Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring at the Audi

From the inbox:
SPRING AT THE AUDI -- In like a lion…Out with a ROAR!
March came in to Concord City Auditorium like the proverbial Lion, with well-deserved pride in performers like Rebecca Rule, Nelson Ebo, and the GSSO’s “Musical Geniuses”. Now it’s going out with a ROAR of excitement over the Audi’s Spring schedule of 30 performances, including:
MUSIC – A double bill of Broadway music lists THE MANTINI SISTERS, the Canadian superstar trio in “Ladies of Broadway” April 18 and “Broadway on Prince Street” with the GRANITE STATE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and the CONCORD CHORALE on May 9. Fans of Folk and World Music will enjoy RICK CHARETTE’s 17th annual family show on March 29, legendary TOM RUSH ON April 22, and the GREEK MUSIC ENSEMBLE in a May 17 matinee…and who said “Never on Sunday”?
WORDS -- The Walker Lecture Series adds film to words to dramatize GHOST TOWNS OF THE WEST and life BENEATH THE JUNGLE of Mesoamerica, March 25 and April 1. The Concord Monitor leads the celebration of April as Poetry Month on April 17 with DOGS’ NIGHT OUT, presenting three great poets plus dogs in poems and sculpture. NEW HAMPSHIRE PRESERVATION ALLIANCE fills the house with words of praise for preservationists on May 12, and CONCORD HIGH SCHOOL with words of praise for STUDENT ACHIEVEMENTS on June 8 and 11. Meanwhile, out in the parking lot on May 9, the 9th Annual PERENNIAL EXCHANGE trades plants and advice on ways to beautify the city’s streetscape.
DANCE: -- The season must put extra spring in the step of Concord’s renown as a “Dancing Town”, for nearly 1,000 dancers will appear on the Audi stage with eight local dance with local dance companies. GEN’S DANCE STUDIO, celebrating its 40th year, leads the performing list of PETIT PAPILLON, CAPITAL CITY DANCE CENTER, ROCKIN’ ROBIN’S HJOUSE OF DANCE, DANCESTEPS, ETC., CREATIVE DANCE WORKSHOP OF BOW, TURNING POINTE CENTER OF DANCE, and NEW HAMPSHIRE SCHOOL OF BALLET.
CHILDREN’S SHOWS: The Audi’s Spring schedule of shows helps celebrate the end of the school year. Petit Papillon’s story ballet, THE LOST PRINCESS OF OZ, on April 27-28, RICK CHARETTE on April 29, and the American Theater Arts for Youth tour of THE WIZARD OF OZ on May 11 all have daytime shows for young families.
FINALLY, THEATRE! Two ballet theatre performances include THE LOST PRINCESS OF OZ and SHINE, a musical drama of faith, hope, and love presented by All Saints Anglican Church on May 19 and featuring the New Hampshire School of Ballet. Broadway theatre buffs had better zip right over for tickets to THE FULL MONTY, presented by the Community Players of Concord April 30 and May 1-2-3. Concord Rotary Club celebrates the Great American Songbook with HOT HITS AND COOL HARMONY June 25-26-27.
AND A SUMMER THEATRE “STAYCATION: With an eye to starting professional summer theatre in Concord, the Friends of The Audi are bringing the Summer Theatre in Meredith Village production of FOREVER PLAID to town for three shows, June 19-20. Many folks travel north for summer theatre, and The Friends hope to reverse the traffic pattern. The show will benefit the Flyspace Project, upgrading the “historic” Audi pinrail.
UPBEAT IN THE DOWNTURN – The Concord City Auditorium’s Spring Season offers audiences the Three Big A’s. It’s Affordable (only two of these events cost more than $15 and many are free); it’s ADA Accessible; and it’s Air-conditioned! Information on all events is available online at and by calling 225-7474. Email questions to Pick up show flyers at the Audi, Concord City Clerk’s office and Concord Public Library.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Concord Community Concert Assoc. annouces 2009-2010 season

From the inbox:


Talk about a stimulus package! Concord Community Concert Association has been stimulating New Hampshire’s music scene for 78 years with season-long packages of world-class performances. Holding its upbeat note through these downbeat times, the Association announces its upcoming 2009-2010 season at Concord City Auditorium with a special kickoff event this weekend.
(Saturday, March 28, 9am, at The Red Blazer, 72 Manchester Street, Concord)
The 79th season of Concord Community Concerts at City Auditorium opens October 3, 2009, with the REVELS REPERTORY COMPANY new production, “VOICES FROM THE MOUNTAIN”. Back by popular demand after their Hutchinson Family Singers show last season, the REVELS bring American history and musical history to life with large-cast performances. Now they will introduce and celebrate the “Songcatchers” who preserved our nation’s music heritage.
(Google: Revels Repertory Company)
DANIEL RODRIGUEZ, the New York Police Department officer whose soaring tenor voice led the nation in 9/11 remembrances, will fill the Auditorium on November 22, 2009, a lead-in to Thanksgiving week. Leaving the NYPD, Daniel Rodriquez studied for 18 months with his mentor, Placido Domingo, before embarking on the concert career which brings him to Concord City Auditorium.
(Google: Daniel Rodriguez)
HUNT FAMILY FIDDLERS, nine world-ranked Irish step dancers and champion fiddlers, present a February 18, 2010, high-powered show of the original, Celtic, blue grass and inspirational music that has delighted Queen Elizabeth II and international audiences in addition to their national tours and TV appearances.
(Google: Hunt Family Fiddlers)
NUBE (Spanish for “Cloud”) presents “Music for a New World” as the season’s finale on March 10. The ensemble of master musicians exquisitely blends contemporary Latin American and World Music. (Google: NUBE – “Music for a New World”)
The Season’s Membership, $48 until May 15 and $52 afterwards, includes all four concerts. In addition, members are encouraged to bring their children (to age 18) to the concerts without a charge!
PLUS – THE MANTINI SISTERS, the Canadian superstar trio whose April 18, 2009, concert ends the current 08-09 season, is a free bonus ticket for all new members of the association. Their show celebrates “The Ladies of Broadway” with music from Gershwin and Cole Porter to Andrew Lloyd Webber.
(Google: Mantini Sisters)
In 1930, when Concord was sinking into the Great Depression, a local music teacher named Dorothy Sanborn worried that the community would have years without music, that children would grow up never hearing a live performance, that the city’s arts traditions would die out. She recruited two fellow teachers, contacted the Columbia Artists agency in New York, and started the Concord Community Concert Association to be staffed by local volunteer supporters. For three affordable dollars, Concord folks could buy a season pass to hear performances by touring professional musicians…and bring their children along for free.
Now 2009. Concord may not be sinking, but not much is flying high except for Dorothy Sanborn’s wonderful idea, alive and well and starting its 79th season. The next round of four live concerts is booked, a new generation of volunteers is staffing the series, and at $12 max a ticket, the series is still the most affordable music in town. Plus, the series has added two special features: a reciprocal agreement adding the six-concert series of the Nashua Community Concert Association (which makes a single tix cost $4.80!) and a special Student Outreach Series, with the star performers presenting free educational matinee concerts for area school children.
The Concord Community Concert Association holds its 2009-2010 season kickoff breakfast on Saturday, March 28, 2009, at 9am at the Red Blazer Restaurant, 72 Manchester Street in Concord. The Association welcomes everyone who would like to join the volunteer team which manages the program.
For further information, season membership forms, or to volunteer, please call June Iffland, 228-0660, or email

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Lost Princess of Oz

Petit Papillon revives a favorite with the presentation of The Lost Princess of Oz, March 28, 2009 at the Concord City Auditorium - with performances at 2 pm and 7 pm. This ballet, which premiered in March, 2000, is based on one of the twelve original stories by L. Frank Baum and is the result of a creative collaboration of multiple New Hampshire artists. The musical score was written especially for petit Papillon by Emmy award nominee, Ward Dilmore of Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. Choreography for the ballet is by Patricia Walker and Kelly Doremus Stuart and the costumes for this production have been created by Cynthia Capodestria with giant puppets created by Martha Lovejoy.

After the very successful premier of this piece, Petit Papillon traveled to London, England in April, 2001 to Text Box: Petit Pappilon will present a special performance of The Lost Princess of Oz on Friday, March 27 at 9:30 a.m. to over 500 local students. Please call to get more information.perform the work in theaters where it was highly acclaimed. The story has some of the same characters as the more familiar Wizard of Oz and introduces many new friends of Dorothy’s as well as the wicked magician Ugu. The ballet is an exciting adventure, involving wizardry, and travel through the lands of giants, teddy bears, merry-go- round mountains and much more. Members of the ballet theater are joined by younger students of Petit Papillon School of Ballet to tell the story of a search for the missing princess and a magic dishpan. The ballet will appeal to young and old alike. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for children and seniors and are on sale at Gibson’s Bookstore, 27 South Main St, Concord, at Ballard’s Novelty and Party Shop, 7 Broadway St. Concord, and the studios of Petit Papillon, in the Green Street Community Center, 39 Green St. Concord. Group rates are available.

For over thirty years, Petit Papillon has earned a well-deserved reputation for excellence in dance education, performance and the promotion of the art of dance. The Ballet Theatre of New Hampshire is the performing arm of the school.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Follow up on 102.3 FM ...

The Monitor has a follow up on 102.3 FM ... and the new owner ain't saying much about what he plans on doing: ["Off-air station purchased; future unclear"].
During the last week, I had a poll up here on asking readers what they would like to here. Sixty votes later, here is what you said:

20% - Alternative rock like WFNX
15% - Sinatra standards
13% - Liberal talk like Air America
13% - Other
12% - Smooth jazz
10% - 1950s/1960s pop
8% - Conservative talk like Rush Limbaugh
5% - Business talk
3% - Lighter faire, like female oriented talk

Good luck Andrew programming your station and best of luck!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Beyond infuriating ...

This is beyond infuriating: ["Judge strikes down tax cap amendment"]. Ridiculous. Outrageous. Silly and foolish. Of course the tax cap is constitutional. Any idiot knows that. I'm glad this is going to be appealed. Hopefully, in time to get the thing on the ballot in November.

Monday, March 16, 2009

In the House: Budget Hearing

By Rep. Rick Watrous

Local citizens have a chance to speak to those who directly shape the state budget. On Tuesday, March 17, at 4 p.m., three concurrent meetings will be held at the Legislative Office Building.

These meetings are conducted by the House Finance Committee (which handles expenditures) and the House Ways & Means Committee (which deals with state revenues). The committees have been traveling throughout the state holding evening meetings so citizens can let them know their thoughts on how to shape the state budget.

In LOB 202-204 Division 1 hearings will be held on General Government; Administration of Justice and Public Protection; and Resources Protection and Development.

In LOB 205-207 Division 2 will focus on Safety; Fish and Game; Transportation; and Education.

In LOB 210-211 Division 3 hearings will be on Health and Social Services.

Citizens are welcomed to provide testimony on any of these state budget issues.

Although Concord’s meeting begins at 4 it is expected to last well into the evening as committees give everyone a chance to speak. Recent budget hearings at Claremont and Salem brought out an array of citizens and interests and lasted long into the evening.

Citizens who cannot attend are encouraged to submit written testimony to the Committees—who need all the help they can get in making many difficult decisions.

Contact info for the Finance Committee is at:

Contact info for Ways & Means is at:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thank you readers!

I haven't checked out the unique visits and page view stats here for a bit since I have been busy with other things. But you can imagine my surprise to read this morning that the month of February was our best month yet, with an increase in traffic by 8.5 percent over the previous high of November 2008! January 2009, it turns out, was equal to November in 2008 in views and visits. So, I should have had a brag post up if I had bothered to look at the monthly stats. Hah!
When considering all that is going on in the world, this really doesn't mean a heck of a lot. But believe me when I say that I truly appreciate that you all take the time out of your busy schedules to visit the site and comment on some of the things that have been written here.
As always, if you are interested in becoming a regular or irregular contributor, please let me know. Most of you understand that like you, I'm quite busy with my personal and professional life that takes a lot out of me. I'm always looking for contributions to keep the site updated and lively.
Thanks again and here's hoping March is just as exciting!

Changes at the Monitor

Felice Belman, editor of the Concord Monitor, announced some new changes to the newspaper's look and price this morning: ["An extra quarter, please"].
In the report to readers, she wrote that the Monitor will shrink slightly in size, cut nearly two inches off the width of the newspaper, and publish advertising on the front page. The price at the newsstand will also go up a quarter.
As I noted in a comment on the Monitor's Web site, many newspaper companies, including the one I currently work for, have already made these kinds of changes in order to make ends meet [The company I work for started running ads on the front page of Massachusetts weeklies and dailies back in 2002, the newspapers have gone through at least two width changes, and last year, many weeklies went up to a $1 an edition on the newsstand. That's just one example of similar changes being made by the industry in this region].
While some readers may not like these changes, it is better to cut off the side of the paper than to layoff reporters or editors, who are the bulk of any operation's expenses. With the exception of some newspapers I have seen in upstate New York and Maine, the Monitor is much wider than other area newspapers. There is room to cut and save some money. Readers will get used to the new size very quickly. Advertisements on the front page have been done in many other companies with little to no complaints ... and advertisers love the option. Lastly, the price of everything is going up. Raising the newsstand price may actually increase subscriptions, as more people choose to have the newspaper delivered to save money, instead of paying the higher price. And those folks who can afford the increase or subscription price can always get what they want from reading the newspaper's Web site.
The only drawback to this is that if Web readership grows and print readership drops, the print advertiser, who is paying a premium for marketing, does not benefit. In fact, they lose, which is why many of them are fleeing from newspapers as print circulations drop [even though overall readership, both print and Web, has never been higher]. Of course, this, and the huge amounts of debt big newspaper companies have, are the reasons that most media companies are in dire conditions. No one has figured out a way to successfully keep the business model going if the content is given away for free. Since the Monitor is family owned and operated, there are not the kinds of quarterly pressures put on the company from shareholders. This doesn't mean they are immune from market forces or pressures, as you can see from these changes. It just means that they don't have a slew of bottomfeeders on Wall Street dictating the changes that need to be made.
These are very difficult times for journalism and journalists but extremely critical times for readers. Whatever can be done to save what is truly important - the delivery of news and information to the public - is the best thing. The Monitor seems to be trying to do that with these changes.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

WWHK-FM sold to conservative columnist?

Updated: Radio & Records is reporting this week that WWHK 102.3 FM - the old WKXL-FM - has been sold to Andrew Sumereau.
According to R&R, Birch Broadcasting, Sumereau's new company, bought the station for "$950,000, stock sale for cash," from Vox Media Corp., which owns stations throughout the Northeast. R&R reports:
"Birch Broadcasting is buying the stock of Capitol Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of WWHK-FM/Concord, N.H., from Vox Media Corp. for $950,000, payable in cash at closing. $100,000 deposit. Birch Broadcasting is assuming Nassau Broadcasting's rights to purchase the company's stock."
The station was being run by Nassau Broadcasting Group via a LMA, or local market agreement, which allows one station owner to run a station until the buyer gets approval. However, the FCC determined last year that Nassau owned too many FM stations in the market and forced the company to release WWHK back to Vox in August 2008. We reported about that here: ["WKXL reportedly buying religious FM translator"].
For a couple of weeks, Vox was playing rock music on a loop but then let the station go dark.
A Google of "Andrew Sumereau" reveals a plethora of online columns with a conservative bent. Readers can sample them here, at ["Andrew Sumereau"]. I'm not sure if this is the guy or not but it is a pretty safe bet.
No word yet on what Sumereau plans on doing with the station but one can wonder. Is he going to put conservative satellite talk on the air? Will that sell in more-liberal-than-conservative Concord? Will he try and fill a niche, offering business talk or the new radio talk fad, female oriented conversation?
If he does put talk on the air, the city would then have access to five talk stations in some way, shape, or form: All right-wing talk and Manch/state news on WGIR-AM 610; News, information, with slight libertarian-bent talk and lots of sports on WTPL-FM 107.7 [which also broadcasts on 107.1]; hyper-local news and "community conversation" on WKXL-AM 1450; and NPR/NHPR on WEVO-FM.
The WWHK tower is located at the top of Rattlesnake Hill near Walker State Forest and covers metropolitan Concord. Wikipedia has a bit of history about the station here: ["WWHK"].
Back in the early 1990s, the station offered what would now be considered light alternative - Aztec Camera, INXS, that kinda thing - but advertisers weren't keen on the format and the station started simulcasting the AM signal.

Just for fun, I'm offering an online poll to readers to see what they would be interested in hearing at the new 102.3 FM. It's multiple choice, meaning you can pick more than one. As well, there is an Other category, so you can offer your own suggestion. Happy voting!

Legislative update ...

I'll have an update sometime over the weekend about legislation that affects the Board of Education's charter. The news isn't good and it's not pretty. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Is this the future with PAYT?

This air conditioner has been sitting in the middle of Turkey River off Iron Works Road for months now.
One of the many problems with programs known as pay-as-you-throw is that they often produce more pollution, random public dumping and littering, and a drain on resources as officials are out policing the program, instead of doing other things, more important things.
As it is, without pay-as-you-throw, public littering is still a problem. Walk along any of Concord's streets of late - well, not today, 'cause it's snowing outside - and you'll see random trash thrown just about anywhere.
Yesterday, I was on a walk with a friend along Iron Works Road and Clinton Street and saw all kinds of littering - beer and soda cans, beer bottles, in some cases, whole cases of them, paper bags full of whatever trash you can imagine, and at least one full trash bag, and an air conditioner sitting in the Turkey River along the border of the Cilley State Forest. We first noticed the air conditioner a number of months ago before the PAYT debate really started to gear up. And, it's still there.
Now, would could surmise that, Well, Iron Works Road is a random littering spot because there aren't many people who live there and it is a cut through for local teens trying to get from one spot to another. The litter isn't regular folks, one might say, it's probably just those kids throwing their beer bottles out the window.
Well, so? Public littering is public littering - whether it is kids not wanting to get caught by the cops or their parents with alcohol in the car or those same parents who are a bit behind on things and can't afford the bag tax!
What is so strange about seeing an AC in the river is that, I would assume, any resident could just drive up to the dump - ahem, excuse me, transfer station - and just drop it off there. Maybe there is a fee involved, I don't know, I've never had to drop off more than recycling stuff there and the station never seems to be staffed in all the years I've been going there. Why be so callous as to throw an AC in the river?
Sure, this isn't the same as public littering or not being able to pay or afford the bag tax. But the issue is the same or at least similar. And it would seem that public officials would want to do everything in their power not to have more littering than there already is in Concord. Instead, the bag tax is only going to cause pollution and, as a result, more filthy streets.
Before anyone gets critical about not telling public officials about the AC in the river for months note this: The city manager and state were emailed this morning about it. Why didn't we do it months ago? We wanted to see if anyone else would or how long it would take to get it out of the river. And it's still there.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Looking for an out of this world thing to do this weekend?

On Friday, March 6, the new McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center will welcome the public to explore, discover, and be inspired from 4 to 9 p.m.
Admission to the Discovery Center is free for the opening weekend, Friday, March 6 through Sunday, March 8, courtesy of Northeast Delta Dental.
"We are pleased to sponsor this opportunity for the public to visit the new Discovery Center," said Tom Raffio, President & CEO of Northeast Delta Dental. "As neighbors and ongoing supporters, we are excited about the learning opportunities that the Discovery Center will provide as a regional resource.”
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center will be constantly evolving. New exhibitions, programs and simulation experiences will be added in three major phases, beginning with this Phase One opening on March 6. Special Phase One opening weekend programming includes:

Friday, March 6; 4 to 9 p.m.

• Guided tours through the exhibits

• Educational programs and demonstrations

• Dawn of the Space Age will be featured in the planetarium

• Free guided sky watch outside, courtesy of NH Astronomical Society (weather permitting)

Saturday, March 7, and Sunday, March 8; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Guided tours through the exhibits

• Educational programs, demonstrations, guided observatory sky watches

• Dawn of the Space Age featured in the planetarium, along with Tonight’s Sky, Oasis in Space, Our Place in Space

• Special guests Fritz Weatherbee (Saturday) and caricature artist Erica Golter (Sunday)

For a full schedule of Opening Weekend programming, visit

The new McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center is a lively science center, featuring 21st century interactive exhibits on aviation, astronomy, Earth and space sciences, a state-of-the-art planetarium and a variety of science and engineering programs.

The engaging, robust educational programs are geared towards families, teens, seniors, students, community groups, and lifelong learners of all ages. The Discovery Center will also offer space for conferences and special events, and a NASA Educator Resource Center.

Contact: Jennifer Jones, Marketing Coordinator,, 603-271-7827 x110

Monday, March 2, 2009

Important hearings coming up ...

There are three important hearings coming up this week that readers might be interested in.

First, the Board of Education will be holding public hearings about its budget on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Citizens can give comments about the current budget proposal.
One thing that might be of interest to readers is the Facilities Purchase and Renovation Expandable Trust Fund, a line item with more than $2.7 million in it. One might wonder, Where did this money come from? The school budget is strapped and tight right? Well, yes and no. According to sources, when the Concord High School bond was paid off, the board started banking that money into a trust fund, instead of returning it to the taxpayers or spending it on other things.
So, when board members say there is no money and propose laying off teachers, aides, or not hiring people who are needed to deliver the best services to our children, you know that they aren't quite being as straightforward as they should be.

On Thursday at 9:30 a.m. the Legislature committee studying the two school charter bills, HB 33 ["Improving Shurtleff's school board election bill"] and HB 319 ["Important hearing date ..."], will hold a hearing to discuss whether to roll the two bills into one. The outcome should be a law that resolves the charter issues so that residents who want charter changes no longer have to go before the Legislature. The committee may decide to create a charter commission to study the matter but some are saying that idea will probably be rejected. The committee will be meeting with the entire Concord city delegation and public officials to discuss the matter.
Residents are invited and urged to attend but will not be allowed to speak at the hearing.
The meeting will be held in room 301 of the Legislative Office Building.
I'm still hoping that one of the legislators will recommend an amendment to Shurtleff's bill to fix the proposal.

Adventure and intrigue in the land of Oz

Petit Papillon will perform, "The Lost Princess of Oz," March 28, at the Concord City Auditorium with performances at 2 and 7 p.m.
This ballet which premiered in March 2000 is based on one of the 12 original stories by L. Frank Baum and is the result of a creative collaboration of multiple New Hampshire artists. The musical score was written especially for Petit Papillon by Emmy award nominee, Ward Dilmore of Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. Choreography for the ballet is by Patricia Walker and Kelly Doremus Stuart and the costumes for this production have been created by Cynthia Capodestria with giants by Martha Lovejoy. Cast members for this production represent the communities of Concord, Bow, Hopkinton, Henniker, Pembroke, and Sanbornton.
After the very successful premier of this piece, Petit Papillon traveled to London, England in April 2001 to perform the work in theaters where it was highly acclaimed. The story has some of the same characters as the more familiar "Wizard of Oz" and introduces many new friends of Dorothy’s as well as the wicked magician Ugu. The ballet is an exciting adventure, involving wizardry, and travel through the lands of giants, teddy bears, merry-go- round mountains and much more. Members the ballet theater are joined by younger students of Petit Papillon School of Ballet to tell the story of a search for the missing princess and a magic dishpan.
The ballet will appeal to young and old alike. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for children and seniors and are on sale at Gibson’s Bookstore, 27 South Main St. in Concord, at Ballard’s Novelty and Party Shop, 7 Broadway St. in Concord, and the studios of Petit Papillon, in the Green Street Community Center, 39 Green St. in Concord. Group rates are available.