Friday, August 31, 2012

Nastia Liukin Cup Series enters its fourth season in 2013

Indianapolis, Indiana – The 2013 Nastia Liukin Cup Series, which includes 19 events in 13 states, will run from Jan. 11 to Feb. 17, 2013. As in the past, gymnasts from the invitational meets in the Series will compete in the 2013 Nastia Liukin Cup on March 1, 2013, at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass., the site of the inaugural Cup in 2009. The Nastia Liukin Cup is held the night before the 2013 American Cup, one of the world's most prestigious international invitationals and an International Gymnastics Federation's World Cup event.

"The Nastia Liukin Cup Series has become an important element in the national promotion of our sport," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. "With Nastia's direct involvement, the series has achieved its goal of providing a great showcase and fun opportunity for our up-and-coming gymnasts."

"I'm thrilled that the 2013 Cup will be in Worcester," said Liukin, the 2008 Olympic all-around champion who has five Olympic and nine World medals to her credit. "The Cup and my Foundation are both set up to provide a unique experience for young gymnasts with big dreams. I look forward to mentoring these girls on their future goals in gymnastics."

The Nastia Liukin Cup Series features many of the country's top gymnastics invitational meets held throughout the United States from January through mid-February 2013. Twenty junior and 15 senior gymnasts from each of the Series events will advance to the Nastia Liukin Cup, which is held in conjunction with the American Cup.

The invitational meets included in the 2013 Nastia Liukin Cup Series are:

Circle of Stars Gymnastics Invitational, Indianapolis, Ind., Jan. 11-13
The Atlanta Crown Invitational, Atlanta, Ga., Jan. 11-13
Pikes Peak Cup, Colorado Springs, Colo., Jan. 18-20
CGA Coaches Spectacular, Cincinnati, Ohio, Jan. 18-20
Kim Zmeskal's Texas Prime Meet, Irving, Texas, Jan. 18-20
Lady Luck Invitational, Las Vegas, Nev., Jan. 18-20
Sand Dollar/Whitlow Invitational, Kissimmee, Fla., Jan. 25-27
Wisconsin Dells Gymnastics Vacation Classic, Wisconsin Dells, Wis., Jan. 25-27
Parkettes Invitational, Allentown, Pa., Jan. 25-27
San Diego Classic, San Diego, Calif., Jan. 25-27
Fiesta Bowl Invitational, Chandler, Ariz., Feb. 8-10
Charity Choice Invitational, Tacoma, Wash., Feb. 8-10
IGI Chicago Style, Chicago, Ill., Feb. 8-10
Gliders Invitational, Ontario, Calif., Feb. 8-9
The Magical Classic, Orlando, Fla., Feb. 15-16
Buckeye Classic, Columbus, Ohio, Feb. 15-17
Presidential Classic, Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Feb. 15-17
WOGA Classic, Frisco, Texas, Feb. 15-17
Arizona Sunrays Classic Rock Invitational, Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 15-17

Gymnasts who compete in the Nastia Liukin Cup will receive a Nastia Liukin-designed leotard and a warm-up from GK Elite; two tickets to the American Cup and recognition during the event; and the opportunity to meet Liukin and participate in a team photo.

A portion of the proceeds from the Nastia Liukin Cup benefits the Nastia Liukin Fund, a charitable fund in partnership with the National Gymnastics Foundation (

Background information

Nastia Liukin. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Liukin's total of five medals tied the U.S. gymnastics record for most medals in one Olympic Games, held by Mary Lou Retton (1984) and Shannon Miller (1992). Liukin's Olympic medals are: gold – all-around; silver – team, balance beam and uneven bars; and bronze – floor exercise. Liukin is just the third U.S. woman to win the Olympic all-around crown. She also won nine World medals in her career. Liukin has graced many magazine covers and appeared on various shows, including "Gossip Girl," "Make It or Break it," and the feature film, "Stick It." She was also chosen as one of 2009's most influential women by MSN Lifestyle. Liukin recently returned to training with an eye on the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Coached by her father, Valeri, who has four Olympic medals from 1988 including two gold, she was added to the 2011-12 Women's National Team in November 2011.

American Cup. The 2013 American Cup, an FIG World Cup event, is one of the most prestigious international invitational events and features an all-around format. The list of former champions comprises some of the sport's best-known names, including Jordyn Wieber, Nastia Liukin, Jonathan Horton, Bart Conner, Paul Hamm, Shawn Johnson, Shannon Miller, Carly Patterson, Mary Lou Retton and Peter Vidmar. For more information, go to

Vermont: A Place Apart, New works by Charlie Hunter and Susan Abbott

Show Dates: August 25th- October 13th

Stowe, Vermont - The work of two distinctly different painters brings to life the forgotten, overlooked and subtly beautiful scenes of Vermont’s captivating landscape at the West Branch Gallery, August 25th in “Vermont: A Place Apart”.  This exhibition will feature new works by Charlie Hunter and Susan Abbott, with a gala reception August 25th from 6:00-8:30 pm in Stowe. These painters are celebrated for their ability to capture the striking mood and evocative strength of the landscape.

Hunter ‘s paintings capture a surprising beauty in the worn and faded corners of Vermont. He forces the viewer to consider the purpose or life behind each image. Using a muted color palette, Hunter creates a subtle yet evocative depiction of the rural Vermont landscape.

Abbott combines the classical with the contemporary to create a unique approach to landscape painting. She uses vibrant color to capture aging outbuildings, old trucks and tractors, small town store fronts, and village
fairs. These qualities combine in her work for a fresh and moving vision of the venerable Vermont landscape.

This exhibition continues West Branch Gallery’s nine year reputation for exhibiting outstanding works by contemporary emerging and mid-career artists. By showing two artists who approach a similar subject in decidedly different ways, “Vermont: A Place Apart” invites viewers to reflect on how they come to understand and relate to the familiar scenes that depict life in Vermont.

“Vermont: A Place Apart” will be on view August 25th- October 13th and opens August 25th at 6:00 p.m. with a gallery talk by Tom Slayton, editor-emeritus of Vermont Life Magazine. West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park is located at 17 Towne Farm Lane in Stowe, Vermont. The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 – 6, and by appointment. For more information, please visit the gallery website,

The 23rd Annual Milford Pumpkin Festival Will Feature New Events!

Milford, New Hampshire - The Milford Great Pumpkin Festival celebrates its 23rd year on October 5-7 in downtown Milford with music on two stages all weekend.

The festival opens on Friday Night at 5 pm with music on the Oval and the Pumpkin Runner making his way to the Oval to for the Lighting of the Pumpkins in the Milford Town Hall. Those who dare can talk a walk along the Haunted Trail. Fireworks by Atlas Pyrotechnics kick off the festival weekend at 8:45 PM.
New This Year: Calling all Easy Riders! The first annual Pumpkin Festival Custom/Vintage Motorcycle Show will take place on the Oval. Display your bike - prizes awarded in a variety of categories.
Cheer on the brave souls performing in the 5th Annual Pumpkin Festival Talent Show at The Amato Center on Saturday, October 6 at 8 PM. Contestants from all over New Hampshire will sing, dance, perform acrobatic and display other unique talents for a chance to win $500 and bragging rights. Interested contestants can enter at

There are several returning favorites such as the Great Pumpkin Weigh In, the Pumpkin Catapult, scarecrow making and face painting all on the Oval and the Community House Lawn.

Music on two stages is the highlight of the weekend. Over 30 local bands and singers will take the stages over the weekend,performing everything from award-winning country, bluegrass, symphony, folk and rock ‘n’roll. On Saturday evening, adults are invited to attend the Elm Street Block Party featuring music, the Chili Round-Up Contest, food and Suds N' Spirits tasting.

The Milford Great Pumpkin Festival is organized on behalf of the Town of Milford by the Milford Improvement Team. Many thanks to our Primary Festival Sponsors Kokko Realty, Centrix Bank, Atlas Pyrotechnics and Custos Morum Lodge 42 and our event sponsors: Alene Candles, Amigos Restaurant, Ciardelli Fuels, Chop Shop Cycles, Contemporary Chrysler-Dodge, DGN Motorsports, Eaton & Berube Insurance, First Colebrook Bank, Granite State Credit Union, JP Pest Services, Lake Sunapee Bank, Ledgewood Bay Assisted Living, Maple Brook Dentistry, Milford Lumber, the Pasta Loft Restaurant, St.Mary’s Bank, Souhegan Motorsports, Triangle Credit Union and Toyota of Nashua.

For more information on the Festival, telephone (603)249-0676, email or visit the website:

Attitash Mountain Resort & Wildcat Mountain Launch Winter White Sale in September

Bartlett & Pinkham Notch, NH – Attitash Mountain Resort & Wildcat Mountain announced today that for the entire month of September they will be selling midweek lift tickets for the 2012/13 season at the low pre-purchase rate of $30. Skiers and riders will be able to pre-purchase lift tickets that will be valid for use at Attitash and Wildcat any midweek (Monday thru Friday), non-holiday day during the 2012/13 winter season. The $30 pre-purchase rate will be available for the month of September only and tickets can be used for all ages. Tickets will not be valid for use Saturdays, Sundays or during holiday periods Dec. 25-28, & 31 2012; Jan. 1 & 21 2013; Feb.18-22 2013. The special September-only ticket rate is available for purchase online at or and tickets will be available for pick up at Attitash Mountain Resort or Wildcat Mountain Guest Services anytime after October 15. For those that wish to have tickets mailed to them, for an additional shipping fee, certified mail orders will be sent out on October 15.

In addition to the ticket sale, the Attitash Grand Summit Hotel is offering midweek ski & stay packages at the Mount Washington Valley ’s only slopeside lodging property starting at the low rate of $79 if booked by September 30, 2012. The offer is available for midweek stays, Monday thru Friday, during the 2012/13 season and do not include Saturdays, Sundays or during holiday periods Dec. 25-28, & 31 2012; Jan. 1 & 21 2013; Feb.18-22 2013. Rates are per person, per night, based on double occupancy and are subject to 9% NH tax and 8% service fee. Reservations at this special rate can be made by calling the Attitash Grand Summit Hotel reservations line at 1 (888) 554-1900.

Attitash Mountain Resort, located in the Mount Washington Valley , has previously been ranked amongst the East’s top ten ski resorts for grooming, weather, accessibility, and off-hill activities by readers of SKI Magazine. Offering two distinct mountains, Attitash and Bear Peak, and one of New England’s most advanced snow making systems, Attitash is known for its signature terrain parks, ski school and children’s programs, open-glade terrain, après entertainment, family value, the year-round mountain coaster attraction, and quality slopeside accommodations featuring the Attitash Grand Summit Hotel. For further information, please visit or call 1-800-223 SNOW.

Wildcat Mountain, a year-round destination located 100% within the White Mountain National Forest in Pinkham Notch, is home to New Hampshire’s most powerful quad summit chair lift and is renowned for its high summit elevation over 4,000 feet and greater than 2,100 vertical feet of skiing and riding; longest novice trail in the state at just under 3 miles; and proximity to Mt. Washington that contributes up to 200 inches of snow and a long winter/spring season annually. Wildcat Mountain has consistently been rated #1 scenery and has previously been ranked top ten in the East for snow, terrain variety, and value by readers of SKI Magazine. For further information, please visit or call 1-888-SKI WILD.

University of New Hampshire Makes Library Closing Time Interesting

Durham, New Hampshire - Patrons of the Dimond Library at the University of New Hampshire who find themselves still there at closing time have a friendly reminder when it comes to packing up for the night. Make that a familiar friendly reminder.

The recorded announcements telling students the library is about to close are the voices of head football coach Sean McDonnell, head hockey coach Dick Umile, and chief faculty marshal Nancy Kinner, whose message includes a rendition of her annual commencement serenade, “Happy Trails.” The trio joins President Mark Huddleston who was enlisted last year to make a closing alert.

Tracey Lauder, assistant dean for library administration, came up with the idea of using well-known people on campus to record the announcements while she was watching an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie where he famously announces “Get ouuuut.”

“For some reason I just thought it would be really fun to hear Ahhnold say ‘Can I have your attention please… the library is now closing… you need to get ouuuuut, but can come baaaaack tomorrow,” Lauder says. “Then I decided to look closer to home for interesting voices.”

The first alert is heard at 1:45 a.m., announcing the library will be closing in 15 minutes, and commending students for their hard work. Kinner sings “Happy trails to you, it’s time to head on home. Happy trails to you, to the circulation desk you should roam.”  At 2 a.m., the “now closed” recording airs.

“I just wanted to make studying so late a wee bit more fun for our hard-working students,” Lauder says.

Other “celebrities” are being approached with the hopes of adding to the recording cast.

University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students

City of Nashua, New Hampshire News Aug. 31st

Nashua, New Hampshire - Nashua was one of thirteen NH cities that participated in the New Hampshire Motor Speedway “Race to Benefit Education” lottery drawing to select a driver to win the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race held at the NH Motor Speedway on July 15th, 2012.

On behalf of the city, Bob Hallowell, President of the Nashua Board of Education, chose driver #5, Kasey Kahne, who went on to win, awarding Nashua with $20K in grant money for education on behalf of zMax and the speedway.

In honor of #5, the Nashua school district is discussing hopes to launch a summer Race to Read program for 5th grade students for the 2012-13 school year and possibly establishing a Summer Reading Trust Fund with the grant funding.

A check presentation ceremony is planned for Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 12 noon at Pennichuck Middle School, 207 Manchester Street, Nashua, NH.

Nolin, Jacobo Hammer Sea Dogs in Home Finale

Fisher Cats win 6-1; Win 12 of final 14 home games
MANCHESTER, N.H. - Sean Nolin struck out seven Sea Dogs over six brilliant innings, and Gabe Jacobo wrapped up a great homestand with a three-run homer to power the Fisher Cats (61-77) to a 6-1 victory in the final home game of 2012. With the win, the Fisher Cats took three of four from Portland (66-71) and finished their final homestand with a sparkling 7-1 record.

Jacobo gave Nolin an early lead to work with, taking advantage of some sloppy Portland fielding. With one out, John Tolisano reached on an error before Brian Van Kirk dribbled an infield single to third. The very next pitch was blasted by Jacobo to deep left field for his second homer and a 3-0 lead.

That was all Nolin needed in his third and final Double-A start this season. He allowed just one hit through the first three innings, striking out three. In the fourth, a walk and a double led to Portland's only run on an RBI groundout by Xander Bogaerts.

Leading 3-1 at that point, Nolin proceeded to retired eight straight to end his outing. He struck out the last four Sea Dogs hitters he faced, issuing one run on two hits and just 1 walk. In three games with New Hampshire he earned one victory despite giving up two earned runs in 15.0 innings (1.20). He recorded 18 strikeouts against just six walks with the Fisher Cats.

After Nolin left, the Fisher Cats padded the lead with solo runs over the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. Brad Glenn snapped a long hitless streak with a pair of run-scoring hits late in the game. Jake Marisnick added an RBI single in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to a season-best six games.

The Fisher Cats finished the home schedule with a record of 31-40, but the overall record did not represent their strong finish. They won their final four home series, winning 12 of their final 14 home games during the run.

With the home portion of the season concluded, the Fisher Cats wrap up the year on the road with a four-game series beginning Friday night in New Britain. RHP Deck McGuire (5-15, 5.96) takes the ball in the series opener against LHP Andrew Albers (4-3, 3.80) at 7:05 PM. Radio coverage begins at 6:45 PM with Bob Lipman on the WGIR Fisher Cats Radio Network and

The Music Returns to White River Junction

Tupelo Music Hall to Re-open doors under expanded model and joint venture

White River Junction, Vermont - In response to overwhelming public response following the August 4 closing of Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction, Vt, a new joint venture has formed between Scott Hayward, Owner of Tupelo Music Hall, and Mike Davidson, local White River Junction businessman and owner of The Freight House in White River Junction, where the music hall is located.

“Our goal is and has always been to present live music in the Upper Valley” said Hayward.  “I am thrilled to announce that this will continue through a new joint venture between me and Mike Davidson.  Mike and I are both seasoned entrepreneurs who are invested in the Upper Valley.  Mike is an avid supporter of the arts and will give us some much needed local business acumen.  This is going to be great.”

Known for their signature sound system and outstanding acoustics, Tupelo will continue to offer large National acts in a warm, intimate setting.  The business, however, will be expanded to attract a bigger audience.   “If we are to stay in the Upper Valley, our model needs to be different from our New Hampshire venue in Londonderry.   The New Hampshire music hall almost exclusively caters to National touring artists.  In Vermont, we have promoted some local and regional live bands with very good success.  We have also had some DJ dance nights that were a lot of fun.  I hope our expanded calendar will give patrons many different reasons to come to an event at Tupelo.”   The new venture also adds some catering to the mix.  “Mike and I strongly feel that some sort of food and beverage component needs to be part of our plan.  Many people have asked about getting small food items at the venue.”

The doors are scheduled to reopen in September, with a full schedule slated for October, which is coincidentally the two-year anniversary for the music hall.  For tickets and information please visit or call 802-698-8341

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bobcats, Bears and the Birds and the Bees

Nashua, New Hampshire - Come to the Nashua Public Library for a series of nature programs this fall, presented in partnership with the Nashaway Chapter of the Audubon Society. All programs are free and open to the public, although registration is required.

Understanding Bobcats in New Hampshire
Find out about the bobcat's natural history in the Northeast and how the Fish and Game Department and the Wildlife Restoration Program use the latest research to manage them responsibly in New Hampshire. Register at
Wednesday, September 19, at 7 p.m.

Among the Bears
Naturalist Benjamin Kilham with a black bear
A slideshow and talk by naturalist Benjamin Kilham about his experience raising orphaned wild black bears. Kilham’s book, “Among the Bears,” will be available for purchase and signing. Register at
Thursday, October 4, at 7 p.m.

The Great Penguin Rescue
Dyan deNapoli managed the rehabilitation of nearly 40 percent of the world’s African penguin population after a massive oil spill off South Africa. Her book, “The Great Penguin Rescue,” will be available for sale and signing. Register at
Wednesday, October 17, at 7 p.m.
Dyan deNapoli washing penguin
Photo Credit: Tony van Dalsen

Kagen Weeks’ company, Hive-At-Your-Home, installs beehives at community gardens, CSAs, and private homes in New Hampshire. Find out how this program maintains a healthy bee population to pollinate our food and flowers. Register at
Thursday, November 8, at 7 p.m.

For more information call Carol at (603) 589-4610.

The library is located at 2 Court Street. For directions and information on parking go to

Tickets Available for One City, One Book Author Visit

Nashua, New Hampshire - Tickets are now on sale for "Beyond the Book: An Afternoon with Jane Hamilton," presented by the Friends of the Nashua Public Library at the Rivier College Dion Center on Sunday, October 21, at 2 p.m.

Jane Hamilton is the author of “When Madeline Was Young,” the selection for this year’s tenth annual Nashua Reads: One City, One Book program. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Nashua Public Library. Additional sponsors include Eaton and Berube Insurance and St. Joseph Hospital.

Toadstool Books will be on hand selling copies of “When Madeline Was Young” and other Jane Hamilton books. Bring your book group and enter a drawing for a bag of up to 12 copies of next year's Nashua Reads book. Other door prizes will also be awarded.

A private wine-and-cheese reception with the author, limited to 50 people, will be held before the presentation, at 1 p.m.

How to buy tickets
Tickets cost $7 for the presentation and book signing. Attendance at the private reception, which supports the work of the Friends of the Library, is $25 and includes admission to the presentation and book signing.

You can purchase tickets online at, at the Nashua Public Library, or by mail using the order form at

About Jane Hamilton
The Atlantic Monthly has called Jane Hamilton "among the most graceful and thoughtful writers to work the fertile ground that is the Midwestern family."

Hamilton lives, works, and writes in an orchard farmhouse in Wisconsin. Her short stories have appeared in Harper's magazine. Hamilton's “The Book of Ruth” won the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel and was a selection of the Oprah Book Club, as was her second, “A Map of the World.”

Other works by Hamilton include “The Short History of a Prince,” “Disobedience,” and “Laura Ryder's Masterpiece.”

Get your copy now
The library has over 50 copies of “When Madeline Was Young,” including large-print and audio versions. A set of 12, including two large-print copies, is available for borrowing by book groups. Call the library at (603) 589-4600 or visit to reserve the book. Copies are also available at local bookstores.

About the book
“When Aaron Maciver's beautiful young wife, Madeline, suffers a head injury in a bicycle crash, she is left with the mental capabilities of a six-year-old. In the years that follow, Aaron and his second wife care for Madeline with deep tenderness and devotion as they raise two children of their own. This rich and loving novel offers an honest and exquisite portrait of how a family tragedy forever shapes the boundaries of love.”—From book jacket

Writing in the Chicago Tribune, Donna Seaman said that with this book “Hamilton affirms her status as one of our most magnetic and provocative novelists by creating a profound and enveloping matrix of moral dilemmas that revolve around a single crucial conundrum, how best to do good.”

Getting there
The Dion Center is located at 16 Clement Street on the campus of Rivier College in Nashua, N.H. Free parking will be available in nearby campus lots.

More information
Additional Nashua Reads: One City, One Book events that are scheduled this fall are listed at For other information, call (603) 589-4610.

Downtown Nashua’s Fall Restaurant Week Extended September 24-30, 2012

Nashua, NH – Great American Downtown (GAD) is excited to present the 5th Annual Fall Restaurant Week: Monday, September 24, 2012 through Sunday, September 30, 2012, when participating restaurants will pair incredible dining with incredible discounts.

“We received feedback from diners during the spring restaurant week asking for discounts to extend into the weekend. So in conjunction with our downtown restaurants, we decided to extend Fall Restaurant Week to a full seven days”, said Rebecca Dixon, Executive Director at Great American Downtown. “Our goal is to give as many people as possible the opportunity to sample downtown Nashua’s fabulous range of dining options.” continued Dixon.

The Fall Restaurant Week eateries feature special week-long offers that best showcase their restaurants, such as seasonal dishes, multi-course prix fixe dining, 20+% off your meal, beer tastings, special wine pairings, and many other extraordinary offers.

The deals offered during Fall Restaurant Week are open to all customers dining at the participating restaurants from September 24 through September 30, with no additional purchase or tickets required to take advantage of the discounts. With a wide range of restaurants and numerous bargains, Downtown Nashua’s Fall Restaurant Week appeals to every consumer’s taste and budget.

This Fall’s featured Restaurants include Stella Blu, Unums and Portland Pie Co. Some of the participating restaurants include Saffron Bistro, Villa Banca, O’Brien’s Sports Bar and The Peddler’s Daughter.  Visit for a complete listing of establishments, menus and special promotions.

Fall Feast Week event sponsors include Granite State University and media sponsors, 106.3 Frank FM and The Telegraph.  For more details, contact Great American Downtown’s office at (603) 883-5700 or e-mail

London 2012 Paralympic Games competition schedule updated

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games has updated the competition schedule for the Paralympic Games.

The full, up to date competition can be found here:

The competition schedule has been modified following final confirmation of entries for a number of sports. This means it is necessary to make changes to the Paralympic competition schedule.

Spectators with tickets for Athletics, Boccia, Wheelchair Fencing, Archery and Equestrian should check the London 2012 website for more information on any changes: Emails will be sent to ticketholders if there are significant changes.

The competition schedule will be with regularly updates as the Games proceed. Always check the London 2012

Pino Dazzles Sea Dogs in 7-0 Win

Strikes out 10 Dogs to win 5th straight start 

MANCHESTER, N.H. - In his final start in August, Yohan Pino twirled seven magnificent innings to lead the Fisher Cats to a 7-0 win over the Portland Sea Dogs (66-70) on Wednesday night. Pino's fifth straight win this month improved the Fisher Cats to 6-1 on the homestand with the chance to take the series with Portland in their home finale on Thursday at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

Pino became the first Fisher Cat to reach ten wins, thanks in large part to a five-run second inning. With two on, Koby Clemens began the scoring in the frame with a two-run single to left field. Later in the inning, Ryan Goins, Mark Sobolewski, and Ryan Schimpf strung together three straight two-out hits to give New Hampshire (60-77) a 5-0 lead.

An inning later, the Fisher Cats were back at it against Portland starter Brandon Workman (L; 3-1). John Tolisano began the frame with a double, advancing to third on a passed ball. He then scored on an error for a 6-0 advantage.

With six runs to work with, Pino dazzled. He began the game by striking out the side in the first inning. He walked a batter in the second before putting two on in the third. He eventually retired 11 of the final 13 batters he faced to end his outing. All told, the right-hander allowed just one runner to reach second base. He tied a career high with ten strikeouts, a feat he first pulled off with New Hampshire in 2011.

Pino (10-7) has won five consecutive starts dating back to August 7. During that run, he's given up just five runs in 31.0 innings, good for a 1.45 ERA. He is scheduled to make one more start in the season finale on Monday afternoon in New Britain.

Tolisano led the Fisher Cats offense with his second four-hit game of the season. Ryan Schimpf went 2-3 with a home run and two RBI. Clemens had two hits to raise his average to .295 with 10 RBI in August.

The Fisher Cats will go for the series victory in their final home game of the season on Thursday night. The game will feature post-game Atlas Fireworks on SUBWAY Fan Appreciation Night. The first 1,000 fans will receive a SUBWAY gift card worth anywhere between $1 and $100. To purchase tickets, visit, stop by the Fisher Cats ticket office, or call 603-641-2005.

LHP Sean Nolin (0-0, 1.00) will start the home finale against Portland LHP Drake Britton (4-6, 3.66). Radio coverage begins at 6:15 PM with Tom Gauthier and Bob Lipman on the WGIR Fisher Cats Radio Network and

Unlimited season at London’s Southbank Centre will showcase London 2012 Festival commissions for leading disabled and deaf artists

Following last night’s spectacular Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the London 2012 Festival is today beginning an eleven day showcase of its ground-breaking commissions by disabled and deaf artists that will run throughout the Paralympics. The wide-ranging season at London’s Southbank Centre builds on the key themes of the ceremony, of challenging perceptions and celebrating the empowering possibilities of ideas, science and creativity, through which everyone can realise their full potential.

The 29 works featured cover dance, visual arts, music, comedy, circus and theatre. They were each commissioned for the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad Unlimited programme – the largest ever celebration of disabled and deaf artists that has been running since 2009 and highlights their work on an unprecedented scale across the UK. Unlimited has encouraged collaborations and partnerships between disability arts organisations, disabled and deaf artists, producers and mainstream organisations to celebrate the inspiration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and to create original and exciting works.

The 200 artists taking part in the Unlimited Festival at Southbank Centre (30 August – 9 September)  include The Graeae Theatre Company, the UK’s leading theatre company led by disabled performers whose Artistic Director Jenny Sealey was co-Artistic Director of the Paralympic Opening Ceremony. Graeae’s celebratory protest performance of Ian Dury’s ‘Spasticus Autisticus’ and accompanying energised mass choreography was one of the memorable highlights of the evening. At Southbank Centre they will join with the Melbourne-based performing arts company Strange Fruit to present The Garden, a spectacular aerial, outdoor performance.

Ruth Mackenzie, Director of London 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad, said: “The Unlimited programme is unprecedented, offering more commissioning for disabled and deaf artists than any Cultural Olympiad or festival to date. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with world-class artists who have created brilliant work that will inspire and change perceptions when we welcome the world to London during the London 2012 Paralympic Games. I hope this will be one of our most important legacies for future Games and for disabled and deaf artists both in the UK and internationally.”

Jenny Sealey,  Co-Artistic Director of the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony and Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre Company,, said: "Having being an artistic advisor for the Unlimited programme since 2009, I am thrilled that it forms such a large part of the London 2012 Festival. For me, it has been wonderful to be part of this globally recognised platform for deaf and disabled performers. Unlimited provides the opportunity for artists to profile their skills, innovation and pioneer creative accessibility with a commitment to create work which is excellent but also informs and challenges. This is something I am passionate about and I embrace our uniqueness. Unlimited inspires a new generation of deaf and disabled artists, transforms perceptions, and provides a stunning finale to the Cultural Olympiad".

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre, said: “The Paralympic Games changed sport forever in terms of people’s understanding of the talent of disabled people. Unlimited provides the same platform for deaf and disabled artists to show the extraordinary talent, range and perseverance necessary to make great work. This is a milestone event for culture not just in the UK but across the world.”

The London 2012 Festival is the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration running from 21 June until 9 September 2012 bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.

Unlimited is principally funded by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor, and is delivered in partnership between London 2012, Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council.

Highlights from the Unlimited programme include:


·         Creating the Spectacle by artist Sue Austin is a ground-breaking and original piece of work in which the artist ‘dances’ underwater in a specially adapted, self-propelled wheelchair, allowing her the freedom and joy to move gracefully and un-hindered. This is a unique and challenging experience where the audience can choose to view the performance underwater in a swimming pool, equipped with masks and breathing equipment. (Osprey Leisure Centre, Portland, 29 August & 1 September 2012).  A film documenting the performances will also be shown. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September; ICCI 360 Dome, Weymouth, 1 – 9 September)

·         Claire Cunningham: Ménage à Trois explores award-winning performer Claire Cunningham's 20-year relationship with her crutches, in a study of love, obsession, loneliness and manipulation. The stunning piece of dance theatre is a collaboration with choreographer and video artist Gail Sneddon, set within an extraordinary, animated environment, enveloping the performers in a surreal, imaginary world. (The MAC, Belfast, 31 August 2012; Southbank Centre, London, 8 September 2012)

·         Mad Gyms & Kitchens by Bobby Baker is a show developed out of her battle with illness and her subsequent recovery. The gently humorous production deals with the trials and tribulations of trying to get better, with the help of a fantastical ‘recovery’ apparatus, designed in collaboration with the sculptor Charlie Whittuck (Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 2 September 2012 and 4, 7, 9 September 2012). Bobby Baker’s Diary Drawings – Mental Illness and Me exhibition is also on show. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012)

·         The National Theatre Wales production of In Water I’m Weightless by writer Kaite O’Reilly, winner of the Ted Hughes Award for Poetry 2010, presents six of the top deaf and disabled performers in the UK, including David Toole and Mat Fraser. They use physicality and dance to recount vivid stories based on interviews the writer carried out with disabled people across the UK (Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 1 September 2012)

·         CAUTION brings together six artists from around the world to work on a series of solo and collaborative performances, video works, still images and installations that allow the artists to explore their limits, break through boundaries and work with the extremes of their abilities to communicate and make things happen. Led by Belfast-based artist and curator Sinéad O’Donnell, CAUTION artists Sylvette Babin (Canada), Mariel Carranza (Peru), Paul Couillard (Canada) Poshya Kakl (Kurdistan-Iraq) and Shiro Masuyama (Japan) interrogate what it means to have an ‘invisible’ disability. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 1 – 2 September 2012). The artists are also showing a series of CAUTION video works at the Southbank Centre from 31 August to 9 September.

·         Marc Brew Company’s ‘Fusional Fragments’ is a blend of classical ballet and contemporary dance, featuring Grammy Award-winning percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie performing the score she composed for the work with Philip Sheppard. (Southbank Centre, London, 31 August 2012)

·         Bee Detective is presented by Tin Bath Theatre – a humorous and fast-paced children’s show that draws the audience into the inner sanctum of a bee hive to help solve a honey bee murder mystery. Bee Detective is an immersive adventure for deaf and hearing children, using cartoons, colourful captions, speaking and signing actors, ‘buzzing’ seats and ‘waggle’ dancing. (Southbank Centre, London, 31 August - 2 September 2012)

·         Box of Frogs by Stumble danceCircus is an exhilarating, high-energy performance showcasing a myriad of circus skills, directed by Mish Weaver. The show includes trick-cycling, tumbling, rope work and acrobalance using film and live music.  Under the banner ‘Bipolar Circus’, Box of Frogs is a jawdropping night of entertainment. (Southbank Centre, London, 2 – 3 September 2012)

Candoco Unlimited - Marc Brew and Claire Cunningham, two celebrated disabled choreographers, have each made a large dance piece for Candoco Dance Company’s international company of 12 disabled and non-disabled dancers. Guest dancers from Beijing and Rio de Janeiro join Candoco's own dancers, reflecting the inclusive values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, while linking previous, current and future Host Cities and celebrating the diversity of London as host in 2012. (Southbank Centre, London, 6 September 2012)

Skewered Snails, created by Ramesh Meyyapan with Iron-Oxide, is the story of a dysfunctional family and of a boy who flees to the treetops to escape the brutality of his father. Award-winning Billy Mack plays the abusive father, with Adura Onashile as the ineffectual mother and Sita Pieraccini as the sibling rival to Ramesh Meyyappan, who vows never to come down from the trees again. (Southbank Centre, London, 6 September 2012)

Laurence Clark: Inspired - The internationally acclaimed comedian, presents his new stand-up comedy show, which questions why ordinary, everyday activities are suddenly considered inspirational when it's a disabled person doing them (Unity Theatre, Liverpool, 31 August 2012; FREE, Southbank Centre, London 1 September 2012 (as part of Liberty Festival’s cabaret evening); Bloomsbury Theatre, London, 7 September 2012)

David Toole and Lucy Hind: The Impending Storm - acclaimed dancer David Toole, in collaboration with non-disabled and disabled UK and South African artists, pushes the boundaries of integrated dance in an explosive and emotional look at the stories we tell, and how we tell them. The performances will feature dance from South Africa’s Remix and music from Dom Coyote and Sandile Gontsana (Southbank Centre, London, 7 - 8 September 2012)

Private Dancer - Janice Parker’s award-winning performance piece, featuring a life-sized luminous house, 18 eclectic performers and unique choreography. This original event aims to offer each audience member a different and profoundly personal experience of the show. (Southbank Centre, London, 7 - 9 September 2012)

The Ugly Spirit – Fittings Multimedia Art’s new show, directed by Garry Robson is a mix of music, text and improvisation that fuses the extraordinary talents of avant-garde performance artist David Hoyle with the vocal skills of acclaimed soprano Denise Leigh. The audience is invited in small groups to wander and explore the undiscovered places that lurk behind the scenes in theatres and travelling shows before being taken to a private audience with the famous Siamese Twins, Jessie and Bessie (Southbank Centre, London, 2 - 3 September 2012).


Diverse City: Breathe is a documentary charting the unique collaboration with disabled and non-disabled performers from Dorset and Brazil, to create a spectacular outdoor circus, dance and theatrical event to open the 2012 Olympic Sailing events in Weymouth. Produced by Diverse City and created by leading disabled artists – Jamie Beddard, Alex Bulmer and Dave Toole. The film documents rehearsals in Dorset with The Remix and Double Act, and with APAE and Estacao Dancar from Florianopolis, Brazil as they not only prepare for the performance of a lifetime but plan to reshape the of disability arts in Britain (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012)

·         Lawnmowers Theatre: Boomba Down the Tyne brings together the spirit of the English Blaydon Races with the Brazilian Boi Bumba in a large-scale performance celebrating both cultures. Music and dance from Brazil will be woven into a free theatrical show performed by artists from the north east of Brazil and the north east of England. An extract of the show called Samba Ceilidh, a specially created Samba inspired by Brazilian and British dance moves, will be showcased in London in September. (Southbank Centre, London, 2 September 2012)

·         The Garden presented by Graeae & Strange Fruit is an aerial, outdoor performance where the artists, a group of nomadic story-keepers, climb four-metre sway poles to tell magical stories up in the air above the heads of the audience. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 6 – 9 September 2012)


·         The Dean Rodney Singers - an interactive audio-visual installation masterminded by Dean Rodney, a 22 year-old artist, rapper and musician. Rodney brings a fantasy world to life with the help of 72 band members, made up of musicians, singers and dancers from seven countries across the world.  The global band has created new music, dance and video using cutting-edge web technology, including 23 songs in collaboration with both disabled and non-disabled band members. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012)

Simon Allen: Resonance at the Still Point of Change - composer Simon Allen presents the premiere performance of his new work, comprising live music, multi-screen film imagery, speech, song and onscreen text. Allen’s colourful score combines instrumental melodies and electronic sounds with a libretto by Alasdair Middleton and images filmed by artists Joe King and Rosie Pedlow (Southbank Centre, London, 4 September 2012)

Irresistible - Call of the Sirens - driven by a life-long fascination with warning sirens, composer and musician Jez Colborne presents his new choral work. The piece combines alarm calls with other non-traditional instruments and singing voices to create a symphony of sirens. (FREE, National Theatre, London, 5-6 September 2012; FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 8 September 2012)


The English Flower Garden - Paul Cummins, renowned for his distinctive landscape installations, presents a series of individually hand-thrown ceramic flowers in celebration of the quintessentially British garden (FREE, Castle Howard, York, 1 June – 31 August 2012; 1 June – 17 September 2012; The Secret Gardens of Sandwhich, Sandwhich and Althorp Estate, Northampton, 11 May – 1 September 2012; Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012)

Maurice Orr - The Screaming Silence of the Wind comprises five multi-sensory installations of paintings inspired by the barren, raw landscapes of Northern Ireland and Iceland (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012).

·         Unlimited Global Alchemy led by artist Rachel Gadsden presents a medley of visual arts, live performance and film. The works explore the politics and myths surrounding coping with chronic disease, particularly HIV and AIDS, and the fight for survival. The exhibition was born out of Gadsden’s work with the Bambani artist-activist group in the Khayelitsha township on the outskirts of Cape Town in South Africa. (Special film screening, FREE, The Bluecoat, Liverpool, 30 August 2012; Exhibition, FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August - 9 September 2012). In addition to the film screening and exhibition, there will also be an evening of performance, co-directed by Gadsden and choreographer Athina Vahla (Southbank Centre, London, 5 September 2012).

DASH Arts: M21 - Documenting a live art project that took place in Much Wenlock, Shropshire in May 2012 M21 – The Medieval to the 21st Century documents how disabled artists explore what it means to be alive and working in the 21st century. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September, 2012)

Caroline Bowditch: Leaving Limbo Landing - a major multi-artform performance piece in air, in water and on land featuring the stories of 12 east Londoners, and brought to life by an all female cast of dancers and aerialists (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012)


MACROPOLIS is an animated film created by Joel Simon, which centres on two misshapen toy figurines who attempt to escape from their factory when they realise they are destined for the waste bin. The film is an unusual combination of stop motion, CGI and time-lapse photography, with real-life locations shot on the streets of Belfast. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012)

·         Simon McKeown: Motion Disabled Unlimited is a chance to watch and study the physicality and movement of the modern day disabled athlete, the Paralympian. Simon Mckeown uses 3D software to create a large inflatable sculpture of a disabled athlete, motion captured animations for presentation on public screens and art-led smartphone applications for presenting extra exhibition material (FREE, Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art, Middlesborough, 20 July - 9 September 2012; Southbank Centre, London, 3 – 4 September 2012).

Chris Tally Evans’ Turning Points is a ten-minute film that celebrates life-changing moments when a meeting, an event, or something unexpected leads us in a new and better direction. Hollywood legend Sir Roger Moore, Olympian Jamie Baulch and visually impaired dancer Lyn Street, are among those to tell their tales. Also as part of the two-year project, over a hundred stories were collected online from people around the UK. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012; online at

Throw Them Up and Let Them Sing is a film by artist film-maker Helen Petts exploring the life and works of German artist Kurt Schwitters through landscape, collage, sound and walking. Petts charts the German artist’s journey from a remote island in Norway, where he escaped Nazi persecution over what they called his ‘degenerate’ art and his epilepsy. (FREE, Southbank Centre, London, 31 August – 9 September 2012)

The Unlimited programme is complemented by a range of other works and performances from disabled and deaf artists running alongside the Paralympic Games, including Niet Normaal, a stimulating exhibition of works by artists both disabled and non-disabled (The Bluecoat, Liverpool, 13 June – 2 September 2012) and Mark Rylance’s What You Will: Pop-Up Shakespeare sees 50 actors aged 17 to 70, who have been cast by Shakespeare's Globe and including deaf and disabled artists, perform brief, intimate interactions with the public on the streets of London (28 August – 2 September 2012). Also, Brazilian artist Arthur Bispo do Rosário presents an exhibition bringing together over 80 of his artworks as part of a programme of collaboration between Rio de Janeiro and London 2012 Festival. Admitted to a psychiatric hospital at the age of 29, Bispo do Rosario’s ‘outsider’ art has long been celebrated for its skill and imaginative approach to working with everyday, found materials. (FREE, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 13 August – 28 October 2012).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Upcoming TV and public appearances by U.S. gymnasts Sept. 3rd - Sept. 6th

The following list is subject to change. Scroll down for a photo gallery of the appearances.
Monday, Sept. 3
  • Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney & Kyla Ross throwing out first pitch at the L.A. Dodgers game
Tuesday, Sept. 4
Thursday, Sept. 6

Sunday, Aug. 26
  • Gabby Douglas on Oprah's Next Chapter - Videos
Saturday, Aug. 25
  • Aly Raisman throwing out first pitch at Boston Red Sox game - Video
Friday, Aug. 24
  • Danell Leyva on The Today Show - Video
  • Aly Raisman at the premiere of "Bachelorette" - Video
  • Aly Raisman on episode of E!'s Fashion Police
Thursday, Aug. 23
  • Gabby Douglas throwing out first pitch at New York Mets game
    Watch: Clip 1 | Clip 2 | Clip 3
  • Aly Raisman interview with Young Hollywood - Video
Wednesday, Aug. 22
  • Jordyn Wieber throwing out first pitch at Detroit Tigers game - Video
Monday, Aug. 20
  • Aly Raisman introduced at New England Patriots game - Video
Sunday, Aug. 19
Thursday, Aug. 16
  • Women's team on Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien - Video
  • John Orozco on Rock Center with Brian Williams - Video
Wednesday, Aug. 15
  • Women's team on Good Morning America - Video
  • Women's team on Anderson Cooper 360
  • Gabby Douglas on America's Got Talent results show
  • Women's team on The Colbert Report - Video
Tuesday, Aug. 14
Monday, Aug. 13
  • Gabby Douglas on Tonight Show with Jay Leno
    Watch: Part 1 | Part 2
Plus, catch them at the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions this fall. Tickets are on sale now.

Professor Stephen Hawking calls for new age of enlightenment in rare public appearance at spectacular London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony

·        Stars of stage, screen and music welcome world’s athletes back to the home of the Paralympic Games
·        Her Majesty The Queen opens London 2012 Paralympics Games

London, England - In a rare public appearance, internationally acclaimed and celebrated British scientist Professor Stephen Hawking inspired the world tonight with a global message of hope and optimism at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Hawking, one of most respected, innovative and original thinkers of our times, urged the world to be curious and to create a brave new and better world for everyone, by challenging perceptions and stereotypes that limit the potential of the human body, mind and spirit.

‘Look up at the stars, and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious,’ Hawking urged ceremony spectators and international television and internet audiences who watched the Ceremony on TV and online, and added that ‘however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.’

Professor Hawking delivered a series of new statements and messages and played a key role in the ceremony combining soaring operatic performances with alternative British urban punk and international cinema cult music and songs, dramatic high wire aerial performances and dance movements across the roof of the stadium. The Ceremony's high technology special effects also included dramatic multi coloured and rapid moving shapes and formations created by pixel technology that transformed audience seating areas into a giant screen for high impact digital images, including sea and solar landscapes.

Stephen Hawking called for a new age of enlightenment as he acts as a guide to Miranda, one of the characters from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, taking Miranda, Sir Ian McKellen, and a worldwide audience on a journey through time and the great discoveries that have changed our perceptions about the possibilities of the human mind and spirit and the physical universe.

In the best traditions of quirky British humour, tonight’s ceremony also involved the world’s biggest apple bite in a tribute to Sir Isaac Newton. The massive collective  crunch took place in the appropriately named Gravity section of the ceremony and involved more than 60,000 audience members simultaneously taking a bite from thousands of apples that were given on arrival at the ceremony. TV viewers were also asked to bite an apple at home at the appropriate moment.

Seb Coe, Chair, London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), welcomed the world to the home of the Paralympic Games. In his speech in the Ceremony he said: ‘The enthusiasm for these Paralympic Games is extraordinary. The crowds will be unprecedented. These will be Games to remember. Prepare to be inspired. Prepare to be dazzled. Prepare to be moved by the Paralympic Games of London 2012.’

The London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony was created by artistic directors Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings and provided a theatrical and emotional homecoming for the Paralympic Games. The Ceremony was overseen by the team of Executive Producers who were in charge of all four Olympic and Paralympic Ceremonies, including Oscar winning film director Stephen Daldry.

Athletes from 164 teams paraded into the Stadium early in the Ceremony to be seated on the field of play. The Ceremony, inspired by their achievements, unfolded in front of them set to a score of classical and dance music.

A new choral commission ‘Principia’ by Greenwich composer Errollyn Wallen was performed by six London based choirs including the Hackney Singers, London Gay Men’s Chorus, the London Chorus, Lewisham Choral Society, Barts’ Choir and Hackney Community Choir before the arrival of Her Majesty the Queen who, following speeches by London 2012 Chair Sebastian Coe and International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven, officially declared the London 2012 Paralympic Games open. Nine servicemen and women from the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force raised the Union Flag to the accompaniment of Benjamin Britten’s arrangement of the National Anthem, performed by the 430-strong choir.

Continuing the theme of Shakespeare’s play ‘The Tempest’ seen in the Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the central character of the Paralympic Opening Ceremony was Miranda, played by disabled actress Nicola Miles Wildin and guided by a Prospero character played by famous British actor Sir Ian McKellen. Miranda led the audience through a journey of discovery inspired by the wonder of science and its power to transform perceptions,

Their journey looked out into deep space following a dramatic interpretation of the ‘big bang’ performed by 600 volunteers, before encountering a Stadium sized library where Miranda investigated the twin themes of the Ceremony ‘reason and rights’, a voyage across a sea of ideas in a giant upturned umbrella boat, a spectacular recreation of Isaac Newton’s 17th century garden before ending up in the dynamic world of contemporary London where Ian McKellen and Miranda walked together towards an exciting future and current scientific endeavours, such as the Large Hadron Collider.

As well as a 3,000 volunteer performers and a children’s cast from the Host Boroughs, the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony featured soprano Elin Manahan Thomas performing Habdel’s ‘Eternal Source of Light Devine’; contemporary whirling dervish dancer Ziya Azazi creating the eye of the storm during Miranda’s ‘storm of ideas’; 16 year old singer songwriter Birdy performing Anthony Hegarty’s ‘Bird Gerhl’ to accompany a solo dance by leading disable dancer and performer David Toole; Gandini Juggling performing during a section celebrating Sir Isaac Newton’s discoveries; a new track by British electronic duo Orbital used in section celebrating Britain’s lead in modern scientific discoveries; Graear Theatre Company’s performance of the late Ian Drury’s disability anthem ‘Spasticus Autisticus’; and the Beverley Knight was joined by Lizzie Emeh and Caroline Parker grand finale of the Ceremony which saw a rousing performance of ‘I Am What I Am’.

The Ceremony also featured a spectacular aerial performance by 42 Deaf and disabled ariel performers who have been specially trained to perform at height. Having taken part in an eight week circus skills training programme funded by Arts Council England, they will feature throughout the Ceremony showcasing their new found skills. They include established performers as well people new to the arts such as rehabilitating soldiers and non competing Paralympians.

Stephen Hawking’s final address provided a moving tribute to the athletes. He said: ‘The Paralympic Games is about transforming our perception of the world. We are all different, there is no such thing as a standard or run-of-the-mill human being, but we share the same human spirit. What is important is that we have the ability to create. This creativity can take many forms, from physical achievement to theoretical physics. However difficult life may seem there is always something you can do, and succeed at. The Games provide an opportunity for athletes to excel,
to stretch themselves and become outstanding in their field. So let us together celebrate excellence, friendship, and respect. Good luck to you all.’

Then a short, emotionally charged film showed the journey of the Paralympic Torch to the Stadium and pyrotechnics in the colours of the Paralympic logo were set off around the Stadium roof. At the end of the film, Royal Marine Commando Joe Townsend – an aspiring Paralympic triathlete – emerged with the Torch at the top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, just outside the Stadium, and descended on a zip wire onto the field of play. Joe Townsend handed the Torch to David Clarke, a visually impaired athlete competing in the ParalympicsGB 5-a-side Football team, who took the Flame towards the Cauldron. He passed it to the final Torchbearer, Margaret Maughan, Britain’s first gold medallist at the first Paralympic Games at Rome 1960, who lit a single tiny flame within one of the copper petals of Thomas Heatherwick’s Cauldron, triggering the ignition of all the other petals. The elegant stems gently rose towards each other and convergde to create one great Flame of unity. Golden dandelion seeds spread around the audience pixel screen echoing the imagery from the natural world that inspired Heatherwick’s Cauldron design.

The new classical compositions, choral works and pop classics will feature on ‘Enlightenment - Music For The Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games’ released digitally in its entirety after the ceremony after midnight on Thursday 30 August 2012. The specially created album features a new version of ‘I Am What I Am’, the Gloria Gaynor classic performed by Beverley Knight, alongside the new music composed for the Ceremony.

Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings, Co-artistic Directors of the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony said: ‘The Paralympic Games is the second largest sporting event in the world, and its taking place in our home city.  We couldn't be prouder to have been asked to direct the Opening Ceremony.

‘We wanted our Ceremony to be both spectacular and deeply human. Having worked together over a number of years we were determined that the Ceremony should speak from the heart, tell a story, showcase our world leading Deaf and disabled artists and rise to the emotional and historic occasion of the homecoming of the Paralympic Games.

‘We had an awesome creative team, a wonderful professional cast and an extraordinary team of volunteers to open the Paralympic Games and welcome the athletes with a theatrical and fun ceremony.

Stephen Hawking said: ‘I was delighted and honoured to be in the Ceremony and welcoming the Paralympian athletes to London as part of the Paralympic Opening Ceremony.’

Nicola Miles Wildin said: ‘I was so excited to play the role of Miranda and help to tell the story of the Paralympic Opening Ceremony. ‘The Ceremony will celebrated the amazing athletes and the arts as well as showing how talented and diverse this country is. I was just proud to be a part of it.’

Beverley Knight said: ‘Being a part of the last night's show was not only awe-inspiring but thought-provoking. Enlightenment was an apt title for the ceremony; the 'Spasticus Autisticus' segment was simply brilliant. I was so proud to have been sharing the stage with true supermen and women.’

Birdy said: ‘I'm so proud and excited to be a part of the Paralympics, supporting the UK and welcoming such amazing athletes to London.’

Denise Leigh said: ‘Being the first to perform a new composition is always an exciting undertaking. To have the honour of doing it at the Paralympic Opening Ceremony in front of such a massive audience both in the Stadium and at home makes it doubly wonderful. I’m just thrilled to have been a part of such a wonderful event and the memories will remain with me forever.’

Mark Williams MBE, Artistic Director/Chief Executive of Heart n Soul said: ‘Heart n Soul has been credited with inventing learning disability culture 26 years ago. We’re very proud and honoured to present our award-winning artists – Lizzie Emeh and The Fish Police - and to be involved in such a historic occasion.’

Elin Manahan Thomas said: ‘The ceremony is a celebration not just of Great Britain, but of disabled people all around the globe, and the incredible achievements of which they're capable. It's a stunning opening to these Games, which I think will make Britain proud, and make the whole world sit up and cheer on these amazing athletes. I'm honoured to be playing just a small part in it and to be one of a cast of thousands, who've given time, energy and endless enthusiasm to bring together a truly mind-blowing show!’

Caroline Parker said: 'We showed them how it should be done, this is not a rehearsal-this is life.'

Danilo 'DJ' Walde said: ‘Taking part in the 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony is a dream come true. To be a part of the celebration of the true Paralympic spirit and to be part of Bradley and Jenny's vision is an honour. I hope we've made London proud once more and we've continued to celebrate the London 2012 Legacy.’

DJ Excalibah said: “I don't think I could feel more proud than I do today, spending my 30th birthday DJing to a worldwide audience plus the 80,000 people here. I grew up in this area and to be a part of Jenny and Bradley's vision of Enlightenment for the true home of the Paralympic Games is quite possibly the biggest moment of life. I'm so proud of all the volunteers I've met who are helping to tell this incredible story. Let the games begin!”

David Clarke said ‘It is a great honour to be asked to play such a prominent role in the Opening Ceremony, I am very proud to be a Paralympic athlete and represent blind football.’