By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
RAVENA — The parking lot of Village Hall was transformed into a celebration of local artistic talent this Saturday.
The second annual We Love aRtCS Music and Art Festival was held this weekend outside Village Hall on Mountain Road with local bands, artists and singers showcasing their talents.
“This one is really for the kids, to highlight and showcase all of the talent that we have at RCS and bands like Sugarskull, which is all RCS graduates,” said Village Trustee Caitlin Appleby. “It’s May, we’ve all been cooped up all winter, so let’s get out and mingle and see each other, and kick off community spirit for the year. It’s fun.”
There were displays of visual arts, with a special emphasis on young artists, and vendors selling artistic wares.
A stage was set up for a musical venue for local bands, with the Coxsackie Community Band kicking off an afternoon of performances at noon, followed by the bands What? and Sugarskull. Musicians and singers from the middle school and high school jazz bands and drama clubs, as well as the middle school Select Chorus and high school Harmonics, also performed. Then bands Glass Pony and Dr. Jah & The Love Prophets took to the stage.
For students in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk school district, it was a chance to showcase their talents in a communitywide venue.
“We love this — we are so grateful to [event organizer] Ted Smith and all the work that he has done to make this happen and to support our programs,” said Michelle McLoughlin, RCS High School Choral Director and K-12 Art and Music Curriculum Content Specialist. “The kids are really excited, too, to perform and give back to the community. We are so glad that this could happen this year and we got great weather.”
While music and drama students performed on stage, young visual artists were displaying and sharing their talents with the community, like high school junior Lanija Williams, who volunteered to do face painting for the little ones.
“I have done face painting before but at a birthday party,” Williams said. “This is my first time at an event like this.”
For some of the kids, like 5-year-old Landon Stratta, the face painting booth was a highlight of the day. All he could talk about before Saturday’s event was getting his face painted to look like Batman, his mom said.
Nicole Blair brought her two kids, Grace, 5, and Finn, 2, who played at the various arts activities while their older sibling rehearsed to go onstage.
“My oldest is playing in the Jazz Band in the middle school and in the Select Chorus,” Blair said. “This is a great event — they are doing a lot of things for the little kids, which is great, because sometimes there is an age gap where they don’t have activities for little kids. They have things here for all ages.”
The RCS Friends of the Arts group hosted a table at the festival to showcase their works in the school district and how they support the arts locally.
“We are like a booster club for arts and music for the RCS school district,” member Megan Newkirk said. “The arts give kids the chance to be creative. So many kids love drawing, painting, music. It’s a great way for them to connect if they are not playing sports, or even if they are playing sports, it is a totally different environment. It’s a great creative outlet for them.”
New group member Ashley Chateauneuf said the arts were important to her as a student and now she wanted to make sure other kids have the chance to enjoy them.
“I grew up as a theater kid and having an outlet like music and art got me through life,” Chateauneuf said. “And now we help the kids — this is to help them progress their futures in art and music.”
While local artists and musicians shared their talents with the community, the Ravena Rescue Squad was on site sharing a skill of a different kind — one that can be lifesaving.
“We are demonstrating hands-only CPR,” said rescue squad member Pat Boccio, who had a CPR mannequin set up outside the ambulance. “Anybody can do it. We show you where to line up, how hard to push and how fast to push so if something were to happen in a public event like this, everybody can help.”
“Studies show that it’s more important to provide compressions than to provide mouth-to-mouth, and people might be hesitant to do it,” Boccio said. “The most important thing in the chain of survival for a cardiac arrest is early CPR, so if someone goes down and they are having a cardiac event, they would immediately start compressions. It increases the rate of survival.”
This year’s We Love aRtCS Music and Art Festival was the event’s second year. In 2022, the festival was held in the parking lot on Railroad Avenue and was moved to the Village Hall site this year.
By Robert J. LaCosta
For Capital Region Independent Media
A recent family-and-friends baptism at church renewed an obvious and profound conclusion: babies aren’t influenced by the world.
Besides her obvious physical needs, her mind isn’t plagued by the lust of the flesh and eyes, the boastful pride of life and the crazy magnetic draw of the world’s systems.
She doesn’t know what her peers look like by comparison, what they have that she doesn’t have nor what she has that they do not.
She’s not checking social media or the news.
She’s not being lured in by fashion, competition and any of the demands of the world.
The profundity of her joy is striking. The spreading of that joy is even more remarkable. Others are attracted to her. She is like Baby Moses drifting in The Nile: everyone wants to pick her up.
If we were to battle off the world, would all these incredible traits and attributions be said of us?
…Minus the picking-up part.
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: Can we see Eden in the eyes of the newborn?
For everything in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world… When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit… She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him… Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.”
1 John 2:16 NIV, Luke 1:41 ESV, Exodus 2:5,6 NIV, Luke 2:12 ESV, 1 John 3:2,3 NIV
Robert J. LaCosta has been helping people hear as a hearing instrument specialist for over 30 years while assisting pilgrims with their spiritual hearing through his daily devotional “Portals to Heaven,” which is free and comes to your email…yours for the asking at email@example.com.