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Magic show is a tribute to the troops

Eighth-grader Chase Peters works with visiting artist Bruce Davidson, who was helping Bromfield School students create a triptych celebrating the Chinese calendar’s Year of the Dragon. Eighth-grader Chase Peters works with visiting artist Bruce Davidson, who was helping Bromfield School students create a triptych celebrating the Chinese calendar’s Year of the Dragon.
By Cindy Cantrell
Globe Correspondent / January 22, 2012
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FAMILY MAGIC: For the fourth year, Michael Shain of Milford is hosting a free children’s magic show that pays tribute to the sacrifices of military families. This year’s event, featuring Ed Popielarczyk’s Magical Moments, will take place from 1:15 to 2 p.m. next Sunday in the Stacy Middle School auditorium in Milford. It is open to all families with children.

As founder of Thanks to Yanks, a nonpolitical organization, Shain hosts a free dinner honoring active service men and women, veterans, and their families every Sept. 11. Last fall’s fifth annual tribute dinner drew 300 participants, including US Senator Scott Brown of Wrentham.

“Just as the dinner has grown, so has the magic show,’’ said Shain, who moved the show from a local hall to the school auditorium last year to accommodate the increased crowd.

Shain said he began the magic show as a way to bring families together. This year, WMRC-AM is providing a disc jockey to entertain the audience before and after the show, which is sponsored by Charles River Bank and the Military Friends Foundation. The town is providing the use of the auditorium.

Although Shain doesn’t have any direct ties to the military, he wants those who do to know they aren’t alone.

“It’s your loved one overseas, not mine, but as an American, I do care enough to make this my random act of kindness to say thank you,’’ he said. “For other families who come, I hope they get a better appreciation for the sacrifice these military families are making.’’

Tickets are limited and must be reserved by noon Friday by e-mailing with the requested number of seats. Participants are invited to bring donations of items to be sent overseas to American troops. Wish-list items can be found at

For more information about the show, visit In case of inclement weather, look for information on the organization’s Facebook page by 11 a.m. next Sunday.

REFORM LEADER: Cantor Jodi Schechtman, spiritual leader of Temple Beth Am in Framingham, was honored last month as one of a dozen distinguished Jewish leaders at the 71st General Assembly of the Union for Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C.

Schechtman, director of Organizational Partnerships for the American Conference of Cantors and a member of the national Reform organization’s board, was a guest of its outgoing president, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, during his final Shabbat morning worship service.

A resident of Framingham, Schechtman was hired as Temple Beth Am’s first cantor in 1988, and she was named its spiritual leader in 2010. At the convention, Schechtman led the Biennial Tefillah; opened the Women of Reform Judaism plenary; contributed to the new Campaign for Youth Engagement; and participated in the World Union for Progressive Judaism luncheon, during which new president Rabbi Steven Fuchs was installed.

She also attended and participated in plenaries featuring keynote speakers including President Barack Obama; Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky; Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak; Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure; Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood; and parenting author Wendy Mogel.

More than 6,000 members of the Union of Reform Judaism gather every two years to study the Torah, business development for their temples, social justice, and other issues pertaining to Jewish life.

“The experience was energizing and rejuvenating,’’ Schechtman said. “At a time when so many in our community are hurting, this biennial gave us hope that Reform Judaism is alive and strong, and its leaders are ready to put their passion into action to ensure a long and inspiring future.’’

TIMELY ART LESSON: Internationally acclaimed muralist and watercolorist Bruce Davidson of Boxborough worked with the Bromfield School art club in Harvard on Tuesday to create a three-paneled Chinese dragon 18 feet wide by 6 feet tall.

More than 20 students in grades 6 to 12 participated in the project highlighting the symbol for the Year of the Dragon, which starts tomorrow in the Chinese calendar.

Davidson, who led a watercolor expedition to Argeles-sur-Mer, France, in 2010, taught the art students how to plan and create the work using acrylic paints. He first drew a sketch on paper, creating a border at the bottom that would contain symbols for fire, wings, scales, and the tail. He then instructed the students to draw the “negative space,’’ or the portion of the canvas in which the image would not appear. Students were divided into groups to paint each of the three panels, with some focusing on the dragon and others depicting the symbols.

The triptych will be on display at the school following a special ceremony Feb. 1.

“We were delighted to have Mr. Davidson lend his talent at art club,’’ said its adviser, Heidi Hynes. “The students were thrilled at how hands-on the project was and how much artistic license and independence Mr. Davidson allowed them. It ultimately created a breathtaking piece.’’

Davidson, who trained at the Art Institute of Boston and de Cordova Sculpture Park and Museum School in Lincoln, is one of six visiting artists to instruct the art club during the school year. For more information, visit and go to “clubs.

ACTING MUSICAL: Four local actors - Alex Aroyan of Belmont; Alex Levy of Newton; Nolan Murphy of Sherborn; and Natalie Vatcher of Bedford - are performing in the Boston Children’s Theatre production of “Calvin’s Monster’’ next month.

In the musical, adapted by Burgess Clark and based on the book “Fairy Tale Moments’’ by Marcia Trimble, 8-year-old Calvin learns to overcome his fears with help from storybook friends such as Peter Pan, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel.

“Calvin’s Monster’’ will be performed at 2 p.m. Feb. 4-5 and 11-12 in the Roberts Studio Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St. Tickets are $25, and can be purchased by calling 617-424-6634, ext. 222, or visiting

O’CONNOR FAMILY CHAIR:Michael G. Pratt of Newton has been named the inaugural holder of the O’Connor Family Professorship in Boston College’s Carroll School of Management.

In addition to teaching courses in organizational behavior, leadership, and qualitative research methods, Pratt is director of a doctoral program, a fellow in the Carroll School’s Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics, and a member of BC’s psychology department.

People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell via e-mail at

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