2011-02-03 / The Walrus Says

The Walrus Says

By Jim Munro

Beth Clarke’s world is music. As with all good things, it began at home, having been born to musical parents who sing with the Jamestown Community Chorus and the Jamestown Community Theatre. In fact, they met while singing in a high school chorus.

The first we learned of Beth’s musical talents was when she was named director of the Jamestown Community Band two years ago. At the time, she was a real veteran with the band, having played flute there since she was 11 years old.

Beth graduated from the University of Rhode Island with two degrees this past year – a bachelor’s in music education in May, and a bachelor’s in music history and literature in August.

A month and a half after graduating, she submitted her job application to the Prout School, after seeing the announcement in a local newspaper from Prout seeking a new music teacher.

“I had already been applying to teaching jobs from Vermont to West Virginia since April,” she said. “Prout interviewed me in June. On the day before my 22nd birthday, I received a call offering me the position. I signed the next day, which is ironic because my parents kept asking me what I wanted for my birthday, and I would always reply, ‘A high school music education job!’”

Beth has completed her first semester at Prout. She teaches band, chorus, show chorus, guitar, music theory, music history and jazz band. “I love teaching there more than I could have even imagined,” she said. “The staff and educators are incredibly friendly and supportive, and the students are respectful and conscientious.” Having been brought up in a musical atmosphere, Beth said that music was a natural course for her life to take. She said she can remember learning the English language, but cannot remember learning to read music.

“Music has been a huge part of my life because of my parents. I also look at Karyn Kauffman, the band director at the Jamestown School, as a huge inspiration, as well as several of my music professors from the University of Rhode Island, especially in music education.”

Beth did consider some other career paths in high school, among them veterinary sciences and English. “A local music teacher told me in my sophomore year that I would be student teaching with him, and sure enough he was right,” Beth said. “My whole life pointed towards music, so I went with it, and have no intentions of looking back.”

Beth has been cast in the role of Mabel in the community chorus’ version of the operetta, “The Pirates of Penzance,” to be performed next month.

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Did we miss the January thaw?

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We reported in our last column about the Jamestown Community Theatre producing radio shows. There is a movie just out based on an early radio program. What is it? Did you listen to any radio shows when you were young? What were they?

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Lisa Brendlinger made the dean’s list at URI.

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Let’s see now. They’ve changed the date of Memorial Day so everyone can have a three-day weekend. Now, some upstate salon wants to change the date for Halloween. Is nothing sacred? What changes next, the Fourth of July and New Year’s Day?

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Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year. It is now the Year of the Rabbit.

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During harsh winters like we’re now experiencing, people aren’t the only ones whose lives are affected by the elements. Our quadruped friends must also be feeling the changes in their routines. With all the snowfall, getting a walk is suddenly not a daily routine, and those great smells while on a walk have disappeared.

We asked Dr. Joshua Hatch of the Jamestown Animal Clinic for some safety tips to protect your pets during these periods of bad weather. He suggested keeping pets, especially cats, indoors as much as possible, especially at night. With the snow, pets can lose track of the scents they know and easily become lost or seek shelter in places that are not safe for them.

He said cats may crawl under the hoods of cars for warmth and be injured if the motor is started. If you have outdoor cats in your neighborhood, bang on your hood before starting the car to scare them off. Hatch said that another concern is the risk of pets drinking spilled antifreeze, which is highly lethal, and urges people to clean up any spills and to contact your veterinarian if you think your pet may have ingested even a tiny amount. Finally, he said to clean any snow, ice, or rock salt off your pet’s fur and feet whenever they come in from outside to prevent irritation to its skin and ingesting any chemicals or debris from the snow.

Woof!

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Great response to the poser in our last column. It was the Gershwin brothers, “Our Love Is Here To Stay,” says Arthur Conlon, Robert Florentino, Ken Shane, Barbara-Ann Mac Intosh, Bob Kinder, Dave Reilly, Sam Bari, Cynthia Flagg and John Leyon.

Leyon added that one of the better contemporary recordings is by Michael Finstein. The song was written originally for the 1938 film, “The Goldwyn Follies,” but is remembered best as the main theme of the 1951 musical, “An American in Paris.” It has been recorded by a host of great artists including Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Gene Kelly, Joni James and Dina Washington.

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With Valentine’s Day just down the road, here’s a love poser from B.J.: “She gives me ev’rything and tenderly.”

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In our item about volunteers for Threads of Love, we asked if anyone has a serger or knows what it is? Barbara-Ann MacIntosh replied that she has a serger.

“It is a sewing machine that holds five spools of thread. There is also one that works with four spools of thread. It sews a seam and can cut off the excess fabric at the same time. The challenge is threading the machine. It is complicated. It sits unused.”

Gail Bolger also has a serger. She said it’s a very special, but handy, sewing machine that binds up, finishes off, and cuts edges.

Thanks, guys! Sounds like something that would bind up my threads of love and turn them into threads of utter frustration.

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In the event you need a warm up for St. Patrick’s Day, the Celtic Harp will be at the Jamestown Philomenian Library on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 3 p.m., for their concert, “Celebrating Ireland in Story and Song.” Get there at 2:30 p.m. and fiddler and harpist Mary King will teach you a jig.

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A Snapple cap moment: A Venus flytrap can eat a whole cheeseburger.

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Be true!

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Call in your stuff to 829-2760 or 423-0383, or e-mail us at jtnwalrus@hotmail.com.

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