Summer's End; Time for School

What to love and loathe about living in East Greenwich this week.

RAVE: ‘Tis the season to suddenly freak out. The endless summer suddenly has a finish line and it is looming. Well, thank Zeus that East Greenwich has a seasonal antidote called Summer’s End. This year it takes place on Aug. 31 (doors open at 5 p.m.).

I’ll pause for a moment while you mark the date in your calendar.

Ok, full disclosure, I am on the board — but all that means is I have an inside scoop on how really fabulous this year’s concert will be. The U.S. Navy Band; Northeast’s Pops Ensemble; fireworks; well-known vocalist and East Greenwich resident Mary Pat Denci; fireworks; lots of local talent like Dana Wronski, Stephen and Carol Reale, Jamie Millard And Bill Wray; fireworks; The East Greenwich High School Jazz Band. Did I mention fireworks?

One more thing that being on the Summer’s End Board means is that I am going to use my weekly “bully pulpit” (no jokes please) to make a plea for donations. It’s a truly amazing feat that this concert is put on every year for 17 years without an admission fee. This partly due to the hard work of (other) board members (I just go to the meetings for the coffee) but more because of the local residents, businesses and the town council whose continued support makes the music happen.

A recent study from The Chronicle of Philanthropy found that when it comes to giving. I don’t believe that — let’s show those boffins what we’re made of. If you haven’t already made a donation, it’s easy — just go to www.summersendeg.com/matriarch/default.asp and click on the “DONATE NOW” button.

We live in a world where the arts and music are usually looked upon as an extra discipline that it is not essential to the function of our society and culture; but these are basic human needs. Otherwise, how to explain the continuing popularity of “So You Think You Can Dance,” or “American Idol?" How lucky we are to live in a town that not only gets it, they showcase it.

But Summer’s End is about so much more than the music. It’s a huge town gathering on Eldredge Field. It’s one last chance run into people you know, touch base, catch up on news and information before the craziness of September takes over. Maybe it’s even a chance for our community to get to know each other a bit, even if only from a distance. The simple continuity of events like this confirm that we are all life-term partners in this place called East Greenwich, committed to its health and vitality.

I don't know about you, but if summer’s gotta end, I can't think of better way to do it.

RANT: It can’t just be me. We’re all in shock how school starts earlier and earlier, right? There is something just so wrong about starting school before Labor Day.

Little research exists on whether earlier starts boost achievement. Sure, a shorter summer means kids are less likely to forget what they learned waaaaaaaaaaay back in June. But it doesn’t affect the number of days of instruction, which are generally set in teacher contracts, so it’s not like students are getting extra instruction. The school year is 180 days of instruction. Period.

Hmmm. I just did the math (I obviously did not have the benefit of an East Greenwich School system education). So scratch this rant. If the kids are going back before Labor Day, it therefore means they are getting out earlier in June. Which totally works for me.


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