Vernon Events Articles Fall 2017

The Vernon Chorale: Choosing Our New Conducting Fellow

What distinguishes Vernon’s own chorale from other area community choirs and groups? The Vernon Chorale commits to fostering young talent through its Fellowship Programs. Over the past decade the Chorale’s Conducting Fellowship evolved from word-of-mouth recommendations for an assistant conductor to the excellent teaching tool it is today. The program aims to sharpen skills of aspiring conductors both in concert preparation and performance in a practical setting. Throughout the season, the Fellow is guided by the Artistic Director and plans and conducts the Chorale’s June concert.

Because of the program’s rise in popularity, the pool of local candidates has widened, the number of applicants increased, and a formal application process put into place. Another key factor is a conductor willing to share the podium in order to cultivate the next generation of local talent, and a group of choral singers willing to support the Fellow’s growth. The Vernon Chorale is proud of retaining both. Ehren Brown, current Artistic Director, honed his skills under the program.

The Chorale is excited to welcome Vernon resident and 2005 Rockville High School graduate, Liz Bologna, as their 2017-2018 Conducting Fellow. Growing up, Bologna watched her parents sing with the Chorale and is no stranger to the group. In 2006-2009 she was a Choral Fellow, another Fellowship for young aspiring singers, and continued singing with the group through 2011. When asked what excites her most about her role as Conducting Fellow she replied, “I’m humbled to be a part of the Vernon Chorale’s legacy of bringing great choral music to the community.” Both Brown and Bologna exemplify the Fellowship’s unique ability to give back to the community by contributing to future conductors, thereby furthering both performance and appreciation of choral music in the Vernon area.

The Chorale’s Winter concert is Saturday, December 9, 7:30 p.m. at St. Bernard Church in Rockville. Visit for upcoming performances. Member Vernon Volunteers’ Collaborative.

Vernon Education Foundation: School Projects

The end of each school year is a very busy time for the Vernon Education Foundation (VEF). Early in June the VEF distributed new books to each of the 239 first grade students in the Vernon Public Schools. This has been an annual project for the past 14 years where over 3,000 books have been given to students at the completion of first grade. It is hoped that these books will add to or start their own personal library at home.

In addition to the Book of My Own project the VEF will award $4,200 in Mini-Grants to teachers at Lake Street School, Center Road School, Skinner Road School and Rockville High School. The VEF received 17 applications this year for the grant program. Nine grants were awarded and the finalists will be publicly announced at the Welcome Back Convocation at the end of August. All grants were awarded for innovative programs that help to strengthen the educational objectives of the schools.

VEF is a state and federally registered, tax-exempt, non-profit (501-c-3) corporation managed by local volunteers. Its mission is to enhance the quality of education in Vernon. Please visit us on Facebook at Member Vernon Volunteers’ Collaborative.

Northern Connecticut Land Trust: The Many Faces Of Talcott Ravine

The Northern Connecticut Land Trust (NCLT) owns and maintains seven Vernon properties totaling 100 acres.

Perhaps the most interesting is the 20-acre Talcott Ravine at the western end of the Tankerhoosen River donated in 2010 by John Talcott Jr. Here nature, history and recreation meet – a place to remember Vernon’s industrial past while the river and pines help you unwind.

The river enters the preserve over the Dobsonville Pond dam, then cuts through the ravine it carved out eons ago, before taking a leisurely journey through tall pines on its way to join the Hockanum River. Far above the river on the south bank is the Hop River Rail-Trail.

The peaceful aura of the ravine today is a far cry from what you would have found 100 to 150 years ago when Peter Dobson’s two cotton mills competed with Rockville as the industrial center of Vernon. Remnants of both factories remain showing the location of water wheels, turbines, factory walls and canals. With imagination you might picture the busy and noisy life of the time as you walk through today’s quiet pines on the path once traveled by wagon and horse connecting the Dobson and Talcottville mills.

Today the river is a favorite of fishermen. At the Talcottville end of the preserve is Talcottville Pond, the only one of the three lower lakes with no cottages or buildings. Here wildlife flourishes throughout the year. You might find geese, ducks, turtles, blue heron, song birds and even an occasional beaver. Perhaps those sitting quietly with pole in hand are here more for the tranquility than the fish.

Talcott Ravine is open to the public with access from both ends. On Saturday, October 14 at 1 p.m. NCLT will lead its annual history-geology-nature hike from Talcottville through the Talcott Ravine and returning on the Rail-Trail. Learn more about NCLT at Member Vernon Volunteers’ Collaborative.

VVC Fall Events: Hiking, History, Farm Festival, Music & Arts

Fall is the season to enjoy the outdoors and Vernon Volunteers’ Collaborative (VVC) organizations have many opportunities to do that; but offer many other choices too.

Vernon Center Walk – Sep. 24 (Sun)
Vernon Historical Society’s ‘Early Vernon Center: First Congregational Church, Elm Hill Cemetery & Meetinghouse Hill’ walk takes you through three historic sites. 1 p.m. Rain date Sunday, Oct. 8.

Friends of Valley Falls Annual Meeting – Sep. 24 (Sun)
Paul Colburn will present on ‘Coyotes’ at the Friends Annual Meeting, 1 p.m. at Valley Falls Farm.

Talcott Ravine History & Geology Walk – Oct. 14 (Sat.)
This popular three-mile Northern CT Land Trust walk begins in historic Talcottville and includes a loop through Talcott Ravine before returning on the Rail Trail. 1 p.m. (See article.)

Webster Preserve Hike – Oct. 15 (Sun.)
The Northern CT Land Trust leads this hike off Valley Falls Road. Hike through the Trust’s Andrew Webster Knapp property above the Rail-Trail, then up to the ridge overlooking Valley Falls Park and Railroad Brook for some beautiful scenery. 9 a.m. at Valley Falls Park.

Farm Harvest Festival – Oct. 21 (Sat.)
The annual Strong Family Farm festival includes children’s activities, pumpkin decorating, and the farm’s annual scarecrow contest. Apple sales, hay bale maze, animals, vendors, music and a farewell to the farm’s summer chickens. 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.

The Vernon Chorale Winter Concert – Dec. 9 (Sat.)
The Vernon Chorale holds its Winter Concert in Rockville at St. Bernard Church, 7:30 p.m. (See article.)

Monthly Arts Center East Events
Each month ACE offers five nights just for fun: Create a drawing on Sketch Night, be an actor on Improv Night, relax and create on Zentangle Night, share your love of reading on Book Night, and release your inner Van Gogh on Paint Night. See for detail and dates.

To learn more about these events visit To receive email announcements join our MeetUp group. Learn how on our website.

Making Vernon Special