Tag Archives: WSHU-FM

Roundup: Vaccine Info, Christmas Carols, Stars On Stage …

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Connecticut has introduced its version of a “digital vaccine passport.” Residents who click on their COVID-19 vaccination records through the state immunization database, CT WiZ (click here), can then get a “SMART Health Card” to save on their smartphone photo roll, or in an app like the iPhone Wallet.

The “card” includes a QR code that uses the same standard as New York, California and Canada.

The “vaccine passport” is optional and voluntary, officials note. Click here for a full Westport News story.

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This is the busiest time of year for Staples’ Orphenians.

The elite high school a cappella group has spent weeks singing holiday music. They visit civic clubs, elderly residents and Christmas tree lightings. Earlier this month, they entertained a large crowd at the “06880” Stroll.

They return downtown on Thursday, with a twist: alumni.

Former Orphenians are invited to join current members for an hour-long meander along Main Street and environs.

The group gathers shortly before 6:30 p.m. this Thursday (December 23), near the entrance to Starbucks in Parker Harding Plaza.

Groupies are welcome to tag along and listen, too.

The Orphenians entertained at this month’s Town Hall holiday tree lighting. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Due to COVID concerns, tonight’s Westport Astronomical Society lecture by Harvard professor Avi Loeb, titled “Extraterrestrial Life: Are We the Sharpest Cookies in the Jar?” will be virtual only.

To access the 8 p.m. event by Zoom, click here. For the YouTube livestream, click here. For the WAS’ YouTube channel, click here.

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It’s Christmas Day. You’ve opened the presents, put all the stuff that needs assembling together, and gone to CVS for batteries. You’ve had lunch, and an egg nog or two.

What’s left?

At 3:06 p.m. — that’s right, just after the news — tune in to WSHU-FM. Westport Country Playhouse Radio Theater reprises last year’s clever audio play, “A Merry Little Christmas Carol.”

Missed it on Christmas? Tune in the next day — Sunday, December 26, also 3:06 p.m. — for a rebroadcast.

Pro tip: You don’t have to listen on radio. “A Merry Little Christmas Carol” is  available now through January 2 at the Playhouse website — click here.

“A Merry Little Christmas Carol” is written and directed by Mark Shanahan, adapted from his play of the same name, and based on “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Shanahan is curator of Playhouse Radio Theater, and also curates the Playhouse Script in Hand playreading series.

“With the remarkable Paxton Whitehead as Scrooge, Dickens’ masterpiece charges us to recall that we are all responsible for the wellbeing of our brothers and sisters—an idea which rings true now more than ever,” Shanahan says.

“Our merry little audio play invites those who cannot be with us in person at the theater to close their eyes and imagine they are once again nestled into their cozy red seats at the Playhouse, experiencing a remarkable story filled with laughter, tears, and holiday cheer.”

Bah humbug!

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Speaking of the Playhouse: A promo is out for next month’s PBS specials: “Stars on Stage from Westport Country Playhouse.”

The shows — set for 3 consecutive Fridays (January 7, 14 and 21, all at 9 p.m.), featuring Broadway stars Gavin Creel, Shoshana Bean and Brandon Victor Dixon — will put our historic theater squarely in the national spotlight.

They were filmed in September, before live audiences.

Here’s a screenshot from the promo

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David Ader shot today’s “Westport … Naturally” image.

(Photo/David Ader)

He explains: “Turin has its shroud. On Woodside Avenue, we have the bird.

“These photos are of a haunting outline of a bird on a picture window, a good 20 feet off the ground. I noticed this and thought it was the lingering remains of something my kids had put up years before, but it wasn’t a sticker’s residual on the inside.

“I suspect this was from a bird that smashed into the window and left, somehow, this image. I ran outside to see if a dead or stunned bird lay below on the driveway, but there was nothing, not even a feather.

“I’d like to believe it’s a sign of something — perhaps an angel’s wings, or a symbol of peace?

“Or, worst case, that we’re all flying straight into a wall!”

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And finally … on this day in 1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs — the world’s first full-length animated feature film — premieres at the Carthay Circle Theatre. in Los Angeles.

As the clip below shows, the film — and song — definitely stand the of time.

Save The Polar Bears

A typical Staples absence note says, “He was at the doctor’s.”

Brian Hershey’s says, “He was at the Arctic Circle.”

If anything merits an excused absence, his does.

Brian Hershey, proudly wearing his Polar Bears International/Gault fleece.

Brian is a go-getter.  He’s president of the Geography Club for good reason:  Still a high school junior, he’s already visited 50 countries.

He plays alto sax in the jazz band and pit orchestra.

He spent last summer in Japan, as an exchange student.

He loves science.  So it was no surprise that last spring he entered an international contest run by Polar Bears International aimed at educating teenagers about climate change.

Nor was it surprise that — after writing an essay, and undergoing interviews — Brian was one of 18 winners.

Which is how, earlier this month, he traveled to Churchill, Manitoba — a small town on Hudson Bay — to meet with scientists, study polar bears, and figure out how to stop the world from falling apart.

Brian met incredible people.  Meeting other teenagers was as intriguing as interacting with climate change experts and park rangers.  Most of the teenagers won contests co-sponsored by zoos (Brian’s was the only one sponsored by an energy company — Gault).  Their perspectives broadened his own.

He spent time with Inuit trappers.  One woman had been hired at age 7 to guide white hunters.  At 9 she traveled 50 kilometers, spending 20 days trapping, then hauling furs back to Churchill.

By herself.

“I figured these trappers would just kill animals,” Brian says.  “But their lives depend on animals.  They really understand the importance of conservation.”

But his encounters with a few dozen polar bears — some as close as 2 feet away — were truly amazing.

Brian Hershey took this photo. The polar bears are having fun -- but there should be snow and ice on the ground.

A buggy brought the group to a research station in the middle of the tundra.

“We were at the mouth of the  Churchill River, where fresh and saltwater mix,” Brian explains.

“The bears hadn’t eaten in 4 months.  They were starving, waiting for the ice to form, so they could hunt and eat seals.

“The water wasn’t frozen — but it should have been.  Looking in the eyes of those awesome predators was an incredible experience.”

Brian returned to Westport — via prop plane to Winnipeg — motivated to find solutions to climate change.  He and his new friends had agreed to try to get major businesses or organizations wherever they lived — Australia, the UK, wherever — to reduce their carbon footprint by 5% in 1 year.

Brian immediately approached Staples principal John Dodig to discuss “realistic, applicable ideas.”

One was to start using thin, recyclable paper — like the type Brian saw in Japan — for the many handouts teachers distribute.

Another suggestion:  designate some junior parking spots (a coveted commodity) for students who recycle the most.

Brian Hershey, at the Arctic Circle.

Brian is determined to educate as many people as possible — of all ages — about the importance of environmental awareness.

“Climate change,” he notes, is a “misnomer.  Climate is dynamic — it’s always changing.  The question is whether people believe human beings are now contributing to the change.

“I think we are.  And I want to talk about it.”

His message — to his friends, teachers, and hopefully the nation — is both personal and universal.

“Why should people in the slums of India, or Brazilian favelas, care about polar bears?

“You have to look at the global picture — at weather, ocean salinity, fishing, trade, everything.

“I have friends all around the world.  And I’m going to use all my contacts, everyone I know and everything I learned, to try to spread awareness as much and as far as I can.”