Lakeland School students enjoy instruction in orchestral instruments

MEREDITH — Students at Lakeland School feel fortunate to study music under the expert guidance of John Whitney. Mr. Whitney, who is a graduate of Boston University and holds a Master's Degree in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, has designed a program of instrument instruction that he feels is unusual. Few schools in New Hampshire, particularly north of Concord, have instruction in orchestral string instruments such as violin, viola and cello, and Lakeland School begins instruction at a very early age.
Lakeland students begin their instrumental music education in the first grade with instruction in music theory and musical concepts, and lessons on the recorder. Following this introduction, students transition to instruction on a stringed instrument. "A student as young as first grade can be successful on a stringed instrument because these instruments are available in various sizes and can be fitted to smaller bodies and smaller hands" said Mr. Whitney. "Currently all Lakeland students in the second, third and fourth grades are successful participants in our string ensemble."
At the fifth grade level, Lakeland students may choose to continue in the string program or move to a woodwind, brass or percussion instrument and participate in the band program. "At this age, students are physically, much better suited to these larger instruments and have had the advantage of early exposure to and instruction in music theory. Our experience has shown us that these concepts transfer easily to a new instrument and that these students quickly become productive members of our band program."
Educational research indicates that academic achievement, as measured by scholastic testing is enhanced by participation in a music program. Lakeland School students are currently in the third year of John Whitney's redesigned program. Participation among first through eighth graders has climbed to over 80%. "Students are really enjoying their instruments these days and their progress shows this, The addition of stringed instruments at the early stages of instruction has made all the difference."

Laura Brusseau named ‘Civic Leader of the Year’

PLYMOUTH — Plymouth State University alumna Laura Brusseau '04, has been named "Civic Leader of the Year," by Stay, Work, Play NH, an organization that encourages more young workers to "Stay, Work and Play" in New Hampshire. Brusseau has a rich history of volunteering for causes that help young people, including Girl Scouts of America, Habitat for Humanity, New Beginnings Domestic Violence Center, Lakes Region Dancing with the Stars, and Hands Across the Table.

"We are thrilled to have Laura representing the 'Civic Leader of the Year' award this year," said Kate Luczko, Executive Director of Stay, Work, Play NH. "In addition to being an amazingly engaged person herself, it speaks volumes of Laura's commitment that she is also teaching her high school students the value of giving back. In short, her dedication to her local community directly connects with our goal of recognizing those helping make New Hampshire a better place for future generations."

Brusseau said her motivation to volunteer started while attending PSU.

"Plymouth State had a huge impact on me and my service to others," she noted. "It was at Plymouth State where I was given numerous opportunities to serve, such as Community Service Weekend Orientation, Alternative Spring Break trips, Americorps and co-founding Hunger and Homelessness week. The faculty and staff at Plymouth always emphasized its motto, Ut prosim (That I May Serve). I am very thankful for everything that Plymouth State taught me and the people who I encountered in my four years there."

In 2006, Brusseau teamed up with Jessica (Orf) Dutile '03 in starting the Faith, Hope and Love Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping "children suffering from poverty, hunger, and homelessness."

In addition to her latest accolade, Brusseau has received multiple awards for her contributions to the community and to Plymouth State. In 2009 she was honored with the Union Leader's '40 Under 40' award, that recognizes New Hampshire residents for their professional and societal accomplishments. In 2010, she was recognized again, this time for her work with Habitat for Humanity, and in 2011, received Plymouth State's Distinguished Alumni Service Award.

PSU's Director of Alumni Relations, Rodney Ekstrom '09G, said the University is thrilled with Laura's recognition.

"Laura's impact in New Hampshire is tremendous, and this honor is well deserved," Ekstrom said. "Plymouth State is proud to call her an alumna!"

Brusseau, a 2004 cum laude graduate, is currently teaching social studies at Inter Lakes High School in Meredith.

Senior Moment-um holiday activities on Dec. 8

GILFORD  — The Gilford Parks and Recreation Department will be sponsoring two Senior Moment-um programs on Monday, December 8.

The first program will be a showing of the modern classic, "Elf" at the Community Church Fellowship Hall at 9 a.m. The movie and coffee are free. There will also be breakfast available for anyone interested at $2 per person featuring French toast and fruit.  Anyone interested in breakfast must RSVP by Friday, December 5 by calling the Gilford Parks and Recreation Dept. at 527-4722.

There will also be a Christmas Garlands program which gets underway at noon in the Gilford Community Church. Participants will be stringing popcorn and cranberry garlands for the Village Candlelight Stroll. Bring your bag lunch and we will provide the supplies, music and the Holiday cheer.

To RSVP or for more information, contact the Gilford Parks and Rec Dept. at 527-4722.

International Film Series brings ‘Band’s Visit’

LACONIA — The Laconia Human Relations Committee in cooperation with the Laconia Public Library shows the film The Band's Visit, Monday, December 1 at 6:45 p.m.
The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra, consisting of eight men, arrives in Israel from Egypt. They wear sky-blue uniforms with gold braid on the shoulders, dismount from a bus in the middle of nowhere and stand uncertainly on the sidewalk. They have been booked by an Arab Cultural Center and their leader, a severe man with a perpetually dour expression, crosses the street and asks the woman for directions to the Arab Cultural Center. She looks at him as if he stepped off a flying saucer.
Through a miscommunication the band takes a bus to Bet Hatikva, a fictional town in the middle of the Negev Desert. There is no transportation out of the city that day, and there are no hotels for them to spend the night in. The band members dine at a small restaurant where the owner, Dina invites them to stay the night at her apartment, at her friends' apartment, and in the restaurant. That night challenges all of the characters.
The Band's Visit is both a clever, subtle slice-of-life comedy, and poignant cross-cultural exploration with an Egyptian band and an Israeli desert commune. According to Roger Ebert, this 2007 film provides an interlude of life between Arabs and Israelis as ordinary people with ordinary hopes, lives, and disappointments.
The Laconia International Film Series is open free to everyone. Brief informal discussion follows the film. Light snacks are provided. Feel free to bring a cushion for comfort in viewing the movie. For more information, contact Len Campbell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Carol Pierce at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..