Oak Bluffs: NAACP M.V., Rotary Club, music events, and M.V. Family Center

—MV Times

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”  –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The NAACP Martha’s Vineyard branch announces new officers sworn in on Jan. 4. Congratulations to new President Toni Kauffman, First Vice President Rita Brown, Second Vice President Russell Ashton, and Secretary Alex Palmer. Along with their executive committee, the branch invites you to join them for their annual Martin Luther King Jr. membership drive on Monday, Jan. 16, from 1 to 3 pm via Zoom. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Ala Stanford, who was appointed to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services by President Biden in April 2022. You can register for this event on the Facebook page for NAACP Martha’s Vineyard, or at eventbrite.com. Your $44 ticket provides you with a one-year membership, and supports the mission of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Locally, the NAACP M.V. branch supports the community by offering student scholarships, and by sponsoring events to promote and celebrate equality and volunteerism throughout the island.

The Rotary Club of Martha’s Vineyard is holding an informational membership meeting on Jan. 18 at the P.A. Club, 12 to 1 pm. Rotary is an international organization that focuses on service in the community. Our Rotary Club raises money for student scholarships, to sponsor exchange programs, and to meet the needs of island families and other service organizations. They meet every Wednesday for lunch at the P.A. Club, and usually have guest speakers from the community and beyond. To find out more about joining them, RSVP by Jan. 13 to Leon Convery at leoncmvy@gmail.com, or to Tom Rosenthal at tgrosenthal@gmail.com.

If you know me, you know I love live music. I especially love live, local music. We are so incredibly lucky to have so much musical talent right here on our Island. We have talented music teachers doing amazing things with our kids in the schools. We have first-class talent playing almost every night of the week in the bars and clubs. Last Saturday’s Chilmark Potluck Jam had over 25 musicians on the roster!

February will bring the annual and always stellar high school musical (“Chicago” this year!). Right before Christmas, I attended (and was blown away by) the Jazz concert at the high school, featuring the incredible jazz band joined by community musicians like Jeremy Berlin, Rose Guerin, Darby Patterson, and the Jelly Roll Horns. Looking forward to the next one!

The Island Community Chorus has started rehearsals for its Spring show in April. They rehearse every Monday at 7 pm at the Trinity Methodist Church in the Campground. If you would like more information about joining the chorus, email them at islandchorus@gmail.com.

Island favorite Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish have a busy schedule, but they are always giving their time for community events also. You can catch them this Friday at the P.A. Club at 8 pm. On Jan. 20, they’ll be raising the roof at the Loft to benefit the Charter School. This show starts at 6:30, and will feature Barbara Puciul and Buck Shank joining the band. On Jan. 27, they will be playing the other Loft, over in America in West Yarmouth, from 8 to 11 pm. I think it’s very nice of them to give the poor people who don’t live on M.V. a chance to experience the best blues band around.

This Saturday, January 14, you have a chance to see the Peace Ensemble, featuring the incredible Stan Strickland on saxophone. This four-member group plays a blend of popular music and soulful original compositions. The concert starts at 3:30 at the West Tisbury library.

On Sunday, Jan. 15, there will be a benefit concert for Navigator Homes of Martha’s Vineyard, a nonprofit raising funds to build a new nursing home to replace Windemere. This violin and cello concert of Bach compositions, played on instruments of the period, is at the Federated Church at 3 pm, $25 at the door.

The M.V. Family Center schedule is full of fun winter activities for families and young children, including Stroller Skate at the Ice Arena and Swim with Me at the YMCA. Baby’s First Year at the Family Center, on Thursday mornings, is a great way to connect with other new parents, often with guest speakers. They also offer a “Parents’ Night Out” once a month, giving parents a lovely dinner to enjoy at the beautiful Slough Farm farmhouse in Katama. These programs are free, thanks to grants from the state Department of Early Education and Care, and the Children’s Trust. Check out details on the Facebook page for the M.V. Family Center, or email mvfamilycenter@gmail.com.

A belated happy birthday goes to David Thomas and “Good Soles” Naina Williams, who celebrated on Jan. 10. Birthday hugs to Kim D’Arcy on Jan. 12. Jan. 14 will be a big day for Jenna Lambert, as she celebrates turning 30! Shout-out to Joe Diodati and Lianne deBettencourt on the 14th also. One of my heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was born on Jan. 15 — and I’m proud to say, so was I! Other Jan. 15 birthdays include two people dear to my heart: Hazel McCracken and Debbie Whitney — happy birthday! James Murray celebrates on Jan. 16, and on the 17th, island rock star Buck Shank shares the day with Michelle Obama, Benjamin Franklin, and the late Betty White. Nice company, Buck — have a great day!

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If you have any Oak Bluffs Town Column suggestions, email Joanne Lambert, joannelamber@gmail.com.