Sunday, July 14, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: Ramsdell Library presentation; B’Shalom Chorale concerts; Monument Cup; JoAnne Spies at Bascom Lodge; Roe Jan Library picnic

The B’Shalom Chorale, the Berkshires’ only chorale showcasing Jewish music, will culminate its fifth season with concerts in Pittsfield and Great Barrington Tuesday and Wednesday.

Trustees, consultants to discuss future of Ramsdell Library

Housatonic — The trustees of the Great Barrington Libraries will host a presentation on a new vision for the Ramsdell Library Tuesday, Aug. 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting of South Berkshire.

Rob Cullen of the nationally recognized library consulting firm Kimberly Bolan and Associates will present the Ramsdell Report, a long-awaited study that includes results of a complete physical review of the building and a community survey, as well as recommendations for a facility plan and a future vision for the library.

Working with staff, the trustees, and the Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries, KBA’s community-driven approach provides a “big picture” framework for the trustees and the town of Great Barrington to consider including national trends, a phased approach, and financing. Based on community response, the firm recommends that the library remain open, reconfigure its spaces to provide new services such as co-working space and a Library of Things, specialize programming and collections, and improve gathering spaces and accessibility for all.

The presentation is free and open to the public, and all are welcome. For more information, call (413) 528-2403.


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The B’Shalom Chorale at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire in Great Barrington. Photo: Marc J. Choen

B’Shalom Chorale to give concerts

Great Barrington —The B’Shalom Chorale, the Berkshires’ only chorale showcasing Jewish music, will culminate its fifth season with two concerts, the first of which will be held Tuesday, Aug. 14, at 7 p.m. at Congregation Knesset Israel in Pittsfield. The second concert will take place Wednesday, Aug. 15, at 7 p.m. at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire.

The concerts will include music of various eras and genres from nigguns to lullabies and will feature music in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein. Special guest clarinetist Paul Green will alsox perform several selections. The B’Shalom Chorale is conducted by Jack Brown, who is also artistic director of Berkshire Lyric, and choral director at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and the Hotchkiss School. The accompanist is Joe Rose. The chorale was founded by Cantor Emily Sleeper Mekler.

Tickets are $15 and will be sold at the door. For more information, contact the B’Shalom Chorale at (413) 418-1836 or


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Monument Cup youth soccer tournament celebrates 20 years

Great Barrington — The Monument Cup Soccer Committee will present the 20th annual Monument Cup, a three-on-three youth soccer tournament, Saturday, Sept. 22, at Monument Mountain Regional High School. The tournament is open to players in the U10, U12 and U14 age groups in both boys and girls divisions. All teams are guaranteed at least three matches and the top four teams in each division will advance to the semifinals. The finals for each division will be played under the lights.

The entry fee is $80 per team before Wednesday, Aug. 15, and $100 per team if submitted after. Each division is limited to 16 teams. A downloadable registration form is available online. For more information, contact Matt Naventi at (413) 243-1559 or


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JoAnne Spies, Doug Tanner to perform at Bascom Lodge

JoAnne Spies. Photo: Jane Feldman

Adams — Singer-songwriter JoAnne Spies and special guest Doug Tanner will share songs old and new on the guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo and chromatic harmonica at Bascom Lodge on Sunday, Aug. 12, at 6 p.m.

Doug Tanner. Photo courtesy Doug Tanner

Berkshire-based musician Spies is known for her interactive shows. Her latest album, “Ecstatic Dances,” includes collaborations with hip-hop artist Jackson Whalan and musician and producer Robby Baier to create world music and songs for dancing, celebration and transformation. Tanner is a longtime musician with the Amherst-based Gypsy Wranglers and has been a judge for the world harmonica contest in Japan.

The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Bascom Lodge at (413) 743-1591.


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Roe Jan Library to host community picnic

Bill Robinson with a snowy owl. Photo courtesy Robinson’s Wildlife Lectures

Hillsdale, N.Y. — The Roeliff Jansen Community Library will host a community picnic Sunday, Aug. 12, from noon to 3 p.m.

Grilled hot dogs, chips, drinks and ice cream will be served to eat at picnic tables under a tent. There will be music, free books from the Friends of the Roeliff Jansen Library, and other gifts and surprises for the kids. Bill Robinson of Robinson’s Wildlife Lectures will be on hand with his birds of prey for a special show at 1 p.m., which will discuss the importance of these birds to the balance of nature and how humans have helped to restore endangered species such as the peregrine falcon.

The picnic will take place rain or shine, and is free and open to the public. All are welcome. For more information, call the Roeliff Jansen Community Library at (518) 325-4101.



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