Marian Anderson celebration at WCSU features Jobson, Thompson

Internationally acclaimed vocalist Christine Jobson and pianist Gregory Thompson will perform at Western Connecticut State University on Saturday, Feb. 23, in a concert celebration honoring the legendary 20th-century singer and longtime Danbury resident Marian Anderson.

The concert, which celebrates the 122nd anniversary of Anderson’s birth on Feb. 27, 1897, will be at 7 p.m. in the Veronica Hagman Concert Hall of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. General admission is $10; tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (203) 837-8732. Tickets at a fee of $5 for WCSU faculty and staff and free for WCSU students with ID are available at the VPAC box office.

Jobson has performed operatic roles in productions of “La Boheme,” “Porgy and Bess” and “Signor Deluso” and has appeared as a soprano soloist and concert singer across the United States and in Russia, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Bermuda. She has a particular interest in the preservation and dissemination of vocal music written by African American composers including spirituals, anthems, art song, gospel and hymns. She is pursuing studies for a doctoral degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy at the Frost School of Music of the University of Miami, where she has been awarded the Presser Foundation Graduate Music Award to support her development as a young artist.

Recipient of a D.M.A. in Piano Performance from the University of South Carolina, Dr. Thompson has performed as a solo and collaborative artist in the United States, Europe and Asia at venues including Carnegie Hall in New York and the Schloss Leopoldskron palace in Salzburg, Austria. His performances with orchestras and chamber ensembles in concert have featured works by Bach, Grieg, Liszt, Schumann, Beethoven, Mozart and many other composers. He also has performed widely as a recitalist at universities across the United States and internationally. He has been praised by the New York Times for his “intuitive feeling for phrase shapes” and his ability to “make a melodic line sing and inflect it with delicate rubato effects.” He also is a veteran music educator who currently serves as associate professor of music at Winston-Salem State University and has held previous faculty positions at several colleges in North and South Carolina.

WCSU recently announced its intention to name the School of Visual and Performing Arts and the Visual and Performing Arts Center in honor of Marian Anderson. The naming project currently in progress seeks to recognize Anderson’s accomplishments in music and civil rights, as well as the memory of her years of activity in Danbury.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

WINter Weekend in Norfolk Feb. 24 and 25

It’s the perfect winter celebration: outdoor sports; a tour of stained glass windows, a brunch crawl, and a pancake breakfast; concerts and art shows; kids’ activities, tours, and open houses, ice carving, tea tasting, a look at the stars, and much more will be featured during Norfolk’s Second WINter Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, February 24 and 25. What’s even better, most of the events are free.

Event Highlights

Music and art will be strongly represented. The Doobie Others Band will perform at Infinity Hall Saturday night at 8 p.m. and, early birds take note, Will Evans of Barefoot Truth will be at Infinity on Friday evening. For classical music lovers, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival is sponsoring a free performance, Music among Friends, with composer Krists Auznieks and the Yale School of Music Piano Quintet in the library on Saturday afternoon from 2 to 3:30 p.m. And the library plans fun entertainment for the whole family by hosting the Traveling Lantern Theater Puppet Show on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., free of charge.

As for art, there is a show by painter Victor Leger at the library on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The Norfolk Artisans Guild is hosting a variety of artisan demonstrations and an art show by watercolorist Pamela Harnois from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Norfolk Historical Society will be open with a fabulous display of work by 19th-century photographer Marie Kendall on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. New this year at the Norfolk Hub in the center of town, will be video showings of Haystack Book Talks on Saturday at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2 p.m.; the videos will run again on Sunday at 12 noon and 1:30 p.m. Another highlight offered at the Hub is a demonstration on how to make handmade art journals by Leslie Watkins on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Revelers won’t go hungry. Don’t miss out on all the goodies at the indoor Farmers Market, inside Town Hall from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. The Norfolk volunteer ambulance squad will serve up hot cider and donuts free of charge on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Great Mountain Forest will open its sugar shack on Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 4 p.m., Mother Nature permitting. The restaurants in Norfolk have organized a brunch crawl, the Manor House Inn will host a Murder Mystery on Sunday evening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Mountain View Green Retreat will offer visitors tea, food tastings and mini spa services on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Immaculate Conception Church will host a free pancake breakfast on Sunday. And, of course, sit-down meals will be readily available at almost any time of day.

A perennial favorite of WINter Weekend are the tours offered by the Norfolk Curling Club that will have an open House on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you like stained glass, don’t miss the stained glass window tours of Church of Christ on Saturday and Sunday. The tours of these beautiful stained glass windows by Tiffany and Armstrong begin on Saturday and run on the hour from 10 am to 3 pm and on Sunday from 12 noon to 3 p.m. Immaculate Conception Church will also have docents on hand each day to talk about its own gorgeous stained glass.

Interested in sports? There will be plenty—skating on the town ice rink with lessons on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., there is all day cross-country skiing, hiking and snowshoeing on one of Norfolk’s many trails including the beautiful North Brook Trail and sledding for all ages on the hill behind the Congregational Church on the green (bring your own sled). There will be an owl prowl from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. and then a wildlife walk on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, both at Aton Forest. New this year is the Astronomy Night on Saturday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. for a look at the winter constellations, complete with a bonfire and hot chocolate to take the chill out of the air. To round things out, the Norfolk Land Trust is hosting a slide talk on wolf trees by Michael Gaige at the Norfolk Library from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

To see a full schedule of events and times, go to weekendinnorfolk call 860-542-5829. For updates, follow Weekend in Norfolk on Facebook. And save the date: the annual Weekend in Norfolk is coming up August 2, 3 and 4, 2019, for three days of summer fun.

Learn about the first botanical garden @ Bartlett Arboretum Feb. 28

On February 28 from 6:30 pm to 8 pm the Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford is welcoming author Victoria Johnson for a lecture and book signing. “American Eden” – the untold story of Hamilton’s. and Burr’s personal physician, whose dream to build America’s first botanical garden inspired the young Republic.

About the Book
When Dr. David Hosack tilled the country’s first public botanical garden in the Manhattan soil more than two hundred years ago, he didn’t just dramatically alter the New York landscape; he left a monumental legacy of advocacy for public health and wide-ranging support for the sciences. A charismatic dreamer admired by the likes of Jefferson, Madison, and Humboldt, and intimate friends with both Hamilton and Burr, the Columbia professor devoted his life to inspiring Americans to pursue medicine and botany with a rigor to rival Europe’s. Though he was shoulder-to-shoulder with the founding fathers―and even present at the fatal duel that took Hamilton’s life―Hosack and his story remain unknown. Now, in melodic prose, historian Victoria Johnson eloquently chronicles Hosack’s tireless career to reveal the breadth of his impact. The result is a lush portrait of the man who gave voice to a new, deeply American understanding of the powers and perils of nature.

From the meadows of Manhattan and correspondents around the world, Hosack collected over two thousand species at his twenty-acre botanical garden. He used these plants to conduct some of the first pharmaceutical research in the United States and to experiment with new crops. In his enormous conservatory, Hosack introduced New Yorkers to ornamental flowers, shrubs, and trees from as far away as Japan, Madagascar, and the Cape of Good Hope. He had coffee trees, tamarind trees, and banana trees. Flame lilies, bird-of-paradise flowers, and sweet-scented daphne greeted visitors to his American Eden. Today, Radio City Music Hall sits on the footprint of Hosack’s conservatory. His land is home to Rockefeller Center.

This lecture is free and will be held in the Silver Education Building on the grounds of the Bartlett Arboretum.

Mardi Gras Party at the Carousel Museum March 2

The New England Carousel Museum will be in full New Orleans-style celebration mode during its 29th annual Mardi Gras party on Saturday, March 2, 2019, from 7:30 PM-midnight. Come join us for an evening of fun and frolicking with great music, good food, bourbon, and beads.
The Big Easy evening features music and dancing in the magnificent museum ballroom. Along with a 50/50 auction and entertainment. There will be bourbon and wine tastings in the Speakeasy, beads, and doubloons, and a catered dinner! This is a BYOB event. “This unique party brings a taste of New Orleans to Bristol,” said Louise DeMars, the museum’s Executive Director. Attendees are encouraged to wear an optional mask or come in full costume. Masks are available to purchase in the museum gift shop.

The evening’s festivities will culminate in the crowning of a king and queen of the ball. Gather your friends and come kick up your heels to help us celebrate our 29th year while supporting the wonderful programming and events produced by the Carousel Museum for the Greater Bristol community.

Tickets are on sale at the Carousel Museum or you may order them by mail, by phone, or online. The cost is $50 per person and pre-paid tables of 8 may be reserved. The event will be held at the New England Carousel Museum, 95 Riverside Ave, Bristol, CT. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact The New England Carousel Museum at (860) 585-5411 or email


Weaving Workshop for Kids Making a Potholder Saturday, February 16 @ Wilton Historical Society

According to the historians at Colonial Williamsburg “Then as now, Americans required fabrics for clothes, towels, sheets, blankets, sails, and dozens of other items made of wool, cotton, silk, linen, and hemp and bought them from textile manufacturers. Until the Revolution, British goods poured into the American market, and most people wore clothes made of English textiles. English or American, weavers typically learned their trade through apprenticeship, which focused mostly on operating a loom. Weavers had to know how to prepare the loom and how to run and to maintain it. During the Revolution, when Americans could not get English goods, weaving became a necessity and a patriotic duty. Weaving will be explored at this February 16 workshop for kids at the Wilton Historical Society from 11:00 – 12:30. Museum Educator Laurie Walker will show the kids the “loom room” in the 1740 Betts House, and explain weaving with flax and wool. For a workshop project, the kids will make a woven pot-holder. Snack of lattice-pattern sugar cookies.

Suggested for ages 6 – 12. Wilton Historical Society members $10 per child, maximum $25 per family; Non-members $15 per child, maximum $35 per family. Please register: or call 203-762-7257. Wilton Historical Society, 224 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT 06897

Did You Know?
From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “A single woman who is old enough to be married but isn’t—and isn’t likely to get married—is sometimes called a spinster. The word has an old-fashioned and dated feel to it, and because of that, it can carry a whiff of impoliteness in certain circumstances. But in previous centuries, a spinster was a valuable word that didn’t carry any such connotation. During the late Middle Ages, married tradeswomen had an easier time obtaining higher-status, higher-income work than their unmarried peers. Unmarried women ended up with lower-status, lower-income jobs like combing, carding, and spinning wool—hence “spinster.”
When spinster first entered English in the mid-1300s, it referred to a woman who spun thread and yarn. . . . Two historical facts led to spinster’s evolution: the fact that most spinners in the Middle Ages were women and the fact that it was common in legal documents to use one’s occupation as a sort of surname (which is why we have Smiths and Bakers and Tanners and so on). Women who spun yarn or thread were given the title Spinster in legal documents . . . By the 17th century, a spinster was being used in legal documents to refer to unmarried women.”

Bluebird Nest Box Building Workshop at Flanders

Join Master Naturalist Edward Boisits as he provides background on the history of the Eastern Bluebird and discusses the role of the nest box initiative in helping to increase the populations of the beautiful birds to sustainable levels. Following the presentation, participants will build their own nest box using kits provided.

Once common throughout Connecticut, the Eastern Bluebird, the only bluebird species found in New England, has declined in numbers. One significant contributing factor to this decline is the lack of suitable nesting spots needed by the bluebird to successfully raise young. The construction of nest boxes and their establishment in appropriate habitat is helping the bluebird make a comeback. Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust’s ongoing bluebird program has helped bring many Eastern bluebirds back to the area.
Wanting to encourage others to also provide appropriate nesting spots for the birds, this class will provide all the materials needed to build a bluebird box and participants will be creating their own nest box to take home with them. Information and tips needed for installing and maintaining a successful bluebird nest box to encourage these beautiful birds to your property will also be covered.

The program is being held on Saturday, February 16 at 2PM at the Flanders Studio located at the corner of Flanders and Church Hill Road in Woodbury.
The cost for each bluebird nest box is $20 for each box built. Space is limited so preregistration is required. Those interested may register online at or call 203-263-3711, ext. 10, for more information.