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    Tuesday, July 16, 2024

    Community Bulletin Board for June 16, 2024

    “The Swans of Harlem” by Karen Valby recounts the tale of five black ballerinas, including Gayle McKinney-Griffith, who grew up in Waterford.
    Gayle McKinney-Griffith, who grew up in Waterford, was one of the five “Swans of Harlem,” ballerinas who turned the ballet world upside down in the mid 20th century. A program about their lives will be held in Waterford Public Library on June 20.
    ‘Swans of Harlem’ program June 20 in Waterford

    The nearly forgotten story of a pioneering group of five Black ballerinas is finally revealed in the book “The Swans of Harlem” by Karen Valby, one of Oprah's 2024 Summer Book Club picks. At 6:30 p.m.Thursday, June 20, Waterford Public Library welcomes virtually four of the Swans: Sheila Rohan, Marcia Sells, Lydia Abarca Mitchell and Karlya Shelton Benjami. Also joining the conversation is Khadija Griffith, daughter of Gayle McKinney-Griffith, the fifth Swan, who died in October 2023 at her home in Quaker Hill.

    The Swans performed for the Queen of England, Mick Jagger on the same bill as dancer, singer and actress Josephine Baker, at the White House and elsewhere. But decades later there was almost no record of their groundbreaking history beyond a few faded photographs. Now, the Swans have joined forces again to share their story.

    McKinney-Griffith was a graduate of Waterford High School. She attended Carnegie Hall's “Showtime for Children” in New York and Froman's Professional Ballet School in Connecticut. After graduation, Gayle attended The Juilliard School, where she pursued a degree in ballet before leaving to become a founding member and first ballet mistress of Arthur Mitchell's Dance Theatre of Harlem.

    "Miss Gayle" was a beloved instructor to the dancers at Connecticut College and the Dance Extension in Waterford. Waterford RISE (Residents for Inclusion & Social Equity) is co-sponsoring this event, which requires registration. The library will also be hosting a virtual showing of the program in the lower-level meeting room.

    To register, visit their website at www.waterfordpubliclibrary.org.

    Norwich Toastmasters meet June 19

    Norwich Toastmasters meets the first and third Wednesdays of the month to give members an opportunity to learn how to improve communication and leadership skills. Members use a variety of resources to practice their skills in a positive and supportive learning environment which fosters self-confidence and personal growth.

    The next meeting is 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, at Chelsea Groton Bank, Norwich/Westside Branch, at 444 W. Main St., Norwich.

    A Zoom conference link at https://shorturl.at/pnTVv also can be accessed.

    Meeting ID: 847 3287 2267

    Passcode: 4779255

    For more information visit https://4779255.toastmastersclubs.org/

    Connecticut College Arboretum open house June 20

    The Connecticut College Arboretum office has moved to the newly renovated building at 33 Gallows Lane in New London. Join the arboretum staff from 3 to 6 p.m.Thursday, June 20, as they welcome local residents and plant enthusiasts for a tour of the building and surrounding landscape. Remarks, introductions to staff and a discussion of their future will be held at 5 p.m.

    The Open House is free of charge, but RSVP at arboretum.conncoll.edu to attend.

    Exploratory Playwriting class registration

    Exploratory Playwriting meets at the Thames Club on State Street, New London, and is taking registration for summer classes that begin Thursday, June 20. The program is run in coordination with the Garde Arts Center and Flock Makerspace and has done presentations throughout southeastern Connecticut. It is taught by Nicholas Checker, a produced playwright, indie filmmaker and published novelist.

    Focus is on the crafting of single-character stage works that can be produced simply and for submission to theater companies. Classes run in eight-week increments, meeting 5 to 7 p.m.Thursdays. It is open to adults throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island. Further details and to register, email nickchecker@aol.com or call (860) 444-8711.

    NLHS Class of 1961 reunion in August

    The New London High School Class of 1961 reunion will be held 11:30 to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 20, at Captain Scott’s in New London, followed by a happy hour from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, at Langley’s Restaurant in Waterford.

    Individuals will be responsible to pay for their own food and beverages. To maintain a count of attendees, notify Tom Casey at tomandsusan@gmail.com or call (540) 878-8990.

    Questions may be directed to Pat Cole-Crawford at tapca63@gmail.com; Nancy Burdick at: burdicknancy@gmail.com or Jan Miller at lionjan23c@yahoo.com or by phone, (860) 460-3550.

    Saybrook Festival Street Party returns June 23

    Returning for its second year, the Celebrate Saybrook Street Festival transforms Main Street in Old Saybrook into a pedestrian walkway filled with live music, food, local craft beer, vendors and lots of family fun.

    More than 70 vendors and Main Street businesses will be open for shopping, along with 30 food options and five brewers and hard cider makers. The live entertainment schedule features Jamie's Junk Show and Soul Sound Revue on the main stage and acoustic acts Jeremy Haddad, Frank Viele and Seth Adam on the small stage.

    Family fun includes juggling acts, a stilt walker, balloon creations, face painting, inflatable obstacle course, remote control car racing, whack-a-mole, cornhole, giant Jenga, tic-tac-toe and Connect 4.

    Ham radio operators gather June 22-23

    Ham radio operators from the Southeastern Connecticut Amateur Radio Society will participate in a national amateur radio exercise from 2 p.m. Saturday, June 22, until 2 p.m. Sunday, June 23 at Zagray Farm in Colchester. The event is ARRL Field Day (www.arrl.org/FieldDay), an annual amateur radio activity organized since 1933 by ARRL, the American Radio Relay League.

    The public is welcome to check it out and learn about ham radio. Hams from across North America participate in Field Day by establishing temporary ham radio stations in public locations to demonstrate their skill and service.

    For more information about ARRL Field Day, ham radio or how to obtain an FCC amateur radio license, visit https://secars.org.

    Sober Softball Tournament June 22 in Groton

    Community Speaks Out is holding its seventh annual Christopher Johns Memorial Sober Softball Tournament from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at Washington Park in Groton. The rain date is Sunday, June 23.

    This special event honors those lost to addiction while also showing that recovery is possible. Eight teams will play in the tournament. A candlelight vigil will be held about 8 p.m. For information, visit www.communityspeaksout.org.

    ‘The Ten’ perform June 22 in Stonington

    An a cappella group called “The Ten,” though it is made up of 16 voices, will perform at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at Calvary Church, 27 Church St., Stonington.

    Free-will offerings at the door benefit the Friends of Music at Calvary. “The Ten” will perform a concert for all ages of contemporary and traditional music based on the heritage of their members’ former college groups, which include Yale’s Whiffenpoofs and Spizzwinks, Princeton’s Nassoons, Brown’s Jabberwocks and the Hamilton Buffers.

    The 16 men who make up "The Ten" have their roots in the University Glee Club of New York City, which was founded 130 years ago to “encourage male voice singing of the highest excellence.”

    Rose City Queens drag show on June 22

    Rose City Pride presents the Rose City Queens drag show at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at the Donald Oat Theater, 62 Broadway, Norwich. Tickets for this adults-only show are $35, which includes hors d’oeuvres and a complimentary beverage. Purchase advance sale tickets at https://rb.gy/4qspi7.

    Featured performers are Dro Lopez, Meek, Felicity V Lay, Amaris Ghost and Dixie Normous.

    Rose City Pride month is sponsored by Global City Norwich, Otis Library, Reliance Health and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Norwich.

    Zoom program with Norwich native on LGBTQ+

    Otis Library will host a Zoom program with Norwich native John-Manuel Andriote, a longtime health and medical writer, at 6 p.m.Tuesday, June 18. He will discuss what he calls “the extraordinary resilience of LGBTQ+ people.”

    Andriote writes the "Stonewall Strong" blog on resilience for Psychology Today, named for his book “Stonewall Strong: Gay Men’s Heroic Fight for Resilience, Good Health, and a Strong Community.” He will present the inspiring stories of those who have moved beyond the traumas and stereotypes, claiming their resilience and right to good health and working to build a community that will be "Stonewall Strong."

    To register and receive the Zoom link, visit the Otis Library website calendar at www.otsilibrarynorwich.org or call (860) 889-2365, extension 128.

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