Town Column : Edgartown
I find my ability to write my column and the ease with which it flows to be directly proportional to my level of insanity. Presently, the insanity meter is off the charts. This was "recital weekend", a weekend that has been looming over us with mixed emotions of dread and excitement for several months. We certainly knew that it would be fun, but also very time consuming and tiring. But ultimately, it was a wonderful experience that we will continue to look forward to each year.
Over the last four years, Amelia has attended a number of dance schools, some of which didn't quite fit, while others were only temporary programs, filling a void for some of our dancers. When we found ourselves homeless again last fall, the light at the end of the tunnel came in the bodies of Jil Matrisciano and Sandra Stone-Benjamin, who teamed up to open a new dance studio in Vineyard Haven: Rise - Vineyard Performing Arts. That light at the end of the tunnel was never brighter than it was at the Performing Arts Center on Sunday at 2 pm and 7 pm. Though we were originally hesitant to trust another "new" program, we ultimately put our faith in Jil and Sandy and we've never looked back. They have been a blessing to the dance community this year.
This weekend was the culmination of a year of sweat and hard work by Jil, Sandy, Kay, a number of other teachers and assistants, and the students of Rise. It was worth the wait. I say that not as a proud mom of one of the dancers, but simply as an audience member awed by what this new group was able to achieve in a year. Although much of the work and preparation originally seemed excessive, particularly for the littlest dancers, it was obvious that the level of professionalism was beyond compare, and ultimately it produced two amazing performances. And, unlike a lot of the parents, the kids didn't seem to bat an eye at the level of work and professionalism expected of them by their teachers.
The Island-themed show, which opened magically with a slideshow of photos of the Rise students as they rehearsed for the show, was thoroughly engaging from the moment the curtains opened. I sat in the front for the early show so I could see Amelia and all of her friends. In the evening I sat way in the back to get a more overall view, and I was absolutely amazed. It was like watching two different performances. In the first, I saw all the details. But in the second, I saw "the big picture." I saw the dancers as a whole unit as opposed to individuals and it was breathtaking. To look at it from the two distances gave me a huge respect for Jil and Sand's abilities to choreograph something in a small studio that transformed with such incredible results on the larger stage of the PAC. Jil and Sandy and all of the students of Rise should be proud of their accomplishments this year.
The Friends of Edgartown Free Public Library is being revitalized and is currently conducting a membership campaign. The purpose of the organization is to support library programs in a wide variety of ways ranging from volunteering for tasks in the Library to providing modest financial support for special programs, such as English as a Second Language and minor operational expenses. Membership applications are available at the Library.
My sister, Pam, her husband, Phil, and daughter, Evie, recently returned from a cruise to Bermuda, which they enjoyed along with other family members and friends. Pam said the ship was so big and there was so much to do that it seemed like they barely saw one another. They had a wonderful time. It sounds like everyone had a great vacation, which isn't always easy to do when you're vacationing with three generations!
This weekend Islanders also bid a farewell to our friend, Julie Hurley Rollins, who passed away back in December. Although she was not an Oak Bluffs girl, she was part of "The Oak Bluffs Wall", my parents' group of close friends and thus part of my extended family. I grew up in Edgartown, but Pop spent his younger days on the Island in Oak Bluffs. And as far as Buzzy was concerned, well, you can take the girl out of Oak Bluffs but you can't take the Bluffs out of the girl. Her heart never left Oak Bluffs. So we said goodbye to another of our dear friends. And now "JuJu", as mom and several others referred to her, joins the loved ones that are watching out for us - or maybe laughing at us - from above.
I think that's all for now. Have a great 4th of July. Be safe.