01/13/14 7:00am
01/13/2014 7:00 AM
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Colin Palmer as King Richard at the Northeast Stage 30th anniversary party Friday.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Colin Palmer as King Richard at the Northeast Stage 30th anniversary party Friday.

“It went like a feather flying through the air — so fast.”

That’s how actress Peg Murray described the past three decades for local theater group Northeast Stage, which celebrated its 30th anniversary Friday night with a Masquerade Gala and fundraiser at Brecknock Hall in Greenport. (more…)

12/10/13 4:28pm
12/10/2013 4:28 PM
KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | Northeast Stage company actors rehearse "Romeo and Juliet" in August 2011.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | Northeast Stage company actors rehearse “Romeo and Juliet” in August 2011.

To commemorate three decades of bringing local theater to the North Fork, Northeast Stage will host a 30th Anniversary Masquerade Gala and Fundraiser at Brecknock Hall mansion in Greenport early next year.

The Jan. 10, 2014 gala will feature live music from George Cork Maul, dancing and performances by Northeast Stage company members, and local food, spirits and goods.

Company founder and Tony Award-winning actress Peg Murray will be the gala’s guest of honor.

The organization is soliciting locally-crafted masquerade masks to put up for public auction, as well as Chinese auction items. Masks can be contributed up through Jan. 4, 2014, with 50 percent of the proceeds benefiting the mask makers themselves.

Proceeds from the event will be used to fund productions in the company’s 2014 season and beyond, including the free summer Shakespeare in the Park productions at Greenport’s Mitchell Park, a theater spokesperson said in a press release.

The event is being sponsored by Brecknock Hall, First & South, Stop & Shop, J. Shields Fine Wines, IGA, JET’s Dream, Osprey’s Dominion, and the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce.

Tickets cost $30 in advance, $40 at the door, and are $15 for students with a valid student ID.

For more information, click here or call (631) 477-2972.

07/14/2013 2:30 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Artist Jeffrey Grippin with his bench “Orbit, Tide, And Time.”

Most artists would faint at the thought of someone sitting on their work, but those featured in the new exhibit at Peconic Landing’s outdoor sculpture garden don’t mind if guests use their masterpieces as a resting spot. In fact, they encourage it.

That’s because their pieces of artistic genius are, in fact, benches.

This summer the three-year-old permanent outdoor sculpture garden at the Peconic Landing retirement community is presenting a new exhibition called “The Rest is Art: A Celebration of the Bench as an Art Form.”

Curator Dominic Antignano said the concept stemmed from some very straightforward thinking.

“The exhibit was born out of a simple idea,” he said at the opening gala on Sunday, June 30. “We had no place to sit and no one was going to pay for benches!

“In all seriousness, though, we had lots of beautiful artwork, but we needed fewer larger pieces and more seating.”

The result was functionality meeting creativity.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Benches made from snowboards and decorated by students from Mattituck High School.

The display features artistically designed benches created by artists from around the world, whose works were selected by members of the Peconic Landing resident art committee. Seven benches from six artists were chosen to be displayed in the garden, on the grounds of historic Brecknock Hall.

One of the featured artists is Steven Ceraso of Bay Shore, who teaches woodworking at the 3rd Ward school in Brooklyn. Mr. Ceraso used a piece of “live edge” lumber for his bench, meaning that he incorporated the natural edge of the wood in his design. This choice resulted in the “Ailanthus Bench,” a simple bench that highlights the wood’s natural state.

“It’s different to make furniture from a fine arts background,” Mr. Ceraso said at the gala. “Ailanthus wood is unique because it’s an invasive species in urban areas like Brooklyn and Queens, so there’s a question of what to do with it there. I like that I turned a problem into … not a problem, by repurposing the material.”

Artist Nico Yektai also created a traditional wooden bench — but his had a slightly different twist.

Mr. Yektai is a professional furniture designer for his own company. His bench for the sculpture garden is one of his first outdoor pieces.

His creation, entitled “Bench #2,” features a huge slab of mahogany as the seat of the bench and a smaller piece as the backrest. Concrete blocks attach the pieces together and also serve as the legs.

“I wanted to use concrete because it doesn’t care about the elements of nature,” Mr. Yekai said as he pointed to the grass surrounding the concrete supports and a bug crawling up one of them.

Jeffrey Grippin, a former bridge builder from upstate New York, created a piece that looks as much like sculpture as furniture.

Mr. Grippin, who owns as welding shop, created his piece from rough-cut hemlock and welded pieces of steel. The bench of hemlock is a square shape and surrounds a large sculpture of an armillary sphere, a framework of rings that serves as a model for objects in the sky. It is positioned to point due north.

“Everything I do is so practical, so I was just thinking of a bench, but my son said that I had to let go and get more creative,” Mr. Grippin said.

His piece has a nautical theme, with sculpted designs like an anchor, clock, star and planet decorating the supports between the bench and the ground.

In addition to the selected professional artists, benches created by Mattituck High School students are also part of the exhibit.

The students designed benches using snowboards during art class, under the direction of art teacher Dina Rose, and applied to be included in the show with the rest of the artists. Six student benches were selected.

Recent graduate Alexandra Kluko painted her bench in a winter theme, with ice blue snowflakes.

“My family has a cabin in Vermont, and I just love the snow and winter,” Ms. Kluko said about how she chose to design the piece. “Also, when I was making it, it was really hot out, so I imagined how nice it would be if it was wintertime.”

The partnership between the high school students and Peconic Landing was well received, and the art committee ended up organizing a $250 scholarship to be used in the school’s art program.

“It was all about the artists to me, the high school ones, too,” Mr. Antignano said.

Next year, the art board hopes to extend the show by bringing the benches into parts of the community.

In addition to the new benches, there are 10 other sculptures in the garden as part of the Living Gallery Collection.

The sculpture garden is open for self-guided tours daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Oct. 31 on the grounds of Brecknock Hall.

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07/03/13 2:30pm
07/03/2013 2:30 PM
COURTESY PHOTO |

COURTESY PHOTO | Joseph Tandy and Tara Buczak, both Air Force veterans from Mattituck, will have a free wedding at Brecknock Hall in Greenport this Veteran’s Day.

A country-chic wedding is in the works for a Mattituck couple, both active members of the armed services, this year’s winners of Peconic Landing’s third annual Veteran’s Day Wedding Giveback.

Joseph Tandy and Tara Buczak, both serving in the Air Force, are busy planning their November nuptials after being named the winners of a contest rewarding deserving couples that have served or continue to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces by providing a free wedding at historic Brecknock Hall building in Greenport around Veterans Day.

“Before I was deployed my mom and I looked at Brecknock Hall and I fell in love with it,” Ms. Buczak said. “I thought we couldn’t afford it. We are so happy.”

The bride-to-be said she’s already picked out the theme.

“We are very country,” she said, explaining that the couple got engaged while listening to country music and watching the sunset over a field in Mattituck.

“I just knew he was the one,” she said. “I can’t imagine life without him.”

Seven years earlier the couple barely knew each other, despite graduating from Mattituck High School just a year a part.

Sparks began to fly in 2007 when Ms. Buczak, a senior airman, attended St. John’s University and worked at Legends Restaurant in New Suffolk.

“We would talk when he came into the restaurant, but then he left for basic training and I thought that was that,” she said.

In August 2008 Ms. Buczak got the surprise of her life when Mr. Tandy, now a staff sergeant, walked into Legends in his uniform and ask her out on their first date.

“I’ll never forget it,” she said. “He just got home from basic training in Texas wearing his military blues. He was trying to impress me. It worked!”

The couple has been inseparable since. Last year. They were deployed to Afghanistan together, along with Mr. Tandy’s younger brother, Michael. Their service bought them all closer as a family, she said.

“Even on days when I was nervous I knew he was there,” Ms. Buczak said.

In Afghanistan, their mission was to support helicopters flying casualty evacuations. Their efforts saved 85 lives.

They returned to Mattituck in February 2013 and are currently full-time technicians at the 106th Rescue Wing in Westhampton Beach. Ms. Buczak is an aviation resources manager and Mr. Tandy is a jet engine mechanic.

A panel of Peconic Landing resident veterans unanimously chose the couple as this year’s recipients.

“Peconic Landing is proud to be a part of the Veterans Day wedding for a third year,” said facility president and CEO Bob Syron. “The contest is especially meaningful to Peconic Landing because so many of our residents are veterans and the wedding is a great opportunity to give back to those brave individuals who serve our country.”

The wedding will take place Sunday, Nov. 10, the day before Veterans Day. The supporting sponsors encompass a wide array of wedding services, all donated to the bride and groom in appreciation for their service to their country.

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05/17/13 6:00pm
05/17/2013 6:00 PM

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | A Greenport art student works with local sculptor Arden Scott during a workshop at Brecknock Hall last week.

In the expansive dining room of the stone mansion that is Brecknock Hall, 18 fourth-grade students sit at plastic tables, their small hands constructing sculptures out of little but construction paper and their imaginations.

At one table, an older hand, wizened by age, reaches for a multicolored pipe cleaner and gently secures it around a rectangular piece of paper one girl has fashioned to stand upright, like a tall building.

“Now your skyscraper has some decoration,” the person with the older hands tells the student, who beams.

This was the scene last week when students from Lisa Baglivi’s art class at Greenport Elementary School visited Brecknock Hall, on the grounds of the Peconic Landing lifecare community, to create paper sculptures under the guidance of five local artists for the first-ever Brecknock Art Project, organized by Peconic Landing’s cultural arts coordinator, Dominic Antignano.

“It was all about [creating] something intercommunity and intergenerational,” said Mr. Antignano, who created the program to inspire local children through contact with established area artists. “If one or two of these 18 students gets inspired, that’s a home run.”

The artists participating in the program were Robert Strimban and Arden Scott, both of Greenport, and Peconic Landing residents Fay Moore, Doris Hock and Jean Shaw.

“I love children’s art,” said Mr. Strimban, an 89-year-old World War II veteran who worked as an illustrator for publications like the New York Times and Esquire magazine. “While they’re young they express themselves in a very individual way, more so than when they get older. A lot of children’s art is very charming. It’s very inventive. I love to see them work and I love their work.”

Ms. Baglivi’s students enjoyed working under the supervision of the celebrated artists, too.

“She has a big heart,” Nicole Gomez said of Ms. Hock, whose artwork focuses on nature. The 10-year-old from Greenport said Ms. Hock had suggested adding lots of color to her project, a house with a pipe cleaner flag.

“She told me it would look nice if I changed it a little bit, and I did,” Nicole said. “I think Long Island is a beautiful place, so there’s beautiful people here.”

Some students said they needed no external encouragement to construct their projects, crafted primarily of construction paper, pipe cleaners and glue.

“I’m just inspiring myself,” said 10-year-old Ayda Terry.

Where does she get that inspiration?

“From my head and my heart,” the Greenport girl said.

“I’m amazed at their sophistication,” said Ms. Scott, a sculptor who has lived in Greenport since 1978. She taught some of the students how to make their sculptures stand on their own. “For fourth-graders, they have one good art teacher,” she said.

“They all seemed to have their own idea of where to go,” added Ms. Shaw, who owned an art gallery in Sag Harbor.

Ms. Baglivi, who has taught K-12 art in Greenport for 10 years, said she was proud of her students.

“We can learn from each other,” she said. “I think it’s awesome.”

Each of the local artists expressed enthusiasm about participating in future art projects at Brecknock Hall.

“Oh, the children are just so outgoing and lovely,” said Ms. Moore, a painter. “I wish I could spend another week with them.”

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11/13/12 12:27pm
11/13/2012 12:27 PM

CAROLINE ROCCHETTA PHOTO | As the sun sets over the Sound, Susana Andrade and Justin Abbey share a kiss following their Veterans Day wedding.

Two active service soldiers in the U.S. Army, including a Southold native, were wed at Brecknock Hall in Greenport on Veterans Day as the second couple chosen for Peconic Landing’s Veterans Day Wedding Giveback.

The groom, Justin Abbey of Southold, married Susana Andrade of California. Both enlisted in 2009 and met during specialty training in Alabama. They started dating while stationed in South Korea. They became engaged on July 20.

Peconic Landing created the veterans wedding giveback last year as a special thank you to those in military service. The couple chosen receives a full wedding, from flowers to catering, at no cost to them.

“We’re committed to being good neighbors, said Peconic Landing president and CEO Robert Syron. “This initiative  was inspired by the fact that so many of our residents are veterans.”

The groom is an E4 specialist training to become a Black Hawk helicopter pilot. The bride is an E5 sergeant and an FAA-certified air traffic controller. Both have received several medals for their service and both will begin a tour of duty in Afghanistan early next summer.

Photos by Caroline Rocchetta

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