Bits & Bytes: Berkshire Gateway Jazz Weekend; Throwdown Collective at Berkshire Pulse; Dom Flemons at Hancock Shaker Village; Whiffenpoofs benefit performance; Lee Siegel at the Mount

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By Monday, Jun 12 Arts & Entertainment
Toronto-based Throwdown Collective will present dance workshops in Housatonic in collaboration with Berkshire Pulse on Friday, June 16 (see item below).

Berkshire Gateway Jazz Weekend

Wanda Houston performing a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald at the Vermont Jazz Center in Brattleboro, Vermont, in December 2016. Photo: Jeff Lewis, courtesy Vermont Jazz Center

Wanda Houston performing a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald at the Vermont Jazz Center in Brattleboro, Vermont, in December 2016. Photo: Jeff Lewis, courtesy Vermont Jazz Center

Lee — Berkshires Jazz Inc. and Berkshire Gateway Preservation Inc. will present the sixth annual Berkshire Gateway Jazz Weekend Thursday, June 15, through Sunday, June 18. The weekend will boast Wanda Houston in a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Robillard and the New Black Eagle Jazz Band, dining, art shows and more in downtown Lee.

Duke Robillard

Duke Robillard

On Friday, June 16, at 8 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Lee, the Vermont Jazz Center Big Band and Wanda Houston will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Fitzgerald. Breathing new life into the same musical arrangements used by Fitzgerald, the concert will include music she performed with Count Basie, Duke Ellington and others. On Saturday, June 17, at 8 p.m., the church will play host to the New Black Eagle Jazz Band, which is returning to the jazz festival after a three-year hiatus. Guitarist Robillard teamed up with the Black Eagles in 2009 for their “Nothing but the Blues” record and the two acts are reuniting exclusively for the Berkshire Gateway Jazz Weekend.

In addition to the ticketed concerts, the festival will include several free events including a jazz film at the Lee Library on Thursday, June 15, at 6 p.m.; a wine and beer tasting on Saturday, June 17, at 4 p.m.; an art show; and a jazz brunch on Sunday, June 18.

Tickets for the headline concerts are $25 in advance and $30 on the days of the shows. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar.

–E.E.

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Throwdown Collective workshops at Berkshire Pulse

Housatonic — Toronto-based contemporary dance company Throwdown Collective will offer two unique workshops with Berkshire Pulse on Friday, June 16.

The afternoon will begin with a dynamic workshop at the Housatonic Community Center gym, 1064 Main St., from 4 to 5 p.m. People aged 10 and up are invited to join in a highly physical dance experience using four large wooden boxes as props. The athletic workshop, set to high-energy music, will have participants propelling from, jumping over, locomoting around and moving the props as they practice partnering skills, strength and agility in a fun and encouraging environment. Students will also learn some of the compositional tools used in collaborative creation and have the chance to make their own daring group compositions.

A contemporary dance workshop for teens and adults will be held in the Berkshire Pulse studios from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in which participants will explore physical tasks in small groups. Using principles of fall and suspension, weight sharing, and arrested and accelerated motion, students will build unique movement scores with a spirit of democracy, playfulness and hard work.

There is a workshop fee of $20 per class. A 10 percent discount will be extended to residents of Housatonic. Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Berkshire Pulse at (413) 274-6624 or berkshire.pulse@gmail.com.

–E.E.

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Shaker Barn Music presents Dom Flemons

Dom Flemons. Photo: Andrew Snowball

Dom Flemons. Photo: Andrew Snowball

Pittsfield — Hancock Shaker Village will kick off its new Shaker Barn Music series on Friday, June 16, at 7 p.m. with Grammy Award-winning Americana musician Dom Flemons. Williamstown-based fierce folk duo Long Journey will open the show.

Musician, singer-songwriter and slam poet Flemons is a founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an African-American string band that won a Grammy Award for its 2010 album “Genuine Negro Jig.” Today, Flemons tours throughout the U.S. and internationally as “The American Songster,” mixing traditional music forms with a contemporary approach to create new sounds. In 2016, Flemons performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City as part of a Lead Belly tribute and at the opening ceremonies for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. In the same year, he also paired with British guitarist Martin Simpson on the album “Selection of Ever Popular Favourites.” A multi-instrumentalist, Flemons plays banjo, guitar, harmonica, fife, bones, bass drum, snare drum and quills in addition to singing and has a podcast called “American Songsters Radio” in conjunction with North Carolina Public Radio.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the show. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call (413) 443-0188 x115.

–E.E.

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Yale Whiffenpoofs concert Gould Farm benefit

The Yale Whiffenpoofs, class of 1958, at a reunion in Lee in 2016. Photo courtesy Bart Miller

The Yale Whiffenpoofs, class of 1958, at a reunion in Lee in 2016. Photo courtesy Bart Miller

Lee — Gould Farm, a therapeutic treatment community for adults struggling with mental health challenges, will present the Yale Whiffenpoofs, class of 1958, in a concert to benefit its scholarship programs on Saturday, June 17, at 6 p.m. at Brookside Farm, 80 Devon Rd. Established in 1909, Yale University’s Whiffenpoofs are the nation’s oldest collegiate a cappella group. The Whiffenpoofs, class of 1958, have been performing nearly every year since they left Yale and gather to raise money for meaningful community causes. Tickets are $125 for individuals and $500 for host-level sponsorship. Catering will be provided by Gould Farm and will showcase Gould Farm products. Beverages have been donated by local manufacturers and distributors including No. 6 Depot Roastery & Cafe, Big Elm Brewing and Domaney’s Liquors and Fine Wines. For tickets or for more information, contact Brenda at (413) 528-1804 or bhawkins@gouldfarm.org.

–E.E.

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‘Touchstones at the Mount’ hosts author Lee Siegel

Lee Siegel

Lee Siegel

Lenox — The Mount’s ‘Touchstones at the Mount: Kate Bolick in Conversation” series will host journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick and author Lee Siegel for a discussion of Siegel’s memoir, “The Draw, on Thursday, June 15, at 5 p.m.

Siegel is the author of five books and the recipient of the 2002 National Magazine Award for Reviews and Criticism. He writes for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and has worked as senior editor of the New Republic, art critic for Slate, and contributing writer for the Los Angeles Times Book Review. He has also written for Harper’s, New York Magazine, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and the New York Review of Books. 

Tickets are $18 general admission and $15 for members of the Mount. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Mount at (413) 551-5100 or info@edithwharton.org.

–E.E.


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