A sweet afternoon of stories read aloud in Conkling Hall

Amanda Ronconi

Jeff Wiens

Peter Blomquist

RENSSELAERVILLE — A set of three short stories will be brought to life, narrated by three New York City actors in the historic Conkling Hall at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15.

Sweet cakes, pies, and other treats made by community members will be proffered with coffee at the performance, titled “Shorts and Sweets.”

This is the second such event for its producer, Amanda Ronconi, an actress who grew up in Berne and performed in summer drama classes at Conkling Hall before she envisioned her career.

Not yet chosen, the stories she and others will perform will be by contemporary writers and have elements of humor, she said Monday — two comedic and one more dramatic.

“I think what’s so exciting about it is it’s almost as imaginative as reading a story yourself,” Ronconi, who has recorded more than 70 audiobooks, said of narrating. “It leaves still so much to your imagination, because it’s not on film or acted out. You give a voice to the characters.”

Jeff Wiens and Peter Blomquist, heirs to a long-standing comedy duo known as Franco and Billy, will join Ronconi on stage.

The Franco & Billy Show, which won the New York Comedy Festival’s Best of Sketch in 2010, is a combination of live and filmed comedy.  Their episodes have included filming locations in the Hilltowns.

Ronconi is a graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and has acted in television, film, radio, and on stage, starring in an off-broadway solo comedy, Shirley at the Tropicana. She and Weins, her husband, split their time between Potter Hollow in Rensselaerville and New York City.

A community venue

Conkling Hall is located off of Main Street in the Rensselaerville hamlet at 8 Methodist Hill Road. Tickets are $15 at the door and proceeds will benefit the hall toward its ongoing costs.

In a second-phase renovation, the hall’s board of directors plans to install a lift inside a first-floor lobby for wheelchair accessibility to the two floors. The hall’s total member contributions are “modest,” said Diana Dietrich, the board’s chairwoman, but grant funds and benefits like this one will help reach the estimated project budget of around $75,000.

“We think of Conkling Hall as a community hall,” said Dietrich.

Its upcoming events include an ongoing reading discussion on the subject of “working” by the Rensselaerville Presbyterian Church; a regular open-mic night next Nov. 21 and Dec. 19; the Nov. 29 screening of a movie, Cold Lands, filmed in Rensselaerville; and masterclasses with cellist Yehuda Hanani.

On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m., the hall will host the showing of Honor Flight, a documentary about a Midwest community providing a trip for four World War II veterans to see the memorial of that war in Washington, D.C.

Donations from the event, organized by the American Legion Clarke White Post 589, will benefit the Regional Hubs of Honor Flight Inc.

On Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m., the hamlet’s community choir, Village Voices, will perform its holiday concert — A Child’s Christmas in Wales, a cantata with text by Dylan Thomas and music by Matthew Harris, and Christmas Magnificat by Samuel Scheidt.

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