NOTE: There are no physical tickets for events at The Buttonwood Tree.
Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, September 10th, 2022 from 12:00 to 3:00pm. Families, kids, volunteers and artists will have the opportunity to tour the Playhouse, meet the staff and get a hands-on sense of the kind of things that we do. Learn about opportunities this year for kids, teenagers and adults alike. Find out how you can get involved at Oddfellows this fall! The Playhouse is located at 128 Washington Street in Middletown.
Oddfellows Playhouse is Connecticut’s oldest and largest performing arts program. Since 1975, Oddfellows has offered young people throughout central Connecticut access to high-quality performing arts education and performances. Financial aid is available to families that are not available to afford tuition.
Registration is now open for our 48th season, which begins September 17th. Our fall programming offers age-appropriate training in theater, dance, circus, music and visual art for ages 3 - 20. Programs for younger students focus on skill building and fun. Teenagers can find challenge, inspiration and community in Circophony Teen Circus or the Teen Repertory Company. Adults of all ages are encouraged to join the fun at the Playhouse as volunteers - opportunities include everything from helping with box office or ushering for performances, assisting in classes, painting sets, or volunteering in the Oddfellows office.
For more information: call (860) 347-6143, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at oddfellows.org.
Oddfellows programs are made possible with support from the Middletown Commission on the Arts; Connecticut Office of the Arts/DECD; City of Middletown; The Fund for Greater Hartford; American Savings Foundation; State of Connecticut Judicial Branch (Youth Violence Prevention); Middletown Youth Services Bureau; Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Middletown Health Department; Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation; Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Trust Fund; Middlesex United Way; CHEFA Cultural Relief Grant; New England Foundation for the Arts/New England Arts Resilience Fund; George & Grace Long Foundation; and many generous individual donors.
|Nikky Finney. Winner of National Book|
Award, PEN American Open Book Award
& Benjamin Franklin Award for Poetry.
The air in the high school is swollen. My heart balloons
as I smooth my name tag down. The woman checking
me in at Austin East Magnet High School has a warning,
“They might not have much to say.”
I have not come to measure their verbs or their vowels.
My vested interest is their red blood cells. East Knoxville,
where six students in one year, from one high school,
are dead by gun violence.
As I walk to Ms. Hall’s young writers class, 16-year-olds
with the mud-red beauty of the Maasai fly past me in the
hall late for class. There are no visible signs of bruising.
A blood test could reveal the damage done these last 400
years. A blood test is a fine modern measurement of the
homocysteine levels moving through precious growing
creative bodies. There are no blood tests in my bag and I
only have one hour to measure what I have traveled here
to know. East Knoxville, fifty years before, every grocery
store, bakery, doctor’s office, barbershop, pharmacy, juke
joint, Miss Lucille Reader of Palms, closed down and laid
to rest on the new Civic Center pyre. Blood sugar levels
bought season tickets to the Moon. Families on the East
side came to know American architecture intimately, how
the right side of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard arced
into the halls of the high school, and the left side dangled
at the front door of Jarnigan & Son Mortuary, oldest Black
business in town. A swelling is how the body begins to heal.
A blood test can be historical marker for the inflammation
of disparity. My ballooning heart enters the door of their
A, B, and O world. I am met by 14 framed faces of curious
encyclopedic sunlight. Their Wolof and Benin mouths follow
me around the room like awakened cicadas. I ask them to read.
They stop buzzing, mid-air, hold their patterns, wondering
if I have come to take something else from them. The one
in perfect white sneakers with BEATS dangling off his ears
keeps his head under his hoodie. The two by the window
use the glass as dream portal, watching, then aiming, their
father’s eyes farther out into the rising Blue Ridge Mountain
light settling the pitched roof of Jarnigan & Son. The room
is a clover field of hide, luck, and chance, but the burning
tenderness of their inflammation wants out. Inflammation
is a fight response from the body when the immune system
leaps into action even when there is no visible injury. Angelina
extends her grey tablet out to me. Her dark Motown eyes
begin their return to Earth. I read her poem as if it belongs
in my mouth. Their words reach and ricochet. My immune
system kicks in just as Jamartray decides I might be worthy,
handing me his fragile worry-filled word rope, his mother’s
Lindy Hop, in and out of the Double-Dutch rope of illness.
Shiasia’s spunky Afro-Latin is read with Black girl attitude
kept under my tongue for moments when the fear in their
eyes is molten and strawberry. She cheers. Leonard begins
with a piercing refusal to never be a statistic and ends with
his mother’s double helix—HeLa—never-ending cells of
extraordinary love alighting every face in the room. It is
9:00 am on a Friday morning in East Knoxville. I have lost
my tally and count. The young poets have broken my fever.
Copyright © 2022 by Nikky Finney. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on
August 24, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.
|Bob Windbiel, Lee Feldman, |
Paul Adamy, & Mark Macksoud
Ever wanted to paint a street? Join the Free Center at Macdonough School to help create a mural about Middletown's Local Legends.
Help Plan: August 23rd and 24th, from 2 to 7 pm, at the Free Center
Come Paint: August 27, 8:30 am to 2 pm, Macdonough School
Learn More: click here
At The Buttonwood Tree $20.
Saturday, August 13, 8pm - 10pm
Megan Bee: A Singer-Songwriter Concert
Prize-winning singer-songwriter Megan Bee sings of wanderlust & a raw love for the land. Her songs blend homespun vocals, acoustic simplicity, yearning soulfulness, & winsome storytelling. Her vagabond background as an environmental educator & vagabond farmhand took her into the wilderness, where she found her voice around a campfire. Based out of the rolling hills of Athens County, Ohio, Megan travels the country playing festivals, coffeehouses, brewpubs, house concerts, & around campfires.
Her fourth studio album “Cottonwood” (2022) follows “Waiting” (2020), which was named album of the year by The Ark of Music, an indie music platform dedicated to serving independent & small label musicians. Megan also won Ohio Music Awards' prize for Best Americana & Best Singer-Songwriter Albums, which also won her a finalist position in the USA Songwriting Competition.
The Ark of Music writes, “Cottonwood is as real as it gets – a raw and real telling of engaging, relatable stories from an absolute gem of an artist, whose work could easily stand tall among the music of legends in the folk space.” Divide and Conquer writes that Megan's voice is “…warm and inviting…incredibly organic sounding. It sounds pure and human throughout.”
The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts Center
"OLYMPICS DAY" HELD AT THE JOHN J. NERDEN REGIONAL TRAINING CENTER CAMP IN MIDDLEFIELD ON FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2022
ARTICLE & PHOTOS BY FRANK LOGIUDICE
The 2020 Summer Olympics are history but that did not stop the campers at the John J. Nerden Regional Training Camp in Middlefield from preparing for the XXXIII Summer Olympiad in 2024. On July 23rd Camp Nerden held their annual "Olympics Day," where the RTC Campers honed their sports skills. The sports that were offered were basketball, football toss, home run derby, volleyball, frisbee throw, and swimming. Even the extreme heat could not dampen the Olympic Spirit and enthusiasm of the RTC Campers. There were smiles galore on the campers' faces.
Why "Olympic Day?" According to Camp Director Sue Chenard "They always had it. Our campers look forward to it. They enjoy it." The "Olympic Day" held at Camp Nerden is not associated with the Special Olympics even though several of their campers compete in the Special Olympics events, commented Chenard.
Camp Nerden serves people with intellectual disabilities and campers can start attending when they are 6 years old and there is no age limit when people must stop attending camp, stated Chenard. Camp Nerden does not charge a fee for the campers to attend. It is funded by local civic groups like the Meriden & Middletown Civitans and the towns the campers reside. The camp season began June 27th and ends on August 12th. The camp runs Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. According to Chenard the camp averages about 50-60 campers daily with 18 staff supplemented with a daily average of about 30 "Counselors In Training" volunteers.
L-R: RTC Camper Jake Cafiero & Volunteer Brayden Fraschilla Have Some Fun In The Camp Nerden's Pool During Olympic Day. Photo By Frank LoGiudice
Camp Nerden is still taking the COVID-19 Pandemic seriously. Director Chenard stated, "We try to social distance for precaution. Some campers choose to wear masks. It is not mandatory. We have hand sanitizers lots of it. We do extra cleaning."
How do the RTC Campers feel about Camp Nerden & Olympic Day? Camper Logan King of Durham loves going into the pool at camp. "I like sports, especially basketball," stated King. King does Unified Sports in school and will be in the 7th grade at Strong Middle School in the fall. Camper Evan Kane, also of Durham stated, "I like to play basketball and shoot hoops at camp." Kane will also be in the 7th grade. Durham camper Chris Naples loves the outdoor recreation activities at camp such as playing tug of war and swimming in the pool.
"I love it!", stated RTC Staff Nicole Tiezzi of Meriden regarding her experiences at camp. She has been at camp for a total of 12 years, five as a volunteer and seven as a staff. Tiezzi started when she was age 10. She became involved because her two sisters were volunteers and employed at Camp Nerden. Not only that but her grandfather Ben Tiezzi also of Meriden played a role in building Camp Nerden according to Tiezzi. She stated further, "I love what I do here. I have been here forever. It is my home."
If you have not been vaccinated against the COVID-19 Virus, please get your shot. If you have please do not forget to get your booster shot too and if you are eligible for a second booster get that one also. To find out how please go to https://www.vaccines.gov/
For more information, please go to campnerden.com, or call 860-349-9826. Their mailing address is P.O. Box 2617 - Meriden, CT 06451.
Enjoy the videos!