(this is the start of a “novel” idea, to document the world of arts and culture in this format. Note that the posts have been about individuals and those posts will continue to happen. This is a way of showing the mosaic when you put some of these stories together. this is a prospective “teaser” introduction” and I would appreciate constructive feedback on it!)
His black leather jacket barely stops the freezing January wind as Tracy Walton crosses Main Street to the Backstage Café. The evening air is electrified by uncertainty and opportunity. His concert at Infinity Music Hall in Norfolk has been cancelled due to weather and he’s waiting on the call back for the rescheduled date. Somewhere in the back of his thoughts is the melody he may use in a song on an album which will bring him back to his hard rock roots. Walton’s heading toward an interview because the word is out that he’s one of five nominees in the New England Music Awards for Best Male Performer, and he’s the only one in that category from Connecticut. As Tracy Walton steps through the doors, five patrons and servers from different locations at Back Stage come to say hello.
Across town, 19 year old Sarah Barrios finds she is also nominated by the New England Music Awards in the category of Best New Act. She worked hard in 2013, playing shows at restaurants and cafes, she met the Governor and earned a coveted concert date at Infinity Music Hall this year. She has history with the veteran performer Tracy Walton, he produced her cover of Lorde’s “Royals”. Barrios is fundraising for an EP she expects to record at Walton’s studio this year. She keeps a level head as her star rises in the Connecticut sky, and she dreams of a recording contract somewhere just beyond the horizon.
There is a different expectation in the works for opera singer Katie Kat as her first child is due February 14th. She practices her singing weekly at Studio 59, a converted church ornately decorated as an 18th century drawing room which is used for European inspired salon performances. It is a venue that is tailor made for her voice and style. Inspired by her pregnancy and the music she cherishes, Kat works on a cohesive collection of lullabies from around the world and there’s a market for it, her friend Charlotte Rossi can’t wait to have the CD sold at Reibmans, her children’s boutique on Main Street.
Keith Paul, the artistic director of the once nomadic Desultory Theatre Club, begins his 2014 in a “permanent” location for his creative vision, the Morrison Hardware building at 63 Water Street. The month is already packed with events and performances. The DTC showcases the alternative culture to the presentations of the established Warner Theatre and Nutmeg Conservatory and there’s a fundraiser in the second weekend in January. Paul hopes in the next six months to work out terms with the team at Create Here Now so that his group can stay in the Morrison building for another year.
Meanwhile the Nutmeg Conservatory begins their season hosting auditions in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Students come from all over the world to attend this venerable renowned institution as it begins their 45th year. The Nutmeg Conservatory is synonymous with beauty for their performances, for the buildings it owns and for the vista it enjoys from the giant glass windows in the main performance studio. The Nutmeg already enjoys global recognition in its field and in the world of arts and culture, the question remains whether it has the full recognition it deserves within its hometown.
The dance troupe called Catapult achieved National prominence from participating in “America’s Got Talent” TV show in 2013 and is on a tour of Germany before they return to Torrington to practice and prepare. The Warner Theatre begins their season with a play, a movie, a Momix dance production, a jazz singer performance, they will host a Smithsonian traveling exhibition and they will pave the way for their production of the musical EVITA they will show in February. At the corner of Water Street and Main, the Five Points Gallery prominently displays the work of Danielle Mailer, an artist who has already made a significant mark on the beauty of Torrington with her art permanently fixed to buildings in town.
Somewhere there’s a hardworking musician getting ready to promote the next performance of his singer/songwriter series. There’s a husband and wife team creating a portal to match performers with paying venues. There’s a dancer waiting for her group to return. There’s a painter from Kentucky who hopes to use art as a means to assist others in their physical healing. There’s an artist who creates sculptured paintings whose computer died and he uses social media to spread his vision to the community.
And somewhere in Torrington, a cartoonist prepares a speech he’ll make to the Rotary Club where he’ll profess the belief that the upcoming years will be the golden age of Arts and Culture in northwest Connecticut. In the act of writing the speech it is seems almost too obvious and clear, as if he was writing a speech about what the weather happened to be that particular afternoon.
A home for actors and authors, poets and painters, singers, dancers and musicians of every variety, Torrington has become the hub of a rich, thriving artistic culture. Soon Torrington will take the world stage and hold its attention for the creative work being forged there today.
And the cartoonist has a ring side seat it all and he’s got a pencil and paper and his eyes open.
Categories: Torrington Stories