Stone, Darling win state art development grants

By John McKenna

LITCHFIELD -- Two Litchfield County musicians were among 34 state artists who this week were named winners of artistic development grants from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.

  Fellowship grants of $2,500 are going to Joshua Stone of Falls Village and David Darling of Goshen in the category of music composition.  Other categories artists were recognized in were choreography, fiction, film and video, play-writing, and poetry.

  Darling and Stone and 225 other artists submitted applications for the grants.  The highly-competitive process of awarding grants was overseen by a panel of professionals in the eligible categories.

  "There fellowships will allow artists across Connecticut to devote substantial time to the development of new work," Gov. M. Jodi Rell said in a news release issued Monday.  "The arts are a source of enjoyment and enrichment for all ages, and a major generator of jobs and collateral business revenue.

  "However, I do not believe we have fully tapped the rich potential of the arts as an engine of employment and economic development.  By supporting our local artists, we support our economy."

  Stone, an Emmy Award-winning pianist and composer, plans to use his grant to collaborate with the Village Voices, a community singing group in Falls Village.  The 35-member ensemble will decide on the subject matter for a song and Stone will write it.  The, they will record it.

  "I'm delighted to use the grant for this purpose," said Stone, who proposed the collaboration in his application for the fellowship.  "Village Voice is a terrific group of people.  They go from age 6 to 76, so I'm sure we'll end up with an interesting product."  Stone received an Emmy Award in 2000 for a musical documentary he produced on the Big Dig project in Boston for the city's ABC affiliate.  He has composed material for film and television, 20th Century Fox, CBS New, the MTV Network, HBO, A&E and the Smithsonian Institution.  Locally, he was one of the founders of the Falls Village Children's Theatre and serves as a visiting artists for students on integrating music with history and culture.

  Darling, who was unavailable for comment Tuesday, is a classically-trained cellist with a successful performing and recording career.  He spent much of the 1970s performing with the Paul Winter COnsort of Litchfield before embarking on a solo career that has seen him collaborate with the likes of Bobby McFerrin, Spyro Gyra, and Peter Paul and Mary.