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Emma Rothenberg-Ware
Berkshire Theatre Group's 2016 community production of 'A Christmas Carol.' The 2017 production will run Dec. 9–22 at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield (see item below).

Bits & Bytes: Train Campaign lecture; ‘Abraham’s Daughters’ at CAS; Berkshire Children’s Chorus concerts; ‘A Christmas Carol’ at the Colonial; Red Cross blood drives

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By Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017 Life In the Berkshires

Train Campaign to offer lecture by author Alex Marshall

Alex Marshall. Photo courtesy Alex Marshall

Great Barrington — On Thursday, Dec. 7, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Saint James Place, the Train Campaign will host a lecture titled “How Trains (and Other Forms of Transportation) Change History and Shape Our World” by Alex Marshall.

Beginning with the Erie Canal in the early 19th century and moving on to the trains that transformed the United States and its cities in the 20th century, journalist and author Marshall will explain how transportation systems shape people’s lives and public places. He will present new ideas about how transportation–including modern passenger rail and 21st-century innovations such as driverless cars–can be designed and managed in the public interest.

Marshall writes a regular column on transportation for Governing magazine and is a contributor to Bloomberg View, Atlantic Cities, the Boston Globe, and other publications. He is a senior fellow at Regional Plan Association in New York City, has appeared on WNYC’s the Brian Lehrer Show and the Leonard Lopate Show, and taught about infrastructure at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Marshall conceived and organized the 2014 conference “Learning from Korea: Lessons in High Speed Rail” in Washington D.C. He was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and speaks frequently in New York and around the country.

The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with networking, conversation, and a Train Campaign display and information. Marshall’s lecture will commence at 6:15 p.m. followed by questions and discussion with Marshall, Nat Karns of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, and a member of the Berkshire Flyer Working Group. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact karen@berkshirepublishing.com.


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Congregation Ahavath Sholom to present ‘Abraham’s Daughters’

Great Barrington — On Saturday, Dec. 9, at 10 a.m., Congregation Ahavath Sholom will present “Abraham’s Daughters,” an interfaith conversation with Carol Ascher, Eileen Epperson, Nancy Latif and Vjosa Qerimi.

“Abraham’s Daughters” will feature four women of Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions will share their personal religious journeys and what they cherish in their faiths. The women offer the presentation to clarify differences among the three faiths as they understand them, and to give others the courage and tools to share their desires regarding faith while responding to others in an affirming way. The presentation grew out of the Hartford Seminary weeklong interfaith intensive “Building Abrahamic Partnerships.”

Qerimi, an Albanian from Kosovo, has been in the U.S. for four years and is a sister, wife, student of Arabic and public educator of Islam. Latif is a mother, social activist and writer who has been working on the resettlement of Syrian, Congolese, Afghan, Iraqi, Pakistani and Asian refugees, and is currently forming her own nonprofit, Refugee Advocate Services. Epperson is a hospice chaplain for two hospices in Torrington and Salisbury, Connecticut, as well as a bereavement counselor who is an ambassador for the Parliament of the World’s Religions and is currently working on a doctorate of ministry at Hartford Seminary. Ascher has published seven books of fiction and nonfiction, and her essays, stories and columns have appeared widely. Her exhibit, “A Chance for Fresh Air: Russian Jewish Immigrants in Ellsworth and Amenia, 1907-1940,” which opened at the Sharon Historical Society in Conncticut and was turned into a book by the same name, has recently become a permanent installation at Congregation Beth David in Amenia, New York. She is in the midst of Hebrew Union College’s Bekhol Levavkah course in spiritual direction.

The event is free and open to the public. It will be preceded by a short Shabbat service and followed by and Oneg and a question-and-answer session. For more information, contact CAS at (413) 528-4197 or info@ahavathsholom.com.


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The Berkshire Children’s Chorus’ Coda ensemble performing in December 2016 at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge. Photo: Alice Maggio

Berkshire Children’s Chorus to offer holiday concerts

Great Barrington — Berkshire Children’s Chorus will offer holiday concerts Saturday, Dec. 9, at 7:45 p.m. at Saint James Place and Sunday, Dec. 10, at 4 p.m. at Old Parish Church in Sheffield. The concerts will include Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols” and other songs of the season with performances from organization’s the Junior Choir under the direction of Karen Sovak and the Senior Choir and Coda conducted by artistic director Julie Bickford. Lee Dixon and Anne Voglewede Green will accompany the choirs on piano. The groups will be joined by the Rosamund Trio of Miriam Shapiro and Eric Martin on violins and Lucy Bardo on cello.

The Saturday performance will take place promptly after the Holiday Shop, Sip & Stroll and will feature the Senior Choir and Coda ensembles performing the entire “A Ceremony of Carols” as well as other seasonal favorites. The Junior Choir will join the two older ensembles for the Sunday performance, at which the groups will present their full program.

Admission to both concerts is free, though donations will be gladly accepted at the door. For more information, contact Berkshire Children’s Chorus at (413) 229-2465 or voices@berkshirechildrenschorus.org.


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Berkshire Theatre Group to stage ‘A Christmas Carol’

Pittsfield — Berkshire Theatre Group will present its 12th annual community production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” adapted by Eric Hill and directed by Travis G. Daly, at the Colonial Theatre Saturday, Dec. 9, through Friday, Dec. 22.

The classic holiday fable “A Christmas Carol” tells the story of miser Ebenezer Scrooge who is shown the error of his ways and reformed by four spirits. On Wednesday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m., BTG will offer a sensory-friendly performance, which will be slightly modified to accommodate individuals with sensory-input disorders.

Tickets to “A Christmas Carol” are $38 for adults and $28 for youth age 16 and under. Tickets to the sensory-friendly performance are $5. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call the Colonial ticket office at (413) 997-4444.


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Red Cross blood donation opportunities

Dedham — The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to give the gift of life by donating blood this holiday season. Blood donations decline in December even though the needs of patients remain steady. To encourage donations, all those who give blood or platelets between Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, and Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, will receive long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirts while supplies last. Prospective donors may make appointments to give blood by downloading the free Red Cross blood donor app, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1 (800) RED CROSS. To help reduce wait times, donors are encouraged to make appointments and complete the online RapidPass health history questionnaire.

Upcoming area blood drive locations include Mount Everett Regional School in Sheffield Thursday, Dec. 7, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Hillsdale Fire Department in Hillsdale, New York, Monday, Dec. 11, from 1 to 6 p.m.; the Orchards Hotel in Williamstown Tuesday, Dec. 12, from noon to 5 p.m.; Hevreh of Southern Berkshire in Great Barrington Wednesday, Dec. 13, from 1 to 6 p.m.; Immaculate Conception Church in New Lebanon, New York, Friday, Dec. 15, from 2 to 6 p.m.; St. Joseph’s Church in Pittsfield Thursday, Dec. 28, from 1 to 6 p.m.; the Lenox Community Center Thursday, Dec. 28, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and the Canaan Protective Fire Company in Canaan, New York, Saturday, Dec. 30, from 8 a.m. to noon.


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