Friday, May 5, 2006
Making the right choice on Election Day
In my editorial, written for the April 17th issue of this newspaper, I urged townspeople to come forth as write-in candidates for the upcoming election on Tuesday, May 9. Until this past weekend, there was only one contested race out of the 13 openings for Town Office. That one is the race for a three-year position on the Carlisle School Committee between Chad Koski and Lori Tucker. As of Monday, however, Don Rober, a member of the Long-term Capital Requirements Committee, decided to enter the race for Selectman as a write-in candidate. No longer are Alan Carpenito and Doug Stevenson running unopposed for the two open seats on the Board of Selectmen. Now with three candidates in the race, the top two vote-getters will be the winners. Bruce Hendrickson is the write-in candidate for the Board of Assessors, a board on which he has served in the past.
For those of us who spent Monday and Tuesday evenings attending Town Meeting in the Corey Auditorium, this was an opportunity to observe our town officials in action. It was obvious that their many late night meetings, diligent research, weighing of options and making necessary compromises were what made for clear and forceful presentations of the Warrant Articles.
Selectman John Williams clearly explained the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which is necessary to preserve and create affordable housing in Carlisle. He also described the work that had gone into complying with the state's Chapter 40B statute to build affordable housing in the Coventry Woods Development on Concord Street. It was the efforts of the Selectmen and former Selectman John Ballantine, who met with the developer, the neighbors and the Fire Department to reach a compromise, which reduced the number of housing units.
Allen Deary of the RecCom spoke to the construction of playing fields and tennis courts on the Banta-Davis Land. Townspeople listened intently as he passed around sample boxes of a synthetic turf to be used on one of the ball fields. Planning Board Member Brian Larson, a member of the Cell Tower Committee, presented the Wireless Bylaw Revisions to cell tower placement in a quiet, comprehensive manner, while responding competently to questions from the audience. And once again there was Michael Fitzgerald of the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee speaking explicitly to the needs of the Concord-Carlisle High School.
As one heads to Town Hall on Election Day, one should consider the outstanding qualities and the dedication of our town officials that were on display at Town Meetings this past week. With that in mind, it is important that we vote for the very best candidates for office, especially in this time of change in our schools and the Chapter 40B challenge to our town's two-acre zoning.
The Savoyard Light Opera Company
Those who attended the Savoyard Light Opera Company's production of H.M.S. Pinafore last November already know that the Company suffered and survived a near-death experience in Carlisle. Two years ago the outgoing school superintendent, Davida Fox-Melanson, faced with overcrowded classrooms, decided that the Savoyards' three-week occupancy of the stage in the Corey Auditorium was insupportable and would have to end forthwith.
An eleventh-hour reprieve allowed the Savoyards one last production in 2004 and then good-bye, an expectation announced at that year's performances of The Secret Garden. The announcement called forth the support of a number of townspeople, and eventually the School Committee and Marie Doyle, the new superintendent, reinstated the former arrangements. Now the Company expects to continue its annual productions in the Carlisle School for the foreseeable future. With this problem laid to rest, the Savoyards hope that they can be considered a Carlisle institution whose contribution to the cultural life of the town outweighs their inconvenience to the school.
The Savoyards came here 17 years ago after 18 years in Maynard, where they had performed most of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. It used to be said that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who love the G&S operettas, and those who have never heard them, but it is no longer so. Some, fortunately not all, modern tastes leave no room for Sullivan's joyful melodies and Gilbert's witty rhymes. But those who still love G&S are many, and the Maynard group sought to nurture their love. (Aficionados of G&S are known as Savoyards — pronounced sa-VOY-ards — derived from the Savoy Theatre in London, built by Richard D'Oyly Carte for the performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's works.)
Not long after the move to Carlisle, the group elected to depart from the strict G&S canon, performing in alternate years other musicals whose wit and musicality measure up to standards of Gilbert and Sullivan. This year marks one such departure with a production of Lerner and Loewe's Camelot, scheduled for November. To those of a certain age, the musical has a degree of poignancy, since Camelot is used to describe the violently curtailed presidency of John F. Kennedy. It is the legend of King Arthur, focusing on the end of his dreams for a perfected society and his betrayal by his wife and his best friend.
The story is tragic, but Corey Jackson, who directed the Savoyard's production of The Secret Garden and will direct Camelot, has a more exalted vision. He sees the overarching themes of the musical as forgiveness and hope. For Arthur does forgive Guenevere and Lancelot. And though at the end his own plans lie in ruins, he still hopes his dream will be carried forward, as indeed it has been. They are messages that modern audiences, perhaps even more today, need to hear.
In the hope that the Savoyards will be able to realize this exalted view, planning for next November's production is well under way. Auditions will be held at Corey Auditorium in the evenings of May 15 and 16. Details are available at the Savoyard's web site www.savoyardlightopera.org. Anyone who is interested in appearing in the show should audition; anyone interested in working on it should get in touch with me, the producer. We're all looking forward to it.
© 2006 The