Lexingtonians Visit Antony, France

By Laurie Atwater

Two years ago we had so much fun meeting our sister-city visitors from Antony, France here in Lexington.  It was such a rewarding experience!  When we heard that a group of Lexingtonians were planning to go again for the 25th anniversary of the Antony’s Wine & Cheese Faire, we really wanted to make it happen.  Running a small business does lend itself to much vacation time, but we adjusted our schedule and headed off to France for a whirlwind visit that was extraordinaire!

Antony is a suburb outside Paris with roots going back to the medieval ages.  It lies just seven miles outside the city and is accessible by the RER (France equivalent of the commuter rail here in Boston connecting the city with the suburbs). Just before we leave, we run into Bud Frawley at the Post Office in Lexington center and we discover that Bud and Shirley are on the same flight! Phew, they help us find the RER and get into Antony.

Bud and Shirley have a long history with our sister-city.  In 1996, they made a trip to Antony, stayed with Antonians and biked in the Loire Valley. The informal relationship continued when a group of Antonians visited Lexington for an autumn foliage tour.

I am told that the official relationship between Lexington and Antony began as an academic exchange and was organized by Karen Girondel who was a French teacher in the Lexington middle schools. When Madame Girondel moved to the high school she brought the program with her. Every year for the past 20 years between 15 and 20 Lexington High School students have participated in the French Exchange program with our sister school, Lycee Descartes in Antony.

In 1998, Antony extended an official invitation to Lexington to attend the 1999 Antony Wine & Cheese Festival when Antonians would dedicate a monument in Antony to be called the Place de Lexington.  A large contingent of Lexingtonians traveled to Antony for this very special occasion including a group of re-enactors from the Lexington Minute Man Company.  Shirley and Bud Frawley have such fond memories of that visit when the Minute Men marched in the Antony parade and actually shot off their muskets much to the surprise of the locals!

In 2008, two Lexingtonians, John Patrick of the Lexington tourism committee and Anthony Galaitsis a member of the Lexington Antony Sister City Association traveled to Antony to once again reinvigorate the relationship. They met with Antony Mayor Jean-Yvesnant and Adjoint-Mayor Marie-Louise Marlet as well as many members of Antony civic government to organize events for 2009 and 2010.

Over forty Lexingtonians visited Antony in 2009 and after a long year of fundraising, Lexington was able to provide a festive trip for forty Antony visitors for the 2010 Patriots Day parade and a week of activities, meals and hospitality with little expense to them. It was during that 2010 visit that Jim and I came to really appreciate the richness of the sister-city relationship.  The Antony contingent attended the Lexington Symphony April 19th concert as guests of Elsa Sullivan and the Lexington Symphony performed the Marseillaise in their honor.

Lexington organizations continue their outreach to Antony. Fred Johnson, President of the Lexington Symphony and several symphony supporters including Elsa Sullivan, Christina and George Gamota and Sandy Gasbarro were also on this recent trip. Fred had a special mission in mind. He was able to meet with Isabelle Rolland, Adjunct Mayor for Culture, Xavier Roy, Cultural Services Aide, Guy Borderieux, Director of the Antony Conservatory of Music and Anny Leon, Deputy Mayor for Associations to discuss a possible exchange program between Lexington Symphony musicians and Antony musicians.

Fred was more than thrilled with the outcome of the meeting. Antony has no orchestra comparable to ours,he said. “We agreed that it would be best to explore a collaboration of modest scale at first” perhaps 6-8 players from each town to make up a chamber group of 12-16. The musicians might be hosted in each others homes during their visits. In the past there have been exchanges between artists and artisans in Lexington and Antony; musicians would add a new and exciting dimension to the exchange.

This most recent trip to Antony celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Antony Wine and Cheese Fair.  A small group of Lexingtonians made the trip. John Patrick who also serves on the Lexington Tourism Committee helped to coordinate the trip and did a great job pulling it all together.  Tony Galaitsis and his wife Kitty continued their warm relationship with the group as did Kerry and Jan Brandin, Sylvie Desaveines and Kevin McGuire and Bill and Maureen Poole to name a few.

Antony’s wine and cheese fair is a well-organized marriage between business and tourism that really works for the city. People come from all around to enjoy the city center, sample the most delicious wines and cheeses and have fun.

On our first full day in Antony, Bud and Shirley Frawley kindly offer to escort us up from the wine and cheese festival to the Place de Lexington where we find the monument to the Lexington/Antony sister city relationship. Located in the middle of a busy thoroughfare, the obelisk is surrounded by gorgeous plantings and flanked by a park and bicycle path.  As we are enjoying the view I detect a rumbling beneath my feet and Bud laughs as he explains that the train is actually underneath our feet!

It was a gorgeous day (uncharacteristically hot for autumn) and the wine and cheese festival was in full swing. Huge speakers broadcast the conversations of a roving master of ceremonies with a wireless mike.  Of course he stopped to interview Mrs. Elsa Sullivan who was definitely the Grand Dame of the fair! Elsa, a Francophile of the first order once again made the trip (I don’t know exactly what number trip this was, but it;s been more than a few for Elsa) and she took it all in with the vigor of someone half her age! She is truly an inspiration.

The festival takes over Antony’s old city which is distinguished by cobblestone streets and crowned by a beautiful church. The charm of the entire affair cannot be oversold vintners sampling wine, huge rounds of aromatic cheese piled high, customers tasting, buying and strolling about with their children enjoying the weather it was a perfect day!  At one point we were called over by a young mom watching her two daughters.  She had heard us speaking English and just wanted to chat. Originally from Britain, she married a Frenchman and now resides just outside of Antony. She told us how much she loves living in the area and how much her girls love the schools.  Along the way we watch a chef prepare a delicious topping for toasty rounds of buttery French bread, lunch at a Lebanese restaurant and finally wind up at the most perfect gallery for coffee.

After the hummus and lamb luncheon, we make our way with Sandy Gasbarro, Fred Johnson and Antony city council member Anny Leon, to her friends studio and gallery where she hospitably brews coffee and treats us to chocolate. We are surrounded by huge canvasses of wild horses, generous breasts and round bottoms!  It’s all so so French!  As it turns out, the art studio is also a music studio!  Downstairs after hours it’s an impromptu jazz club.  Anny’s artist friend is also a musician and Anny is a huge jazz fan. We descend the steps and Fred Johnson sits down at the keyboard and begins to tickle the ivories!  Who knew?  It seems France brings out the inner artiste in us all and we learn that Fred paid his way through college playing the piano!

Antony pulled out the stops the next night when we enjoyed the company of sister-city mayors honored visitors from Collegno, Italy. Collegno and Antony were celebrating 50 years as sister cities! Antony is twinned with 10 cities throughout the world. The mayor from Reinickendorf, Germany was also in attendance and we all joined together for a wonderful dinner and exchange of gifts.

At our table we were pleased to share dinner with several Antony residents as well as a colorful couple from Collegno who were professional ballroom dancers!  Antony Mayor Jean-Yvesnant and Deputy Mayor Marie Louise Marlet extended the friendship and the hospitality of Antony in spectacular fashion.  I sat beside Armelle Cottenceau, an Antony official who came to dinner equipped with a French/English dictionary. We had a delightful time as she tolerated my poor French and we looked up words in the dictionary. Just a small indication of how much the Antony people are willing to go out of their way to welcome you and have a good time.

Immediately following the dinner Antony lit up the night with fireworks and music to celebrate Wine and Cheese Festival.  It was a spectacular night summery and clear. Residents of Antony were out in force including throngs of young people mixing in and enjoying the festivities.

The lasting impressions we have of Antony, will stay with us always, but most striking is the open and welcoming nature of the people. Approaching our final day, one of the Antony’s incredible volunteers, Helene Hua heard that we wanted to go into Paris to do a little sightseeing.  She and her friend Evelyn Tricot offered to escort us in to Paris on the RER and help us to navigate the Metro so that we can see the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triumph and walk the Champs-Elysees!  Helene and Evelyn rearranged their day so that they could help us out!  This is the hospitality and friendship that makes the sister-city relationship so special.

With these two women to navigate the Paris Metro, we didn’t miss a thing!  Helene even took us to her favorite rooftop where we could practically reach out and touch the Paris Opera House.  We dodged the gypsies at the Eiffel Tower, went to the top of the Arc de Triumph and even had time for a quick sandwich on the Champs Elysees!  Oh, and a little shopping too!  As we rode down the escalator from the roof at Printemps, we couldn’t believe it when we saw a whole display of goods bearing the name LEXINGTON!  From hats to pillows, the brand used Lexington to define a kind of rustic American style.

All of that and we still made it back to the hotel in Antony just in time to pick up our luggage and head into the airport.  We were exhausted, but it was well worth it.  That final day with two irrepressible women made our trip complete!

If you would like to become a part of the Lexington/Antony Sister City Association visit http://ci.lexington.ma.us/Selectmen/antonysistercity.cfm. The next visit to Lexington is scheduled for 2013.

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Community Conversation Sparks Great Ideas

By Laurie Atwater |    I would say it was very successful in view of the level of enthusiasm of the attendees. They seemed to feel comfortable expressing their personal opinions even though they might have been sitting with people whom they did not know. In reading the feedback from each table it is clear that while there are many issues people talked about, there were some overriding themes which continued to be mentioned at almost every table. I found that both surprising and striking.  Nancy Adler, League member and event organizer


I felt like the event was a huge success and was really impressed not only with the diversity of the participants in terms of age and background, but also with the caliber of the ideas that were generated. My perception of life in Lexington has been driven in large part by my own experiences and by my interactions with people my own age. Hearing from the others at my table gave me fascinating new perspectives on living in Lexington.  Noah Kaufman, TM Member, Precinct 8

We were very pleased with the turnout. We had an almost full-capacity crowd and people from different age groups and interests participated. Our table facilitators were a diverse group as well, including two high school juniors, town staff, a member of the clergy, and a variety of other Lexington residents. Pam Hoffman, event organizer


The wonderful thing about the Community Conversation is that it brought to everyone’s attention that many people have been feeling the need to create more of a sense of community. The purpose of a community center is to increase the sense of community, so the conversation gave us a lot of information that will help us in our work.  Laura Hussong, Chair of the Community Center Task Force


It was a true community happening; the event brought together volunteers across many organizations in Lexington as well as participants from town groups including the Town Manager Carl Valente, Senior Services Director Charlotte Rogers, Recreation Director Karen Simmons, Selectmen Norm Cohen, Hank Manz, George Burnell and Peter Kelley, Planning Board Chairman Wendy Manz, 20/20 Chair and assistant to the town manager Candy McLaughlin, School Committee members Jessie Steigerwald and Margaret Coppe, Town Meeting Members Association chair Nancy Ronchetti and many more. It was great to see such an outpouring of support for community by community members.

So was it attended by the usual suspects you know, the core group that typically attends these events? Well, yes and no. We are happy to say that those tremendous citizens did turn out, and they are typically 40 plus, but there were also some new faces and some young faces. In fact I ran into Brenda Prusak who attended the event a couple of days later and she was delighted to see “an entirely different group of people than I usually see.”

Brenda group was facilitated by Noah Kaufman, Jay Kaufman’s son, a member of town meeting from Precinct 8 and a young attorney with Foley Hoag LLP. Noah was joined by several other young Lexingtonians David Atkins and Adam Hoffman who are both students at LHS. It was good to see these young people getting involved!

Event co-organizer and League member Peg Enders was thrilled with the turnout and the cooperative spirit that developed while planning the forum, “Every one of the volunteers worked really well together,” she said.

Indeed the event had a great vibe. The room was bright and colorful and the greeters were warm and personable. It was very well organized. From the color coded tables (the brainchild of Pat Romeo Gilbert) to the coffee and snacks (organized by Susan LaPointe and donated in part by the Minuteman High School Culinary Arts Department), the evening facilitated by Town Moderator Deborah Brown, went off without a hitch and maintained a civil and friendly atmosphere throughout just as the organizers hoped it would.

There were over a hundred attendees randomly assigned to working groups of about ten at a table. The goal: address two questions: 1) How can our community be more helpful and supportive to me? 2) How can I become more engaged in our community?

Peg Bradley of the Lexington league of Women Voters opened the session inviting participants to “imagine and dream a little about what could be.” After opening remarks the groups got down to work and the room began to buzz with conversation. Each table was staffed with a facilitator and a scribe. Scribes kept track of the comments and were charged with reporting out to the larger group at the end of thirty minutes.

At the break I chatted with Meredith Applegate, a young mother and co-president of LexFUN. Getting out in the evening for a community event is not easy for her as a mom of two young kids. Meredith wouldn’t have made it if her husband hadn’t been available to watch the kids. As an active participant in LexFUN, Meredith has concerns about meeting space in town. Though the group meets at Cary Library they have no central place to store their materials.

Deb Rourke, lifelong Lexington resident and former LEF co-president says, “It’s nice to be in a room with so many who care about the town. There’s lots of people here that I don’t know! It’s really any example of what makes Lexington special. Lots of people come out because they feel a responsibility to make the community even better.”

At another table high school student David Atkins comments: “Kids can do more, but were not often asked.” He says he “enjoys politics” and is “interested in getting more involved in the community.” (see page 45 for a short interview with David).

It needs to be said that none of the results from this event can be statistically projected as a valid representation of the feelings or concerns of the entire population of Lexington; the sample was not controlled for age, ethnicity, or income. However, each table was comprised of random groups which cut down on agenda-driven discussions and encouraged a mix within the whole. So, though it was not a scientific study, it is instructive to use these opportunities to direct further research and study down the road. Responses have been recorded and will be supplied to town committees and agencies.

So lets delve into some of the details. From Tai Chi on the Green to block parties, the suggestions ran the gamut for creating ways for people to connect. Here’s a sampling.

One common theme was the need for an intergenerational gathering space:

“A community center that includes a senior center, but not limited to seniors.”

“A community center for seniors and teens—pool tables, ping-pong, foosball. Used to be on at the Hancock Church.”

Another consistent thread was the need for better community-wide communication:

“Develop consistent two-way communications between high school and town.”

“Make police kiosk by CVS a community bulletin board.”

“Better communication about town services/events. A better website and central resource site.”

People also addressed concerns about traffic and transportation:

“Transportation: more locations for LexPress, more busses.

“Improved infrastructure so that transportation is more available to people who need it.

And then there were the simple ideas to increase opportunities for people to socialize:

“More community-wide events (like) Halloween and Discovery Day”

“If everyone went home and organized a block party, it would change one sense of community.”

“More playgrounds.”

“Neighborhood potluck dinner.”

Many of the frequently discussed issues in town also arose: the limited selection of businesses in the center and the resulting lack of vibrancy was noted which I found interesting when coupled with the observation that the most successful community-wide events cited were Discover Day and Halloween which are both conducted downtown and sponsored by the Lexington Retailers Association. People love to be in the center and appreciate the efforts of the center businesses.

So, there you have it. Many of your neighbors turned out to talk about the community. Do you have ideas? At the very least maybe it would be worth it to reach out to a neighbor, introduce yourself to someone new, join a club or check out one of the great activities sponsored by LexFUN (see page 29), the Historical Society (see page 35) or the Lexington Symphony (see page 17) to name a few organizations and activities in town.

From my perspective the big takeaway of the evening was a sense of disconnection and isolation people are longing for a deeper connections within their lives and with the greater community and there is great frustration about how to find it. Whether a high school student in the bubble of LHS, a new parent, an empty nester, a senior citizen or from a different cultural background, all expressed a need to know more about what is going on in town, have more opportunities to participate and meet new people, find more informal ways to socialize with neighbors and more ways to create connection in their lives through their evolving life stages. How can we make that a little easier in Lexington? Maybe we can start by adopting some of these simple suggestions from the forum: Be more neighborly. Help people who are having a hard time. Care.

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Pistols and Petticoats

Above is an example of a family donation being archived by the Lexington Historical Society. Betty (Currier) Barclay passed away in July. She was a lifelong resident of Lexington. Her family opened the first store and filling station (pictured above) at Countryside in East Lexington. Her photos and documents were donated to the Historical Society and will be stored in a “family box.”

By Jeri Zeder

In 1735, Captain Joseph Bowman of Lexington, Massachusetts, was assessed taxes on the following: two orchards, one slave,four oxen, eight cows, two horses, ten sheep, and one pig.

That’s according to the meticulously hand-written pages made by Captain Bowman’s contemporaries 276 years ago. Made delicate by time,these documents rest within archival boxes, catalogued, shelved, and preserved in a climate-controlled vault at Cary Hall. There, they await “eternal life” in the form of digital scanning, along with tens of thousands of other pages that document Lexington history.

Down the road, at the freshly renovated Munroe Tavern, is a blue-striped, British army-issue wool blanket left behind by retreating redcoats fleeing the April battles of 1775. The Lexington Historical Society claims that it is one of only a handful of such blankets extant in the U.S. None have been found in England. This rare object is now carefully catalogued, researchable, and available for viewing in a glass exhibit case at the Tavern.

Over at Cary Memorial Library, four rooms are dedicated to local history resources: genealogy records, books from the colonial and revolutionary war period, collections containing the history of other towns and states, and the celebrated Worthen Collection (mid-19th to mid-20th centuries), now fully catalogued and cross-indexed, with portions of it digitally available at the Library’s website. The treasures of Lexington’s history – needlework samplers, petticoats, pistols, and goblets; 18th century letters, deeds, and sermons; ledgers of female voters and of soldiers who fought in the Civil War; historic maps, etchings, ticket stubs, photographs, books, and more – are held primarily by three public-spirited groups: the Town of Lexington, the Lexington Historical Society, and Cary Memorial Library. In recent years, these institutions have stepped up their archiving and curating activities, thanks to grants from the Community Preservation Act, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, and elsewhere. Today, more than ever before, anyone who’s interested can discover and see these items by looking online, making a phone call, or paying a visit to Lexington.Digitizing, both ongoing and planned,will make these collection seven more accessible.

Case in point: The Edwin B. Worthen Virtual Exhibit.After five years of planning, work, and a $20,000 grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the virtual exhibit finally went live on the Library’s website in early September. Almost immediately, the Library began receiving inquiries. “The reference desk got a call from a guy in Texas who had found the virtual exhibit online and looked through it and said, ‘I’m going to be traveling next month to visit my parents. I’d like to stop in,’ ” says Linda Carroll, the Library’s local history librarian. Now that the Worthen Collection is digitally searchable, it can be used for tracing genealogies,or exploring the development of neighborhoods, or for anything else that researchers dream up. “I hope it will be used to its fullest potential,” says Carroll.

Preservation efforts at Town Hall are aimed at saving and restoring materials that date as far back as the 1600s, and opening them up to the world on the Internet. “It is our heritage. We have to preserve it,” says Nasrin Rohani, the Town’s part-time archivist. The work is largely funded by CPA funds, about $600,000 over the past four years. The more that gets preserved, indexed, and digitized, the richer the record becomes. “As we continue with this project, the information we gather and preserve becomes more and more meaningful,” says Town Clerk Donna Hooper.

For countless hours over the past several years, Elaine Doran, the Archivist and Collections Manager at the Lexington Historical Society, has been moving item by item through the Society’s collections of 12,000 documents, books, papers, and objects stored at the Hancock-Clarke House. She has been cataloging them into searchable databases, triaging their conservation and preservation, and fielding inquiries from researchers. Some of the collections will be available through the Internet, but, unlike the Library and the Town Hall, the Historical Society is a private organization, with significant portions of its collections restricted by copyright or the wishes of donors. But, even though much of the developing databases will be off-line, they still will be a boon to researchers, who can take advantage of them by calling or visiting the Society. The Society is currently seeking funding for the conservation and digitization of about 600 documents. “We own these things, but they are our town’s history,” says Doran. “If we don’t preserve them, everyone loses.”Among the researchers who will be poking through these collections for the first time in their newly preserved formats are the students of Lexington High School teacher Matt Gardner. In his course, “Honors Field Research,” students write research papers on local history using the resources at Town Hall, Cary Memorial Library, the Lexington Historical Society, and at special private collections around town. The course is the brainchild of LHS teacher Richard Kollen, who developed it and taught it for many years before he retired. Gardner resurrected the course last year. Students write on such topics as the Follen Church Society, the history of Five Fields, and the rivalry between the East and Center Villages. Their completed papers are available for reading at the Library. “Community support for this class is so high,” says Gardner. “We are fortunate that these resources are so close to the High School.”

So close to the High School, and so close to us all.


Jeri Zeder lives in Lexington’s historic East Village.

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Victorian Obsessions Cary Friends Lecture Series

 By Jane Whitehead    |    Why are Victorian novels so long? Why do the works of Charles Dickens still enthrall us, over 140 years after his death? What’s the connection between a rare Amazonian water lily, a great northern English estate, and London’s Great Exhibition in 1851?

These and many other questions will be answered in a richly-illustrated lecture series on Charles Dickens and Victorian Society, given by 19th century scholar, author and editor Tatiana Holway, of Winchester. Sponsored by the Friends of Cary Memorial Library, the lectures will take place in the Lower Level Meeting Room at 7:00 p.m. on October 11, October 18, November 1 and November 8.

Holway’s fascination with the Victorians started when she was studying for her PhD at Columbia University, she said in a recent telephone interview.

Her publications on Dickens include a 2005 Barnes and Noble Classics edition of Bleak House, with a new introduction and notes, and she has become the go-to Dickens expert for PBS. Her commentaries accompanying recent Masterpiece Theater productions, including Little Dorrit and The Old Curiosity Shop, can be seen on the PBS website, at www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece.

The Victorian era, said Holway, was a time of “continuing, enormous change,” and Victorian novels are in many ways “a kind of index of the scale and rapidity of change.” They’re also great stories, she said, and we still relate to them “because so much of what we think of as modern is in many ways Victorian.”

Holway’s first lecture will bring to life the cultural, social and economic world that gave rise to Vanity Fair, David Copperfield, Middlemarch, and so many other hefty 19th century novels that remain popular today. Her second will focus on Charles Dickens himself, on how his contemporaries saw him, and ways in which his life and art still resonate with us today.

The bud is closed during the day. In the late afternoon a pinapple-like perfume signals the appearance of the magnificent blossom.

The two November lectures will give a behind-the-scenes look at Holway’s adventures in English historical archives, while researching her latest book, slated for publication by Oxford University Press in Fall 2012. The story, she said, is the “crazy but true” tale of the discovery of a huge Amazonian water lily in British Guiana, in 1837, and how it inspired the landscape gardener and architect Joseph Paxton to design what was then the world’s largest building, the Crystal Palace.

Paxton, the head gardener at Chatsworth, the Duke of Devonshire’s estate in Derbyshire, received a cutting of the Victoria Regia water lily in the year of its discovery. In spite of the chilly climate in England’s mountainous northern Peak District, he succeeded in propagating the plant in a heated pool, and within three months its leaves were almost 12 feet wide. A contemporary print shows his little daughter Annie sitting on one of the vast leaves.

All Victoria amazonicas are night blooming. Their leaves can stretch to seven feet and look like giant skillets.

Too large to fit into any existing greenhouse, the giant plant gave Paxton the idea for a new design of conservatory, using a combination of radiating ribs connected with flexible cross-ribs. His experiments in glass-house design at Chatsworth were the foundation for the Crystal Palace, the vast cast-iron and glass construction he designed to house London’s Great Exhibition in 1851. “Nature was the engineer,” he said of this pioneering building.

Holway followed the trail of the water lily and the architect to Chatsworth and Kew Gardens, shivering in cold, drafty libraries, puzzling out connections between explorers and noblemen, between the Victorian craze for botany and new methods of industrial production. Cary Library audiences will be among the first to hear some of her surprising discoveries.


Friends of Cary Memorial Library, Inc. is a non-profit dedicated to supplementing and enhancing library services. The Friends act as advocates for the library and its users, and belong to a state-wide Friends library service organization lobbying government for support, i.e. MFOL (Massachusetts Friends Of Libraries)


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Symphony Launches New Season

Pictured after the concert at the home of Christina and George Gamota at a reception for members of the Lexington Symphony Concert Fund Partners.

The 2011/2012 season of the Lexington Symphony began on Saturday, September 17th with a magnificent presentation of the works of Claude Debussy and Gustav Holst. As usual, the orchestra rose to the challenge of these intricate and robust symphonic masterpieces. The evening’s performance began with three movements from Debussy’s Nocturnes (1897-1899). The movements were exciting and engaging. The three movements — Nuages, Fêtes and Sirènes — showcased the orchestra’s ability to switch from slow and melodic to powerful and energetic. Every ounce of Music Director Jonathan McFee’s energy could be felt as he conducted his orchestra to full capacity. From the violins, violas and cellos in the string sections, and the piccolos, flutes and oboes in the in the wind section, to the powerful sounds of the brass and percussion, the Lexington Symphony was nothing short of spectacular. Similarly, The Symphony’s presentation of Gustav Holst’s 7-movement orchestral suite “The Planets” was flawless. Both pieces featured the voices of the New World Chorale.

To learn more about the Lexington Symphony, please visit there website at www.lexingtonsymphony.org.


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Cary Memorial Library Presents Dr. Nick Trout, Author of Ever by My Side

Dr. Nick Trout

Cary Memorial Library Presents Dr. Nick Trout, Author of Ever by My Side

Thursday, October 13, at 7:00 p.m. in the Large Meeting Room

Dr. Trout, who has been described as the “modern day James Herriot” is a staff surgeon at Angell Animal Medical Center.  He has shared his experiences in the world of veterinary medicine in two previous bestselling books, Love Is the Best Medicine and Tell Me Where It Hurts.

In his new book, Ever by My Side, Dr. Trout turns the lens inward to offer a funny, moving, and intimate look at the profound lessons he has learned from the pets in his own life.   Dr. Trout has been described as a wonderful speaker whose stories portray the power of animals to offer a lifetime of consolation, guidance, and abiding affection.

Nick Trout graduated from veterinary school at the University of Cambridge in 1989. He is a Diplomate of the American and European Colleges of Veterinary Surgeons.  In addition to his popular books, Dr. Trout is also a contributing columnist for The Bark, a magazine for doglovers, and Prevention magazine.  For more information about Dr Trout and his books, go to http://www.drnicktrout.com/

This is one event you won’t want to miss!  Space is limited, so come early to get a  great seat!

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The Work and Collections of Marjorie and Joseph Weerts

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Partners for ACCESS hosts From Uganda With Love

Dr Janice Levine and Dr Robert Kalyesubula.

October 22nd at 8:00 pm and will be a gala evening of food, music, games and prizes. The Lexington Depot.

“It’s amazing what can happen when you open your mind and lead with your heart.  The universe, in gratitude, rewards you with possibilities you never could have conceived.”


Those words of wisdom come from Lexington Psychologist Janice Levine. Wisdom that grew from a unique experience she had at last year’s Connecting for Change (C4C) event sponsored by the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education as a part of the Vancouver Peace Summit.

Connecting for Change (C4C) was a three-day gathering of business, social sector, and philanthropic leaders to learn from each other about how they could create cross-sector collaborations to address pressing issues around the world. Representing MedWish International, Dr Levine was attending C4C on what she calls a “hunch”.


Her hunch paid off. At one of the C4C sessions, she met a doctor from Uganda, Robert Kalyesubula who was completing a Nephrology Fellowship at Yale Medical School, and learned about his efforts to develop a community based medical center that offered treatment to people living with HIV-AIDS, orphans, and vulnerable individuals in the Nakaseke District where he grew up.


An orphan himself, Dr. Kalyesubula devoted his life to giving back to the community that supported him, and was eager to connect with others who could help him find ways to develop their resources. If you’re familiar with MedWish International, you can understand why this pairing could be a fruitful one. MedWish donates medical supplies to individuals and organizations dedicated to providing care that directly lessens the burden of suffering people in under served areas.


Dr. Levine was so impressed with the inspiring work that Dr. Kalyesubula (known to his friends as “Dr. Robert”) had done to grow his community and enhance the lives of children and adults alike, that she decided to work with Dr. Robert to help grow the ACCESS program. When she returned to Boston, she convened a Board of professional physicians, health care workers, attorneys and students to help procure and send medical supplies to Nakaseke, and provide a range of resources needed to develop a fully sustainable community center.”


Through Dr Levine and Dr Kalyesubula’s C4C encounter, MedWish put together a container of donated medical supplies to be sent to Uganda. From here another “C4Cer”, Mary Tidlund, applied to the project what Dr Levine calls “her Midas touch” and arranged for the container to be shipped to the East African country. “Eighty-one villages and up to 40,000 people will benefit from the supplies,” she says.


The whole C4C experience has given Dr Levine a new concept of the prerequisites for change. “I know now that it’s not about credentials or qualifications,” she says. “But rather about daring to dream and putting faith in the possible.”

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The Myth of a Post Racial America

By Laurie Atwater  |     Here in Lexington we are lucky to have the opportunity to live among great thinkers and to have them invite their friends to town! That’s why the Cary Lecture Series will be hosting a Gwen Ifill and Mark Warren on the same stage this week. It turns out that they were students together in Springfield, Massachusetts along with Bob Halperin who is a Cary Lecture committee member and director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. It’s a great opportunity for this trio to reunite and for Lexingtonians to hear Warren and Ifill speak on The Myth of a Post Racial America.

Gwen Ifill is the best-selling author of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. She is moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and senior correspondent for The PBS NewsHour.

 Mark Warren is a sociologist at Harvard and has spent his career studying and writing about social justice and the revitalization of American democratic and community life. He is the author of Fire in the Heart: How White Activists Embrace Racial Justice and Dry Bones Rattling: Community Building to Revitalize American Democracy.

 I talked to Professor Warren right after the abysmal poverty rates were released showing that black Americans have been very hard hit by this recession with black poverty at almost three times that of white families and almost fifty percent of all black children growing up in poverty.

 “That’s an unbelievable figure,” he states as we talk by phone. “All Americans are being hard-hit by what’s going on with the economy, but the problem of black poverty and black unemployment points to persistent racial inequality,” he says.

 What interests him and what he has spent a lot of time studying is the intersection between whites and blacks and the ways in which they can work together across the color line and social class on issues of social justice.

 “The problem of black poverty or black unemployment is not just a problem for black America,” he says. “It’s a problem our whole society. We are not going to be a strong society when 50 percent of black children grow up in poverty. There’s lots of different ways that this is important for white people. Too often I think white people approach this from a “helping” perspective: helping black people. But it’s in our own-self interest to have a well-educated and productive work force in this country.”

 In his work, Warren has interviewed many white people from different walks of life who have become involved in issues around racial inequality. Most of them had a seminal experience that shaped their thoughts and feelings about racial injustice. From dramatic stories right out of the sixties to the more subtle observations of young people today, his book illustrates the ways in which white people can be shaken out of complacency and into action by events or people.

 Relationships are key. “Understanding and caring come, at least in part through relationships,” he states. “That’s why I think the community level is so important for this work. We need more places [for people to interact], so this is a tough message. Our segregation reinforces our differences. Personal relationships can be powerful; this is a profound way that people come to understand the world and the experiences of people of color.”

 I ask Warren how people can take steps in their own lives to become involved. “There are types of ways that we can try to connect to each other’s lives. Faith communities are often interested in bringing people together across different faith traditions and communities.”

 Does he think that there is an “empathy deficit” in the country right now. He responds: “When times are tough as they are right now,” Warren says, “people tend to hunker down and take care of their own; stop worrying about other people because they feel under threat. But we can also understand that we’re all in this together and we need to find resources together. This is an economic issue, but it’s also a moral issue. What kind of society do we want to live in; all of us together, not just black people? It’s a long-term issue. Doing the kind of research I do, I don’t have an answer for this, and in a way that’s not surprising since it’s been going on for three hundred years!” he says.

 Does he see fatigue among middle class whites who may live among middle class black families and feel that everything is just fine with black America; especially since we have a black President?

 “Well, we have made progress,” he says and that’s important to acknowledge. We should recognize this and ask ourselves what profound things still remain in our society. We did change in the sixties and seventies. We had a social movement that galvanized the conscience of people all across the country; not just African Americans. It was during that era that there was a lot of progress in education and affirmative action and many of the successful black people are younger beneficiaries of those struggles, including Obama. But there’s enough information out there about how difficult things are right now, so it’s a little self-serving to think that it’s all behind us.”

 How might a person attending his lecture get involved; what would he recommend? “Try to work within a group or institution where you’re already involved: your church, your school, or another organization that you care about. Working within your own circle of influence and with your own relationships is important. Find other like-minded people.”

 In his work he had discovered that white people can’t do this alone. “You really have to form groups not to isolate yourselves, but to have the support and encouragement of a community and to hopefully find ways to reach across racial lines so we can work on some of the issues we are trying to get at in our larger society. What does a community look like where people know how to work together and respect each other? That’s what we want for our larger society. That may mean taking a step outside your comfort zone,” he says.

 I comment that stepping into a multi- racial group can be stressful for many who are simply afraid that they will say the wrong thing or inadvertently offend someone. “This is a hard one,” Warren says. “We all have been raised in a racist society and often segregated societies and it’s not surprising at all that we may have beliefs that reflect our backgrounds. We don’t want to defend that, but on the other hand we don’t want to be crippled by it. A woman I interviewed had a great way of putting it; she said “a lot of white people are afraid of making the same mistake once!” Despite difficulties, Warren says “Most of the white people I’ve interviewed for my book really want these different types of relationships “they value these experiences in their lives.”

 On an upbeat note, Warren does a lot of work with colleges students. “Students today are more concerned about their economic future than they were a few years ago,” he explains. “So many students are very concerned about issues of injustice around race and poverty.” Warren serves on the board of the Phillips Brooks House Association at Harvard, a student-run organization for social justice. “We have eighteen hundred members,” he says proudly.

Read more about Mark Warrens research and books at www.mark-warren.com.

 The second Cary Lecture of the 2011-12 season The Myth of a Post Racial America will take place on Saturday, October 22, at 8 p.m. at Cary Hall, 1605 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington. Both authors will have books available for purchase at the lecture.

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Volley For Molly


Third Annual “Volley for Molly” Tournament to raise money for Ovarian Cancer

Ovations for the Cure of Ovarian Cancer, a national organization dedicated to research, patient support programs and raising awareness of ovarian cancer, has rejoined forces for a third year with Lexington High School for “Volley for Molly,” a high school volleyball tournament fundraiser during September in memory of their former student, Molly Eisenberg. Molly passed away in October 2009 from ovarian cancer at age 19, although her spirit lives on through this event.

Volley for Molly is 4-9:30 p.m. Friday; Sept. 30, 2011 at the Ralph Lord Gymnasium at Lexington High School, 251 Waltham St., Lexington, MA. Tickets are $5 for students and $8 for adults. Tickets can also be purchased at the door on the night of the event. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information please visit www.ovationsforthecure.org or www.volleyformolly.org.

In 2009 and in recognition of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, Lexington High School hosted Volley for Molly in honor of their friend and star player Molly Eisenberg. Led by her previous volleyball coach, Jane Bergin, who remains volleyball coach at the school, this event raised almost $15,000 for ovarian cancer research, awareness and patient programs. Molly was able to view that first event, which drew more than 1,000 people, through a live internet feed. In 2010, a year after Molly passed away, the event raised an overwhelming $24,000.

Molly’s story is both tragic and inspiring. One week into college, Molly was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Though she had numerous surgeries and chemotherapy treatments, she lost her courageous battle on October 21, 2009. In her online guestbook found at www.ovationsforthecureorg, former Massachusetts state representative Stephen Doran describes a loss felt by many:

“The world lost a most extraordinary young woman today,” Doran said. “Molly died the way she lived, with spirit and energy and humor and grace, and in so doing, taught us many important lessons about life, about family and friends, about community and caring, about sports and sportsmanship, about giving, and caring, and sharing, and about the importance of looking out for one another. And about never giving up. She has left a permanent legacy.

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