The curtain opened to a huge ocean liner last weekend at Webutuck high school. The junior and senior high pulled off a successful and comical Anything Goes last weekend with Friday and Saturday night performances and a Sunday matinee.

As James Carr so eloquently sang, “you gotta have soul!” The Solas an Lae company of American Irish dance did not miss a beat in their breath-taking performance of Soul this past St. Patrick’s day weekend held at the Center for performing arts in Rhinebeck.  

Approaching the performance I expected a few middle-aged men in skirts doing jigs on the stage. However, the result was far superior. Solas an lae, Gaelic for “light of day,” is a company of 12 young women ages 12-18. Their talent: astounding.

This past weekend The Company was accompanied by Company B. Both are creations of Artistic Directors, Deirdre Lowry and Patrick Brown. Together the companies make up SAL Dance Company (2006), an extension of Lowry’s School of American Irish Dance (1998).

“We love you Conrad, oh yes we do, we love you Conrad and we’ll be true. When we’re not near you, we’re blue. Oh Conrad, we love you” echoed through the filled Millbrook High School auditorium on Saturday night. The high school performed three renditions of Bye Bye Birdie, Friday and Saturday nights, then a Sunday matinee.

The original Tony Award winning Bye Bye Birdie production played on the name of Conway Twitty, the 1950’s country rock star. The musical was inspired by the fame of Twitty and Elvis Presley.  

Every so often history provides a chance for one of those “once in a lifetime events.” Recently, the National Gallery in London, as well as The Moviehouse in Millerton, has provided one of those events. Years of hard-work finally culminated in the unveiling of the Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan exhibition in London, which was on view from November 9, 2011- February 16, 2012.

Never before in history has one place held so many da Vinci masterpieces at one time. The exhibition primarily focused on the days when da Vinci painted in court for his esteemed patron, the duke of Milan. An HD live walk through of the exhibition with a behind-the-scenes commentary was shown at the Moviehouse in Millerton Sunday March 11, 2012.

The Bard Conservatory for Music performed a double-bill opera of Nélée et Myrthis and Four Sisters last Friday night and Sunday afternoon, a project of the Graduate Vocal Arts program under the direction of Dawn Upshaw.

The era of the silent film, as well as the era of dance on film, has momentarily returned, which is good news for all you Gene Kelly fans. Director Michel Hazanavicius’s The Artist has made a compelling statement as he pays tribute to former ages of cinema. The film is showing all week at The Moviehouse in Millerton and at Rhinebeck’s Upstate Films theater.

The Seti Gallery in Kent, Connecticut, is exhibiting the work of Alex Echevarria and gallery owner Arista Baltronis until March 10, 2012.

Arista Baltronis not only owns the gallery but works as an artist as well. The gallery’s current exhibition includes her most recent series, Hardware on the Rocks. Baltronis takes grungy, used shovels, axes, rakes, saws, and so on and refurbishes them with Swarovski crystals, which she buys in New York City. She said that Hardware on the Rocks allows her to work with materials she has never worked with before and to explore the world of woodworking.

Main Street in Millerton is made for meandering. Whether filling up with an Irving’s cup-of-Joe on a breezy day, or finding solace in tea-for-two at Harney & Sons, or grabbing some fresh air on the rail trail, Main Street attracts those seeking to stroll with no agenda. Yet if you have never wandered into Eckert Fine Art Gallery, you are missing out.

Eckert Fine Art gallery, owned by Jane Eckert, has been in business since 1996, but changed locations several times. Jane Eckert first opened in Naples, Florida where she dedicated the gallery to both modern and contemporary art. In 2008 she moved to Millbrook and re-located her gallery to Kent, Connecticut. In the summer of 2011she again transferred her gallery to Main Street in Millerton. She enjoys this location due to the atmosphere the art gallery and the neighboring wine store creates.

The Maplebrook School in Amenia has been exhibiting artwork from regional high school students and some middle school students. The exhibition includes students from Maplebrook, Webutuck, Kildonan, Dover, South Kent and Millbrook. I've added a sampling of the pieces, but hope that the community will review the exhibition personally. 

This winter is the mildest winter most of us have experienced. Nonetheless, Jerry Michalak still has visions of snow and ice; he thrives off of the weather that most of us seek to avoid. The Millbrook School is displaying Michalak’s Snow Bound exhibition until March 24 in their Warner Gallery at the Holbrook Arts Center.

Michalak served as an educator for over 30 years. During this time he shifted his personal focus from landscape painting to black and white photography. As he studied and produced such photography, his love affair with snow also emerged.

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