Tag Archives: Pivot Ministries

Roundup: Pivot Ministries, Ed Capasse’s Clarinet, Paul Newman’s Cars …

Today dawned gloriously.

And the weekly Sunday morning Compo Beach service — sponsored by several local churches — welcomed back the Pivot Ministries.

Their special brand of song and testimony got the day off to a glorious start, for a large group of worshipers. Today’s service was hosted by the United Methodist Church. (Hat tip: Gloria Smithson)

Pivot Ministries, at Compo Beach this morning. (Photo/Karen Como)

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Yesterday’s story about Ed Capasse, and his appearance as a Staples High School marching band trumpeter on a 1946 Saturday Evening Post cover drawn by Stevan Dohanos, drew several great comments.

It also drew a fascinating note from Dave Matlow.

The longtime Westport photographer says that once, in Capasse’s law office, they discussed a replica of the painting, which hung on the wall.

Capasse told Matlow that he did not actually play the trumpet. He was a clarinetist. But Dohanos thought a clarinet was too hard or time-consuming to draw — so Capasse ended up with the brass instrument.

Now, can anyone answer this question: How did Capasse play in the marching band and on the football team, simultaneously?

Ed Capasse, in the 1948 Staples High School yearbook.

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Speaking of music:

The 3-day Heida Hermanns International Piano Competition ended last night, with an awards ceremony at MoCA Westport.

And the winner of the $10,000 grand prize is …

… Russian-born Artem Kuznetsov.

The other 3 finalists — selected through a worldwide audition — earned $2,500 each.

Directed by noted Westport native Alexander Platt, the competition is in its 50th year. It includes master classes, lectures,  and performances. The jury chair was internationally famed — and Westport resident Frederic Chiu.

A celebration of the Heida, featuring alumni finalists, is set for November 19 at MoCA Westport. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Alexander Platt (far left) with 2022 Heida Hermanns finalists (from left): Nathan Cheung, Katharine Bensen, Aaron Kurz and winner Artem Kuznetsov.

Meanwhile, when the competition was over, a young pianist — perhaps a future Heida Hermanns Competition winner — tried out MoCA’s magnificent Steinway.

(Photos/Leslie LaSala)

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The original home at 2 Owenoke Park dates back to 1910.

But this is hardly a beach shack. The 4,400-square foot 2-story colonial sprawls so widely, I could not fit it all into one camera shot.

(Photos/Dan Woog)

It’s a fine-looking home. But enjoy it while you can.

Because, yes, that’s a “Demolition” sign plastered on the first floor, in between some of the many windows.

The property sold for $3,112,500 in June. The new owners plan a new home, with a pool.

Here’s the FEMA-compliant look:

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Lisa Seidenberg writes:

“Friday’s knife attack on author Salmon Rushdie brought some thoughts to mind.

“One is that, while violence has become an unfortunate norm in our country, it  seems so incomprehensible and despicable that physical violence is inflicted on a writer. The ‘fatwa’ or death decree issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini was in 1989 — long before the perpetrator was born. That books and cartoons and art should inflame self-appointed religious zealots to violence is beyond disturbing.

“I  recall hearing Rushdie speak at Staples High School in 2015. It was memorable for the intense security surrounding the event. One passed through a checkpoint like at an airport. Purses were inspected. Backpacks were not allowed at all into the building, presumably to stop a makeshift bomb. Some parents objected, but in the end, it was great exercise in free speech and example to students.

“The Westport speech was riveting. Rushdie was well-spoken and erudite, and had a surprisingly sharp and witty sense of humor. He is a product of upper echelon British schools, and his language reflected that.

“In retrospect, I am thankful that so much security was in place in Westport. Sadly, protection must be provided, not only for politicians but for artists and writers who speak bravely.

For more on Rushdie’s Westport appearance, click here.

Salman Rushdie/© Beowulf Sheehan http://www.beowulfsheehan.com

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Bonus feature! Remarkable Theater has just added a special film.

“Minions” will be shown at the Imperial Avenue drive-in tomorrow (Monday, August 15, 8 p.m.; gates open at 7 for tailgating).

“Girls Trip” follows on Wednesday (August 17; 8:15 start, 7:15 gate).

Click here for tickets, and more information.

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Magnus and Lavinia Larsson are Food Rescuers.

Yes, it’s capitalized. Food Rescue US is an app that actually makes you want to look at your phone.

The idea is spectacularly simple. Food services — grocery stores, restaurants, caterers, companies — register. When they have extra food — at the end of the day, after an event, whatever — they post it online.

Individuals register too. They check the app when it’s convenient. If they see someplace nearby, they agree to pick it up.

Then they deliver it to social service agencies — soup kitchens, shelters, veterans facilities, etc. — that have also registered with Food Rescue US.

Magnus reminds “06880” readers: “There are lots of people less fortunate, and also lots of food waste. Yesterday, Lavinia and I brought generous donations from Whole Foods (thanks, Siobhan!) to an agency in Bridgeport. They’ll distribute it in the community.”

To learn more, click here.

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Most of the Paul Newman news this year has been about “The Last Movie Stars”: the HBO 6-part series on the longtime Westport actor and his wife, Joanne Woodward.

This one is about his cars.

When he got into auto racing, Newman was as successful as with acting (and, later, philanthropy). He and Carl Haas formed a team with drivers like Mario and Michael Andretti. They racked up 108 Indycar wins,

In October, those cars — and other Newman/Haas items — will be auctioned off in 78 lots, by RM Sotheby’s. Click here for details.

During the 1960s and ’70s though — when hitchhiking around town was a thing — countless Westporters knew Paul Newman as the driver who would always pick them up.

His car back then was a Volvo or VW. “Hop in, son!” he’d say.

And off we went.

(Hat tip: Chris Grimm)

Pual Newman (left) with his friend, the late Westporter Michael Brockman.

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This is a laugh: Save the date (October 15).

Homes with Hope’s 15th annual Stand Up event — a comedy fundraiser for the multi-service housing and food provider — is set for Fairfield University’s Quick Center. It’s the first time live since COVID struck.

The headliner is Pat McGann. He’s a veteran of Madison Square Garden, David Letterman and Stephen Colbert.

Ticket details will be available soon.

Pat McGann

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Longtime Westport dentist Dr. Victor Oliver died earlier this year. He was 83.

He graduated from Providence College, then studied dentistry at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He served as a dentist in the Air Force in Albany, Georgia for two years.

Following his service, Victor and his wife Pauline settled in Westport. He opened a home dental office in 1968, and practiced there for 50 years.

Victor was an avid tennis player. He and Polly loved vacationing in Florida, and weekend trips to Nantucket. His family says, “He will be remembered for his gentle dental care and his dedication to his patients. He was a kind and generous man who always made time to help anyone in need. He was known for being a quiet reserved man — unless you were sitting in his dental chair, where he was the most talkative, trying to make you at ease.”

Victor is survived by his wife of 59 years Pauline; daughters Kimberly (Jim) Vallieres of West Hartford, and Robin (Sean) Ross of Holly Springs, North Carolina, and grandchildren Sean Heintz, Emma Heintz, Olivia Heintz and her fiancé Jonathan Davis, Audrey Ross and Jack Ross.

Donations in Victor’s name came be made to the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra, PO Box 370036, West Hartford, CT 06137, where for many years he enjoyed watching his daughter Kim play violin.

Dr. Victor Oliver

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Many “Westport … Naturally” photos show living things that fly, buzz, bite, crawl, bark, meow or do similar things.

Some show blooms and buds.

This one just sits there. It’s majestic — and often overlooked. But it’s an anchor of downtown, and as much a part of our natural world as any other creature or plant.

(Photo/Tom Lowrie)

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And finally … Bill Pitman died earlier this week, in California. He was 102.

You don’t know his name. But you know his music.

For decades, he was a session musician. As part of the Wrecking Crew — a “loosely organized corps of peerless Los Angeles freelancers who were in constant demand by record producers to back up headline performers … (an ensemble that )turned routine recording sessions and live performances into extraordinary musical moments” — he backed up the Beach Boys, Sonny and Cher, Monkees, Mamas and the Papas, Simon and Garfunkel, Ricky Nelson, Jan and Dean, Johnny Rivers, the Byrds, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, the Everly Brothers, Peggy Lee and “nearly every prominent performer of the era.”

Pitman’s work ranged from “Strangers in the Night” and “The Way We Were” to “Be My Baby,” “Good Vibrations” and “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.”

He also worked on TV and film scores, cartoon soundtracks — you name it.

Click here for Bill Pitman’s very intriguing obituary.

Roundup: Sunday Service, Blau Gardens, $500 …

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For years, one of Westport’s best traditions is the Sunday beach service at the Compo Beach cannons.

Four Congregational churches — Greens Farms, Saugatuck, Norfield and Wilton — and the United Methodist Church — rotate as hosts.

This morning, Norfield invited the Pivot Ministries Choir to join in.

More than 20 men from the Bridgeport faith-based residential recovery program for drug and alcohol addictions added their spirit and inspiration, offering renewal and strength amid life’s challenges.

Two Sunday services remain: August 22 and 29 (8:30 a.m.). All are invited. Bring your own chair or towel, or sit on the stone wall, benches and tables. Beach stickers are not required; tell the gate attendant you’re there for worship. You can stay until 10 a.m.

Pivot Ministries at this morning’s Compo Beach Sunday service. (Photo/Gloria Smithson)

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“06880” is not a real estate agency. But from time to time, a property  deserves a shout-out.

This is one.

Designed by theatrical stage set designer Ralph Alswang, it’s set between towering great oaks. The gardens — by advertising executive Barry Blau — were created in response to the house. They incorporate native plants interspersed with a blend of exotics.

A group — Friends of Blau House and Gardens — hopes to retain the property, so it can become a community asset and resource for small non-profit organizations. They’re looking for ideas, interested people and organizations that can benefit and/or help.

If interested, click here or email R@RobertCohenArchitect.com. (Hat tip: Peter Gold)

Blau Gardens

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One of Westport’s top community events — the annual Catch a Lift fundraiser — has just announced a new date and location.

Originally scheduled for September 13, the special ceremony honoring the 20th anniversary of 9/11 — will now be held at Compo Beach on Friday, September 10.

Starting at 5 p.m., there’s 3 hours of food and drink trucks, music, and words from Catch a Lift veterans. The national nonprofit organization helps post-9/11 combat-wounded servicemen and women recover and rehabilitate, physically and mentally, through physical fitness, motivation and support. So that 9/11 Eve date is both appropriate and poignant.

Beach stickers are not needed to attend.

The Compo event will kick off an action-packed weekend. There’s a Saturday workout (September 11, Westport police station, 1 p.m.) and Sunday family bike ride (September 12, Ridgefield).

Click here for details and information, including how to help with auction items, and more. 

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The Westport Downtown Association’s 3rd Shopping Day of the summer yesterday was a great success.

The weather cooled substantially from the previous week. The sun was out. With plenty of music, food and great goods, it was a relaxing way to start the weekend.

Except for everyone driving in Parker Harding Plaza. Each car had to maneuver slowly past this red vehicle. No, that was not a legit parking space.

But hey! What’s the inconvenience of hundreds of other drivers, compared to the right to park as close as possible to the action, right?

(Photo/Susan Garment)

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Martha Stewart no longer lives in Westport. But someone channeled her the other evening at Compo Beach.

I’m guessing the menu was not hot dogs.

(Photo/Karen Como)

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If you found a card with $500 on the ground, what would you do?

Most Westporters (I hope) would try to find the owner. Some would look to see if anyone was watching, and slip it into their pocket.

Few would probably go as far as Gabrielle Perry to return it to whoever lost it.

As reported by News12 Connecticut, the 2016 Staples High School graduate spotted the card in the Maritime Aquarium parking lot last month.

The envelope read “Reverend Dennis … thank you for marrying us.” Inside was a “really sweet, heartfelt note” to the minister. It was signed “Christina and Dave” — no last names.

Gabrielle enlisted a friend’s mother, who is good at Google searches. She found a registry for Christina Ulreich and David Kean. That led to Ulreich on LinkedIn.

The weeding was marred only by the fact that the gift to the reverend was lost the night before, at the rehearsal dinner. She and her new husband were stunned — and thrilled — at Gabrielle’s perseverance.

Congratulations to the new couple — and to Gabrielle, of course. Click here for the full News12 report.

Gabrielle Perry

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Most Levitt Pavilion nights are one-and-done.

But Jesse Terry had an opening act Friday. Clueless — a local band that’s been together for several years — warmed up the crowd with a powerful performance.

The band includes 20-year-old Westport guitarists Jake Greenwald and Zach Rogers, drummer Witt Landau (a rising Staples High School junior), and keyboardist/vocalist Ethan Walmark (a rising Staples sophomore).

Ethan Walmark (Photo/JC Martin)

Witt Landau (Photo/JC Martin)

Looking for entertainment this week?

The Levitt schedule includes:

  • Tonight (Sunday, August 15): Dan Levinson’s Palomar Jazz Band
  • Tuesday, August 17: Treehouse comedy
  • Wednesday, August 18: The Pop-Ups (Children’s Series; special needs celebration)
  • Thursday, August 19: Buffalo Rose (modern folk)
  • Friday, August 20: Lizzie No (singer/harpist/guitarist)
  • Sunday, August 22: Nellie McKay (American songbook)

Click here for (free!) tickets, times and more information.

Around the corner, the Remarkable Theater shows the animated classic “Coco” tomorrow (Monday, August 16, 7:45 p.m.) and “Get Out” on Wednesday (August 18, 9:15 p.m.). Click here for tickets and more information.

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The dog days of August are a great time to fish. This Saugatuck River snowy egret at the right idea — and posed nicely for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/JC Martin)

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And finally … on this date in 1939, “The Wizard of Oz” premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles.

Westport Helps Waltersville’s Garden Grow

Westport has a long history with Waltersville School. For years, Staples High School world language students have volunteered at the K-8 facility across the street from the former Father Panik Village in Bridgeport.

Now another group has stepped up. Last spring, the school wanted to transform a barren courtyard into something more inviting. They asked the Westport Garden Club to help.

The low-key — but very committed — 90-year-old organization said “of course!” The result: 4 beautiful perennial gardens.

The Westport Garden Club was joined by Pivot Ministries, a Waltersville neighbor. Labor, design and plants were all donated.

Westporters and Bridgeporters work together at the Waltersville School.

Westporters and Bridgeporters work together at the Waltersville School.

Yesterday’s ribbon-cutting yesterday was a festive affair. School staff, Garden Club members and Pivot Ministries helpers joined together to celebrate.

The opening of Waltersville School this year will be very joyful indeed.