Enjoy Latkes and Hanukkah Treats at Temple Beth Shalom

On Fri., Dec. 1, Temple Beth Shalom will welcome the entire Melrose community for an open house and evening of family fun. This event will begin at 6:45pm, following the tree-lighting during the citywide Home for the Holidays festivities.

The Temple will serve potato pancakes and doughnuts, traditional Hanukkah foods cooked in oil, which represent the miracle that Hanukkah celebrates—that a tiny jug of oil, enough for only one day, kept the sacred lamp at the Temple in Jerusalem lit for eight days and nights.

Games such as dreidel, a gambling game with a spinning top, which will give children an opportunity to win chocolate Hanukkah gelt (money), will be offered, as well music and other family activities.

This year, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Dec. 12, ending at sundown on Dec. 20.

The Temple is located at 21 East Foster St., Melrose. For more information, follow us on Facebook, visit the Temple’s web site at tbsma.org or call 781-665-4520.


Enjoy a “Polar Landscape” this Weekend!

The Polymnia Choral Society’s Winter Concert, “Polar Landscape,” will be performed on December 2, 7:30 p.m., at the First Parish Congregational Church, 1 Church Street in Wakefield.

Music Director Murray Kidd has created a concert program of varied musical works from classical and pop genres with a recurring theme of peace, brotherhood, and love. Secular pieces by composers Bob Dylan, Brian Tate, and Gjeillo are balanced by songs more spiritual in tone, representing various religions and cultures, including “Hine Ma Tov,” “A Celtic Blessing,” “Non Nobis Domine,” and “Pie Jesu.”

Two soloists, bass-baritone Donald Wilkinson, and Kerrigan Bigelow, winner of Polymnia’s Spotlight on High School Talent will be featured. Donald Wilkinson will sing “Quia Fecit Mihi Magna” from Magnificat by J.S. Bach and “The Three Kings” by Peter Cornelius. Mr. Wilkinson has made a distinguished career as a soloist and conductor and performs in classical and contemporary operas, oratorios, and recitals. Donald Wilkinson has appeared with the symphony orchestras of Boston, Pittsburg, Jacksonville, Springfield, Portland (ME), and Vermont, and has been praised by The New York Times for his “outstanding solo work.”

Kerrigan Bigelow has been singing since she was a little girl. She plays the piano and the organ and is now the assistant music minister to two youth choirs and a high school soloist for the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston. Kerrigan has placed with distinction in several competitions in addition to Polymnia’s Spotlight on High School Talent. Recently, she participated in the Washington National Youth Opera program as well as the Cremona Music Festival in Italy. Her solo pieces for the “Polar Landscape” program include “Pie Jesu” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and “Only In Sleep” by Eriks Ešenvalds.

In addition to serious and sacred works, “Polar Landscape” will delight one and all with joyful music appropriate to the season of fun and surprise. Rather than ending the concert with a traditional Carol Sing, the audience will be encouraged to participate with the chorus for several well-known carols interspersed among other works on the program.

A Day of Holiday Spirit!

On the afternoon of December 2nd, the town of Wakefield will celebrate the season with its Holiday Stroll. Activities abound, including a Chili Contest, a Hat Parade with the Wakefield High School Marching Band, Horse-Drawn Carriages, and many surprises for children as well.
Start your afternoon in Wakefield Square for fun, food, and shopping and end it at First Parish Congregational Church (The Stone Church by the lake) with an evening of music from the lighthearted to the sublime.

Concert Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, $15 for students, $5 for children under 12 and are available at Miter Biter Frame Company, 479 Main Street, Melrose; Smith’s Drug Store, 390 Main Street, Wakefield; or at www.polymnia.org

Melrose Open Studios Tour on December 3

Melrose takes its next step forward as a regional cultural destination with a December 3 inauguration of the Melrose Open Studio Tour. A rich assortment of the City’s visual artists and craftspeople will open their studios to the community, providing opportunities to view art, interact with local artists, and observe artists’ working spaces, in what is expected to become an annual event.

Nicknamed “MOST,” the Melrose Open Studio Tour will take place on that Sunday, the day after Home for the Holidays, between the hours of 11:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. It will feature 18 locations and more than thirty artists across Melrose. A one-page map will be available closer to the event at the following Main Street locales: Follow Your Art, Hourglass Gift Gallery, and Miter Biter. It will also be available for download from the event’s web page, www.MelroseOpenStudios.org, and Facebook site.

Not so much a “tour” as an open house, the event will provide the public with the ability to chose the artists they want to visit from a diverse array of painters, sculptors, photographers, fiber artists, jewelers, woodworkers, graphic artists, printmakers, and more. In many cases, the artists’ tools and materials will be on display alongside finished works. Artwork may be available for purchase, but, as participating artist Catherine Bertulli pointed out, “This is primarily my opportunity to share what’s most important to me on a day-to-day basis with my neighbors, and one that I’ve looked forward to for many years.”

The goal, according to organizer Demi Dubois, is to “broaden the public’s exposure to, and appreciation of, finished works of art as well as the art-making process. This exposure both educates the community and enhances its enjoyment of the diverse artistic talent in Melrose.” Demi, a former Chair of the Melrose Cultural Council, has been a long-time advocate of integrating the arts and music into the daily lives of Melrose citizens. She held meetings in October with contemporary painter Ellen Rolli and fiber artist Alanna Nelson to consider an Open Studios event for next year. Within two weeks, they had signed on enough artists and local businesses to launch the event in 2017. Seed money has also been made available thanks to a grant from the Melrose Messina Fund for the Arts and sponsorship from Forestdale Park, a new assisted living and memory support community opening in early 2018.

Nearby communities like Somerville, Cambridge, and Medford have had similar events for years, and this year Melrose will join their ranks by displaying and sharing its rich artistic culture. Further information, and the opportunity to sign up for updates, is available at the website, www.MelroseOpenStudios.org.

Shop Local: Keep Melrose Strong

By Mayor Robert J. Dolan and Lauren Grymek, Executive Director of the Melrose Chamber of Commerce

Melrose may be one of the hottest real estate markets in the country, but it’s still a place where you can walk into a store and the owner will greet you by name, where the staff at your favorite coffee place knows how you like your coffee, and where business owners go the extra mile for their customers.

One of the best things about Melrose is that it isn’t just a place where people live, it’s a place where people work and shop. Whether you need a birthday cake, a holiday outfit, or a new web design, you can get it here. And that’s why it’s important that you patronize local businesses, for large purchases and small.

That’s getting easier to do: Over the past several years we have seen many new businesses open and thrive in our community. We have made improvements to our business districts, including Melrose Highlands and Cedar Park, and added parking in the central downtown lot, to make it easier than ever before to dine, shop, and do business in Melrose.

Having strong business districts means we can get much of what we need close to home, from groceries to specialty goods. And there’s more to it than mere convenience: Our local businesses not only provide us with necessary goods and services, they also support our community organizations, such as the Melrose Symphony and the Melrose Public Schools, by displaying flyers, selling tickets, donating raffle items, and sponsoring events. Our businesses are an essential part of the fabric of this community.

In order for this to continue in the future, we must support our local businesses as they support us. That means keeping it local. When we choose to dine in Melrose, when we choose to buy our holiday gifts in Melrose, we are choosing to keep our city vibrant. Our business districts thrive because you shop there.

Do you shop local? If not, please do so this holiday season—and all year round. Go to a local business, introduce yourself, and buy something, or treat yourself to a meal in one of our excellent restaurants. You will be greeted with a smile, excellent service, and a quality product—and at the same time, you will be making your community stronger.
Have a great holiday season, Melrose! We all have much to be thankful for.

Phase One of Bellevue Island is Complete!

In partnership with the City of Melrose, LCM PLUS, has adopted Bellevue Park located on Bellevue Ave to make it more usable and enjoyable for the community.

Phase One of the project has recently been completed and includes a beautiful new stone wall, walkways, a sitting area, new landscaping, lighting and irrigation system. Phase 2 will begin in Spring 2018 with the planting of plants and flowers to provide additional beauty and color to the park.

LCM PLUS will also donate their time and labor to the upkeep of this park on an on-going basis to the City of Melrose.

“We are thrilled that Phase 1 of this project is now complete. It was great to see the the park come together so nicely. Special thanks to the Mayor and the City of Melrose for their ongoing support. We look forward to completing Phase 2 in the spring.” says Joe Guarino, owner and President of LCM PLUS.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have partners in the local community like LCM Plus. Joe and his staff have gone above and beyond to make this a beautiful area for passive recreation. His generous donation of materials and labor for this project, as well as the holiday lights at City Hall, are greatly appreciated by myself and the entire community,” added Mayor Rob Dolan.

Established in 1986, LCM PLUS is a licensed builder and landscaping firm headquartered in Melrose, MA. With over 30 years of experience, they have serviced clients from Southern New Hampshire, all the way down to Cape Cod. Services include landscaping, masonry, irrigation, holiday lighting, creative outdoor living and much, much more. Visit LCMPLUS.com or call (781) 662-0883 to learn more.

Opening Reception for Holiday Exhibit at the Beebe Estate on December 1

Please add the Beebe Estate Gallery to your plans for this Friday Evening, Dec. 1 for a display of fine art by four noted local artists: Dixie Clark, Luke Volpe, Chris Riccardi and Ed Rice, CFX. The Opening Reception is 7-9 PM and open to the public, light refreshments will be served. This is a chance to meet the artists and see the newly restored and repainted Beebe Estate. One of our true historic landmarks! The address is 235 West Foster. Additional gallery hours will be Saturdays in December 2, 9 and 16th, from 11 AM to 3 PM.

DIXIE CLARK, noted local and Northshore painter, was instrumental in the renovation and repurposing of the Beebe Estate when it was turned over to the City of Melrose around 2000. She created the art exhibits which have continued every month since that time. These have been a great resource to artists to display their work in a lovely setting, and adds an artistic backdrop for the many rental events at Beebe.

LUKE VOLPE, a long time Melrose resident, and dedicated watercolor and oil painter is well known for his beautiful work in many homes and settings in our city. He managed the Beebe Exhibits for over 5 years and helped maintain this valued community event.

CHRIS RICCARDI spent many years as a teacher of art at the Melrose High School, her work focuses on printmaking and her styles are diverse and creative. She now resides in Newburyport and is pleased to return to see old and new friends.

ED RICE, CFX is well known for his watercolor art, and for his teaching at Malden Catholic High School. He displays his work at Hourglass Gift Gallery Melrose.

Home for the Holidays Begins Friday

The annual Home for the Holidays begins on Friday night! Brought to you by the Melrose Chamber of Commerce and Signature Sponsor Hallmark Health, the weekend’s festivities kick off at the City Hall lawn at 5:45PM on Friday with music by local acoustic duo Main Street News, the annual lighting of the tree with Mayor Dolan and the traditional stroll down Main Street to the YMCA to await the arrival of Santa on the fire truck.

Please walk if you can, as parking will be limited. Main Street will be closed to vehicles from West/East Emerson Street to West/East Foster Street starting at 5:00pm.

Then, the festivities continue throughout Melrose on Saturday with free trolley rides between the various business districts. Businesses, merchants, restaurants, schools and churches will be ready to welcome you with a variety of fairs, performances, sales, specials and tastings. The special holiday trolleys run on Saturday, from 10am – 2pm with the trolleys stopping precisely at 2:00pm. The full schedule of activities and trolley routes map can be found on the Chamber of Commerce’s website: http://melrosechamber.org/happenings/home-for-the-holidays/

Home for the Holidays is sponsored by Hallmark Health System, and the following businesses have generously sponsored the fleet of trolleys this year: The Bill Butler Group at RE/MAX, Cassidy Landscaping, Century 21 Sexton & Donahue, Churchill Corporation, East Boston, Savings Bank, Eastern Bank, The Fitch Home, Gately Funeral Home, Giacomo’s, Gray’s Appliance, Home Instead Senior Care, Honey Dew Donuts, Marty’s Furniture, McLaughlin Insurance & Risk Management, Melrose Bank, Melrose Glass Company, Next Step Health Care, North Shore Elder Law & Estate Planning, RE/MAX Leading Edge,, Robinson Funeral Home, Stearns & Hill’s Bistro and TD Bank. The tree lights and labor have been generously donated by LCM PLUS.