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On Sunday June 4, the smell of buttery popcorn filled the air at the Garde Arts Center in New London, Connecticut. With the hit movie Denial playing at 3:00pm there was much planning to be done. Before the show started the sponsors of the show set up trays for a social afterwards containing crackers, cheese and grapes. The film was being sponsored by the members of the 23rd Annual International Film Fest of Eastern Connecticut,  which is through the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut.

While the sponsors, who are part of the 23rd Annual International Film Fest of Eastern Connecticut were setting these up, a table for the Solomon Schecter Academy, a Jewish Day school associated with Temple Beth El. With photos showcasing student activities from gardening to basketball, some parents were checking out the school for their own children to possibly attend by walking away with information about the schools mission and information regarding registration.

Other than the patrons admiring the Solomon Schecter Academy, some were asking about future events like Damien Escobar, Michale McDonald, and Garrison Keillor. Several patrons who were parents were looking at the advertisements for Summer on Stage where performances of Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, and Beauty Lou and the Country Beast are going to be performed. Through the Missoula Children’ Theater, Summer on Stage at the Garde has become a tradition for many families, with patrons of the Garde looking to make it a tradition for their own.

After patrons finished buying their tickets, the lights dimmed leading many patrons to enter the theater. Once the lights came on the stage a member of the festival came on stage to thank Steve and Jeanne Sigel, volunteers, staff, and board members for sponsoring the festival. Going into further detail announcing how they pick their movies by viewing several of them he started to talk about the movie. By explaining the true story behind the movie Denial about Deborah Lipstadt being sued for libel by Holocaust Denial David Irving and how it affects them all. Showing the movie is a truly brutal reminder of Holocaust denial being a real thing, yet he spoke about a recent trip he made to Germany. He was able to make the connection by showing that Germans have confronted the terrible crime of the Third Reich and the importance of keeping the history of the Holocaust in schools for the very reason of the Shoah never happening again. When he stepped off the stage there was applause with the movie starting to play.

Once the triumphant film was over patrons headed into the lobby to enjoy the reception and discuss the movie they had seen. While enjoying refreshments several patrons remarked on how well the movie was done. Touching on the real life event of an educated woman willing to take on a man trying to distort history seemed to resonate well with the audience. In the end, the Garde Arts made it a memorable event for many citizens of New London County with the grim reminder of the horror of the Holocaust.

Robert Cray Band

Robert Cray Band

Up until Friday May 26, 2017, I had never heard of the Robert Cray Band. HowImage result for robert cray band tourever, when I arrived at the Garde Arts Center in New London, Connecticut for the show I found out who he was. With many anxious patrons waiting in the box office lobby to enter inside to pick up their T-shirts and CD’s; while The Wolf 102.3, a local radio station, set up a game for patrons to play as they entered.

Once the doors opened many patrons flooded inside the theater waiting for the show to start. However, many patrons were interested in upcoming shows at the Garde like Garrison Keiler and Michael McDonald. There were some parents there who were interested in the Summer Theater Program where shows like Beauty Lou and the Country Beast, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Cinderella are going to be performed.

With many anxious patrons it was no shock when the lights dimmed for the opening act. After Steve Sigel gave a warm welcome to the audience, the opening act came on. John Fries came to the stage where he entertained many members with his music. After he finished, intermission came with many people taking photos with him in the lobby. During intermission, the was much buzz in the lobby. With the upstairs bar opened, patrons playing the game set up by The Wolf 102.3, which is a wheel that points to a prize, and several patrons purchasing souvenirs nothing was short of stopping the night from happening.

When the lights, finally, flickered to announce The Robert Cray Band was going to come on stage everyone hurried right back into the theater. When the lights dimmed there was applause to the band, who have visited the Garde at least three times before. The moment Robert Cray stepped onstage with his band the audience could not stop having a good time. There were many patrons who were dancing in the aisles while others moved back and forth in their seat. Robert Cray interacted with the audience thanking them for coming out and introducing the members of his band while making many guitar changes.

With all the excitement from the audience, time flew by with the show ending to a standing ovation. Followed by a fantastic encore it seemed as though no one wanted to leave the Garde. When The Robert Cray Band took their final bow many patrons started to head out of the theater, but not without talking about how wonderful the show was. Known for his classic blues music intertwined with a bit of rock and country, I now know who The Robert Cray Band is and I sure won’t forget the name .