Greetings dear friends and kind readers and welcome back to our last April visit of 2019 here on the Front Porch, where we're admiring all the gorgeous magnolia trees and azalea bushes now bursting forth in bloom.

There are a few particularly astounding vistas I recommend; like the one at the very end of Elm Street, where Elm meets Granite and Broad. What an extraordinary sight as you look toward Wilcox Park. Ah yes, May arrives on Wednesday with May Day for the workers, and the Kentucky Derby is on Saturday. It makes me think of Lerner and Loewe's song from "Camelot," about "the birds and bees with all of their vast amorous past," who "gaze at the human race aghast." Fun.

Speaking of voices and song, what a treat last Thursday when Salt Marsh Opera presented Mozart's "The Magic Flute," at the Knickerbocker in what I believe was a first — opera at the Knick! Amazing performances with Abigail Paschke as Pamina, Charlie Widmer as Tamino, Adam Cioffari as Papageno, Tyler Putnam as Sarastro, Jamilyn Manning-White as Queen of the Night, Max Potter as Papagena, Jessica Jacobs as First Lady, Danielle Marcelle Bond as Third Lady and Christopher Plaas as Monastatos. Speaking of opera, what fun to see baritone Kevin Short on stage at the Met last week, singing alongside Placido Domingo in "La Traviata" as Dr. Grenvil. Short has performed locally with The Chorus of Westerly.

And speaking of firsts, members of the Chariho Rotary have planned a "top secret" shindig on Mother's Day weekend to benefit the Domestic Violence Resource Center, according to the fabulous Liz Pasqualini. "We are doing something that hasn't been done in Westerly before, a pop-up gala," she told me. Guests will buy tickets without knowing where it will take place. The night before they will get a text leading them to the "TOP SECRET" spot, Liz said. "Fun, right? We will be enhancing the use of a secret, yet ordinary public space just for one night." Called "Night at the Circus," Liz said, "We think it is a great way for people to honor and celebrate the women in their lives." 

Congratulations to Westerly native Bob Christina who was inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame Sunday along with Neal and The Vipers at a ceremony held at the Met Cafe in Pawtucket. 

Best of luck to Westerly High School senior Maddy Hartley on her senior project, a fundraiser to benefit Avery May Silva, an 11-month old local baby with a rare genetic skin disease. Maddy will welcome guests to the Knick Saturday for "Franco's Comedy for a Cause."  

Big bravos to Westerly native Brian Drye, son of Robbie and Howard Drye of Westerly, who is making some joyful noise on Broadway these days. Brian, who lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Mechelle and their two children, Winona and Montgomery, is playing his trumpet on Broadway (to much acclaim) in the musical "Hadestown." 

In the "oops!" department, mea culpa and apologies to Amy Vitterito for mixing up your name in last week's column.

Until next time, ciao bella!

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