Longwood Gardens presents Symphony Under the Stars

Photo by Caryl Huffaker
The Beat Beethoven 5K Run begins with the winner, Radley Reist, getting a good start. He is a little to the right of center in a white sleeveless T-shirt.
Photo by Caryl Huffaker The Beat Beethoven 5K Run begins with the winner, Radley Reist, getting a good start. He is a little to the right of center in a white sleeveless T-shirt.

This coming Saturday, Aug. 9, will be that wonderful outdoor concert at Longwood Gardens in the Open Air Theatre by the Kennett Symphony of Chester County as they play beloved classical favorites beginning at 7 p.m. The orchestra will be under the direction of guest conductor Markand Thakar. Thakar of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra will lead the orchestra in the light hearted “Symphony No. 2” by Beethoven. A special treat will be solos by Stephanie Scrogna, the winner of the 2013 Kennett Symphony of Chester County Vocal Competition. Additional loved music will be by Rossini, Holst, Mozart, Puccini and Victor Herbert.

Tickets, $35 in advance, are available from 610-444-6363, or $40 on the day, and include all day admission to Longwood Gardens. Rain date is Sunday, Aug. 10.


The title of the new exhibit “Bugs Outside the Box” at the Delaware Museum of Natural History is well named. As the models of the bugs vary from a 4-foot tall beetle, a butterfly 5 feet across and 14 other brightly colored resin figures 15 times larger than life. It’s a darn good thing you are not trying to find a box large enough for the insects. Italian Artist Lorenzo Possenti looked through a microscope to get all the parts of each insect perfect, sculpted them and then cast them from models he made in resin. He also made spare parts so the onlookers would have some parts of each bug to touch. His work is so meticulous visitors can see each bump, each pattern, each joint. Surprisingly, in their colorful glory, they are not intimidating even though they are outsized. For artists. jewelry makers and others who recreate bugs, this display is a bonanza.

Beetles take a fairly prominent position in this exhibit, possibly because there are 350,000 species of beetles, which makes beetles equal to one fourth of all known organisms and the same number of all the known animals. The scarab beetle, famous in Egyptian lore, is diminishing in numbers, as they are losing a great deal of their habitat. The Asian longhorn beetle landed in the US in 1996 and has destroyed more than 72,000 trees here, but who’s counting.


The colorful bugs on display are mostly from Asia, which seems to have more colorful bugs than we have. Being colorful, called “aposematic,” is usually a sign that the insect is warning that it is either poisonous or tastes bad, which leaves them undisturbed to pollinate.

The exhibit is quite informative, as well as pretty. Organized by Minnesota’s Outhouse Exhibit Services, it has divided the exhibit into five themed displays: “Butterflies up Close” showcases the unusual wing patterns. They explain how the yellow wings of a Magellan birdwing appear to be blue in flight which confuses possible predators.

“Amazing Armor” shows what actually looks like armor and included mandibles that look like deer antlers.

“Camouflage in effect” shows how a grasshopper or stick insect disappears in the greenery.

“Wondrous wings” presents enlarged scales and membranes in wings.

“Extraordinary architecture” shows the well designed and elongated body parts of insects.

Tucked away in the back of the exhibit is a cabinet with four drawers of insects, many collected in the field by the children’s sessions. As they are being saved for posterity, just imagine what a thrill for a 7-year-old to know that there is a bug specimen in a museum that has his name on it.

This striking exhibit will stay through Sept. 1. Other exhibits are “The Art of Fly Fishing,” “The ABC’s of Beekeeping,” and “The Dinosaurs and the African Watering Hole.”

The “Bugs” will be on display through September with admission to the museum just $1 on Tuesdays in August.


The Broadway Touring cast for “The Book of Mormon” created by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, who are also the creators of the prize winning TV show and movie “South Park,” will be at the Forrest Theatre in Philadelphia, through Sept. 14. This winner of six “Best Musical” Awards from all the major drama award organizations, is described by Ben Brantley of the New York Times as “The best Musical of this Century.” This it is not. It possibly is the funniest musical of this century, but not the best musical. For instance, name me one song from the show, and the songs, which are very funny, are not even listed in the program.

I saw the musical first in London and howled with laughter. In its return to the American shores, it has undergone a sea of change that hurts it. There is much in this show that is coarse, but is so well expressed and unexpected it is hilarious. The version I saw in this country has a great deal that is just plain vulgar, and while it may be funny on the first utterance, the repetition becomes dull and offensive. There were quite a few people who walked out.

The story follows the naïve, sending out of missionaries who are just a tad tweed two-by-two to Uganda to bring the word of Mormon to the natives. The humor of the lily white religion being sold to the natives and their interpretation of it is clever with unexpected twists. The appearances of Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, the angel Moroni and Jesus are memorable. Acting honors go to KJ Hippensteel as the egotistical Elder Price, Christopher John O’Neil as the misfit Elder Cunningham, Alexandra Ncube as the kind hearted native girl Nabulungi and Corey Jones as the bloodthirsty general. The play does make fun of the Mormons and their proselytizing, but it is gentle humor. The show runs through Sept. 14. For tickets call 800-447-7400.


In 1979 Linda Eaton, the senior curator of textiles at Winterthur at that time published the book, “Printed Textiles: British and American Cottons and Linens, 1700-1850.” This book has been updated by Winterthur’s Florence Montgomery and is becoming the new authoritative source book for textiles. The new revised book has 600 color photographs instead of black and white and has added 100 new textiles. This wonderful addition to knowledge about textiles will be available for purchase Sept. 23 at the Winterthur Museum shop.


For those of you who asked, the best time reached for the Beat Beethoven 5K Run to benefit the Kennett Symphony for the men was 18:30 done by Radley Reist of Bear, Delaware, and the Women’s 22:28 by Jaime Marlin of Downingtown. One of the big changes in this year’s race was the many more entire families that entered.


The Chester County Historical Society is once again eligible to Participate in EITC – The Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit School and Youth Program. Through this program the historical society had a total of 5,846 school students and 290 teachers from 16 home, private, parochial schools participate in its History Connections programs. If your company would like to donate toward this program contact David Reinfeld at 610-692-4800 ext. 267.


Here’s an outstanding group that is achieving recognition early in their lives. The Chester County Community Foundation has presented the West Grove Garage Student Advisory Council with the 2014 Legacy Award for Youth Philanthropy. The council, composed of 10 middle and high school students from Avon Grove School District, has been honored for their leadership skills and commitment to The Garage that offers youth enrichment activities and tutoring. The council raised more than $3,300 to support the Garage’s after-school programs and coordinated outreach events and activities including volunteering at Jenner’s Pond, sorting donations at The Bridge Food Pantry and Clothing Closet at the Avon Grove Church of the Nazarene, tutoring and repairing homes with Good Neighbors of Kennett Square. Congratulations to these impressive young citizens.

Last concerts

These are the last concerts of the summer at Anson B. Nixon Park:

Wednesday, Aug. 6 – The Red Alert Band –Music from the 60s to today. Supper available from Yo’R So Sweet Crepes.

Wednesday, Aug. 13 – Real Diamond – A tribute band to Neil Diamond. Supper available from Portobello’s.

Concerts are at 7 p.m. rain or shine.


Concerts are on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. at the Myrick Conservation Center, with the gates opening at 6 p.m. Bring a lawn chair, blanket and picnic. These are the final summer concerts.

Aug. 7–One Alternative (Acoustic Fusion & Jazz) This quartet blends components of classical music with jazz and rock.

Aug.14 – Pennsylvania Flute Choir (Pops and Contemporary)This should be a real treat. There will be about 20 flutes including lower voiced flutes not normally heard.


The Brandywine River Museum of Art will hold its first ever blues concert on Friday, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. when The Steve Cal’ Band will perform. Steve Cal’ is a guitarist, singer and song writer whose earliest blues inspirations were B.B. King and Muddy Waters. The cost is $12, $10 for members. Food and drinks are available for purchase.


The Resident Ensemble Players (REP) at the University of Delaware has announced their 2014 – 2015 Season and it sounds like a winner. They will open in Sept. 25 through Oct. 12 with the Pulitzer Prize-winner “Angels in America”. From Nov. 13 to Dec. 7 they will present “MacBeth” by Shakespeare. This will be followed by George Bernard Shaw’s satire of romance and capitalism, “The Millionairess” from Jan. 22 to Feb. 8. From March 5 to 22, the humorous depiction by Sean O’Casey of Irish working-class life during a civil war, “Juno and the Paycock.” The comedy “All in the Timing” by David Ives will run from April 15 to May 10, finishing with that raucous farce “The 39 Steps” April 23 to May 10. Subscriptions available after Aug. 19 at 302-831-2204 Monday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m.


We had barely learned that Chubby Checker and the Bob Cats were coming to the DuPont Theatre when we received notice that it had been Cancelled with no explanation. They did say they were trying to reschedule the show.

‘Jungle Book’

The Player’s Club of Swarthmore, will present “The Jungle Book” Aug. 12 through 17 in the Children’s Series For tickets call 610-328-4271.


Here’s a terrific deal. “Love’s Labour’s Lost” will be presented by the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre through Aug. 17 at the Urban Annex of Drexel University, 3401 Filbert Street. Performances are by professional actors who want an immersion experience in classical acting techniques. You not only get first rate acting, the ticket price is Pay-What-You-Will – with a four- ticket limit. To reserve tickets go to eventbrite.com/e/loves-labours-lost-tickets-11989654379.

Caryl Huffaker lives in Kennett Township.