Coltrane Home Update – Grateful to Hear: This is Getting Real

Dignitaries gathered at the press conference where a $1.75M Suffolk County JumpSMART grant to Friends of the Coltrane Home was announced.

Coltrane Home Reaches Transformational Milestone: Things are Moving!!!

John Coltrane was an extraordinary musician – sometimes compared to the genius of Einstein, other times considered on a plane all his own. He wrote what most consider to be his masterwork, “A Love Supreme” in his Dix Hills home.  Musicians I have encountered since learning more about this local, international, perhaps even cosmic treasure, have gotten me to appreciate his wife, Alice even more deeply.

Transcending music alone, both sought to be forces for good and were deeply, deeply spiritual.

Saving the Dix Hills Home

About 20 years ago, now, a Coltrane fan named Steve Fulgoni realized where the Coltrane house was, just as it was being scheduled for demolition. He partnered with all who were willing – family, fellow musicians, fans, local historians and more – to save it from destruction.

Spared the bulldozer, this group of ardent volunteers realized they now had a much bigger job on their hands. In the decades since they have done tremendous work – both on the home and in building awareness and appreciation of these legends.

You can read about the home, the Coltrane legacy and more on the website dedicated to this project.

A Transformative Milestone

Now, it seems, the project has reached a transformational milestone. It was a delight to hear about a recent $1.75M “JumpSMART” GRANT from Suffolk County. This, together with a $1M grant from the Mellon Foundation and countless other gifts is making the restoration of this National Treasure a reality.

You may find daughter Michelle Coltrane’s heartfelt thanks and see some images of ongoing work in this recent newsletter.

Fulgoni’s speech at the press conference about the recent grant is here:

Press Coverage

I am grateful to a motley crew of dedicated volunteers, including Friends of the Coltrane Home in Dix Hills Board Members and Coltane COLTRANE family members who help each other stay apprised of news coverage. Here’s the latest:

•    You can learn a little bit about other milestones in getting this home formally recognized and revitalized, as well as about the Suffolk County JumpSMART program in the Long Island Times article “Coltrane Home gets $1.75M from Suffolk County”
•    News 12 had a piece on the grant that features video of the interior of the home: “Suffolk County expected to announce over $1.7 million in funding for John and Alice Coltrane Home in Dix Hills”
•    There’s more detail in this article by John Valenti for Newsday (subscription required – or visit your local library~!), “Jazz legacy: John & Alice Coltrane Home in Dix Hills to get $1.75M grant for upgrades”
•   More recently, also in Newsday, Robert Brodsky published this beautiful, in depth article, complete with video of the home: “John Coltrane and Alice Coltrane home on Long Island undergoes renovation in effort to preserve history”
•    This article from Clive Young for Mix Online tells more about the Coltranes and the significance of the home, as well as plans for its future, “John Coltrane House Awarded $1.75M to Renovate Home Studio, More”
•    Here’s a little more about the JumpSMART grant from in Long Island.com: “Suffolk County Executive Bellone To Announce Nearly $2 Million In Jumpsmart Funding To The John & Alice Coltrane Home”
Learn More About the Coltranes
–    Here’s a beautiful, recent article from Jeff MacGregor in The Smithsonian magazine, “How John Coltrane’s ‘My Favorite Things’ Changed American Music”
–    Here’s a 2018 Synchronicity Article entitled, “Notes From Joe” with older clippings collected by Coltrane Volunteer Joe Natter that we published some years ago. Worth a re-read! “Notes from Joe”

Some Good Books

One book on John Coltrane that I think musicians, especially may appreciate is Ascension by Eric Nisenson,

“Nice choice!” said Noah, the salesman in a local bookstore, when I brought it to the counter. He then promptly recommended, . “Coltrane on Coltrane” by Chris DeVito and asked me if I knew that the Coltranes had lived around here.

I went home happily and shared my finds with some Coltrane Board Members.

“Chris DeVito’s book, Coltrane on Coltrane is a text version of every Coltrane interview out there,” said Steve, “There are some online audio versions of those interviews where you can hear John talking and really get a feel for who he is.”

A YouTube search reveals a fascinating set of interviews with and about Coltrane

Another board member offered a few of their favorite biographies: Ashley Kahn’s A Love Supreme and what they felt was the best scholarly biography, Lewis Porter’s John Coltrane: His Life and Music. We learned Lewis also has amazing lectures available online in his Deep Dives.

We also refer you to the Half Hollow Hills Library where Coltrane volunteer Ellen Druda, a wonderful, retired librarian has helped create a ‘Coltrane Computer’ with hundreds of images.

It’s all quite enlightening…Enjoy. <3

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2024: To Reflect and Serve

Photo of MLK Monument in Washington DC

The third Monday in January is reserved to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. whose 95th birthday would be this year. It is the only federal holiday formally recognized as a national day of service, “a day on, not a day off.” In the spirit of listening and thinking first, people are warmly encouraged to study the works of King, and to devote time to serious reflection on how we will endeavor toward a healthier, more just world for all. Here are a few resources.

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Arts Matter: LIAA Releases Numbers Detailing $330M Impact on LI

LIAA Board Member Marc Wong, David Okorn and Melissa Greenberger of LICF, and Lauren Wagner of LIAA show off key stats from a recent comprehensive study of the economic impace of Arts and Cultural organizations on LI

Share this with anyone involved in securing investment in the arts. We know the value is clearly deeper than economics. Still, that impact is profound and now we have numbers to clearly illustrate it!

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NHS Paint & Sip to Focus on The Leg Lamp!

Flyer for Northport Historical Society Paint & Sip Nite: The Leg Lamp

The Northport Historical Society offers fantastic programming, We are EXTRA excited about this event!

Northport Historical Society & The Firefly Artists invite you to take a painting journey of a Holiday Icon! Join us at the Museum as Executive Director (and Firefly!) Caitlyn Shea gives you step-by-step instructions to help you paint The Leg Lamp. Adult beverages will be served while A Christmas Story plays in the background to inspire your creativity. (And rumor has it, a Fra-Gee-Lay delivery will be at the Museum days before it makes it’s official debut!) 
 
What: “Paint & Sip Nite featuring The Northport Leg Lamp!
When: Thursday, November 16th at 6pm.
Limited Space Available! Ages 21+ Only!
Cost: $45 Society Member | $55 Non-Members.
To Register: visit the NHS website

 

We at The Firefly are absolutely delighted to join in this celebration of relatively recent history, and will be clearing our Darcy Arts Center special exhibition space to host a POP-UP SHOW OF WORKS by willing participants, together with on-theme pieces by our Fireflies!  This will be on view the weekend of 11/17-11/19.

Follow The Firefly’s Facebook and Instagram stories for more on what our Fireflies are up to. They light up everywhere!!!

We also love following their Northport Historical Society on Facebook, They do a great job of keeping us up to date with their events, while teaching us something new about our past all the time!

Hope to see you next Thursday!

Heroes Among Us: “Hey, I Know That Guy…”

Photos of firemen responding to September 11th

Heroes Among Us. You may recall that we hosted a show of previously unshared works by Photojournalist Peter Foley. Soon after it opened, Firefly Steve Walker came in and saw his neighbor.

“What a story,” said Steve, when he told me, “9/11, yeah, but not for why you think. This guy’s a regular hero. You’ve got to meet him.”
 
I am so glad I did. His wife, too.
 
More soon…
 

Peter Foley’s website is here. You may find Synchronicity’s own tribute to 9/11 here.

Night at the Museum with John Lazzaro

Flyer for the 2nd Annual Nite at the Museum Halloween Costume Party

Join Firefly John Lazzaro at the Northport Historical Society on Thursday, October 19th at 6pm. 

At this Second Annual “Nite at the Museum Halloween Costume Party” there will be food, drink, music, prizes, and more! John will discuss his beautiful coffee table book: “A Vanishing New York.” Related works will be on view in the Museums’ October Pop-up Exhibit Space.

Costumes highly recommended! For more info and to register:  Visit the NHS website

Follow The Firefly’s Facebook and Instagram stories for more on what our Fireflies are up to. They light up everywhere!!!

The Northport Historical Society also has tons of stuff going on. We love following their Facebook page, which keeps us up to date with their events, while teaching us something new about our past all the time.

Tribute to “Our Heroes” by Peter Foley at the Firefly

Photos of firemen responding to September 11th

These images from September 11th and immediate aftermath, collectively titled “Our Heroes,” are on view at The Firefly Artists at 90 Main Street in Northport through 9/14. This is just a small piece of an incredibly moving collection captured by photojournalist Peter Foley

We of The Firefly Artists are honored to host this special window exhibition entitled, “Our Heroes.”

This show of works by photojournalist Peter Foley honors the NYC Firefighters who ran in to do what they could in the aftermath of 9/11.

It’s kind of nice the way we were able to tuck it in at our westernmost window. A few pieces face inward, a few out. It provides good space for quiet reflection.

May these pieces remind us that, no matter how bad things get, there are those among us who will run in to give all they have to make them better.

May we ever honor and care for the heroes. May we ever arc toward our most noble ideals. May we live to be worthy of such sacrifice…

Images are available for purchase. You may find Synchronicity’s own tribute to that day here.

We Will Never Forget…

Photo of the WTC memorial lights by Colin Hopkins

We Will Never Forget… Photo of the WTC memorial lights by Colin Hopkins, Local 580 Iron Workers. Colin was on week three of work when the towers fell, a day when these folks and many others who never expected to be such, came to serve as first responders and who continued working at the site for weeks after the attack. Later, Colin was also among those present at work who got to witness the Freedom Spire rise…

We Will Never Forget…

It’s been years since this was first written. The children are older…there are adults now who have no memory of this day, while those of us who lived through it will never forget. The sentiment remains the same…

Over the last two and half decades, we have learned a new rhythm….The end of summer comes, there is a flurry of activity about getting kids prepared for and off to school, and then, the moment all settles down the weight of solemn remembrance overshadows everything but the realization of how lucky we are to have that terrible event cast such a pall over our beings only once a year. Our hearts go out to so many others who lost so much…who experienced so much…who have since endured so much…

We remember the first puzzled and then stunned and horrified voices of the professionals whose job it is to tell us the bad news every day. We recall the images that replayed, the bells that rang, the world that all but stopped.

We remember the selfless bravery of firemen who went in where anyone in their “right mind” would be running out.

We remember the horrific loss of 2,977 innocent lives, including 343 of those firemen, 60 police officers and 8 EMTS. We remember the probability that anyone we encountered may have just lost someone dear. We remember how some of those who perished did so heroically apprehending hijackers and crashing their own plane.

Our hearts twist in the simultaneous gratitude for the miracle of how, despite intense confusion, so many lived to tell their tale or simply were not there.

We remember the people walking over the Brooklyn Bridge…covered in dust…the people being rescued from the end of Manhattan Island…the people desperately seeking people who would never be found.

We remember the school children who did not know. We remember the teachers who did, but could not tell them. We remember the beautiful day slowly overcast by those beautiful, yet terrible clouds. We remeber the taste. We remember the smell.

We remember the iron workers, the dock builders and the other hard working Long Islanders who heard of the disaster and raced to the scene to see if they could be of service. We remember those who spent weeks upon weeks shoveling through the twisted debris. We remember the price so many have paid for their commitment.

We give thanks to all who give so much to see them cared for. We wonder why they’ve had to fight so hard.

We remember being implored to go out and live. We remember being told it was patriotic to shop. We remember wishing there was something more meaningful to do. We remember Paul McCartney and the musicians he gathered to play for the world and those first responders. We remember Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick who were on Broadway as The Producers, and how they epitomized the notion that “the show must go on.”…how meaningful it was to simply carry on.

We remember the brave men and women who have been at war ever since that fateful day. We pray that they and all the others who bear intense burdens and indelible scars will be properly cared for. We pray for a peace that seems so very far away.

We look down at children, and now young adults, who never knew the days before then; who never wondered at those impossibly tall buildings but may have marveled at those even taller beams of light; who never felt that fateful day; who look at us in bewilderment at the ongoing challenges, both at home and abroad…who wish, sometimes loudly, other times in quiet sighs, that the adults of this world would finally grow up.

We remember the noble ideals that we stand for. We remember how innocent we were. We realize on how much has changed since then, including an explosion of communication that somehow seems to have opened chasms between good people of different perspectives, and tidal waves of information that seem to only muddy any sense we once had of the truth. We reflect on how much we still have to learn, and on how much we seem to have forgotten…

We remind ourselves that while the battle may rage on within our hearts and across this world, we must never let terror win. We must never let the blind hatred that enables it to win. We must overcome.

But how?

The words of many sages come to mind; visionaries and scholars of so many cultures and kinds. We keep coming back to the wisest ones; the ones who seem to have mattered the most…

Over and over they whisper from the ages the same small, powerful yet humble, healing, overcoming, uplifting light of a word…

And so…we reflect…on Love.