Bits & Bytes: Berkshire Hot Summer Swing Bash; Blue Rider Stables’ Fun Day; ‘Soil and Shul in the Berkshires;’ historical society exhibit opening

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By Wednesday, Aug 23 Life In the Berkshires
Squirrel Nut Zippers will headline the Berkshire Hot Summer Swing Bash at Ski Butternut in Great Barrington on Saturday, Aug. 26. Photo courtesy Squirrel Nut Zippers

Berkshire Hot Summer Swing Bash to feature Squirrel Nut Zippers

Great Barrington — The Berkshire Hot Summer Swing Bash will take place Saturday, Aug. 26, from 3 to 8 p.m. at Ski Butternut with performances from Squirrel Nut Zippers and local favorites the Lucky 5 and Blue Light Trio; craft beer from Lefty’s Brewing Company; fresh summer food; Roger the Jester, games from the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation; and more.

The Lucky 5. Photo: Lee Everett/Fine Line Multimedia

The Lucky 5. Photo: Lee Everett/Fine Line Multimedia

Squirrel Nut Zippers’ one-of-a-kind sound ranges in influences from Harlem hot music to the likes of Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, Django Reinhardt and Tom Waits. In 2016, the band announced a new lineup for its tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of its platinum album “Hot.” The band’s break-through single “Hell” was distinguished by calypso rhythms and also fell into the neo-swing movement. The group has played on numerous TV shows and has performed at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, on “A Prairie Home Companion,” at former President Bill Clinton’s second inaugural ball, and on on Comedy Central.

The Lucky 5 is a hard-swinging jazz band blending swing and gypsy jazz to create a unique, foot-stomping blend of music that appeals to a wide range of music lovers. Consisting of Don Mikkelsen on trombone, Matt Downing on bass, Jonathan Talbott on violin, Kip Beacco on guitar and vocals and Brian Kantor on drums, the Lucky 5 performs original compositions and also puts a new spin on old jazz standards.

Blue Light Trio founding members Sam Rosen on guitar and Jerry Link on bass are joined by Richard Downs on brass and vocals and Jack DiNicola on drums to create their signature swing sound. The foursome represents over 150 years of musical experience.

Tickets range from $20 to $100 and are free for children age 12 and under. Attendees are advised to bring blankets and chairs. The event will take place rain or shine. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Berkshire Bash at (413) 644-6379.

–E.E.

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Blue Rider Stables to hold annual Fun Day

Bari Koral. Photo courtesy Blue Rider Stables

Bari Koral. Photo courtesy Blue Rider Stables

North Egremont — Blue Rider Stables’ 23rd annual Fun Day will take place Saturday, Aug. 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at French Park, 21 Prospect Lake Rd. The day will feature pony and hay rides, children’s games, a silent auction and musical entertainment throughout the day.

At 10:30 a.m., the Berkshire Ukulele Band, led by Rob Sanzone, will perform a set of favorite tunes spanning the decades and, at 1 p.m., children’s recording artist and kids’ yoga expert Bari Koral will take the stage. In the riding arena, in addition to daylong pony and donkey rides, Blue Rider’s vaulting students will perform demonstrations at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. A silent auction will runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature items and gift certificates donated by local businesses and organizations.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Blue Rider Stables at (413) 528-5299 or info@bluerider.org.

–E.E.

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‘Soil and Shul in the Berkshires’ at Sandisfield Arts Center

Lorraine German. Photo courtesy Sandisfield Arts Center

Lorraine German. Photo courtesy Sandisfield Arts Center

Sandisfield — The Sandisfield Arts Center will host Lorraine German, author of “Soil and Shul in the Berkshires: The Untold Story of Sandisfield’s Jewish Farm Colony,” on Sunday, Aug. 27, at 11 a.m.

The first Jewish families who came from New York City in the early 20th century were part of a plan by the Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society to settle an agricultural colony in the Berkshires. In her book, German uses newspapers, historical records and first-hand accounts to tell the tale of the early farming community and her presentation will include stories of forgotten events and characters.

German and her husband, Steve, have deep roots in Sandisfield’s Jewish community. Steve’s grandfather, Max Linder, bought the family home in the village of Montville in 1922 and the couple is proud to be third-generation owners. “Soil and Shul in the Berkshires: The Untold Story of Sandisfield’s Jewish Farm Colony” will be available in the fall of 2018.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Sandisfield Arts Center at (413) 258-4100 or info@sandisfieldartscenter.org.

–E.E.

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Sheffield Historical society to mark exhibit opening with a feast

The Sheffield Historical Society's smokehouse. Photo courtesy Sheffield Historical Society

The Sheffield Historical Society’s smokehouse. Photo courtesy Sheffield Historical Society

Sheffield — On Sunday, Aug. 27, from 4 to 6 p.m., the Sheffield Historical Society will hold a feast to celebrate the opening of the permanent Milt Barnum Tool Exhibit in the society’s barn. Barnum was an avid collector of antique tools, many made or used in Sheffield, as well as a founding member of the society. The exhibit, curated by current society members Paul O’Brien and Al Romeo, displays many of the thousands of tools in Barnum’s collection and range from farm tools, tradesman and artisan’s tools to implements from 19th-century kitchens. The feast will include smoked ham, ribs, chicken, beef, bacon, porkstrami and a variety of side dishes.

Tickets are $25 for the general public, $20 for society members, $15 for youth ages 7–18, and free for children under age 6. Proceeds from the event will go toward the preservation of items in the society’s collection, specifically a sampler sewn by a 13-year-old girl in Sheffield in 1833. Those who wish to attend are asked to RSVP for planning purposes. For more information or to RSVP, contact the Sheffield Historical Society at (413) 229-2694 or sheffieldhistoricalsociety@gmail.com.

–E.E.


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