Theatrical revival: Old Kallet movie house in Pulaski renovated and ready to rock

Kallet manager Steven J. York points out items in the theater’s history room. Justin Sorensen / NNY Living

Kallet manager Steven J. York points out items in the theater’s history room. Justin Sorensen / NNY Living

The Kallet Theater hopes to become a central attraction for tourists passing through the village.

The theater celebrated its grand opening in November after undergoing several months of renovations led by owners Vincent G. Lobdell Sr. and son Vincent Jr.

Mr. Lobdell Sr. is founder and president of HealthWay Home Products Inc., an air purification manufacturer based in Pulaski.

Karen R. Hurd, operations manager at the Kallet, said Mr. Lobdell has always been an active community member.

“He lives right here, and he wants to benefit and bring jobs to the community,” said Mrs. Hurd. “He and his son come to every show they can.”

With the support of many community members and local contractors, the father-son team brought the Kallet Theater back to life. Today, it sits revitalized — a reflection of 20th century charm. [Read more...]

Stained-glass work of master craftsman Harry Horwood restored for St. Philip’s Church in Norwood

Edward Dehors, Martville, stands Sunday in front of a Stained Glass Annunciation Window at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Norwood. Mr. Dehors is the artist responsible for the restoration of the historic window made up of thousands of pieces of glass that is now back at the church. Jason Hunter / NNY Living

Edward Dehors, Martville, stands Sunday in front of a Stained Glass Annunciation Window at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Norwood. Mr. Dehors is the artist responsible for the restoration of the historic window made up of thousands of pieces of glass that is now back at the church. Jason Hunter / NNY Living

Through the glow of the afternoon light, the history of generations can be seen in each piece of newly restored 118-year-old glass.

The Stained Glass Annunciation Window sits high above the doorway of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Norwood and is a one-of-a-kind work by master craftsman Harry Horwood, an English artist who settled in Ogdensburg in 1881.

During a rededication for the recently restored window, the Rev. Kathyrn M. Boswell, rector of the church, stood in front of her congregation and, as she held a service, looked up at the window depicting the day the angel Gabriel came down from Heaven to tell the Virgin Mary that she would give birth.

Installed in 1906, the Rev. Ms. Boswell said for the three and a half years she has been holding services at St. Philip’s she never noticed how much detail had been hidden behind the dirt and grime.

“Even before it was restored, it was beautiful,” the Rev. Ms. Boswell said. “I just love that window, it is just lovely, but there was so much detail I couldn’t even see that I didn’t realize how much was there. And just the late afternoon sun, the way it comes through is just beautiful.”

Restoration of the window began in May 2013 and the window was returned to its home above the church’s entrance way in December. [Read more...]

51 Things Every Northern New Yorker Should Do

No matter a native, a transplant, a seasonal resident or a year-rounder, there is an endless supply of fun to be found in the north country.
Here are some things to add to your bucket list. [Read more...]

Fifth annual KeithFest June 28 at Coyote Moon Vineyard in Clayton honors a musical legacy

In addition to a musician, Keith E. Brabant was an avid cyclist and hiker. This photo of him was taken in Arizona in 2010. He and his girlfriend took a cross-country driving vacation there and back, returning just about two weeks before he died. RACHEL BORAWSKI

In addition to a musician, Keith E. Brabant was an avid cyclist and hiker. This photo of him was taken in Arizona in 2010. He and his girlfriend took a cross-country driving vacation there and back, returning just about two weeks before he died. RACHEL BORAWSKI

When a group of musicians gathered to celebrate the life and music of Keith E. Brabant five years ago, his mother figured it would be a one-time event.

“It was such an outpouring of love and music,” said Melody A. Brabant, Keith’s mom. “People then kept saying, ‘Let’s keep doing it.’ So that’s what we did.”

The fifth annual KeithFest is from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 28 at Coyote Moon Vineyards, 17371 County Route 3, Clayton.

Those who perform at KeithFest share his passion for music. In a letter he wrote to his mom in 2006 from Colorado, Mr. Brabant expressed his love of music and the path it was leading him on. “The only thing that I want to happen is for the music to get created,” he wrote. “And that’s been happening from day one. All small pieces of ‘fabric’ over the course of my life — that will be a ‘quilt.’”

Mr. Brabant was the victim of a shooting in April 2010 in the town of Alexandria. The Keith Brabant Music Scholarship Foundation was formed shortly after his death.

Mr. Brabant was a musician and composer who performed in numerous bands all over the country and in Seattle and Breckenridge, Colo. He also loved the outdoors and studying history, religion and government.

The music scholarship in his name, administered by the Northern New York Community Foundation, has awarded $8,000 to young north country musicians since 2010. Applications are reviewed each year by the KeithFest panel. Five scholarships to students in Jefferson County will be presented at this year’s festival.

Because the festival is on June 28, graduation day for several local schools, admission will be free for any 2014 graduating senior with school identification.

The music kicks off at noon with local musician Sarah Parker Ada playing ukulele. The scholarships will be presented at 12:20 p.m.

The music continues from 12:40 until 2:15 p.m. with Mark Mason and friends Gary Walts, Sam Hopkins, Jim Burr, Lisa Forshaw and Jim Wiley. Up next will be Dave Scanlon and the DTZs, followed at 2:45 by Coyote Moon’s own Foggy River Band.

At 3:30 p.m., the acoustic trio Define Normal will take the stage.

“The Keith Brabant Experience,” an annual tribute session to Mr. Brabant by Justin Reynolds and friends, takes the stage at at 3:50 p.m.

“That is very close to my heart,” Mrs. Brabant said of the annual session. “It’s Keith’s original music and a lot of the cover songs that he enjoyed playing. It takes a lot of devotion from the musicians to put it together. Musicians come from all over who get together and learn Keith’s music, which can be quite complex.”

The band Casey Street Shuffle will perform at 4:30 p.m. followed by The List at 4:50 p.m., Sonic Buzz at 5:35 p.m., Root Seller at 5:55 p.m. and Ian Wagner at 6:40. At 7:10 p.m., Minus Mike, the group Mr. Brabant started out with during his teen years, will wrap up the festival.

The festival also will offer activities for children throughout the day, including a bounce house, craft tent and an “instrument petting zoo.” The instrument zoo will include an acoustic guitar signed last year by KeithFest participants. In a new tradition, an acoustic guitar will be signed by participants of each KeithFest for display the following year.

An assortment of food, ranging from fried cheese curd to wine slushies, will be offered.

■       ■       ■

The 2014 Keith Brabant Music Scholarships honorees:

$600 to Sonja Lara-Gonzalez, Theresa, a student at Indian River Central High School. Funds will go toward music lessons and/or the purchase of a violin.

$600 to Trenton Service, LaFargeville, who attends Alexandria Central School. Funds will go to his attendance at the University of Massachusetts summer music camp.

$600 to Jahara Green, Calcium, a student at Indian River. Funds will go to the purchase of a violin, and/or to attend the Crane Youth Music Camp at SUNY Potsdam.

$400 to Rachelle Johnson, Alexandria Bay, a student at Alexandria Central. Funds will go toward Camp Electric in Cedarville, Ohio, and/or Orangehaus music camp in Anderson, Ind.

$400 to Brady Towne, Fort Drum, a student at Carthage Middle School. Funds will go toward Crane Youth Music Camp and/or purchase of a double bass.

 

The details

WHAT: Fifth annual KeithFest

WHEN/WHERE: Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 28 at Coyote Moon Vineyards, 17371 County Route 3, Clayton.

COST: $10 for ages 12-65 and $5 for those under 12 and over 65. This year, the festival has been designated a Yellow Ribbon event. Soldiers and their family members will be admitted at half price with military ID. Free admission will be given to any graduating high school senior with school ID. There is a family rate of $25.

ON THE WEB: www.keithfest.com

 

By Chris Brock, Times Staff Writer

Book explores how an Adams native urged Lincoln to show empathy for condemned Indians

Gustav Niebuhr, author of ‘Lincoln’s Bishop: A President, A Priest, and the Fate of 300 Dakota Sioux Warriors.’  Norm Johnston / NNY Living

Gustav Niebuhr, author of ‘Lincoln’s Bishop: A President, A Priest, and the Fate of 300 Dakota Sioux Warriors.’ Norm Johnston / NNY Living

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln faced a decision: Should he allow his Army to carry out the deaths of 303 individuals?

At a time when the Civil War was raging and word of mass death came to doorsteps daily, a decision to send the condemned men to their deaths may have not raised many eyebrows. Indeed, public opinion favored death for the convicted and even the “extermination” of their kind.

But the president’s decision to spare all but 38 of the men — Dakota Indians in Minnesota — may have been influenced by the pleas of an Adams native who urged Lincoln to look at the big picture and not do something that would haunt the country and go against its better nature.

The episode is explored in the new book, “Lincoln’s Bishop: A President, a Priest, and the Fate of 300 Dakota Sioux Warriors” by Gustav Niebuhr, associate professor of newspaper and online journalism at Syracuse University. It’s published by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Washington Post has called Mr. Niebuhr, a former reporter for the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, “one of the country’s most experienced religious commentators.”

The idea for his latest book was sparked during a 2009 visit by Mr. Niebuhr to Watertown when he spoke at Jefferson Community College about free speech and tolerance. He was invited to the area by Robert D. Gorman, who was then managing editor of the Watertown Daily Times and who now serves as chief executive officer of the United Way of Northern New York.

Mr. Gorman gave Mr. Niebuhr a tour of Watertown and mentioned some prominent people who were raised in the area.

“He named a couple of names I recognized and one I didn’t, which was Henry Whipple,” Mr. Niebuhr said recently during an interview at the Times. “He said, ‘This was the man who went to see Lincoln during the Civil War about the Dakota Indians.’ I thought this was really interesting. I had never heard of this before.”

Mr. Niebuhr’s research on Henry Whipple uncovered a gallant tale.

“What I would hope is that people would draw something from Whipple’s courage,” Mr. Niebuhr said. “I think he was courageous to stand up as a kind of a one-man movement. There was very little support that he got.”

inspiration

Henry Benjamin Whipple, born in Adams in 1822, was the son of John Hall and Elizabeth Wagner Whipple. Had it not been for another resident of Adams, Mr. Whipple might not have become an advocate of Native Americans.

In his book, Mr. Niebuhr writes that Peter Doxtater became a young Henry Whipple’s “moral tutor” on that subject. Mr. Doxtater, who’d served in the Continental Army and fought the British at the Battle of Oriskany, was taken captive as a child during an Indian raid at a Mohawk River settlement and taken to Canada.

“Doxtater forgot most of his English,” Mr. Niebuhr writes. “He became an Indian.”

He was freed in the 1760s when British soldiers came upon him and his siblings.

So after settling in Adams, old man Doxtater had many tales of adventures to share, and his home “became a magnet for Adams boys” Mr. Niebuhr writes. But Mr. Whipple would not actually meet an Indian until he was 37 years old.

After a year of study at Oberlin College in Ohio, Mr. Whipple went into business with his father, who owned a general store in Adams. He was raised Presbyterian but in 1842, he married Cornelia Wright, a “committed Episcopalian.” His early church affiliation then became Zion Church, Pierrepont Manor, and he was one of the founders of Emmanuel Church in Adams.

He was ordained a deacon in Trinity Church, Geneva, and elevated to the priesthood at Christ Church, Sackets Harbor.

After serving parishes in Rome and Chicago, he was elected the first Episcopal bishop of Minnesota in 1856. Three years later, the Right Rev. Henry Benjamin Whipple built a cathedral in Fairbault, Minn. The state was heavily populated by Dakota Indians, also referred to as Sioux.

Mr. Whipple empathized with them as a people under siege from corrupt government officials, unscrupulous merchants and frontiersmen.

“He takes his identity as a Christian missionary bishop very seriously,” Mr. Niebuhr said. “He believes he’s in Minnesota not just to serve whites, who are settling there, but the Indians as well.”

dakota war

Mr. Whipple wrote many letters to politicians in Washington, D.C., about what he saw as the poor treatment of Indians on the Minnesota frontier. He wrote several letters to President James Buchanan and his successor, Lincoln.

“Even when the Dakota War breaks out in August of 1862, and so many whites, including the governor of Minnesota, are totally alienated from the Indians and blame the entire war on them, Whipple has a way of fitting what’s happening to his view of how the Indians have been treated,” Mr. Niebuhr said.

About 500 white settlers lost their lives in the war, according to the Indian Affairs Council of Minnesota. The council said that hundreds of Indians also died, but many were credited with saving the lives of settlers.

President Lincoln dispatched Gen. John Pope, relieved of his duties in the Civil War after defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run, to end the war. More than 2,000 Indians were rounded up, and 303 were sentenced to death.

“The public, from the government on down, very quickly called for the extermination of the Dakotas,” Mr. Niebuhr said. “Whipple said, ‘No. You can’t do that. It’s not what we do in a Christian country. People who have committed crimes should be brought to justice, but you can’t bring the hammer down on the entire tribe, particularly when you mistreated them for so long.’”

The author said Mr. Whipple believed that the uprising was brought on by years of poor treatment of Indians.

“He doesn’t make any excuses for them, but he sees a bigger picture, and that’s what he takes to Lincoln,” Mr. Niebuhr said.

He met Lincoln in the early fall of 1862 in Washington when the president had a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation on his desk.

“What better time, with a revolutionary act at hand, than to argue for another change — not one so grand, but one that could curtail the duplicity and suffering to which another large segment of the population was subject?” Mr. Niebuhr wrote in “Lincoln’s Bishop.”

Later, Lincoln said he wanted to study the verdicts of the Indians who were sentenced to death. Mr. Whipple thought Mr. Lincoln would show empathy, even though Lincoln’s grandfather and namesake was killed by Indians before he was born.

“But he was never a man to think in terms of revenge,” Mr. Niebuhr said.

On Dec. 6, 1862, Lincoln ruled that 39 cases of the 303 Dakotas warranted capital punishment. He later commuted the death sentence of another person.

The 38 who were hanged in Mankato, Minn., on Dec. 26, 1862, comprised the largest mass execution in U.S. history. Bills were then introduced to exile Dakota Indians out of the state to reservations farther west. Mr. Whipple fought the bills but couldn’t prevent their passage.

Mr. Whipple died in 1901 and is buried in a crypt in his cathedral.

He left an important legacy, Mr. Niebuhr said. “When people become afraid and they want to point their finger at a particular group, it’s hard to know what’s going to happen,” he said. “That’s why it’s important to enforce the laws that we have and also to give people a fair hearing and trial.”

He added, “When we get scared, we may take it out on an entire people, and it’s something that comes to be regretted later on.”

The details

“Lincoln’s Bishop: A President, a Priest, and the Fate of 300 Dakota Sioux Warriors” by Gustav Niebuhr, published by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins (hardcover, 210 pages, $26.99, illustrated with 16 photos)

By Chris Brock, Times Staff Writer

 

Carthage filmmaker to debut his second film, “Hold ’Em,” in July at Syracuse theater

The main cast of ‘Hold ‘Em,’ from left: David Iannotti, Richard Cooke, Peter Doroha, Jay Storey, John Henderson, Eric Scordo and Dalton Beach. RICH KRAEMER

The main cast of ‘Hold ‘Em,’ from left: David Iannotti, Richard Cooke, Peter Doroha, Jay Storey, John Henderson, Eric Scordo and Dalton Beach. RICH KRAEMER

Following the surprising success of his first movie, a strong follow-up film was literally in the cards for Clay J. Dumaw.

Mr. Dumaw’s horror film “Get Out Alive,” released in 2012, which he wrote and directed and shot locally, consumed two years of his life. Now, with added confidence, he has released the thriller “Hold ’Em” with plans already in the works for his next film.

“In the first film, we were just trying to figure out, ‘Can we do this?’” said Mr. Dumaw, a 2007 graduate of Carthage Central School.

“Get Out Alive” has made back its approximate $10,000 budget, mainly through downloads on amazon.com. It was mostly shot in Carthage. Mr. Dumaw’s new movie, “Hold ’Em,” was shot in Watertown and Carthage last summer.

“Hold ’Em,” which premieres July 10 in Syracuse, features a World Series of Poker-meets-“Hunger Games” scenario. Its tagline: “The entry fee is your life.” It features amateur local actors and another, Jay Storey, with professional experience. He plays Nathaniel Savage, the sinister host of the high-stakes card game, in “Hold ’Em.” Mr. Storey, who grew up near Calcium, was also in “Get Out Alive.”

For his follow-up project, Mr. Dumaw wanted to focus on a more coherent script with better characterization and sharper dialogue.

 

The idea for the movie was pitched to Mr. Dumaw by fellow Carthage resident Richard E. Cooke, who plays “Hold ’Em” main character Jake Emerson.

Mr. Cooke enjoys watching sports, including the “odd ones” like curling and darts. But the pressure of televised high stakes poker always intrigued him.

“It’s you versus the other guy and you have to bluff the other guy out,” Mr. Cooke said. “There’s so much pressure and you are on TV with millions of dollars on the line. It dawned on me: What if it was even worse? What if these guys were playing for their lives? I just wrote that idea down.”

Mr. Cooke learned about Mr. Dumaw’s first film through social media and the two developed a friendship. Mr. Cooke took his movie idea to Mr. Dumaw.

“He only had the bare idea for it, but I was like, ‘If you turn that into a screenplay and hand it to me, I will make it,’” Mr. Dumaw said.

Mr. Cooke went home and wrote the script in two days in longhand. The pair then tweaked it.

But the film ended up dealing out something else for Mr. Cooke. As he and Mr. Dumaw searched for an actor to play the lead character, Jake Emerson, Mr. Cooke said he’d like to give it a shot. He had no acting experience.

The results are impressive. Mr. Cooke obviously feels comfortable in front of the camera.

“When we started shooting, Clay said, ‘You are pretty natural at this,’” Mr. Cooke said. “Then a few other people said it. And lately, I’ve gotten a lot of that.”

Mr. Cooke, who attended General Brown Central School, said he developed his sense of acting through the resolute watching of movies.

“I didn’t just watch them, I studied them,” he said. “I studied mannerisms, personalities and things like that.”

Mr. Cooke is glad he took a chance on acting in “Hold ’Em.”

“I always knew I could do it,” he said. “But I was scared about how other people would take it. I had self-image issues.”

learning from mistakes

Mr. Dumaw said he learned not to make the same mistakes with “Hold ’Em” that he made in his first movie. For example, he said he over-relied on a tripod for “Get Out Alive.”

“Those shots were really static and boring,” he said. “As it went on, we were running out of time, so we had to shoot with a hand-held (camera) out of necessity and less time to set up. But we noticed the hand-held gave it a cool look.”

There are only two shots in “Hold ’Em” that are from a tripod-set camera.

Mr. Dumaw said he also learned to make better use of his schedule and resources.

“In the last movie, I wrote it without thinking about what resources that I had,” Mr. Dumaw said. “When we wrote this script, we made a list of the stuff we had.”

The items ranged from a warehouse (at Slack Chemical in Carthage) where the card games are held to vehicles and a card table.

Local viewers of “Hold ’Em” will recognize the settings in the film — from Watertown’s Thompson Park to Public Square. Mr. Dumaw said the film crew managed to raise some eyebrows, and recalled one scene that was filmed at 2 a.m. on a Saturday last year.

“It was right when all the bars were getting out and we had to shoot around all these drunk people who kept jumping into the shots,” he said. “We have so many outtakes of drunk people photo-bombing.”

building on success

The entry fee for attending the premiere of “Hold ’Em” in Syracuse will help the filmmaker pay to enter the 82-minute movie in film festivals and send it out to agents.

“Right now, I just do it because it’s fun,” Mr. Dumaw said of his filmmaking. “But eventually, I want a career in it.”

Mr. Dumaw will be the cinematographer on a production in St. Louis later this month. It’s an adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s short story “The End of Something.” David Fichtenmayer, the lead actor from “Get Out Alive,” is producing it.

“He liked my work, so he wanted me to work on his film,” which will be shown to Warner Bros. executives, Mr. Dumaw said.

Mr. Cooke said he hopes his movie career advances. He plans to pursue acting professionally. His inspiration is his sister, Norma Jean Riddick, a General Brown graduate who is a successful actress and comedian in Los Angeles.

“Only a few people knew I wanted to get into acting,” Mr. Cooke said. “It was always a daydream. I’m 39 now. But it doesn’t mean I can’t give it a shot and try.”

Mr. Dumaw and Mr. Cooke plan to work together on Mr. Dumaw’s next film.

“I can’t give away too much but it’s a comedy; complete polar opposite of what I’m doing right now,” Mr. Dumaw said. “I’m trying to get away from the scary stuff because I feel like I’m getting pigeon-holed. I like scary movies but I’m not obsessed with them. I actually prefer to do funny stuff.”

 

[Read more...]

Tug Hill Bluegrass Festival expands lineup, kicks off with top act

The Grascals, one of the most popular bands in bluegrass, is the premiere act of the ninth annual Tug Hill Bluegrass Festival. The band performs two sets Thursday night. From left: Danny Roberts, Jamie Johnson, Kristin Scott Benson, Terry Smith, Adam Haynes and Terry Eldredge. KIM LANCASTER-BRANTLEY

The Grascals, one of the most popular bands in bluegrass, is the premiere act of the ninth annual Tug Hill Bluegrass Festival. The band performs two sets Thursday night. From left: Danny Roberts, Jamie Johnson, Kristin Scott Benson, Terry Smith, Adam Haynes and Terry Eldredge. KIM LANCASTER-BRANTLEY

The ninth annual Tug Hill Bluegrass Festival will kick off with a bang Thursday night to go along with its banjos.

The premiere band of the festival, The Grascals, performs at 7 and 9 Thursday evening.

Building on the success of past festivals, organizers have added more than six hours of stage performance time to the 2014 event. Bands will be traveling from New England and as far away as Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia to perform at the three-day festival held at Maple Ridge Center.

The Grascals are among the most renowned bands on today’s bluegrass scene, having won the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America’s bluegrass band of the year award in 2010, the International Bluegrass Music Association’s emerging artist of the year award in 2005 and earning the association’s entertainer of the year honor in both 2006 and 2007.

The Grascals consist of lead singer and guitarist Terry Eldredge, guitarist and award-winning songwriter Jamie Johnson, mandolin player Danny Roberts, bassist Terry Smith, fiddler Adam Haynes and four-time IBMA banjo player of the year Kristin Scott Benson.

The band’s latest album, “Life Finds a Way,” was released in 2012.

The Grascals are part of an extended lineup of entertainment at the festival this year, something that caused budgeting concerns for concert promoter Keith Zehr. But the board of directors of the Adirondack Mennonite Camping Association, which governs activities at Maple Ridge Center, told him not to worry.

“The board feels that the festival is a great showcase for the type of family activities that are described in the mission statement of the Maple Ridge Center and that the festival will be a success,” Mr. Zehr said.

The Lindsey Family also will do its part to make this year’s festival a success. The band, which has performed at six Tug Hill Bluegrass festivals, returns after an absence last year. The band, formerly of Remsen, but now residing in Kentucky, will give two performances on Saturday.

“They are probably one of the most popular bands we’ve had,” said Mr. Zehr.

The Lindseys first sang publicly in 2003 when they were asked by an Oneida County bluegrass association to play for an event called “Utica Monday Night.”

The band’s latest album, ‘What I Have,” was released last year. The band performs at 12:40 p.m. and at 6:20 p.m. Saturday.

Another festival favorite, Audie Blaylock and Redline, also returns this year and will perform two shows on Friday.

“We’ve kind of adopted Audie as our home national band,” Mr. Zehr said. “The band plays with such hard-driving force that the crowd asks them back every year.”

Jeanette Williams from Virginia was the first national act to perform at the festival, which began in 2006. Since then, she has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the 2012 and 2009 SPBGMA female vocalist of the year award in the traditional category. This year she returns with husband, vocalist and guitarist Johnnie Williams for a pair of Saturday concerts. The duo is joined by Scott Freeman on mandolin and fiddle.

The title track of Ms. Williams’s last solo album, “Thank You for Caring,” is a duet with country music legend George Jones, who died last year.

Other festival highlights:

Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers along with Darin and Brooke Alridge on Friday, the Crowe Brothers on Saturday and soloist Mike Compton on Friday and Saturday.

Barb Heller, announcer at North Country Public Radio and host of the Canton-based station’s “String Fever,” heard at 3 p.m. on Thursdays, will help to emcee the festival on Saturday.

“We’ve been trying to get Barb for the past several years to help us,” Mr. Zehr said. “We’re thrilled that it worked out for her this year.”

 

[Read more...]

Broadway pro surprises Stage Notes group, will direct ‘Les Miserables’ musical

Broadway professional Stanley J. Joseph leads Stage Notes in a rehearsal on Saturday morning. Amanda Morrison / NNY Living

Broadway professional Stanley J. Joseph leads Stage Notes in a rehearsal on Saturday morning. Amanda Morrison / NNY Living

The “Les Miserables” production cast from Stage Notes — a theater group with students from grades 7 through 12 — sat patiently together at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Patrick’s Church before their rehearsal.

The group was told a surprise announcement would be made Saturday at the church, 123 S. Massey St. But details weren’t disclosed by Ticia K. Marra, director of the nonprofit theater production company.

The secret was spilled about 10:15 a.m., though, when Broadway professional Stanley J. Joseph unexpectedly walked into the church, facing the group to make an announcement: “The surprise is that I’m actually conducting your show,” he said, watching the faces of teens light up with elation. Wowed by the news, several girls cupped their hands over their mouths in shock.

The group was taken aback by the sudden appearance of Mr. Joseph, who had met students when they attended a theater workshop April 5 at a Broadway studio in Manhattan. Stage Notes has been practicing since April for its musical performance of “Les Miserables,” which will be put on at 7 p.m. July 9 through 12 in Jefferson Community College’s Sturtz Theater.

Mr. Joseph, who will conduct an orchestra that will be hired for the production, said he was impressed by the “incredibly talented” group of students who attended the “Broadway Classroom” workshop in April. As an experienced musical director, Mr. Joseph and other Broadway professionals host workshops offered by Broadway.com for high school students in New York City. [Read more...]

Watertown photographer’s picture wins Arbor Day poster contest

The picture for this poster was shot by Watertown photographer Faye M. Martin.

The picture for this poster was shot by Watertown photographer Faye M. Martin.

Photographer Faye M. Martin remembered coming upon an interesting subject while strolling through the Stowe Bay Park in Colton on an early spring morning two years ago.

During a stay at her family’s fifth-wheel trailer at the campground, she saw a white pine seedling sprouting out of tree stump along a trail, so she took a photo of it.

Mrs. Martin, 63, of Spring Valley Road, entered the photo in the 2014 Arbor Day poster competition and won. It was selected from more than 800 entries. The contest is sponsored by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Nursery Association.

The photo, titled “Rebirth,” is prominently displayed on a 18-by-23-inch poster that was distributed throughout the state this year. Some 10,000 copies have been sent out to schools, tree groups and state offices, and will be seen at the New York State Fair. [Read more...]

Jane Bowman Jenkins to reprise Lucy Stickler role for hospital benefit

Jane Bowman Jenkins will reprise her role as Lucy Stickler next Friday at a benefit for the Carthage Area Hospital Auxiliary. Watertown Daily Times

Jane Bowman Jenkins will reprise her role as Lucy Stickler next Friday at a benefit for the Carthage Area Hospital Auxiliary. Watertown Daily Times

Lucy Stickler has been an enduring character for local veteran thespian Jane Bowman Jenkins.

The character will come alive for her and audiences again at a fundraising dinner-theater next Friday at Belva’s Sahara Restaurant. The event will benefit the Carthage Area Hospital Auxiliary.

Little Theatre of Watertown staged “Murderers” by Jeffrey Hatcher in the summer of 2008. The dark comedy consists of three comic monologues from killers who live at a Florida nursing home. Mrs. Jenkins played Lucy Stickler in the monologue “Margaret Faydle Comes to Town.” [Read more...]