‘Game Shows’ Come to Vermont

December 1, 2011  
Filed under Business

Local performers Jamie Polli, Tim Kavanagh and Bill Moller have created Game Shows VT, marketing live game shows as a team-building tool for local companies and organizations.

Polli hosted the game show “Survey Says!” for more than nine years on public access Channel 15. Kavanagh hosted 100 episodes of the Champlain College collaborative “Late Night Saturday with Tim Kavanagh” on WCAX-TV Channel 3. The trio now takes their game shows on the road to perform “spoofs” tailored to suit the needs of any client, including using industry-specific content. Polli and Kavanagh share hosting duties and Moller manages the show’s effects as well as the company’s website.

The trio will host two Family Feud-style live game shows at this year’s Vermont 50-Plus & Baby Boomers EXPO on Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Sheraton. The Game Shows VT team can create a lively, energetic hour of entertainment for any business or event. Contact phone numbers are: (802) 373-9024 or (802) 999-9029. The website is www.gameshowsvt.com

Signature Style: Statement Pieces for the Holidays

December 1, 2011  
Filed under Blogs

By Sharon Mosley

Iconic shoe designer Donald J Pliner opened his first store in Beverly Hills in 1967 and continues to design much sought after shoes. (Contributed photo)

All I want for Christmas is a gorgeous lace dress, a shiny new pair of boots and a fabulous fur coat … that’s all. Well, there are ways to give yourself the gift of style without going into debt to Santa for years to come.

Let’s just say that you need to keep in mind that basic can be very boring. So instead of being oh-so-practical all the time, this holiday season seek out a signature piece — a unique dress, coat or pair of shoes that is so out of the ordinary you’ll want to wear them every day. And if you do find a show-stopping piece, do the math — that is the cost per wear — sometimes it may be a good time to splurge for the long-term value.

Yes, the Cartier watch, the Hermes handbag or the Chanel jacket can last a lifetime. But you can always take the less expensive route to signature style. Keep your eyes open when you shop the stores and browse online. Go for one great look. Here are a few statement pieces that may get your attention (and everyone else’s) — taking you from basic, boring and so ho-ho-hum to fun, fabulous and va-va-voom all year long.

• A statement dress. It’s a good idea to have at least one of these in your closet, especially at holiday time. Having at least one “go-to” dress that you love to wear year after year (to different parties of course!) is a wardrobe must-have. This season, a special cocktail sheath in all-over lace to makes a stunning entrance at any festive occasion. Shiny sparkly sequin dresses can also be standouts at holiday galas.

A statement pair of shoes. If you’re not in the market for a new dress, how about stepping out in a glittering pair of haute heels. Shoes can set the tone for the whole outfit. I have a pair of Donald J. Pliner red and black suede mules that I have almost worn out. They are my “go-to” holiday shoes. So check out the shoe salon first: The shoes that are getting all the raves this holiday season are pumped up with platforms, glazed with exotic skins and studded with jewels.

A statement jacket. Check out the new leather jackets. Yes, dressing up or down has never been easier. With the new burnished metallic leathers out there, it’s easy to do. Team with a frilly ruffled shirt and pencil skirt for dressier outings or with jeans and T-shirts for casual days. This is one place you will not want to skimp on price, however. Soft and supple are the key words, nothing stiff — ever!

• A statement clutch. This is where the fun is this season in handbags … we all have to lug around the totes during the workweek, but come the weekend, it’s time for clutching something a little more frivolous.

A statement ring or cuff. This is so easy! Check out the jewelry counter in just about every store you visit. You’ll find a huge selection of chunky cocktail rings in all shapes and sizes. Another way to add instant signature style to your holiday wardrobe is the statement cuff. This bracelet is best when big and bold.

-A statement coat. The holidays are the perfect time to find an evening coat that is over-the-top. Look for drama in colorful furry, knee-length jackets, a wonderful printed brocade blazer or a glittering velvet wrap that ties in front. You may not want to take this one off even after you arrive at the party! — CNS

Vermont Ranks No. 5 Among Brain-Healthy States in the Nation

December 1, 2011  
Filed under Health & Wellness

The 2011 America’s Brain Health Index was recently released and reveals which areas of the country have progressed, held their own or lost ground in taking measures to improve their brain health over the last two years. The state-by-state ranking of brain health is part of a national health education campaign called Beautiful Minds: Finding Your Lifelong Potential, a partnership between life’sDHA™ and the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA), designed to inspire Americans to develop and maintain healthy, beautiful minds by incorporating key lifestyle factors known as the four dimensions of brain health — diet and nutrition, physical health, mental health and social well-being.

According to the 2011 America’s Brain Health Index, Vermont ranks fifth among the brain-healthiest states in the nation. Strengths include a high consumption of fish rich in DHA and active community participation. However, Vermont has challenges that include a high incidence of Alzheimer’s disease-related deaths and a low level of religious or spiritual activity.

The campaign has also introduced this year’s “Beautiful Minds,” 11 individuals from across the country who are fulfilling the four dimensions of brain health and achieving amazing things in the second half of their lives. A photo essay exhibit featuring their personal stories will travel the country through 2012 to inspire Americans to improve their own brain health.

“Keeping the brain healthy is easier than many people realize. Everyday actions such as adding good fats like DHA omega-3 to your diet and staying active physically, mentally and socially are all good ways to influence long-term brain health,” said Dr. Michael Roizen, leading medical expert, best-selling author and advisor to the Index.

To develop America’s Brain Health Index, life’sDHA worked in partnership with Dr. Roizen and other key health experts including Dr. Majid Fotuhi M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Neurology Institute for Brain Health and Fitness, and an assistant professor of neurology, John Hopkins School of Medicine, to determine the key indicators of brain health and to build the America’s Brain HealthIndex with data aggregated from highly credible secondary resources.

Conducted in 2009 and 2011, the America’s Brain Health Index evaluated the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia based on 21 factors including diet and nutrition, physical health, mental health and social well-being. In addition to providing a ranking for each state, the Index also includes comparative data for over two years. For example, the 2011 Index shows that the top two brain-healthy geographies in the United States are Maryland (No.1) and District of Columbia (No. 2). Comparative data also shows that Maryland has overtaken District of Columbia for the No. 1 spot since 2009.

“As the country experiences unprecedented increase in life expectancy to 78 years – an increase of 30 percent over the past century – the knowledge that we can influence brain health and cognition throughout life is more important than ever, said Dr. Fotuhi. “The largest aging population in history will experience the most longevity of any generation, which means taking action to improve our brainhealth should be a high priority on the health checklist for all of us.”

Here is a sampling of brainpower-boosting tips available on www.beautiful-minds.com:

Diet and nutrition — incorporating a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and added sugar but rich in brain-enhancing foods such as good fats like DHA omega-3, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, and algal DHA supplements.

Physical health — staying physically active for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week and making wise lifestyle decisions such as getting enough sleep and not smoking.

Mental health — continually challenging the brain through activities such as game playing, creative pursuits like gardening, dancing or painting, or learning a new language or skill.

Social well-being — nurturing human connections and engaging in social activities to give life purpose, such as volunteering.

Americans who want to join this growing brain-healthy community to find out how other states rank in the America’s Brain Health Index, meet this year’s Beautiful Minds, check the schedule of the traveling photo essay exhibit and learn about simple steps that anyone can take to improve brain health are invited to visit www.beautiful-minds.com.

Peaceful Places: Boston

December 1, 2011  
Filed under Travel

121 Tranquil Sites in the City and Beyond

By Lynn Schweikart

Living in the fast paced city of Boston can make each day exciting, but occasionally, a break from the hustle and bustle is needed. Inside “Peaceful Places: Boston,” author Lynn Schweikart helps Boston residents and visitors to the city find the tranquility they are seeking.

“Peaceful Places: Boston” is the fifth installment in the innovative and rapidly expanding new series of guides to serenity in the top metro areas across the country. This unique guidebook reveals 121 of the most peaceful sites in the city. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Beacon Hill, Jamaica Pond, Uptown Espresso Caffe, and Franklin Square are just a few of the author’s diverse choices for a little respite. Plus, Schweikart highlights escapes for day trips and overnight excursions beyond the city’s borders.

Most locations listed in the guide are free and many are accessible via public transportation. “Peaceful Places: Boston” is conveniently organized by categories including: Enchanting Walks, Historic Sites, Museums & Galleries, Outdoor Habitats, Parks & Gardens, Quiet Tables, Reading Rooms, Scenic Vistas, Shops & Services, Spiritual Enclaves and Urban Surprises.

For nearly 40 years, Boston resident Lynn Schweikart has nurtured an unabashed love affair with her adopted city. She loves wandering around its varied neighborhoods, returning to favorite haunts and discovering new places.

A marketing communications specialist, writer and brand storyteller, Schweikart has been the recipient of numerous national and regional advertising creative awards. She also writes the blogs  Savoring the Seasons and Peaceful Places Boston.

As someone who’s spent her career in the high-pressure, fast-paced advertising world, she recognizes the restorative power that comes from moments of peacefulness and serenity. She enjoys travel, cooking, music, bird watching, storytelling, kayaking, cheering on the Red Sox and singing with the women’s’ chorus Voices From The Heart. She’s particularly fond of relaxing with her journal, camera, watercolors and binoculars amidst the marshes near Plum Island Sound.

Schweikart holds a B. A. in sociology from Northwestern University. She divides her time between Boston and her vacation home on the New Hampshire seacoast.

Skiing the Catamount Trail

December 1, 2011  
Filed under Things to do

By Phyl Newbeck

The Catamount Trail is 300 miles long and features a variety of terrains including cross-country ski areas, farms, snowmobile trails and hilly backcountry. The combination of light rolling hills and steep terrain means there’s something for every cross country skier. (Photo by Jim Fredericks/Catamount Trail)

Most Vermonters are familiar with the Long Trail, a beautiful 272-mile hiking trail which spans the length of the state from Canada to Massachusetts. However, not everyone is aware of a similar trail designed for cross-country skiing. The Catamount Trail is 300-miles-long and features a variety of terrain including cross-country ski areas, farms, snowmobile trails and hilly backcountry terrain.

In contrast to the Long Trail which covers some of the highest terrain in the state, the Catamount Trail is at somewhat lower elevations, making it harder for organizers to acquire land and easements. Nevertheless, in 2008, after 24 years of putting together the pieces, the trail was completed. The Catamount Trail is divided into 31 sections, each with its own volunteer trail chief. The trail includes almost 200 parcels of private land and 135 acres of public land. It crosses or abuts 25 cross-country ski areas. To date, 46 skiers are “end-to-enders,” having completed the entire trail in one trip or several.

Two of those end-to-enders are Rich and Sheri Larsen of Essex, who also lead day tours for the Catamount Trail Association (CTA), the non-profit organization which maintains the trail. “When I retired,” said Sheri, “I decided I wanted to hike the length of the Long Trail and ski the full Catamount Trail. The Catamount Trail took longer because it’s a shorter season.”

The couple finished off the trail by taking part in week-long trips organized by the CTA. The organization used to have one week-long trip each year but now they have expanded to two; one for the southern section and one for the north so that just by taking part in the week-long tours, a skier can cover the state in the span of two years, weather and snow permitting.

Well before their retirement, the Larsens were skiing the Catamount Trail but confining their efforts to the northern part of the state, with emphasis on the section of the trail that reaches from the Bolton Valley Nordic Center to Trapp Family Lodge, known by those who ski it as Bolton-Trapp. The couple is officially in charge of maintaining this section and for the last two decades they have led day tours on their “home turf.” Rich doesn’t suggest folks start with Bolton-Trapp since it is considered one of the more difficult sections of the trail. He notes that the southern part of the state tends to be flatter, as are some of the sections in the Craftsbury area.

Sheri recommends that someone who is used to skiing groomed terrain at cross-country areas should start their journey on the Catamount Trail with a day tour. The advantage to being in a group is the leader knows the terrain and can provide assistance. Skiers can also enjoy the group camaraderie. Another advantage is that by skiing in a group, cars can be positioned at each end of the trail section, making it easier to go from Point A to Point B.

The CTA holds an annual backcountry clinic which introduces skiers to some of the equipment and techniques needed when venturing off groomed terrain. Rich noted that those new to backcountry skiing may have to upgrade their equipment to wider, more robust skis, stiffer boots and stronger bindings. Some sections, such as Bolton-Trapp are easier to do with climbing skins which attach to the bottom of skis for greater traction on the uphill. Both Larsens insist that age is not a factor. “There are people in their 80s still doing backcountry skiing,” Sheri said.

Sheri Larsen (right) and her friends take a break from skiing to admire one of the many views during their ski trek of the Catamount Trail. (Photo by Jim Fredericks/Catamount Trail)

CTA Executive Director Jim Fredericks extols the group’s outings as perfect opportunities to introduce people of all ages to the trail. CTA hosts close to 50 tours each winter including several three-day and week-long outings. “You develop a sense of camaraderie in a group,” he said, noting that many skiers will go out for dinner or drinks afterwards and might develop friendships which allow them to head out on other excursions together. Fredericks touts the health benefits of the trail, as well, adding that “earning your miles” by skiing up a trail is healthier than lift service at alpine ski areas, not to mention less crowded. He has met many skiers who were afraid to venture away from either Nordic or Alpine ski areas but after a day on the trail were hooked. “Why didn’t I try this earlier?” is a constant refrain he hears.

“The great thing about the Catamount Trail,” said Rich “is you get to ski in different places. It’s steep in some areas, but has a gentle grade over old railroad beds in others. Every single inch across the length of the state has very different terrain.”

Sheri concurred, noting that in one section near the Craftsbury Touring Center, the trail goes across a lake, over a mountain and next to a llama farm. “You wouldn’t be able to get that variety without the trail,” she said.

Fredericks believes that with the combination of light rolling hills and steep terrain, there’s something for everyone. Although more accomplished skiers may swoop down the steep stuff while newcomers are more apt to snowplow with trepidation, they all end the day together. “The group separates,” he said, “but it comes back together like a rubber band.” Skiers tend to take breaks to admire the views, catch glimpses of wildlife or check out bear claw markings on a beech tree. “It’s a tour, not a race,” he said. “It’s meant to be enjoyable.”

“The Catamount Trail is great for all ages,” Fredericks added, “because there is a variety of terrain and a sense of adventure. You might have tough conditions where you’re breaking two feet of heavy snow or you might have sunshine and light powder. Either way, it’s a heavenly world.”

Information about the Catamount Trail is available at www.catamounttrail.org

Going Vegetarian, and Meat as a Treat

December 1, 2011  
Filed under Food

By Daphne Oz

Have you ever considered going vegetarian? Whether out of concern for the horrible animal injustices that occur every day on factory farms, knowledge about the pollution these enterprises create or concern over the manifold health issues that might arise from eating a diet loaded with meat from animals that have been raised on genetically modified feed and loaded up with antibiotics and growth hormones to combat their unsanitary living conditions, many of us have wanted to take a closer look at the prime role of meat in our daily diets.

It used to be that meat was reserved for a special occasion meal, because the average person could not afford its cost on a regular basis. Only the very wealthy could eat meat regularly; unsurprisingly, the lifestyle-related diseases we see so commonly today — such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease — were isolated to the privileged classes until recently, when, thanks to astronomical farm subsidies, (low-quality) meat became ubiquitous and cheap.

Unfortunately, the implied price of meat mysteriously has not shrunk, despite streamlined mechanization of agribusiness. Rather, it has been transferred into hidden and delayed costs. The true cost of meat is hidden in the form of farm subsidies, which are simply our tax dollars being channeled to pay for the fees of raising the animals. More viscerally, the cost is delayed as more of us find our way to operating tables courtesy of the high levels of saturated fat found in animal products, which clog our arteries and weigh on our scales. The rising cost of health care could be averted if we chose to spend proportionately more of our money on preserving health through good eating and exercise than on the “health care” we need to pay for once we are ill.

That said, I appreciate that meat is a crucial component of some of our favorite meals. My thought is that if we could revert to enjoying meat as a treat rather than as a dietary staple, we could afford to purchase organic, farm-raised product that not only has been minimally processed, is free of unnecessary additives and is rich in all the nutrients that humanely raised, pasture-grazed animals provide but also allows us to support local business. For that reason, I’m a huge proponent of the “Meatless Monday” movement and its emphasis not on deprivation, but on consciousness, when it comes to preparing our daily meals, with an eye toward really appreciating and moderating our consumption of meat.

Now, if you are considering the vegetarian route — and, as someone who eats a mostly plant-based diet, my experience has been that my body responds with increased energy, more efficient digestion and a clearer complexion to the rich fuels of vital fruits, veggies and grains — here are a few tips to help you get started:

• Start gradually. There’s no rush to go cold turkey, so start by making vegetarian meal choices one or two days a week. You’ll be amazed at how many delicious vegetarian recipes let you have the full flavor of meals you love without the added fat, calories and cost of meat — and they’re often much easier to prepare because you rarely have to worry about cooking temperatures, etc., to ensure food safety. I love Eating Well magazine’s website (http://www.eatingwell.com). It’s a great source of healthy recipes.

• Get your calcium, iron and B vitamins. Vegetarians — and vegans, especially — can run the risk of being B vitamin-deficient because the primary source of this essential nutrient — a powerful booster of energy and the immune system — is red meat. Because I don’t eat much red meat, I get a B complex and B-12 shot once a month to keep my levels stable. That might sound a bit extreme, and you can just as easily supplement with nutritional yeast (you can get this on Amazon.com, and it is one of my all-time favorite supplements; I add it to everything from salad dressings to popcorn) and a good multivitamin or B complex vitamin. (Please consult with your doctor before beginning any supplement plan.)

• Don’t worry about protein. There are tons of vegetarian sources of protein — beans, legumes, greens — to make sure you are getting adequate levels, but you should be aware that some studies have linked high levels of protein with increased risk of cancer. We really don’t need nearly as much protein as we’ve been told. (Many advertising dollars have been spent trying to scare you into over-purchasing meat products.) Women need about 45 grams per day, and men need about 55 grams per day; a cup of tofu has nearly 20 grams of protein, just to put this in perspective. For some more in-depth information on this topic, check out the following movies: “Food Inc.,” “Eating” and “Forks Over Knives.”

• Long live good fats! Though you’ll be cutting down on unhealthy, saturated animal fats as you include less and less meat in your diet, you will want to consider adding back some delicious, health-promoting omega fats. Omega fats are essential for human health, and our body cannot produce them, so we have to get them in our foods. Fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, are great sources for pescatarians, but there are plenty of vegetarian sources, too, such as nuts and olive oil. If you’ve been watching ABC’s “The Chew,” you probably know by now that I am a huge proponent of coconut oil; I replace butter with it all the time — on my toast, in baked goods, for sauteing. I even use a separate jar of the same stuff to take off my makeup at night! It’s a wonderful source of the healthy omega fats that are so important for keeping hair, skin and nails moisturized and joints lubricated and promoting healthy brain function and preventing heart disease. Not to mention, healthy fats in our diet help us feel full for longer.

So go ahead and dip a toe in! Who knows, you might love it.    — CNS

Low-income Vermont Seniors Get Grant for Housing

December 1, 2011  
Filed under Money

More very low-income senior citizens in Vermont will have access to affordable supportive housing thanks to $4,885,200 in housing assistance announced recently by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This grant will help Cathedral Square Corp., a non-profit organization, produce accessible housing, offer rental assistance and facilitate supportive services for the elderly.

The grant funding awarded under HUD’s Sections 202 and 811 Supportive Housing programs will kick start construction or major rehabilitation for more than 170 housing developments in 42 different states and Puerto Rico. In Vermont, more than 28 elderly households will be affordably housed with access to needed services.

“The Obama Administration is committed to helping our senior citizens find a decent, affordable place to live that is close to needed healthcare services and transportation,” said Michael McNamara, HUD Vermont Field Office Director. “Recent bipartisan changes to these two supportive housing programs will allow us to better serve some of our more vulnerable populations who would otherwise be struggling to find a safe and decent home of their own.”

Enacted early this year with strong bipartisan support, the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act and the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Act provided needed enhancements and reforms to both programs. Nonprofit grant recipients will now receive federal assistance that is better leveraged and better connected to state and local health care investments, allowing greater numbers of vulnerable elderly and disabled individuals to access the housing they need even more quickly .

Housing, Long Term Care and Universal Design Resources

December 1, 2011  
Filed under Home & Garden

When you don’t even know where to begin to look when researching living options for yourself or an aging parent, use this quick reference guide courtesy of SavvySenior.org to help you get started.

AARP Housing and Mobility www.aarp.org/family/housing
American Association of Homes and Services
for the Aging
Assisted Living Federation of America www.alfa.org
Care Interpreter www.v2.tlchoices.com
Continuing Care Accreditation Commission www.carf.org
Eden Alternative www.edenalt.com
Eldercare Locator www.eldercare.gov
HOMECARE Online www.nahc.org
Home Safety Council www.mysafehome.net
HUD: Senior Citizens www.hud.gov/groups/seniors.cfm
Independent living center www.ilru.org
Medicare Nursing Home Compare www.medicare.gov/Nursing/Overview.asp
My Guide for Seniors www.myguideforseniors.com
MySeniorCare www.myseniorcare.com
National Association of Senior Move Managers www.nasmm.org
National Center for Assisted Living www.ncal.org
National Long Term Care Ombudsman
Resource Center
National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification www.homemods.org
National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association www.reversemortgage.org
Rebuilding Together www.rebuildingtogether.com
Retirement Living Information Center www.retirementliving.com
Reverse Mortgages AARP www.aarp.org/money/personal/reverse_mortgages
SeniorDecision www.seniordecision.com
Senior Housing Net www.seniorhousingnet.com/seniors
Seniors Real Estate Specialists www.seniorsrealestate.com
Snap for Seniors www.snapforseniors.com

The Draper Touch

December 1, 2011  
Filed under Home & Garden

By Joseph Pubillones

This room was decorated in the style of Dorothy Draper, one of the first American decorators to achieve celebrity status during the late 1930s and 1940s. (Contributed photo)

Before the dawn of reality TV and all the design gurus on television, a dame named Dorothy Draper was probably the first American decorator to achieve celebrity status. During the late 1930s and 1940s, Draper was also an author, a radio personality, a lecturer, the head of her own eponymous design firm and editor of Good Housekeeping magazine.

The title of her book “Decorating is Fun! How to be your own Decorator” pretty much sums up her ebullient character, her unabashed penchant for bold colors and her daring design concepts. No need to explain or apologize for exuberant designs with this dame. Her many projects allowed her a great canvas to explore themes while allowing “the Draper touch” to shine through.

Draper identified five elements to make a project easy and enjoyable: courage, color, balance, smart accessories and comfort. Throughout the United States and the world, Draper worked on residences and resorts, all the while having fun!

Many forget this concept of fun when undertaking a project. With all the decisions to make in the design of a home, some even dread the decorating process. While time consuming and a financial investment, decorating should be a delightful experience for the homeowner — and, yes, even for the significant other.

Think of decorating as creating a stage set for the story of your life. How do you want your rooms to be perceived, and what do you want to reveal about yourself in your rooms? Let loose, have some courage and try something unexpected. Pick out a unique piece of furniture or a patterned rug, and start having fun! Your visitors will be pleasantly surprised, even envious.

Color your world whenever you can. Some people are scared silly when you mention color. These people are usually afraid, but you needn’t be. Select a bold statement color inspired by whatever you like. Right now, jewel tones such as purple, teal and topaz are all the rage. Don’t think of the paint on your walls as permanent; changing the wall colors is the least expensive of home improvements. Why not try tone-on-tone stripes? Or different colored walls in the same room?

Selecting the correct size of furnishings for your room, laying out the furniture in logical groupings and forecasting your flow patterns in the room will create a balanced space. Imagine your room in different scenarios — morning, afternoon and evening — as each time of the day will inform how to best place all your items so they look great.

Accessories can add pizzazz and an element of fun. If you consider that accessories are like jewelry to a room, then changing them occasionally will give your room a fresh appearance. Spend some time selecting your decorative accessories. This level of detail can make or break a room. Better quality accessories will make ordinary rooms look spectacular.

Finally, make your rooms comfortable. Comfort is the ultimate luxury. Your decor has to be comfortable and livable so you can sit back, enjoy and have fun! These are the good lessons learned from Dorothy Draper, and they remain valid more than 60 years later. –CNS

Social Band Explores Deep Midwinter in Song

December 1, 2011  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

The Social Band is a mixed chorus of 22 singers, known for their signature mix of homegrown and international choral works spanning the ages, with a focus on new works by Vermont composers. (Contributed photo)

Social Band, Burlington’s lively band of singers, presents “Deep Midwinter: Songs from Winter’s Heart,” its third annual concert of choral pieces old and new for the many moods of winter and the holiday season.

Upcoming concerts:

Saturday, Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, Burlington

Sunday, Dec. 18, 4:00 p.m. at the Charlotte Congregational Church

Social Band was founded in 1998 to explore the diverse repertoires of traditional, early and contemporary music. Directed by Amity Baker, its presentation strikes a balance between raw exuberance and a polished sound. This mixed chorus of 22 singers has become known for their signature mix of homegrown and international choral works spanning the ages, with a focus on new works by Vermont composers.

Admission is by suggested donation of $15. Both venues are handicap accessible. For more information, visit www.socialband.org, or call 802-658-8488.

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