Out and about: Things to see and places to be this weekend

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Mavis Staples will team with Greenwich singer, songwriter and producer Rob Mathes to bring an evening of gospel music to Greenwich on Saturday, May 19. “A Night of Celebration,” which takes place at Christ Church Greenwich, will feature some of Staples favorite spirituals, along with some of her popular hits, perhaps including some from her Grammy winning 2010 album, “You Are Not Alone.”

Other musicians will be taking to the stage this weekend and in the days to come, too, including Ronnie Spector in Ridgefield, Elisabeth von Trapp in Newtown, Prometheus in Danbury, Rusted Root in Uncasville, Collective Soul in Ridgefield, Cassatt String Quartet in Stamford, Elliott Murphy in Piermont, N.Y., and Sambeleza in Milford. In Westport, there will be several performers, including Exit 43, Happy Traum and the Gavin Trio.

In downtown Stamford on Friday night, local and regional bands will be competing in Bandapalooza. Spectators can come to listen and then vote online to choose three out of 10 bands that will compete in Stamford’s summer concert series Alive@Five.

There are several musicals planned for our area, including “Amazing Grace,” at the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester and “The Sounds of Rodgers and Hammerstein” in Greenwich. Jamilyn Manning-White, meanwhile, will be performing a solo opera, “La Voix Humaine,” in New Haven. And, Fairfield Follies Foundation will present Follies 2012, which features talent from schools across Fairfield and New Haven counties. The Greenwich Choral Society will present the last concert of the season on Sunday with its “On Stage with Gershwin and More.”

With such a beautiful weather weekend coming up, outdoor activities should please, too. Newtown Historical Society will hosting an open house, where a couple of classic cars will be on display. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo will be celebrating its 90th birthday with special activities. In Stamford, the Stamford Museum and Nature Center will be celebrating spring and the arrival of some new farm animals at its Spring on the Farm Festival. And trees will be the celebrated item at the appropriately named Norwalk-Wilton Tree Festival which gets under way throughout the day on Saturday at Cranbury Park in Norwalk. The arts also will get an airing outdoors when the Bruce Museum hosts its crafts festival on Saturday and Sunday. And Chip Zellner’s Berkshire Big Band will be playing in Danbury.

Families will likely want to check out the new exhibit at Norwalk’s Stepping Stones Museum for Children, “Blue Man Group — Making Waves.” It coincides with the Blue Man Group’s upcoming appearances in Waterbury. There is a Touch a Truck event in Danbury, the same place where “The Very Best of Fist Night,” will be taking place on Sunday. In Durham, the Girl Scout’s 100th Jubilee will be celebrated. The Children’s Renaissance and Craft Faire takes place in Fairfield. And the Aspetuck Land Trust is offering a fly-fishing education event at Warner Angler Preserve in Easton this weekend.

Film fans will want to make it over to Bridgeport, where there is a shorts film festival (see video below), and, in Greenwich there is a documentary about the night sky and its impact on humanity, or as the film’s tagline reads: “a search for night on a planet that never sleeps.”

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you get out. I hear the weekend forecast should be a treat. Until next time …

Christina Hennessy

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