Sunday, July 25, 2010

Meet the Neighbors!

It's true. In the winter I'm a bit of a hermit. I like to curl up with a good book by the woodstove and keep warm. Nighttime events require a certain motivation to attend. But in the bustling summertime season it's a different story! I want to take advantage of every  daylight -- and evening -- hour, and even then it seems there's just never enough time to do all the things I'd like to do. Along with swimming, gardening, porch sitting, farmers markets, festivals, long walks and having lunch with friends, my evening calendar is filled with wonderful theatre performances, gorgeous live music, and interesting programs and lectures. The list is endless. Check out our ArtsNorth e-calendar and see for yourself the variety of opportunities that are available.

Summertime is also when we realize what a wealth of creative energy has been generated by our neighbors who've also been holed up during the long winter months. With that in mind, I want to direct your attention to several events the Arts Alliance is presenting next month, all featuring North Country neighbors sharing their creative passions. I'm excited about these programs and the opportunity to share them with you because these are people I know and admire -- or would like to know more about. I hope you'll save the dates on your calendar and attend one or more of the events.

What do you do if you retire from an academic career and can choose where to live and how to spend your time? In the case of Don Wharton, former president of Plymouth State University, you live in the beautiful town of Landaff, and observe -- and write about -- the world around you. We're pleased to inaugurate our new "Meet Your Neighbors: A Salon Series"at 7 pm on Tuesday, August 3, when we partner with the Forest Society to host a reading and discussion with Don. He'll share some of the prose sketches from his growing collection of "Landaff Days," observations on friends, neighbors, wildlife, the woods and New Hampshire seasons. The reading will take place in the Program Center at The Rocks, Route 302, just off I-93 in Bethlehem. There is no charge; donations to support the series are appreciated, as are suggestions for future presenters (send an email to or call 323-7302).

Dancer Katherine Ferrier of Littleton is relatively new to the area, but she has a long list of dance credits around the country. She recently conceived the idea of bringing together a group of outstanding dancers to present a full day of dance, beginning with a series of  workshops (for everyone from young dance students to educators to professional dancers) and culminating in an evening presentation of both old and new works. "Cultivate" (presented in partnership with the Arts Alliance's "Extending the Dance Map" program) takes place on Saturday, August 14, at the White Mountain School in Bethlehem. Financial assistance is available for those who can't afford the modest workshop fees; no one will be turned away because of an inability to pay. Call 323-7302 or email us for additional details, and to preregister for the workshops and to reserve tickets for the evening performance.

Artists and arts supporters of all ages are invited to our next BYOP on Thursday, August 19, at Alumni Hall, 75 Court Street in Haverhill. The Bring Your Own Poetry, Performance, Painting, Presentation and Potluck is the third in our quarterly series this year. We had a great turnout at our first two - in Sugar Hill in February and Berlin in May -- and hope many more of you will join us at the August BYOP. It's a wonderful way to meet your artist neighbors -- both professional and amateur -- and learn what they are doing. We met painters, poets, photographers, dancers, multi-media artists, craftspeople, a comic book artist, a sculptor, musicians and a puppeteer at the previous BYOPs, where the artists presented and discussed their work. The evening begins at 6 pm with an informal potluck, followed by the presentations at 7. Children are welcome to attend, and to present. We'll supply the cold drinks. Emcees for the evening are writer Leah Carey and fiddler Patrick Ross (see below for more on each of them). The evening is free, with donations welcome. Preregistration by presenters is appreciated; email or call 323-7302.

Patrick Ross is a 5th generation fiddler who was raised in Canaan, Vermont, traveled the world, and now makes his home in Groveton. He has recently been interviewing and recording traditional fiddlers in their 80s all around the North Country, to make sure that their musical legacy is not lost. He's also always on the lookout for other young talent, and eager to share his discoveries with his friends and neighbors. Patrick returns to the Lancaster Town Hall stage on Sunday, August 22, at 7 pm, with the Bow Thayer Band, based in our neighbor state of Vermont. Ticket price of $10 includes a free CD.

If you know of other North Country neighbors -- including our summer residents -- who are artists engaged in interesting, creative or surprising work, please let us know. Send an email to or call 323-7302.

P.S. Our neighbors at The Morrison nursing home and assisted living facility in Whitefield will present a reading of their stories -- and a picture of their lives -- at 2 pm on Wednesday, July 28. Residents, family and staff participated in four weekly workshops under the direction of writer Leah Carey of Littleton as part of the Arts & Health partnership between the Arts Alliance and The Morrison. The program is open to the public and there is no charge. Call or email me at 837-2275 or if you need additional information.

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