Bits & Bytes: ‘World’s Greatest Christmas Carols;’ Everton Sylvester at Club Helsinki Hudson; ‘Heart of a Dog’ at Mason Library; Berkshire Amistad to seeks donations

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By Wednesday, Nov 29 Life In the Berkshires
The Cantilena Chamber Choir will present 'World's Greatest Christmas Carols,' the final event in the yearlong celebration of Lenox's 250th anniversary, Sunday, Dec. 3, in Lenox. Photo courtesy Cantilena Chamber Choir

Cantilena Chamber Choir to present ‘World’s Greatest Christmas Carols’

Moshe Knoll. Photo courtesy Moshe Knoll

Lenox — The Cantilena Chamber Choir will present “World’s Greatest Christmas Carols” Sunday, Dec. 3, at 3 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church. Featuring Shakespeare & Company artistic director Allyn Burrows as the narrator and Laura Goldberg on violin, the concert will include traditional carols as well as new settings of old favorites by American composers. The concert is the final event in the yearlong celebration of Lenox’s 250th anniversary and will end with the premiere of the “Lenox Suite” for piano, violin and choir by Moshe Knoll.

Pianist and composer Knoll, who wrote the “Lenox Suite” especially for this event serves on the faculty of Lenox’s Belvoir Terrace summer camp, as does Juilliard Pre-College Division professor Goldberg. Choral favorites in the program will include Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on Christmas Carols;” “Medley of Christmas Spirituals” arranged by Chanticleer; favorite carol settings by John Rutter, Eric Barnum and Paul Halley; a carol sing-along; and more.

Tickets include a post-concert reception with a harvest soup made by former Church Street Café chef Clayton Hambrick and are $25 for adults, $20 for students and seniors, and free for children ages 12 and under. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Cantilena Chamber Choir at (518) 791-0185 or satbchoir@yahoo.com.

–E.E.

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Rogovoy Salon to welcome Everton Sylvester and Searching for Banjo

Everton Sylvester. Photo courtesy Club Helsinki Hudson

Hudson, N.Y. — On Sunday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m., Club Helsinki Hudson will present Jamaica-born funk poet Everton Sylvester and his woodwind/bass/drum trio Searching for Banjo as part of the Rogovoy Salon series curated and hosted by cultural journalist Seth Rogovoy.

Everton has worked as a banker, an insurance agent and an optician, but threw it all away and worked his way up from the midweek open mic at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe to headlining spots on weekend nights. His poems have been published in the Massachusetts Review, the Brooklyn Review, the Mississippi Review and A Gathering of the Tribes. He is featured in the PBS series “United States of Poetry” and in the film “Slamming,” and is also lead poet with Brooklyn Funk Essentials. His influences include Alfred Lord Tennyson, Leonard Cohen and the Jamaican dub poet Mikey Smith.

Tickets are $15. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Club Helsinki Hudson at (518) 828-4800.

–E.E.

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‘Heart of a Dog’ to screen at Mason Library

Image courtesy Wikipedia

Great Barrington — The Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries will screen the film “Heart of a Dog” by Laurie Anderson Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. at Mason Library.

The 2015 documentary film “Heart of a Dog” is a meditation on loss via family memories, surveillance and Buddhist teachings. Anderson reflects the losses of a friend; her husband, Lou Reed; her mother; and her dog, Lolabelle. Anderson is an American avant-garde artist, composer, musician and film director who shot and scored much of the film. Her multifaceted exhibition at MASS MoCA, which includes charcoal drawings of Lolabelle, continues through 2018.

“The mission of the Friends of the Library is, first of all, to bring people to the library,” explained Great Barrington Selectman and Friends spokesperson Ed Abrahams. “And for seven years we’ve been presenting documentary films. But last year, we decided to make more of an event, screening the films on Saturday and offering refreshments before the film and a discussion afterwards.”

He added: “Everything that’s wrong with the world these days is that people sit in their homes and look at screens, without taking the time to talk with or even acknowledge their families. This is just about getting people together to share their thoughts on an interesting film, an interesting life.”

The event is part of the Friends’ First Saturday Free Film Series and will begin with a free wine and cheese social in the vaulted reading room at 7 p.m. More socializing and community discussion will follow the 75-minute film until 10 p.m. The film does not reflect endorsement or advocacy for any particular point of view by the library or the town of Great Barrington. For more information, contact the Mason Library at (413) 528-2403.

–E.E.

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Donations of supplies at Berkshire Amistad’s warehouse in West Stockbridge await transportation to Central America. Photo courtesy Berkshire Amistad

Berkshire Amistad seeks donations, volunteers

West Stockbridge — Berkshire Amistad, an organization dedicated to improving the living conditions of residents of Central America, will be working Saturday, Dec. 2, and Saturday, Dec. 9, at its warehouse, 186 Great Barrington Rd., to fill shipping containers with useful items to be distributed to people in Honduras and other Central American countries.

Forty-foot shipping containers are used to transport bananas from Central America to the Berkshires. Berkshire Amistad fills the containers with donated items to be distributed to Central American residents upon the containers’ return.

Of the upcoming workday events, Berkshire Amistad founder Eddie O’Toole said: “First we will fill the container with 100 school desks donated by St. Joe’s High School. We will fill the empty spaces around those desks with small theater lights also from St. Joe’s and desk lamps and fans donated by Berkshire School. We also pack clothing, shoes, sports equipment in small bags to fit in all those small spaces around the desks. To do this takes two things: a lot of clothes and shoes, and a lot of help to actually load the container. Once the desks are loaded the team will then load filing cabinets, dental chairs, sewing equipment and supplies and much more.”

O’Toole continued: “Banana containers come up to the northeast every week. So, one or two weeks after this first container, we are going to finish unloading the warehouse into another 40ft shipping container. In that container we will start with 20 hospital beds collected over the past six months and then load more hospital equipment donated by Berkshire Medical Center, and all types of other useful equipment donated by people from Berkshire County, like carpentry and ceramics equipment, wheelchairs and crutches and school supplies.”

Berkshire Amistad seeks donations such as crutches, wheelchairs, clothing, shoes, bedding, towels, sports equipment, and school and medical supplies. For more information, contact Berkshire Amistad at (413) 645-2003 or eddie56@gmail.com.

–E.E.


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