Tag Archives: Suzuki Music Schools

Roundup: Birds, Gifts, Music …

Here’s a bright idea: The Connecticut Ornithological Association has just launched a “Lights Out Connecticut” initiative.

Residents, businesses, schools and building managers can pledge to turn off non-essential exterior lighting each night from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., during periods of peak bird migration. The goal is to help save migratory birds.

Connecticut joins Colorado, Georgia and Texas as the only places in the nation with statewide “Lights Out” programs.

The COA says that because most North American migratory birds travel at night, artificial light can disorient them, leading to fatal window collisions. There may be as many as 988,000,000 bird deaths in the US each year.

It’s a great idea. It’s especially welcome by residents of Cottage Lane. They’ve been aggravated by bright lights at the new 1480 Post Road East development nearby. The Planning & Zoning Commission has ordered a new lighting plan by May 9.

It can’t come soon enough for the neighbors. Or the birds. (Click here for the full Connecticut Ornithological Association story.)

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Need gift ideas for Mothers Day, Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2-6) or Nurse Appreciation Week (May 6-12)?

How about a gift for yourself?

Beauty consultant Carmela Cusano can help. She’ll be at Salon Nash tomorrow (Sunday, April 24, 1 to 4 p.m., Nash’s Plaza, 179 Post Road West).

While you’re there, enjoy a free wash and blow dry, courtesy of owner Felicia Catale, the great and very generous owner.

How’s that for a great gift!

Felicia Catale

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It took a while during the pandemic for Hook’d to get its act together.

But the Compo Beach concession stand was open yesterday for business.

Anyone can enjoy a meal there before May 1. On that date, stickers are required for beach entrance.

(Photo/Karen Como)

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Westport has many adult education offerings in many areas.

Andrew Smith thinks there are not enough in music.

He’s the executive director of Suzuki Music Schools of Westport & Orange — well known as a center for early childhood, and middle and high school, programs.

The Suzuki Philosophy is that children need an immersive experience in music. Smith says that holds true for adults too. Suzuki is not just for kids.

The school offers basic classes like Music Reading for Beginners, and Listening to Classical Music. Smith hopes to add Singing for Pleasure, Film Music and Composing.

He’d also like to create a Suzuki Members Club for Adults, with social engagement, public concerts and use of the facility. It would be like rowing or golf clubs — but focused on music.

Click here for more information, and registration.

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May is flower month at Wakeman Town Farm.

“Blooming With Paint’ (May 9, 6 to 8 p.m.) is a painting and drawing workshop, focusing on floral still life and challenging students to notice scale, proportion and placement.

Each participant receives a piece of handmade Nujabi paper, watercolor and oil pastels, paint brushes, Nujabi paper and drawing board. Click here for more information, and to register.

WTF also offers “sweet and whimsical spring flowers” for Mothers Day. Each bouquet comes in a mason jar tied with grosgrain ribbon. They’re $55, and designed by Sarah Shaw Floral Design exclusively for Wakeman Town Farm.

Orders will be taken through May 4. Pickup is at the Farm on Saturday, May 7 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) A portion of the proceeds supports WTF programs. Click here to order.

Wakeman Town Farm Mothers Day flowers. (Photo/Nancy Elizabeth Hill Photography)

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The Camp Gallery’s new solo show is “The Rooms of Joseph Ginsberg.”

There’s an opening reception next Friday (April 29, 5 to 7 p.m.) at 190 Post Road East. The show runs through May 24.

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It’s 2 years late. But Staples High School’s Class of 1980 celebrates their 40th (okay, 42nd) reunion (and giant 60th birthday party for all) this year.

The main event is Saturday, August 13 at LaKota Oaks in Norwalk. The 65-acre site features a pool, basketball and volleyball courts, horseshoes and more. Dinner includes a DJ and dancing.

There are also meet-ups as Viva Zapata (Thursday, August 11) and the Black Duck (Friday, August 12).

As is traditional, they’ll raise money in honor of beloved classmate Susan Lloyd, to support The Susan Fund.

PS: Thanks to a generous donor, tickets are (almost) free!

Click here for more information. Questions? Email Amy Potts: amy@aapk.com.

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This guy popped out the other day at Sherwood Mill Pond.

Then he looked John Kantor in the eye, stood still, and posed for a “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/John Kantor)

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And finally … in honor of the photo directly above:

Roundup: Alcohol In Westport, Album Cover Design, Cell Tower Balloon Test …

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“Can I drink if my parents are with me?” “How old were you when you started drinking?” “If pot is legal, how can it be bad?”

If you’re a Westport parent, your child may ask you those or similar questions. How would you respond?

To help frame your answers, the Westport Prevention Coalition offers “Don’t Wait.” The 52-minute short film helps parents start conversations about substance use.

It’s available free to Westporters throughout March, thanks to a grant. You can watch at home whenever it’s convenient, or join other parents for a virtual group showing. There are follow-up discussions online too.

To watch, click here, then enter promo code PD2022. To register for a group showing and/or follow-up discussion, click here.

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In related news, on Thursday Positive Directions hosted a virtual discussion on “Mindful Drinking: Reimagining Our Alcohol Habits, and How They Impact Our Relationships.”

A panel — including professionals, parents, a recovering alcoholic and a Staples High School student — gave clear, honest accounts of their own experiences with drinking in Westport.

The discussion is online, and available at any time. Click here; then scroll down underneath “How Are You Coping in 2022?” to view.

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Interested in seeing how high the proposed cell tower at 92 Greens Farms Road — 124 feet — really is?

A “balloon display” is scheduled for Monday (February 21) at 7 a.m. It should last around 4 hours.

The tower would be built on a private residence, adjacent to I-95 near Hillspoint Road. (Hat tip: Don Bergmann)

A cell tower been proposed for the property on the left: 92 Greens Farms Road. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

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Interested in designing an album cover?

The Westport Library invites artists to submit work to be featured on upcoming vinyl. It will also be sued for digital and print promotions.

Fairfield County painters, illustrators, designers, photographers, collage makers — and all other visual artists — can apply.

The competition is part of the Library’s first-of-its-kind “Verso Records Compilation, Volume 1.” The independent record will feature emerging tri-state musicians in genres from jazz and rock to folk and indie. All tracks are recorded live at the Library’s state-of-the-art Verso Studios.

The Artists Collective of Westport will oversee an independent jury committee. Among them: Neal Smith, a founding member of Alice Cooper.

Along with the honor of designing the cover, the artist chosen will receive $1,000.

12” x 12” artwork should be in TIF, JPEG, PNG or PDF format, with a minimum of 300 dpi. The Library’s art department will add text and crop materials at their discretion.

For more information, click here. The submission deadline is March 25.

Part of the Westport Library’s Verso Studios.

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Sarah Bernhard is coming to the Westport Country Playhouse.

The actress/singer author presents “Sandra Bernhard: An Evening of Comedy and Music” on Sunday, March 12 (8 p.m.). Running time is one hour; no intermission. Explicit language.

Her film credits include “The King of Comedy” with Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis, directed by Martin Scorsese. Television credits include “The Sopranos” and “The Larry Sanders Show.”

Broadway World says, “Sandra Bernhard takes no prisoners and pulls no punches. She will set the place afire with her white-hot intelligence. She is authentic, unapologetically pissed, heartbroken, and of course, hilarious.

For more information and tickets click here; email boxoffice@westportplayhouse.org, or call the box office: 203-227-4177.

Sandra Bernhard (Photo/Brian Zeigler)

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AWARE is one of my favorite organizations.

The acronym stands for Assisting Women with Actions, Resources and Education. Each year, members partner with a local non-profit. They volunteer with that group, organize an educational event and host a fundraiser.

Their next event is March 1 (WEST, 117 Post Road East, 7 p.m.). WEST owner Kitt Shapiro will talk about her new book, “Eartha & Me: A Daughter’s Love Story in Black and White.” It’s a memoir of growing up with her mother, Eartha Kitt.

AWARE members have been reading the book this week.

This is not a fundraiser — just a fun event with AWARE member Kitt. Plus, she’s offered 20% off merchandise to anyone that night.

PS: I’ll be introducing Kitt. I’m “aware” of what an honor that is!

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Once again, Tyler Hicks has the lead photo on the front page of the New York Times.

The 1988 Staples High School graduate/Pulitzer Prize winner’s shot today shows a

(Photo/Tyler Hicks for the New York Times)

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Last year, COVID forced Suzuki Music Schools’ Connecticut Guitar Festival into cyberspace.

It’s back for a 5th year March 11-13 — both live at the Westport Library, and online (free!).

The event opens with a Kickoff Concert, starring classical and jazz greatsPaul Galbraith, Adam Levin, Adam Del Monte and Leandro Pellegrino.

It continues all weekend with a guitar expo, “GuitART,” and performances and events with Similar Kind, Matt Rae, Rami Vamos, Benjamin Verdery, CGF artistic director and Grammy-nominee Mak Grgic, and many more!

For a full list of events, click here. For an overview of the festival and artists, click here.

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To celebrate its 1-year anniversary, Westport-based FLB Law donated 1,200 cans of soup to the Filling in the Blanks SOUPer Bowl Food Drive. The Norwalk nonprofit provides weekend meals to needy children in Fairfield and Westchester Counties.

Other recent FLB initiatives include packing backpacks with holiday treats, toys and a dental kitfor Filling in the Blanks, and making birthday boxes for the Domestic Violence Crisis Center.

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Amy Schneider knows the kinds of photos I like for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

So, she asks with a smile, “Did this get to Compo Beach naturally?”

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

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And finally … Beverly Ross died recently in Nashville. She was 87.

You may not know her name. For a while, she was one of the most successful pop and rock songwriters in America — and one of its few females.

Her short career ended when a work relationship with Phil Spector turned sour. She said that he stole a riff they were working on, then turned it into “Spanish Harlem” — which he credited to himself and Jerry Leiber. Click here for a full obituary.

Among her credits:

Roundup: Suzuki Music, Suicide Prevention, Camp Gallery …

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Suzuki Music Schools is a scary place.

Well, at least the parking lot at 246 Post Road East will be, this Sunday, October 24.

Kids are invited to dress up in Halloween costumes, for the annual Spooky Suzuki Concert & Carnival. The 3 p.m. concert is followed by refreshments, activities and games. Game tickets must be purchased in advance. Click here for more information.

Participants can also donate to the “Color a Positive Thought” fundraiser, for underserved Bridgeport neighborhoods.

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Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15-to-24-year-olds, and the second leading cause of death among college students. Earlier this year Kevin Kuczo, 17, of Fairfield lost his battle with depression. Before playing sports at Fairfield Warde High School, he was a proud member of the Fairfield County Football League’s Wildcats. Westport PAL is a member of the FCFL.

The league wants all youngsters to know that they are not alone during their darkest times — and to instill the importance for athletes to give back.

They’re collecting funds now for suicide prevention research and educational programs. They hope to ease the stigma surrounding suicide and its causes, and encourage those suffering from mental illness to seek treatment.

Donations — made out to FCFL — can be sent to 25 Thistle Road Norwalk, CT 06851. For more information, call Carmen Roda of Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department: 203-640-8085.

Kevin Kuczko

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The Camp Gallery hosts a special night this Friday (October 22, 6 to 8 p.m., 190 Main Street). The featured artist is German-born Dominik Schmitt; there’s live music too with Chris Coogan and Linda Couturas.

Artwork by Dominik Schmitt

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Debby Ury died Sunday at Norwalk Hospital, after a brief illness. She was 68 years old.

She grew up in Danvers, Massachusetts. Debby graduated in 1974 from Simmons College in Boston with a B.S. degree in nursing, then Boston University with a Master’s Degree in education.

She and her husband Frederic Ury moved to Westport in 1977. She began working at Danbury Hospital. She had a long career in the medical field, and ended her career teaching various medical courses at Norwalk Community College.

Debby was an avid fan of any sports team from Boston, and enjoyed watching her beloved Boston Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots play every year, whether they won or lost. She loved the Adirondack Mountains, and spent much of the last 35 years at the family’s log home in Lake Luzerne, NY.

Debby is survived by her husband Frederic S. Ury; children Jennifer (Jeff) Gornbein and Robert Ury; grandchildren Jacob and Benjamin Gornbein; brothers Bryce Conner and Justin St. James; sister-in-law Linda Ury Greenberg and her husband Ned Greenberg, and their children Captain Michael Greenberg and Amanda Pinkston.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, October 23 (Saugatuck Congregational Church, 10 a.m.). There will be an opportunity to greet the family prior to the service. at 9:15 a.m. Burial at Willowbrook Cemetery will immediately follow the service. Click here to leave online condolences.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Debby H. Ury Scholarship Fund, c/o Lake Luzerne Music Camp. 203 Lake Tour Rd., Lake Luzerne, NY 12846.

Debby Ury

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Hazel Saviano of Westport died peacefully last Thursday, surrounded by loved ones, at the Roseville Road home she was born in. She was 94 years old.

Hazel was the daughter of Martha Mills and George Lewis Sr. The family’s roots in Westport stretched back to the mid-1800’s. Hazel remembered trolley cars traversing Westport streets.

She was a school bus driver in Westport for over 35 years. When she retired in 2003 at the age of 76, she had safely delivered thousands of Westport children to and from school.

Her family says, “Her heart was big and her smile was infectious. All who knew her loved and adored her.”

Hazel was predeceased by her husband, retired Westport Police lieutenant John J. Saviano Jr.; sons John J. Saviano III and Lawrence Saviano, and siblings Edna Call, Vera Lewis and George Lewis, Jr.

She is survived by her daughters Marie Richards (Robert), Melinda Bonin (Glen), Cheryl Petrone (Tom); daughter-in-law, Debra Saviano; grandchildren Robert L. Richards Jr. (Dawn), Melissa Bailey (Ethan) and Michelle Saviano; great-grandchildren Dylan and Violet Bailey, and several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.  In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Hazel’s name to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Hazel Saviano

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“Westport … Naturally” often features creatures like praying mantises and deer. Today we go to the dogs.

(Photo/JC Martin)

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And finally … today in 1803, the US Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase.

 

Roundup: IRS, MLK, WCP, More

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Congressman Jim Himes reminds residents of free tax filing resource,

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offers federal and state tax help to people earning under $56,000 a year. VITA is largely virtual this year, but there are also some drop-off locations. Click here to learn more.

The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services provides free tax help over by phone. Call 860-297-5770 to schedule an online appointment.

The University of Connecticut School of Law offers federal and state tax assistance for low-income Connecticut residence by phone. Call 860-570-5165 to learn more or book an appointment.

Click here for links to more tax assistance.

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“King in the Wilderness” is an Emmy-winning HBO documentary about the last 3 days of Martin Luther King’s life. At the end of the 1960s, the Black Power movement saw the civil rights leader’s focus on nonviolence as a weakness, while President Lyndon Johnson believe his antiwar activism was dangerous. King himself was tormented by doubts about his philosophy and future.

The executive producer was Westporter Trey Ellis. He’s an award-winning novelist, Emmy and Peabody-winning filmmaker, playwright, professor of screenwriting in the Graduate School of Film at Columbia University, and contributor to The New Yorker, New York TimesWashington Post and NPR.

On Thursday, February 25 (7 p.m.), the Westport Library hosts a conversation between Ellis and TEAM Westport chair Harold Bailey. Registrants can view the film for one week prior to the event. There is no charge; click here to register.

The program is part of Westport READS. This year’s them is “Towards a More Perfect Union: Confronting Racism.”

Trey Ellis

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The popular Westport Country Playhouse “Script in Hand” play-reading series returns Monday, February 22 (7 p.m.).

This time, audiences can hear the scripts in their own homes. The virtual performance is also available on demand any time, from noon February 23 through February 28.

This reading — “A Sherlock Carol” — should be particularly fun. It’s about a grown-up Tiny Tim, who asks Sherlock Holmes to investigate the death of Ebenezer Scrooge. Six actors take on the famed characters of Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens. Click here for more information, and tickets.

In addition, the Playhouse presents a free virtual conversation about Thornton Wilder’s timeless “Our Town” — particularly as it applies to the 21st century.

It’s this Sunday (February 14, 3 p.m.), on the Playhouse website and YouTube channel (Westport Playhouse).

Participants include Howard Sherman, author of a new book about “Our Town”; Anne Keefe, associate artistic director with Joanne Woodward for the Playhouse’s 2002 production of “Our Town,” and Jake Robards, who appeared in that show. The host is Playhouse artistic director Mark Lamos.

In other WCP news, the Playhouse has announced the 13 members of its inaugural Youth Council. They include Staples High School students Henry Carson, Kate Davitt and Sophia Vellotti, plus Cessa Lewis, a Westporter who attends St. Luke’s School.

“A Sherlock Carol”

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Suzuki Music Schools’ Connecticut Guitar Festival returns for a 4th year on March 5 to 7 — virtually, of course. It’s all part of the Westport-based organization’s mission to make international artists accessible to everyone — for free.

For a list of events, click here. For an overview of the entire festival and artists, click here.

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And finally … pioneering jazz pianist Chick Corea died Tuesday in Florida, of cancer. He was 79.

 

 

Roundup: Bathrooms, Cribari Bridge, Suzuki, More


The other day, Mary-Lou Weisman emailed the Parks & Recreation Department.

She and her husband had been upset to find the Compo Beach bathrooms locked. They were replaced by porta potties “filled nearly to the brim” (and lacking toilet paper).

Mary-Lou noted that medical experts have warned against using such small, secured enclosures during COVID.

A Parks & Rec employee replied. She noted that bathrooms are seasonal facilities only, and the water has been shut off for the winter. (Year-round bathrooms are available at the Ned Dimes Marina.) The department is following up with the service company that maintains the porta-johns.

Mary-Lou responded: “Are the 2 proper restrooms at Compo closed because of financial concerns. or because the water pipes would burst in cold weather? If the concerns are financial, I would hope the town would provide the necessary funds to keep them open. I would further suggest that if frozen pipes are a concern, that problem might be mitigated by being wrapped, and probably by other means.

“If Westport can afford to build pickleball courts and skateboard ramps, the town should be able to keep the bathrooms open all year.”

Bathroom facilities at Compo Beach are closed. (Photo/Matt Murray)


On Friday, the William F. Cribari Bridge will glow again. It’s a holiday tradition that makes Saugatuck special.

Yesterday, “06880” reported that a crew of Al’s Angels and friends worked for hours, restringing lights and replacing broken bulbs.

They don’t want a lot of publicity. But here’s the gang to thank. They bring a bit of joy, at a time we all desperately need it.

(Photo/Al DiGuido)


COVID has canceled some of Suzuki Music Schools’ traditional  performances.

So the Westport students are going online. Among the highlights: a mid-month “Ode to Joy.” The virtual orchestra project features students and faculty from the Westport and Orange campuses and KEYS Bridgeport, celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday.

Suzuki adds: “As a non-profit music school, we keep the community culturally connected by providing free concerts, scholarships, and international events to the public directly due to the generosity of others, so it is inherent that we help those around us grow as well. In that spirit, we encourage the public to not only donate to Suzuki Schools at www.suzukischools.org this Giving Tuesday, but also to the organizations they appreciate and that affect them most.


And finally … whenever I think of Suzuki musicians, I think of “M*A*S*H.” In the unforgettable final episode, Major Charles Emerson Winchester III is aggravated that a group of Chinese North Korean POWs are musicians. He tries to teach them his beloved Mozart Clarinet Quintet in A, with moderate success.

With the war’s end imminent, the prisoners ship out from the 4077th. Gamely, they play the piece in the back of the truck.

Casualties continue to arrive — including one of the just-released POWs. The entire group had been killed, minutes after leaving camp.

“He wasn’t even a soldier,” the distraught doctor says. “He was a musician.”

Winchester returns to his tent. He puts on a record of the Clarinet Quintet, then smashes it in rage.