Genealogy 101

Genealogy 101
Sanilac County Genealogy Society
@ the Croswell Library
Tuesday, February 26 @ 1 pm
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Starting a Family Tree?
Hit a Brick Wall?

Get started or get over that wall. With the Sanilac Genealogy Society at the Croswell Library. Ancestry.com is available at the Croswell Library for research.

Contact Ella Klein: (810) 679-3816.

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Watercolor Class 

Watercolor Class
with Suzanne Boeck
10:00—1:00 Saturday, Feb. 16
Cost is $20
Please, Sign up here
Class fills up quickly

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Tuesday Concert: Still Running

Tuesday Concert: Still Running
Tuesday, February 5th at 6pm

Still Running returns to Croswell Library. Their performance was one of the highlights of last year’s concert series. Mike Mercatante and Jenna Reed are a Port Huron based acoustic duo that blend roots, rock, country, and folk into an eclectic style both unusual and familiar.

Jenna has classical training in singing and theater; she is originally from the Chicago area. Mike is an award-winning guitarist from Detroit.

Join us for an hour of high energy, thought-provoking songs, harmonies and fun.

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Hamilton: Original Broadway Cast Recording

Hamilton: Original Broadway Cast Recording
Written and Composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Atlantic Records: 2015
Available at the Croswell Library as a 2 Disk Set (coming soon)
Review by Marty Rheaume

From the opening title track to the tragic end, Miranda uses the allure of music to form a palpable connection with our forefathers and the birth of our country. The fist pounding, foot stomping revolutionary spirit reverberates through every track on Disk 1. Hamilton’s impending doom hangs over Disk 2, creating a reflection on political intrigue and family drama. Taken together, they deliver a cinematic musical experience that demands attention and rewards the astute listener.

“Alexander Hamilton” sets the tone with a rousing introduction to the bastard, orphan, son of a Scotsman who lands in New York to be a new man. It’s sung by Alexander (Miranda) and the rest of the cast, including historical heavyweights George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Marquis de Lafayette, King George the III, and Hamilton’s scheming antagonist, Aaron Burr.

“Aaron Burr, Sir” is a glimpse into the polemical relationship between the idealistic Hamilton and the opportunistic Burr, establishing Burr as the central narrator and villain. It’s followed by “My Shot,” a brash meeting of revolutionaries and a continued refrain throughout the production.

We meet Hamilton’s lovely wife Eliza and her sophisticated sister Anjelica as they tantalize us with the intriguing love triangle that characterizes the relationship between them in “The Schuyler Sisters.” They make repeat appearances throughout the show and never fail to add heart and soul.

“You’ll be Back” provides comic relief as King George III plays the role of the spurned monarch who will send a fully armed battalion to remind us of his love. Meanwhile, General Washington is outgunned, outmanned, outnumbered, and out planned so he recruits the young scrappy and hungry Alexander to be his “Right Hand Man.”

The Revolution comes to a victorious end in “Yorktown,” another rebellious fist pumper, as Washington, Lafayette, and Hamilton defeat the British. King George III responds to the cocky upstarts by asking “What Comes Next?” in a petulant send off to his former colony.

Disk 2 commences with Jefferson’s grandiose return from France and flows right into the newly arrived Secretary of State’s “Cabinet Battle #1” with Treasury Secretary Hamilton. The rivals go head to head and toe to toe with ruthless style and mic dropping moments.

When Hamilton is not battling the Virginian duo of Jefferson and Madison, he’s trying to balance the roles of young father and young Founding Father and fails when he’s seduced by the siren song of forbidden desire in “Can’t Say No to This.”

After the fallout from Hamilton’s indiscretion and a catastrophic family tragedy, the album loses the triumphalism of Disk 1 and grapples with the challenge of leadership, the struggle of betrayal, and the emptiness of loss.

It culminates in America’s most infamous duel and the bittersweet ending of “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?” For Hamilton, it’s the wounded Eliza poignantly immortalizing her Icarus of a husband with her works and his words.

Hamilton delivers top-notch songwriting and gripping storytelling. Refrains repeated throughout the production contribute to the pacing and cohesiveness of the show while shifting meaning and morphing with the context. Miranda expertly employs them to foreshadow events and recall earlier moments, keeping the audience engaged and aware. The denseness of lyrical content and the melodic hooks were made to listen to on repeat. Hamilton captures the American story in all its messy glory in a way that’s never been done before.

Book Discussion: Grant

Book discussion
January 31st, 2019 at 2:30pm
Discuss one of the most acclaimed non-fiction books of 2017 and rediscovery a forgotten president.
Books are available at the Croswell Library.

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Have a Ukulele Christmas

Learn the uke by Christmas
No experience necessary
4 weeks & 4 Christmas Classics (December 12th and 19th )
Jingle Bells, Silent Night, Rudolph, ????
No uke necessary but bring your own if you have one
Event is free but please sign up here

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Book Review: Columbine

Columbine
Hatchette Book Group, NY: 2010; 2016
by Dave Cullen
Book Review by Marty Rheaume
Available at the Croswell Library

Columbine haunts us with sobbing teenagers, grieving parents, and dead students who endure in our collective consciousness.  April 20, 1999 wasn’t the first school shooting but it is the one that created a cult of theatrical violence preaching terror and narcissistic loathing. Astonishingly, acolytes embraced the sermon and spread it, wreaking havoc for the next couple of decades, while the rest of us wonder why the nihilistic message appeals to so many.

Cullen uses 400 plus pages to illuminate that day and the deranged minds that orchestrated it. After being one of the first reporters on the scene, he spent the following ten years on the book. With a well-paced narrative, he alternates between the years leading up to that day and the fallout that resulted from it. We meet the victims, their families, the killers, their parents, and the overmatched law enforcement officials trying to make sense of it. Poignant moments of strength and forgiveness abound but this is no feel-good book.

Columbine is most gripping when it explores clinical psychopathy through the twisted mind of Eric Harris along with Dylan Klebold’s sycophantic relationship with him. Harris’s calculating cruelty is so foreign to the empathetic reader, it’s impossible not to be intrigued by his alien thought process. Meanwhile, examining Klebold’s tortured soul gives the reader a different feeling. His relatability lends some humanity to the pair and makes him the more tragic figure.

The juxtaposition of the two perpetrators gives the book a dynamic energy that keeps the pages turning and the mind searching for answers. Harris wanted to watch the world burn. Moreover, he wanted to light the match. Klebold was a disillusioned young man whose frustration with a fallen world led to violent outbursts. We watch their relationship develop into a runaway train fueled by animosity, resentfulness, and spite. Cullen frustrates us by illustrating various opportunities local authorities had to derail that hate train. Most gut-wrenching was an affidavit to search Harris’s house that inexplicably slipped through the cracks, despite linking him to a homemade pipe bomb found in the neighborhood. The results were fifteen dead, a nation scarred, and a darker world.

Twenty years later, we must admit that Eric Harris won. He got everything he wanted: terror, infamy, a legacy of fans, and copycat killers. He let an evil genie out of the bottle and now he’s laughing in Hell as we blame each other for the destruction.