05/24/14 12:00pm
05/24/2014 12:00 PM
Spelling bee champion Sarah Bowe, center, with second-place winner Beth Motschenbacher, right and third-place winner Carol Cryzwinski. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Spelling bee champion Sarah Bowe, center, with second-place winner Beth Motschenbacher, right and third-place winner Carol Cryzwinski. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

The first-ever spelling bee was held at the Jamesport Meeting House on May 23 and it was a smashing success.

Nearly two dozen people of all ages took part in the competition, which will benefit the upkeep and restoration of the historic Meeting House.

Sarah Bowe took home the trophy for first place, followed by Beth Motschenbacher in second and Carol Cryzwinski in third.

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04/24/14 10:08am
04/24/2014 10:08 AM

Words in next month’s spelling bee at Jamesport Meeting House will range from middle-school difficulty through adult level. Above are winning words from the National Spelling Bee. (Credit: Danielle Doll)

Blame it on the alcohol.

Phil Cardinale, an attorney and former Riverhead Town supervisor, was eating spaghetti and drinking merlot at Grana in Jamesport two weeks ago when his friends and fellow diners, Steve and Ellen Berger, told him they were hosting a first-ever community spelling bee May 23 to benefit the upkeep and restoration of the historic Jamesport Meeting House.  (more…)

01/06/14 8:00am
01/06/2014 8:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Jamesport Meeting House,

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Jamesport Meeting House,

Leaders of the Jamesport Meeting House stated its next top priority to restore the historic Main Road building, as the organization hopes to tackle the lecture room wing, “which sorely needs rejuvenation.”

Richard Wines, president of the nonprofit overseeing the restoration, said at the end of last year that the wing on the east side of the building — added in 1898 to the original structure, which went up in 1731 — has interior work that needs to be done namely on the ceiling and floor. Falling and frayed tiles are at the top of the room, while frayed carpets are at the bottom.

“Our goal is to make this room as beautiful as the rest of the building,” he said, adding that over the past year, the yard was re-graded and re-seeded, and an irrigation system was installed.  Mike Hubbard also made a number of improvements to update an electrical system that dates to the 1920s.

Jamesport Meeting House Preservation Trust, according to its website, aims to “keep the Meeting House in community hands and once again make it available for community use.”

The Meeting House is the East End’s oldest religious structure and the oldest building in Riverhead, according to a history written by Mr. Wines, who is also the chairman of the town’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

10/25/13 2:54pm
10/25/2013 2:54 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Jamesport Meeting House will be hosting a free concert tomorrow.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Jamesport Meeting House will be hosting a free concert tomorrow.

A free concert will be held on Saturday at the Jamesport Meeting House at 8 p.m. to raise awareness about drug addiction and to honor the memory of Samantha Dittmeier, a 23-year-old Mattituck woman who died of a heroin overdose in January.

“We’re going to share music, which I think is impactful and inspiring, and at the same time try and touch someone — whether it’s someone struggling with addiction or someone who knows someone struggling with addiction,” said Stefano DiBenedetto, a Mattituck music manager organizing the event.

Saturday evening’s concert will feature performances by Long Island singer and songwriter Cass Dillon and contemporary Christian pop singer Natasha Owens. Both artists are managed by Mr. DiBenedetto. who said he has worked with the likes of Billy Joel, Joan Jett and Linkin Park.

Mr. DiBenedetto, who is friends with Ms. Dittmeier’s mother, Karen Allars, described Ms. Dittmeier as someone who “lit up” whatever room she walked in to.

“The cloud of addiction had been hanging over her head and it was something she did not have control over,” he said of Ms. Dittmeier. “We want people to know that they don’t have to hide. There is help. And if addiction is dealt with early and properly, people can live normal lives and be free.”

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09/23/12 7:55am
09/23/2012 7:55 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Richard Miller (left), a Doctor of Music Theory at Columbia University, and Jason Ennis of New York City during a master class at the Jamesport Meeting House Saturday afternoon.

The sweet sounds of samba and boss nova music filled the Jamesport Meeting House Saturday as it hosted a guitar festival that opened with a master class by Jason Ennis of New York City and Richard Miller, a Doctor of Music Theory at Columbia University, both virtuosos in seven-string Brazilian guitar rhythms and melodies.

Mr. Miller said Brazilian music “combines all the best; incredible melodies of Portuguese heritage, Italian opera heritage and the extensive melodies and hypnotic groove of African influence with rich harmonies of the jazz tradition. On top of it all it has lyrics that are true poetry.”

The meeting room is a classic concert hall in shape and size, according to board member Richard Wines.

“It is a shoe box shape-twice as long as it is wide and has a twenty-foot high ceiling with pressed tin on it,” he said. The pressed tin ceiling was probably added about a hundred years ago, Mr. Wines added. Before that the room was open to the rafters.

East End Arts music teacher Stan Wright of Riverhead sat in the back of the room and commented that he had played in the meeting house before but never listened from the back of the room.

“The acoustics in here are perfect,” he said. “It sounds great.”

The festival was organized by Peter Susser of South Jamesport, a Meeting House board member who also serves on the concert program committee. He teaches music at Columbia University and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and is a colleague of Mr. Miller. He said guitars “bring people together and it’s a good multi-faceted event.”

At the master class, the attendees learned about the basic rhythms, beats and melodies of Brazilian Samba and got tips on playing in that style. After that they were free to view handmade custom guitars on display by Bill Bonanzinga of Bay Shor, and some antique instruments owned by Rothman Guitars of Southold. Mr. Bonanzinga has been making custom guitars for 21 years.

At 4 p.m. an open mic-style style guitar recital featured four guitarist performing blues, jazz, folk and percussive finger styleby Bruce MacDonald of Jamesport, Peter Berely of South Jamesport, David Thompson of Mt. Sinai and Joshua Owens of Brooklyn.

The evening concert featured an energizing and romantic classical and jazz repertoire from Brazil on two seven-string guitars. Mr. Miller and Mr. Ennis are world-renowned performers of Choro de Manha music, a Brazilian version of ragtime that is the root of samba and bossa nova and considered by many to be the “soul” of Brazilian music. The two performed pieces by renown Brazilian composers, including Heitor Villa-Lobos and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

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