Audio Slideshow: Tradition of Minstrelsy Colors Tunbridge Civic Show

Tunbridge — By the end of the 61st annual Tunbridge Civic Club Show, everyone was singing along — even the chickens. “I think that’s a first for animals onstage,” at least recently, said Henry Swayze, the evening’s master of ceremonies. “I think there might have been pigs onstage quite a lot of years ago.” Between the yodeling, clogging and joke telling, audience members got a glimpse of a piece of American history: the old-fashioned minstrel show. These programs of music, dance and comedy began in

Slideshow: Tropical Storm Irene, Then and Now

Locations damaged by Tropical Storm Irene’s Aug. 2011 flooding are shown a year after the event.

Audio Slideshow: Rebels With a Cause

Ten years is a long time to wait for a big break. Dan O’Day, 32, and Brandon Rainer, 30, know this perhaps better than most. The two Lebanon residents have seen their band, the River City Rebels, ride a wave of success to the tip of national renown, only to lose momentum through personnel changes and music industry red tape. It was a price they paid partly for insisting on doing things their way. And regrets, they have a few. They started as rebellious anti-authority

Audio Slideshow: Songs for a Sacred Place

A recent rehearsal of the Veterans Affairs Hospice Chorus Singers, director Mary Lewis Webb held up a small, lime green bowl. She removed the top, revealing an azure blue lining. “Who wants to fill our bowl tonight?” Webb asked the singers, who were seated in a circle in the chapel of the White River Junction hospital, music folders on their laps. Lin Wermager, a dark-haired alto wearing a red sweater, raised her hand. “I’ll fill the bowl tonight with this amazing energy that is in

Audio Slideshow: ‘I’d Like to Say I’m Normal’

For 13 years, Mandy Dube’s family has struggled with the bipolar disorder that triggers her panic or anxiety attacks and depression and causes her to cut herself to ease thoughts of suicide. Dube appeared to be making solid progress a year ago during a long-term stay at Connecticut Valley House, a group home in Claremont for the mentally ill run by the nonprofit West Central Behavioral Health Services. The 21-year-old Newport woman had gone almost 10 months without cutting herself, did chores, and was learning

Audio Slideshow: Who Is That Masked Man?

It’s a simple story, but complicated. Familiar, yet foreign. And like many quests for self-knowledge, it’s fraught with contradictions. Johnathan Recor, a student in Dartmouth’s Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program, is a guy with a broken heart, a young man trying to find his place in the world. That’s the simple, familiar part. The complicated part: Recor has turned his sorrow into a kind of performance art and is playing it out in costume and in public -- on the green at Dartmouth

Audio Slideshow: Serious Barbershop

If they wanted, the Pacht family could just about form its own barbershop group -- Bruce at baritone, his grandson Simon at tenor, his sons Jesse and Orin at bass, his brother Michael at lead. “They’re four parts,” fellow North Country Chordsman Mark Morgan observed recently. “A whole section.” For now, the Pachts are singing the praises of belonging to -- and learning from -- the larger group. “I’m not sure there’s ever a time when barber-shopping isn’t a hoot even when we work really

Audio Slideshow: Where the Kids Eat for Free

Come and get it! Oatmeal, fresh fruit and blueberry muffins by morning. Chicken stir-fry, English-muffin pizzas, summer-squash soup, salads with vegetables from local gardens and farms at lunchtime. All that and more free to kids 18 and younger who stop in at the Bethel School through mid-August. What’s the catch? It comes down to the numbers: Because more than half of the 260 students at Bethel Elementary School and Whitcomb Junior-Senior High School qualified for free or reduced-priced lunches during the 2008-2009 academic year, the

Audio Slideshow: A Family Finds a Home

Todd Farlow won’t go so far as to call Vermont the Promised Land or the Garden of Eden, though Heaven knows the Green Mountain State dresses the part during the emerald height of summer. Still, once he and his wife and their five kids moved here from Ohio early in the new century, they suspected they’d come to the right place -- even after their first winter. “It’s a beautiful state,” Farlow says. “It’s a good place for children, more wide open.” Good enough for

Audio Slideshow: Paul’s Piano

Paul Mason has been playing the piano since he was in the fifth grade. Well, sort of. Mason, 75, has been loading songs into his 1926 Gulbransen upright player-piano for more than six decades. The piano then plays by itself, with a lot of help from Mason, who gets a workout pumping the pedals of the vacuum-powered instrument and moving levers tucked in front of the keys to enhance the sound. “It’s my pride and joy,” says the retired manufacturing engineer and lifelong poet. The