Saturday, November 30, 2019

Genealogy Club - Godfrey Memorial Library

Saturday, December 7, 2019
9:30 - 11:00 am
134 Newfield Street, Middletown, CT
Topic:  “Hidden Discoveries about Your Civil War Kin”
Speaker:  Clay Feeter, of Find Your Civil War Ancestor

"Your Civil War ancestors' stories are always much deeper than the few lines about them that you might—or might not!—find in your family genealogy book," says researcher Clay Feeter, who will give an informative talk and visual presentation on the subject.

Even if all your genealogy book says is "Killed in the War of the Rebellion," you will learn how to use those sometimes dry and hard-to-understand facts to bring your soldier-ancestor’s story to life.

Learn about the challenges and hardships of the Civil War. Not only did our Civil War soldier-ancestors suffer during that great conflict, but their families at home had it just as hard … running the farm and taking care of the kids, canning food or making socks to send to the boys on the front line.

Before attending the talk, you will want to research your family history. Most Civil War-age men were born between1815-1847. Try to find out where they fought, marched, were wounded, captured, and even where they died. Many of our kin may have fought at the same famous battles, or maybe even side by side in the same regiment! This is all valuable information to pass on to the next generations, so bring a pen and notepad.

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

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Saturday: Middlesex Land Trust Hike

Join John LeShane at Brainerd Quarry Preserve in Haddam Neck for a hike on Saturday, November 30th from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Enjoy our last official hike of the year that includes a spectacular view of the Connecticut River now that the leaves are off of the trees for the season. From the intersection of Route 66 and Route 151 in Cobalt, head south on Route 151/Middle Haddam Road. Travel on Route 151 for approximately 3 miles before turning right onto Haddam Neck Road and continue straight when the name changes to Rock Landing Road. Bear left onto Injun Hollow Road. After approximately 1.5 miles, the trailhead and parking are located along the left side of the road. There are two trailheads for this preserve, and we are meeting at the southern trailhead for this hike.

The Brainerd Quarry Preserve is a 50-acre preserve that was acquired by the Middlesex Land Trust in 2015 in partnership with the Connecticut River Gateway Commission. This preserve features a beautiful view of the Connecticut River and Haddam Meadows State Park. A trail system that runs along both the ridge and the base of dramatic cliffs, created from the property’s historic use as a quarry, has been created for use by the public.

Please wear sturdy boots or sneakers, and bring snacks and water as desired. Kids are welcome, as are dogs on leash. Downpours, storms, or heavy snow will cancel the hike – check our Facebook page or website for updates. Please call the Middlesex Land Trust at (860) 343-7537 or send an email to for more information, or to let us know that you plan on attending – although you are welcome to attend without advance notice

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Compassion Counts, Dec. 3: Aligning Body, Mind and Spirit for True Healing

This meeting is open to, and designed for, the general public.  CEU's (Continuing Education Units) are available for those in degree or certification programs.

Our Music Critic Reviews A Wesleyan Classical Concert

Submitted by Peter Drewniany


Our way takes us by foot: a tantalizingly warm November evening welcomed an auspicious evening of musicianship; the evening's atmosphere tingled most unseasonably.  It's been some years since we last had the privilege of attending an event at the Crowell Concert Hall, and the space did not fail to live up to our nostalgic memories.  Instructor John Biatowas welcomed us all with a concise introduction, and we then moved on into the music.

The show opened with selections from Carl Maria von Weber's Trio for Piano, Flute, and Cello in G-Minor, Op. 63, by a trio of capable underclassmen.  We most enjoyed the Sturm und Drang; sophomore pianist Irene Westfall was both technically adept and expressive in tone as she shepherded her freshmen compatriots through the tension.  Cellist Seren Lurie and flautist Anna Du made impressive debuts, and we look forward to watching them blossom. 

Next on the program were selections from two French composers of the Post-Romantic period.  Sophomore Dustin Qian's lively dancing on flute did somewhat contrast with junior Eilson He's more sensuous tendencies on the violin, but such is romanticism. Freshman Lewis Chao coaxed enormous spirit from the piano; indeed, perhaps his exuberance waxed a bit too greatly.  In the middle of Jacques Ibert’s Two Interludes for Flute, Violin, and Harpsichord the damper pedal became dislodged from the piano with a resounding *THUMP*.   The trio ably guided us to the end of the composition, but seemed a bit flustered by their predicament. 

At this point one must call attention to Instructor Biatowas's patient shepherding of his students.  He, with the aid of a female colleague, graciously shifted the piano backstage where it might find some timely R&R.  Dilettantes that we are, we failed to make a note of his colleague's name, but we give thanks to both for their dedication.

Lacking a piano, we readjusted our itinerary, and proceeded to the Mozart Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K. 581.  Zachary Drum, a PhD candidate in biology, demonstrated himself to be a man of many talents.  He navigated the virtuosic clarinet line first penned for Austrian multi-instrumentalist Anton Stadler with commanding grace and poise.  Third-year violinists Henry Lin-David and Kate Luo provided delightful treble interplay, and cellist Anna Zagoren, in her final year at Wesleyan, appeared to be in rare form.  We must also highlight the delightful musicianship of sophomore Catherine Cheng on viola, and we look forward to witnessing more of her vibrant contributions.

At this point the piano reemerged, and our French interpreters took their places back on stage.  Mr's Qian, He, and Chao performed an intriguing rendition of Mel Bonis's Suite Op. 59.  They played with vigor and spirit, particularly in light of their earlier technical difficulties, and revealed themselves to be quite sensitive performers.

The next trio of performers was eagerly greeted by the audience, third-year student Esme Lytle even had her own cheering section.  While this seemed perhaps a bit out of the ordinary for a chamber music ensemble, it did set an enthusiastic tone for their moving rendition of the third movement from Beethoven's Piano Trio, Op. 1.  Ms. Lytle's strong performance on violin was joined with charming effervescence by senior Lillian Li on piano.  Cellist Paul McLaren, in his junior year of studies, capably rounded out the trio.

Our final piece of repertoire for the evening was the first movement from Robert Schumann's Piano Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 47. Sophomore Luisa Rodriguez shimmered on violin.  Freshman Sofia Cohen, on what sounded a very formidable viola, danced up into the trebles, and then down into lower registers where she found herself harmoniously enmeshed in the cello work of junior Hayley Qin.  Sophomore Michael Brandt's focused enterprise behind the keyboard made for a delightful and complete whole.

All told, a splendid evening at our local center of higher learning.  We eagerly await future performances!

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Complete Shakespearean Class

Oddfellows Playhouse will be offering a six week intensive training program in Shakespearean Acting for teenagers this winter.

“The Complete Shakespearean” will meet Monday evenings, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, from January 6 through February 10 at Oddfellows Playhouse, which is located at 128 Washington Street in Middletown. The course is designed to prepare teens to audition for Oddfellows’ Teen Repertory Company’s Spring Production of Romeo and Juliet.

The course, taught by ARTFARM Artistic Director Marcella Trowbridge and Oddfellows Artistic Director Dic Wheeler, plus guest artists, will provide actors ages 14 – 20 with fundamental training in classical acting, voice, text analysis, movement and stage combat. 

Space is limited for this course, so participants are encouraged to enroll early to ensure a place. Tuition for the six week course is $100. Anyone completing the class will get a $75 credit toward tuition for Romeo and Juliet. Financial aid and work-study options are available to all who need it.

Auditions for Romeo and Juliet will be March 2 and 5, and the performances will be May 14 – 23.
To register, or for more information, go to, call (860) 347-6143, or email   

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Talented Jazz Quartet and More This Week at Buttonwood Tree

Don't miss your chance for a fabulous evening!!  Eric is one of those uber-talented, really personable, nice guys who doesn't disappoint! His whole group has played together for decades and are all super talented.

Events at TBT this week:
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 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, Award-winning 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 with full band!!
November 23 @ 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

                            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)

Writing Plays Class!

Oddfellows Playhouse is now offering a WRITING PLAYS CLASS! Meeting once a week, writers will develop plays for the Playhouse Stage! By creating characters, mapping worlds, and igniting conflicts, students will learn the art of dramatic writing. Explore your voice in a supportive and lively workshop, culminating with the presentation of YOUR play in the NEW PLAYS FESTIVAL in February.

Join us for a ** FREE SAMPLE CLASS ** on Thursday, December 12 from 6:30-8:30 PM. Regular class meets every Thursday from 6:30-8:30, starting January 9 and running until February 20. The New Plays Festival will take place on Saturday, February 22.

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

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.