Twenty-six musicians from Darien High School have been chosen through a highly competitive audition process to perform at the Connecticut Music Educators Association Western Region Music Festival in January.

The honors music festival will take place at Staples High School in Westport Jan. 13-14 where the students will have the privilege of playing in the Honors Band, Orchestra, and Chorus, with some of Connecticut’s most accomplished high school musicians conducted by nationally-renowned conductors and educators. Tickets are $10 in advance and are $15 at the door.

The students representing Darien in the Honors Band are Jack Armstrong, Frank Drugge, Benjamin Henry, Cheyenne Li, John Lochtefeld, Kaitlyn Manghirmalani, Celia Mundt, Madison Pomeroy and Evan Tong.

The Darien orchestra students are Sara Baldwin, Elizabeth Garijo-Garde, Catherine O’Connor, Clare Phelps and Anika Satish.

For the Honors Chorus, Samantha Berry, Christopher Conte, Henry Domenici, Ava Ganser, Isabelle Hole, Juliette Kiernan, Caroline Lui, Amalia Madariaga, Caeleigh O’Connor, Caroline Orphanos, Liana Seale and Sophie Talwalkar were chosen

All of the students who participate in the Connecticut Western Region Festival will be eligible to audition for the Connecticut All-State Festival.

The students’ teachers are Christopher Andrade, chorus, Jonathan Grauer, band and Jane Minnis, orchestra.

The Darien Brownie Troop #50665 from Royle Elementary School toured Park Animal Hospital.

Dr. Damian Battersby and Dr. Shelley Skopit taught the second-graders about pet dental health, x-rays and pulse oximetry. Skopit performed a canine acupuncture treatment for the Girl Scouts.

At the end of their visit, Caroline Donnelly, Madeleine Duffy, Caroline Morrison, Tessa Michaelis, Noa Durocher-Pyun, Julianna Harron, Avery Kollar, Bella Zawacki, Campbell Stelben, Julia Desai, Ryann MacColl, Maddie Reiger and Avery Little donated dog food and pet supplies to PAWS.

In December, blood donations decline but the needs of patients remain steady.

To encourage donations, all those who give blood or platelets through Jan. 7 will receive a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

Upcoming donation opportunities:


Dec. 30: 8 a.m. - 1:15 p.m., Trinity St. Michael’s Church, 554 Tunxis Hill Road


Dec. 24: 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Temple Shalom, 259 Richards St.

Dec. 27: 11:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m., Walgreens, 55 Westport Ave.


Dec. 23: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Tully Health Center, 32 Strawberry Hill Court

Dec. 30: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Tully Health Center, 32 Strawberry Hill Court


Dec. 23: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., St. Theresa Parish, 5301 Main St.

Make an appointment to give blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Bankwell invites the community to help spread some extra holiday cheer this season through three collections in Bankwell’s Fairfield County branches.

For Person-to-Person’s “Keeping Warm” annual coat drive, Bankwell is collecting new and gently-used winter outerwear for all ages and sizes to benefit the those in need through Dec. 31.

Drop-off locations:

Bankwell in Norwalk: 370 Westport Ave.

Bankwell in New Canaan: 208 Elm St.

Bankwell in Wilton: 47 Old Ridgefield

Bankwell in Fairfield: One Sasco Hill Road and 2220 Black Rock Turnpike

Bankwell in Stamford: 612 Bedford St.

Jan Dilenschneider, a Darien landscape artist who has championed the cause of preserving the environment in exhibits worldwide, will display her paintings in a new show titled “Paint the Beautiful World” at Stamford’s Palace Theatre.

The show, which will runs through Dec. 31, is in the recently-refurbished Sackler Gallery and in Café Teatro at The Palace Theatre.

For her exhibit at The Palace, the expressionist painter has divided the paintings into themes based on the idea behind the works:

Decalcomania is a series where one surface is painted and then pressed onto or printed onto a second surface, either canvas or aluminum. This gives texture and a haunting mirror image that can be worked on.

Homage to Leaves is themed to help the viewer appreciate the beauty of the everyday leaf.

Reeds, Rivers and Reflections highlights her fascination with the landscape, its colors, variations and the reflections in water.

Dilenschneider, who with her husband, Robert, developed The Janet Hennessey Dilenschneider Scholar Rescue Award in the Arts, which rescues artists and arts scholars from repressive regimes around the world. The award is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE), one of the largest international exchange organizations in the world, and has provided life-saving fellowships that have taken oppressed artists and their families out of danger and allowed them to create and flourish.

The Fairfield Museum invites professional, serious amateur, and student photographers from Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts to participate in the IMAGES 2018 Juried Photography Show.

Submissions will be accepted from Dec. 1 through Jan. 22. IMAGES 2018 provides an excellent opportunity for artists to connect with prominent collectors, gallery owners, fellow photographers, and the public.

A jury of artists, photographers, and curators selects approximately 40 submitted photographs for exhibition in the IMAGES 2018 show, which will be on display at the Fairfield Museum and History Center from March 1 to April 15, 2018.

For rules and details,