Friday, June 28, 2013

Litchfield Historical Society to Host Ceremonies, Games, and Pet Parade on July 4

credit: Litchfield History Museum

The Litchfield Historical Society will hold its annual Pet Parade and Turn-of-the-Century Fest on Thursday, July 4th. Residents and visitors alike  with or without pets are invited to participate or to observe. Pets of any kind are welcome, but all pets must be either on a leash or in a cage and, where applicable, must come with a rabies certificate.

To register for the parade, call the Historical Society at (860) 567-4501 by Friday, June 29.

The Turn-of-the-Century-Fest will also include an ice cream social, with ice cream generously donated by Peaches and Cream, and old-fashioned games. Fest participants will have the opportunity to compete in egg and spoon races, a tug of war, a sunflower seed spitting contest, and three-legged races.

The event is free and open to the public. Also, admission is free of charge on July 4 to both the Litchfield History Museum and the Tapping Reeve House & Law School.

Check-in for the parade will begin at the Litchfield History Museum, 7 South Street, at 2:15 pm. The actual parade will commence at 2:30 pm. For more information, contact the Litchfield Historical Society at (860) 567-4501 or by email at

For information about the Historical Society visit  For area information

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Litchfield Hills are alive with the sound of music in Norfolk Connecticut

The Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, presented by the Yale School of Music, celebrates its 72nd season this year with performances and residencies by six internationally esteemed string quartets alongside students and young professionals from around the world. From June 22 to August 17 Norfolk will host a roster of string quartets including: the Artis Quartet, the Brentano Quartet, the Emerson String Quartet, the Jasper String Quartet, the Keller Quartet, and the Tokyo String Quartet. The Tokyo String Quartet, which is retiring this year, will play its last concert on July 6 at the festival. And on August 3 the Emerson String Quartet will perform its New York area debut concert with the group's new cellist, Paul Watkins.
Opening the 2013 festival on Saturday, June 22 is a choral program by the Yale Choral Artists, a new ensemble of 24 professional singers from around the country under the direction of the Yale Glee Club's Jeffrey Douma. The Choral Artists will perform All Night Vigil (Vespers) by Sergei Rachmaninov along with a shorter work by Pavel Chesnokov, Salvation is Created.
From July 5 to August 17 Norfolk will host a six-week Chamber Music Session. Among the twelve concerts each Friday and Saturday night in July and August is a presentation of Franz Schubert's song cycle Die Winterreise performed by pianist Peter Frankl and baritone Randall Scarlata on Friday, July 12.
The Norfolk Festival, under the leadership of Paul Hawkshaw since 2004, includes a New Music Workshop led by composer Martin Bresnick, a Lecture series, a Young Artists' Performance Series, Festival Artist concerts (Friday and Saturday nights), and a Family Day on July 14 that includes a performance of Yale's Javanese ensemble, Gamelan Suprabanggo. This year's festival concludes on August 17 with a performance of works for chorus and orchestra from the Renaissance to the contemporary by the Norfolk Festival Chorus and Orchestra directed by Simon Carrington.
For Tickets and Information: Concerts at: The Music Shed, 20 Litchfield Road (Rtes 44 & 272), Norfolk, CT Call: 203.432.1966 Email: Website: Series Ticket Prices: $55 - $15; $10 Students (ages18-25), and KIDS COME FREE! Special Event Ticket Prices: The Tokyo String Quartet- The Last Concert $375 ($345 ltd view) - $225 ($175 ltd view) - $100 ($75 ltd view) - $45.

About the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival
Carl Stoeckel and Ellen Battell, both from families steeped in the Yale University tradition, married in 1895 and decided to honor Ellen's father by founding a local musical society that would bring an abundance of musical excellence to their town of Norfolk, CT. Choral and musical societies already blossomed around the region; every town had a club and a quorum of musicians. Mrs. Stoeckel had long hosted informal evenings in her home, first in the Whitehouse, and later in the church next door. A great musical festival in Norfolk would provide a natural center to a region steeped in music. When the Litchfield County Choral Union came into being in 1899, it soon became the first internationally known music festival of its kind in America, and inspired the array of music centers that have since settled across the Berkshires.
After five years of concerts on their estate, the Stoeckels decided to build a hall worthy of truly great music. A New York architect, E.K. Rossiter, designed the building, and the Music Shed opened for use on June 6, 1906. The Shed is built of cedar and lined with California redwood, which likely accounts for its brilliant acoustics and certainly for its rustic beauty. The original hall seated 700 audience members, but after several expansions it was enlarged to hold 2,100. (Fire regulations have since reduced its capacity back to under 1,000.) Audiences began to clamor for invitations from all over New England and as far away as Texas, Chicago and California, and within five years they could easily have filled a building many times as large. The Music Shed had begun its reign among the premiere concert halls in New England.
Mr. and Mrs. Stoeckel spared no expense in making the festival concerts extravagant musical events. They recruited a 70-piece orchestra of players from the Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera orchestras in New York, and paid for a special train to transport the instrumentalists through the Litchfield hills. The appointments were eagerly sought; apart from the honor, the musicians had the pleasure of spending a week in the mountains, and the lawn parties that spread across the estate after rehearsals were soon famous.
Carl Stoeckel died in 1925 and the concerts continued for several years but activities came to a close during the 1930's. When Ellen Battell Stoeckel passed away in 1939 she left her estate in trust for the use of the Yale School of Music, to continue "studies in music, art and literature," and the Yale Summer School of Music/ Norfolk Chamber Music Festival began in 1941. Since that time countless gifted musicians have made for themselves a summer home in Norfolk, whether as students, faculty or performers at the Festival.
Since the beginning of the School and Festival, artists such as the Cleveland, Guarneri, Emerson, Juilliard, and Tokyo quartets have taught and performed in Norfolk. Fellows at Norfolk have included the oboist Allen Vogel, violinists Syoko Aki and Pamela Frank, clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, and soprano Frederica Von Stade. Recent ensembles have established themselves as students at Norfolk, including new music ensemble eighth blackbird, the Avalon quartet, the Calder quartet, the Claremont Trio, the Jasper Quartet, and the Miro quartet. In addition, Norfolk alumni are found in virtually every music conservatory and many major orchestras around the world, including the Boston, Chicago, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestras.
Students from conservatories around the world audition each year to participate in the festival and those that are accepted receive fellowships to cover the cost of tuition, room, and board. Since 1906, Norfolk festival musicians (including Rachmaninov, Sibelius, Vaughn Williams, in the early decades of the 20th century, and the St. Lawrence Quartet, eighth blackbird, Frederica von Stade, Richard Stoltzman and Alan Gilbert more recently) have performed on the stage of the festival's iconic venue, the "Music Shed."

Monday, June 24, 2013


Go aboard The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk’s research vessel this summer to journey out onto Long Island Sound and discover first-hand “what’s down there?”

The Aquarium’s hands-on Marine Life Study Cruises offers exciting introductions to fish, crabs, skates and other animals brought up right out of the water and onto the research vessel Oceanic for examination.

The study cruises will depart on Saturdays at 1 p.m. through June 29 and will push off at 1 p.m. daily in July and August.

“Before people can be inspired to take actions to preserve and protect Long Island Sound, they first must understand what animals are in the Sound and how complex, diverse and alive this marine environment is,” said Jamie Alonzo, the Aquarium’s director of education. “Our best exhibits within the Aquarium can’t top the immediacy and impact of seeing dozens of animals come up out of the water right in front of your eyes.”

During each 21/2-hour Marine Life Study Cruise, animals are brought onboard from different water levels and bottom habitats of the Sound. A video microscope provides a magnified look at wriggly plankton gathered at the sunlit surface. Tiny crabs and worms emerge from a sampling of the anaerobic muddy bottom. A biodredge reveals a hidden world of sponges, snails and mollusks. And everyone inspects the trawl net's bounty: varieties of fish and crabs, skates, lobsters, sea stars, squid and always a few surprises.

Maritime Aquarium educators involve participants in the processes, from sorting through samples to helping to pull in the trawl net and returning animals to the water.

Besides being fun and eye-opening, Marine Life Study Cruises also contribute to local scientific research. Water-chemistry and weather readings are taken. And details about the animals brought onboard are entered into the Aquarium’s Long Island Sound Biodiversity Project, a database of physical and biological features available online to teachers and researchers.

Also during the study cruises, as part of a Horseshoe Crab Census conducted by Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, The Maritime Aquarium tags and records data about all horseshoe crabs collected.

“Boat rides are always great for some family fun, but the animal encounters and learning opportunities make our study cruises even more memorable,” Alonzo said.

Cost of a Marine Life Study Cruise is $20.50 per person ($18.50 for Maritime Aquarium members).  All passengers must be at least 42 inches tall. 

Reservations are strongly recommended; walk-up tickets will be sold space permitting. The Oceanic can accommodate 29 passengers.

Marine Life Study Cruises also are available for weekday charters for schools on field trips, summer camps, Scouts and other groups at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Cruises depart from the dock near the Aquarium's IMAX Theater entrance.

To reserve your spot on a Maritime Aquarium Marine Life Study Cruise or for more details, go to or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Celebrate Henry Ward Beecher’s 200th Birthday with the Litchfield Historical Society

Henry Ward Beecher Courtesy of the Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library

This year is the 200th anniversary of Litchfield native and famous preacher Henry Ward Beecher’s birth. Join the Litchfield Historical Society on Monday, June 24 at 7:00 pm for a celebration of Beecher’s birthday, as well as a discussion of Debby Applegate’s 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher.

Led by retired Litchfield High School English teacher Jerry Geci, the conversation will focus on Beecher as a fascinating and complex man: celebrated in his own time, though not untouched by scandal. The Most Famous Man in America creates a powerful portrait of Beecher, highlighting both his charisma and his flaws. Applegate’s book has been touted as “Thoroughly researched, passionately written, and richly detailed” (Harry S. Stout). Joan Hendricks, a Harriet Beecher Stowe scholar calls it “A lively narrative of nineteenth-century religion, power, passion, and politics, as well as a perceptive study of the elusive preacher who rode them to the top.”

Whether you think Beecher was a saint or a scoundrel, please join us for a rousing book discussion. We will also view Beecher family-related items from the Historical Society’s collections and have birthday cake.

This event is free; a copy of the book can be purchased for $8 from the Historical Society. Please register by Friday, June 14, to receive a copy of the book. To register, call (860) 567-4501 or email

The Litchfield History Museum is located at 7 South Street, Litchfield, CT. For more information about this or upcoming programs, please call (860) 567-4501 or see

For area information visit

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Open Your Eyes Studio Tour & Showcase in Litchfield Hills

L. Petrocine - Wetlands

Artists in the Litchfield Hills are opening their doors to the public this summer on June 22 and 23 free of charge.  In the Open your eyes Studio Tour sponsored by the Northwest CT Arts Council, twenty-nine artists and eight performers in New Milford and Kent will open their studios to the public.

Artists will open their creative spaces to the public on Saturday and Sunday along the tour route to show their work and discuss their creative processes.  The artists’ media represented on the tour include painting, printmaking, sculpting, photography, metal sculpture, woodworking, wool spinning, dying & weaving, installation work, bookmaking, digital art, drawing, ceramics, and jewelry.  

M. Everett

The artists are Terri Tibbatts, Bill Merklein, Silver Sun Studio, Michael Everett, Linda Petrocine, Peter Kirkiles, Alison Palmer, Peter Kukresh, Lauri Zarin, Scott Bricher, Naya Bricher, Mary Terrizzi, Ed Martinez, Deborah Chabrian, Jill Scholsohn, Richard Stalter, Susan Grisell, Barbara Dull, Stephen Dull, Elizabeth Mullins, Susan Millins, Kathleen L’Hommedieu, Peter Catchpole, Patrick Purcell, Chris Osborne, Joel Spector, Anda Styler, Lynn WEllings, and Diane Dubreuil.

Chabrin - Artists Desk

 Performers for the Showcase on Saturday, June 22 from 5 – 9 pm on the New Milford Green will include TheatreWorks New Milford, musician Tom Hooker Hanford, Artists in Motion (dance), composer/pianist Sharon Ruchman, Larry Hunt from Masque Theatre, Buzz Turner on acoustic guitar, Rebecca Moore Dance, and True Jensen who perform rock and R & B cover music.

SS Studios

For more information about Open Your Eyes Studio Tour & Showcase go to or contact the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council at (860) 618-0075 or

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Discover 19th Century Inventions at New Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum Exhibit

Technology is a major part of our lives and our culture and the Lockwood Mathews Mansion has put together an exhibit that explores the roots of today’s technology by displaying the “futuristic” inventions of the Victorian Era. 

The Mansion was ahead of its time and one of America's most technologically advanced buildings during the Civil War and the Victorian era so it makes the perfect backdrop for this new exhibit called What is It? Technologies and Discoveries of the Victoria Era.

Victorian era gadgets, technologies and breakthroughs will be on display at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum through October 6th. What Is It? Technologies and Discoveries of the Victorian Era will tantalize student and adult audiences in the exploration of mid-to-late 19th century inventions and discoveries in many diverse areas including communication, transportation, manufacturing, medicine, food and recreation. Visitors are sure to be surprised at how some of those historic breakthroughs are still very relevant today.

A highlight of the exhibit allows visitors to view cutting-edge Victorian Era technology that were precursors of some of today’s technologies, including telegraphs, Dictaphones, gas lighting and early examples of telephones, as well as burglar alarms, stock tickers and much more. Visitors will discover items still enjoyed today, from board games to food such as condensed milk and breakfast cocoa. 

Artifacts on display include loans from Connecticut's Mattatuck Museum and the Museum of American Finance, New York City, among others.

About the Lockwood Mathews Mansion
The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is a National Historic Landmark located at 295 West Avenue in Norwalk. Tours for the museum and exhibit are offered Wednesdays through Sundays, at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. Admittance is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $6 for children. Children under 8 are admitted free. For more information, visit, or call 203-838-9799.