Tuesday, May 21, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: Arbor Day at Mason Library; ‘Aladdin Jr.’ at the Colonial; ‘The Art of Costume Design in Opera’; science and engineering fair; Williamstown Repair Cafe

Directed by Travis Daly with music direction by Erin M. White and choreography by Kathy Jo Grover, the production features more than 100 Berkshire-area students.

Mason Library to hold Arbor Day celebration

Great Barrington — The Great Barrington Tree Committee will hold its annual Arbor Day celebration Friday, April 26, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Mason Library.

The highlight of this year’s festivities is the replanting of a red maple on the library front lawn. Arborist Tom Ingersoll and Greg Ward from Ward’s Nursery are donating the tree to replace one that succumbed to disease several years ago. Ingersoll, a descendant of Laura Secord Ingersoll, will rededicate the plaque honoring her birthplace on the site of the library. The Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries will hand out Laura Secord chocolates to honor her place in local and Canadian history.

Information tables will be sponsored by the Great Barrington Agricultural Commission, Great Barrington Land Conservancy, the Great Barrington Libraries and the Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries. Devan Arnold, owner of Sassafras Land Care, will reveal his plan for pollinator gardens in the Main Street foundation beds of the library, and will be on hand for questions and advice for those who would like to make their properties part of the pollinator highway.

The community is invited to take the River Walk tree ID challenge and enter the raffle to win a native tree. Participants can pick up an entry at the library through Arbor Day. Two prize winners (one age 12 and older, one age 11 and younger) will be selected at the tree raffle drawing at 4:45 p.m.

As a culmination of the design plan and caring for the 80-plus trees planted on Main Street following the downtown street reconstruction, the town’s tree committee and tree warden have documented all of the trees, spanning 20 different species, into a map for the public that gives each tree an address. The handouts will be available in the library during and after the celebration.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Mason Library at (413) 528-2403.


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Students rehearse for the upcoming Berkshire Theatre Group production of ‘Aladdin Jr.’ Photo: Katie Watts

Berkshire Theatre Group’s ‘Aladdin Jr.’ to feature over 100 area students

Pittsfield — Berkshire Theatre Group will present “Aladdin Jr.” Friday, April 26, through Sunday, April 28, at the Colonial Theatre, 111 South St. Directed by Travis Daly with music direction by Erin M. White and choreography by Kathy Jo Grover, the production features more than 100 Berkshire-area students.

Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.” is based on the 1992 Academy Award-winning film and the 2014 hit Broadway show “Aladdin.” The show is the story of Aladdin and his friends Babkak, Omar and Kassim, who are down on their luck until Aladdin discovers a magic lamp and a wisecracking genie with the power to grant wishes. Aladdin embarks on a magic carpet ride adventure where he faces the evil sorcerer, Jafar and ultimately, himself.

The cast of “Aladdin Jr.” is made up of students from Allendale Elementary School, BART Charter School, Becket Washington School, Berkshire Country Day School, Capeless Elementary School, Clarksburg School, Conte Community School, Craneville Elementary SchoolCrosby Elementary School, Egremont Elementary School, Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School, Herberg Middle School, Hoosac Valley Middle and High SchoolIchabod Crane High School, Kittredge Elementary SchoolLanesborough Elementary School, Lee Elementary SchoolLenox Memorial Middle and High SchoolMontessori School of the Berkshires, Monument Mountain Regional High School, Monument Valley Regional Middle School, Morningside Community School, Morris Elementary School, Mount Greylock Regional School, Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School, Nessacus Regional Middle School, New Lebanon Jr/Sr High School, Pine Cobble School, Pittsfield High School, Reid Middle School, Richmond Consolidated School, St. Agnes Academy, St. Mary’s School, St. Stanislaus Kostka School, Undermountain Elementary School and Williams Elementary School.

In cooperation with ArtWeek, BTG will host a meet and greet with the full cast after the Friday, April 26 performance. After all performances, audiences will have the chance to meet Aladdin, Jasmine and other cast members in the Garage. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for youth ages 16 and under. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Colonial ticket office at (413) 997-4444.


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Costume designer Charles Caine to present ‘The Art of Costume Design in Opera’

Charles Caine. Photo courtesy Martina Arroyo Foundation

Great Barrington — In cooperation with ArtWeek, Berkshire Opera Festival will present world renowned costume designer Charles Caine for the presentation “The Art of Costume Design in Opera” Saturday, April 27, at 2:30 p.m. at Saint James Place.

Costume designer Charles Caine has been bringing opera characters to life for many years through his inspired designs for major opera companies throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Opera. Caine’s talk will focus on an exploration of his illustrious career, reflecting on his encounters with some of opera’s greatest directors, singers and productions.  Sketches, projected pictures, and actual costumes and jewelry will offer insight into the contribution costuming makes to the overall concept and characterization of an opera.

The event is free and open to the public but reservations are strongly encouraged. For more information or to make reservations, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Berkshire Opera Festival at (413) 213-6622 or info@berkshireoperafestival.org.


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MCLA to host Western Mass. Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Eric Doucette. Photo courtesy Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

North Adams — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will host the annual Western Massachusetts Regional Science and Engineering Fair Friday, April 26, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Amsler Campus Center gymnasium.

Hosted for the 13th year by MCLA and the Berkshire STEM Pipeline Network, students from Berkshire County and the Pioneer Valley will share their science and engineering projects for a chance to move on to the state competition Saturday, May 11, at Worcester Technical High School. Before the exhibition hall opens to the public, a panel of local volunteers will judge student projects. The keynote address and presentation of the awards will begin at 1:45 p.m.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Eric Doucette, a botanist and plant systematist and MCLA assistant professor of biology. His research interests include the floristics of vascular plants and bryophytes, as well as lichenology and natural history. Doucette received his Bachelor of Science and Ph.D. from the University of Maine at Orono.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Shannon Zayac at (413) 662-5222 or shannon.zayac@mcla.edu.


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Repair Cafe to offer help with small fix-it projects

Williamstown — The South Williamstown Community Association and the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation will hold a Repair Cafe Saturday, April 27, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Sheep Hill.

The event’s volunteer fixers will include people who can do small electrical repairs, wooden furniture repair, blade sharpening, costume jewelry repairs and small bike repairs as well as the ever-popular darners, knitters and sewers. Two computer experts will be on hand. There will also be a continuation of the repurposing to shopping bags of feed and grain bags and other items otherwise destined for local landfills with help and material from the BagShare Project.

Repair Café is free, although donations will be accepted. For more information, call contact Bette Craig at (413) 458-5257 or swca32@gmail.com.



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