Arts & Entertainment

Kirstan Knowlton: Beat the Winter Blues

This time of year can be hard for a lot of people. The hustle of the holiday season is over, and life has a pretty much quieted down. This is when it starts to hit people that we still have quite a way to go before we see sunshine and wildflowers.

As I get older time seems to pass more quickly, but if you find that winter is dragging, you’re in luck. Just like last weekend, there are a plethora of activities planned for this weekend to take your mind off the monotonous cycle of snowing, shoveling and sanding.

But first off, I think it’s important to note that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and if you haven’t already, head downtown to get your special someone a little gift, because who doesn’t love a nice surprise?

Now on to the fun!

Tonight there are two great activities happening, and if you time it right, you could even go to both of them.

There will be a free community dinner at the St. Barnabas Church in Berlin from 5:30 to 7 p.m., with dinner being served until 6:30 p.m. No tickets are needed, so bring as many people as you’d like.

Then later that evening, the Nansen Ski Club will be hosting its seventh annual dinner/dance benefit at the White Mountain Chalet. Doors open at 6 p.m. and there will be a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres around the fireplace until 7 p.m. A meal will be served between 7 and 8 p.m., followed by live entertainment and dancing to the band Straightaway. Tickets are $10 per person!

On Sunday, there are two great shows and, just like today’s fun, you can enjoy both.

Cabin Fever Follies a favorite seasonal show will begin at 2 p.m., at the St. Kieran Community Center for the Arts in Berlin. Tickets for the performance are available online at www.stkieranarts.org, at the art center office and/or at the door on the evening of the show: Tickets are $12 (adults) and $8 (under 18).

And with just enough time to take a Sunday afternoon nap, the next show, featuring the very popular New Hampshire native Alex Preston, will be live and in concert at 6 p.m. at the Medallion Opera House in Gorham. Tickets are $12 each and are available at the Gorham Town Hall, Maureen’s Boutique, Main Street in Berlin and online at www.medallionoperahouse.org. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the seating is general admission.

Temperatures this weekend will warm up slightly, and we are expected to get more snow.

I know that my snow loving friends will be quite happy, and if anyone is feeling generous you are welcome to come shovel my driveway.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and a Happy Valentine’s Day on Tuesday. Don’t forget to check out Tuesday’s paper for a little “Love in the Sun.”

Kirstan Knowlton writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Her inspiration comes from events and people in the community who continue to work hard to make the North Country one of the best places to live. You can contact Kirstan by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

St. Kieran Community Center for the Arts presents the Heather Pierson Acoustic Trio

BERLIN — St. Kieran Community Center for the Arts will be welcoming regional artist, Heather Pierson, on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. From New Orleans-style jazz and blues to rousing Americana and poignant folk narratives, Pierson’s memorable live performances feature her virtuosity on piano, her bell-tone vocals, and her commanding yet playful stage presence while wielding a tenor banjo, melodica, or acoustic guitar. 

At first glance, Pierson appears to be the girl next door – youthful, friendly, a little bit shy - but she is an award-winning pianist, multi-genre singer/songwriter, arranger, bandleader, and performer. With over 200 shows a year in venues all over the United States, her nearly non-stop performance schedule speaks of her tireless work ethic and endless devotion to her craft. Defying genre and classification and yet fully embracing all musical styles, Pierson is an artist who speaks the language of music in as many dialects as her abilities will allow. Her life’s work, she says, is to share her love of music and of life with others – one song, one heart, one mind at a time.

The Heather Pierson Acoustic Trio features Shawn Nadeau on upright bass and Davy Sturtevant on, as Pierson often puts it from stage, "everything else" - guitar, mandolin, dobro, fiddle, cornet. New Hampshire native Shawn Nadeau brings a rock solid thump and nearly two decades of performing experience to the trio, informed by a wide spectrum of unique rhythmic and melodic sensibilities ranging from rockabilly to reggae to jazz.

Originally hailing from Erie, Penn., Sturtevant is a veteran touring artist, producer, engineer, songwriter, and performer who now makes his home in Lovell, Maine. Armed with a gorgeous tenor voice and a mighty arsenal of instruments ranging from dobro to fiddle to cornet that come to life in his capable hands, Sturtevant is at once a witty, thoughtful, and engaging stage presence. In their able hands, these three veteran musicians have catapulted Pierson's live performances of her deep well of Americana originals - folk, jazz, blues - with intricate instrumental arrangements and stirring three-part vocal harmonies. The trio’s debut EP, Still She Will Fly, was released in May 2015. Its title track was the No. 2 single on the Folk radio charts for the year in 2015, and three other songs were also in the Top 100 singles on Folk radio in 2015.

Tickets for the performance are available on online for a minimal additional fee (www.stkieranarts.org), at the art center office and/or at the door on the evening of the show: Thanks to a grant from the GETZ Foundation, tickets for this event are $15.00 (adults) and $10.00 (under 18).

For more information about this community concert, to purchase a membership or loyalty card or to make a donation to the annual or capital improvement funds, please contact the Arts Center at (603) 752-1028; visit the website, www.stkieranarts.org or the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stkieranarts.

Programming at St. Kieran Community Center for the Arts is made possible by the support of community corporate sponsors, The N.H. State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the N.H. Charitable Foundation, The Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund, The Wyman Family Fund, and The Rydin Family Fund.

2017.02.25 the Heather Pierson Trio 400St. Kieran Community Center for the Arts will be welcoming regional artist, Heather Pierson, on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. (COURTESY PHOTO)

A constitutional speech contest at the Gorham High School Library

GORHAM — A constitutional speech contest will be held at the Gorham High School Library on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 6 p.m. The American Legion Oratorical Contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students. Since 1938, the program has presented participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship. The program has featured numerous politicians and prominent contestants over the years, including former president candidate Alan Keyes and CNN anchor Lou Dobbs.

Young orators earn some of the most generous college scholarships available to high school students. Over $138,000 in scholarships can be awarded each year. The overall national contest winner gets an $18,000 scholarship. Second place takes home $16,000, and third gets $14,000. Each department (state) winner who is certified into and participates in the national contest’s first round receives a $1,500 scholarship. Those who advance past the first round receive an additional $1,500 scholarship. The American Legion’s National Organization awards the scholarships, which can be used at any college or university in the United States.

High school students under age 20 are eligible. Competition begins at the post level and advances to a state competition. Legion department representatives certify one winner per state to the national contest, where department winners compete against each other in two speaking rounds. The contest caps off with a final round that decides the three top finishers.

Speaking subjects must be on some aspect of the U.S. Constitution, with some emphasis on the duties and obligations of citizens to the government. Speeches are eight to 10 minutes long; three- to five-minute speeches on an assigned topic also are part of the contest.

White Mountains Community College offering an Intermediate Fly Tying Class

BERLIN — As part of their non-credit offerings, the White Mountain Community College will hold an Intermediate Fly Tying classes instructed by Dan LaPointe of Dan’s Fly Shop and Guide Service. This class is a four-week series and will include how to choose and prepare materials, as well as the correct order and placement of these materials on the hook to create a well-balanced fly.

Steamers, dry flies, nymphs, and terrestrial patterns that are used on local waters will be the focus of instruction. Where, when and how to fish with these patterns will be discussed throughout the course. These classes are designed for people with a good working knowledge of basic fly tying skills who would like to improve and refine these skills. Participants will be provided with all materials and tools but are encouraged to bring their own tools that they are comfortable with. Fly recipes will be provided for all patterns covered. Fish stories are always welcome at these classes!

This four-week class is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 16, 23, March 2, and March 16. The class will meet from 6 to 9 p.m. These courses are normally $35 per session. Sign-up for all four and save $30.

Other upcoming non-credit offerings at White Mountains Community College are a lecture series on the American Civil War, Selling on eBay, and Photography Basics.

Information on the full Spring non-credit courses can be obtained on the White Mountains Community College website at www.wmcc.edu on the Workforce Development tab,
http://www.wmcc.edu/academics/course-schedule/non-credit-and-professional-development-course-schedule-spring-2017

Register for classes by contacting Tamara Roberge, project manager, by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone (603) 342-3062. They encourage early registration.

tying fliesThe White Mountain Community College will hold an Intermediate Fly Tying classes instructed by Dan LaPointe of Dan’s Fly Shop and Guide Service. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Heather Piche to teach Stained Glass Window Catcher workshop at WREN

BERLIN — Heather Piche will offer a stained glass workshop in the Glass Studio at the WREN Maker Studio in Berlin on Wednesday, Feb. 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. Participants will learn the techniques and skills to create a light catching stained glass piece. All materials are included for this start to finish this fun project. Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, please see the contact listing below.

WREN is a nationally recognized not-for-profit that supports entrepreneurial growth, access to markets, Main Street revitalization, and rural economic development. WREN inspires possibilities, creates opportunities, and builds connection through community and is dedicated to bringing rural people together to realize better lives and livelihoods by providing resources, education, and opportunity. For further information, or to register, call (603) 869-9736, email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or reach them on the web at www.wrenworks.org.

WorkspaceParticipants will learn the techniques and skills to create a light catching stained glass piece in the Stained Glass Window Catcher Workshop taught by Heather Piche. (COURTESY PHOTO)