A Montpelier Masterpiece
Consider some of the classic events we’ve come to love here in Montpelier and nearby towns: Art Walk, the sock sale, Poem City, even the Rotten Sneaker Contest—all wonderful, all memorable. Now add Montpelier Chamber Orchestra’s (MCO) performance in mid-November of Amahl and the Night Visitors.
MCO and the community’s cast of puppeteers and vocalists brought down the packed house, which was City Hall Auditorium. Never have I stood so long, with friends and neighbors and others beside me, to applaud a performance. Full disclosure: I clapped in part for my partner Ruth Einstein, who plays with the first violins in MCO. But ask anyone who attended; this event was beautiful and memorable.
Congratulations to MCO and its musicians under the direction of Anne Decker. Beyond the music (which included Mozart), MCO’s brilliance was in putting the “community” in our community orchestra. AllTogetherNow, an arts center under the leadership of Janice Walrafen, brought us three kings as larger-than-life puppets (way larger). Erik Gillard cast Amahl and his mother, along with landscapes and goats and Amahl’s imagination, as giant shadow puppets on stage. And the lead vocalists — featuring eighth-grader Edie Donofrio as Amahl; Mary Bonhag (man, can that woman sing) as his mother; Adam Hall, Geoffrey Penar, and Erik Kroncke at the kings; along with a community chorus—delivered opera (in English!) that even a blues-and-rock guy like me can love.
If you missed Amahl, well, uh, sorry. You blew it. But let’s make this, or something similar, an annual holiday event in Montpelier. Watch MCO’s website for other good stuff—maybe even another performance of Amahl next year.
Bryan Pfeiffer, Montpelier
I hope you are all looking forward to something very good and special in the coming weeks and months. My wish for the coming year is that many good things will happen in all our lives. In my life, 2017 has been a year of improvement (mostly). I continue my yoga and Tai Chi classes at the best senior center in the world! Montpelier Senior Activity Center (MSAC).
I have become an active member of the MSAC Advisory Group. We are in the middle of applying for National Accreditation, which has made me and several others intimately aware of how the center runs.
Also, I was asked to run a group for adult coloring, which I have been doing for a couple of months. It is fun to socialize and make beautiful things to look at. We are currently involved in making decorations for the center’s holiday feast.
This letter is decorated with samples of my coloring.
This summer, I became involved with the local United Church of Christ Congregational Church. Shortly after I started coming to church the pastor offered a book study on the subversive way of Jesus. It was about the Christian church in the first century; I learned that their theology was based more on loving action than on what you believed. I liked that, so I continued to go and got more involved when the church decided to host a homeless shelter in the basement.
The shelter is being managed by the Good Samaritan Haven in Barre. So far, I have been able to help get donations of pillowcases, towels, and sheets from a local hotel, and oral care products from dentists’ offices. One of the ladies from the church made a dozen cloth bags, and we made up gift bags for the shelter guests with shaving supplies and various travel-size hygiene products and of course a couple pieces of candy. We also made up cards and the three of us, on the committee, signed the cards saying welcome to the shelter.
I have also volunteered in the kitchen to help make the meal served at our soup kitchen on Tuesdays. I really like helping with that because the people are so nice and we serve 100-120 people a good meal, with at least two main dishes, two soups, one salad, bread, and desserts.
I am looking forward to seeing many of you in the coming year and hearing from you this season. I send this with love and my wishes for good things in the coming year.
Are You Opposed to Legalized Marijuana In Vermont?
Legalized pot brings with it more than just pot for those who are currently using it illegally. That is not the only dynamic that will change.
Are any of these things you want to see in Vermont? More traffic deaths, more ER visits, more psychotic issues, more crime, a jump in homelessness, employers challenged to find workers who are clean even for good paying positions, and a jump in the use of soup kitchens and food shelves from out-of-state folks. There are also more cartel influences and black market and more use among teens.
Check it out for yourself. Download the video Marijuana X from steeredstraight.com for $3. It contains interviews with Colorado leaders: the Attorney General, police chiefs, doctors, religious leaders, rehab counselors, and others. If you’d rather see it in print, go to www.rmhidta.org and read the report “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact.” You’ll find report after report and chart upon chart revealing the same message.
Marijuana has been tested and shown to impair brain development in magnetic resonance imaging studies at Mass General. Young peoples’ brains are still developing until they are 25 or more years old. Who will keep marijuana brownies from being in their refrigerators and smoke from their living rooms and even school grounds? Shouldn’t youths have rights to clean air in their own homes?
For many, marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to opioids. Those who use marijuana are more than twice as likely to abuse opiate prescription medications. Do we need more opioid issues in Vermont? Colorado had a record high number of overdoses in 2016 after legalization. We don’t need more opioid deaths. Last year there were 112 opioid deaths in Vermont, another new high. We certainly don’t need the additional expenses of more drug abuse. Currently 3 percent of our national GNP goes dealing with opioid issues.
So are you someone who might now stand in opposition to legalized pot in Vermont? Vermonters, wisdom says, learn from someone else’s bad choices. Are you opposed? Are you willing to help? Find people/children to participate in a “Say NO to legalized pot” poster contest. For registration information contact firstname.lastname@example.org . If you’d be willing to help put up posters in public places in your community also reply to email@example.com . If you’d be willing to arrange a public showing of Marijuana X in your community library or other setting, contact firstname.lastname@example.org Act now. Your voice matters. You can make a difference.
Vermonters, keep a clear head — say no to pot in Vermont.
Martha Hafner, Randolph
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