Showing posts with label Nolan Cyr. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nolan Cyr. Show all posts

Friday, December 7, 2018

Windham Chamber Singers: A family experience in more ways than one

By Lorraine Glowczak 

The Windham Performing Arts Center Auditorium was filled to the brim on Saturday, December 1 at 7:30 p.m. as most audience members returned to see the annual American Family Holiday tradition by enjoying the breathtaking music and performances of the internationally known Windham Chamber Singers. There was also a 2 p.m. performance. 

In its 31st year, AmFam - as the holiday tradition is lovingly referred, provides not only the beautiful melodies of the Chamber Singers by the esteemed conductor, Dr. Richard Nickerson, but also hosts many talented and well-known musicians and this year was no exception. guests included Merritt David Janes, an exceptionally talented Broadway performer and graduate from the University of Maine, along with Daniel Strange and Ashley Liberty. Strange, who has performed at Carnegie Hall and with many well-known musicians and Liberty, a violin playing extraordinaire, are no strangers to the Windham community as they return annually as performers with the Music with a Mission program. 

Special guest, Kim Block of News 13 who was scheduled as Master of Ceremonies and to read “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was unable to attend the event due to the death of President George H. W. Bush, a close personal friend. Former principal and Assistant Superintendent, Christopher Howell filled in to read the endearing Charlie Brown story at the 7:30 p.m. performance. Student, Nolan Cyr, was the guest of honor during the reading. 

The live concert of The Windham Chamber singers and their guests is an experience that must be captured in person, as there is no way to encapsulate in words the breathtaking musical sounds and do it justice. Therefore, the real story is about the singers themselves and what it takes to be a part of an extraordinary and talented musical group. 

Officers of the Windham Chamber Singers along with Dr. Nickerson, took a moment back stage
Merritt David Janes
before the evening’s performance to share their stories and the incredibly positive impact being a part of the group has had on their lives. 

Dr. Nickerson began by explaining that the singers do more than perform. “The students are also involved in selling ads and tickets and they make the sets you see on stage,” he said, naming just a few of the expectations. “This creates a sense of ownership.” 

Stage Manager, Gabe Ransom reiterated his conductor’s sentiments. “The performances and rehearsals keep us busy. As a director, mentor and friend; Dr. Nickerson pushes us to excel in the face of adversity.” 

All the singers concurred with Ransom, adding that they are still expected to achieve in other areas of life, school and to continue with their extra-curricular activities. “We don’t have a lot of extra time,” explained President, Annie Stevens. 

https://www.egcu.orgInstead of being daunted by their intense schedules, the Chamber Singers expressed the incredible feeling of family connection and community they experience. 

Secretary, Annika Johnston stated that since they all work so closely together she has acquired deep and lasting friendships. “Being a part of this group has developed in me a sense of pride and community and has helped me to meet and gain many new friends.” 

“When we go on tour together, we become so connected and close with one another, it’s as if we become a family,” stated Vice President, Maggi Bradford. “Even though we are all different in many ways, together we act as an equalizer for one another.” 

Angelyn Gentile, the Wardrobe Manager who is homeschooled, agreed with Johnston and Bradford, stating that her participation in the Windham Chamber Singers has become one of her favorite social activities. 

Asst. Superintendent Randy Crockett and Nolan Cyr
It seems that being a part of this group and the challenges as well as the incredible sense of family community has been a constant through the years. Nathaniel Bennett, a 1991 Windham High graduate and former Chamber Singer spoke of having similar experiences. “Dr. Nickerson – or Mr. Nickerson when I was in the Chamber - was definitely a taskmaster,” Bennett joked. “I think he has mellowed out since I was a part of the group. However, there was always a sense of proud community and a family feeling among us. It was as if we were a team. It was a great experience and I’m glad to have been a part of it.” 

Bennett’s daughter, Emma, who is a 14-year-old Windham/Raymond student, attended the event to watch in hopes to become a future Chamber Singer herself. “I want to become friends with others who like to sing and love music,” she said of her goal. Stevens was in the third grade when she saw the Chamber Singers perform for the first time. “I want to be a part of this group,” she remembers telling her mother at that performance. Her mother’s response was encouraging, telling her daughter that it was something she could accomplish but that she must practice and prepare for it. “Here I am,” Stevens stated. “I’m not only a member of the group but I’m also the president. It has come full circle.” 

What advice do Stevens and the other Chamber Singers have for students like Emma who hope to be a Chamber Singer one day? “Be a part of a choir and develop a deep passion for music,” Stevens advised. “Leadership experience is important too, so get involved in a number of organizations.” 
Ransom also offered this piece of advice. “You don’t necessarily have to be the best singer or have the best voice,” he began. “A positive and strong character matters just as much in the selection process.” 

Although performing is the ultimate goal, there is an unexpected occurrence of gaining depth of character and the richness of community if one is lucky to be a part of the Windham Chamber Singers along with a family connection that will be remembered and last for a life time. How could anyone ask for more than that? It is a true representation of what family is – and what the true meaning of Christmas is all about. 

Next year’s tickets for the 32nd Annual AmFam holiday concert will go on sale in October 2019. “Act fast,” Dr. Nickerson warned the audience. “Our special guest will be Norm Lewis and the tickets will sell quickly.”

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Windham Town Council declares December 25, 2017 as #Fightlikeacyr Day by Lorraine Glowczak

Nolan Cyr getting ready for school
The Windham Town Council met on Tuesday, December 19 in the town council chambers for its usual town council meeting. Agenda items included (but were not limited to) issues such as the Town Manager’s report, committee reports as well as the adoption of the Surface Water Protection Ordinance.

However, one agenda item was added at the end of the council meeting. Councilor Tim Nangle asked
for an additional item to be added to the agenda; to proclaim and designate December 25, 2017 to be #Fightlikeacyr Day in Windham. Cyr is an eleven-year-old Windham resident who has battled osteosarcoma, a form of cancer that affects the bones. He was diagnosed in April 2017. Cyr’s personal battle against this disease engaged the entire community, locally and beyond that included a police escort on his return trip home upon the conclusion of his final cancer treatment on December 14.

The official proclamation states, “Nolan Cyr’s being home with his family and cancer free is the best Christmas gift Nolan’s family, friends and the entire community could ask for.”
The Council approved the Proclamation unanimously.

Welcome home Nolan Cyr.

For details about this or other town council meetings, please refer to the Town of Windham website at or contact the Town Manager’s office at 892-1907. The meetings are also available on Facebook Live.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Seventh annual Kelli’s 5K to donate funds to RSU14 and local boy battling cancer by Lorraine Glowczak

Kelli's thoughtfulness and kind heart lives on in the event
The seventh annual Kelli’s 5K is just around the corner; all area runners and walkers are invited to participate. There’s only a little over a week to register. Those who wish to get in an early morning jog or leisurely walk and contribute to a great community cause at the same time, can do so on Saturday, August 12 at the Windham High School’s cross country course. Located at 406 Gray Road, the annual Kelli’s 5K will begin at 9 a.m. with two courses to choose from. The first, a challenging and timed 5K run that will include rolling terrain, a series of bridges and a steep path. The second course is a non-timed walkathon around the Windham High School Campus.

Registration for the annual walk/run has already begun and will continue to be accepted up to 30 minutes prior to the race. But hurry! The first 50 paid registrants will receive a Team Kelli T-shirt. Kelli’s 5K, hosted by St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, became an annual running and walking event in 2010, to remember and honor Kelli Hutchison, a member of the church. Kelli passed away at the age of 10 on February 16, 2010, of GBM brain cancer, an aggressive form of cancer that most often occurs in adult men ages 50 to 70. Although the run/walk may have been precipitated by somber beginnings, the true focus of the Kelli’s 5K is to spread light, friendship and the art of giving to others, which represents Kelli’s true life expressions. 

Every year, proceeds from the event are distributed in a number of ways. As always, monies raised are contributed to the anticipated growth of the Kelli Hutchison Memorial Playground, located on the grounds of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, 40 Windham Center Road. 

To continue and honor Kelli’s desire to help others, portions of the funds raised this year will go toward the Windham/Raymond school district for activity fees as well as to Nolan Cyr, a local boy battling cancer.

A portion of funds raised will go toward Nolan Cyr
“Each year we like to share some of our proceeds from Kelli's 5k,” said Melissa Hutchinson, Kelli’s mother. “This year we thought of Nolan Cyr, a 10 year old boy from Windham who is battling a disease and is someone that our church has been praying for - someone that could probably use a bit of a distraction in his life - maybe have a chance to do something exciting or even something that makes him feel regular - to forget the disease - a family that could use a bit of something special or even something normal.” 

It is also important to the Hutchinson family as well as the Kelli Memorial Playground committee to give a portion of the monies raised to the RSU14 activity fees. “We know there are kids who can’t afford to participate in various school activities but want to,” explained Dan Wheeler, chair of the playground committee. “We want to help those children join in on the activities they would not be able to participant in otherwise.” 

As for the anticipated growth of the playground, there is an expansion that will soon occur. “We hope to freshen up the present playground by installing new equipment this spring,” Wheeler said. “Presently, the playground has no trees so we will be planting six trees strategically around the play area this fall.”

A photoshopped rendering of trees added to the playground
The Memorial Playground was built to not only honor Kelli’s memory, but to be a fun and well used community recreation spot for all children to play. It seems that the purpose and goal of the playground’s existence has been met. “I work every day at the church, and there are always children using it,” stated Wheeler. “It is very well used and that makes us happy.”

For those who have not yet registered for the run/walk and wish to do so, it is not too late. To register, go online at The cost to register is $15 before the event, $20 the day of the event. To make a donation for playground improvement visit Playground donation or for further information,  please contact Dan Wheeler at  

For more information about Nolan Cyr, his journey with cancer as well as other fundraising efforts, please visit the Facebook page,
If you can’t make the event or are unable to make a financial donation, there is one more thing you can do. “I hope everyone keeps Nolan in their prayers,” said Hutchinson. “This was one thing I'd ask of people if they wanted to do something for Kelli or for us; prayers. Anyone can do them, they don't cost anything and they mean so much.”

Friday, May 26, 2017

Second Annual Color Fun Run - a success in multiple ways by Lorraine Glowczak

It was a morning full of vibrant activity as eighty-five student and adult participants ran at the second annual, one mile, Color Fun Run on Saturday, May 20 at the Manchester School in Windham.

The Color Fun Run was initiated and inspired by Standards Based Teacher, Jess Carle and School Counsel, Jess Weatherbee to raise money for their students to go on school field trips that support project based learning. They believed this fun run would be a great option to raise those funds and to keep the children active. It was such a success last year they decided to do it again, with the hope that it continues to be an annual event.

This year, however, there was an additional fundraising effort, as fourth-grade teachers Adam Beal and Leah Fischer and their students, joined forces with Carle and Weatherbee to help raise funds for fourth grade student, Nolan Cyr and his family.

Cyr was diagnosed with osteosarcoma on April 11. His classmates and teacher, Ms. Fischer wanted to be of help in some way and thought it would be a great idea to participate in this year’s Color Fun Run to help Cyr and his family with medical expenses. couple of fundraising efforts have been set up to help Cyr and his family, of which the students wanted to contribute. One fundraising effort is through a website set up by Cyr’s aunt, Jessica Messina, and can be accessed at: A Facebook page has also been set up to list the various events and fundraisers planned at:

Due to Cyr’s level of strength and determination to fight this cancer, the theme behind these fundraising efforts is: Fight Like a Cyr. “Nolan always says that, ‘cancer picked the wrong kid to mess with’ and I think he really got that part right,” stated Fischer.

And thus, the fourth-grade Color Run Team was the Fight Like a Cyr Team. It is important to Cyr’s classmates that he knows they care about him. “I want to make Nolan happy,” stated fourth grade student Carly Mazerolle. “I also want to let him know that we are here for him.”

“Since his diagnosis, he has been receiving support from the staff at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital,” stated Fischer. “He has been a huge trooper throughout the whole ordeal and we admire him for his strength and courage.”

Not only is Cyr built of strength and courage, but it also seems he is wise and thoughtful beyond his
years. “Nolan has decided to donate the funds he will receive from the Color Run today to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital,” stated Cyr’s mother, Angela.

Because of Saturday’s Color Run and the funds raised for Cyr, he will be donating $1,500 to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.

“Overall, I am speechless with the amount of togetherness that this community has shown,” Fischer said. “From the fundraisers, to the students coming up with ideas on how to help, to the cards and presents that go home to Nolan - it all just takes my breath away. These students have shown what it takes to push through a hard time and Nolan has been the role model for that.” again, it seems the second annual Color Fun Run was a complete success, not only in raising funds but also in the number of individuals who came together to make this run happen. “We are so grateful to have many community sponsors which we will personally thank,” Weatherbee said. “A huge thank you goes out to the Manchester staff and parents who not only came out to support the event and cheer everyone on, but volunteered to help! The event ran very smoothly and we could not have done it without everyone coming together and helping.”

There is no stopping a small community in coming together to meet the needs of its members. The students now will get to experience hands-on learning and discovery through enlightening field trips; and the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital gained extra funds to help other children in need.

The Windham and Raymond communities are there for each other and for one individual, in particular. “We are all here for Nolan and his family and, clearly, Windham is too. Fischer said