Wednesday, November 20, 2019

2019 Candlelight Christmas Concert at First Church

Candlelight Christmas Concert
at First Church on Court Street
Sunday, December 15, 4 pm

You are invited to the annual Candlelight Christmas Concert at First Church on Sunday, December 15, at 4 pm. Relax in the quiet of the sanctuary as our choirs sing carols and anthems of the season and enjoy congregational singing of familiar favorite hymns. It's a great time to decompress from the holiday bustle and enjoy the stillness of the moment. 

The Court Street Singers men's choir is directed by Curtis Weybright. First Church Senior Choir, Celebration Singers, and Heart in Hand Bell Choir are directed by Music Minister Shari Lucas. Our pastor, the Rev. Julia Burkey, will lead worship.

First Church is located at 190 Court Street, a half block from Main Street,
in Middletown. It is an open and affirming (O&A) congregation and all are welcome.  Free parking is available nearby. The concert is free, offerings are gratefully appreciated, and a generous buffet reception follows the concert. 

For more information, please contact our church office manager at 860-346-6657 or at

First Church Choirs--2019.

Flu Clinic Tuesday

Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Noon to 6PM
City Hall Lobby

The Health Departments has teamed up with other regional towns, and with Stop and Shop Pharmacy to offer seasonal flu clinics/pneumonia vaccine dispensing. Must be at least 18 years of age and in good health. The flu vaccine is free with insurance plans (bring your insurance card).

 Limited flu vaccine available for those without insurance.
Insurance required to receive pneumonia vaccine (please bring your insurance card)

Appointments not taken (first-come, first-served).

 Residency not required

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Circophony Presents: The Fall 2019 Circus Show!

Circophony Teen Circus Troupe invites you to their Fall 2019 Circus Show on Friday, December 6 at 7 PM. The Fall Circus Showcase is a culmination of all of the work that the Circophony Teen Troupe members has been doing this season. From contortion to juggling adn acrobatics to other circus skills-- do do it all!

Join along for a FUN evening! Admission is FREE. Showcase will take place at Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater, in Middletown, CT. Friday, December 6th at 7 PM.

For more information please visit, call (860) 347-6143 or email 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Auditions for Jr. Rep. Company's Production of The Love of Three Oranges

Junior Repertory Company is holding AUDITIONS for their Mainstage Winter Production of The Love of Three Oranges, by Carlo Gozzi. Auditions will take place on Thursday, December 12 from 4:30-6 PM at Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown. Production will be directed by Playhouse's Executive Artistic Director, Dic Wheeler. 

Those planning to audition should arrive on time, come dressed to move and plan to stay for the full 90 minutes. No preparation is needed. Rehearsals will take place on Mondays and Thursdays, from 4:30- 6 PM, starting January 13, 2020. Regular rehearsals March 8-11. Performance dates are March 12-14. 
Tuition for Jr. Rep Company is $250. Financial Aid and Work-Study opportunities are available. 

For more information or to register please visit, call (860) 347-6143 or email

The Buttonwood Tree Sometimes Scores Big!

Zach Brock
The Slambovian Underground at The Buttonwood Tree
in Middletown,
Sunday, December 1, 7 pm

(5 pm show is SOLD OUT)


SNARKY PUPPY with Zack BROCK at the Royal Albert Hall, 2019.

Now they're at The Buttonwood Tree.
Then they're at the
Royal Albert Hall.

You probably missed the night when violinist ZACK BROCK cast his spell at The Buttonwood Tree—The Buttonwood Tree on Main St. in Middletown, with The Matisse Jazz Project in October 2018.   

The Matisse Jazz Project, musical impressions inspired by iconic cut-paper collages of French artist Henri Matisse, was composed by pianist Christopher Bakriges. Mr. Bakriges attended Wesleyan University--and his group played to a full house that night. I remember it well, because I was there for that stunning show with Christopher Bakriges & Zack Brock. But probably you were not. 

So where were you that night? Do you even remember? And what do you know or think about The Buttonwood Tree, anyway?  Is it down the street from you? Across the tracks & around the corner from you?  Is it above you? ... Is it beneath you? If that's what you think, perhaps you'd best think again.

Zack Brock, virtuoso jazz violinist, who played at  Buttonwood in 2018, last week was front and center on the world stage at the Royal Albert Hall (yes, the one, in London), with Snarky Puppy, a Grammy-award winning, genre-bending band, known for a mixture of composition, harmony, & improv. The group features 8-12 musicians from a rotating cast, reshaping each show as they follow their worldwide tour.

So how about that, Middletown? How about that, WES?  The Buttonwood Tree might be just around the corner, but how about having a look!  You might just see or see the Next Big Thing over at Main and Liberty at The Buttonwood Tree — maybe The Slambovian Underground.

Slambovian Underground, Sunday, December 1, at 8 pm at The Buttonwood Tree
in Middletown

The Matisse Jazz Project

from The Buttonwood Tree
October 7, 2018, 6-8:00 pm


Snarky Puppy Live Album
from Royal Albert Hall Performance
November 14th, 2019
Royal Albert Hall
Kensington Gore, London, U.K.


Friday, November 15, 2019

Council Approves Appointments

The newly elected Common Council made short work of its agenda last night. It approved its own operating rules which among other things give Mayor Ben Florsheim the authority to sign documents on behalf of the City.

It then approved all of the appointments by the mayor, and the assignments of committee responsibilities, as outlined on their agenda (see previous Eye post for details)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Common Council Organizational Meeting Tonight at 6PM

The first meeting of the new Common Council will take place tonight, 6PM in Council Chambers (agenda).  It is an organizational meeting: Council members will be appointed to a variety of Commissions and Boards. Each Council member will serve on at least four.

In addition, Councilman Vinnie Loffredo will be appointed as Deputy Mayor.

The following Commissions have primary responsibility for the oversight of the major areas of municipal work, they are composed entirely of Council Members.

Finance & Government Operation Commission
Edward McKeon, Chair
Eugene Nocera
Meghan Carta
Linda Salafia
Anthony Gennaro, Sr.

General Counsel Commission:
Meghan Carta, Chair
Jeanette White
Eugene Nocera
Linda Salafia
Edward Ford, Jr.

Public Safety Commission:
Bobbye Knoll Peterson was elected to the
Council, but resigned to serve as Mayor 
Florsheim's Chief of Staff. Her replacement
will be appointed by the Council at a future
Darnell Ford, Chair
Meghan Carta
Philip Pessina
Linda Salafia

Public Works and Facilities Commission:
Eugene Nocera, Chair
Edward McKeon
Darnell Ford
Philip Pessina
Edward Ford, Jr.

Insurance and Claims Commission:
Grady Faulkner, Chair
Darnell Ford
Linda Salafia

Economic Development Commission:
Vincent J. Loffredo, Chair
Jeanette White
Edward McKeon
Philip Pessina
Anthony Gennaro, Sr.

The following Commissions and Boards also include non-elected members:

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Photos Of Swearing-in Ceremony

Circophony Auditions!

Circophony Teen Circus will be holding auditions for its mainstage winter show on Tuesday, December 10, 6 – 8 pm at Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown. Auditions are open to all young people ages 14 – 20.

The theme of this year’s original circus performance will be Espionage and the world of spies – international secret agents, wacky chase scenes on unicycles and trick bikes, acrobatic intrigue, contortion extortion, and Pink Panther-like clowns lurking in the shadows everywhere. The show will be directed by Allison McDermott, with additional coaching and choreography by Naja Muller and guest artists.

Circophony, a collaboration between Oddfellows Playhouse and ARTFARM, provides circus arts training and performance opportunities to teenagers in central Connecticut. All actors, acrobats, jugglers, contortionists, unicyclists, dancers, parkouristas, magicians, stilters and just fabulous people between 14 and 20 are invited to audition. No previous circus experience is required.

Anyone planning to audition should arrive on time, plan to stay for the entire 2 hours, dress to move, and prepare a short solo act (no longer than one minute). Audition acts can feature any circus arts, dance, acrobatics, spoken word, silly human tricks, stand up comedy – you name it.

Rehearsals will be held Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, 6 – 9 pm, starting January 7. Performances will be in the Theater at Oddfellows on February 27 – 29. Tuition to join Circophony Teen Circus is $250, but financial aid and work-study options are available for all who need it. No one is turned away for lack of funds.

Oddfellows Playhouse is located at 128 Washington Street in Middletown. For more information, or to register for auditions, go to, email, or call (860) 347-6143.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Seagull opens this weekend at Oddfellows

Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company presents Anton Chekhov's classic tragicomedy The Seagull in a contemporary translation by Anya Reiss. This innovative translation of Chekhov’s work will be performed November 14-23 at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street in Middletown.

The Seagull explores the conflicts of the New Generation vs. the Establishment, innocent love contrasted with unrequited love, and young people struggling with depression and insecurity. Reiss’s modern adaptation brings this tragicomic masterpiece to life for contemporary audiences, reflecting on what it means to be human and entrapped in a society that is infatuated with celebrity over authenticity. 

Directed by Jeanie Kanaley, the play is performed by ten actors between the ages of 14 and 20, with set design by Daniel Nischan, lighting design by Jon-Paul LaRocco, costume design by Nicki Laporte, properties design by Pam Lang, and sound design by Mick Bolduc.

 The Seagull is a classic, reflecting back to us what it is to be human,” says Director Kanaley on the continued significance of the play. “At this point of time in our society, what I find most compelling is the play’s theme of fame and celebrity versus authenticity and art. I think this conflict of ideas, along with the New Generation versus the Establishment, is worth exploring with the Oddfellows’ Teen Repertory Company.”

The production contains mature subject matter, including suicide-related content and gunshots,  and is recommended for teenagers and adults.

Performances are November 14 – 16 and 22-23 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for kids. Thursday, November 14 is a “Pay-What-You-Can” Preview.

Young people ages 14 - 20 have many other opportunities to get involved at the Playhouse in the coming weeks. "Writing Plays" , a six week workshop in playwriting, taught by nationally-known playwright Kristen Palmer, will culminate in a "New Plays Festival" in February. A Shakespeare training program will also be offered for teens this winter (taught by Artistic Director Dic Wheeler and ARTFARM Artistic Director Marcella Trowbridge) in preparation for a May production of Romeo and Juliet. Circophony Teen Circus  (ages 14 - 20) holds auditions for its winter mainstage production on December 10, and young people ages 12 - 19 can join the Hip Hop Dance class, as well as the "Technical Theater and design class. The Playhouse seeks to offer opportunities and raise the artistic bar for teens in all areas of the performing arts. 

This Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company production is supported by the Connecticut Office of the Arts; Middletown Commission on the Arts; The Fund for Greater Hartford; Middletown Youth Services Bureau; The Stare Fund; State of CT Judicial Branch; Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation; Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Trust Fund; Community Development Block Grant Program; Nihla and Bob Lapidus Foundation; and many generous individual donors.

Oddfellows Playhouse is a non-profit youth theater, founded in 1975, which promotes the growth of young people – in skills, knowledge and self-confidence – through the performing arts. The Playhouse is Connecticut’s oldest and largest theater program for young people, and maintains an ongoing commitment to making high-quality arts experiences available to all young people.

For tickets, or more information, go to or call (860) 347-6143.

Phenomenal Performers Coming to The Buttonwood Tree

 Events at TBT this week:

Mattabesett String Collective
November 15 @ 8-10 pm
- $15 at door & $12 for TBT members
Featuring four musicians from four very Mattabesset String Collective is a 5-piece acoustic ensemble playing an eclectic mix of bluegrass, blues, folk, mountain, country and rock, all in a string band style. The band has played in various configurations around central Connecticut for over ten years. Its present lineup includes Barry Chernoff (guitar), Marc Eisner (mandolin), Rebecca McCallum (fiddle), Gil Skillman (banjo, cuatro, and dobro) and Kevin Wiliarty (bass). Make a reservation here 

Aligned w Source Personal Development Workshop
November 16 @ 10:30-Noon - $10
Topic: You, the Miracle Creator Mastering Your Thought
What is thought & how does it affect us?

Brett Bottomley Trio
November 16 @ 8 - 10 pm - $15
The Brett Bottomley Trio – An All-star group featuring internationally ​acclaimed Chapman Stick Artist, Brett Bottomley. The Trio performs Latin, Original and Jazz standards. The All Star cast includes Ken Fischer on piano and Bob Ahern on drums. Make a reservation here

Reiki Share
November 17 @ 3 - 5 pm - $20
If you are in need of a better quality of life, we implore you to indulge in this wonderful set of classes! Change is assured, but it only begins if you’re willing to take it! $15 for TBT members. (Members please call or email to sign up) see more here. Make a reservation here

Events at TBT next week:
Laughter Yoga w/ Dawn
November 19 @ 7 - 9 pm - $5 suggested donation
Hosted and led by local laughter yoga leader, Dawn Tyson, Laughter Yoga is a class that enables you to practice laughing so that when life gets difficult, you can laugh and change your perspective and state of mind. It involves child-like play with meditation and breathing exercises and laughing (no yoga mats needed). See more here
Crystal Bowl Sound Healing 
November 19 @ 7:30-8:30 pm, Free ($5 suggested donation)
Every third Tuesday, Crystal Bowl Sound Healing is held at 7:30pm! Hosted by Lou Sorrentino, sound healing combines psychological therapies with music to heal the body. With instruments such as Crystal Bowls crafted for perfect resonance, Lou restores energy flows to their proper states and bring peace to our bodies. see more here
Eric Mintel Quartet
November 21 @ 8-10 pm - $20
From the White House to the Kennedy Center to the United Nations and beyond, the Eric Mintel Quartet has been thrilling audience of all ages with their electrifying Jazz for over 25 years. Eric was a featured guest on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on NPR, The Eric Mintel Quartet has opened for Dave Brubeck at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, appeared on the QVC television network and has been featured in many jazz and newspaper publications including Down Beat, Jazz Times, Hot House Jazz, New York Time and many more! Featuring Eric Mintel on piano, Nelson Hill on saxophone, Jack Hegyi on flute and Dave Mohn on drums. Reservations are suggested
Mary DiPaola Trio
November 22 @ 8-10 pm - $10
The Mary DiPaola Trio will present a variety of arranged jazz standards and original compositions of the featured performers. Mary and Nat have been playing music together for more than 25 years, and all three musicians are closely linked to the Jackie McLean Institute at the Hartt School. Mary DiPaola - on piano, Nat Reeves - on bass, Kirk Woodard - on drums. Make a reservation
Aligned w Source Personal Development Workshop
November 23 @ 10:30-Noon - $10
Topic: Being Gratitude
Bringing gratitude into our daily lives; making everyday a Thanksgiving. Imagine the world that would create!
Tom " The Suit" Forst
November 8 @ 8-10 pm - $15
American Bluesman and Blues-Rock Journeyman, Guitarist and Songwriter Tom “The Suit” Forst is one of the most riveting and electrifying performers on the modern blues scene. A guitarist, whose style has been called a cross between Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Joe Walsh, Tom Forst‘s debut solo album “On Fire” was produced by Grammy winning guitarist Paul Nelson of the Johnny Winter Band. Make a reservation

Stay in touch: 605 Main St. Middletown, CT 06457 | (860) 347-4957 | || | Instagram: the buttonwoodtree | Twitter @thebuttonwoodtree

                            Check out all our events here at our official website!
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There is FREE, AMPLE PARKING next door - behind It's Only Natural market on weekends and after 6 on weekdays.
  MEMBER BENEFITS now include ...

All members are invited to join our regular programs free of charge.
Didn't get a card? Please contact us - we'll get it to you! 

These include:
Anything Goes Open Mic (with Moments of Gratitude)  (Mondays)
Laughter Yoga  (1st and 3rd Tues)
Sound Healing with Lou  (3rd Tues)
Acoustic Open Mic with Bob Gotta   (1st Thurs)
Shaking the Tree Gong Sound Healing  (3rd Thurs)
Middlesex Drum Circle  (4th Thurs)
Story City Troupe  (Every First Friday)


Meet Your Greens: Invasive Plants with Lindsay Suhr Novemeber 21st

The Rockfall Foundation’s November Meet Your Greens networking meet-up will be on Thursday, November 21 at El Pulpo & Tapas Bar, Middletown. Join us for drinks, food, and conversation 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Guest speaker Lindsay Suhr will discuss Invasive Plants: A Growing Concern.

As the Land Conservation Director for the Connecticut Forest & Park Association, Lindsay is in charge of conserving and stewarding land entrusted to CFPA. She also serves on the steering committee of the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group. Lindsay will tells us about the characteristics of invasive plants, some little known facts about invasive plants, and why we should all care about invasive plants. She’ll also share some resources to get you started on your own project.

El Pulpo is located at Melilli Plaza. Its entrance is inside Main Street Market. 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.