The annual Labor Day Weekend Concert at Dickinson Memorial Park is known to bring people together for a good time. Despite pouring rain this year, the annual event continued this tradition with the Panacea & Friends reunion show.
This year’s event also paid tribute to one of its biggest supporters, the late Bridget Seaman-Walker, with the first Bridget Seaman Memorial FAITH food drive on-site.
Seaman-Walker was a proud resident of Newtown who graduated from Newtown High School in 1981 and worked at the reception of Newtown bees firm for almost 14 years. Her untimely death in April 2021 left those who knew her shocked and heartbroken.
Seaman-Walker was a staple at community concerts, where she helped organize and transport donations from the FAITH Food Pantry. She was also frequently seen making friends by passing around her “Flat Bridget” cutout (a tribute to Jeff Brown’s Stanley dish book series) for people to pose with for photos.
Terry Curry Laslo and her husband, Jack Laslo, ran the FAITH Food Pantry donation table this year, where they accepted items and monetary gifts throughout the show. Terry also handed out plastic coated flat bridgets to bring a smile to those who knew and loved Seaman-Walker.
Any entrant who arrived with a donation for FAITH Food Pantry that evening was automatically entered into the night’s draw. Prizes included blue Newtown High School T-shirts featuring the vintage Indian mascot, as well as copies of Scenes from Newtown, Rich Kuhn’s paintings, which was designed by Panacea drummer / singer Rich Kuhn, and released earlier this year.
Panacea singer Leslie Ballard said The Newtown Bee September 9, âAt last count, there was $ 162 in Cash Can. That, along with all the overflowing trash cans, kicked off our annual Bridget Seaman Food Drive fantastic! “
She added: “It’s a real testament to Bridget that so many things have taken off so quickly!”
The Willie-Portera Trio kicked off the rainy show under the Dickinson Park pavilion with an opening performance.
Following the trio was The Rue, a group made up of alumni from Newtown High School in preparation for their highly anticipated school reunion. They played three songs and made the crowd dance.
The headliner of the event was Panacea, a group formed in the early 1970s and made up of all Newtown High School alumni. Members include Ballard (Class of 1972) on flute and vocals, Kuhn (1970) on drums and vocals, Corky Ballard (1970) on bass and vocals, Jon Dodson (1970) on guitar and vocals , and Bruce Tibbitts (1969) on guitar and vocals.
In addition to the people dancing, singing, hugging, chatting and reveling in the mirth of the Newtown High School concert / reunion, many Flat Bridgets were seen in the crowd.
It was a reminder that not only does Seaman-Walker’s legacy endure, but that she continues to make a positive difference by bringing people together for fun and a good cause.
Donations on behalf of Bridget Seaman-Walker for FAITH Food Pantry can always be made. The non-denominational pantry accepts non-perishable food, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, pet supplies, and cash / check donations.
Cash donations should be mailed to PO Box 53, Newtown, CT 06470. Food and other non-perishable donations can be dropped off at the reception of The Newtown Bee, 5 Church Hill Road, weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information on FAITH Food Pantry, visit newtownfoodpantry.org. To donate to the Pantry through its Amazon Wish List, visit amazon.com/hz/wishlist/genericitemspage/34y8rsesz804o?ref_=wl_share. To follow Panacea, visit facebook.com/panaceanewtown.
Journalist Alissa Silber can be reached at [email protected]
Devery Stickles, left, of Clearheart Construction Company, sponsored the Panacea & Friends concert. Stickles joined Terry Curry Laslo, center, and her husband, Jack Laslo, who both ran the Bridget Seaman FAITH Food Pantry food drive table at Dickinson Memorial Part on September 5. All three hold a Flat Bridget cutout in honor of Bridget Seaman. -Walker. âBee Photos, Silber
Karlene Bresson Blaser honored the memory of Bridget Seaman-Walker by taking her Flat Bridget with her wherever she went during the Labor Day weekend concert on September 5th. She placed it on her waist and said it was so they could hug each other. .
Jean Martirano raises his hand in the air after calling the winning raffle numbers, as Panacea singer Leslie Ballard displays the prize, a Newtown High School t-shirt with the vintage Indian mascot on it. The raffle took place at the Panacea & Friends Reunion Show at Dickinson Memorial Park on Sunday September 5th.
The second group to perform at the Labor Day weekend concert was The Rue, who performed three songs the members learned specifically for the Newtown reunion.
Newtown High School alumni at the Labor Day weekend of the Panacea & Friends event included, left to right, Jonne and Jerry Shpunt, Maryann Federko, Chester Guckman, Marijo Karkut, Pete Blomberg and Nancy Peck Williams .
Panacea, made up entirely of Newtown High School alumni, was headlining the Labor Day weekend concert at Dickinson Memorial Park on September 5.