Miss Vermont USA wows Menig nursing home residents
RANDOLPH – If the residents of the Menig Extended Care Facility get their way, Miss Vermont USA 2013 Sarah Westbrook will easily be crowned Miss USA in Las Vegas in June.
Westbrook, 24, visited the Randolph nursing home Wednesday afternoon. With grace and plenty of humor, the Burlington beauty answered questions, posed for pictures and let residents try on her surprisingly heavy crown.
Her visit was organized by friend Jennifer Joseph, an East Montpelier resident and Vermont Technical College nursing student who did her clinical training at Menig.
“I love it. The residents made such an impact on me,” says Joseph, who wanted to give back. “It was the only way I could think to give back some of what they gave me. I just wanted to see them smile, because they all made me smile.”
And smile they did. There was laughter, tears, accolades, and humor.
“I’m very proud to have you. It’s an honor,” 96-year-old resident Annie Gaiko told Westbrook. “You live here in this atmosphere with all of these old bucks, and it’s nice to see a young one. You’ve got the world by the tail.”
Resident Edie Reynolds assured Westbrook that she would go all the way in the competition, calling her beautiful inside and out.
Whether Westbrook, a fitness instructor and student studying health and wellness, becomes Miss USA won’t be known until June. One thing is certain, however. Thirty nursing home residents, some as old as 101, will be pulling for her come pageant night.
This photo shows one of Kari Meyer’s paintings now on display in the Gifford Medical Center art gallery. Called “Morning Meadow,” it is acrylic on canvas and painted on Beaver Meadow Road in Marshfield.
Montpelier painter Kari Meyer’s unique landscapes are in the Gifford Medical Center art gallery through Jan. 30.
Born and raised in the Northeast Kingdom, Meyer’s love of nature started at an early age. She spent much of her childhood playing in the woods and rivers near her rural home.
She attended high school at St. Johnsbury Academy. The school offered in-depth classes in art and Meyer says she fell in love with acrylic painting. She went on to earn an associate degree in multimedia and graphic design from Champlain College and then her bachelor’s degree in studio art from the University of Vermont.
Her knowledge of graphic design, she says, continues to be integrated into her artwork. Her studies at UVM also sparked an interest in sculpture. On close inspection, viewers of Meyer’s work can see her love of texture and three dimensions.
“As an artist I see art as a form of communication that has a power beyond that of words. Through imagery I attempt to portray ideas that words cannot, like the archetypal beauty that connects all things,” Meyer says. “I attempt to create a positive experience for the viewer, while also hoping to make a positive commentary on the world.”
Meyer works from photographs. She estimates a third of her time creating a painting is spent in the woods and walking the back roads of Vermont in search of the places that portray the magic and beauty of the landscape.
She works in digital photography, using a computer to alter colors, lighting and even composition of some of her images. By incorporating different textures and materials into her paintings, she creates an even more dynamic image that changes with lighting, casting its own shadows and creating a depth and mystery within each image.
Meyer says her imagery demonstrates an abstraction of nature, with her inspiration coming in part from the ideals of wabi-sabi, a prominent philosophy of Japanese aesthetics.
“For me wabi-sabi changes the worldview of Western civilization. Things we normally view as negative become beautiful. Loneliness, old age and death become beautiful because they are inevitable and represent the constant flux of the universe,” Meyer says. “I attempt to address this idea of the movement of eternity, of everything either coming from or returning to nothingness. My work urges the viewer to contemplate the relationship between oneself, nature and the universe.”
See Meyer’s work for yourself at Gifford. The show is free and open to the public. The gallery is just inside the main entrance of the medical center, located south of Randolph village. For directions and more information, visit www.giffordmed.org. Learn more about Meyer’s work online at www.karimeyer.com.
Northfield fiber artist Pamela Druhen, far left, recently shared some of her unique “Threadscapes” with Menig Extended Care Facility residents.
The pieces meld quilting and thread work to create what look like paintings in fabric and thread.
Some of Druhen’s smaller pieces are on display in Gifford Medical Center’s gallery in Randolph. She brought larger pieces to adjoining Menig to provide the nursing home residents their own private art show. Staff and residents peppered her with questions on her technique and were astounded by her work.
RANDOLPH – The nation’s oldest collegiate band, the Norwich University Concert Band, will perform at the park at Gifford Medical Center on Sept. 25 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
The free concert, titled “Autumn in the Park,” will be led by conductor Lt. Col. Todd Edwards with a flute solo, “Concertino for Flute,” featuring Audrey Seaman.
Music at Norwich University in Northfield has been a significant part of the curriculum since its founding in 1819. With the arrival of William Baylay, the first professor of instrumental music, in 1823, the band became all-brass and an integral part of the daily life of cadets.
Today, the band is a full instrumentation band with woodwinds, brass and percussion, and it continues to perform in support of the Corps of Cadets at all formations, reviews and special parades. The band has performed for the inauguration of several U.S. presidents, including John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, as well as for parades and concerts throughout Vermont and New England.
Conductor Lt. Col. Edwards spent nearly 25 years in the U.S. Air Force Band program, serving as a trombonist and vocalist as well as an audio engineer and lighting designer, after enlisting at age 18.
He received the Air Force Public Affairs Awards for Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year in 2001 for designing and executing a seven-band deployment throughout Europe in 48 hours supporting Operation Allied Force, including a short concert aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt – a first for Air Force Bands while in an active combat zone.
Because of his vast deployment expertise, he was selected by the Pentagon to advance the first-ever band deployments in direct support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, during combat operations. Being the first bandsman on the ground in April of 2004, he led bands traveling to seven bases in Iraq, Qatar and Afghanistan and later led a second deployment group to perform additional shows in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Djibouti.
In addition to performing before U.S. presidents, he has played before several heads of state, including Queen Elizabeth II.
The concert is free and open to the public.
Valley Bowl of Randolph will be onsite with its food truck for anyone wanting to purchase dinner.
Bring a blanket or a lawn chair. The Gifford park is south of the hospital, before the Thrift Shop, at 44 S. Main St. (Route 12) in Randolph. Ample parking is available.
The concert is weather dependent. If the weather is questionable, visit Gifford’s Web site, www.giffordmed.org, for updates.
Original blues and soul band renowned throughout Northeast
RANDOLPH – The Dave Keller Band comes to the Gifford Medical Center Park on Sept. 11 for a free concert thanks to the generosity of the Gifford Auxiliary.
A Vermont resident, Dave Keller is known as one of the finest soul and blues men of his generation. He is the 2012 winner of the Best Self-Produced CD award at the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn.
In 2009, after being discovered by legendary guitarist Ronnie Earl, Keller appeared as a singer and co-writer on Earl’s BMA-nominated CD, “Living In the Light.” Next, blues and soul fans got to hear Keller with his own band on his all-original critically-acclaimed release “Play for Love” (September 2009).
Then in October 2011, Keller released his latest gem: “Where I’m Coming From” – a “deep soul” record produced by Bob Perry of Wu-Tang Clan, 50 Center, Brian McNight and Foxy Brown fame. In addition to winning the IBC award, the CD reached No. 2 on B.B. King’s Bluesville on Sirius/XM radio for May 2012.
This success follows decades perfecting his craft. Keller has been performing for 20 years across the Northeast at everything from prison gymnasiums to major tours, getting audiences out of their seats with deep soul singing, gritty guitar licks and what Keller calls his “super-tight, super-funky band.”
Originally from Massachusetts, Keller picked up guitar in his teens and started his own band in 1988. Keller moved to Boston, performing regularly but tiring of city life. He moved to rural Washington state and then to Vermont in 1993.
By 1993, Keller’s singing and playing had taken on a new depth. He began playing solo shows and by 1996 had put together a band, releasing multiple CDs.
Today, Keller keeps up a heavy performance, touring with band mates Ira Friedman on Hammond organ, Brett Hoffman on drums and Gary Lotspeich on bass. And now The Dave Keller Band comes to Randolph for a one-time concert sure to please.
The concert is from 6:30-8 p.m. The Gifford park is located between the hospital and the Thrift Shop on South Main Street (Route 12), south of Randolph village. Ample parking is available onsite.
The concert is weather-dependent. If the weather is questionable, check Gifford’s new and improved Web site, www.giffordmed.org, for an update.
Free concert featuring country, blues, gospel, folk
RANDOLPH – Gifford Medical Center employees and volunteer Karen Warner showcase their talents on Thursday, Aug. 30 for a multi-act, multi-style concert.
Warner will sing to new and classic country tracks. Sanie Bly, who performed earlier in the month, will join Gifford employees Thom Goodwin and Joe Pelletier in a group called the “Mood Stabilizers,” singing and playing folk and ’70s rock.
And Gifford’s Greg McConnell, Claudette Goad and Mike Berry as well as Berry’s brother, Jim, make up “Diamonds in the Rough,” a blue grass and gospel group.
“Diamonds in the Rough” often sing together at church and have performed for Gifford events. Bly is part of experienced group “Two for the Show.” Goodwin and Pelletier both sing and play guitar.
And Warner has performed for several community events, including at the Randolph gazebo and following the Randolph Fourth of July parade.
“We hope to offer something for everyone and bring together the community for an enjoyable, relaxing evening with good friends and good music,” said Mike Berry, who is organizing the collaboration.
Hear this eclectic group of performers in the Gifford park from 6:30-8 p.m.
The concert is free and open to the public.
The Gifford park is located between the hospital and the Thrift Shop on South Main Street (Route 12), south of Randolph village. Ample parking is available onsite.
The concert is weather-dependent. If the weather is questionable, check Gifford’s new and improved Website, www.giffordmed.org, for an update.