Community news: Shows to be performed in Ridgefield, and more

Career assessment workshop

Ridgefield Continuing Education is offering a Career Assessments One on One Workshop, a two-hour session, available on Zoom. The assessments help you clarify and prioritize what most interests you, and might suit your type, interests, talents, strengths and skills. In the session, assessments will be provided based upon: Myers-Briggs Type, Holland Type, Values, Skills Card Sorts, Fields of Interests, and questions from NYU Career Coaching classes. Instructor Linda Keefer has completed the course work for NYU’s Career Assessment and Development Certificate. She works privately with individuals on career assessments. She also attended the four- day LifeLaunch program at The Hudson Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif. The next sessions are Thursdays, June 9, 16; July 7, July 14, July 21, and July 28 from 4 to 6 p.m. Additional dates/times can be scheduled. Tuition is $100. There may be other career assessment fees if participants want to take optional additional assessments. Please visit ridgefieldschools.org or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812 to register.

Tai chi exercises

Tai Chi Exercises classes are available both in-person and on Zoom through Ridgefield Continuing Education. This class is a meditation in motion and a gentle, full-body workout combined, all done standing (no mat). This first class consists of 35 basic Tai Chi exercises done as reps and designed to promote better health, stress relief, balance and coordination, concentration, and internal organ massage, based on Step by Step Tai Chi: the Natural Way to Strength and Healing by Master Lam Kam Chuen. You’ll need a set of 1 to 3 pound weights and a water bottle.

You may join classes in person starting Wednesday, June 8 (6:45 p.m.) or Thursday, June 9 (10 a.m.) or on Zoom starting Tuesday, June 7 (10 a.m.) or Friday, June 10 (10 a.m.). Tuition is $99 for an eight session class. Instructor Rod Barfield, a former NYC teacher, has been doing Tai Chi exercises since 1994 and has studied under Gwen Roman for seven years. New sessions of Beginning Tai Chi (Yang Long Form) start in July. Cardio Workouts, Yoga, and Barre-lates are also available. Advanced registration required. Specific dates at https://ridgefieldschools.org or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

Knitting

Studio Knitting classes are available through Ridgefield Continuing Education to help you start or continue a popular, fun, productive, and relaxing hobby. Beginning Knitters are provided practice needles and practice yarn until the participant determines a project. This class is for all levels from beginning to experienced. Instructor Liz Doty has taught knitting to students of all ages for years and can bring your skills to the next level. The next session starts on Tuesday, June 14 (meets June 14 through August 9; no class July 5 or August 2; 6 to 8 p.m.; 6 sessions; $147). A new Monday session starts July 11 and meets through August 29 (no class July 4 or Aug. 1; 7 sessions; $171). Ridgefield senior discount available. Advanced registration is required. Information at https://ridgefieldschools.org or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ to open at the Ridgefield Theater Barn

The Ridgefield Theater Barn is rounding out its 2021-2022 Mainstage season with “Peter and the Starcatcher,” which is a fantastical play, with music, by writer Rick Elice that will delight the whole family. Directed by Katherine Ray, with assistant direction by Renee Southerland and choreography by Sharon Houk, the production will be presented Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., June 3 through June 25, with Sunday matinees at 5 p.m., June 12, and June 19.

In this five-time Tony Award-winning play, 13 actors (Matt Austin, Gabby Babun, Olivia Basile, Lizzy Booth, Cara Bunning, Alex Hartofelis, Laura Portera, Hannah Rapaglia, Patrick Spadaccino, Michael Valinoti, Tarah Vega, Bill Warncke, and Michael Wright) play more than 100 unforgettable characters. The show is billed as a “swashbuckling grownup prequel to Peter Pan.”

The Ridgefield Theater Barn is located at 37 Halpin Lane. Masks are optional for vaccinated patrons. Seating is cabaret-style, and the audience is invited to bring food and drinks. Concessions are also available in the lobby. Doors open one hour prior to curtain. Tickets are $35 for adults, $30 for students, veterans, and seniors, and reservations can be made at ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org.

Cannonball gala raises funds

The 2022 Cannonball Gala at Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center made its in-person comeback on Friday, May 20. The sold-out event was attended by some 150 people who, in spite of intermitent rain, enjoyed gourmet food and drinks seated in the Garden House and the tented walled garden. The gala celebrated its 28th year by honoring Joel Third, a longtime supporter of Keeler Tavern who has made a significant positive impact on the museum over decades of involvement.

Attendees dined on hand-passed hors d’oeuvres and delicious meals by caterer Chef Michael A. Bick and were entertained during cocktail hour by members of the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra’s jazz ensemble. Auctioneer Allison Stockel’s signature energy and enthusiasm generated excitement and a lively bidding experience during the auctions. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Cannonball Award. Though Joel Third was not able to attend in-person due to illness, guests were able to hear from and see him via a pre-recorded video message, and speakers such as Executive Director Hildegard Grob and Board President Rhonda Hill provided glowing testimonies of Third’s contributions. His nephew Jason Papes, who flew in from Colony, Texas to attend this event, accepted the award on Third’s behalf.

Ridgefield National Charity League congratulates its senior class

The Ridgefield Chapter of the National Charity League congratulates its Senior Class of 2022 and thanks them for their six years of service to Ridgefield through the National Charity League. The chapter is also proud to welcome over 30 new mother/daughter teams, who are all looking forward to giving back to the town nonprofit organizations with service and volunteer opportunities.

Author to discuss his new book at library

Author Peter Spiegelman will discuss his new book, “A Secret About a Secret,” a hypnotic mystery about a murder at a secluded research facility, and the secrets that it exposes, in person at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 9, in the Ridgefield Library’s main program room.

Spiegelman is also the author of “Black Maps,” which won the 2004 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel; “Death’s Little Helpers,” “Red Cat,” “Thick as Thieves,” and “Dr. Knox.” The author talk is being co-sponsored with Books on the Common. Spiegelman’s new book will be available for purchase and signing.

Visit https://ridgefieldlibrary.org to register for the program, or call 203-438-2282.

Haskell to hold post-session town halls

State Sen. Will Haskell, D-Westport, will hold two end-of-session wrap-up town hall events in Ridgefield and Weston in early June at local libraries with the public invited and encouraged to attend.

These events come after the legislative session, which ran from February to May. Haskell will be joined by local state representatives.

From 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 6, Haskell will join state Reps. Aimee Berger-Girvalo, D-Ridgefield, and Ken Gucker, D-Danbury, at the Ridgefield Library, located at 472 Main Street.

From 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Haskell will join state Rep. Anne Hughes, D-Weston, at the Weston Library, located at 56 Norfield Road.

BioBlitz, vernal pools program to be held

Three organizations are hosting the Ridgefield BioBlitz 2022, where community members are encouraged to celebrate the town’s biodiversity and identify species.

The program, held Saturday, June 11, is in partnership with the Ridgefield Conservation Commission , Weir Farm National Historical Park , and the Woodcock Nature Center. All ages will be welcome.

A BioBlitz is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time.

Attendees will visit different habitats and attempt to identify as many plant, animal and fungi species they can find. Participants will take a trail walk to Weir Pond, stopping to investigate field, forest and aquatic habitats. Each habitat station will have activities guided by expert naturalists and scientists.

Early Birding Survey

7 to 8:30 a.m.

Join WNC educator and bird expert Tommy McCarthy on a short walk through field and forest to identify bird species by sight and listening to calls. Bring binoculars.

Family Sessions

9 to 11 a.m.,

Noon until 2 p.m., and

3 to 5 p.m.

Sign up for one Family Session. Participants will walk trails along field, forest and pond habitats, stopping at stations along the way. Each station will have activities including insect displays, pond scooping for invertebrates, looking under logs, learning about bears, and even an art station to make own nature journals.

This event is free but pre-registration is required.

Register here. https://wnc.app.neoncrm.com/np/clients/wnc/event.jsp?event=4076&.

The free mobile app iNaturalist to identify species and collect data will be used. All species observed will be added to the Ridgefield Natural Resource Inventory. The NRI catalogs the mammals, birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, trees and flowers that inhabit Ridgefield, providing a blueprint to chart a more sustainable future.

Attendees are asked to download the free iNaturalist app prior to the event. It can be downloaded for the iPhone devices, or Google Play music services.

More information is available online at https://www.woodcocknaturecenter.org/bioblitz. The rain date is July 30.

Volunteers needed for trail clearing in Ridgefield

Volunteers are needed to help widen the existing footpath for the first quarter-mile of the planned Ridgefield Ramble, a section of the Norwalk River Valley Trail.

Organizers have canceled a Saturday, June 11 volunteer event at the corner of Simpaug Turnpike and Route 7 to widen the footpath along the Norwalk. The plan is to reschedule for later in the summer.

The goal is to make this section more accessible. Supporters hope to begin trail construction in 2023 and would like more people to begin experiencing this planned new section of the Norwalk River Valley Trail in Ridgefield. The group is also planning the Mutt Strut, its fall fundraiser, and wants to include this Ridgefield section in this year's event.

Church to present choral evensong, and prayers for Ukraine

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Ridgefield will present a Choral Evensong and Prayers event for Ukraine on Sunday, June 5, at 5 p.m. It will feature the St. Stephen’s Choir and St. Stephen’s new Minister of Music, Derrick Goff. The event is open to the public.

Although there is no admission charge, any offerings will be donated to Ridgefield Responds to support aid efforts in Ukraine. Choral Evensong, a service of prayers and music, is a staple of the Episcopal Church’s Anglican heritage. At the upcoming evensong, the Rev. Whitney Altopp, rector of St. Stephen’s, will lead the congregation in prayer, including prayers for the ongoing war in Ukraine. Sung responses to prayers have been set to music from Ukraine by Goff. The choir will perform English composer John Rutter’s moving Prayer for Ukraine, written in March of this year. Canticles by the choir will be Herbert Howell’s Collegium Regale, written for King’s College in Cambridge.

Library to present Marconis with award

The Ridgefield Library will present the Hope H. Swenson Visionary Award to Rudy and Peggy Marconi at the library’s 2022 Great Expectations Gala all day on Saturday, June 4.

Rudy Marconi serves at the first selectman, while Peggy Marconi is a realtor who has volunteered with various groups.

Peggy Marconi has lived in Ridgefield for over 30 years. During the past 22 years she has served the community as a top realtor, helping both sellers and buyers as they transition to new phases of their lives and receiving the Good Neighbor Award from the Board of Realtors. In addition to her professional work, she has served the community on the Board of RVNAhealth, on the Board of Ann’s Place and has supported the important work of the Center for Empowerment and Education (Danbury Women’s Center) and Ability Beyond.

Rudy Marconi, a life-long Ridgefielder, has shown incredible leadership over the years, especially in shepherding the Ridgefield community through the COVID-19 pandemic. He supported the New Ridgefield Library Building Project that helped the town realize the dream of the library that Ridgefield enjoys today. In addition, his hard work and dedication on the Ridgefield Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse, the Compassionate Ridgefield Project, WestCOG (Western CT Council of Governments), HRRA (Housatonic Resource Recovery Authority), Western CT Coalition and involvement in Ridgefield receiving the first cultural district designation in the State of Connecticut, as well as tirelessly supporting all the local nonprofits and businesses, has greatly benefited all who live in Ridgefield.

The library stated their tireless service, dedication, and work on behalf of the Ridgefield Community and beyond epitomizes the mission and vision of the library.

The gala is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the library, which evolved during the pandemic to continue to serve residents with new activities and services, while making use of technology.

School honors Memorial Day

The Veterans Park Elementary School held its Memoral Day celebration on Friday.

The event is considered to be a great annual tradition. Doctors Claire, and Edmond Ganal, who served in the Navy and are parents at the school, talked about sacrifice. Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi addressed students, staff, and families, with Ridgefield High School senior Lauren Kim, who will attend Yale University in the fall. Students recited poems, sang patriotic songs, played taps, and spoke about what the Memorial Day holiday means to them.

Input session to held at library

The Ridgefield Historical Society and the Ridgefield Library are collaborating to offer an in-person community charrette input session in the library’s main program room at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 12.

All are welcome. The charrette will focus on getting feedback from town residents about ways in which the latest findings about the Battle of Ridgefield can best promote Ridgefield’s local history and culture. A charrette is a hands-on period of planning activity and a collaborative session whereby a group drafts solutions to a problem.

Heritage Consultants, the team of researchers compiling the history of the Battle of Ridgefield, want the town to play a major role on how to share this history. FHI Studio will facilitate this workshop. Registration for this in-person charrette is through the Ridgefield Historical Society. Registration is available on the events’ page for the event at ridgefieldhistoricalsociety.org.

‘A Midsummer Night's Dream’ to be performed

The Ridgefield School of Dance is performing one of Shakespeare's most beloved comedies, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” at The Ridgefield High School June 11, and June 12. Three Ridgefield High School seniors will lead the company of dancers in featured roles.

This is the Ridgefield School of Dance’s 24th annual spring show. Artistic director Jessica Boelts has choreographed this comical romp through an enchanted forest filled with mischief and magic.

Featuring the exuberant and well-known music of Felix Mendelssohn, choreography by Boelts, costume design by Danielle Santos, and lighting design by Adam Lobelson, this full-length ballet production will feature three of the studio’s veteran dancers: Ridgefield residents and high school seniors Sofia Garrett as Puck, Ingrid Karlson as Titania, and Karina Rao as Hippolyta. Guest artists joining the production are Micah Sell and Christian Butts, both students of SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance, Will Valles of New York City, and Leo McGrath, performing courtesy of First State Ballet Theatre.

Immediately following the ballet, will be “Journey,” a presentation by the jazz department featuring original choreography for lyrical, contemporary, theater dance, jazz and tap technique.

In its third decade, The Ridgefield School of Dance provides pre-professional and recreational dance instruction focusing on classical ballet, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, tap and musical theater dance. With a complete schedule of day and evening classes for ages three through adult, the school offers the joy, discipline and artistry of dance, with a challenging curriculum at all program levels.

Tickets are on sale at https://buy.tututix.com/theridgefieldschoolofdance or the school website theridgefieldschoolofdance.com. The Ridgefield School of Dance is at 66 Grove Street.

UPDATE: This article was updated to reflect that the volunteer event for the Norwalk River Valley Trail has been canceled.