Category Archives: Arts and Culture

Danbury Area Irish Kick Off Month-Long Schedule of St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

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DANBURY, CT — Danbury Irish-Americans kick off a month-long St. Patrick’s Day celebration of events beginning on Saturday, March 9, 2019, at 9 a.m. with the New Fairfield Flag Raising.  A St. Patrick’s Day Mass will be celebrated at 9 a.m. at St. Edward the Confessor Church, 21 Brush Hill Road, followed by a march to Town Hall. Ancient Order of Hibernian (AOH) President David Albright, along with New Fairfield’s Peter Hearty and fellow Hibernians, will hoist the Irish flag at Town Hall. Refreshments will be served.

The Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center (GDICC) has two weekends of St. Patrick’s Day events planned to celebrate the holiday:

Friday, March 15, 2019

  • 2JAM Acoustic, 8-11 p.m.: Bill and AJ are back at the Danbury Irish Cultural Center for a night of entertainment including classic rock , oldies, folk , originals and some Irish tunes.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

  • Bethel St. Patrick’s Day Flag Raising, 9 a.m. Grab some friends and a warm woolen sweater and head to the Bethel St. Patrick’s Day flag raising on Saturday, March 16th at 9 a.m. at P.T Barnum Square. Then walk over to the Municipal Center, 1 School Street, to raise another Irish flag and join friends and neighbors inside the Municipal Center for coffee, tea, and refreshments.
  • Danbury Flag Raising, 12 p.m. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the Hat City with local officials, Hibernians, and friends old and new on Saturday, March 16th. First go to Mass at St. Peter’s Church at 11 a.m. and then shuffle on over to the flag raising at the Danbury Town Hall at 12 noon. The GDICC will be opening up at 11 a.m. and serving up delicious, tender corned beef dinners and sandwiches from 12-8 p.m. Thorne Academy of Irish Dance will perform at 1 p.m., followed by a mini seisiun (Irish open music circle) from 3-4:15 p.m.. After that, from 4:15-4:45 p.m., there will be an Irish soda bread making demonstration and another mini sesuin from 4:45-5:30 p.m. Irish music will be playing after that in the pub and in the back room.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

  • Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the GDICC on Sunday, March 17th! The GDICC opens at 9 a.m. and dinners and sandwiches will be served from 12 noon to 7 p.m. or until they are sold out. Ashurst Academy of Irish Dance will be dancing at 2 p.m., followed by Steve O’Tree who will be playing from 2:45-5:30 p.m. Chicks ‘n Sync will perform from 6-9 p.m.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

  • Danbury St. Patrick’s Day Parade, 2 p.m., downtown Danbury. Join locals for the annual Danbury St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 24, 2019. The parade steps off at St. Peter Church on Main Street in Danbury at 2 p.m., and continues up Main Street, turns left on West Street and proceeds up to the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center, 6 Lake Avenue, Danbury where there will be Irish music, food, and dance. The parade includes bands, floats, dancers, and marchers. Go to the GDICC afterward for corned beef sandwiches and other food and desserts, music, drinks and a great time. For more information, email parade co-chairs Kevin Hearty or Wendy Mitchell: kevin.hearty@ncps-k12.org or wendyannmitchell@live.com.

ABOUT THE GDICC

The goals of our organization are the preservation and teaching of Irish heritage and culture for our own enrichment and enjoyment as well as the next generation’s and for all people who are interested in our heritage with a program of teaching, workshops and cultural events. Classes and workshops include Irish Language, Dance, Music, Singing, Drama, Storytelling, Genealogy, Literature, History and Gaelic Sports. Events include Irish language days, concerts, plays, games, lectures, book clubs and monthly seisiúins.

Currently, the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation (GDICF) offers weekly Irish language classes at the beginning and intermediate levels; weekly fiddle and whistle classes at the beginning and intermediate levels; weekly céilí and set dancing classes; monthly seisiún; a 1 day traditional acoustic Irish music festival; and an annual 3 day Irish Festival (the Danbury Irish Festival) with a full program of traditional Irish cultural entertainment.

​Questions? Call (203) 739-0010, email DanburyIrish@gmail.com or visit www.gdicc.org.

 

Bethel Man Preserves Precious Memories Through Film Restoration, Transfers & DVD Creation

 

BETHEL, CT — We all have them laying around the house— old VHS home movies, Sony Handycam home movies, 8 mm film, 16mm film, and more. The evolution of technology has left many of us with our home movies in older formats that we can no longer play. Enter John Robertson, Bethel, Conn. resident, and expert memory preserver.

Robertson is the founder of Create My DVD and has been the sole employee since 2003. He said it’s the personal attention to detail that sets him apart from the big box stores.

“I separate my business from the drop-off Costco and Walgreens stores by giving you personal service, attention to detail and will try to work with you if you’re on a budget.”

Robertson explained that many times old tapes or film can be difficult to transfer and many people don’t have a VCR or other devices to play the recordings in the older formats.

“Sometimes I spend hours on getting you the best transfer possible,” Robertson said. “In fact, if my customers had sent these type of tapes to Costco or Walgreens, the picture and sound quality would have come out awful, if at all.”

Robertson’s clients don’t want to hang onto boxes of films or VHS, but they do want to save their memories on a digital format.

“Our customers love our film transfer service because the final product is usually much better than they were expecting. Such results only come from experience, time and professional film transfer hardware. The professional 8mm to DVD converter was originally designed for use in Hollywood by the Movie Academy Film Archive, and now, Create my DVD uses that same professional film unit to convert your reels,” he shared.

One customer said that Robertson’s work, helping to preserve the memory of her father was “priceless.”

“My father was killed in an accident in 1982 and to me those 10 seconds of him playing with me as a baby are priceless. I can’t believe how clear the film was restored to upon the conversion and how vibrant you made the color.”

Another happy customer said, “My Dad is still talking about how it’s the best gift he has had in a very long time and is genuinely so very happy and thrilled with the gift. I haven’t seen him this happy about a gift EVER! Hats off to you John, you’re the MAN!”

As a married father of four and a local small business owner, Robertson said he hopes that people will support local businesses who take the time needed, pay attention to detail and have the experience necessary to preserve such precious, priceless memories.

For more information, visit CreateMyDvd.com, call (203) 744-4383 or email sales@createmydvd.com.

Photo: World’s Fair 1967, from a client that brought Create My DVD 2,000+ slides for restoration.  John Robertson converted these to digital and corrected the faded color. 

Photo credit: R. Hyncik

Newtown Education Foundation Hosts ‘A Night of Comedy’ at Edmond Town Hall

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NEWTOWN, CT — the Newtown Education Foundation recently announce d anew date for their night of comedy which was originally scheduled for January 19th. The first date was postponed due to the weather and the new date is set for Friday, March 1st.

The evening of laughter and fun will take place at the Edmond Town Hall on Main Street in Newtown. The event features comedian Alexandria McHale and friends. The event takes place on Friday, March 1 from 8:30 PM – 10:00 PM.

Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite and all tickets include free wine, beer, and dessert.  Edmond Town Hall doors will open at 7:30 PM for general seating. The show starts at 8:30 PM.

The pre-show VIP party begins at 6:30 PM in the Alexandria Room, upstairs at the Edmond Town Hall, and includes premier seating for the show. Enjoy a beautiful dinner prepared by Sal E Pepe Restaurant of Newtown that includes wine, beer, and soda.

Learn more and purchase tickets here.

166 Arts Organizations Receive $786K In Grants From Connecticut Arts Endowment Fund

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Mark Chadwick, Flowing Fluid Art, Flickr Creative Commons

 

HARTFORD, CT — The Connecticut Office of the Arts recently announced the 166 Connecticut Arts Endowment grants that were awarded to local nonprofits totaling $786,107.

The Connecticut Arts Endowment Fund (CAEF) was established by the Connecticut State Legislature to stimulate the development of private sector funding resources for Connecticut-based arts organizations and to ensure the long-term stability of these arts groups by providing funding to organizations.
Grant awards are calculated on a formula which compares the number of non-governmental contributions received by the applicant in its two most recently completed fiscal years, rather than the groups asking for a specific grant amount.
Local nonprofits who received the awards are as follows:
Brookfield
  • Brookfield Craft Center, Inc. – $6,488
Danbury
  • Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut – $1,620
  • Danbury Music Centre, Inc. – $1,313
  • Friends of the Ives, Inc. – $500
New Milford
  • Kent Singers – $500
  • TheatreWorks New Milford, Inc. – $500
  • Village Center for the Arts – $969

Ridgefield

  • Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum – $3,927
  • Ridgefield Chorale – $615
  • Ridgefield Playhouse for Movies and the Performing Arts – $6,021
  • Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra – $1,684
  • Ridgefield Workshop for the Performing Arts/Ridgefield Theater Barn – $500

Southbury

  • Arts Escape, Inc. – $875

To see the full list of grant recipients, visit the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s website.

Weston High School’s Theater Club, “Company,” Hosts 4th Annual “Broadway Bound” at Emmanuel Church

BROADWAY BOUND 2019 ADDAMS FAMILYBy Aline Weiller

January 15, 2019 (Weston, CONN.) — Since the 1980s, Weston High School’s theater club, “Company” has wowed audiences with both classic and contemporary shows, dramas and musicals. Emmanuel Church in Weston will host its fourth, annual “Broadway Bound: A Tribute to WHS Company.”

This year’s edition will feature the cast from Company’s spring musical, The Addams Family, preceded by a short program by the Faculty of Weston Music Center. The event will take place on Sunday, February 24 in the Emmanuel Church parish hall, 285 Lyons Plain Rd., Weston, from 4:00 – 5:30 pm. It’s a family-friendly outing with door prizes and a bake sale. Admission is free and the community at large is invited to attend. Donations are welcome.

The Faculty of Weston Music Center will kick off the afternoon with performances by Allen and Genevieve Brings, Adam Grabois, Margarita Nuller, Steve Lewis, and Wei Tan. Allen Brings, Professor Emeritus at Queens College, is both a composer and pianist, and the Vice President of Connecticut Composers, Inc. Genevieve Chinn Brings is also a pianist, who debuted at age 8 with Leopold Stokowski and the NBC Symphony; she has been cited as an Outstanding Connecticut Woman of the Year. Adam Grabois is the cellist of the New York Chamber Soloists and both teaches and performs at Kinhaven Music School. Margarita Nuller is a pianist and graduate of St. Petersburg Conservatory, Russia. She has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician in the New York area and maintains a private studio in Fairfield, CT. Steve Lewis is a Carnegie Melon graduate who also studied piano and conducting at Conservatoire Americaine in France. He taught keyboard and electronic music at West Rocks Middle School in Norwalk for 37 years and has been Emmanuel’s Director of Music since 1978. Wei Tan began her violin studies at age three in Shanghai, and holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music from the Manhattan School of Music. She is an award-winner, co-founder, and Director of the New York International Artists Association.

The group’s selections for “Broadway Bound” include Five Waltzes by Brahms, Minstrel’s Song by Glazunov, songs by George Gershwin, and Cello Sonata in C major by Prokofiev.

WHS Company will perform scenes from the musical comedy, The Addams Family. The play incorporates music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, based on the book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. The characters created by Charles Addams represent an American family with an affinity for all things dark.

WHS Company is a student-run theater organization founded in 1984, and is the high school’s largest club. Their spring show is directed by Liz Morris and co-produced by Beth Lubliner, Patricia Perez Goodrich, and Paul A. Levin. Company will give attendees a glimpse of their full length play, which takes place March 28-31 (all shows at 7:30 pm, except the 3:00 pm Sunday matinee). Tickets will go on sale shortly ($15 adults; $10 students/seniors) via www.whscompany.com or can be purchased at the door.

Broadway Comes to Bethel

From the Bethel High School Theater Boosters:

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Bethel High School is happy to announce that the theater program will be presenting Footloose the Musical March 22, 23, 24th at Bethel High School. The well-known musical based on the movie is expected to be the most successful in school history.

In preparation for the sell out crowds, the town has come together through the BHS Theater Boosters, the Chamber of Commerce and Bethel Arts to promote the event and local businesses with shopping and restaurant specials. Ticket holders can enjoy the vast array of businesses in a town well known for its great restaurants, shopping, and support of the arts. It’s Broadway in Bethel!

It’s one weekend only – March 22, 23, 24. Tickets: $15 General, $12 Students/Seniors.

Tickets for Footloose and more info on Broadway in Bethel available online at www.bhstheaterboosters.com

#Danbury #CTKids Invited to Children’s Musical Theater Open House This Saturday, Feb. 9th

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DANBURY, CT— Award-winning theater instructor Wendy Mitchell will lead children in a fun, educational, cultural theater program this spring in Danbury. Local children ages 3-10 are welcome to come to meet the instructors and check out the class this Saturday. Wendy’s classes won TownVibe’s “Best of” award in 2017 for best music and art classes for kids.

Wendy’s theater classes are run through the GDICF Theatre Troupe, based out of the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center, 6 Lake Ave., Danbury. Children ages 3-10 years old, along with their parents, are invited to come to the Open House on Saturday, Feb. 9th from 10-11:30 a.m. at the club, 6 Lake Ave., Danbury.

The Open House includes free face painting with Miss Angie of Poprox Productions, theater games, snacks, and FUN. Plays are written and directed by Wendy Mitchell, a theater instructor with over 20 years of teaching experience. Miss Wendy studied Child Development at Post University and has her Head Teacher Certification in Early Childhood Education through the state of Connecticut. Her love of kids is apparent in the energy and excitement she brings to each of her events.

Shows are co-directed by Angie DeLorenzo. Miss Angie studied drama and poetry at Keble College at the University of Oxford in the U.K. She received her B.A. in English Literature from Arizona State University, has over eight years of experience working with children in educational and recreational settings and is a talented face painter as well. Her drama experience includes theatrical performances in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Hairspray, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, The Pirates of Penzance and more.

The spring session of theater classes runs from Saturday,. Feb. 16 – Saturday, Apr. 13 from 10-11:30 a.m. each Saturday. Classes are geared towards younger kids age 3-8 with youth ages 8-10 serving as mentors and leaders for the younger ones. This is a low-pressure, high fun class and each session teaches kids to give back to the community at the show by donating toys, food, clothing and more for those in need. All skill levels are welcome.

R.S.V.P. to Wendy Mitchell by calling or texting (203) 501-7424, or by emailing wendyannmitchell@live.com.

For more information, photos and videos, visit the GDICF Theatre Troupe‘s Facebook page.

About GDICF Children’s Theater TroupeGDICF Youth Theatre Troupe provides quality educational musical theater classes for children and youth ages 3-12-years-old. From cultural music & movement classes, to educational shows that bring people of all ages a positive message through the art of theater, the GDICF Theater Troupe teaches youth self-confidence, team building and community service while learning music and theater skills. The interactive shows include humor, song, dance and a whole lot of fun!

Get Your Tickets to Fun: ‘Ho-Ho-Holy Night’ Theater Show is Sat., Nov. 3

DANBURY, CT — Break out your ugly Christmas sweaters and get ready to enjoy an entertaining night of theater, trivia, games and fun on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at Rogers Park Middle School, Danbury, Conn., that will have you ho-ho-ho-ing your way right into the holiday season!​

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The show is sponsored by Jowdy-Kane Funeral Home​, Catoonah St., Ridgefield, St. Peter School, Danbury and McCollam Insurance, Inc. in Bethel.
The Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation is proud to present Christmas Bingo: It’s a Ho-Ho-Holy Night, an interactive, hilarious comedy about a Catholic parish that needs money and a new bingo fundraising program that is staffed by one of the funniest women in the parish— Mrs. Mary Margaret O’Brien.

Vicki Quade, creator of the smash hit Late Nite Catechism, invites you to get into the Christmas spirit with her entertaining new show Christmas Bingo: It’s a Ho-Ho-Holy Night. Brush up on your Yuletide trivia, because with this uniquely interactive show, you’ll be playing for actual prizes. Bingo caller Mrs. Mary Margaret O’Brien will have you in stitches as she tackles the wackiest myths and most outrageous facts about Christmas, including jolly old St. Nick’s origins and where candy canes come from.

This comedic theatrical production is presented by Nuns 4 Fun, a Chicago-based theater company, in conjunction with the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation, a 501 (c) 3. Tickets are $30 and a portion of the proceeds goes to support the philanthropic and cultural work that the GDICF does in the Greater Danbury area.

Tickets may be purchased online on Eventbrite– https://www.eventbrite.com/e/its-a-ho-ho-holy-night-tickets-50933449318, or with a credit card or in person by cash or check at the door on the night of the show, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018.

The play will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) at Rogers Park Middle School, Danbury, Conn. To purchase tickets online go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/its-a-ho-ho-holy-night-tickets-50933449318.

Questions? Email Katie Gehan at kilclogher1@aol.com or call the club at (203) 739-0010.

Review from Chicago Reader:
“Vicki Quade has made a career out of Catholic comedy (Late Night Catechism, Bible Bingo), and she’s in top form here as Mrs. Mary Margaret O’Brien, a former nun who now heads up the archdiocese’s new bingo fund-raising department. Wearing an appropriately kitschy “Happiness Is Playing Bingo” T-shirt, Quade nonetheless plays her character as the sort of stern taskmaster remembered and perhaps beloved by Catholic audience members, quick to send disobedient bingo players—this includes you—to stand with their noses to the chalkboard. Or donate a dollar to the church’s pagan-baby fund. Quade delivers little-known Christmas facts with an effective deadpan, bingo helps keep the audience engaged, and the comical throwback prizes include Bing Crosby records and, for the Jewish set, a little Barbra Streisand.” —Marissa Oberlander

About the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation:
The Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation (GDICF) offers weekly Irish language classes at the beginning and intermediate levels; weekly fiddle and whistle classes at the beginning and intermediate levels; weekly céilí and set dancing classes; monthly seisiún; a 1-day traditional acoustic Irish music festival; and an annual 3-day Irish Festival (the Danbury Irish Festival) with a full program of traditional Irish cultural entertainment. The dance group supports numerous céilís around the New York and CT area.

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons

Children’s Theater Holiday Show; Kids Age 3-12 Invited to Register

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DANBURY, CT — Reindeer and elves, and fairies, oh my! A local theater troupe is preparing young thespians for an awesome, educational theater class especially geared towards kids ages 3 – 12. The Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation’s Children’s Theater Troupe (GDICF Theater) is presenting a 7-week theater program for local kids that culminates with a full-scale production to benefit local charities.

Classes run on Saturday mornings, Oct. 13 – Dec. 8, 2018, from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center, 6 Lake Ave., Danbury, CT. The session is taught by Mrs. Wendy Mitchell and Ms. Angelina DeLorenzo. “Miss Wendy” studied Child Development at Post University, has been teaching for 20+ years and has her Head Teacher Certification in Early Childhood Education through the State of Connecticut. She is the founder and Executive Director of the award-winning nonprofit Sandy Hook Arts Center for Kids (SHACK) and the Ridgefield Arts and Nature School, named best theater classes for 2017 by Ridgefield Town Vibe Magazine.

“Miss Angie” studied drama and poetry at Keble College at the University of Oxford in the U.K. She received her BA in English Literature from Arizona State University. She has over eight years of experience working with children in educational and recreational settings and is a talented face painter as well. Angie’s drama experience includes theatrical performances in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Hairspray, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, The Pirates of Penzance and more.

The GDICF Theater Troupe focuses on team building, boosting self-confidence and encouraging each child’s individual skills and talents no matter what their age or skill level. Wendy Mitchell has written, directed and produced over a dozen plays and strives to give each child she teaches a sense of pride in their skills and accomplishments.

The theater troupe does a benefit for every show to teach the kids to give back to the community through their performance. This session is a benefit for the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. On the day of the show, the theater troupe will collect gifts for Family & Children’s Aid of Danbury to help foster kids have holiday holidays. There will also be a food drive for the Danbury area’s soup kitchens to benefit the homeless and those in need.

Parents can learn more by visiting the registration site on Eventbrite. To view photos and videos of past productions, visit the GDICF Theater Troupe’s Facebook page by clicking here.

Questions? Contact wendyannmitchell@live.com or call (203) 501-7424.

 

‘Ho-Ho-Holy Night,’ Show Promises Laughs; Tickets On Sale Now

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DANBURY, CT — The Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation is proud to present Christmas Bingo: It’s a Ho-Ho-Holy Night, an interactive, hilarious comedy about a Catholic parish that needs money and a new bingo fundraising program that is staffed by one of the funniest women in the parish— Mrs. Mary Margaret O’Brien.

Break out your ugly Christmas sweater and enjoy an entertaining night of theater, trivia, games and fun on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at Rogers Park Middle School, Danbury, Conn., that will have you ho-ho-ho-ing your way right into the holiday season!

Vicki Quade, creator of the smash hit Late Nite Catechism, invites you to get into the Christmas spirit with her entertaining new show Christmas Bingo: It’s a Ho-Ho-Holy Night. Brush up on your Yuletide trivia, because with this uniquely interactive show, you’ll be playing for actual prizes. Bingo caller Mrs. Mary Margaret O’Brien will have you in stitches as she tackles the wackiest myths and most outrageous facts about Christmas, including jolly old St. Nick’s origins and where candy canes come from.

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This comedic theatrical production is presented by Nuns 4 Fun, a Chicago-based theater company, in conjunction with the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation, a 501 (c) 3. Tickets are $30 and a portion of the proceeds goes to support the philanthropic and cultural work that the GDICF does in the Greater Danbury area.
Tickets may be purchased online on Eventbrite– https://www.eventbrite.com/e/its-a-ho-ho-holy-night-tickets-50933449318, or with a credit card or in person by cash or check (without the credit card processing fee) at the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center, 6 Lake. Ave., Danbury, CT during normal business hours, 7 days a week, 4-11 p.m.

The play will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) at Rogers Park Middle School, Danbury, Conn. To purchase tickets online go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/its-a-ho-ho-holy-night-tickets-50933449318

Questions? Email Katie Gehan at kilclogher1@aol.com or call the club at (203) 739-0010.

Review from Chicago Reader:
“Vicki Quade has made a career out of Catholic comedy (Late Night Catechism, Bible Bingo), and she’s in top form here as Mrs. Mary Margaret O’Brien, a former nun who now heads up the archdiocese’s new bingo fund-raising department. Wearing an appropriately kitschy “Happiness Is Playing Bingo” T-shirt, Quade nonetheless plays her character as the sort of stern taskmaster remembered and perhaps beloved by Catholic audience members, quick to send disobedient bingo players—this includes you—to stand with their noses to the chalkboard. Or donate a dollar to the church’s pagan-baby fund. Quade delivers little-known Christmas facts with an effective deadpan, bingo helps keep the audience engaged, and the comical throwback prizes include Bing Crosby records and, for the Jewish set, a little Barbra Streisand.” —Marissa Oberlander

About the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation:
The Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation (GDICF) offers weekly Irish language classes at the beginning and intermediate levels; weekly fiddle and whistle classes at the beginning and intermediate levels; weekly céilí and set dancing classes; monthly seisiún; a 1-day traditional acoustic Irish music festival; and an annual 3-day Irish Festival (the Danbury Irish Festival) with a full program of traditional Irish cultural entertainment. The dance group supports numerous céilís around the New York and CT area.