Saturday, February 20, 2016

Senior Center: A new edition of The Franklin Connection is available

A new edition of The Franklin Connection has been published on the Town of Franklin web site.

Click the link below to read the latest edition.

Franklin Senior Center in winter rain
Franklin Senior Center in winter rain

Catholic Memorial tops FHS boys basketball team 87-64

Boys Basketball

  • Franklin, 64 @ Catholic Memorial, 87 – Final 

– Senior Tim Prunier and freshman Jay Dieterle each had nine points for the Panthers.

FHS Panthers
FHS Panthers

ESPN provides the detailed write up on this game

"With a full arsenal of offensive weapons and the ability to implement their patented defensive pressure all over the court, the Catholic Memorial Knights had no issues enacting some revenge on the visiting Franklin Panthers. 
The Knights suffered their first loss of the season when they fell at Franklin, 92-87, last December and Friday’s rematch with the Panthers started in troublesome fashion, as Franklin jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the opening minutes. 
Yet the defending Division 1 State Champions were able to respond with a quick 8-0 run, cement their lead with a 14-0 run to make it 44-22 in the middle of the second quarter, and squash any hope for the opposition by opening up a 41-point lead towards the end of the third quarter. 
Despite a late run from Franklin’s reserves in the fourth quarter, Catholic Memorial (17-2) coasted to an 87-64 win, which marks their 31st consecutive victory at the school’s Ronald Perry Gymnasium."

Continue reading the article online

Franklin Federated Church reaches $500,000 Restoration Campaign Goal

Franklin Federated Church is pleased to announce that it has successfully met its goal of raising $500,000 in donations and pledges to fund substantial repairs and updates to its historic buildings, and to support an area nonprofit dedicated to healing domestic violence.

A total of 95 families and individuals pledged $500,815 to the campaign. Nearly $172,000 has been received, and the rest is pledged to be donated over the next three years.

"The success of the Restoration Campaign will ensure that Franklin Federated will be able to continue to support not only the Town of Franklin, but the community at large for many years to come," said campaign co-chair Allen Sawyer. "The members of the congregation and surrounding community never cease to amaze me with their hard work, dedication and generosity."

The funds are already being put to use to address issues with the structural integrity, safety and heating systems of the buildings. New gutters, downspouts and ice melt cables have been installed on the historic 1895 church building, and grading work is being done at the foundation level to stop the incursion of water which was damaging ceiling and walls inside. Electrical panels have been upgraded in the church, new heaters have been installed in the nursery and classrooms, and the concrete front walkways have been replaced. Work is about to begin to eliminate mold and drainage issues in the basement of the parsonage, which is next door to the church and houses the pastor and his family.

Future work that is in the planning stages will include replacement of the church and parsonage boilers, improvements to the church's fire safety system and accessibility, and restoration of the stained glass windows.

In keeping with the Franklin Federated Church's mission to give back to the community, $17,000 of the funds being raised will be donated to the New Hope RESPECT programs. The RESPECT program reaches out to, and helps restore, families in Franklin and neighboring communities that are broken down by violence.

Franklin Federated Church is a Welcoming and Affirming congregation, meaning that all people are invited to be a part of the mission and ministry of the church. The congregation supports organizations locally and around the world, such as Meals on Wheels, local Boy and Girl Scout troops, the Franklin Food Pantry, the Santa Foundation, New Hope, the Boston Grow Clinic and Church World Service.

Franklin Federated Church
Franklin Federated Church

The church's history is entwined with the town's founding. The First Congregational Church was formed in 1738, when it broke off from the Congregational Church of Wrentham. This effectively marked the beginning of the Town of Franklin, which had previously been considered the West Precinct of Wrentham. The First Congregational Church joined with the First Baptist Church in 1941, forming the Federated Church. The two congregations had begun worshiping together after the hurricane of 1938 destroyed the First Baptist Church's building on School Street.

For more information or to contribute to the restoration project, visit

Franklin Federated Church is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the American Baptist Churches, USA.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Upcoming Events in Franklin, MA Area: FRI 2/19/16 - THU 2/25/16

FRIDAY 2/19/16
6:30pm   Art Night Uncorked at the Franklin Art Center

SATURDAY 2/20/16
9am-4pm  Book Sale at the Franklin Public Library with live entertainment by Betty Kushner (9-10am)
1:30-2:20pm   Try hockey for FREE! at Pirelli Veteran’s Arena
7pm  Light up the sky for change at Fino Field in Milford

SUNDAY 2/21/16
9am-12pm   Bag Sale at Franklin Public Library (fill up a paper bag with books for only $5)
3:30pm   LiveARTS presents: Cynthia Raim, piano - at FUSF.

TUESDAY 2/23/16
1:30-3pm   Knitting Circle at the Franklin Public Library
6:30pm   Teen Advisory Board Meeting at the Franklin Public Library

THURSDAY 2/25/16
6-8pm   Sip and Save with Statera Financial and Ladimer Law at Pour Richard's
6:30pm   Genealogy Club Meeting at the Franklin Public Library
7pm   Franklin Wine Club: Girl Scout Cookies and Wine Tasting at Franklin Liquors
7pm   Franklin SEPAC Workshop: Medication and Your Child presented by Dr. Lum, Pediatric Neuropsychologist

For all the Town of Franklin Public Meetings click HERE.

For event details click HERE.

*If you have any suggestions or events for the calendar, please email

FHS boys hockey lose in OT, girls hockey score 4 in 3rd period to win

FHS Panthers
FHS Panthers

Boys Hockey

  • Franklin, 2 vs. Marshfield, 3 – Final (OT) 

– The game counts as a tie for MIAA purposes.

Girls Hockey

  • Franklin, 4 vs. Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake, 2 – Final 

– Franklin scored four goals in the third period to rally for a win.

For the other results around the Hockomock League on Thursday

Tri-County Student Council Hosts Collection Drive for Homeless Veterans

The Student Council at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School recently hosted a collection drive for homeless veterans.

During the event, the students collected clothing and toiletries from members of the Tri-County community. On Friday, February 12, Student Council members Damaris Carter, of Medway, Hannah Galante, of Franklin, and Ashley O’Handley, of Plainville, turned in six boxes full of toothpaste, deodorant, winter jackets, and other essentials to representatives from the VA Medical Center in West Roxbury.

The idea for the collection drive began as a suggestion from freshman Adrianna Celeste, of North Attleborough. Celeste was inspired by the work of her grandmother, Fran Costa, who collects items to make care packages for homeless veterans.

The Student Council at Tri-County consists of four students from each grade who were elected by their peers to serve as the overall student governing body. In addition to their regular Student Government duties, this group is responsible for planning and coordinating civic, social, fundraising, and community service activities.

Fran Costa meets with Tri-County students Ashley O’Handley, Hannah Galante, and Damaris Carter, to organize items donated by the Tri-County community for homeless veterans
Fran Costa meets with Tri-County students Ashley O’Handley, Hannah Galante, and Damaris Carter, to organize items donated by the Tri-County community for homeless veterans

In the News: DelCarte playground closed again, try hockey for free

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin

The playground at the DelCarte Conservation Area - which was closed for much of last summer - is once again facing problems, town officials said. 
The Pleasant Street playground - notable for its slide that resembles a tree - first opened in fall 2014, but was shut down for some time last year. 
"Last winter or early spring, we discovered the playground had structural issues," said Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting. "It was closed off for many, many months."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

DelCarte playground as closed in May 2015
DelCarte playground as closed in May 2015

The Franklin Youth Hockey Association will hold a Try Hockey for Free event from 1:30 to 2:20 p.m. Feb. 20 at Veteran’s Arena, 910 Panther Way. The event will provide ages 4-9 a free experience to try youth hockey. 
A limited amount of equipment is available to borrow, and children do not need any previous skating or hockey experience.The event is sponsored by USA Hockey and will be supported by the Boston Bruins. 
The Bruins will send their youth hockey coaches, street team and mascot, Blades. 
To register, visit

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Sipping and Saving Event at Pour Richard's - Feb 25

MBTA: Update: Franklin Line delays due to Amtrak signal should be resolved

The AMTRAK signal problem experienced on Thursday is not resolved yetTHis just in: 

"Franklin Line notice: The Amtrak signal issue has been resolved and all trains will operate on a regular schedule into and out of South Station. 
Last updated: Feb 19 2016 05:47 AM"

"Franklin Line notice: All trains will originate/terminate at South Station for Friday, 2/19. 

Trains may experience 15-30 min delays."

Last updated: Feb 18 2016 10:10 PM
Sent by the MBTA. 

commuter rail at Franklin/Dean Station
commuter rail at Franklin/Dean Station

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Franklin resident expects fast races in State Meet

Anthony Delasanta lives in Franklin:

"They have the fastest feet in the Commonwealth and two of the most powerful bursts of energy coming out of the starting blocks in the state. Record-holders in their own rights, they have set the pace for indoor track this winter at both, Norton High School and Bishop Feehan High School. 
Norton High's record-setting senior sprinter Abu Ceesay is ranked No. 1 in the state in the 55 meter dash (6.47 seconds) and No. 2 in the state in the 300 meter dash (34.84). Meanwhile, Bishop Feehan High's record-setting senior sprinter Anthony Delasanta is ranked No. 2 in the state in the 55 dash (6.56 seconds) and No. 1 in the state in the 300 meter dash (34.83). 
On Saturday at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, the Lancer and the Shamrock will take the starting line to run against each other in both events at the MIAA State Championship Meet."
(Photo by Tom Maguire/ The Sun Chronicle) Norton High’s Abu Ceesay, left, and Bishop Feehan High’s Anthony Delasanta, right, will face off at the MIAA State Championship Meet.
 Norton High’s Abu Ceesay, left, and Bishop Feehan High’s Anthony Delasanta, right, will face off at the MIAA State Championship Meet. (Photo by Tom Maguire/ The Sun Chronicle)

"This is not only pretty cool, but something special," said Kirkland, presiding over a Delasanta workout on Tuesday. Delasanta, a resident of Franklin, has been nurtured in the sprints by current Shamrock assistant Jason Brown, while also having come under the guidance of track gurus Bob L'Homme, Latif Thomas and Paul Powell. 
"Abu is such a humble kid too," Taylor said of the special needs student with Ceesay being hearing impaired and requiring the aid of a translator (Sharon Hollis) for both his academic and athletic pursuits. "Abu is always the first one to say that, 'Even though track is an individual sport, I want to do this for the team.' " 
Because Ceesay is deaf, he has special needs for track meets too. Taylor received approval from the MIAA and MSTCA for a strobe light which the Lancer runner can see at the start of a dash since he is unable to hear a starter's gun."

Continue reading the full article online in The Sun Chronicle

Why is August 1, 2008 so important to Chris?

Chris Herren comes to Franklin High School auditorium on Monday, Feb 29th.

"Chris is a Fall River native who dreamed of playing in the NBA. That dream came true when he became a Boston Celtics having been traded to his home town by Denver in 1999. Chris then lost it all and nearly his life to addiction and substance abuse disorder. Clean and sober since 2008, Chris now devotes his life to inspiring people of all ages. Please join us to hear Chris tell about his journey!"

screen grab of The Herren Project
screen grab of The Herren Project

Both FHS hockey teams post wins, girls swim team finishes 6th in MIAA Sectional meet

Boys Hockey

  • Franklin, 3 vs. Needham, 2 – Final (OT) 

– Franklin’s Jake Downie scored in overtime to give the Panthers the win. Luke Downie scored the two goals in regulation.The game counts as a tie for MIAA purposes.

Girls Hockey

  • Franklin, 10 vs. Central Catholic, 3 – Final

For all the results around the Hockomock League on Wednesday
FHS Panthers
FHS Panthers

Catching up to the swim results from the weekend meets as posted by Hockomock Sports


"The MIAA held its South/Central Sectional meets over the weekend at MIT. The girls competed on Saturday and the boys made a splash on Sunday. 
On the boys side, King Philip had the best team placement, finishing in fourth but Attleboro was right behind in fifth place. The Bombardiers had the lone first place finishes for Hock swimmers on the boys side with River Wright (200 IM) Dylon Willis (100 Breaststroke) each finishing first. 
For the girls, Franklin was the top team by coming in sixth overall. Sophomore Ashley Loomis had a pair of wins with victories in the 200 Free and the 500 Free."
For the detail results follow this link

MassBudget: Feeding Students, Counting Kids, Distributing Chapter 70 Aid: Two New Briefs from MassBudget


Feeding Students, Counting Kids, Distributing Chapter 70 Aid: Two New Briefs from MassBudget   
MassBudget is releasing two new papers analyzing the issues below, available HERE and HERE.

To expand educational opportunity by making sure that more students are well-fed and ready to learn, the federal government has created a program that allows schools to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students in districts with large numbers of low-income students. Schools that implement this program, called Community Eligibility, no longer collect paper forms from every child to determine who is eligible for free or reduced price meals. Instead, schools use a data matching system to automatically enroll for school meals those students who are already enrolled in other programs that support low-income families. This program improves efficiency and expands access to school meals.

The transition to this new system has created logistical challenges for other school programs - in particular, our Chapter 70 school funding formula - that have for many years used income data collected through the traditional paper forms. The Governor's budget, following a recommendation of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), proposes some reforms that seek to address these challenges. It also proposes additional reforms in the way aid is provided to districts with large numbers of low-income students.

In Proposed Low-Income Student Changes Would Have Varied Chapter 70 Impact we describe the proposals, identify promising elements, and detail ways in which the proposals do not solve some important problems. Specifically, by using data that dramatically undercount low-income students in some districts - but not in others - this proposal leads some districts to receive significantly less aid for their schools than they would have received if their low-income students were being counted more accurately. This brief includes Chapter 70 detail under two alternative scenarios for every district in the Commonwealth.

In Direct Certification for School Meals: Feeding Students, Counting Kids, Funding Schools we describe a number of solutions that would improve the effectiveness of the direct certification system and its ability to accurately identify low-income students. These solutions include extending the automatic matching system and including all relevant programs, improving the ability of the automated program to identify matches, expanding the ability of schools to resolve partial data matches, and making sure that all low-income families are enrolled in the food and health care programs for which they are eligible.

By delaying the use of new direct certification data in the Chapter 70 formula and implementing the strategies that could make that data more comprehensive, the state could get a more accurate count of low-income kids for our school funding system and other programs. These efforts would also have the benefit of ensuring that families are enrolled in programs for which they are eligible, helping more kids and families avoid hunger and stay healthy.

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.

BOSTON, MA 02108

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, 15 Court Square, Suite 700, Boston, MA 02108

Sent by in collaboration with
Constant Contact
screen grab of MassBudget report
screen grab of MassBudget report

Information Presentation on Death with Dignity

A Death with Dignity Informational Presentation will take place at the First Universalist Society, 262 Chestnut Street on Sunday, Feb 28th, from 1-2:30 p.m. 
The presenter will be Marie Manis, Massachusetts Campaign Manager for Compassion and Choices, which is the leading nonprofit organization working to improve care and expand choice at the end of life.
Compassion and Choices
Compassion and Choices
For more than 30 years they have increased people's quality of life and given them added peace of mind in their final days – even when injury or illness takes their voice. They work to change attitudes, practices and policies so that everyone can access the information and options they need to have more control and comfort in their final days. 
You will hear more about the national aid in dying movement and the bill currently in the MA legislature co-sponsored by 29 lawmakers, and find out what you can do to support it. 
This event is open to the public.

In the News: Pond St discussion proceeds, Medway warrant pending state's decision

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin

"Talks have begun regarding a possible condominium development on Pond Street, though the matter will not come before the Town Council again this month. 
Earlier this month, the council took a non-binding straw poll vote in favor of an 85-unit development on a town-owned, 33-acre property on the street. The proposal would have a developer purchase the land for about $1.65 million. The council decided to have town staff draft a formal resolution, which would be voted upon at a future meeting. 
Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting said that there had been some progress in talks with the developer. 
"We had an initial meeting just yesterday," he said Wednesday. "There will probably be a follow-up next week."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

An annual Town Meeting warrant article asking residents to approve a $75.2 million payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement with Exelon is currently a placeholder pending a state board’s decision on allowing the company’s proposed expansion to move forward, selectmen and town officials said Tuesday. 
Town Administrator Michael Boynton, while going over the May 9 special and annual Town Meeting warrants, suggested that if the article goes forward, it should be first. 
“It’s going to be the biggest discussion of the night,” he said.

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

THE BLACK BOX Sets The Stage For Culinary Cabaret Food And Wine Event

The Franklin Performing Arts Company (FPAC) presents Culinary Cabaret 2016 on Friday, March 4, from 7-11 p.m. at THE BLACK BOX, 15 West Central Street, in downtown Franklin. The annual food and wine event showcases the culinary and performing arts, featuring masterful dishes and gourmet specialties. The evening also includes a culinary-themed silent auction and entertainment by the ACME Jazz Quartet and the international touring ensemble Electric Youth.

Celebrating Culinary Cabaret’s 5th anniversary, FPAC is pleased to collaborate with exceptional area chefs and restaurants, including Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, a Culinary Cabaret founding partner. Davio’s Executive Chef Paul King served up prime beef short rib and butternut squash purée garnished with crispy leeks in 2014 and fresh Maine lobster cake over a spicy slaw topped with a black olive aioli in 2015. The signature event’s 2016 reprise will once again pair food and art of outstanding and creative caliber and showcase an impressive roster of vendors to present an innovative evening of inspired cuisine.
Culinary Cabaret 2015 in THE BLACK BOX
Culinary Cabaret 2015 in THE BLACK BOX

Savor fine wines, craft beer, and delicious appetizers, desserts and dishes from Café Assisi, Genji Sushi, Jalapeno’s Mexican Grill, J and L Catering, Twist Bakery, 3 Restaurant, The Curry House and more. Pour Richard’s Wine and Spirits will partner restaurant stations with representatives from vineyards and distributors, who will pour wines specifically chosen to complement the chef-prepared specialties. Reflecting Pour Richard’s “Never Drink Ordinary” motto, beverages will feature small producers, high quality and eclectic selection.

Tickets for Culinary Cabaret are $75 and are fully inclusive of the evening’s food, wine, beer and entertainment. Event proceeds support Electric Youth’s 2016 European concert tour, featuring a July 4th performance for U.S. troops stationed at Aviano Air Force Base. For more information, visit Tickets may be purchased online at or by phone at 508-528-3370.

Franklin Library: 2 events today - puppets and magic

Two events for the little kids today at the Franklin Library. 

Sparky's Puppets at 10:30 AM

Sparky's Puppets at Franklin Library
Sparky's Puppets at Franklin Library

Greg the Magician and Axel, the magic dog at 1:30 PM

Greg and Axel at Franklin Library
Greg and Axel at Franklin Library

These were shared from the Franklin Library pages

LiveARTS presents Cynthia Raim - Feb 21

The Detroit-born, Curtis-bred, Philadelphia-based pianist, Cynthia Raim, is no stranger to LiveARTS. Indeed, like Linda Bento-Rei, she too was an early advisor, sympathetic friend, and “encourager” supreme during LiveARTS’ beginnings and early years. 
pianist Cynthia Raim
pianist Cynthia Raim
Nor is she a stranger to the LiveARTS audience who gasp audibly with expectant pleasure whenever her name is mentioned: another close and dear friend. One of Rudolf Serkin’s most gifted students, early on she received worldwide acclaim as the winner of the coveted musicians’ musician’s Clara Haskil medal. 
Of more immediate interest to us, arising from her early career, is another win: the International Bach Competition. This year, Cynthia Raim comes back to LiveARTS--and back to Bach. LiveARTS is privileged to announce that it will present one of the first-place winners of the International Bach Competition in the rarely performed Goldberg Variations, perhaps universally acknowledged Johann Sebastian Bach’s noblest composition for keyboard. This performance is simply not to be missed.

For additional information on the LiveARTS performances visit

Franklin Downtown Partnership: Networking Luncheon This Friday

Franklin Downtown Partnership 
9 E. Central Street, Franklin, MA  02038
(774) 571-3109

Join the Franklin Downtown Partnership at our Networking Luncheon 
1 p.m. Friday, February 19
Dean College's Smith Dining Center

Make contacts, share information, form collaborations. 

Connect with the Networking Committee to reserve your seat at the table:
Gary Donelan,

Matt Lechter,
Franklin Downtown Partnership | 774-571-3109 |
Connect with us:

Forward this email

Franklin Downtown Partnership | 9 E. Central St. | Franklin | MA | 02038

Franklin Art Association - March 2 meeting

The Franklin Art Association will meet on Wednesday, March 2, from 6:30 to 9:00 pm at the Franklin Senior Center, 10 Daniel McCahill Street.
Franklin Art Association
Franklin Art Association
Refreshments and socialization will begin at 6:30 
The program will feature Rockport artist Chris Coyne. Chris will do a watercolor demo. 
Meetings are free and open to the public. 
For more information please visit our web site at or
Chris Coyne is a Rockport Massachusetts based plein air painter working in the Cape Ann tradition. Using Gruppe's palette he paints in both oils and watercolors and is comfortable in the field or in the studio. 
A member of numerous art associations, he plies his trade from mountain to sea, producing marine art, landscapes and village scenes, as well as the occasional portrait and still life. 
Both traditionally trained and self taught, Mr Coyne enjoys giving back to the art by sharing his love of painting and art through teaching and demonstrating in the classroom and in the field. 

Franklin Resident Earns National Gold Medal From The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program

The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program congratulates Franklin resident Prem Pendkar, 11, who earned the National Gold Medal for scoring the top mark in the country on the Level 5 Voice assessment. Prem studies with Lisa Ostrow at Encore Music Academy and Recording Studios, a Music Development Program Founding School. 

National Gold Medals are awarded each academic year (September 1 to August 31) to Music Development Program students in Preparatory A and B and Levels 1 to 10 who achieve the highest standard of excellence in the United States. Eligible candidates must score at least 80% on their assessment and must have completed the co-requisite theory requirements for their respective level and discipline. Sixty-nine students earned National Gold Medals this year, two of whom are from Massachusetts.

In addition to recognizing the top scorers in The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program, National Gold Medals honor music teachers across the United States for the time and effort put into training their students. The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program provides a recognized national standard of success in music study from beginner to advanced levels. It inspires excellence through individual student assessments that are central to the program while also supporting teachers with high-quality and innovative resources. 

The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program allows students to measure and celebrate accomplishment and track their progress across the country. All students and teachers across the United States are invited to participate. To learn more, please visit

The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program
The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program

Try Hockey For Free Day!

This event is designed to provide kids, between the ages of 4 to 9, a completely free experience to try youth hockey. 
A limited amount of equipment is available to borrow. Our top coaches will be on the ice to assist your child in learning the basics. 
Your son or daughter does not need any previous skating or hockey experience.

When: 02/20/2016
Start Time: 1:30 PM
End Time: 2:20 PM
Where: Pirelli Veterans Arena, Panther Way

Register here

Try Hockey For Free Day!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Kenny Hadley's BIg Band at THE BLACK BOX - Jazz Brunch - March 6

Drummer Kenny Hadley is Franklin Performing Arts Company’s go-to guy for live music. The company, now celebrating a milestone 25th anniversary, showcases professional musicians for all mainstage productions and presents an ambitious schedule of music series events at THE BLACK BOX, FPAC’s new home and performance venue. Hadley’s relationship with FPAC goes back to 1995 when the drummer played the debut production of ’Tis the Season!, FPAC’s original holiday musical.

The company’s orchestra contractor since the mid-2000s, Hadley now hires for six FPAC productions annually. At THE BLACK BOX this season, Hadley has played performances ranging from The Addams Family musical and Cabaret Series dates to a reunion gig with the R and B band Soul Kitchen and a Jazz Series presentation with his own critically acclaimed Kenny Hadley Big Band.

“I’ve met so many people over the years – guys that play all the theaters downtown and tour with major acts,” says Hadley, of the musicians he brings to Franklin. “They get what we’re trying to do at THE BLACK BOX. It’s good work with a good vibe – very cool, very hip. The level of musicianship is really high so they know that when they come down here they’re going to be playing with a really great band.”

THE BLACK BOX grew out of an office building in the heart of downtown Franklin. The project blew out the facility’s second floor to create a two-story, flexible space with 360-degree catwalk. When Tony Award winner Beth Leavel headlined the venue’s grand opening celebration in September 2014, Hadley recalls being thrilled with the acoustics.

“It’s a unique, great-sounding room,” notes Hadley. “I’ve since played it in so many configurations – in every corner of the building, top and bottom, and in different genres and situations. The clarity is amazing. It has a live quality, like you get in a good concert hall but with a different shape and size. A lot of places try to manufacture that, but this has it naturally.”

FPAC received a $220,000 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (MCFF) in 2015 to support capital improvements at THE BLACK BOX, including sound and lighting systems, second-floor accessibility and a marquee. The award, the largest granted by the MCFF to a MetroWest arts organization during that funding cycle, affirmed the venue’s potential for transformative and cultural impact in the region.

“I think it’s a gem at a time when live music venues are falling by the wayside,” notes Hadley. “This place has come out and accomplished so much in so short a time. And we just keep tweaking to make it better and better.”

The inaugural season at THE BLACK BOX doubled FPAC’s production schedule and launched Jazz, Cabaret, Children’s, Local Artists, New England Artists, and Summer Concert Series, establishing the venue as a suburban hub for great music. This second year has already welcomed a new Classical Series, which opened in November with violinist Irina Fainkichen and pianist Irina Kotlyar.

Kenny Hadley's Big Band at THE BLACK BOX
Kenny Hadley's BIg Band at THE BLACK BOX

Hadley sees only positives in FPAC’s commitment to live music as a defining element of company productions and as a key focus in the venue’s programming. “THE BLACK BOX was a game changer in terms of opportunity,” he says. “Things were swingin’ before THE BLACK BOX, but this kicks it up a notch in terms of what we can do.”

Youth development in the arts is another core component of FPAC’s mission, and Hadley views THE BLACK BOX as influential to students’ growth as artists and audience members. “You can learn so much and find inspiration,” he says about hearing live music. “What better way to get them excited about this stuff.”

Hadley was 14 when he first heard Buddy Rich’s band play live at Lennie’s-on-the-Turnpike in Peabody. He caught Duke Ellington at The Boston Globe Jazz Festival. “It was the tail end of that era. I saw Basie ten, fifteen times. I saw Kenton, Maynard.” Hadley formed his own big band at 23 and has grown that 16-piece juggernaut to showcase a renowned rotation of some 45 or 50 players – masterful musicians with performance ties to Big Band legends Woody Herman, Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich and more. The Kenny Hadley Big Band will headline a jazz brunch at THE BLACK BOX on Sunday, March 6 at 11:30 a.m.

For tickets to the Kenny Hadley Big Band Brunch or for more information about FPAC’s season and other presented events at THE BLACK BOX, visit or call (508) 528-3370.