Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Oddfellows Spring Outdoor classes start April 10!


Registration is now open for Spring classes and performance opportunities at Oddfellows Playhouse

in Middletown. Spring 2021 at Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown holds an array of programs for

students ages 3-20. Programs will run from April 10 - May 29th (7 weeks). Our socially distanced,

covid-safe programs feature crafts, circus arts, improv, greek theater, acting, poetry, juggling, acrofit,

contortion, and an outdoor performance! Most classes will be held on the Front Lawn of Middletown’s

City Hall. Masks will be required of everyone. For details, and more information, go

to, call (860) 347-6143, or email

Financial aid is available for all programs.


The fun starts on Saturday April 10th with “Welcome to Circus” for ages 3-5 and “Circus 1” for ages 6-8.

Both classes will be led by Maegan Fuller. 

Welcome to Circus offers participants the chance to have a blast tumbling and playing with scarves, ribbons, and other

fun pieces of circus equipment for an exciting introduction to circus. These classes will run every

Saturday from 10-10:45am. Tuition is $100. 

Circus gives participants the chance to have fun discovering their inner clown while learning how to manipulate

different pieces of circus equipment including; flower sticks, diabolo, juggling, poi, and more! Classes

run on Saturdays from 11am-12pm and Tuesdays from 4:30-5:30pm. Tuition is $120. 

AGES 6-8:

Students ages 6-8 will have a ball with our selection of of classes such as Cookie’s Crafts, with Cookie Quinones, Circus 1 with Maegan Fuller, Tales from South America with Nicki LaPorte, and Creative Movement with Sasha Biagiarelli.

In Cookie’s Crafts all students will have the chance to create animals, flowers, fun jewelry, and others. Classes will be

held on Mondays from 4:30-5:30. Tuition is $120. 

Circus 1 gives participants the chance to have fun discovering their inner clown while learning how to manipulate different pieces of circus equipment including; flower sticks, diabolo, juggling, poi, and more! Classes run on Tuesdays from 4:30-5:30pm and Saturdays from 11am-12pm. Tuition is $120. 

During Tales from South America students will hear stories from South America and create theater pieces from those stories. They will

use their bodies, voices, and imaginations to explore the various characters in the stories. This class

runs on Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30pm. Tuition is $120.

Get moving and grooving through Creative Movement!This class features fun movement and dance routines that are entertaining, engaging, and exciting!

Exercises are designed to encourage expression and creativity through movement, and to promote

team-building and body/spatial awareness. This class runs on Thursdays from 4:30-5:30pm.

Tuition is $120. 

AGES 9-11:

For students ages 9-11 we have the following programs: Intro to Acting with Gianna DiMaiolo, Circus 2 with Allison McDermott, Yes, and… with Diamond Wynn, and Greek Theater with Nicki LaPorte. 

Intro to Acting invites all young thespians to learn the basic concepts of acting through movement, song and theatre

games. This class welcomes all sensationally serious and silly students— so let the games begin!

This class runs on Thursdays from 4:30-5:30pm. Tuition is $120. 

Circus 2 includes juggling, plate spinning, hula hooping, acrobatics and more! This class runs on Tuesdays from

4:30-5:30pm. Tuition is $120. 

Yes, And... provides kids the chance to discover the fundamentals of improvisational comedy, improve your

storytelling skills, learn techniques to think quickly on your feet and to be more creative. Wednesdays

from 4:30-5:30pm. Tuition is $120. 

Greek Theater Students will work with Greek stories (myths) to create a short ensemble driven piece of theater.

Classes run on Thursdays from 4:30-5:30pm. Tuition is $120

AGES 11-20:

For students ages 11-20, our Spring offerings include: The Rhythm in Repetition with Laugh Sanchez, Circophony Spring Training with Allison McDermott, Contortion 1 & 2 with Naja Muller and a mainstage outdoor Teen Repertory Company production.

In The Rhythm in Repetition (ages 11 - 15) students will learn how to add rhythm out of repeating lines of their poetry. It’s not about

how much, but how often. We will be attempting masterpieces from the bare minimum of literature.

This class runs on Wednesdays from 4:30-5:45pm. Tuition is $120.

Circophony Spring Training (ages 12 - 20) gives participants a chance to train in acrobatics and fitness and Juggling + more for the

price of one. Classes are Tuesdays - Acrofit runs from 5:30-6:30 and Juggling runs from 6:30-7:30pm.

Tuition is $120 for one class or two for the price of one. 

Contortion & Flexibility 1 (ages 12 - 20) will be held indoors at Oddfellows Playhouse. Spots are limited. Masks are required.

Social distancing will be enforced. Take some time this spring to learn the limits of just how far your

body and bend. Classes run on Fridays from 5-6:30pm. Tuition is $120. 

Contortion 2 This invitation-only class allows experienced students ages 12 - 20 time to hone their skills. This class

runs on Fridays from 3-5pm. Tuition is $120. 

The spring Teen Rep Company main stage production, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 has already concluded auditions and the sixteen cast members began rehearsals this week. Mark your calendar

for this powerful drama about social justice in our country on May 20- 22 and 28-29.

Again, financial aid is available to anyone who needs it.

Registration for this summer's Children's Circus of Middletown for ages 5 - 15 opens April 5.

More info on that HERE.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Spring Adventures and Vernal Pools

On the first relatively warm rainy night in spring after the snow has melted, the creatures begin stirring. Wood frogs and spring peepers set up a raucous commotion that tells all in the know that spring is here for sure. If you stand by a vernal pool without moving, but with a flashlight shining at the ground, you may see a slow-moving parade of salamanders and frogs heading for their version of a wild beach vacation. For a decade or more salamanders less than six inches long may travel several hundred feet to get to the wetland of their birth, counting on that successful pool to raise their own young. They sometimes even have to risk their lives crossing roads!

Vernal pools are also known as ephemeral wetlands. They appear in late winter and spring and most do not persist into the hotter, drier times of summer. All of them are found in dips in the land and most are found in wooded areas. They are fairly shallow and usually quite small with no permanent water flowing into them, aside from spring rains and melting snow. Because there are no fish, these pools form an ideal location for the successful development of amphibian eggs and certain invertebrates adapted to this ephemeral habitat.

Most vernal pools are isolated, occurring in shallow depressions. They may be found in hilly wooded areas or in low-lying areas near streams, but not connected to them. The old livestock pond at the Guida Conservation Area is teeming with salamanders, newts, and several frog species.   

There are several amphibian species that depend on vernal pools in CT, including Wood Frog, Spotted Salamander, Marbled Salamander, and the Jefferson Salamander/Blue-spotted Salamander complex. Fairy Shrimp are another CT vernal pool species.

Spotted salamanders are the most common and are about 6-8” long. They spend most of the year in underground tunnels in the woods feasting on snails, worms, insects, and other invertebrates. This means that they are seldom seen for most of the year, but their distinctive yellow spots make them visible in the shallow pools where they meet to find their mates and lay their eggs. The egg masses are often attached to vegetation. During the water stage, spotted salamanders have gills, but their lungs mature in August they can move out into the surrounding woodlands. Finding a vernal pool that will remain sufficiently deep for five months of the year is critical to the survival of the species.

Newts are much smaller than spotted salamanders, being only about 4-5 inches long. They have a more complicated relationship with the habitat because they have three dramatically different phases of their lives. Like spotted salamanders, they lay their eggs in water and the young cannot leave until their lungs develop three months later. However, when they leave, they have a dramatic red coloring with spots and are called “red efts”. They live in forested areas for several years until they are fully mature. Then they return to the water and live their adult lives as aquatic creatures, turning a protective olive-green color, but retaining their red spots.

If you think you hear a duck quacking in the middle of the woods, you have probably been fooled by a wood frog, calling for a mate. Wood frogs go from egg to tadpole to mature frog in just four months; the cycle must be completed before the pool dries up. This brown frog with a white belly is common in vernal pools, but spends its adult life in the leaf litter of surrounding woodlands. This species makes its own “antifreeze” by increasing their glucose levels in the winter, without the dire consequences that humans would experience. The high glucose levels in their tissues allow them to survive buried in leaf litter even if the outside temperatures get down to 20ºF.

However, the operatic superstar of the vernal pool is the spring peeper. This tiny frog, only about an inch in length, makes a high-pitched trill, singing with a choral group that can be heard up to a mile away. A large air sac on this diminutive frog allows the males to amplify the sound they make and it is astonishing to hear the volume that results. They are exceptionally wary of predators and are quick to dive underwater, but if you are patient enough to stay and wait, you may be able to see them reemerge and spot the distinctive X on their backs. These little frogs can develop from eggs to tadpoles into mature frogs in just 7 weeks if conditions are right. The adults have large discs at the ends of their toes that enable them to climb small trees and bushes, usually in marshy and moist woodland areas. Like wood frogs, they are adapted to survive harsh winter temperatures buried in leaf litter.

Next to Lawrence School in Middletown, there is a site that “contains the greatest concentration of vernal (or seasonal) pools in the state. These unique pools and related woodlands provide breeding and foraging for a wide range of amphibians. Each pool contains a different universe of aquatic creatures,” according to Ellen Jokinen of the University of Connecticut. In addition to the muddy pools themselves, which are generally undisturbed, the surrounding woodlands provide the rotting logs, leaf litter and the insect life that the mature animals need. This unusual assemblage of distinct vernal pools certainly hosts wood frog, spring peeper, spotted salamander, and Eastern newt, and may have other less common species as well.

For additional information, go to Everyone Outside to see maps and locations for some vernal pools near Middletown.

By Elisabeth Holder, Chair of the Middletown Commission on Conservation and Agriculture

Photos, top to bottom: A perfect pool for a spring fling--dark and murky to swim through, delightfully mucky to smell (E. Holder); A red eft found on the forest floor of the Wilcox Conservation Area (E. Holder); A wood frog hanging out on the leaf litter in its woodland home (Askalotl CC0. INaturalist); A spring peeper seeks shelter between two boards, thinking it's on a tree (Sara Hollerich Giles CC0 INaturalist)



Monday, March 29, 2021

Quite Possibly--OUTSTANDING!

Quite possibly the best Beatles tribute band.

And they're all Italian.

A 50 anni esatti dall'arrivo dei Beatles In Italia, Best Italian Pop propone iin versione integrale il Live della Magical Mystery Orchestra registrato al Teatro Toniolo di Mestre il 24 Novembre del 2007. Un Appassionato Tributo ai Quattro Ragazzotti di Liverpool entrati nella Storia della Musica Mondiale.

 Best Italian POP.


Friday, March 26, 2021

Welcome To Our Room Saturday Night


Oddfellows Playhouse Junior Repertory Company on Facebook Live or YouTube Live

Don't miss it, but this is more mature material - not for little kids. Authentic teen voices.

Friday, March 19, 2021

It's Time To "Rock Your Socks!"

It’s Time To “Rock Your Socks!”  
Happy World Down Syndrome Day on Sunday, March 21, 2021! 

On this day people will be encouraged to "Rock Your Socks" meaning to wear colorful mismatched socks on each foot. This day is "dedicated to raising awareness about Down syndrome and celebrating individuals around the world living with the genetic condition" from the It further states “According to the World Down Syndrome Day website the date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome," according to Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta's website website

Shannon Marie McCormick of Middletown said the Down Syndrome Association of Connecticut (DSACT) has virtual celebrations planned all day for this event on March 21st plus they will be beginning their first ever "Run Your Socks" event.  Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic it will be virtual this year. It will begin on March 21-April 30th. McCormick stated "The Down Syndrome Association of Connecticut (DSACT) will be celebrating all day on Facebook with recordings of authors, siblings, and individuals with Down syndrome reading from books about Down syndrome. Check it out here:

We're donating books to schools and libraries around the state, too.”

McCormick further explained “Last, but not least, we're launching our first Rock Your Socks Run from March 21st through April 30th. It's all virtual this year, of course, but that means there's something for everyone wherever they are! Walk, run or roll 3,210 steps, 5k, or 10k. Registration is $25, includes a custom race medal and race bib. Funds raised support students in the DSACT Literacy and Education Center"


For more information about World Down Syndrome Day on Sunday, March 21, 2021 please see the following websites:


Enjoy the videos.



Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Teen auditions for "Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992"

Oddfellows Playhouse Teen Repertory Company announces auditions for Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, by Anna Deavere Smith. Auditions are open to all young people ages 13 - 20, including actors, dancers, singers, activists, acrobats, poets and just plain folks.

Auditions will be held on Monday, March 22 and Thursday, March 25, 6:30 - 8:30 pm at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street in Middletown. Students must pre-register for one of the two audition dates at ; masks & social distancing protocols are expected. Performers uncomfortable auditioning indoors in-person may arrange a virtual audition by contacting

Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 was created in response to the 1992 riots in Los Angeles following the acquittal of the police officers in the beating of Rodney King. It explores the events of that year from multiple perspectives, and this Teen Repertory Company production will adapt the piece, adding text, dance and music, to reflect the Black Lives Matter movement and contemporary events. The piece will be rehearsed and performed outdoors in downtown Middletown.

Rehearsals will be Mondays and Thursday, 5 - 7 pm, beginning March 29. All rehearsals will be outdoors with masks required. There will be daily rehearsals May 16 - 19, and performances May 20 - 23 and 28 - 29. Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 will be directed by Oddfellows Artistic Director Dic Wheeler with local actor Diamond Wynn, and the production will include dance choreography by Middletown choreographer Felicia Goodwine.

To register for one of the two auditions, please go to It is free to audition, but there is a $250 tuition fee to be in the Teen Rep Company. Financial Aid is available for anyone who needs it; it is Oddfellows policy never to turn anyone away for inability to pay.

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

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Godfrey Memorial Library - ZOOM Genealogy Club Meeting

Saturday, March 20, 2021

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM (EST)

Breaking Down Genealogical Brick Walls - Brick by Brick

Every genealogist eventually ends up running into the dreaded brick wall.  The term “brick wall” refers to a barrier or an apparent dead-end in your research when an answer to a question cannot be found.  Sometimes it’s a record that has gone missing in an online database.  Other times it’s a family member or an entire family that has gone missing in the records.  Times such as these can be discouraging and frustrating.  When you think that you have exhausted all possibilities in your research, it’s time to come up with new ways to think about your question and then look some more. 

Our speaker this month is Carol R. Witmer, a new member of the Godfrey Library’s Board of Directors.  She is a professional genealogist and founding partner of “Come Home to Connecticut,” a genealogical research and consulting firm.  Carol will talk about how to distinguish a real brick wall from a minor detour.  She will also discuss strategies and tools that can help you tackle those tough research problems, find answers to your questions, and break down your brick walls.  Remember, behind every genealogical brick wall is an ancestor waiting to escape! 

Premium Godfrey Scholar members can register for free at the following email:

If you are not a Premium Godfrey Scholar member and want to watch the presentation, you can pay $10 via PayPal at the following web address:  Then register at the email above.

Please register by 4:00 pm Friday, March 19.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Electrifying your Home!

Here is a link to a simple (but thorough!) guide to electrifying your home. If Middletown is to become powered by 100% renewable energy, we will have to electrify heating and transportation. 

The guide can help you understand this process, and its costs and benefits.

I hope some find this useful!

Here is the introduction to the guide:

"Welcome! This booklet is intended to be a simple “how-to” guide to help homeowners, home renters, utilities and policy makers who want to replace existing gas appliances with efficient electric alternatives, many of which are simple and require no home modifications (e.g., countertop induction ranges, condensing washer/dryers, portable space conditioning heat pumps). This booklet has three sections, the first to explain the costs, benefits and strategies for electrifying a home, the second section is lessons learned from case studies of retrofitted homes, and the third section is an extensive product guide to help choose your electrification appliances. You are not alone in this project of electrifying your home! And it can be affordable and easy—see our discussion of the Watt Diet and how one can avoid electrical upgrades. Since 1993 Americans have been progressively using more electric appliances, and 1 in 4 homes nationwide are now all-electric : electric stoves are now 61% of annual sales in the U.S. and electric laundry dryers are 88% of annual sales, while the majority of homes built since 1950 have been built with electric water heaters, and since 1970 the majority of homes have been built with electric space heating. Electrifying existing buildings, often paired with low-cost solar power, is a growing industry nation-wide. This guide was written to accelerate this existing trend to use electric appliances because the global scientific community says that fossil fuels burned in our buildings are causing 28% of climate change5 , with natural gas leaks upstream of our appliances responsible for another 25% of global climate change. 6 As our grid power grows cleaner by including more clean, renewable energy, a concerted effort is underway globally to use cleaner grid electricity to replace polluting fossil fuel appliances."

And don't forget, in order for this to work, we need to decarbonize the grid, too. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Planet of Circus Premiere! Spring classes!


Oddfellows Playhouse and ARTFARM are excited to announce the premiere of Circophony
Youth Circus’ new film, Planet of Circus! The film will premiere on Facebook Live on
Friday, March 12. Opening Night Red Carpet pre-show begins at 6:30 pm. Planet of Circus
will premiere at 7 pm. This unique and visually stunning combination of circus, dance,
animation, music and visual art is offered free of charge.

Planet of Circus is an original film created, performed and filmed by the students of Circophony,

a youth circus ensemble based in Middletown, CT. Planet of Circus! is born out of an 8 week

production schedule, primarily on zoom, where students wrote and rehearsed scenes and then

translated them to a small screen. It is the story of the peaceful Planetians, a harmonious species

of circus creatures from Madeupplanetia!  They live in balance with their planet, their circus

skills and one another -- that is, until aliens arrive! Follow our heroes as they dance, contort and

juggle their way out of danger and put their planet back in balance. 

Directed by Oddfellows Circus Director Allison McDermott, the movie features technical

direction and animation by Brooklyn-based artist and puppeteer Andrew Murdock. Costumes

are designed by Marion Imbruglio, set and prop design by Robin Leet, sound design and original

music by Rowan Trowbridge-Wheeler, and additional circus and movement coaches for the

production include Leah Maille, Naja Muller and Pablo Puente.

The cast is made up of teen circus artists from all over, including Aislinn Carroll, Mike Colombo,

Asera Holley, Breanna Stielau, Artemis Trowbridge-Wheeler and Rowan Trowbridge-Wheeler of

Middletown; Grace Darby and Lila Delaronde of Portland; Emily Brainerd of Chester; Haylee

Weglarz of Deep River; Maya Cooper of Meriden; Ellie Kelly of New Britain; Patience Armstrong

of New Haven; and Kayla Robinson Smalls from Dacula, Georgia.

Circophony Teen Circus is a training and performance program for ages 12 - 20 run in collaboration

by Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater and ARTFARM. Spring training in acrobatics, juggling and

contortion will be offered outdoors this spring from April 13 to May 29. Circophony training is open

to all young people 12 - 20; previous circus experience is not required.

For more information about the March 12 performance or outdoor classes this spring, contact
Oddfellows at, call (8600 347-6143 , or go to
Circophony’s Planet of Circus is made possible with the generous support of the Connecticut Office
of the Arts/DECD; Middletown Commission on the Arts; The Fund for Greater Hartford; American
Savings Foundation; State of Connecticut Judicial Branch (Youth Violence Prevention); Evan Boyd
Knoll Memorial Fund; Middletown Youth Services Bureau; Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Trust Fund;
Middlesex United Way; CHEFA Cultural Relief Grant; New England Foundation for the Arts New
England Arts Resilience Fund; Community Foundation of Middlesex County; and many generous
individual donors.

For a complete list of spring programs, with descriptions,
go to