Ridgefield Community: Lessons & Carols worship, other news

Local churches joins forces to bring Lessons & Carols worship to the community

Jesse Lee Church, Danbury United Methodist Church (UMC) and Bethel United Methodist Church (UMC) are coming together to lead the Lessons & Carols worship on Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. at Jesse Lee Church, 207 Main St. in Ridgefield.

Lessons & Carols has a long tradition at Jesse Lee. Historically, it took place during a Sunday morning worship service. When Sarah Fox joined Jesse Lee as the Music Director in 2020, she moved the service to its traditional time of 3 p.m. in the afternoon on the Sunday before Christmas Day. This way, Jesse Lee is engaged in a tradition that started in Cambridge, England in 1918 and is now being performed at churches around the globe on the same day and time.   

In 2020, at the height of the COVID pandemic, Sarah Fox and Andrew Levine, the Music Director at Danbury United Methodist Church, put Lessons & Carols together over Zoom and congregants from both churches watched it via livestream. Andrew Levine (MD at Danbury UMC) wrote and performed (alongside Jeanine Pardey-Levine, soprano) a new composition based on a traditional Lessons & Carols text: "There is No Rose." The virtual, live-streamed Lessons & Carols served as the world premiere of this work, which has been performed several times in other venues since.

This collaboration went very well, so in 2021, Sarah and Andrew decided to work together to perform Lessons & Carols again, this time in person.  This service was the home of the world premiere of Andrew's trio for three voices "Little Lamb," based on a William Blake poem. In addition, the traditional hymns, organ music, and choir music of many well-loved Lessons & Carols services were present.

In 2022, Lessons & Carols collaboration expanded once again.  Jesse Lee Church and Danbury UMC brought in the Bethel UMC. Jessica Bardelli, the Director of Music at Bethel UMC was hired as the Church Office Manager at Jesse Lee which began conversations of collaboration. The three directors decided to invite the singers from churches in both their Cooperative Parishes (groups of churches formed by the United Methodist Conference). This year's Lessons & Carols will include invitations for singers from 11 churches to join! 

Lessons & Carols in 2022 features beloved Christmas hymns, beautiful choir anthems, octets (small groups of singers), and yet another newly composed work by Andrew Levine. 

The event is free. All are welcome to attend this seasonal favorite service of worship in song and prayers.

The worship will be livestreamed and can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=J975fge5e04.

Third Annual Founders Hall-iday Light Fight runs to Dec. 18

Between 6 and 10 p.m. through Dec. 18, Founders Hall-iday Light Fight competitors switch on the holiday magic!

The entire route takes a few hours to complete. You can visit them all in an evening, or you can split up your destinations at your convenience throughout the ten nights. Once you see all of the locations, you visit our website to vote for your favorites, with a minimum $25 donation to Founders Hall. You can vote as many times as you’d like with a minimum $25 donation each time. 

The Light Fight fundraiser benefits Founders Hall’s diverse program of social, educational and physical fitness programs for today’s active seniors in a warm, fun and stimulating atmosphere.”

Online votingwill close on Dec. 18 at 11:59 p.m. The winner of the Light Fight is the location that raises the most in monetary donations for Founders Hall. 

The Light Fight is a safe and socially-distant way to enjoy the magic and wonder of the season, on your own or with loved ones. 

If you’re not able to view the light display in person or have an out-of-town loved one who would like to contribute to this important fundraiser for Founders Hall, visit our website for a photo of each location. If you prefer to send a check, please mail it to Founders Hall or stop by, but it must be received no later than Dec. 18 at 11:59 p.m.

Ridgefield Running Company voted 'Best Running Store in America'

Ridgefield Running Company was voted "Best Running Store in America" at the The Running Event which is the premier conference and trade show for run specialty retailers, held in Austin last week.

Megan Searfoss opened Ridgefield Running Company in 2014, and expanded/moved her location onto downtown Main Street in 2019. Then she expanded and opened Darien Running Company in July 2020.  

Holiday Boutique in the Barn at Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center closes Dec. 18

With the holiday season well upon us, Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center's Holiday Boutique in the Barn has been doing brisk business! Located in the historic red carriage barn, the Holiday Boutique features gifts for the whole family. The boutique is open Thursdays to Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Dec. 18.  All proceeds to benefit the ongoing operations and upkeep of Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center. 

Exclusive to the holiday boutique, some two dozen consignors representing local artists, authors and artisans are offering their fantastic wares, from jewelry and framed art to books of poetry and hand-made cards. 

Some of the local artists include Anne Marie Surfaro Boehme, Margo McEachern, Helen Mannis, Tina Phillips, Ellen Ross, Connie Fenton, Antonio Villanueva, Cheryl Crowl, and Paul Siegel. Stop by to check out their works of art which range across medium and subject matter.

Parking is available on site at 152 Main St. in Ridgefield. For more information, go to our website at www.keelertavernmuseum.org/events.

Ms President US holds third session in Ridgefield

Ms President US, a girls’ civic leadership program, held its third session on Nov. 18 in Ridgefield. Both evenings were dedicated to an informational session held with CT state leaders. 

The girls hit the ground running, beginning the session with a discussion on the recent election. Every participant had thoughts about every aspect of the process, recollecting their experiences visiting the polls with their parents. They described the inclusion of the amendment to the Connecticut Constitution allowing early voting laws to be passed, concluding as a group that any policy that makes it easier for people to vote is a good one. 

After a quick discussion about which offices were up for election, the girls talked about their ideas for platforms that could be implemented statewide, brainstorming things like creating more nutritious meal plans for students and establishing anti-bullying campaigns within schools. It was inspiring to listen to young women with such strong opinions voice their thoughts so clearly. Following this brainstorm was a game of trivia on CT government, which laid the foundation for the bulk of the session. 

The highlight of this evening was the Q&A session with two state leaders, former State Senator Toni Boucher and State Representative and Secretary of State-elect Stephanie Thomas. At the Ridgefield session, this portion was led by mentor Julia Knispel, a sophomore at Ridgefield High School; at the Wilton session, it was led by Maddie Levi, a junior at Wilton High School. The participants learned about the different aspects of working in state government, starting with the process of running a campaign.

The session concluded with gifts for the state leaders and group pictures. The participants went home with materials to make vision boards.
Having strong female role models is of the utmost importance for young girls. Ms President US demonstrates that every month, giving young girls the opportunity to speak their minds and reach their full potential. 

Ms President US is a non-partisan, non-profit, community-based 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to motivating and preparing girls to aim for the highest civic leadership positions. For questions or more information, please visit www.MsPresidentUS.org or contact info@mspresidentus.org.

Ridgefield Couple to chair Foundations in Education’s Gala

Foundations in Education is pleased to announce Jennifer and Christopher St. Victor-de Pinho from Ridgefield will chair Foundations in Education’s premier fundraising event. The theme of the April 27 Gala is "Let there be bright!"

Proceeds from "Let there be bright!" will benefit Foundations in Education including Bishop’s Scholarship Fund, Leaders of Tomorrow and Innovation and Leadership Grants. Foundations in Education supports Catholic schools throughout Fairfield County and across the Diocese of Bridgeport, including 20 elementary schools, 5 high schools and one center for special needs.

The committee is planning the 2023 Foundations in Education’s premier fundraising event, "Let there be bright!" The event will be held on April 27 at Woodway Country Club in Darien.

If you wish to volunteer, sponsor or learn more about Foundations in Education or the “Let there be bright!” Gala please visit www.foundationsineducation.org or contact Emily Carriero at 203-416-1671 or emily@foundationsineducation.org.

'Indoor Golf for Beginners and Golf Enthusiasts' offered through Ridgefield Continuing Education

Take "Indoor Golf for Beginners and Golf Enthusiasts" in Ridgefield Continuing Education. Come and learn the game of golf and continue to improve your golf game in a fun, indoor environment. Beginners and returning students are welcome.

Learn all the fundamentals including putting, chipping, pitching and golf swing with irons and woods, plus the history, etiquette and rules of golf. Please bring your clubs to class.

Jo Rasmussen is the golf coach at Ridgefield High School for both the Girls and Boys golf teams. She plays competitive golf in CSGA, New England and USGA tournaments.  

A new four-session class starts Jan. 3 (Jan. 3, 10, 17 and 24) and meets from 6 to 7:15 p.m. at Branchville School Gym. The cost is $95 per person; Ridgefield seniors age 62 and up pay $81.

Visit www.ridgefieldschools.org or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812 for more information.

'Line Dance for Fun and Exercise' classes through Ridgefield Continuing Education

"Line Dance for Fun and Exercise" classes in Ridgefield Continuing Education will start soon. If you know your right from your left and can count to 8, you can line dance and burn fat and calories in the process!  

Instructor Ellen Russow says, “We’ll start with the basics and build from there.  If you’ve been to this course before, come on back, we have new dances lined up for this course.”  

Steve Parker and Ellen Russow have been line dancing for over 25 years and have taught for 15 years.

This class meets Wednesdays, Jan. 4, 11, 18 and 25 and Feb. 1 and 8 from 7 to 8 p.m. at East Ridge Middle School. The cost is $75 per person; Ridgefield seniors age 62 and up pay $64. Students should bring a water bottle and wear leather or suede soled shoes. Advanced registration is required. Zumba, Ballroom/Swing, 60 Minute Calorie Burner, Tai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates are available as well.

Visit www.ridgefieldschools.org or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812 for more information.

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church announces concert soloists and surprise reader 

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church's "Carols by Candlelight" concert on Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. will feature soloists, lesson readers, the St. Stephen’s Festival Choir and chamber orchestra. Derrick Goff, St. Stephen’s Minister of Music, will conduct the ensemble. The concert takes place in the church sanctuary at 533 Main St.

The candlelight concert, a celebration of Advent and Christmas, opens with “Once in Royal David’s City,” featuring Millie Altopp, a Ridgefield High School eleventh grader.  Baritone Thomas Carr is soloist in the Spanish lullaby “Alegria” (Joy), and, back by popular demand, is soprano Lydia Toperzer in a rendering of “O Holy Night.”  First selectman Rudy Marconi will read a lesson from Luke that is traditionally reserved for the mayor of the City of Cambridge (U.K.) at the Kings College Lessons and Carols. Readers also include the Rev. Whitney Altopp, rector of St. Stephen’s, and parishioners Eve Mencher and Kevin Kingman.                            

Among the musical highlights of the concert will be “And the glory of the Lord”, from Handel’s “Messiah, which tells of the coming of the promised Messiah.  The audience will be invited to join in singing traditional Christmas carols.              

Doors open at 7 p.m., and admission is by a suggested donation of $20; more generous donations are always welcome.