Art & Nature Camp at Tannery Pond, July 2011
It has become trite to even suggest that our future is our children. Clearly that is the case; it will be those younger than ourselves who will carry on when we are no longer here. They are, indeed, our future.
Woody and Elise Widlund, who envisioned the Tannery Pond Community Center and who footed the bill for the building, understood this. They are themselves the proud parents of three children: Wendy, Heather and Eben. Eben and his wife Chris just recently gave birth to a daughter, Aida; Woody and Elise’s third grandchild.
One of the first children’s programs at Tannery Pond was “Ed and Ned” (Brian Chevalier and Neal Herr) who had developed an interactive musical “Adirondack Kids” which brought “hare-brained woodsmen, ghost stories, logger lifestyles, river riding, hermits and hunters to life using scatter-shot humor, original music and bald-faced lies.”
Later that summer, in 2002, local children were introduced to theater skills — including reading monologues, learning stage directions, and performing skits — under the tutelage of instructor Christy Carson Hanshaw. Hanshaw had been sponsored by the local Our Town Theatre Group and invited to North Creek from Oklahoma City by Lyle Dye with whom she had worked while still a teenager herself. Hanshaw operates Stagestruck Studio in Oklahoma and several of her students have gone on to theater and TV roles.
When “A Celtic Music Celebration” came to Tannery Pond for a concert and dance, they also held a free children’s workshop to share with local children their love for the bagpipe, harmonica, guitar, tin whistle — and clog dancing.
Other youth musical instruction at Tannery Pond has included the violin, ballet, modern dance, folk dancing and jazz.
The Cheerful Crickets pre-school used the facilities at Tannery Pond from 2003 until the group dissolved in 2010.
An “After School Art Club” for children has run for eight weeks every spring. The “Art and Nature Camp” in the summer has featured children’s instruction in drawing and sketching, painting, wacky bird sculptures, papermaking, T-shirt printing, snow globes, sock puppets and more.
“Teenagers Only!”, sponsored by the Tannery Pond Community Center Association, was established soon after Tannery Pond opened. The program runs from September to early June every year and provides a non-alcoholic environment for local teens to socialize in. Attendance averages about 55, but has run as high as 100 in any given event. Most come from Johnsburg, but they are joined by teens from Newcomb, North Warren, Minerva and Indian Lake — as well as several home-schooled teens. With the exception of a $5 charge for a tubing party at the Ski Bowl and $10 for a paintball event, all events have been free. The music and having a place to gather has proven very popular. There are 16 to 17 events each school year. Dances are the core activity, chaperoned by some of the parents of these teens or volunteers. Most popular has been the Jonathan Newell Band and Jason’s DJ Service. Themed events have included a special Hawaiian Luau Dance where teens were encouraged to wear loud Hawaiian shirts. “Battle of the Band Nights” featuring musical acts of two or more teens ages 3 to 19 are regular hits.
Coffee House Open Mic Nights are a unique opportunity for local teens to showcase their own talent. It is often standing room only when many regulars, as well as new acts, perform a dazzling variety of music, vocals, poetry, comedy, drama — acts so well put together one has to marvel at the local talent. In 2004, a “poetry slam” with Steve Tomb was quite successful with teens encouraged to read alone or in groups sometimes accompanied by guitars, sitars and bongos. Also welcomed have been musicians who might like to read their poem as a song. Movie Night at Tannery Pond has included a “Monty Python Festival.” Many local eateries — Café Sarah, McDonald’s, and Nice and Easy — have all helped with refreshments.
Next Week: “The Arts at Tannery Pond”