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Sunday, November 19 News

Community Buzz: A successful Scarecrow Fest, Chess anybody?..

Rather than scaring people away, the first Scarecrow Fest organized by the Young Women’s League of New Canaan and the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce was a resounding success.

Sixty-six scarecrows were submitted by local families and businesses, decorating the village starting in mid-October.

The scarecrows were judged Oct. 29 with three taking home prizes:

Best Business: The Linen Shop

Best New Canaan Pride: The Daniels family

Best Family: The O’Neill family

Proceeds from the purchase of scarecrow kits and the Fall Into New Canaan event in September will benefit Meals on Wheels and the YWL giving fund. In total, $10,000 was raised.

On Oct. 21, 58 students gathered in Norwalk for the 37th Annual National Educational Chess Association (NCEA) Tournament. All age levels were present from kindergarten through eighth grade.

Fifth-grader Dominic Hartmann, from St. Aloysius School in New Canaan, took home a trophy for 6th place in the elementary category.

Hartmann started playing chess when he was 5 years old.

St. Aloysius School, established in 1956, is a co-educational Catholic elementary school serving kindergarten through eighth grade.

Take a magic carpet ride to a whole new world.

Saxe Middle School presents the fall fifth- and sixth-grade musical, Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.”

Performances — Friday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. — will take place in the new Saxe Middle School Theater.

Under the direction and choreography of Lauren Nicole Sherwood, along with Joe Gergle, the musical director, and Matt Blank, the stage manager and assistant director, audiences will sing and dance to the Academy Award-winning score by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, with classic songs like “A Whole New World” and “Friend Like Me.”

The plot revolves around Princess Jasmine and the pressure she has on her to choose a husband. The magic Genie shows Aladdin how a “Friend Like Me” can help him win the love of Princess Jasmine as the “Arabian Nights” pass. This musical journey, based on the classic Disney movie, will take you on a magic carpet ride of delight and adventure.

More than 90 students have dedicated three afternoons per week to practice their singing, dancing and line memorization. Students also volunteered as stage crew, under the direction of Anthony Medaglia, and have been working tirelessly to transform the new middle school theater into Agrabah — a city of mystery and enchantment.

Tickets may be purchased online at saxeptc.org or in person one hour before each performance.

Possible links of harmful algal blooms to Lou Gehrig’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease are portrayed in a film screening at the New Canaan Country School auditorium at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Narrated by Harrison Ford, “Toxic Puzzle — Hunt for the Hidden Killer” portrays the efforts of the Brain Chemistry Labs (BCL) in Jackson, Wyo., to find and fight environmental triggers for neurodegenerative illness like ALS.

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The Brain Chemistry Labs found that one toxin produced in cyanobacterial blooms may be linked to a puzzling Alzheimer’s-like disease on the island of Guam. The film also follows the discovery of a new drug candidate, a naturally-occurring amino acid called L-serine.

Brain Chemistry Labs Director Paul Cox will be available after the screening to answer questions.

Seating is limited, so reply to RSVPToxicPuzzle@gmail.com to hold a place.

The Summer Theatre of New Canaan will hold a special benefit concert — The Great American Songbook — on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the KARL Chevrolet showroom in New Canaan.

The theater company is turning KARL Chevrolet’s showroom on Elm Street into a theater for the evening and will feature its summer stars from past musicals. For the past seven years, KARL Chevrolet has been a sponsor of the Summer Theatre.

The evening will include the classic hit songs from America’s legendary composers including Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington, Lerner and Loewe, Rodgers and Hammerstein and more.

Summer Theatre stars performing include New Canaan residents Kate Simone (Legally Blonde, Big River) and Allison Gray (Sound of Music, Camelot), Westport’s Chris DeRosa (Joseph), New York City resident Daniel Klein (South Pacific), Weston’s Jodi Stevens (Singin’ in the Rain, Legally Blonde, Hairspray) and Norwalk’s Richard Weidlich (Camelot, The Music Man).

The evening begins at 7:30 p.m. with a pre-concert reception including drinks and dessert, followed by the concert at 8 p.m. A live auction at intermission will offer hard-to-get Broadway tickets and backstage tours, among other items.

Proceeds go to support the company’s award-winning education programs and their TYA (theatre for a young audience) school touring program.

For tickets, visit the STONC.org or call 203-966-4634.

The Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut, which serves children in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan, is seeking additional volunteers for its Youth, Empowerment, & Support Mentoring Program.

The YES Mentoring Program supports children, ages 6 to 18, who are involved in System of Care in Stamford and Norwalk. CGC’s System of Care program helps families access integrated services to meet complex needs and safely maintain children at home.

Through YES, youth will have the opportunity to interact and participate in fun, age-appropriate activities with a positive role model. While the mentor is spending quality time with the child/teen, parents will have some time to themselves.

Each YES session lasts 12 weeks, and youth will meet with their mentor for three hours a week. Every mentor will complete thorough interview, orientation, and background checks. The mentor and family will work together to develop a convenient schedule of enjoyable activities for the child.

To learn more about the YES Mentoring Program or to volunteer, contact Sheila Figueroa at sheila.figueroa@childguidancect.org or 203-517-3346.

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