Greetings dear friends and loyal readers and welcome back for our Presidents Day visit here on the Front Porch, where most of us, I imagine, are still processing the horror from Parkland, Fla., thinking about the children whose lives were cut short, and wondering what we can do — as individuals and as a nation. It’s such an achingly painful situation that it’s tough to figure out what to even say. All I can come up with in the meantime, is a line from a Van Morrison song: “stay a while with your own ones.” And hold them close.
Speaking of Van Morrison, music can sure help with the healing, and that’s just what it did yesterday afternoon at Christ Church — which was packed full of I’m guessing 200-plus people — when Joe Glennon, a Pawcatuck musician who sits on the board of the WARM Center, emceed the second “Pass The Guitar” fundraiser. What a marvelous, uplifting, heartwarming event. For starters, it brings together some of the region’s top singer-songwriters, each of whom take a turn singing one song on one guitar before passing it on to the next performer. And secondly, Joe organized both events to give back to the place that gave him a boost. As he introduced the program yesterday, and spoke of all the good things the WARM Center does for so many people, he said; “I know from experience. They helped me put a life together I never imagined possible.” Joe said he was inspired by a similar program in New London which was organized by musician Hugh Birdsall of The Reducers and Dog Bite fame, who took a turn on the guitar yesterday to sing, “Hand in Hand.” Also performing were the extraordinary Ben and Nancy Parent, who offered some “balm” for the soul, as Nancy called it later. Nancy sang a song called “Radical Love,” with a message of love and hope, and the encouragement to “learn to live again.” Thanks for that Nancy! What a lovely voice! It was wonderful to see Ben’s parents, Marlies and George Parent, who were in the audience, with their grandson, Peter Kelmelis, a Wheeler High School graduate who is a dean’s list student at URI and taking a course with none other than George “Bunky” Kent. Big shout out also to Marc Douglas Berardo, who sang a mighty set after intermission and was terrific, and to Glenn Kendzia, who sang his touching “All You Can Do,” with the hauntingly beautiful line, “Prayers will be said but they work too slow when you have to fix the things that someone else broke.”
Congratulations to former Sun photographer Susanna H. Snowden-Smith, who has another bright feather for her cap. Susannah, who worked with us for a number of years before she moved to Grand Cayman with her adorable husband, Don, to pursue her passion for underwater photography, found out that her photo, “OCD Diver Tries To Right Shipwreck,” was honored in the Underwater Photographer Of The Year Awards. Susannah, who made an appearance Grand Cayman TV (cayman27.ky/2018/02/ocd-diver-on-kittiwake-pic-honoured-in-underwater-photography-contest), said there were more than 5,000 entries this year, so to be chosen “is an incredible honor.” “I’m over the moon,” she told her Facebook friends.
Fans of Alexandra Stoddard, Stonington’s lovely doyenne of grace, philosopher of contemporary living and the bestselling author of 28 books, will want to make sure they have tickets to see her discuss the concept of “Living in Love” at La Grua next week! Details at Savoy. Ciao bella!