Saturday, December 20, 2014

Buttonwood's Closing Weekend Full of Family, Hope and Joy

The last two nights at The Buttonwood Tree brought out groups of folks who sang, danced and rejoiced in an atmosphere of love that was palpable. In a week filled with events, people flocked to TBT to experience the joy of community and family. Last night The Jolly Beggars lifted up the audience as they sang together with the audience traditional Irish tunes and even a joyous version of Silent Night. Laughter and music in the air, Slambovian coffee sold by the pound, new members joined and families came together to enjoy the talents of these young men. It was a night that exemplified the best of The Buttonwood Tree, unifying people in joy, love and appreciation through the arts. Over and over the words are heard, 'I've been meaning to come here for years, I'm so glad I made it here, it's so warm and wonderful.'

Thursday night was the successful launch of a new program offering meditative music and healthy raw foods, in part donated by It's Only Natural market. Folks meditated and danced to the groove of ten musicians including Kalidasa Joseph Getter, Craig Norton, Caelum Massicotte (also the Chef), Virginia Lynn Anderson, Karen Nichols, Xavier Pietri, Ron Hertz, and Durga and Jonathan (event organizers from Massachusetts). 

Creating an atmosphere of love and unity ...

Impromptu singing under the vibes of the Native American ceremonial drum. 

Said Dr. Doreen Stern of Hartford when asked what she thought of the night:
 "I suppose I sensed that Thursday night would be something special, and I was right. East-West fusion Kirtan, with audience members (and even a performer) swaying their bodies in time to the other-worldly experiences they were having. I loved it."

Tonight: La Hot Jazz 8 pm
Sunday: Jazz at 3 pm with Jen Allen, Noah Baerman and Jonathan Barber in Trio 149

TBT will be closed from Dec 22 - Jan 3

Become a member to support Arts for all:
Join here

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cat Tales ~ Cat of the Week ~ OREO ~ and more! Adopt Today!

Cat Tales presents Cat of the Week ~ OREO ~ and more!

This Weekend at The Buttonwood Tree

We send you warm season's greetings 
and blessings for your best!
May you feel the love and joy of others
and send it out in good measure :)

These last few events will mark the end of 2014. We hope you'll participate and feel the joy of community in music and dance. 
For our weekend events, click below!

MxCC Computer Club, Faculty and Peach Pit Foundation Come Together to Donate Laptops to MxCC Students

As part of its fourth annual laptop giveaway effort, the Middlesex Community College Computer Club donated HP Notebook laptops to ten MxCC students.  Eight students received the computers, which were purchased with funds raised by the club along with generous donations by MxCC faculty and staff and the Peach Pit Foundation, Inc., during an awards ceremony Tuesday.  Two additional computers were given to students before Thanksgiving.

The ten students to receive laptops were Barra Friedman, Katrina Forman and Franklin Perlata of Middletown; Susan Greene, Catalina Vasquez, and Timothy Zakrzewski of Meriden; Jeannette Negron of East Haven; Nicholas E. Reyna of Rocky Hill; and Candance Taylor of Hartford.  One student asked to remain anonymous.

To win the laptops, students composed an essay explaining how they or their family could benefit from a computer and submitted it along with two faculty or staff recommendations. Originally, the club only had enough money to purchase two computers.  Since they had 10 highly qualified applicants for the free computers, the club organizers were determined to do more.  Donna Hylton, the club’s faculty advisor and program coordinator of MxCC’s health information management, computer information technology, and management information systems, and Nancy Kelly, MxCC accounting program coordinator, reached out to all MxCC employees for donations.

“Staff and faculty just started dropping off checks,” said Kelly. “It was absolutely amazing.  Their generosity allowed us to help more students who face terrible struggles accessing this technology.”

The appeal raised $1,800 in just a few weeks.  The Peach Pit Foundation learned about the generosity spreading around campus and stepped in to bridge the nearly $600 gap for the remaining laptops.

“MxCC has always been a part of our family,” said Sharon Griffin, trustee of the Peach Pit Foundation. “When we heard about how the faculty and staff here felt about these applicants hoping to receive needed computers, we had to be a part of it. It is a blessing to us as well.”

Griffin explained that she and her husband started the Peach Pit Foundation in an effort to teach their children about giving and appreciating others. The computer project was the perfect example to do just that.

“This will help me to achieve my poetic dream,” said recipient Nick Reyna. “Thanks to this generous gift I will have the ability to stay in touch with many people as well as my friends here at MxCC.”

Griffin joined members of the College’s Computer Club, MxCC faculty and staff members, and Anna Wasescha, president of MxCC, at Tuesday’s ceremony.

“This is so exciting,” said Hylton during the ceremony. “We are calling it our Christmas miracle!”

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

MxCC Professor Publishes On Freedom’s Shores, the Final Novel in the Cuban Family Saga, The Unbroken Circle

The gripping trilogy of the León family, freedom fighters living under Fidel Castro’s regime in the 1960s, is now complete with the release of the historical novel On Freedom’s Shores by Middlesex Community College Professor Victor Triay.  The last book, which is available at, tells the tale of the León children who fled Castro’s Communist Cuba after the Bay of Pigs invasion as unaccompanied minors.  The children first land in Miami but quickly end up in New York City where their lives take a series of unexpected turns.
The Unbroken Circle trilogy is the story of the fictional León family, whose peaceful, middle class existence is swept suddenly into a tempest of warfare, betrayal, and separation during the early years of the Cuban Revolution. In The Struggle Begins (2013), Goyo León, a devoted teacher and family man, is recruited into the anti-Castro underground after his father is killed at the hands of Castro’s henchmen. Unbeknownst to Goyo, his young cousins have also secretly joined the anti-Communist resistance. With the three cousins becoming more deeply involved in the pro-democracy struggle every day, tensions rise as the stakes for their homeland reach an all-time high.

In the second installment, Freedom Betrayed (2013), the three cousins participate in the Bay of Pigs invasion and battle Fidel Castro’s war machine. Their effort to rid their homeland of totalitarianism and establish democratic government fails when the invaders are betrayed by their American allies. As Castro finds himself unimpeded in his quest to bring Cuba under Communist rule, hundreds of thousands of Cubans flee and seek sanctuary in the United States

A Cuban American born and raised in Miami, Victor Triay, Ph.D., has written extensively about Fidel Castro and the Communist takeover of the island nation. He has published three academic, non-fiction books on Cuban exile history: Fleeing Castro: Operation Pedro Pan and the Cuban Children's Program (1999), the first book ever written about an exodus of over 14,000 unaccompanied child refugees from Castro’s Cuba and the program established in the United States to provide them care; Bay of Pigs : An Oral History of Brigade 2506 (2001), which won the 2001 Samuel Proctor Oral History Prize from the Florida Historical Society; and The Cuban Revolution: Years of Promise (2005, with Teo A. Babun). These books, along with his historical novels, are inspired by his community’s experience as Cuban exiles.

“I grew up hearing the stories of relatives and family friends who fought against Communism and for freedom, and I always hoped to tell a version of their story in a compelling way,” Triay said.  “These novels have given me that opportunity and I am grateful for the many readers who are drawn to the León saga and this part of American history.”

Professor Triay, who teaches United States History, Western Civilization, and World Civilization at MxCC, will take part in book signings and readings at MxCC and other local venues this spring.

Christmas Past

Main-Street-Grandma Baby 
(February 2014 photo)

Christmastime on Main Street, 2014

Main Street Rides


Season of Giving & Taking

Friday, December 12, 2014

This Weekend at The Buttonwood Tree

An Evening with the Samadi-Keene Duo

December 13 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm $15 General Admission $8 for Students
The Samadi-Keene Duo return to the Buttonwood Tree to present an exciting program of music written specifically for the classical guitar, mandolin, and piano. Come listen to the music of Classical Vienna, 20th century fantasias, as well as works by living composers!
Kristin Samadi, piano – Dan Keene, guitar & mandolin

Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”

December 14 @ 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Performed live by Peter Loffredo accompanied by John Cappaletti on piano.
For more, click below!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Friends of Russell Library Book Sale

The Friends of Russell Library monthly book sale will take place Friday, December 12 from 9 to 6, Saturday, December 13 from 9 to 5, and Sunday, December 14 from 1 to 4 in the children’s activity room of the library at 123 Broad Street. Newer fiction is available along with books in many non-fiction categories:  cookbooks, travel books, books on religion, history, home and hobbies, and biographies.  Many books are suitable for gift-giving, including a selection from last month's sale of our best books.  Children’s picture books and books for young adults are for sale, and there are many CD’s, DVD’s, and recorded books.  All proceeds from the sale go towards library programs and materials.