Jun 292017
 

Independence Day 2017 is almost upon us and you are thinking about driving into Boston to sit on the Esplanade for the festivities. Or taking the train into Boston. Or taking the bus into Boston. And then the long ride home again. So many people; takes forever. Hmmm. Maybe this year you will sit it out? Wait, we have a very patriotic alternative. Do the 4th in style in Salem!!!

“There’s no better place to celebrate Independence Day than in historic Salem,” proclaims Mayor Kimberley Driscoll. Our July 4th Independence Day celebration takes place at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site on Derby Wharf.

We have our own connections to the beginnings of our nation. Besides all that we are known for in history, Salem is also the birthplace of the National Guard and the Salem Common itself was the site of the first muster in 1637 and continues to host the annual National Guard muster to this day.

Driscoll points out that “This year we are very excited to once again have a flyover by the 104th Fighter Wing from Barnes Air National Guard Unit.” That Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, located in Westfield, Massachusetts, proudly claims the honor of being one of the oldest flying units within the Commonwealth.

“As the birthplace of the National Guard, it is especially meaningful for Salem to have a flyover by the 104th,” explains Mayor Driscoll.

The Day’s Events

Driscoll outline’s the events of the day, “Start off bright and early at Salem Common for the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence, spend the day visiting the City’s numerous historic sites and attractions, dine at one of dozens of remarkable restaurants, and end your day at historic Derby Wharf for all of the festivities.”

Plus, there will be numerous on site food tents selling hot dogs, French fries, fried dough, kettle corn, and other fair favorites.

But, there’s more

There will be free children’s activities beginning at 5pm. with the opening of the Kids’ Space, where kids can play games, win prizes and get their faces painted. Also, stop by the MAGIC 106.7 tent for a chance to win great station prizes and get your picture taken with Garrot the Parrot from Canobie Lake Park! And don’t forget to pick up your free samples of Perfectly Free bite-sized non-dairy frozen treats too!

What about live entertainment? It all begins also at 5pm. This year Annie Brobst, who has been voted the 2016 & 2017 New England Country Music Award’s Female Artist of the Year, will be performing today’s country hits with her band on main stage.

Opening Ceremonies begin at 7:15pm when Mayor Driscoll and other local dignitaries will lead a parade down the wharf accompanied by the Salem Veterans Honor Guard and Salem Boy Scout troops. The National Anthem will be sung by members of the Salem High School’s a capella group Witch Pitch?.

Immediately following opening ceremonies Maestro Dirk Hillyer and the Hillyer Festival Orchestra (HFO) will take center stage and perform a program packed with Broadway show tunes and patriotic music featuring soprano Jacyn Tremblay and tenor Thomas Smoker.

This year, also plan to be entertained and amazed by a violin concerto to be performed by Emily Gasparyan, a 14-year old violinist who has won numerous violin competitions and has played with symphony orchestras around the globe.

For intermission entertainment, we also have some talented musicians from Salem’s Collins Middle School.

At 9:15pm, Salem ends its Independence Day celebration with a fireworks extravaganza, accompanied live by the Hillyer Festival Orchestra playing the 1812 Overture and other patriotic tunes throughout the entire fireworks display.

It is a rousing end to a day when we all come together to promote what is great about America.

“I’d also like to express a special thank you to our Skyrocket Sponsors: Footprint Power – Salem Harbor Station, Salem Five and Tropical Products, along with our Star-Spangled Sponsors: Aggregate Industries, Tache Real Estate, Market Basket, Eastern Bank, and KV Associates, and new this year, Thermal Circuits,” concludes Mayor Driscoll. “This event does not happen without their and many others support.”

Support is the key word. We are having a big birthday bash for the USA on July 4th here in Salem. Join us at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site on Derby Wharf.

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May 092017
 

Express yourself artists of the North Shore! There is an open invitation from the 2017 Salem Arts Festival to local visual artists: “submit your work for the juried gallery at Old Town Hall” during the 9th annual festival that takes place this year, June 2-4.

Artists may submit up to 3 pieces; at least two of which must be for sale. Dates/times for drop off at Old Town Hall (32 Derby Sq.) will be May 26 from 5-8pm and May 27 from 9am-noon. Applicants will be informed of jury decisions by Sunday morning, and works not accepted must be picked up by Sunday evening or Monday afternoon.

Hung artwork may not exceed 36″ in any direction (including frame) and must be wired to hang – no sawtooth hangers. Larger artwork must have an easel or a stand. While installations are welcome, be mindful that Salem’s historic spaces come with some limitations.

You have time, but not a lot as the juried gallery will be selected by an on-site review process to be held the weekend before the festival, May 26-29.

This special exhibit is to be judged and juried for prizes by a panel comprised of individuals from the Salem arts community and beyond.

Over 5,000 people regularly attend the family-friendly Salem Arts Festival, transforming downtown Salem, MA into an opportunity for the arts community to showcase a wide range of talents: painting, photography, sculpture, dance, music, writing, film, new media, performance, theatre, poetry, and more!

The Salem Arts Festival is organized by Salem Main Streets and a collaboration of Salem organizations which provide support for the festival, including the City of Salem, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem Arts Association, and Creative Salem. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Salem Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

For full details of requirements and regulations, please see the admission form at http://salemartsfestival.com/juried-gallery/.

For any other Salem Arts Festival-related information, please see www.salemartsfestival.com or contact Kylie Sullivan at kylie@salemmainstreets.org or (978)744-0004 (x115).

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Apr 232017
 

Poetry is a bouquet, and just as a bouquet of flowers may be filled with colors, shapes, and scents, so to is a poem a blend of words, rhythms, and sounds. This will be evident May 5-7th when the 9th annual Massachusetts Poetry Festival welcomes many of America’s most admired poets to a celebration of Massachusetts’ lively contemporary poetry scene in historic downtown Salem, MA

The Mass Poetry Festival offers nearly 100 poetry readings and workshops, a small press and literary fair, panels, poetry slams, and open-air readings. Panel topics range broadly from The State of Poetry, poetry and gender, poetry and aging, book publishing, and children’s poetry.

Of special note, on Friday, May 5, MPF will host a “Student Day of Poetry” in which 300 high school students from across the Commonwealth study with acclaimed poets and instructors to discover their own unique voice.

Throughout the weekend, you are also invited to absorb the thoughts and expressions of acclaimed poets such as: Pulitzer-prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate Louise Glück, Guggenheim fellow Eileen Myles, Kazim Ali, Andrea Cohen, Cornelius Eady and Rough Magic, Ross Gay, Rigoberto González, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Emily Pettit, Tom Sleigh, and Dara Wier.

For a full breakdown of the schedule go to the MPF site.

As example of the diversity:

Friday from 1:15- 2:15pm at Old Town Hall (second floor) 32 Derby Square, a relatively new genre of music known as Post Rock will be combined with poetry and in so doing create “Post Rock Poetry.” Grounded in 1980’s and 90’s indie rock music, it is primarily instrumental, guitar, base, drums, and keyboard, with few lyrics. Typically, post rock pieces are lengthy and may contain, “… repetitive build ups of timbre, dynamics and texture.” (Wikipedia, 9/11/2016.) Because Post Rock seldom has lyrics, it lends itself to the creation of Post Rock Poetry that can explore the quest for a peace, understanding, and rising above hostilities and misfortune. In short, it rings with hope.

Then Friday evening, two of the finest poets writing today— the award-winning Ross Gay and Aimee Nezhukumatathil— will present from 7:30–9 p.m. in the Atrium of the Peabody Essex Museum.

Saturday afternoon will feature a musical performance by Cornelius Eady and his band Rough Magic, blending poetry and music at the Peabody Essex Museum. Headline poets Andrea Cohen, Tom Sleigh, Kazim Ali, and Rigoberto González will read throughout the day at the Peabody Essex Museum, celebrating the diversity and common threads among us all.

Saturday evening will feature award-winning poet and novelist Eileen Myles, 7:30–9 p.m. at The Bridge at 211. After her reading, she will be interviewed by WBUR’s celebrated host Christopher Lydon. Eileen Myles demonstrates the extraordinary possibilities of poetry to reveal the personal and political experiences of American life.

Venues

  • Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex Street
  • Hawthorne Hotel, 18 Washington Square
  • Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square
  • Museum Place Mall, 1 E India Square Mall, New Liberty Charter School, Rooms 1-4 (on second floor)
  • The Bridge at 211 (Universalist Unitarian Church), 211 Bridge St
  • Howling Wolf, 76 Lafayette Street

From the beginning, the goals of Mass Poetry have been to “support poets and poetry in Massachusetts, to build new audiences for poetry, and to make poetry more accessible for those who need it most—often those who have the least access to it.” By bringing it to the streets and venues in Salem Ma, accessible to residents and visitors, the poetic bouquet of words, rhythms, and sounds can be enjoyed by so many more. You are invited to be among them.

Admission is $20, and $7 for students & seniors; an additional $10 service fee is charged for all workshops.

For additional info on The Massachusetts Poetry Festival, contact January Gill O’Neil at january@masspoetry.org.

(Photo courtesy of Creative Salem)

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Dec 192016
 

Dressed for the season with trees, wreaths, and ribbons, Salem is ready for the Holiday Season. In fact, over 20 downtown businesses have decorated their windows especially for the holidays as part of our traditional Holiday Window Contest. Judges nominated by Salem Main Streets recently did a little window shopping of their own to vote on the best windows.

“We had some truly fantastic windows this year, as always,” said Kylie Sullivan, Salem Main Streets Executive Director. “We gave the judges extra freedom to create new award categories based on what they saw this particular year.”

Some award categories highlight good retail design – use of product or use of light – while others highlighted types of participation or partnerships.

For example, the Contest Legacy award was given to businesses who have demonstrated high quality windows across consecutive years, while the Contest Newcomer recognized businesses with high quality displays who have not regularly participated in the contest.

And, the new Salem Spirit award recognized those who exemplified the true spirit of community in the design of their windows.

Without further ado, here are the winners:

Best Overall: The Happy Sunflower

Best Use of Product: Curtsy
Honorable Mention –  Partridge in the Bear Tree

Best Use of Lighting: Emporium 32
Honorable Mention – Hair Express

Contest Legacy (demonstrating high quality year after year): ReFind Men’s
Honorable Mention – Pamplemousse

Contest Newcomer: Aroma Sanctum
Honorable Mention – Witch Pix

Salem Spirit: The Coven’s Cottage, nAGLY

If you haven’t looked at the windows yet, we recommend going this week, especially during Festive Fridays, when numerous businesses around the downtown have committed to staying open until 8 pm to aid in your holiday shopping. More information about Festive Fridays and participating businesses can be found at this location.

In addition, this year, you get a chance to win! Salem Main Streets is holding two social media competitions on Facebook and Instagram right now.  Post a picture of your favorite #salemholidaywindows, or take a #selfiewithashopkeeper on Festive Friday nights, and you could win a prize from a local business.

For more information about the Holiday Window Contest, contact Kylie Sullivan, Salem Main Streets Executive Director, at (978)744-0004 or kylie@salemmainstreets.org,  and follow Salem Main Streets on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Oct 062016
 

Part performance, part competition, part learning experience and a whole lot of musical entertainment, this Saturday, Salem residents and visitors will be treated to the first annual Haunted Harmonies A Cappella Festival.

Haunted Harmonies is a NEW one-day a cappella festival in Salem, MA built to educate high school and collegiate students on various elements of contemporary a cappella (group or solo singing without instrumental accompaniment) and enhance Salem’s Haunted Happenings celebration.

acappellaThrough workshops and exposure to professional musicians, students will gain skills to improve their musicality and knowledge of a cappella. Students will also provide family-friendly entertainment to the community while experiencing high-level performance opportunities in competition and exhibition on the streets of Salem during the Haunted Harmonies festival and throughout the month of October.

Inspired by the growing enthusiasm for a cappella performance, Haunted Harmonies was created by Alex Grover, Music Director of Danvers High School & former director of Salem High School’s a cappella group WitchPitch?, and Tina Jordan, Director of the Salem Witch Museum.

Jordan explains, “The audience is in for a wonderful musical experience.  Whether watching the competition at the Fountain Stage, hearing the Scholastic and Non-Scholastic groups perform at the four other stages on Essex Street, or attending the Professional Showcase in the acoustically amazing Murray Hall at the Bridge at 211 featuring Vox One, the award-winning a cappella jazz quintet that combines elements of blues, funk, gospel, and folk into their own brand of vocal music, the audience will have an opportunity to participate in something special.”

The Scholastic Competition will include:

  • S#arp Attitude from UMass Amherst,
  • Fermata Nowhere from UMass Lowell,
  • Unisons from Northeastern University,
  • Tonal Recall from Colleges of the Fenway,
  • 4Gotten Suitcase from Ramapo College,
  • Upper Structure from Berklee College of Music,
  • the ArgoNotes from Maspeth High School, and
  • Acapocalypse from Emmanuel College in Boston,
  • Saugus Sachimes from Saugus High School, and
  • Ingrid Sound from Danvers High School. 

The competition will be opened and hosted by Phoenix, a Boston-based, all female a cappella group.

Jordan continues, “What I love about the design of the festival is that the groups will learn from experts in the a cappella world, Phoenix A Cappella and Berklee College of Music & Women’s A Cappella Association, and will be able to take those lessons and apply them as they perform on the streets of Salem with a Haunted Happenings twist!

Because this festival happens so early in the school year, I think it will also help the individual a cappella groups become more connected, as some have incoming freshmen as new members of their groups and this experience will help them build their relationship with each other.”

The Scholastic Competition will be held on the Fountain Stage on Essex Street from 10am – 12pm and is free to the public. Each of the ten groups will perform and be adjudicated by a panel of professional a cappella performers and professors from Berklee College of Music and the Women’s A Cappella Association.

In the afternoon there will be street singing by non-scholastic performance groups from 1-4pm.  A cappella fans can see their favorite scholastic performers again during their Street Singing showcase from 4-5:30pm.  There will be five performance locations on Essex Street between Liberty Street and Washington Street.

The Pro Showcase featuring Vox One and the winners of the scholastic competition will be held in Murray Hall at 211 Bridge at 7pm. Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended; tickets are $8.00 in advance, $10.00 at the door.

For complete information on Haunted Harmonies, visit HauntedHarmonies.com.

The a cappella festival is part of a month of musical programming on the Fountain Stage organized by Salem Gathering, and will coincide with this weekend’s Haunted Biz Baz Street Fair, which is produced by the Salem Chamber of Commerce. For complete information on the month-long Salem Haunted Happenings festival, visit HauntedHappenings.org.

Jordan concludes, “I think this festival will be a wonderful experience for the high school and colleges that will participate, but the real winners will be the visitors and residents who come out to enjoy the music and talent of these wonderful scholastic and non-scholastic performers.”

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