Historic Graveyard Tour returns at St. James’ Episcopal Church

It is 8 p.m. on a Friday evening and the weather is chilly at 40 degrees. The 200-year old graveyard at St. James’ fills up with an eager crowd holding lanterns. People of all ages attend, dressed in their winter gear. The tour is about to begin.

St. James’ Church in Hyde Park kicks off their 9th season with their annual Historic Graveyard Tour. Originally a run up for the bi-centennial church celebration in 2011, the tour has remained a popular event for many years. In fact, 200 people turned out for the first tour that the crowd had to be split into 3 groups.

The tour consists of approximately 8 actors stationed in different parts of the cemetery. Each of the actors plays characters who were buried at St. James’. Around half of the actors are parishioners, and half are not. Each year has non-coincidentally turned into a different theme for the tour. One year the theme was slavery, while another year the tour concentrated on disabilities.

The crowd follows the dark path of the graveyard, led by a host for the hour. Each actor tells their character’s background and major role in life. Some of the characters ranged from Red Cross personnel, soldiers, lieutenants and chefs to President Roosevelt.

The host for the evening, Russell Urban-Mead leads the crowd in an animated voice and takes the crowd to each stationed actor. Urban-Mead’s wife is the director of the tour this year. He sits in a church pew, before the start of the 8:00 tour and is enthusiastic for the evening. “It’s an exciting time for our parish where everyone comes together to work on the tour. There is a lot of history many do not even know about, just in front of our eyes in the 200-year old cemetery,” admits Urban-Mead.

This year, the focus was on those who were connected to the First World War. Chuck Kramer, The Revered, of 21 years at St. James’ made his debut appearance as an actor in this year’s tour. He played Ogden Livingston Mills, U.S Secretary of the Treasury during Herbert Hoover’s presidency.

Recounting the intention of the tour, the Reverend sits in his office, filled with books, sacred embellishments, and bright colors. “There are three goals of the tour. One is to entertain. One is to inform and one is to inspire,” said the Reverend.

Partakers of the St. James’ Historic Graveyard Tour can expect to be educated on major roles individuals played during World War I. It is a night to learn about the lives of the souls who rest in the church’s cemetery.

The Revered is proud of the impact the tour has left on people for the past 8 years as well as the light it sheds on history. “The tour makes people come alive in a way that tugs at the heart and has people thinking ‘wow.’ It engages both the funny bone and the heart,” said the Reverend.

The tour runs for 3 weeks in October on Friday and Saturday night’s starting at 7:00, 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 and proceeds go to the on-going ministry and outreach of the church.

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Poughkeepsie Gets Greek Culture

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Pictured: Member of the Kimisis Greek Orthodox Church preparing loukoumades

 

Located in the heart of Poughkeepsie, the Kimisis Greek Orthodox Church hosted it’s bi-annual Poughkeepsie Greek Festival.

This four day event held at the Hellenic Community Center attracted over 10,000 people. This festival is a celebration of the food, music, and the culture of the Hellenic people. The proceeds of the event went to the church’s programs.

 

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Pictured: Andrea Miller, long time member of Kimisis Greek Orthodox Church

 

Andrea Miller has been a member of the Kimisis Greek Orthodox Church for over 45 years and has been a part of the festival since its inception. “The fact that the Greek community comes together and we work for weeks ahead of time baking and cooking, it’s apart of our heritage,” stated Miller. “The fact that this event has been going on for over 40 years proves that it serves its purpose.

People attending this event feel like they are being immersed into another culture when they attend this festival. Many locals attend every year because to this, it is not an event that can be missed.

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Pictured: Millbrook students dancing to traditional Greek music

Although there was no live music and dancing featured at this event attendees danced together to the music the DJ played. This showed the camaraderie as members of the community learned how to dance to Greek music.

“I come every year, twice a year, and I have been for over 15 years. This is not an event that I can miss,” said Yolanda Harris, a Poughkeepsie native. “I like some of the music, I just like being out and seeing different people, different cultures, different races, and I also like to go into the shops that they have here to see what is different from my heritage,” said Harris.

To add to the overall authenticity of the event, the festival this weekend focused on the food.

John Giogakis, is the president of the Parish Council at Kimisis Greek Orthodox Church, and has been working at this event for four years. “People come for our Greek food, everything here is handmade, made to order, and people love the food,” Giogakis stated.

This focus proved to be successful as attendees raved about the quality of the food.

“It has really good food. The atmosphere is extremely inviting, I have been to other Greek festivals but this is by far the best one,” said Frank Davis, Boston native who came to Poughkeepsie just to attend the festival.

Among the food options were, gyros, greek fries, souvlakis, loukoumades, and other traditional Greek food.

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Pictured: Greek fries that were sold at the festival

“It was Greek, very Greek. The food is very similar to the types of foods that I eat at home,” said Cady Anderson, a high school student at Millbrook High School.

This unique event showcases the Greek culture to the local community. Every year it attracts more people and becomes more popular.

“Basically the purpose of this event is our Greek heritage, and giving it to Poughkeepsie. The fact that over 10,000 people have come in four days is truly amazing,” said Giogakis.

The Newest Voices on Campus: The Enharmonics

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — For several years Marist College’s Music Department has only had two a capella groups on campus, The Lovely Sirens for women, and Time Check for the men. However, when Gigi Figueroa had the idea of creating a co-ed group at Marist she quickly made this a reality and thus, The Enharmonics was born.  Continue reading

“Night on Broadway” Unites the Community

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The Marist Singers gather and sing a medley from Rent for the finale.

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — On November 4 and 5, Marist Singers held their 15th Annual “Night on Broadway” benefit concert for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BCEFA). As usual, this highly anticipated event was a success: tickets were sold out, over $6,000 in donations were made and performers received a standing ovation. Continue reading

A Song, A Dance, but No Show Plan?

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.—Two months into the fall semester, the Marist College Theater Program continues to have a murky future regarding their spring musical. They have changed their musical of choice twice, from West Side Story to The King and I.  The original choice for the Spring Musical 2018 slot had been Fiddler on the Roof, but had to be changed on account of losing the rights with the show currently touring.  From there the program went in the West Side Story direction, a decision that was later changed to the current show The King and I, and an update as of October 17, 2017 at 10:00 am it was announced that the musical is will not be

Director of the Theater Program, as well as Director of the Spring Musical, Matt Andrews, was available for commentary on the previous show choice for the spring, the main focus being the Golden Era musical.

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Poughkeepsie McDonald’s Involved in Szechaun Sauce Blunder

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. —Many of McDonald’s approximate 68 million daily customers are now very angry with the fast food giant.

On Saturday, Oct. 7, the McDonalds located on 733 Main St. in Poughkeepsie joined several other locations in the company’s attempt to bring back a rare dipping sauce known as Szechuan sauce. The sauce was only made in 1998 to promote the Disney film Mulan, but was recently referenced in the hit Adult Swim television show Rick and Morty. The third and most recent season of Rick and Morty was the most-watched in Adult Swim history, and many of its fans called for McDonalds to bring back their old dipping sauce. As a result, McDonalds announced it would bring back the sauce for one day, but the promotion did not go as planned.

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A look at people we see everyday

Attending a private liberal arts college, it’s easy to think we know everyone we go to school with. However, as Gabriella Gamba, an editor of The Circle at Marist College, mentioned, “When it comes down to it, everyone is confined to their own friend groups. We thought if we could highlight all those people we don’t know, it would give [everyone] a new perspective.” Alongside sophomores, Adler Papiernik and Kerry Tiedemann, Gamba launched the Instagram account known as Marist Stories.

Inspired after the original Humans of New York, and later the capping project that became a Facebook page, Humans of Marist College; Gamba, had been talking about restarting something like this at Marist for months with her Circle colleague, Bernadette Hogan. As she pitched the idea to Papiernik and Tiedemann, “[the three of us] just spearheaded it,” she mentioned. Trying to get students to have a better understanding of the culture around campus, Gamba, Papiernik, and Tiedemann began walking around campus acquiring content and developing ideas.

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The transfer of power

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“We want people to understand that the Brother’s transferred the college to an original group of people that they trusted,” said Brother Francis Kelly Director of Campus Ministry at Marist College.

In 1905 the history of Marist College began, when the Marist Brothers purchased the McPherson estate, which included 44-acres of land, then in 1908 the Beck estate was purchased, together the two purchases include the 110-acres that formed the main campus of what is now Marist College.  Continue reading