Roundup: Best Music Community, Dog Fest, Cajal Academy …

How good a community for music is Westport?

One of the best.

That’s not “06880” talking. It’s the NAMM Foundation. They just named us one of their “Best Communities for Music Education.”

For the 10th year in a row.

Th honor comes for our public schools’ efforts to provide music access and education to all students. The application process included detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instructional time, facilities, music program support, and community programs.

Westport’s Music Department has benefited from partnerships with organizations like the Westport Library, Levitt Pavilion, PTA Cultural Arts, WestPAC and Westport Arts Advisory Committee.

Staples High School’s Candlelight Concert — involving hundreds of singers, and orchestra and band members — is one culmination of music programs at every school, and every level. (Photo/Danielle Dobin)

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The Asian American Pacific Island community — and allies — celebrate AAPI Heritage Month today (Tuesday, May 10), with a cash bar at MoCA Westport (19 Newtown Turnpike, 5 to 7 p.m.).

Mecha-Uma will be there with a food truck too. All are welcome!

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The Dog Festival returns to Winslow Park this Sunday (May 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) for its 6th run.

The event includes fun competitions (best tail wagger, best dressed, best kisser, best trick, best lap dog over 50 pounds, dog that most looks like its owner), demonstrations, Police K-9 presentations, an obstacle course, kids activities, information booths, food trucks and more.

Also on tap: over 60 pet-related vendors, caricaturists and giveaways.

Parking is available at the Westport Country Playhouse, and other nearby lots. The festival entrance fee is $10 per person, $30 for a family of 4. Proceeds benefit nonprofit organizations.

Dog owners can register for the competitions online or at the festival. To register for the competitions and for more information, click here.

The Dog Fest is sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, in association with TAILS.

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Yesterday’s “06880” lead story noted that Cajal Academy — a new school based on the latest neuroscientific research, for gifted students with special education needs — was going before the Planning & Zoning Commission last night.

In a unanimous vote, the board approved the application for 25 Sylvan Road South.

Stony Brook runs next to the 25 Sylvan Road South building.

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Sunday’s pro-choice rally was sponsored by DefenDemocracy.

This Saturday (May 14, 11 am to 1 p.m.), Planned Parenthood plans an event. It too is set for the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen downtown bridge.

Click here for details.

A sign held during Sunday’s pro-choice rally. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Among the winners of the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County’s Daniel E. Offutt III Arts & Culture Empowerment Awards: William Felton, former chair of the Westport Arts Center who led a long effort to find, secure and improve its new home as MoCA Westport, on Newtown Turnpike.

Honored posthumously: Alexandra Korry. The Westporter was a trailblazing lawyer, educator and civil rights advocate, and the guiding spirit behind converting a 1935 Norwalk church into a space to enhance educational opportunities for underserved students, promote underrepresented local artists, and provide a welcoming space to enjoy art and music. The Norwalk Art Space opened last June, just a few months after she died.

An awards breakfast is set for the Shore & Country Club in Norwalk on June 15, (7:30 a.m.). Click here for tickets. 

Norwalk students flock to the Art Space.

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Do “Cocktails & Clams” go together?

Sure! That’s the name of Earthplace and Harbor Watch’s fundraiser, set for Copps Island Oysters in Norwalk on June 11 (5 to 7 p.m.). There’s an unlimited raw bar, hors d’oeuvres from Harbor Harvest, and wine and beer from Black Bear — plus a silent auction, live music, and very cool views.

Click here for tickets.

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Mother Nature surprises us in many ways. This little flower blooms unexpectedly, but beautifully. Spring has sprung, here in “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/JD Dworkow)

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And finally … Spinal Tap was a fake band. But Ric Parnell was a real drummer.

He was perfect for the perfectly played satirical 1984 film, “This is Spinal Tap.” He had the looks, the chops, and he was in on the joke.

Including the fact that, somehow, Spinal Tap’s drummers kept dying in bizarre ways. He himself (as Mick Shrimpton) spontaneously combusted on stage. When the fake band went out on tour in the 1990s — life imitating art — Parnell was introduced as Mick’s twin brother Rick.

Ric Parnell died this month in Missouli, Montana, of organ failure. He was 70.

But Spinal Tap lives on. Play the video below loud — all the way to 11! (Click here for a full obituary.)

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