Monday, March 31, 2014

Tom Callinan Comes Home to Sing War Songs

The Middlesex County Historical Society presents the CD-release concert for Middletown native Tom Callinan’s latest recording entitled “We Owe Allegiance To No Crown” on Tuesday, April 1, at 7:00 pm in the Hubbard Room at Russell Library, 123 Broad Street in Middletown.  The recordings contains seventeen songs from and about the War of 1812, along with contemporary compositions (mostly original), based on facts, legend, and lore and will be available for purchase at the conclusion of the concert. 

Viewed by many as "America's Second War of Independence," the War of 1812 is often overlooked or overshadowed by the American Revolution and the Civil War.  But many events of that conflict are burned into the American consciousness such as the burning of the Capitol and White House in Washington, D.C. and the failed bombardment by the British of Fort McHenry that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the words of the "The Star-Spangled Banner." A little known fact of the war was that Federalist opposition to "Mr. Madison's War," particularly in New England, almost caused Northern states to secede from the union … nearly 40 years before the Civil War.

1814 was the year that most impacted Connecticut during the War of 1812, and of the seventeen songs on the CD six relate to people and events in Middlesex County during this bicentennial year.  In honor of the April 8th raid and burning of the fleet in Essex, Tom has penned a trilogy: the lively "Save The Sloops, Brigs & Schooners"; the lament "Pine, Oak, & Tar"; and an attempt to address the many still-unanswered "Burning Questions At Potapaug".  "Enough!" recounts the valiant resistance of the Clinton militia, while "Irish Luck & Pluck" chronicles the naval journey of Captain Thomas Macdonough, who chose Middletown as his adopted home.  The period piece "The Constitution And The Guerriere" touts the victory of Captain Isaac Hull, who spent time in Middletown before taking command of "Old Ironsides".

A highly regarded folksinger, songwriter, storyteller, sea-chanteyman, and multi-instrumentalist, Mr. Callinan is now in his 37th year as a full-time creative and performing artist.  During that time, he has cultivated a reputation as a collector and presenter of songs from America's past, as well as a creator of songs in the styles reminiscent of historical periods.  In recognition of his talent and achievements, Tom was named Connecticut’s first Official State Troubadour.  He and his wife, Ann Shapiro, founded CRACKERBARREL ENTERTAINMENTS, an agency that provides enrichment and family programming, primarily in the Eastern United States.

Russell Library is handicap accessible and this program is free and open to the public.  For further information, contact the Historical Society at 860-346-0746.  

MxCC Hosts Annual e-Cycling Event on April 24

Not sure what to do with your old and unwanted electronics? Middlesex Community College has a free solution on how to dispose of these ancient artifacts, without filling landfills. Just bring your unwanted electronics to campus on April 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during MxCC’s annual e-Cycling event.
Hosted by the College’s Computer Club during Earth Week, MxCC students, along with students from the Vinal Technical High School information systems technology program, will collect a variety of electronics and computers at the lower parking lot at 100 Training Hill Road, Middletown.
At the end of the day, all items will be picked up by Green Monster e-Cycling of West Hartford, and will be fully recycled for parts. Green Monster has a strict zero-landfill policy, meaning all items it collects are broken down into basic components and passed on to refineries and smelters where precious metals are harvested.  By-products of all electronic components are eventually added to items such as concrete, fence posts, or glass. Green Monster partners only with EPA-compliant leaders in the downstream recycling industry that have been audited.
During the e-Cycling event, MxCC’s Computer Club will be collecting voluntary donations for its annual computer giveaway contest. As part of this program, students donate free computers to fellow MxCC students in need. Last semester, Marquis Bawl and Janet Rider each received a brand new computer as a result of an essay contest.
“Donations of any size are appreciated and are used to offset the cost of purchasing new computers for deserving MxCC students,” said Professor Donna Hylton. “The annual computer giveaway allows the Computer Club to offer much needed resources for students who would otherwise not be able to afford it.”
At the e-Cycling event, anything with a cord or battery will be collected including computers, laptops, modems, toners, printers, fax machines, telephones, cables, server racks, batteries, and mp3 players. However, air conditioners, washers/dryers, refrigerators, light bulbs, or household batteries will not be accepted. For a full list of acceptable items, visit

WESU Spring Program Released: 75 Years of ....

News from one of our city's radio stations. From Ben Michael, general manager.
WESU is excited to announce our Spring Programing lineup to kick off our 75th anniversary celebrations during the 2014 calendar year! To celebrate our landmark birthday, we’ll be treating our listeners to many special on-air features and events happening in and around Middletown.

“This year’s spring program is especially exciting because it marks the beginning of WESU’s 75th year on air with alternative and creative programing”, says WESU President Mary Barrett. Each month there will be a “75 years of….” radio series with a new theme that is reflective of the station’s dedication to alternative music, public affairs and community service, and quality programing for our listeners. February’s theme is “75 years of socially conscious music” while next month we’ll be celebrating women’s history month with “75 Years of Female Artists”. Another 75th anniversary program, “Welcome Back” (2nd &4th Fridays at 1pm) reconnects with some of the people who have been involved with WESU over the years to hear their stories about how WESU helped
them along the way.

Also to look forward to this season, is our new 6:00pm weekday program block filled with unique talk radio which replaces the loss of our flagship public affairs program, Free Speech Radio News. Although we can’t list every show, our schedule certainly proves that WESU offers something for everyone. Highlights of some new programs include “Real Talk” with Jonathan Spira (a series of interviews with professors from the Connecticut area), “Words” with Abigail Joella Shneyder (Tune in as slam poets perform live in the studio and talk about their work) and old favorites like the “Middletown Youth Radio Project”, “The Moondog Matinee”, “The Gospel Express”, our weekly electronic Dance music block, and our Saturday Caribbean music programming.

Having trouble keeping up with our over-stuffed program schedule? Last season we launched a new Twitter page (@WESUtunein) that provides followers with live updates of each show at the time it comes on air to help listeners keep track of their favorite programs. Also be sure to follow (@WESUmiddletown) and find us on Facebook to keep up with general station updates.

This season’s programing would be nothing without Hannah Ryan, our Program Director, who has worked tirelessly to put together a schedule that is fully representative of everything WESU has stood for in the past 75 years. “I really enjoyed seeing so many new shows, along with all of the staples returning for another season,” says Hannah. Ben Michael, the station’s full time general manager chimes in, “with over 150 student and community volunteers working together to provide 24 hour programming 365 days per year, our Spring 2014 Program reflects the diversity of the diverse communities we have served for 75 years”. WESU's spring schedule can be found online at and a print program guide will be distributed at select locations around the area and mailed to station donors in the coming weeks.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

St. Mary’s Ladies’ Guild Tea Next Sunday


St. Mary of Czestochowa Ladies’ Guild is sponsoring an old-fashioned and elegant afternoon tea on
Sunday April 6 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the parish center, 79 S. Main Street. Doors open at 1 p.m. with a teacup raffle featuring a wide array of gift certificates and custom-made baskets.

A classic full tea menu comprised of completely homemade finger sandwiches, scones with lemon curd & clotted cream, as well as cookies and hand-dipped candied fruit awaits. Join us for an afternoon of fun and friendship. Please call Mary at (203) 237-8553 for tickets ($20 per person) or to discuss hosting your own table of 8 ladies.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

SEAMUS Conference Amps Up Campus Soundscape Over Three Music-Packed Days (Mar. 27-29)

CFA Arts Administration Intern Chloe Jones ’15 talks to University Professor of Music and Director of the Electronic Music and Recording Studios Ronald Kuivila and Assistant Professor of Music Paula Matthusen about the conference of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States, taking place at Wesleyan University from Thursday, March 27 through Saturday, March 29, 2014, in this entry from the Center for the Arts blog.

Experimental music composer Alvin Lucier first performed at Wesleyan in 1968, just one year before the release of his groundbreaking and world-famous sound installation, I Am Sitting in a Room. He was teaching at Brandeis University at the time, but came to Wesleyan after a group of students requested to take a class in electronic music. The class was a roaring success, and Mr. Lucier was hired to launch an electronic music program at Wesleyan.

More than four decades later, the electronic music scene on campus is alive and well, and this year Wesleyan hosts the 29th National Conference for the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS), co-hosted by University Professor of Music and Director of the Electronic Music and Recording Studios Ronald Kuivila and Assistant Professor of Music Paula Matthusen. Over 130 people are expected to gather from the U.S. and abroad and join the Wesleyan and regional community for this important series of performances, installations, talks, and workshops. [The SEAMUS conference is being held in New England for the first time since 1998.]

The term “electro-acoustic” refers to music that depends on electronic technology for its creation and/or performance. “Electronic technology” encompasses everything from hemispherical speakers to 3D video projection, custom software to the average laptop.

That’s not to say electro-acoustic music is all high-tech. Ordinary objects frequently make their way into the musical compositions, concerts, and sound installations. Case in point: one installation work featured at this year’s SEAMUS conference, Urban Legend [by Jenny Johnson, as part of David Tudor's Rainforest in Zelnick Pavilion], invites visitors to combine Pop Rocks candy with carbonated soda water, and then captures the sounds of the resulting chemical reaction with a small hydrophone. Rainforest will create a chorus of loudspeakers out of found objects in an immersive sound installation that melds the ordinary with the extraordinary. [Other contributors to Rainforest include Paula Matthusen, Nestor Prieto MA'14, Phil Edelstein, John Driscoll, Nayla Mehdi, Stephan Moore, Jim Moses, Doug Repetto, Jeff Snyder, and Suzanne Thorpe.]

In the upper lobby of Fayerweather Beckham Hall, the audio installation SC Tweet [by Charles Hutchins MA'05] draws information from incoming tweets [tagged with #sc140 and that contain executable code] to program elaborate musical scores.

And taking place in a public parking garage in Middletown [the Middle Oak Parking Garage at 213 Court Street], The Non-aggressive Music Deterrent will replace the light classical music that usually plays in the garage with a whole array of original electro-acoustic compositions [from Friday, March 27 at 5pm to Sunday, March 29, 2014 at 12am; contributors to The Non-aggressive Music Deterrent include Benjamin Zucker '15, Jason Bolte, Julius Bucsis, Caroline Park, A. Campbell Payne, Sean Peuquet, Margaret Schedel, and Juan Solare.]

It’s this fusion of high-tech and low-tech that makes the field of electro-acoustic music so compelling and innovative. “There’s a fine tradition of doing things like circuit building and hacking, in which you take found objects and reconfigure them,” explains Mr. Kuivila. “It’s an approach to electro-acoustic music that dovetails with our daily experience, in that you take something familiar and redefine it so that it becomes new.”

Electro-acoustic music transforms an empty film canister into a loudspeaker, or a cigar box into the body of a new instrument. It can also transform space, an idea that has greatly influenced Mr. Kuivila and Ms. Matthusen’s vision for this year’s SEAMUS conference.
Pianist Kathleen Supové will perform during
SEAMUS Concert #14 on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 8pm in Crowell Concert Hall.
In addition to the five daily concerts [for a total of fifteen concerts across the three days], the ongoing installations, four workshops, three paper sessions, and two listening rooms, there are a number of special events revolving around issues of space.

“We wanted to come up with ways to engage with the social dimension of spatiality,” says Mr. Kuivila.

One event that poses questions about space is Rock’s Role (After Ryoanji), which draws its inspiration from a series of pieces composed by John Cage. Rock’s Role (After Ryoanji) is comprised of soundworks that embrace sound leakage and overlap – the inescapable infiltration of sound into space. Each soundwork is intended to coexist with the other soundworks in the space [the lower level of World Music Hall; soundworks for Rock’s Role (After Ryoanji) contributed by Mara Helmuth, Jason Malli, Maggi Payne, A. Campbell Payne, and Adam Vidiksis.]

From the Memorial Chapel to the underground tunnels of the Center for the Arts, SEAMUS is taking the campus by storm and by sound. “You will hear a lot of different things,” says Mr. Kuivila. “It’s a smorgasbord of sorts.”

The SEAMUS conference represents an exciting moment for the Wesleyan Music Department and the regional community, bringing to campus many world leaders in the field of electro-acoustic music. For more information, as well as a detailed listing of events, please visit the conference website.

SEAMUS Concert #9

Friday, March 28, 2014 at 8pm
Crowell Concert Hall, 50 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown
Tickets: $8 general public; $6 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff, non-Wesleyan students; $5 Wesleyan students
Concert #9 will feature Meditation on Pattern and Noise, a multi-modal exploration of communication and disruption, with music and language by vocalist Jonathan Zorn '02 MA '07. This concert will also include guitarist Bryan Jacobs performing his Syncro-Vox and Other Cheap Animation Techniques with Natacha Diels on alto flute (reading the music off a scrolling score on a computer display); pianist Kari Johnson performing time, forward by Chin Ting Chan (with fixed sample playbacks and live processing techniques), as well as Leander’s Swim by Sam Wells (with live electronics, inspired by Cy Twombley's painting Hero and Leandro, Part I); pianist Shiau-uen Ding performing Composition for S#!++\/ Piano with Drum Samples, Concrete Sounds, and Processing by Christopher Bailey (a percussive piece full of funky rhythms, joyous chaos, and cacophony); Motions of Maria Makiling for four-channel fixed media by Deovides Reyes III (depicting the bodily movements of the mythical Filipino character); and cellist Jason Calloway performing Vanished into the Clouds by Jacob David Sudol (with live electronics, titled from a chapter in the Japanese novel The Tale of Genji).

SEAMUS Concert #14
Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 8pm
Crowell Concert Hall, 50 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown
Tickets: $8 general public; $6 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff, non-Wesleyan students; $5 Wesleyan students

Concert #14 will feature pianist Kathleen Supové (pictured above) performing Sonata for Piano and Tape by Todd Kitchen (based on the melody from the chorale Christ lag in Todesbanden), as well as two movements from Metal Works for piano and electronics by Nina Young (a suite of pieces inspired by scientific, poetic, and historic concepts of metal). Ms. Young is the first prize 2013 ASCAP/SEAMUS Commission Winner.

The concert will also feature the final movement of The Chamber of False Things, from The Barnum Museum (2009–2012) for fixed media by Barry Schrader (an electronic tone poem based on a short story by Steven Millhauser). The winner of the 2014 SEAMUS Award, Mr. Schrader is a founder and the first president of SEAMUS, described by Gramophone as a composer of "approachable electronic music with a distinctive individual voice to reward the adventurous."

This concert will also include Hephaestus’ Fire: Music for Anvil and Electronics by Paul Leary (named after the Greek god of blacksmithing, metallurgy, and volcanoes, and performed with keyboards, foot pedals, a gaming joystick, an anvil, various hammers, and industrial metals); Z-77 for paper and computer by Jennifer Hill (an interpretation of Richard Wagner’s "gesamtkunstwerk" performed along with Ryan Fellhauer); and N’air sur le lit, a collaboration by pianist Jon Appleton and vocalist Paul J. Botelho with fixed media.

This weekend at the Buttonwood...

Friday, March 28

Closing Reception: "Through Her Eyes" Women's Art Show
4:30-6:30 pm, free

In Celebration of International Women’s Day, March 8th, The Buttonwood Tree annually hosts a Collective Women’s Art Show in March. This year, thanks to the Community Foundation of Middlesex County and its Sari A. Rosenbaum Fund for Women and Girls,  a new program for “emerging” artists was created. Established artists were paired with “emerging” artists to mentor them and assist them in bringing their art work to show-able, sell-able condition. Join us for refreshments, and get to know the folks involved in the show!

Kerri Powers & Eric Lichter
8 pm, $10

Kerri Powers's strong, smoky voice and commanding stage presence wills educe you from the moment you hear her music. Poewrs has appeared at many prestigious venues and folk festivals including The Boston Folk Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, and Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

Kerri Powers: guitar and vocals; Ed Larusso: pedal steel; Eric Lichter: guitar and bass; James Maple: drums.

Reserve your seat!


Saturday, March 29

Free Poets Collective: Woman Scream International Poetry Event
1-5 pm, donations welcome

Free Poets Collective is proud to be part of this International Arts event. Woman Scream International has its origins in Dominican Republic and is part of that country’s celebration for National Woman Month. Our local event will be a Human Rights Awareness theme and will focus on abuse prevention and advocacy. We are also opening this program to our community partners and welcome collaborations, so if you want to speak out and raise your voice, or scream it... Join us!

Headliner: Priscilla Galligan. Also featuring Lisa Matarazzo, Susan Mardinly, & Jessica Brooke. Live music provided by Izikhotane, a social justice singer-songwriter duo

Jen Allen Jazz
8 pm, $10

Jen Allen is a jazz pianist whose debut solo album “Pieces of Myself” was released in June 2011. The album features Dave Baron on bass, Lee Fish on drums, Kris Allen on alto, Josh Evans on trumpet and Andrew Renfroe on guitar.

In May 2011, Allen was chosen as one of only eight pianists from around the world to participate in the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Workshop at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Reserve your seat!


All events take place at The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center, 605 Main Street, Middletown CT.

For more information, please visit our website or call us at (860) 347-4957.

Middletown Schools And UConn Offer PEP Program For Families

From Rebecca Deotte, Parent Leadership Coordinator For Middlesex County, Middletown Public Schools
UCONN’s People Empowering People (PEP) for Families is now enrolling for Spring 2014 Classes will be held at Macdonough School, 66 Spring Street,
on Mondays from 6pm to 8pm. Classes begin March 31, 2014 and enrollment is open until April 21.

The PEP program is designed to recognize the unique strengths and experiences of every individual. PEP focuses on empowerment as a dynamic process through which individuals can reach their own goals and contribute through community action. For the first time, we will be offering a Youth PEP group, for children of PEP enrollees, aged 8-12. Students in Youth Pep will focus on problem solving and communication skills and the program compliments the People Empowering People program which parents and caregivers would attend. PEP begins March 31st , space is limited so register today! Additionally, childcare is available for children 4 -8 and a light dinner will be served.

 For more information please contact the Parent Leadership Office at 860-638-1463 or email at

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Courant Columnist and Thoreau Author to Speak in Middletown

On the Nature of Nature, a series of occasional talks, readings and conversations on nature and sustainable living hosted by The Rockfall Foundation, presents an evening with  Robert Thorson and his latest book,  Walden's Shore: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth-Century Science.

Join us on March 27, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m, at the deKoven House Community Center, for an author reading and presentation, audience conversation, book signing and reception.

According to Robert Thorson, Henry David Thoreau's 19th-century masterpiece, Walden, is a notable work of physical science as well as American literature. After a close reading of Thoreau's Journal, Thorson became interested in the writer's self-taught, scientific mind: the rock and mineral collector, pioneering limnologist and geoscientist, and interpreter of landscapes. Walden's Shore  illustrates Thoreau's skill with field science and how that skill transformed Walden from its beginnings as a social critique to its conclusion as a well-informed piece of nature writing.

Just as Walden ask us to imagine a "living earth," Walden's Shore  asks us to see Thoreau's search for truth as downward, his search for simplicity as more descendental than transcendental.

"Henry worked hard to understand Walden's geological narrative and its timeless limnology prior to the composition of his masterpiece...My ultimate goal is to show that  Walden is as strongly grounded in physical reality as it is in language, literature and mythology." --R. Thorson

Robert Thorson is a Professor of Geology at the University of Connecticut (Storrs), author of five previous books, public speaker and consultant on geo-topics, ranging from museum exhibit design to expert witness testimony.  Dr. Thorson's 2002 book, Stone by Stone: the Magnificent History of New England's Stone Walls,  won the CT Book Award for nonfiction. An op-ed columnist focusing on science, environment and education for the Hartford Courant, he's published more than 400 columns and essays. More information about his life, teaching and works can be found at

Suggested donation: $10 per guest; copies of Walden's Shore will be available for purchase.
Seating is limited. For reservations: Call (860)347-0340; or email

Questions? Please call The Rockfall Foundation office (860)347-0340 or email .

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Youth Lacrosse Fundraiser At Cherry Berry Tonight

Networking Careers Event at MxCC on April 12

Health Information Management (HIM) and Information Technology (IT) continue to be at the top of job lists across America, and many people are preparing for careers in this high-demand field.  To explore some possible paths, Middlesex Community College’s Computer Club is hosting its third annual “Network Event.” 
This free event, which is open to the public, will be held on Saturday, April 12, 2014, in the Founders Hall cafeteria from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Successful professionals representing the fields of HIM and IT will be on hand to share practical career information and demonstrate innovative technology. For more information, or to register, contact Carolyn Sommer at 860-343-5749 or

Lack of Due Diligence Leads to Six-Figure Loss -- Popcorn by The Colonel # 89

Dear Colonel:

We’ve been doing business for the past several months with an entity that represented itself to us as a “freight forwarder.”

This company has handled quite a few loads for us without a problem. It properly issued us bills of lading in its own name and used various underlying motor carriers to provide the actual transportation.

We never troubled to identify or check out these motor carriers, figuring that was the forwarder’s problem. To us, the only carrier that mattered was the forwarder, which was, of course, acting as shipper to the motor carriers.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Kevin Scarpati, Meriden city councilman, and Elaine Law, retired human resources executive from The Hartford, have been confirmed as new members of the Middlesex Community College Foundation Board of Directors.  The Foundation, which supports MxCC faculty development, student scholarships, campus projects, academic programs, and instructional technology, announced the new members at its monthly board meeting in March.

Kevin Scarpati is a lifelong resident of Meriden and is director of athletics for the Meriden YMCA.  He is an active member of the community, currently serving as chair of the Meriden Public Safety Committee, and as a member of the State Police Commissioners Association of Connecticut. Previously, he served on the Meriden Board of Education.  He is excited to help the MxCC Meriden Center grow as an active campus – and infuse life into the evolving city. 

Elaine Law is a resident Portland who recently retired after a long and successful career at The Hartford.   Through her work in human resources and employee relations, Elaine fully developed skills in relationship building, critical thinking, and talent management – which will now be used to the benefit of the Foundation.  This is of particular relevance as the College is currently searching for a new dean of institutional advancement. Elaine’s relationship with the school began in the 1990s when she was an active on-campus recruiter for open positions at The Hartford.  

“Both Kevin and Elaine bring an impressive level of energy, experience and innovative thinking to the board,” said H. Brian Dumeer, MxCC Foundation chairman. “We are fortunate to be able to tap into their talents as we continue to support Middlesex Community College’s mission to provide a high quality, affordable and accessible education to our regional population.”
Incorporated in 1979, Middlesex Community College Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to supporting the College, its students and faculty.  In 2013, the Foundation awarded $89,000 to MxCC to support scholarships, program enhancements and equipment.

Founded in 1966, Middlesex Community College ( is part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System. In all it does, Middlesex Community College strives to be the college of its community. By providing high quality, affordable, and accessible education to a diverse population, the college enhances the strengths of individuals through degree, certificate, and lifelong learning programs that lead to university transfer, employment, and an enriched awareness of our shared responsibilities as global citizens. MxCC, recently named a "Great College to Work For" by The Chronicle of Higher Education, offers more than 50 degree or certificate programs at the main 38-acre campus in Middletown, the downtown Meriden Center, and online. 
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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Conservation Commission honors Ron Klattenburg

Ron Klattenburg was honored and thanked for his long service to the environmental community at the Conservation Commission's regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 18th. It is with much gratitude and appreciation that he was honored. Ron was surprised and thankful for he recognition. He spoke briefly about his time in public service.

Ron gave years of leadership in the preservation of the City's natural resources and had a long time role in land and energy conservation. Ron's efforts will increase the quality of life for citizens of Middletown and beyond for years to come. He started in public service as a Conservation Commissioner when the CC was resurrected in 1989 after some time on hiatus. Later he served on the Common Council. Among his many accomplishments, he was instrumental in promulgating and passing an important bill to restrict the use of outdoor wood furnaces which have unhealthy particulate emissions and are detrimental to air quality.

The Conservation Commission wishes Ron all the best in his future endeavors.

Ron Klattenberg with two current Conservation Commission members (and past Chairs) Sheila Stoane (left) and Ellen Lukens (right). 
[this post has been edited to correct Ellen's last name. Thanks for the comment] 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

One Book One Middletown Coice 2014 Event: Tonight at The Buttonwood Tree / Sunday Concert Postponed

March 22 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm 

Celebrate the author, Rita Leganski, and her book The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow with the music of the Louisiana Delta region. Zydeco/cajun music by members of the Bayou Brethren. Free drink with book purchase!

Al Karas - fiddle, vocals
Mark Thompson - Cajun accordion, vocals
Fran Karas - bass, vocals 
Pete Stielau - guitar s

Cajun dance music, which traditionally includes quite a few two-steps and waltzes, many with lyrics sung in French. Some songs are instrumental, some non-Cajun songs (sung in English) as well. The band has been playing Cajun and zydeco music dating back to 1994. Mark is also a member of the Zydeco Hogs.

New date TBA

The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. We never turn away anyone for lack of ability to pay. 605 Main Street. 860-347-4957

Friday, March 21, 2014

Molly desperately needs a home! Can you help?


My Name is Molly!
Can you take me home with you?

I am a very cute, 14 year old here at CAT TALES because my owner got sick and had to go to a nursing home. So here I am…waiting…for a new companion. While at CAT TALES, they realized I have a large mass in my stomach and they do not know if it is cancerous or not.  

So I am looking for a special person who can be with me and care for me. I am hoping for a home where I can spend the last of my days on someone's lap and not at the shelter. I am very playful, purr when petted, snuggly, and a very happy girl despite my diagnosis and I am sure to bring joy to a special person’s heart and home.

If you work from home or are retired, you are the perfect companion for me.
Please come take me home with you.  You will be so happy that you did!

CAT TALES is seeking a permanent fostering for me and will tell you the best way to take care of me.

Please call CAT TALES at (860) 344-9043 or
Email: to inquire about Molly!

The Buttonwood Tree hosts NY Award-winning Singer Songwriters Full of Passion Tonight

John Pray & Dan Pelletier

March 21 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm


Sit for an hour with Dan Pelletier and you’ll walk away chuckling, shaking your head, wanting a long, cool drink and the red, tender lips of someone to love. He will show you himself, yourself, your lover, your family and friends and quite a few characters you may not know, but will instantly recognize. They jump out of his songs full of beauty and blemishes, brilliance and foolishness, insanity, humor, intensity and tenderness.
Pelletier’s passionate performance of these songs make him a rising star on the national folk scene. He is the winner of first prizes in the 2002 USA Songwriting Competition (Lyrics), 2002 Plowshares Songwriting Contest, 2001 SFFF Songwriter Competition, the 2001 Rose Garden Songwriter Contest and the 2000 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest. His second CD Wild Heart Rodeo was released in the spring of 2003 and is available on Hudson Valley Records.
Screen shot 2014-02-19 at 4.56.43 PM
Music took hold of John Pray at a very early age. Influenced by family music collections of Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Bobby Darin, Elvis Presley and countless others, his interest in singing songwriting began. After attending the Westchester Conservatory of Music, Pray started a long and diverse musical life that has played a major part in his development. Along with local appearances, live concert performances, and studio work, he has been a partner in recording, songwriting, and production with Steve Katz of Blood Sweet and Tears; the Grammy and Emmy nominee Peter Denenberg; and the Grammy winner Rory Young. As a vocalist, songwriter, guitarist, he has spent more than a decade volunteering his time and musical talent comforting hospice, nursing home, and hospital patients, leading him to write, produce, record, and donate a collection of songs to hospice organizations entitled “Behind Sacred Walls.”

Events are held at The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts and Cultural Center
605 Main Street, Middletown, CT   (In the former Arriwani Hotel)
Casual, cozy and surprisingly good! Refreshments available   860-347-4957