her belief that we all benefit when young people are actively engaged in making their communities a better place to live. For a copy of the application and more information, visit or call 860-347-0340.
Founded in 1935 by Middletown philanthropist Clarence S. Wadsworth, The Rockfall Foundation is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations. The Foundation supports environmental education, conservation and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley through public programs and grants.  In addition, The Rockfall Foundation operates the historic deKoven House Community Center that offers meeting and event room rentals and office space for non-profit organizations. For additional information about the Virginia R. Rollefson Environmental Leadership Scholarship or The Rockfall Foundation, please visit or call 860-347-0340.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Lamentation Mountain Property To Be Protected

From the offices of Senators Daugherty and Lesser.

Mary Daugherty Abrams and Matt Lesser, who represent our city in the State Senate, today cheered the announcement by Governor Ned Lamont that $9.1 million in state grants will be released for the purchase and protection of 24 parcels of land statewide through the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program, including more than $60,000 in funding for the local acquisition of 47 acres of land in Middletown.

“Open space preserves important natural resources and provides our communities with beautiful local recreational resources,” said Sen. Abrams. “I am so happy that nearly 50 acres of land in Middletown will become open space, further adding to our incredible forests and preserving local wildlife, most prominently birds of prey. I would like to thank Governor Lamont for his support of environmental protection and the Berlin Land Trust for its efforts in protecting this property.”

“I was proud to work with the Berlin Land Trust in support this proposal over a number of months,” said Sen. Lesser. “Protecting this vital landscape for future generations is a major win for Middletown and the state of Connecticut.”

The project sponsor Berlin Land Trust, Inc. will receive a $63,450 grant to assist with the Lamentation Mountain: Tighe-Baldyga Property Acquisition, located at the north end of Lamentation Mountain and part of the Metacomet Ridge. The property is surrounded by 450 acres of protected land and 190 acres of undeveloped land and is part of the 330-acre watershed of the Spruce Brook tributary. It contains 5 critical habitats, with an abundance of sugar maple, hop hornbeam, red cedar, chestnut oak, hickory and slippery elm. High crests and ridgelines, create suitable habitat for hawks and owls. It can be accessed from Lamentation Drive in Berlin through the Mattabesset Trail or from Stantack Road.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Holiday Party & Silent Auction January 25th

Join The Rockfall Foundation on January 25th to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year with friends in the environmental community. From 2 to 4:30pm at the deKoven House Community Center, we’ll be serving a variety of snacks, mulled wine, cider and more. We’ll also have a silent auction. All funds raised directly support Rockfall’s mission of environmental education and conservation in the lower Connecticut River Valley. 

Auction items so far include:
Kidcity Children’s Museum admission for 4 adults or children
Off the Hook mobile device repair gift card
Starr Mill Yoga 10-class gift card
Handmade jewelry
Handmade bird seed wreaths
Perk on Main gift card
Bill’s Seafood gift card
Cinder + Salt sustainability pack with canvas tote bag, stainless steel straws, straw brush, beeswax wraps, organic cotton cap, reusable cheese storage bags, and tea towel
Bird feeder and bird seed from Wild Birds Unlimited
and more on the way!

For full details and RSVP go to
Please join us!

Monday, January 6, 2020

The Road to Romeo and Juliet starts tonight!

This Spring, Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company will be staging a landmark production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Auditions will be in March, and the show will run for two weekends in May (14 - 23). Auditions are open to anyone ages 14 - 20.

But the time to start getting ready is RIGHT NOW! Tonight is the first of six classes for teenagers offering rigorous training for Shakespeare performers, including voice, text analysis, movement, stage combat and acting. The Compleate Shakespearean will be taught by ARTFARM Artistic Director and noted Shakespeare performer, director and teacher Marcella Trowbridge (shown above in ARTFARM's 2017 production of Hamlet. Photo by Bill De Kine.) plus guest artists. This will be serious performance training designed to prepare you to audition for and perform in Romeo and Juliet.

The first class is tonight. Classes will run Mondays, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, January 6 - February 10 at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street, Middletown. Tuition for the 6 week course is just $100, and anyone who completes the course will receive a $75 credit towards there tuition for Romeo and Juliet. Financial Aid and work-study are available for families who cannot afford the tuition.

Also starting this week at Oddfellows is a seven week class in Writing Plays, taught by nationally-produced playwright  (and former Oddfellows Artistic Director) Kristen Palmer. The class meets Thursdays, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, and will culminate in a New Plays Festival on Saturday, February 22.

To register for either class, or for more info, go to, email, or call (860) 347-6143.
Photo below by Bill De Kine of Teen Rep Company's fall production of Chekhov's The Seagull.

The Buttonwood Tree Hosts Eclectic Schedule for January

"For such a small space you sure have a lot of events!" 
This was recently heard at The Buttonwood Tree, and anyone who checks their schedule can see its truth.

While every Friday and Saturday night is filled with music,  First Fridays features a thriving Storytelling night, fashioned after the MOTH style, and often featuring acclaimed teller, Matt Dicks and often they feature programs to enlighten, educate and empower. Examples of the latter include Reiki classes and Shares, a writing workshop and many other classes and workshops.

Regular programs throughout the month include a widely popular Monday Night Open Mic, the oldest (continually running) Open Mic on First Thursdays, a Youth Open Mic, Drum circle, Sound Healings, Laughter Yoga and the very important workshop for Self-Awareness, Aligned With Source on Saturdays (currently on hiatus as facilitator, Annaita Gandhy spends a month in India.), along with Art exhibits and Receptions and various other

Starting January 18th, they are proud to host an 8 week Writing Workshop. Registration is online or by phone.  Click on the titles to make reservations, or find out more. Buttonwood members are entitled to a reduced rate for this and many other programs.

This weekend they'll feature a Gypsy Jazz concert with a returning world-traveling trio and the debut of Sharkey and The Sparks, a father-son duo featuring the amazing Slambovian Circus of Dreams guitarist, Sharkey McEwen. All ages are welcome at Buttonwood shows, and a fee of $5 is set for this special show to encourage youngsters on Saturday night.

DJANGO"S RESERVE   Jan 10, 8 pm

 SHARKEY And The SPARKS   Jan 11, 8 pm

Riding a wave of inspiration, Sharkey stepped out and began performing solo in the spring of 2016. This provided him more space to stretch out musically and to share his pure and soulful singing voice with us all. Around the same time, Sharkey and Ben began playing music together for fun. But once Sharkey started inviting his talented young protégé to join him on stage and perform in public, the “sparks” began to fly.

REIKI SHARE      Jan. 12  (2-4pm)  

ALL The WRITE WAYS, Writing Workshop  Jan 18-March 14   (1-2:30pm)

ANDREW WILCOX TRIO  Piano Jazz group  Jan 24 (8-10pm   $10.)

JOE BELMONT EXPERIENCE   Jan 25, (8 pm  $15.)

Joe Belmont: electric, acoustic, eclectic guitar, vocals
Eliezer Martinez: drums
Rudi Weeks : bass

Joe Belmont Experience is comprised of accomplished veterans of the Northeast music scene playing a cohesive blend of divergent elements of jazz, original songs and compositions, funk, classic songs, Chicago blues, and jamming. 

 Featuring former CT State Troubadour, Kate Callahan 

Reservations are suggested for all weekend shows!!
For a complete listing of Buttonwood events, see their website at They're also no Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  Located at 605 Main Street, Middletown, (860) 347-4957. Free, ample parking behind It's Only Natural market, next door.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

New Decade, New You — Start at MxCC

2020 is not just a new year but also a new decade! Begin a new YOU at Middlesex Community College. Spring 2020 classes begin January 22. Get started now!

Choose from more than 70 degree and certificate programs to advance your education and career. Visit to learn about upcoming open registration dates in Middletown or at MxCC@Platt in Meriden.

Middletown (100 Training Hill Road): 
January 11 (Super Saturday Enroll in a Day), 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
January 13 (Monday), 9 a.m.–7 p.m.
January 16 (Thursday), 9 a.m.–7 p.m.
January 21 (Tuesday), 10 a.m.–7 p.m. 
January 22–23, ​9 a.m.–7 p.m. 
January 24 (Friday), 9 a.m.–4 p.m. 
MxCC@Platt in Meriden (220 Coe Avenue):
January 14 (Tuesday), 3–7 p.m.

Accepted Students Day
January 8 (Wednesday), Middletown, ​1–5 p.m.​

Questions? Please call Enrollment Services at 860-343-5719.

Build Your Own Utility: An Idea whose time has come?

From Washington Post, Jan 1, 2020.

BLUE LAKE, Calif. — After months of wildfires, an essential question in a warming, windy California is this: How does the state keep the lights on? A tiny Native American tribe, settled here in the Mad River Valley, has an answer.

Build your own utility.

The Blue Lake Rancheria tribe has constructed a microgrid on its 100-acre reservation, a complex of solar panels, storage batteries and distribution lines that operates as part of the broader utility network or completely independent of it. It is a state-of-the-art system — and an indicator of what might be in California’s future.

Article continues at

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Godfrey Memorial Library - Genealogy Club

Date:  Saturday, January 04, 2020
Time:  9:30 - 11:00 am
Topic:  New Year’s Resolution:  Get Organized!

Resolve to start 2020 off right by getting your genealogy in order.  This is a Work & Share session.  If you have a great system for organizing your digital or paper files, share it with the rest of us!  After the group discussion, you can spend time actually organizing your stuff.  Bring that pile of disorganized papers, folders, and binders, and get to work clearing the clutter.  Bring your laptop loaded with a genealogy software program, and start using it to full advantage to organize your digital files.

Free to Godfrey Premium members.  $10 per session for all others.  Open to the general public.  Attendees will have time after the meeting to do research at the library.

134 Newfield Street, Middletown
Tel. (860) 346-4375