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New Hingham students debut new arrangement of Fats Waller song at Chesterfield elementary school

Students at the New Hingham Regional Elementary School in Chesterfield sing during their annual Winter Band and Chorus Concert on Dec. 11.

Students at the New Hingham Regional Elementary School in Chesterfield sing during their annual Winter Band and Chorus Concert on Dec. 11. LAURA RODLEY Purchase photo reprints »

An act of grace such as the holiday inspires gave the New Hingham Regional Elementary School a specially written arrangement of the late jazz icon Fats Waller’s song, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” for its school band to play. Northampton’s Clifton “Jerry” Noble, a jazz accompanist in the Smith College Music Department, wrote the piece, which made its debut at the elementary school’s annual winter concert Dec. 11.

The school’s music teacher and band leader, Sasha Klare-Avayzian of Northampton, came up with the idea when he attended a jazz concert by Noble earlier in the season.

“The music would be great for my band,” said Klare-Avayzian, in a recent interview. “We don’t have a lot of people,” he said of the six-member band, “but we have a clarinet and piano.”

He went right to the source — Noble — to try to locate a musical score for the song “Ain’t Mishavin’.” But Noble explained that scores or arrangements by Fats Waller simply did not exist.

However, Noble got so excited about the kids playing jazz that he decided to write the arrangement himself, said Klare-Avayzian. “It’s only by his grace that we have it,” he said.

“The band worked very, very hard after school” to prepare for its performance, Klare-Avayzian told the 200 parents and community members who attended the Dec. 11 concert.

Other concert highlights included “Silent Night,” sung by the 54-member chorus, as well as a rousing number of “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac.

The chorus also performed earlier in the day for the Council on Aging, said Rosemary Larkin, school principal.


Post office surveys

Plainfield residents can weigh in on whether the existing post office should be relocated in postal surveys that they have recently received through the mail. The surveys, according to Plainfield resident Linda O’Dea, trustee of the Shaw Memorial Library, ask if the current post office on Central Street should become a so-called Village Post Office which could be housed in existing businesses or libraries, such as the Shaw Memorial. The library has been contacted by the U.S. Postal Service asking whether or not it would like to sell stamps or accept boxes during open hours, she said.

“They’re not really telling us anything,” said O’Dea. The survey gives several options, which include changing the post office’s daily operating hours from seven to four, while not changing Saturday hours; closing the post office and offering curbside delivery; and finding a suitable contractor as a location to establish a Village Post Office.

“We don’t want to lose hours of our post office. We wouldn’t even have a P.O. box in town, then,” said O’Dea. She asked residents to make sure they fill out and send back their surveys.

Christmas trees

There’s still time to get your Christmas trees at Justamere Tree Farm in Worthington at 248 Paterson Road. This is the last weekend to cut trees at the farm. The trees also are available at the Hampton Pond Plaza on 1029 North Road in Westfield from noon to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends. For information, call 238-5902.


A-caroling we go

Two dozen carolers, residents from Worthington, Plainfield and Cummington, brought cheer and carols to eight residences and two restaurants in Worthington on Sunday evening, during their annual holiday caroling event. Travelling by yellow school bus through the snow, the carolers stopped at each home by prior arrangement to sing a few requested carols. They stopped at Blackburn Inn and Liston’s Bar and Grille, located at opposite ends of Huntington Road, to surprise patrons with songs of the holiday season.

“It was a great time,” said Janine Modestow, member of the Recreation Committee, which organized the free event.

Afterwards the carolers and a few others had a potluck at the Worthington Town Hall. Resident David Morrison led singers on stage as they sang one impromptu line each of the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

“Each person had their own spin on it,” said Modestow.

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