• Talk of the Town
    April 04,2013

    Sweet honors

    MONTPELIER — The Montpelier High School Boosters will honor local luminaries Burr Morse (class of 1966) and Elliott Morse (1956) as part of the group’s 20th annual Celebration of Excellence dinner Saturday evening at the Capitol Plaza Hotel. Organizers hope to raise more than $6,000 at the annual event to support extracurricular activities at the school, where both brothers remain involved.

    “They’ve done everything for the schools from having the elementary school kids come to the sugarhouse to having Burr teach about alternative energy to the high school kids,” said Theresa Murray-Clasen, president of the boosters. “We asked ourselves why we hadn’t honored them before.”

    The program also celebrates a range of student musical talent with performances by both the high school jazz ensemble and chamber orchestra, as well as some cabaret-style singing of songs from the 1940s and 1950s by the high school choir. The Morse brothers, family and friends will join the jazz ensemble for part of its performance.

    Murray-Clasen said boosters have already sold 125 tickets for the dinner but that a few tickets still remain for $50 through boosters@mpsvt.org.

    The celebration starts at 5:30 p.m.

    All-art capital

    MONTPELIER — ArtWalk visitors will have the chance to decide Friday evening if a picture is worth a thousand words as the city hosts two special PoemCity events in conjunction with the city’s bimonthly art extravaganza.

    The Montpelier Senior Activity Center will host a reading by center poets at 5 p.m., and Vermont slam champion Geof Hewitt will host an all-ages poetry slam at Kellogg-Hubbard Library at 7 p.m.

    In addition, several artists in the 25 downtown venues have chosen to include poetry in their exhibits. Kate Mueller will feature her own poems and artwork, as well as pastels by Joyce Kahn, at her eponymous gallery on the second floor at 15 State St. Naturalist George Lisi, who teaches at the Wisdom of the Herbs School in Woodbury, will show images and poetry at the Tulsi Tea Room at 34 Elm St.

    Elsewhere around the city the Goddard Art Gallery will present an installation by internationally recognized artist Thea Alvin on “The Nature of Things” at its space at 54 Main St. Montpelier High School and dance students Nathan Burton and Zivah Sloan-Solomon will exhibit collaborative photographs in a show called “Captured Mind Wanderings” at the Contemporary Dance & Fitness Studio at 18 Langdon St.

    Perhaps the most unusual event of the walk will take place at The Knitting Studio at 112 Main St., where performer Jerry Desmarais, who is described as a “practitioner of the pneumatic arts,” will create complex and amazing objects from balloons. Enjoy.

    Star power

    COLCHESTER — Vermont does indeed have talent.

    Young people from across Vermont strutted their stuff Saturday at St. Michael’s College in Colchester as they competed in the fourth annual Vermont HAS Talent competition. Sixty-one participants between the ages of 8 and 24 performed in 36 acts to a sold-out crowd at the school’s recital hall. The competition helps raise money for the Miss Vermont Scholarship Organization.

    The grand prize winner was Matteo Palmer, of Vergennes, who took home $500, a $1,000 scholarship to the John Robert Powers Talent School in Boston, and a promise to appear as a feature performer in the Miss Vermont Scholarship Competition in June.

    First place in the 13-to-24 age group was Trendsetterz, from Waterbury — Ernest Phillips, Kate Flaherty, McKinley Pierce, Sam Bright, Sienna Jean, Zoe Werth and Jenna Campanion. They won $100, a $100 gift certificate to Flynn Arts, and a $750 scholarship to John Robert Powers Talent School.

    April showers

    BARRE — It will be raining on the stage in the Spaulding High School auditorium tonight, and the forecast for Friday and Saturday calls for more of the same.

    No, the school’s sprinkler system hasn’t sprung a leak. It’s just that the Spaulding drama club’s latest production, “Singin’ In the Rain,” will open tonight at 7 p.m., continue with a second 7 p.m. performance Friday and wrap up with a Saturday 3 p.m. matinee.

    We’re told the show is a “humble homage to the original” — the iconic 1952 film co-directed by and starring Gene Kelley along with Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Conner — and features Aaron Roberts, Maggie Longchamp and Edward Adams in the title roles.

    The talented trio and their equally talented cast mates — 18 in all — stormed City Hall on Tuesday night to whet the appetites of folks tuned in on public access by tap dancing their way through the play’s show-stopping closing number.

    Fortunately for the City Council, the camera operator and the audience, they left the special effects at Spaulding. Bobby Erwin and his lighting crew didn’t make it rain Tuesday night, as they will tonight, Friday night, and one last time Saturday afternoon.

    Those who tuned in Tuesday night did get a sneak peak at some of the play’s 1920s era costumes. Those costumes, we’re told, are the handiwork of Morgaine Bell, who transformed a collection of recycled dresses, jackets, bed sheets and every last inch of yellow vinyl fabric she could get her hands on into stage-worthy clothing.

    The crowd-pleasing play promises to be big on both wit and style, and certainly worth the price of admission ($10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and $5 for children under 13).

    Tickets can be purchased in advance at Next Chapter Bookstore on North Main Street and Ellie & Shirl’s Simply Delicious on Depot Square. For those who prefer to wait until the last minute, tickets can also be obtained 45 minutes before showtime at the school.

    Very important dates

    BARRE — Perhaps Paul Poirier was rattled by the question posed by a confessed choir boy who buys flowers for any woman with a pulse who works at National Life (including Poirier’s wife, Lesley).

    Except Poirier didn’t sound rattled when Councilor Michael Boutin asked a seemingly innocent question moments after claiming that, in addition to buying flowers for Lesley Poirier, he had serenaded her.

    Or had he?

    Boutin — who prefers the throwback title “alderman,” has the Granite City’s only licensed ferret and never saw a liquor license request that he voted for — seemed honestly uncertain, prompting him to pop the question that Poirier bobbled badly.

    Just when, Boutin wondered aloud, was Poirier’s better half born?

    “June 27,” Poirier replied, sounding very much like a man who was sure of himself a split-second before sounding very much like a man who was mistaken.

    “No,” he hastily added. “June 23.”

    And here’s where Poirier gets points for style, because he didn’t miss a beat before offering up an explanation that sounded too true to be false.

    According to Poirier, he and the woman who was born on June 23 will celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary on June 27.

    “I knew there were two important dates in June,” he said.

    For Poirier’s sake, we hope he’s right.

    Art racks?

    BARRE — What do two gargoyles have in common with a Jack-in-the-Box (the mechanical toy, not the fast-food restaurant)?

    Both were the inspiration behind two newly commissioned sculptural bike racks that will be created out of a mix of gray granite and galvanized metal using some of the money that former Barre businessman Charlie Semprebon left the city following his death in 2009.

    Wonder what those two bike racks will eventually look like?

    We’re told you don’t have to wait, because on Saturday afternoon the folks at Studio Place Arts will be hosting a reception for the two local artists — Chris Miller of Calais and Barre’s own Giuliano Cecchinelli Jr. — whose models most impressed a panel of regional art experts assembled to conduct a blind review of proposals.

    Did we say models?

    Yes, we did, and on Saturday folks who swing by SPA between 2:30 and 4 p.m. can get a good look at them while meeting the men who will turn them into functional works of public art.

    Miller is the man behind the two granite gargoyles that, once he’s done carving, will be forever engaged in a mock tug-of-war over a serpentine-shaped bike rack.

    Cecchinelli’s piece is more whimsical. He’s planning to create a sculpture of a Jack-in-the-Box that has sprung open, exposing the serpentine shaped bike rack.

    Sue Higby suggested the sculptural bike racks would be a fitting tribute to Semprebon, who was an avid cyclist who left Barre (the city and the town) $1 million to advance plans for a regional bike path, and more than twice that much for unspecified civic improvements in the city where he was born and raised.

    “These art bike racks are tangible ways to promote bike riding, a major interest of Charles Semprebon, and at the same time to familiarize residents and visitors with the skilled artisans in our region,” said Higby.

    ‘Sandy’ man

    MONTPELIER — In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, Red Cross volunteers from across the country swarmed to Vermont to help mount a massive relief effort.

    Last year Vermonters, like Barre resident John Doon, returned the favor.

    Doon was one of 30 volunteers with the Vermont & the New Hampshire Upper Valley American Red Cross who went on national deployments on behalf of the organization in 2012.

    Doon was one of the volunteers whose assignments took them to New York and New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. There they helped staff shelters and feed thousands of residents displaced by the storm.

    Which brings us to last week, when Doon was presented with a certificate of appreciation by Red Cross brass and was among those honored during an afternoon ceremony by Gov. Peter Shumlin, who marked the occasion by signing a proclamation declaring March (it was still March at the time) American Red Cross Month in the Green Mountain State.

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