Bits & Bytes: W.E.B. Du Bois 150th anniversary celebration; ‘A Close EnCountertenor’; community poetry night; ‘The Global Impact of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony’

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By Monday, Feb 19 Arts & Entertainment
Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado
Reiland Rabaka, Ph.D., chair the University of Colorado Boulder's ethnic studies department, will deliver the keynote address at the W.E.B. Du Bois Educational Series' Du Bois celebration event Friday, Feb. 23, at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington.

W.E.B. Du Bois Educational Series to present Du Bois 150th anniversary celebration

Great Barrington — The W.E.B. Du Bois Educational Series, the University of Massachusetts’ W.E.B. Du Bois Center and their partners will host a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of W.E.B. Du Bois Friday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. The event will feature the keynote presentation “Du Bois and the Emergence of the Civil Rights Movement” given by University of Colorado Boulder professor and Du Bois scholar Reiland Rabaka, Ph.D., as well as music and conversation with acclaimed blues musician Guy Davis. UMass professor and Du Bois Center director Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Ph.D., and Du Bois’ great-grandson Jeffrey Peck will emcee the event, which will also include a short film of the 1969 dedication of the W.E.B. Du Bois National Historic Site featuring Ossie Davis and Julian Bond, a spoken-word performance by the Du Bois Youth Ensemble directed by Ted Thomas, and a dance piece choreographed to “We Are Here” by Alicia Keys and performed by the teen and adult dance companies of Moving Arts Exchange.

Rabaka is the chair of the University of Colorado Boulder’s department of ethnic studies and credits Du Bois with having a seminal influence on his thinking ever since he first read “The Souls of Black Folk” in junior high school. Rabaka has written more than 50 scholarly articles and book chapters, as well as more than a dozen books including several on Du Bois. One of Rabaka’s major focuses has been the exploration of the influence of the civil rights movement, the Harlem Renaissance, womanism and other historical strands in African-American protest on hip hop music.

Guy Davis. Photo: Joseph A. Rosen.

Davis is the son of actors and civil rights activists Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, who were friends of Du Bois. A Grammy Award nominee, Davis has recorded 13 albums and performed around the world. Known as an “Ambassador of the Blues,” Davis has performed on national television programs hosted by Conan O’Brien and David Letterman as well as radio programs including “A Prairie Home Companion,” “Mountain Stage,” “World Cafe” and “eTown.”

The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Mahaiwe box office at (413) 528-0100.

–E.E.

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Close Encounters With Music to present ‘A Close EnCountertenor’

Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen

Great Barrington — On Saturday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m., Close Encounters With Music will present “Voice of the Baroque: A Close EnCountertenor” featuring countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, pianist Michele Levin and CEWM artistic director Yehuda Hanani at Saint James Place. (Please see Edge preview of this concert.)

In a program to include selections of English songs from Dowland, Purcell and Handel, CEWM will introduce 23-year-old American countertenor Nussbaum Cohen, who received a Richard Tucker Music Foundation grant, made his European debut at the Theater an der Wien and was named a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition, all in his breakout 2016–17 season. The program will also feature J.S. Bach’s gamba sonatas played by Hanani on cello and longtime musical partner Levin, first-prize winner of the Johann Sebastian Bach International Piano Competition in Washington, D.C.

Tickets are $38 general admission and $15 for students. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact CEWM at (800) 843-0778 or cewmusic@aol.com.

–E.E.

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The Bookloft to host community poetry night

The poetry section at the Bookloft. Photo courtesy the Bookloft

Great Barrington — The Bookloft will host a community poetry night Thursday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m.

Participants are invited to read their own work or share someone else’s, published or unpublished, that they enjoy. Creative presentation is welcome and participants are encouraged to accompany their readings with musical instruments or artwork, team up with a friend, or act them out. Attendees are not required to read poetry aloud. Poems should be under five minutes in length and those interested should arrive early to sign up to read. A bowl of assorted poems will be available for those who decide to read on the spur of the moment.

Children and student readers and attendees are welcome. Refreshments will be provided. Additional community poetry nights will be held on the last Thursday of each month through May 31. For more information, contact the Bookloft at (413) 528-1521 or zazu@thebookloft.com.

–E.E.

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‘The Global Impact of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony’

Image courtesy followingtheninth.com

Spencertown, N.Y. – Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s Conversations with Neighbors series will present “The Global Impact of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony” Saturday, Feb. 24, at 4 p.m. The afternoon of film and music will feature a screening of the documentary film “Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony,” a question-and-answer session with the film’s co-producer Greg Mitchell and a Beethoven sonata performed by concert pianist Lincoln Mayorga.

Directed, written and produced by Kerry Candaele, “Following the Ninth” premiered in 2013 and has won critical acclaim while showing in more than 250 cities across the country and around the world. Filmed on five continents and in 12 countries, the film is the story of people whose lives have been transformed, repaired and healed by the Ninth’s message.

Mitchell lives in Nyack and has edited leading magazines, authored more than a dozen books, written hundreds of articles for national publications, and served as co-producer or chief consultant to major documentary films. His latest book, “The Tunnels,” drew major critical acclaim and was optioned by FilmNation for a motion picture with Paul Greengrass attached as director.

Known first and foremost as a pianist, Chatham resident Mayorga is also an arranger, producer, composer and teacher. He began his career working as Walt Disney Studios’ staff pianist. In addition to his background as a studio musician for film and television, he has toured across North America, Europe and Russia, and collaborated with notables such as Itzhak Perlman, Richard Stoltzman and Michael Tilson Thomas.

Admission is $20 general admission, $15 for members and $10 students. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Spencertown Academy at (518) 392-3693.

–E.E.


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