Williston Central School musical ‘Annie’

Williston Central School students (from left) Olivia Voth as Lily St. Regis, Zach Varricchione as Rooster Hannigan and Isabelle Barrett as Miss Hannigan sing and dance in ‘Easy Street’ during the school’s performance of its spring musical, ‘Annie.’

A cast of 58 Williston Central School students performed “Annie” as the school’s spring musical on May 11 and 12. The play also marked AJ Cronan’s last year as artistic director. (Observer photos by Jayson Argento, www.lakechamplainphotography.com)

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An artist with a floral flair.

By Phyl Newbeck Observer correspondent

Pierrette Roy
Pierrette Roy

Visitors to Taft Farms Senior Living in Williston will always know what holiday is coming up. That’s because long-time resident Pierrette Roy creates floral arrangements for the lobby, hallways and dining area out of real and silk flowers reflecting the seasons. The building is currently filled with leprechauns, four-leaf clovers and other St. Patrick’s Day motifs, courtesy of the 89-year-old artist.

Roy was 2 years old when she first fell in love with flowers. Five years later, a neighbor invited her to make an arrangement from the flowers in her garden. Her first attempt failed when she took off all the leaves, but she quickly acquired a knack for the art. Roy moved to Vermont in 1951 and worked at three different flower shops. These days, she doesn’t charge for her work, preferring to donate arrangements to friends and charitable institutions. Her offerings include a life-sized flower mannequin for the Shelburne Museum’s Lilac Festival, arrangements for the Tea Tent at the Flynn’s Garden Tour and flowers for the lobby of St. Michael’s Playhouse. The last is clearly a labor of love, since the theater lover has missed precious few of the Playhouse’s openings.

In addition to decorating her place of residence and donating to nonprofit organizations, Roy helps out the people she cares about. She became friends with Jayson Argento after taking an acting class with him, and when he and his wife opened Argento Laraine Fine Jewelry just up the road from her, Roy decided to help them decorate. The result is a silk floral arrangement resembling an over sized wedding bouquet, which Argento happily displays at the store’s front desk.

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(Photo by Jayson Argento)

Argento admitted that before receiving the arrangement, he and his wife had not been fans of fake flowers.

“The bouquet completely changed our perception,” he said. “Now we realize the arranger is more important than the materials. Customers frequently comment on how beautiful the arrangement is.”

Lately, creating her works of art hasn’t been easy. Roy had a stroke in June of 2012, which renders one arm useless and requires her to use a walker. She worried she wouldn’t be able to continue with her art, but if others are willing to hold a vase in place, she has no problem doing the arrangements with her good hand. Recently, she recovered some movement in her fingers and hopes she may be able to regain full use of her arm.

One positive side effect of the stroke is that Roy has begun writing poetry.

“I wake up in the middle of the night,” she said “and think of something rhyming and next thing you know I’m up and writing it all down. I’ve already written 70 poems. Sometimes things come to us at a late age.”

Although Roy is largely self-taught, in 2003 she began going to lectures and demonstrations called Art in Bloom at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. During the last week in April, garden designers create arrangements that match the museum’s artifacts; a technique Roy also used in her lobby, where one bouquet mimics the colors in the painting hanging behind it. Roy attends Art in Bloom almost every year and has taken workshops from Nancy Clarke, the former head floral designer for the White House, and Shane Connolly of Ireland, who did the flower arrangements for Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton.

Roy has four storage rooms at Taft Farms. Most have plastic containers filled with raw materials, but one contains finished products which are cleaned, revised and revitalized for different occasions. A quick look in that locker is an exercise in picking out the seasons, with arrangements that are clearly designed for spring, summer, fall and winter. Roy loves working with real flowers, but is happy to work with silk when real flowers aren’t practical. Her work is so realistic that people often stop to sniff the silk flowers, assuming they are the real thing.

Roy’s stroke may have temporarily slowed her down, but she’s clearly bouncing back and hasn’t lost her creative spirit. At 89, she’s still going strong.

Williston Central School Variety Show March 23 2013

More than 20 acts performed to a full house of more than 300 people during the annual community variety show Saturday, a Families as Partners benefit event that raised $2,500 for the Williston school system. (Observer photos by Jayson Argento, www.lakechamplainphotography.com)

Spotlight on Jayson Argento

It’s hard to categorize Jayson Argento.

By day, this Essex Junction resident is co-owner of Argento Laraine Fine Jewelry —located on Talcott Road in Williston.

He also fills his spare time with his two other businesses: Champlain Motion Pictures and Lake Champlain Photography.

And by night, Argento rocks Chittenden County in live performances with his band, Pleasuredome.

“I have always taken on too many things at once,” said the former Malletts Bay resident and CHS graduate. “But when you share yourself — you are sharing art.”

Before the jewelry business and before the band — there were films.

Argento got his start in the film industry with shorts. But soon, he had an idea for a feature length film. In 2008, his movie “Finding Providence,” was released and Champlain Motion Pictures was born.

“I remember sitting in the back of Essex Cinemas for the ‘Finding Providence’ movie premiere,” remembered Argento. “I was very much in tears as I observed people laughing and screaming in all the right places. That was the best feeling I’ve ever experienced with art.”

That same year, two more full-length features were made.

Watch Argento’s full-length feature film, “Finding Providence,” now available to watch through Netflix and to purchase on Amazon.com and Bestbuy.com.

Watch Argento’s full-length feature film, “Finding Providence,” now available to watch through Netflix and to purchase on Amazon.com and Bestbuy.com.

“Cthulhu Chronicles: The Movie” is a suspenseful, supernatural thriller starring Argento, Rusty Dewees and Luis Guzman.

“What Light Remains” stars the late Larry Holden, best known for his roles in “Batman Begins” and “Memento” and a good friend of Argento’s.

“The real defining characteristic of Larry is that he was an amazing person who changed lives for the better everywhere he went,” Argento shared.

Both movies are currently in post-production and Argento knows they will be finished soon.

“I have finally found an editor that has Vermont roots and a family, so he won’t be moving to LA or NYC,” he explained. “It’s a good thing, too, because I have a ton of ideas for new scripts just rattling around in my notes on my iPhone.”

Argento doesn’t let the post-production waiting game get to him. When he closes the jewelry store for the day, he gears up for his next gig with Pleasuredome.

“My band takes a few pages from the concerts we loved so much in the eighties and we invoke that same energy into a Pleasuredome show,” he revealed.

As the lead singer, it’s Argento’s job to bring the positive energy.

“At our shows, you will have fun. Big huge anthems that make your heart soar and pull your hands into the air,” Argento expressed. “I enjoy seeing people light up when we start a song like ‘Living on a Prayer’ or ‘Don’t Stop Believing.’”

If you’ve missed Pleasuredome’s shows at local venues like On Tap Bar and Grill in Essex Junction, or Venue in Colchester — mark your calendar for their Apr. 13 show at Higher Ground, when Argento and his band will be performing with Quadra.

Since Argento and his wife, Krista Laraine, opened their Williston jewelry store in December, they’ve already been thinking about creative ways to incorporate their artistic passions into the space.

“It’s a beautiful building with lots of parking. We want to display local artists and sculptors,” he noted. “And as long as we get the right permits and keep all the display cases mobile, let’s move everything into the back room at night and show a film!”

Keep up with the latest news on Argento’s films at http://champlainmotionpictures.com.

Find out more show dates for Pleasuredome at http://www.pleasuredomevt.com.

Visit Jayson and his wife’s jewelry store website http://www.argentolaraine.com

See Jayson Argento’s Photography at http://www.lakechamplainphotography.com

Original Posting at www.EssexReporter.com