, Newburyport, MA

October 4, 2012

Lookout: Quartet brings Beatles to Bellev

The Lookout Katie Lovett
Newburyport Daily News

---- — The Boston String Quartet will perform at the Belleville Congregational Church in Newburyport on Saturday at 7 p.m.

This is the quartet’s third annual concert series. Their performance, “String Circus,” will feature the music of Sergeant Pepper and the Beatles.

“Familiar songs such as ‘A Day in the Life,’ ‘Fixing a Hole,’ and ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite’ receive their first ever performance by a string quartet,” notes organizers. A video screen will display images throughout the performance, as well.

The quartet formed in 2004 and specializes in “retelling modern music with original arrangements of rock, jazz and world music.”

The group includes Christopher Vuk, violin 1; Angel Valchinov, violin 2; Chen Lin, viola, and Christina Stripling, cello. During the concert, they will also perform original pieces written by each of the four members.

Tickets are $20 for the general public. Children under age 18 are free. The program is a fundraiser for the Belleville Church.

Belleville Congregational Church is located at 300 High St., Newburyport.

Whittier biographer speaks in Amesbury

John Ben Pickard, the great grand-nephew of poet John Greenleaf Whittier, will visit the Whittier Home in Amesbury this afternoon to give a final talk for the public.

Pickard is the official biographer of Whittier. During his presentation, which begins at 2 p.m., he will discuss his famous relative and his well-known work, “Snowbound.”

His talk will include three sections.

“I’ve always wanted to do a ‘full treatment of this poem,’” Pickard said in a press release. “The first section will focus on Whittier’s background before penning his masterpiece in 1865. It will center on the many family losses as well as writing about this New England region.”

The second section will address the genesis of the poem itself and why Whittier wrote it, and the third and final section will delve into the poem and why it succeeds as a great poem, according to the Whittier Home.

Attendees should bring a copy of “Snowbound” to refer to during Pickard’s lecture. Following the program, refreshments will be served.

Admission for the general public is $10.

Ham and bean supper Saturday

The Bethany Masonic Lodge will host a ham and bean supper on Saturday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the lodge, 31 Green St., Newburyport. The menu will include ham, hot dogs, two different beans, brown bread, salad, desserts and refreshments.

Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children.

Gwendolyn visits Newburyport library

Dancers from the North Shore Performing Arts Center will stop into the Newburyport Public Library on Saturday to help bring to life a favorite children’s book.

Beginning at 10:30 a.m., author David Ira Rottenberg will read aloud from his picture book, “Gwendolyn the Graceful Pig” while the ballerinas perform the story. Following the presentation, children can join in a mini-movement lesson while Rottenberg signs copies of his book.

“Gwendolyn, the Graceful Pig” follows two best friends, Gwendolyn and Omar, who have big dreams — to dance ballet and play football. There’s just one obstacle in their way — they are pigs!

The Newburyport library is located at 94 State St., Newburyport.

Family Music Festival on Saturday

The Newburyport Education Foundation will host a Family Music Festival on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, 5 Littles Lane, Newbury.

Several bands will perform throughout the day, and families can enjoy vintage baseball and lacrosse games. The Newburyport Mothers Club will offer children’s activities.

Admission is $20 per family if purchased in advance or $30 at the gate.

For more information, visit

Singer/songwriter Nancy Day visits Actors Studio

Musician Nancy Day will return to the Actors Studio in Newburyport on Saturday night for a special performance.

The singer, who has been writing music for years, has created 12 recordings since 1980. “Her melodies are irresistible and memorable, for she is a passionate poet,” notes the concert organizers. “Her music and lyrics are full of truth and hope.”

“An Evening with Nancy Day” will begin at 8 p.m. Admission is $20. To reserve tickets, call 978-465-1229 or visit

The Actors Studio is located at 50 Water St., Newburyport.

Erekson joins in NE Traditions Convention

Local artist Cynthia Erekson, owner of The Quilted Acorn Shoppe in Newbury, is the featured convention artist at the upcoming New England Traditions Convention at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel.

During the show, which runs through Sunday, Erekson will teach a class and offer a demonstration on stenciling. Inspired by her surroundings during childhood, Erekson has nurtured a distinctive “refined primitive” style that is uniquely New England. The wood-graining that she uses to accentuate her designs are created using unusual tools.

Erekson bought The Quilted Acorn Shoppe in Georgetown in 1989 with her co-owner Sandi Schauer. In 2001, the business was moved to its current location, 72 Newburyport Turnpike in Newbury.

Dead Poets Remembrance Day

The annual literary event “Celebrating the Merrimack Valley Poets” is set for Sunday at Old South Church, 29 Federal St., Newburyport.

From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., readers will celebrate a group of poets with a connection to the Merrimack Valley. It is one of eight Boston area readings occurring this weekend as part of the third annual Dead Poets Remembrance Day in Massachusetts.

The free program will highlight the works of Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, Jonathan Plummer, John Greenleaf Whittier, Harriet Spofford, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Robert Frost, and Jack Kerouac.

Newburyport’s Rhina P. Espaillat will read from her Spanish translations of Frost and Millay, and Toni Treadway, another member of the local Powow River Poets group, will read the original works in English.

“Millay, a controversial early feminist, had a tremendous influence on many poets of my generation, particularly women,” Espaillat said in a statement, “but many people don’t know that she lived on Ring’s Island when she was a young girl, and once had a house here in Newburyport. Her sonnets, especially, remain daring in their content, as well as magnificent examples of the form. As for Frost, he is one of the major voices of American poetry, and for many readers, defines New England.”

Following the reading, the program will continue at Oak Hill cemetery where the group will gather at the grave of Harriet Spofford, a 19th century American poet, for a sunset reading.

To learn more about Dead Poets Remembrance Day, visit

The literary celebration began in Maine after poet and filmmaker Walter Skold conducted a three-month tour where he visited 150 poets’ graves.

“The holiday hasn’t gone viral yet nationally,” Skold said in a statement, “But here in New England more people have taken part in the celebrations each year and really seem to enjoy it.”

Joppa Flatts celebrates 10th anniversary

Ten years ago, Chris Santarelli and some friends began playing music together after work.

The group had met at their jobs and discovered their mutual interest in music. Soon, they were rehearsing in a small studio space in Rowley, and their band Joppa Flatts was born.

Performing a mix of classic rock and blues “along with just enough R&B, Motown and jazz to make it one of the most unique bands on the North Shore” the group can be found today performing in a range of venues, including The Grog and Michael’s Harborside, Santarelli wrote in an email.

The band includes: Chris Santarelli, of Newburyport, the lead guitarist; George Sparacino, of Billerica, on bass/vocals; Tom Torrey, of Newburyport, on drums; Russ Leibe, of Rowley, on keyboards; Ruth Olson, of Salem, on lead vocals, and Pat Durante, of Byfield, on guitar and vocals.

Joppa Flatts will be celebrating their 10th anniversary with a show at The Grog on Oct. 13 and at Capone’s in Peabody on Oct. 20.

Cramer exhibits

at PI Roasters

Amesbury artist Louise Cramer is this month’s featured artist at Plum Island Coffee Roasters in Newburyport.

The former Newburyporter, who also has a penchant for singing, will hang her paintings through October. Cramer “paints from life,” she says, and often uses flowers and landscapes as subjects.

“For me, watercolor is liquid music,” she wrote in an email. “I want color to sing on the page the way it vibrates through me emotionally ... Life is such a gift. Each day I celebrate how magnificent the universe is in its beauty. My painting — as well as my music — is simply a reflection of my inner joy.”

The public can visit with Cramer during a reception at the coffee shop on Sunday, Oct. 14 from 2 to 4 p.m. The shop is located at 54R Merrimac St., Newburyport.

Port artist included in ‘30 Under 30’ show

Newburyport mixed media artist Alison Matthews is featured in a new exhibition at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown.

The “30 Under 30” show contains the works of young artists in the Greater Boston area. The pieces include painting, photography, glass, sculpture and light installation.

It will hang through Nov. 10. A reception with the artists is set for Oct. 18 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

‘Birding in Ecuador’ lecture Oct. 10

Mass Audubon education coordinator Dave Larson will offer a presentation and lecture on “Birding in Ecuador,” at Joppa Flats on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 7:30 p.m.

Larson, who has led birding and natural history expeditions across the world, took a tour from Mass Audubon to Ecuador last March. The group moved across the northern part of Ecuador, from the Amazon lowlands to 14,000 feet in the Andes to the rainforests of the west, according to the center.

Larson will share his memories and photographs from this trip during his talk.

The lecture is open to all ages. Admission is $4 for the general public.

Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center is located at 1 Plum Island Turnpike in Newburyport.

New photography exhibit at refuge

Visitors to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge can view a collection of beautiful photographs over the next week.

The refuge recently held a photography contest and have hung the prints in the refuge’s visitors’ center. The display will remain up through Sunday, Oct. 14.

The visitor center is located at 6 Plum Island Turnpike in Newburyport. It is open each day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The contest was a project of the refuge and The Photographic Society of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.

‘Downton Abbey: The Portsmouth Connection’

opens Oct. 5

The Portsmouth Athenaeum is hosting a new exhibit, “Downton Abbey: The Portsmouth Connection” through Dec. 1.

The collection of 60 photographs features the family of Portsmouth native Catherine Tredick Wendell who married the 6th Earl of Carnarvon in 1922, They lived at Highclere Castle until 1936. Highclere is the setting for the popular PBS series, “Downton Abbey.”

“It’s just an incredible leap,” exhibit curator Ronan Donohue said in a press release. “This 23-year-old girl born in Kittery, Maine, is suddenly in charge of a 300-room house and its elaborate and complex social gatherings.”

Donohue was watching an episode of show when he realized the Athenaeum had received 100 boxes of correspondence from the Wendell family. He had helped to catalogue the letters, which date back to the 1700s.

“I found a lot of the correspondence wildly amusing and interesting,” he said in his release. “The part I liked most was the early 20th-century stuff about a Wendell that had married, gone to England, become the 6th Countess of Carnarvon and lived in a castle outside London.”

That castle turned out to be Highclere. Donohue said Catherine became the countess a year after her marriage. Her father-in-law, the 5th earl, died only a year after discovering the tomb of King Tut.

The exhibit features photos of the 5th earl and a portrait of Catherine in addition to pictures of Highclere and relevant Portsmouth, Kittery and New Castle residences. It displays correspondence relating to Highclere, as well.

The Athenaeum is located at 9 Market Square, Portsmouth, N.H. It is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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