President Joan C. Lester’s July 2013 letter to the Membership

Hello All,

At our Annual Meeting in June I was elected the 9th President of the Marlborough Arts Center, and if you read down the list of Past Presidents in the Membership Directory it will be evident why I am honored to join these women. They have led our organization from a dream of a regional arts center into the ever-growing reality it is today with almost 150 members. And it’s our volunteers and members who care and support the arts that make it all possible. As much as I hope to greet each one of you in person some day, in the meantime I will chat with you every month through the electronic ease of these “Lester Letters” to keep you current with what is happening.

And there is always something happening, even over the quieter summer months. The next time you pass the Arts Center, do stop and see our newest addition, the charming Stegosaurus outside near the front steps. It is a minimalist sculpture by Neal Alderman, a Board of Directors award-winning member artist and retired member of the UConn Faculty. There will be a naming contest in the fall, but some of us have nicknamed him “Steggy” for now. A second outdoor sculpture is in the planning stages, this one by Jim Grabowski, another award-winning artist and Board of Directors member. I’ll keep you informed of its progress in future letters.
Not only stop and look, but do plan to stop and attend our very successful monthly “4th Fridays @ the Arts Cafe” musical evenings which I’m happy to say do not go on summer vacation. The next musician will be Stephen Donovan, a classically trained pianist who will present on July 26. Over the past two years, a wide range of musicians have entertained on these Friday evenings: from a solo cabaret singer to an 8-piece band, with music covering all genres. Regardless of their specialties, all the artists have said they love the ambience of our beautiful Charles W. Hall Gallery, the great acoustics, and the close interaction with the audience. People who come really enjoy the variety of the music and the spirit of camaraderie. One woman told me that she loved classical music, but came “just for something to do one evening” and found herself singing along with some folk songs and having fun she hadn’t expected. She and many others come regularly regardless of the style of the music. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, like participating in a musical evening in a lovely home. In fact, our Arts Center is a lovely home belonging to us as members, so do come and enjoy music in our home.

Even without music in the background, your Board of Directors, listed on our website, meet monthly to plan our artistic activities and events for the year. You’ll read announcements in the news media and art guides as always. However, I invite you to also check out our website,, for current details. Our website is undergoing changes, so keep checking in to see how it moves to include more interesting information about our volunteers and artists, as well as about our history.
Even more, I invite you to share your ideas and comments with me and other Board members. Call me; my telephone number is in our 2013 Membership Directory. Also, all messages left on the Arts Center’s telephone answering machine at (860) 295-9389 will be forwarded to the appropriate Board Members. Whomever you call, call. We want to hear from you.

Remember, that without your support as members, there would be no beautiful building and grounds, no art shows and exhibitions, no musical evenings, no classes, no artistic events.

Simply, without our members there would be no Marlborough Arts Center.

With thanks, and wishing you all a Happy rest-of-July, I look forward to chatting with you again in August.


June 4th Friday

The Marlborough Arts Cente hosts “4th Fridays at the Arts Cafe”, coffee-house style convivial musical evenings in the beautiful Charles W. Hall Memorial Art Gallery which are perfect for meeting artists, and those interested in the arts, while enjoying good conversations along with food, drink, and performances by local musicians.

Brought back by popular demand, June’s Arts Cafe is on Friday, June 28, 2013, from 7:30-9:00 p.m. at the Marlborough Arts Center and features “The Modern Riffs”, an unique high-energy blend of experienced musicians and exceptionally talented young people. They combine Jazz, Classic Rock, and Swing into their programs and have performed throughout the state at music festivals, private parties, churches, residence centers, fundraisers, art shows and many other places and clubs. “The Modern Riffs” were formed in 2008 by Bruce Phelps, a teacher and saxophonist from Marlborough. His idea was to form a band of adults who would mentor highly talented high school students while giving them the opportunity to perform professionally. After graduation, many of the students continue to study music in college and plan for careers in the field.

Admission is $8/person, $15 for two at the door. BYOWine. Freshly brewed coffee, tea and other refreshments are available. The doors open at 7:00 p.m., so come early, visit the Gift Shop, with arts and crafts by local artists, and settle in with your refreshments before the concert.

April 4th Friday with Anam Cara

The Anam Cara Band returns to “4th Fridays at the Arts Cafe” at the Marlborough Arts Center, 231 North Main Street in Marlborough, CT on Friday, April 26, 2013 from 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. Anam Cara, Irish for “Soul Friend”, is an acoustic trio formed of their common appreciation for songs from the folk traditions of Ireland, Scotland and the States. With many years of experience in various bands among them, this collaboration unites three performers with distinct and varied backgrounds. They played last year to an audience who enthusiastically made them promise to come back, and the Arts Center is delighted that they will be doing just that.

The trio consists of Patrice Smith (guitar/vocals), Steve Prout (guitar/vocals/fiddle), and Karen Ziel-Bodhran (vocals/percussion). Their rich harmonies bring new energy to a catalogue of traditional favorites and original tunes. Their fans know that singing along is not only impossible to stop, but also sought for by the musicians. This fits with the convivial and interactive atmosphere of the Arts Cafe. All the musicians who play at the “4th Fridays at the Arts Cafe” comment on the excellent acoustics at the Arts Center, a fact enjoyed by both them and the audience.

Admission at the door is $8/individual and $15 for two. BYOWine. Coffee, tea, home-made cookies and other refreshments are available. The doors open at 7:00 p.m., so come early, browse The Gift Shop with its unique creations by regional artists, settle in with your refreshments, and prepare for a wonderful evening of music which begins at 7:30 p.m.

Marlborough Arts Center is a non-profit regional center for the fine arts, performing arts, and fine crafts. Check the website or telephone (860) 295-9389 for further details of this and myriad other artistic activities and membership opportunities.

March 4th Friday

The Marlborough Arts Center’s March 22, 2013 “4th Friday at the Arts Cafe” features the duo of Handler and Levesque, an extremely talented married couple whose music represents their varied interests. Judy Handler and Mark Levesque live in Vernon, CT but have researched music world-wide and have won many awards for it including a Greater Hartford Artist Fellowship and an award from the Guitar Arts Council. They play various guitars and mandolin during their concerts which range from Classical Swing and Folk, to Gypsy, Brazilian, and Latin American music. Their enthusiastic audiences remark on the variety and the “uplifting spirit” their music brings.

Handler and Levesque will play at the Marlborough Arts Center, 231 North Main Street, Marlborough, CT on Friday, March 22, from 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. The doors open at 7:00 so that attendees can come early, view the art in the Art Gallery and Gift Shop, get some refreshments and settle in for a fascinating concert. Admission at the door is $8/individual or $15 for two. BYO Wine. Other refreshments are available.

February 4th Friday

The Marlborough Arts Center’s very popular “4th Friday at the Arts Cafe” musical evenings continue with the dynamic duo The Sawtelles on Friday, February 22, 2013. The duo consists of Julie and Peter Riccio, a married couple whose music has delighted audiences for the past nine years. Julie plays the drums and angular guitar while Peter is the song writer and plays ukulele, a partnership that produces pop music described as shimmering and entrancing, adjectives that also describe their personalities and patter. They live in Planstville, CT and have played in various venues throughout the state including open air markets, feats that tests musicians and which they have mastered to the pleasure of audiences wherever they have played.

The Sawtelles will play at the Marlborough Arts Center, 231 North Main Street in Marlborough. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m., but doors open at 7:00 so that attendees have an opportunity to relax before the show, view the artworks in the Gallery and Gift Shop, and choose some refreshments. Admission at the door is $8/ individual or $15 for two. BYO Wine. Other refreshments are available.