NEWPORT’S 375TH – City to celebrate with dancing, music, parade
Newport 375th Anniversary Celebration Committee co-chairman Steve Waluk answers a question during a meeting sponsored by the Alliance for a Livable Newport on Thursday at the Newport Public Library. Committee members Lynn Ceglie, left, and Jennifer Hanson also fielded questions and suggestions. http://www.newport375.com
Newport Daily News – Friday January 24, 2014 Page 1. – Dave Hansen | Staff photographer – By Sean Flynn – Staff writer
The Island Moving Co. dance troupe will perform to the locally composed “Newport Colonial Suite” at Rogers High School on March 5 and at the Rosecliff mansion on March 7, two of many events planned this year in celebration of the 375th anniversary of Newport’s founding.
“Island Moving Co. has made this bigger than I ever expected,” Lynn Ceglie, a member of the city’s 375th Anniversary Celebration Committee, said. “The performances are going to be amazing and the music is absolutely beautiful.”
Ceglie spoke during a forum Thursday night that unveiled planned activities for the coming year. The Alliance for a Livable Newport, a neighborhood advocacy group, sponsored the forum at the Newport Public Library.
Members of the audience suggested even more events, such as one celebrating Newport’s maritime trading history, or another with Navy involvement, or yet another on the founding of the Old Colony & Newport Railroad in the city 150 years ago this year.
“We haven’t been a boring town for the past 375 years; we have almost too many options,” said former Mayor Stephen C. Waluk, who co-chairs the anniversary committee with former Mayor John J. Trifero.
Plans that have started out as seeds in past committee meetings have blossomed quickly, though, such as the contemporary ballet performance of the “Newport Colonial Suite,” which was composed by Alan Bernstein, supervisor of the arts in Newport’s public schools.
Through the choice of instruments, Bernstein evokes different settings in Newport in three different movements. In one, the piece reminds the listener of the wind, the sound of sails and the busyness of a vibrant Newport Harbor. In another, he represents the sounds of the White Horse Tavern with a violin reel. A plot of land called “God’s Little Acre” in the Common Burying Ground inspires the third movement.
The Newport Public Education Foundation donated money to make the performances by Island Moving Co., under the leadership of artistic director Miki Ohlsen, possible, Ceglie said. The performance at the high school will be free to the public, while the event at Rosecliff will have an admission price. While the performance days have been finalized, the times have not been set yet, Ceglie said.
A re-enactment of that large community parade is being planned for June 21, beginning at One Mile Corner at 11 a.m. and heading south on Broadway to Marlborough Street and the Great Friends Meeting House, where a large community photo will be taken at 2 p.m. That will be followed by a community cookout on the Meeting House field.
Before the fireworks show on July 4, concerts are being planned for different locations in the city, perhaps at King Park, Perrotti Park and Storer Park.
“At first, we wanted to bring the Boston Pops here for the Fourth of July, but we’d have to sell the library to do it,” Waluk said.
A public clambake at Ballard Park or Fort Adams will take place on Aug. 24 at 4 p.m.
“Newport Inside Out — A Culinary Celebration” will take place on sidewalks along Broadway between Washington Square and Equality Park on Sept. 19. Local restaurants are being asked to participate.
A lecture series examining various aspects of Newport’s history is being planned. Jim Garman, a local historian who taught for many years at Portsmouth Abbey School, has agreed to hold several lectures. (Garman also provided a series of lectures for Portsmouth’s 375th anniversary celebration last year.) Ceglie said three lectures have been confirmed for the Saturdays of March 22, Sept. 13, and Nov. 1, each beginning at 2 p.m. at the Newport Art Museum. The topics, in order, will be: the first settlements on Aquidneck Island; the hurricanes of 1938 and 1954, with photos of the destruction caused on the island; and the history of the Navy in Newport, from the Civil War to the present.
A 375th anniversary gala dinner and dance at Rosecliff will close out the year’s events on Dec. 31.
Currently, the 375th Anniversary Celebration Committee is holding a poster contest for Newport elementary, middle and high school students ages 5 to 19. Entries are due Feb. 14 in the mayor’s office in City Hall, 43 Broadway. Entries should be submitted on 11-by-17-inch paper and commemorate Newport or promote its anniversary.
For more information about the contest and upcoming events, go to www.newport375. com.
◆ The Newport Daily News is the official print media partner of Newport’s 375th anniversary celebration. In addition to coverage in the paper and online, The Daily News will publish a special commemorative section in June.
◆ To watch video of Thursday’s forum, go to www.NewportRI. com and click on the 375th anniversary logo.