In Newport: New gallery features art reflecting social concerns

Artists Sam Thurston and Abigail Meredith check out the artwork at the opening of the 99 Gallery Sunday afternoon.  The gallery will also serve as a meeting place for NEK 99%, a grassroots organization for social change.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

Artists Sam Thurston and Abigail Meredith check out the artwork at the opening of the 99 Gallery Sunday afternoon. The gallery will also serve as a meeting place for NEK 99%, a grassroots organization for social change. Photo by Joseph Gresser

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — A new addition to Newport’s art scene opened Sunday, offering an exhibit with a title — “Politically Incorrect” — that pointed out the path the gallery means to follow.

According to Diane Peel, its founder, the 99 Gallery is an outgrowth of NEK 99 %, an organization inspired by the Occupy protests of 2011 and made up of local activists.  The gallery is tucked into a lovely old carriage house on School Street, just off Main Street.

On Sunday the space was filled with artists — some of high school age — and visitors.  On the walls, a variety of works was displayed, most of them reflecting social concerns.

Abigail Meredith’s acrylic “Shockwave” shows a woman with her hair blowing back in a blast of intense white light.  The North Country Union High School junior said the painting was meant to remind viewers that the peril of nuclear weapons remains.

She said she came up with the image when she heard that the energy of an atomic bomb can burn the silhouette of a figure into a nearby wall.

In Ms. Meredith’s image, though, the figure is not the result of a catastrophe.

“I put it in the middle of the explosion rather than the aftermath,” she said.  “Movement is very interesting to me.”

Ms. Meredith, along with North Country freshman Ryland Brown, whose intricate pen and ink drawing of a skull and guitar also graced the new art space, is studying at the school’s Arts and Communications Academy.

One of their teachers, Natalie Guillette, also contributed a painting to the show, an eerie image of a face shrouded in a mask.  According to her artist’s statement, Ms. Guillette was moved to create a series of similar paintings by a visit to a World War II museum where gas masks were on exhibit.

Other artists from the community also brought their works for the initial show.  Jack Rogers showed a trio of pencil drawings, which included an image of a hand blocking the lens of a camera and Rodney King being menaced by the baton of a police officer.

In a very different vein, Sam Thurston of Lowell offered a drawing of a street life under a New York elevated train and a watercolor illustration of a verse by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

An improptu manifesto was chalked on the sidewalk in front of the 99 Gallery Sunday afternoon.  In addition to presenting art shows, the gallery will also provide a home for NEK 99 %, according to its founder, Diane Peel.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

An improptu manifesto was chalked on the sidewalk in front of the 99 Gallery Sunday afternoon. In addition to presenting art shows, the gallery will also provide a home for NEK 99 %, according to its founder, Diane Peel. Photo by Joseph Gresser

The 99 Gallery, while it offers a home to artists living in and around Newport, was created in large part to display the work of a painter and sculptor who spent very little of his life in the area.

Ms. Peel’s father, Donald William Peel, was an active artist for most of his 89 years.  He started making paintings in the magic realist style in the 1950s, moved on to abstract sculpture, and finally back to surrealist paintings in his final years.

Mr. Peel achieved recognition, especially on the West Coast, where he lived most of his life.  His work is represented in museums and university collections in the Pacific Northwest.

Ms. Peel said that after her mother, a fashion designer, died in 2001 she wanted her father to move to Vermont and build a home and a studio that could handle the big painting he was making.  Sadly, Mr. Peel died in 2010.

Left with a large collection of her father’s works, Ms. Peel said she had to make a choice.  She could store the big surrealist paintings, but then they wouldn’t be seen and, without climate control, would suffer permanent damage.  She decided on the alternative of creating a space in which her father’s work can be shown and, she hopes, purchased by collectors.

Her plans call for interspersing shows by living artists with displays of her father’s paintings.

Ms. Peel said she wants the new gallery to serve as a home for work that might not fit in at the MAC Center.  Her gallery is not intended to compete with the more established art space, Ms. Peel said, but is meant to broaden the options available to artists and art lovers in Newport.

She said she hopes to offer “edgier” art than might be possible for a space that relies on sales to keep its doors open.  The 99 Gallery, Ms. Peel said, is paid for out of her earnings as a nurse and can keep going whether or not any paintings are sold.

The gallery, like the NEK 99 % organization is nonpolitical, Ms. Peel said.

“We’re not involved with the political process,” Ms. Peel declared.  “We’re involved with the people process.”

Pointing to Mr. Rogers’ drawing of the blocked camera, she said the image depicts the “surveillance state.”  Government intrusion into the private affairs of citizens is not a political issue, but a people issue, Ms. Peel said.

She recalled criticisms of the original Occupy protests, which questioned the movement’s lack of leadership and formal structure.  Those objections, she said, were based on a misunderstanding of the movement’s intentions.

“Occupy was trying to organize a horizontal system at the grassroots level,” she said.  The 99 Gallery, Ms. Peel will embody the same principles.

Those who want to see how these principles look on the walls of a gallery can see “Politically Incorrect” through the end of July.

contact Joseph Gresser at joseph@bartonchronicle.com

For more free articles from the Chronicle like this one, see our Featuring pages. For all the Chronicle’s stories, pick up a print copy or subscribe, either for print or digital  editions.

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At NCUHS: Choral director receives surprise send-off

Retiring North Country choral director Anne Hamilton reacts to a musical tribute from present and former students.  New words to the song “’Til There Was You,” were written by Adam (left) and Matt Podd, who have gone on to professional music careers in New York City.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

Retiring North Country choral director Anne Hamilton reacts to a musical tribute from present and former students. New words to the song “’Til There Was You,” were written by Adam (left) and Matt Podd, who have gone on to professional music careers in New York City. Photo by Joseph Gresser

by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle June 5, 2013

NEWPORT — The choral program at North Country Union High School has been successful long enough to have established traditions.  For instance, the Christmas concert always ends with a performance of the “Hallelujah Chorus,” in which alumni of North Country are invited to participate.  Similarly, the second part of the annual pops concert always features solos by graduating seniors set amid choral performances.

At this year’s concert, on May 29, the traditions were unexpectedly mingled.  Anne Hamilton, retiring after serving as the school’s choral director for the past 13 years, planned a medley of Beatles songs for her final North Country concert.

During the performance, Ms. Hamilton said a few days later, she looked out into the audience and noticed that many of her former students were present.

“I didn’t want them to leave without getting to say hello to them,” Ms. Hamilton said.  So shortly before the final selection, “Hey Jude,” she invited alumni in the audience to come down to the front of the auditorium and join in the final section of the song.

Ms. Hamilton couldn’t have prevented them from doing so.  Unbeknownst to her, a conspiracy had been hatched by present and former students.

When the final strains of “Hey Jude,” were sung, accompanist Vivian Spates turned over the piano to Mark Violette.

“When I saw Mark at the piano, I felt things were spiraling out of control,” Ms. Hamilton said.

They were, perhaps, but not in a bad way.  Sheets of music were distributed as Mr. Violette played the opening bars of “’Til There Was You,” a song from the musical The Music Man, that was actually covered by The Beatles.

“There were notes on the page

But we never knew their meaning

No, we never knew it at all

’Til there was you,” sang students past and present.  Meredith Wilson’s original words had been replaced with ones written for the occasion by brothers Adam and Matt Podd.

“You put songs in our lives

And you taught us all sight-reading

Do Re Mi Fa

Ti Ti Ta La

’Til There Was You!”

Ms. Hamilton, seated next to Ms. Spates in the front row, seemed overcome by what was happening before her eyes and ears.  At the next verse…

“And there was All-State!

And other logistical nightmares

The drama of high notes and hormones,”

Ms. Hamilton burst into laughter.  She kept smiling as the chorus concluded their serenade.

“So we thank you

For the time that we had

And the joy we found in singing

We’re so grateful for all those years

Singing with you.”

After their first time through the song, North Country graduate Phil Gosselin, an actor who usually resides in New York City, took the microphone and thanked Ms. Hamilton on behalf of his fellow alumni.

ann hamilton spates

Ms. Hamilton and long-time accompanist Vivian Spates enjoy the witty lyrics and the enthusiastic performance. Photo by Joseph Gresser

He was followed by Joseph Cornelius who said he was taught by Ms. Hamilton in pre-school, a claim she later denied.  Mr. Cornelius was one of Ms. Hamilton’s students when he attended elementary school in Island Pond and at North Country.

“I hoped that my two daughters would get to study with her,” Mr. Cornelius said, “but it was not to be.”  He urged present North Country students to appreciate their good fortune in having the experience of Ms. Hamilton as their teacher.

After another chorus of “’Til There Was You,” the concert ended as present and former students surrounded and embraced Ms. Hamilton.

A couple of days after the concert, Ms. Hamilton reflected on the event and her time at North Country.

She said an all-Beatles concert was not a random choice.

“That’s the pops concert I wanted to go out on,” Ms. Hamilton said.  The quality of the music and the opportunities it gave for her students to shine made for an ideal final concert, she said.

“I want the students to feel they can be successful, and that means to be truly successful,” Ms. Hamilton said. “Everyone’s a winner, doesn’t work.”

Ms. Hamilton said she was very pleased that the seniors who chose to perform solos all rose to the challenge of performing such familiar and beloved music.

She said she was caught completely by surprise by the tribute organized by her former students.  The Podd brothers, she said, were at North Country giving a presentation to students on Tuesday.

“They were very coy about whether they would be able to make it to the concert,” Ms. Hamilton said.  After the workshop with the students, she took them out to dinner and invited Mr. Gosselin, one of their former classmates, whom she knew was in town working with QNEK.

At dinner, the Podd brothers told Ms. Hamilton that Mr. Gosselin would be delayed by a rehearsal.

“They didn’t tell me that it was a rehearsal for their surprise,” she said.

Ms. Hamilton said she herself followed a popular choral teacher, Glory Douglass, when she arrived at North Country after six years teaching at North Country Union Junior High School and nine years cruising between Brighton, Morgan, Holland and Charleston teaching music to elementary school students.

Ms. Hamilton said she had 11 years between graduating college and beginning her teaching career.  Although she was certified as a music teacher, Ms. Hamilton said, she felt she needed more training.

One of the benefits of going back to school, she said, was making the acquaintance of Sandi MacLeod, who today directs Music-Comp, a program that helps students learn to write music.  Ms. Hamilton has been involved in the program since its inception and she said she plans to continue working with the organization after she leaves North Country.

Ms. Hamilton said she also plans to continue leading Northsong, a locally based chamber choir that performs around the Northeast Kingdom.  Northsong will allow Ms. Hamilton to continue her collaboration with Ms. Spates, whose musicianship and generosity she praised.

Aside from that, Ms. Hamilton said she plans to take some time to think.  She said she is “50 percent committed” to learning the violin.  Her husband, Amos, after retiring from the Customs service, took up the clarinet seriously and frequently plays chamber music with friends.

After 13 years teaching at the school, Ms. Hamilton still has much good to say about North Country and the Newport community.

She said that the Rotary Club’s steadfast support of the annual music festival has translated into a general support for student artistic achievement.

“This community has always been supportive of the arts, it’s legend.  People around the state can’t believe it,” Ms. Hamilton said.

She said that she has been very well supported by the administration and her colleagues at North Country.

“This is a very nice job,” Ms. Hamilton mused, “This is a very nice job.”

contact Joseph Gresser at joseph@bartonchronicle.com

For more free articles from the Chronicle like this one, see our Featuring pages. For all the Chronicle’s stories, pick up a print copy or subscribe, either for print or digital  editions.
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Young composers get a chance to hear their works

North Country music teacher Anne Hamilton and Adele Woodmansee listen as musicians from the Burlington Ensemble, including violinists Michael Dabrowski and Sofia Hirsch, rehearse Ms. Woodmansee’s String Quartet in D Minor.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

North Country music teacher Anne Hamilton and Adele Woodmansee listen as musicians from the Burlington Ensemble, including violinists Michael Dabrowski and Sofia Hirsch, rehearse Ms. Woodmansee’s String Quartet in D Minor. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the chronicle 05-08-13

by Joseph Gresser

DERBY LINE — At noon on a fine spring Wednesday, a stream of youngsters from elementary to high school age poured into the doors of the Haskell Opera House.  In front of the entrance to the Haskell Free Library a man sat gazing intently at sheets of paper in his lap as he conducted an invisible orchestra.

That man, Eric Nielsen, is a distinguished Vermont composer and one of many who work behind the scenes as part of Music-Comp.  That organization, once known as the Vermont Midi Project, encourages students in their efforts to compose music by having professionals mentor them through the Internet.

On May 1, preparations were nearing completion for the twenty-sixth in a series of concerts which allow student composers to hear their works performed by professional musicians.

Among the 26 composers whose pieces were to be featured on the evening’s bill were three from North Country Union High School — Adele Woodmansee, Erin Spoerl and Bradley Dopp.  Their teacher, Anne Hamilton, has been involved with Music-Comp since it began in 1995, and has heard many of her students’ compositions played over that time.

She guided her students through the rehearsal process, sitting with Adele Woodmansee on the stage of the Haskell as four players from the Burlington Ensemble ran through her String Quartet in D Minor.

First violinist Michael Dabrowski asked Ms. Hamilton, “Is our goal to learn the piece?”

“The goal is to have a conversation with the composer,” Ms. Hamilton replied.

Her response reflected an attitude of respect that permeates the program.

The musicians immediately got it, and began asking Ms. Woodmansee technical questions about how she thought the piece should be performed.

Ms. Woodmansee, herself an accomplished violinist, answered easily in a manner that revealed that she had given the questions a great deal of thought during the compositional process.

That she did so is in part due to the work of Mr. Nielsen and his fellow composer mentors, who look over compositions e-mailed to them by the young composers and make suggestions for ways the pieces might be developed.

The exchanges often grow lengthy as compositions change and new possibilities open up.

One astounding aspect of the concerts is that young composers are afforded instrumental possibilities that a professional would envy.  For the Opus 26 performance, composers had a string quartet plus a contra bass at their beck and call, as well as the forces of the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, a wind consort that includes flute, oboe or English horn, bassoon and clarinet.

Mr. Dopp’s composition Frosk, a Norwegian word meaning frog, he explained, brought together bass clarinet, contra bass and bassoon.

He, the musicians, Ms. Hamilton and some classmates squeezed themselves into a tiny dressing room for his rehearsal.

Bassist Evan Premo mentioned in an offhand way that Mr. Dopp had marked the tempo for his piece in a way that was difficult for the musicians to understand.  He took a moment to explain the math needed to figure how fast Mr. Dopp wished the piece to be performed, and made a suggestion about how to handle the matter in the future.

Clarinet player Steve Klimowski asked Mr. Dopp how he wanted a very quiet entrance performed.

The trio performed Mr. Dopp’s piece once and Mr. Klimowski made a major error, finishing long after the other two musicians.  A second attempt corrected that mistake.

Afterward, Mr. Klimowski explained to a curious onlooker that, although musicians receive the pieces well in advance of the concert, it is hard to know how an ensemble will sound without playing together.  He said there is time to work through any technical challenges an individual player might face, but only about ten minutes to play each work together.

The musicians worked through the afternoon until all trooped off to the Universalist Church for dinner.

As part of its Opus 25 concert, Music-Comp produced an e-book reviewing the organization’s history.  Executive Director Sandi MacLeod said the book will be available on the organization’s website in the middle of May.

Ms. MacLeod said the book was part of a fund-raising effort.  Grants that were available in the program’s early days are drying up, she said, and the organization is seeking new revenues.

One way they are going about it is by expanding Music-Comp’s horizons.  Ms. MacLeod said the organization changed its name in part because midi is old technology and in part because it is now a national organization working with students in many other states, including New York, Indiana and California.

Among those testifying to the effect the organization has had on them are a number of students from Orleans County, many of whom are now pursuing music as a career in one way or another.

Twins Matt and Adam Podd graduated from North Country and are living in New York City working as freelance pianists, arrangers and composers.  Matt Podd still maintains his connection with Music-Comp and works as a composer mentor.

Sam Schiavone of Greensboro, whose work was performed in four Opus concerts, is a graduate student in mathematics at the University of Vermont.  Another Greensboro participant, Mavis McNeil studies music at Skidmore College.

When students returned to the auditorium, and the audience filtered in, there was a moment not usually seen in the concert hall as composers, musicians and teachers crowded the stage for a group photo.  The performance began with a work by Susie Francy, a ninth grader from Leland and Gray High School.

Ms. Francy, who was the first from her school to have a work chosen for performance, was accompanied by her parents and her music teacher, Ronald Kelley.  She stood when her piece, called Child, was introduced and again at the conclusion stood for the applause.

Two composers, Ivan Voinov and Ms. Spoerl took turns introducing the pieces and reading statements from the artists. Ms. Francy said her composition, written for flute, oboe, cello, bassoon and clarinet, was a depiction of a child’s growth to adolescence.

Ms. Francy received a good round of applause, and the concert continued with pieces by younger composers, all of which belied their years.  It was only when a young composer stood to be recognized and was little taller than when seated, that his or her youth was apparent.

The younger composers took up the first part of the concert.  After an intermission the program was to continue with works by older students.

Instead, Ms. MacLeod stood and announced that the musicians were not satisfied with the performance they had given of Ms. Francy’s piece.

The five players returned to their places and performed the work again as a gesture of simple respect.

contact Joseph Gresser at joseph@bartonchronicle.com

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In boys hockey: Essex defeats Falcons in comeback win

North Country Falcon Chris Bronson turns in a sterling glove save during the Falcons' match against the visiting Essex Hornets on Saturday night.  Flanking Bronson on the play are Hornet Joey Robertson (far left), Falcon Ben Pecue and Hornet Steve Jurkiewicz.  Photo by Richard Creaser

North Country Falcon Chris Bronson turns in a sterling glove save during the Falcons’ match against the visiting Essex Hornets on Saturday night. Flanking Bronson on the play are Hornet Joey Robertson (far left), Falcon Ben Pecue and Hornet Steve Jurkiewicz. Photo by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright 2-13-2013

JAY — The North Country Falcons (10-4-1) came out on the wrong end in a match-up of top five Metro Division teams in boys hockey action on Saturday night as they lost 3-2 against the visiting Essex Hornets (11-2-2).  The game featured solid goaltending on both sides as Chris Bronson patrolled the net for North Country and Brock Paquette manned the pipes for Essex.

Saturday’s contest at the Ice Haus in Jay displayed some of the finest hockey action fans for either side could have expected.  The game’s officials appeared content to let the teams play a physical — though far from goonish — game.  Hard hits, slick skating and dynamic playmaking kept the two sides close throughout the contest.

The Falcons have scored five or more goals in nine of their ten wins and have yet to be shut out by any opponent.  By contrast, and with only a few exceptions, Essex has proven itself a capable defensive team whose wins generally turn on low-scoring affairs including a 1-0 shutout win over top seeded South Burlington.  Saturday’s match would be a contest that would pit North Country’s high flying offense against the Hornets’ smothering defense.

Scoring opportunities would be at a premium on Saturday night.  As if realizing the enormity of the challenge, the Falcons took advantage of an early power play opportunity.  Ross DeLaBruere would record the power play goal at 7:06 of the first period to give the Falcons the early lead.  Nathan Marsh provided the assist.

The teams would remain dead even through the second period, as the two teams battled to a scoreless draw.  North Country had a few solid scoring chances on breakaways but were unable to beat Hornet net minder Paquette to increase their lead.

“We didn’t really give them a lot of quality scoring chances,” Falcons Coach Andrew Roy said after the game.  “We were able to keep them on the wings, out of the front of the net.  We played 30 minutes of good hockey and then got a little sloppy in the final period.”

North Country's Adam Viens (center right) completes a mid-ice check against Essex Hornet Tom Vanzo as Hornets Brody Almeida (left) and Luc LeBlanc look on during Saturday night's match.  Photo by Richard Creaser

North Country’s Adam Viens (center right) completes a mid-ice check against Essex Hornet Tom Vanzo as Hornets Brody Almeida (left) and Luc LeBlanc look on during Saturday night’s match. Photo by Richard Creaser

The Falcons received a boost in the third period when Adam Viens wrangled the puck past Paquette to give North Country a 2-0 lead a mere 47 seconds into the period.  It appeared that the Falcons had the game well in hand until the Hornets struck at 5:03.  Tom Fogg snuck one past Bronson to cut the Falcons’ lead in half.

Four minutes later the wheels came off the bus for North Country.  Penalties to DeLaBruere and Viens 37 seconds apart gave Essex a 5 on 3 advantage.  Those penalties had a greater effect on the outcome of the game than fatigue brought on by a short bench, Coach Roy said.

“I don’t think it was tired legs or anything else,” Coach Roy said.  “We made some key mistakes out there tonight and it cost us.  It’s a tough loss to swallow.”

Though North Country would hang in and kill off the penalties, Essex took advantage of the post-power play confusion to strike.  A mere 16 seconds after Viens came out of the box Luc LeBlanc would deflect in a shot from Nate Foice to tie up the game at 2-2.

The collapse would be complete when, with 1:22 remaining to play, Steve Jurkewiecz buried a pass from Joey Robertson and Brody Almeida to cap off the Hornets’ comeback win.

Despite the heartbreaking loss Coach Roy was not discouraged with his team’s chances heading toward the post-season.

“If we can avoid making those mistakes we can play with anyone,” Coach Roy said.  “There’s no reason we can’t be the top team in the state.”

The Falcons play two more home games against BFA-St. Albans on Wednesday, February 13,  at 6 p.m. and Rutland on February 16 at 7 p.m. before finishing out the regular season with three road games against Rice Memorial, Middlebury and Champlain Valley Union on February 20, 23 and 26 respectively.

contact Richard Creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.com

For more free sports stories, look in our sports category on this site or subscribe to our print or online editions.  Click on this link for a full winter sports schedule.

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In girls hockey: Falcons rally to beat U-32 Raiders

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girls hockey Morley

North Country’s Taylor Morley (left) bolts down ice past U-32 defender Rachel Ebersole during Saturday night’s varsity match-up at the Ice Haus in Jay. Photo by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 2-13-2013

JAY — Though the visiting U-32 Raiders may have struggled throughout the season, they certainly brought their A-game to the Ice Haus at Jay on Saturday as they took on the home town North Country Falcons girls hockey team.  In the midst of an ugly eight-game losing streak it seemed the Raiders (2-12) would prove little difficulty for the second-ranked Falcons (13-3-1).  Earlier in the season the Falcons had shut out the Raiders 2-0.

“I don’t think this was a bad game for us,” North Country Coach Claude Paul said after the game.  “They played a very good game as opposed to us playing down.  Their goaltending was excellent tonight.”

girls hockey scrum

Throughout the contest the Falcons continued to apply tremendous pressure on U-32 goalie Cheyenne Smith (kneeling center). Here Falcons Corrina Cota (left) and Savannah Alberghini-Giroux (far right) battle with Raider Rachel Ebersole for control of the puck. Photo by Richard Creaser

Not three minutes into the game the Raiders would go ahead on a worm-burner scored by Rachel Ebersole and assisted by Stacy Woolaver.  Backing up the early lead, Cheyenne Smith provided solid goaltending for the visiting team.

“We did have a lot of chances but we just couldn’t put them in,” Falcon Whitney Bernier said after the game.  “We put a lot of pressure on their defense and their goalie.  We just didn’t score.”

North Country did create plentiful opportunities, particularly on a pair of early power play chances in the first period.  Though the Falcons moved the puck precisely and efficiently, the resulting shots were unable to get past Smith and her defenders.

The situation would take a turn for the worst in the second period as Raider Emily George banged home another goal past North Country’s Mikaella Doran to give U-32 a 2-0 lead.  A game that had started as a North Country win all but for the playing was suddenly in serious jeopardy.

Twenty-two seconds later, Falcon Taylor Morley responded with a sweet wrap-around goal to cut the Raiders’ lead in half and steal momentum away from U-32.

“Her goal was huge,” Bernier said.  “Taylor came back and got us a goal.  It really pumped us up.”

The euphoria was somewhat short-lived.  North Country had regained momentum and gone on the offensive when first Savannah Alberghini-Giroux and then Emily Doty took trips to the box.

“We got into a little penalty trouble in the second,” Coach Paul said.  “That was really the only bad thing I had to say about how we played out there tonight.  I talked to the girls about it in the locker room.”

“We had a big conversation about it,” Bernier said.  “We knew if we wanted to win we had to stay out of the box.  If we did that we’d get our chances.”

Those chances came soon after.  At 1:10 into the third period Bernier converted passes from Jenna Moss and Adrianna Fournier into the equalizing goal.  Time and again the Falcons would swarm the Raiders’ zone only to be turned aside.  In a conclusion worthy of the caliber of hockey both teams presented, Bernier took a pass from Corrina Cota and buried it in the net with 12 seconds left on the clock to put North Country ahead for the first time in the game.

“Getting that goal felt great,” Bernier said.  “They really made us work for the win.”

The Falcons return to action on Saturday, February 16, at 5 p.m. with a match against Brattleboro in their final home game of the regular season.  The Falcons conclude their regular season with away matches against Rice Memorial on February 20 and Harwood Union on February 23.

contact Richard creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.com.

For more free sports stories, look in our sports category on this site or subscribe to our print or online editions.  Click on this link for a full winter sports schedule.

 

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Sports briefs – Nordic skiing update

January 2

Nordic skiing night relays at Montpelier High School

North Country fared well in the Montpelier High hosted night relays on Wednesday, January 2.  Both the Falcons and Lady Falcons relay teams posted fourth place finishes in the event.  The Lady Falcons relay team of Haley Jo Tetreault, Jade Dandurand and Laura Smith completed the relay with a time of 34:40, five minutes off the pace of event winners Eliza Merrylees, Lyra Wanzer and Orli Schwartz from U-32.  The Falcons squad of Brian DeLabruere, Sam Brunette and Dan Decelles finished with a time of 26:49, two and a half minutes behind event winners Will Johnson, Karl Schmeckpeper and Ben Merrylees representing U-32.

Craftsbury Academy Charger Jared Benson and his partners Danny Stames and Charles Belisle, participating on a combined team from Peoples Academy and Craftsbury Academy, finished with a time of 36:39.  Lady Charger Sabrina Thompson and her Peoples Academy partners Emma Lodge and Caitlyn Bain finished with a time of 55:45.  — submitted by Alex Gratton.

January 7

Nordic skiing at Burke hosted by St. Johnsbury Academy

The North Country Falcons enjoyed a strong showing, recording a first-place team finish in varsity girls Nordic racing and a second-place team finish in varsity boys racing.  Senior Haley Jo Tetreault led the Lady Falcons, recording a third-place individual finish with a time of 25:35, 2:07 behind race winner Lauren Gillot of St. Johnsbury Academy.  Jade Dandurand finished in seventh place with a time of 29:31.  Brian DeLabruere led the Falcons with a fourth-place individual finish and a time of  22:13, less than two minutes behind event winner Sam Puddicombe of Stowe.  Alex Cotnoir finished eighth overall with a time of 23:32.

On the junior varsity circuit the Falcons enjoyed more success as Parker LaCourse and Fred Petzoldt captured second and third places with times of 14:17 and 14:18 respectively.  Beka Young was the top Lady Falcon JV racer, taking fourth place with a time of 20:25.  — submitted by Alex Gratton

Submit sports news by phone or e-mail to Richard Creaser at (802) 873-3028 or nek_scribbler@hotmail.com.  The deadline is noon on Tuesdays. 

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NC girls hockey team fueled by youth

The Lady Falcons enter the season with several key additions to the team. Though the team is young, rostering only three seniors, the addition of veteran goaltender Mikaella Doran (center) and LI standout Emily Doty (right) will help their fellow Falcons like Savannah Alberghini (left). Photo by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 12-5-2012

JAY — The 2012-2013 edition of the North Country Lady Falcons hockey team should prove an exciting one to watch this season.  Asked to describe the greatest strength of this year’s squad, Assistant Coach Tom Bernier replied with a single word — “youth.”

“We only have three seniors and a lot of freshmen and sophomores,” Mr. Bernier said at Monday night’s practice.  “We’re a young team and we’re still growing.”

The team features several players from neighboring school districts, including juniors Corrina Cota and Taylor Morley from Lake Region Union High, and Emily Doty from Lyndon.  That blending of players has proven both helpful and frustrating at times.

The bigger issue for head Coach Claude Paul and his staff is reconciling the varying skill levels of the players.  While some have grown up with Border Hockey or came up through the Lyndon Area Youth Hockey Association, other players are hitting the ice for their first season of varsity hockey.

“What we don’t want to do is hold back the girls who have been on the ice eight to ten years, because they’ve already got the basics,” Mr. Bernier said.  “At the same time, we have some girls new to the sport who need to learn the fundamentals.  Some of them are even fairly new to skating.”

Entering her third year on the varsity roster, Ms. Cota has endured some difficult seasons as a Falcon.  Throughout the team’s struggles, however, she has noticed that certain spark that suggests brighter days lie ahead.

“It’s been really exciting to see the team grow and develop over the years,” Ms. Cota said.  “We keep getting better and our skills are growing stronger.”

Incorporating players from the far-flung corners of the Kingdom can be a difficult task.  Just as in professional hockey, a team laden in talented players won’t automatically result in success if the team chemistry is absent.  That hasn’t proven the case with the Falcons, Ms. Cota said.

“You have to get used to each other and the way we play,” she said.  “But after a couple of weeks working together you get a feel for what they can do and what we can do as a team.”

A solid addition to the team comes in the form of Emily Doty from Lyndon Institute.  Because Lyndon lacks the numbers to field a varsity team, Ms. Doty is playing her first season for the Falcons.

“If I wasn’t playing here I would probably be playing with the boys again this year,” Ms. Doty said, referring to last season’s play on LI’s boys’ varsity squad.  “Playing with girls and against girls is going to take some getting used to.”

The biggest adjustment for Ms. Doty comes from the rules on contact in women’s hockey.  Having played with boys, she reveled in the more physical aspects of the game.

“I’ve been trained to check, line guys up for a hit,” Ms. Doty said.  “The first thing Coach Paul did was give me a page from the rule book telling me how to hit.”

Making that adjustment might run counter to the experience she gained last season, but will hardly influence how she approaches her first season with the Falcons.  Her solid, two-way play should assist the Falcons on both sides of the ice.

Another key addition to the squad comes in the form of the team’s newest goalie — Mikaella Doran.  Though new to the Falcons uniform, Ms. Doran comes with a lifetime of experience between the pipes.

“Having Mikaella is definitely going to help us both ways,” Mr. Bernier said.  “Having that confidence in net is going to let us play a more offensive game.  Her experience is going to help keep us in the game.”

The Lady Falcons start the season in earnest with a home game on Thursday, December 6, facing Woodstock at 5 p.m. at the Ice Haus in Jay.

contact Richard Creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.com

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North Country Union High School variety show

These photos are from North Country Union High School’s variety show in the fall of 2012.  Photos are by Joseph Gresser

four chord

Patrick Tetreault, Chandler Prue, Eli MacFarlane and Nick Perkins (left to right) clown around while singing “Four Chords.” Photos by Joseph Gresser

shelter

Jordan Howell, left, and Michelle Fenimore, soar through their dance, “Shelter.”

what hap

Erin Spoerl confronts Colton White, in a scene from What Happened?

somebody

Soloist Shannon Smith sings the Queen song “Somebody To Love,” backed by Jeffrey Stevens, Arden Leithead, Ollivia Jones and Meredith Beals.

pagini

Adele Woodmansee performans Niccolo Paganini’s “Caprice No. 16.”

show as

Kira Moore, left, and Brittany Tetlow choreographed and danced “As Long As You Love Me.”

sail

Mikayla LaPierre hits the floor in “Sail,” partially hidden behinder her is Samantha Dewing.

youth

Gabby Fort balances gracefully.

Patrick Tetreault, Chandler Prue, Eli MacFarlane and Nick Perkins (left to right) clown around while singing “Four Chords.”  Photos by Joseph GresserJordan Howell, left, and Michelle Fenimore, soar through their dance, “Shelter.”Erin Spoerl confronts Colton White, in a scene from What Happened?Soloist Shannon Smith sings the Queen song “Somebody To Love,” backed by Jeffrey Stevens, Arden Leithead, Ollivia Jones and Meredith Beals.Adele Woodmansee performans Niccolo Paganini’s “Caprice No. 16.”Kira Moore, left, and Brittany Tetlow choreographed and danced “As Long As You Love Me.”Mikayla LaPierre hits the floor in “Sail,” partially hidden behinder her is Samantha Dewing.Gabby Fort balances gracefully.
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