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Snowshoe Ukulele Offers Handcrafted Instruments

June 11, 2021

Stephen Beauregard began crafting handmade guitars in 1986. When the desire to play the great summer songs of the 1920s and 1930 hit, Beauregard made the transition to the ukulele.He brought one of his custom instruments on a family camping trip to play around the campfire. A husband and wife were so impressed with the ukulele, they offered to buy it on the spot.Fast forward a few years later, and Snowshoe Ukulele Company was born. Producer Dave

Stephen Beauregard began crafting handmade guitars in 1986. When the desire to play the great summer songs of the 1920s and 1930 hit, Beauregard made the transition to the ukulele.He brought one of his custom instruments on a fami

Stephen Beauregard began crafting handmade guitars in 1986. When the desire to play the great summer songs of the 1920s and 1930 hit, Beauregard made the transition to the ukulele.He brought one of his custom instruments on a family camping trip to play around the campfire. A husband and wife were so impressed with the ukulele, they offered to buy it on the spot.Fast forward a few years later, and Snowshoe Ukulele Company was born. Producer Dave

Stephen Beauregard began crafting handmade guitars in 1986. When the desire to play the great summer songs of the 1920s and 1930 hit, Beauregard made the transition to the ukulele.

He brought one of his custom instruments on a family camping trip to play around the campfire. A husband and wife were so impressed with the ukulele, they offered to buy it on the spot.

Fast forward a few years later, and Snowshoe Ukulele Company was born. Producer Dave Fraser visits Beauregard in his shop and shares his story.

This story originally aired on February 13, 2020.

Read the full transcript:

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: Stephen Beauregard began building guitars in 1986, but with a desire to play some of the great summer songs of the 20s and 30s, he made a transition to the ukulele.

He brought one along on a family camping trip and played it around the campfire. And after a husband and wife offered to buy it from him on the spot, he made his first sale. Fast forward several years later and the Snowshoe Ukulele Company was born.

Producer Dave Fraser brings us the story.

Dave Fraser: In his unassuming workshop in Chicopee, Massachusetts, Stephen Beauregard bends and shapes wood and incorporates creative inlays to make ukuleles.

It was a request to make one for the wife of a friend that first led him down this path of being what he calls an accidental luthier.

Stephen Beauregard, Snowshoe Ukulele: She loved it. She's like in her 60s and she finally found the gift of music. And I had something to do with that.

So, that was pretty cool.

Dave Fraser: One thing led to another, and before he knew it, Beauregard had assembled a collection of woodworking tools in his basement. And with his dog Josie at his side, he formed the Snowshoe Ukulele Company.

Stephen Beauregard: We had a bumper crop of rabbits running around the yard that year. So I was like, 'how about snowshoe?' So snowshoe hare, and then my daughter drew up the logo. I was like, "This is perfect. This is what I want."

I wasn't planning on building ukuleles, but it's all I want to do.

Dave Fraser: It takes about three months to complete a ukulele, according to Beauregard, and he makes them in three sizes: baritone, tenor, and soprano.

Stephen Beauregard: Thankfully, they're little instruments. I'm not building stand up basses, so I don't need a huge head room or big, big, huge tables.

I can -- I built my first ukulele on my ski tuning bench. So, I mean, it's progressed since then. But, yeah, you can build them in a closet.

Dave Fraser: The ukulele originated in the 19th century as a Hawaiian adaptation of the Portuguese machete, a small guitar like instrument. Over the years, it has gotten a bad rap, thanks in part to Tiny Tim's "Tiptoe Through the Tulips."

But as Beauregard explains, the uke has become more accepted in the mainstream music scene.

Stephen Beauregard: The change was painful, but it came. Now, when I take the ukulele camping, it's "Hey, do you know Eddie Vedder songs?" Because, you know, Pearl Jam guy.

And it's like, oh thank God! You know, because -- I mean, Tiny Tim was a great musician. It's just that he got caught in this whole schtick of his that just ruined him and ruined the ukulele.

Ukulele Scramble: Five foot two, eyes of blue/ But oh what those five foot could do / Has anyone seen my gal?

Dave Fraser: Both Robin Hoffman and Richard Perlmutter play ukuleles made by Beauregard. The duo perform publicly as the Ukulele Scramble and as their name suggests, they play a mix of songs from the Renaissance to the rock era.

Robin Hoffman, Ukulele Scramble: We like a lot of different kinds of music. We both love classical music and pop music and rock music and all sorts of things. We use our ukuleles as sort of a a license to mess with stuff.

Richard Perlmutter, Ukulele Scramble: We have two of Steve's ukuleles here. Robin, just was presented with hers.

Robin Hoffman: This is my brand new custom concert.

Richard Perlmutter: And this is actually a baritone ukulele that Steve made a number of years ago as a prototype. I think it was the first baritone he ever made.

Robin Hoffman: Yes, it's an heirloom, definitely, but it's even more special than that to play and to perform with because it represents to me the specialness of the ukulele community here.

Dave Fraser: So, what started for Beauregard as a desire to make some ukuleles for himself to play has turned into a business that requires countless hours spent in his workshop building and less time playing.

But he says he's OK with that.

Stephen Beauregard: I had plans to build a four string tenor, a five string tenor, a six string tenor, a baritone. I build all the time now. I play a little bit -- my New Year's resolution is to play, play, play. But I just I just build all the time.

I think building is more of a passion for me now than actual playing is. But I still love to play.

Stephen Beauregard began crafting handmade guitars in 1986. When the desire to play the great summer songs of the 1920s and 1930 hit, Beauregard made the transition to the ukulele.He brought one of his custom instruments on a family camping trip to play around the campfire. A husband and wife were so impressed with the ukulele, they offered to buy it on the spot.Fast forward a few years later, and Snowshoe Ukulele Company was born. Producer Dave

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Fly Fishing on the Westfield River (Web Exclusive)

June 11, 2021

This week is National Fishing and Boating Week. To celebrate, Producer Dave Fraser joined expert angler Richard Taupier on the Westfield River in Chesterfield to discuss his love of bamboo fishing rods, and passion for fly fishing. Read the full transcript:Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: This week is National Fishing and Boating Week, and to celebrate, producer Dave Fraiser joined expert angler Richard Taupier on the Westfield River and Chesterf

This week is National Fishing and Boating Week. To celebrate, Producer Dave Fraser joined expert angler Richard Taupier on the Westfield River in Chesterfield to discuss his love of bamboo fishing rods, and passion for fly fishing

This week is National Fishing and Boating Week. To celebrate, Producer Dave Fraser joined expert angler Richard Taupier on the Westfield River in Chesterfield to discuss his love of bamboo fishing rods, and passion for fly fishing. Read the full transcript:Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: This week is National Fishing and Boating Week, and to celebrate, producer Dave Fraiser joined expert angler Richard Taupier on the Westfield River and Chesterf

This week is National Fishing and Boating Week. To celebrate, Producer Dave Fraser joined expert angler Richard Taupier on the Westfield River in Chesterfield to discuss his love of bamboo fishing rods, and passion for fly fishing. 

Read the full transcript:

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: This week is National Fishing and Boating Week, and to celebrate, producer Dave Fraiser joined expert angler Richard Taupier on the Westfield River and Chesterfield to discuss his love of bamboo fishing rods and passion for fly fishing.

Richard Taupier, Expert Angler: I started as a kid, my dad always fished with a bamboo fly rod, and so I sort of picked it up a little bit from him, though I didn't start fishing -- fly fishing -- until I was twenty one.

And then I was living in Williamsburg at the time, and had the Mill River right next door to the house. And I bought myself an inexpensive fly rod and reel and and I was hooked.

This particular fly rod, of course, is a bamboo rod made by the Leonard Rod Company in the Catskills in New York State.

Bamboo fly rods first began to be built shortly after the Civil War. So 1860s, probably even a little bit before that. The first makers were from Maine, Pennsylvania, and New York.

As fly fishing evolved, people became interested in dry fly fishing. And so they started making fly rods that were much shorter, much stiffer, a kind of faster action. And the idea was to be able to very delicately float a dry fly to land on the surface of the water, much like a natural insect would do, and not disturb the fish underneath and cause the fish to come up and take the fly right off the surface.

We're in -- on the east branch of the Westfield River, just below the Chesterfield Gorge. This area, from the Chesterfield Gorge to the Naperville Dam, the river is about seven miles long here. It is a catch and release area.

It means that the river sustains a population of fish much longer. And matter of fact, they don't have to stock as much because the fish reproduce naturally in the river. So, you have both wild fish and you have some stock fish.

This fly is an imitation of a mayfly called an ice anikia. And I used this fly the other day, with some luck here on the river, so I don't see any flies right now, nothing flying around or hatching. So, I'm going to go with something that I know worked the other day and hope that it works today as well.

Fly fishing goes back to the time when Americans first became interested in nature and natural settings as sort of recreational venues, as opposed to working venues. And so urbanites, as compared to people who lived in rural areas, when they vacationed they liked to hunt and to fish.

So, you tend to end up in places that are very kind of scenic, very natural. They can't really be disturbed a great deal. And they're places where you just get a tremendous amount of enjoyment just being in those locations.

I often say to people that I have been in some of the most beautiful places in the world, fly fishing and not catching fish. And it's because of the beauty that sometimes the catching of the fish is really almost incidental.

This week is National Fishing and Boating Week. To celebrate, Producer Dave Fraser joined expert angler Richard Taupier on the Westfield River in Chesterfield to discuss his love of bamboo fishing rods, and passion for fly fishing. Read the full transcript:Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: This week is National Fishing and Boating Week, and to celebrate, producer Dave Fraiser joined expert angler Richard Taupier on the Westfield River and Chesterf

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El Corazon de Holyoke / The Heart of Holyoke

June 11, 2021

If you’ve driven down Main Street in Holyoke recently, you may have noticed some new décor.El Corazon de Holyoke, or The Heart of Holyoke, is a new public arts display. The peacekeeping project features murals created by local artists that reflect the Puerto Rican and Latinx culture of the surrounding neighborhoods.Zydalis Bauer spoke with Cynthia Espinosa, Senior Project Manager of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Holyoke, along

If you’ve driven down Main Street in Holyoke recently, you may have noticed some new décor.El Corazon de Holyoke, or The Heart of Holyoke, is a new public arts display. The peacekeeping project features murals created by local art

If you’ve driven down Main Street in Holyoke recently, you may have noticed some new décor.El Corazon de Holyoke, or The Heart of Holyoke, is a new public arts display. The peacekeeping project features murals created by local artists that reflect the Puerto Rican and Latinx culture of the surrounding neighborhoods.Zydalis Bauer spoke with Cynthia Espinosa, Senior Project Manager of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Holyoke, along

If you’ve driven down Main Street in Holyoke recently, you may have noticed some new décor.

El Corazon de Holyoke, or The Heart of Holyoke, is a new public arts display. The peacekeeping project features murals created by local artists that reflect the Puerto Rican and Latinx culture of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Zydalis Bauer spoke with Cynthia Espinosa, Senior Project Manager of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Holyoke, along with local artists Frankie Borrero and Chelvanaya Gabriel, to hear more about the origins of the project and how they hope others will be inspired by it.

 

If you’ve driven down Main Street in Holyoke recently, you may have noticed some new décor.El Corazon de Holyoke, or The Heart of Holyoke, is a new public arts display. The peacekeeping project features murals created by local artists that reflect the Puerto Rican and Latinx culture of the surrounding neighborhoods.Zydalis Bauer spoke with Cynthia Espinosa, Senior Project Manager of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Holyoke, along

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Robert Markey Paints Portraits of Those Lost to COVID-19

June 11, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic may be fading in the United States, but in its wake the virus leaves roughly 600,000 lives lost.With many families and friends looking for ways to honor their lost loved ones, a local artist is offering to help. Robert Markey is painting portraits of people who have died from COVID-19 — and he’s doing it for free.Connecting Point’s Ross Lippman visited Markey’s studio to see his work, and to learn about the remarkable life l

The COVID-19 pandemic may be fading in the United States, but in its wake the virus leaves roughly 600,000 lives lost.With many families and friends looking for ways to honor their lost loved ones, a local artist is offering to he

The COVID-19 pandemic may be fading in the United States, but in its wake the virus leaves roughly 600,000 lives lost.With many families and friends looking for ways to honor their lost loved ones, a local artist is offering to help. Robert Markey is painting portraits of people who have died from COVID-19 — and he’s doing it for free.Connecting Point’s Ross Lippman visited Markey’s studio to see his work, and to learn about the remarkable life l

The COVID-19 pandemic may be fading in the United States, but in its wake the virus leaves roughly 600,000 lives lost.

With many families and friends looking for ways to honor their lost loved ones, a local artist is offering to help. Robert Markey is painting portraits of people who have died from COVID-19 — and he’s doing it for free.

Connecting Point’s Ross Lippman visited Markey’s studio to see his work, and to learn about the remarkable life led by one of his most recent subjects, former Springfield resident Frances Borden Hubbard.

Read the full transcript of this episode.

Robert Markey's Portraits of COVID-19

Read the Full Transcript:

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: The COVID-19 pandemic may be fading in the United States, but in its wake it leaves roughly 600,000 lives lost due to the virus.

As many families and friends are finding ways to honor their lost loved ones, a local artist is offering to help. Robert Markey is painting portraits of people who have died from COVID-19, and he's doing it for free.

Connecting Point's Ross Lipmann visited Markey's studio to see his work and to learn about the remarkable life led by one of his most recent subjects, former Springfield resident Frances Borden Hubbard.

Ross Lippman, Connecting Point: Deep in the woods of Ashfield, where the mornings are calm and quiet, Robert Markey heads into his studio. On his easel is a photo and an empty canvas.

Markey is a portrait artist, and just as he has with countless faces before, he will slowly bring this picture of Frances Borden Hubbard to life.

Robert Markey, Artist: When I asked to do the portrait, I asked for information about the person, so I know -- kind of know who they are. And I asked for a few high resolution photos, so I can kind of -- because I've never painted anyone that I haven't known before.

Ross Lippman: And he'll never get to know Frances. She died on April 11th, 2020 from COVID-19.

Robert Markey: I'll do this, and then change it a little bit, and then come back tomorrow to repaint it.

Ross Lippman: This is Robert's most recent project. Every person he's painted over the last few months has died from COVID.

Robert Markey: I just wanted to do something that helped people. So, I put something up on Facebook. And I got, I think I got three responses. I have a friend whose sister died, I have a friend, and so I started doing it.

And it felt like...it felt really good.

Ross Lippman: From their word spread of Markey's portraits and more requests came for him to paint loved ones lost during the pandemic. There was Sandy Polansky, Ruth McBride, Frank Bush, and Britney Bruner-Ringo.

But today he's painting Frances, a woman who touched many lives as a public health official and advocate.

Theresa Glenn, Friend of Frances Borden Hubbard: She was a wonderful storyteller. But most, you know, most importantly, she was a mentor to me.

Ross Lippman: Including Theresa Glenn.

Theresa Glenn: I met her when she came to my class at the University of Massachusetts School of Public Health. Frances was asked to come and speak to the class. She talked a lot about her experiences as an organizer.

And I just I loved her. I just immediately thought, this is an amazing person that, you know, I would love to work with. I would love to get to know.

Ross Lippman: She eventually moved to Springfield and became a public health official for the city, at one point serving as its HIV/AIDS director in the 1990s. That's where she became Theresa's mentor and longtime friend.

Theresa Glenn: She believed in the power and ability of communities to change health conditions. And she also felt like a city like Springfield, it's like there's an emergency all the time.

You know, the people that are are without food. There are people that are have very serious health conditions. It's like having having a fire, you know, that's that's happening all the time.

Ross Lippman: But the most important relationship in Frances's life was with her son, Scott. She moved to Springfield in order to help Scott raise his children.

When Francis died, there could not be a funeral. Instead, an online vigil was held for nearly three hours.

Scott Hubbard, Frances's Son: My mother was truly my best friend, my confidant, my hero, my mentor, my coach. She was my everything. And we had a unique, beautiful relationship.

Ross Lippman: Theresa asked Markey to paint Frances, so that she could give the portrait to Scott.

Theresa Glenn: I know how heartbroken I am and I know how heartbroken her son is. And I thought, it would be really nice to have the painting and give it to her son. And so that inspired me even more.

I'm excited to see what his...how he's created this this portrait of this person that I so love and appreciate.

Theresa Glenn: That is so beautiful. Oh, my gosh, it does. Oh, my gosh. That is so lovely. Oh, you did such a beautiful job. Thank you so much. It's going to make me cry. It's beautiful.

Robert Markey: I'm always nervous when someone comes in to see it. Do I do it right?

Theresa Glenn: No, you did. You did. It's beautiful.

Ross Lippman: Francis Borden Hubbard lived a full life.

Theresa Glenn: I'm so impressed. I love her face. She looks so, so happy.

Ross Lippman: And while a painting can't bring her back, it can certainly keep her memory alive.

Theresa Glenn: Part of me was not sure I wanted to connect the memory of her with the painting and the memory of her death, of dying of of COVID. I wanted to remember her from days that we spent, you know, together doing things and working together, which is a lot of what we did.

I didn't want to remember her as as a hero in a pandemic. I wanted to remember her as Frances, who was a beloved friend and mentor.

The COVID-19 pandemic may be fading in the United States, but in its wake the virus leaves roughly 600,000 lives lost.With many families and friends looking for ways to honor their lost loved ones, a local artist is offering to help. Robert Markey is painting portraits of people who have died from COVID-19 — and he’s doing it for free.Connecting Point’s Ross Lippman visited Markey’s studio to see his work, and to learn about the remarkable life l

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FULL EPISODE: June 11, 2021

June 11, 2021

𝗥𝗼𝗯𝗲𝗿𝘁 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘆 𝗣𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗣𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗧𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗟𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗖𝗢𝗩𝗜𝗗-𝟭𝟵 Since the pandemic began, nearly 600,000 American have lost their lives due to the coronavirus.  Ashfield-based artist Robert Markey is helping families honor their lost loved ones by painting portraits of some of the people who died because of COVID-19.  Visit his studio to studio to see his work and learn about the remarkable life led by one of his most recent subjects, former Springfield

𝗥𝗼𝗯𝗲𝗿𝘁 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘆 𝗣𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗣𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗧𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗟𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗖𝗢𝗩𝗜𝗗-𝟭𝟵 Since the pandemic began, nearly 600,000 American have lost their lives due to the coronavirus.  Ashfield-based artist Robert Markey is helping families honor their lost lov

𝗥𝗼𝗯𝗲𝗿𝘁 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘆 𝗣𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗣𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗧𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗟𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗖𝗢𝗩𝗜𝗗-𝟭𝟵 Since the pandemic began, nearly 600,000 American have lost their lives due to the coronavirus.  Ashfield-based artist Robert Markey is helping families honor their lost loved ones by painting portraits of some of the people who died because of COVID-19.  Visit his studio to studio to see his work and learn about the remarkable life led by one of his most recent subjects, former Springfield

𝗥𝗼𝗯𝗲𝗿𝘁 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘆 𝗣𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗣𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗧𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗟𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗖𝗢𝗩𝗜𝗗-𝟭𝟵 
Since the pandemic began, nearly 600,000 American have lost their lives due to the coronavirus.  

Ashfield-based artist Robert Markey is helping families honor their lost loved ones by painting portraits of some of the people who died because of COVID-19.  

Visit his studio to studio to see his work and learn about the remarkable life led by one of his most recent subjects, former Springfield resident Frances Borden Hubbard. 
And more western Mass stories tonight... 
El Corzon de Holyoke, or the Heart of Holyoke, is a public art display that reflects the Puerto Rican and Latinx culture of the city. Meet two of the artists (Frankie Borrero and Chelvanaya Gabriel) that created street murals for the project who share their hope that others will be inspired by their work. 

Then, Stephen Beauregard was originally a guitar maker but fell in love with the ukulele on a summer camping trip. He now creates hand-crafted ukuleles at his Snowshoe Ukulele Company.   

Finally, curator Doris Madsen shares how the Wear Orange Easthampton public art campaign uses art to raise awareness about gun violence and prevention. 

𝗥𝗼𝗯𝗲𝗿𝘁 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘆 𝗣𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗣𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗧𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗟𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗖𝗢𝗩𝗜𝗗-𝟭𝟵 Since the pandemic began, nearly 600,000 American have lost their lives due to the coronavirus.  Ashfield-based artist Robert Markey is helping families honor their lost loved ones by painting portraits of some of the people who died because of COVID-19.  Visit his studio to studio to see his work and learn about the remarkable life led by one of his most recent subjects, former Springfield

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