Bits & Bytes: Universal Set at Dewey Hall; CDC softball game; BerkshireSPEAKS; ‘Music That Dances!’

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By Wednesday, Oct 18 Life In the Berkshires
The Universal Set will perform a 50th anniversary concert Saturday, Oct. 21, at Dewey Hall in Sheffield to benefit Dewey Hall and Music in Common. Photo courtesy the Universal Set

Universal Set 50th anniversary concert to benefit local nonprofits

Sheffield — Marking its 50th anniversary as a band, the Universal Set will perform Saturday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. at Dewey Hall. The concert will benefit Dewey Hall and Music in Common, an organization that empowers diverse cultures and faiths to discover common ground through collaborative songwriting, multimedia and performance.

During the 1960s and ‘70s, the Universal Set performed regularly at venues in the Berkshires and the surrounding region. The band plays mainly pop music, covering artists from Jackie Wilson and Elvis Presley to the Beatles and Tom Jones. The band has performed in a play by a local playwright and at the opening of the Sure Gas Station chain with Ken “the Hawk” Harrelson of the Boston Red Sox. They recorded one record and declined a recording contract in 1970. The Universal Set features Pete Wilson on lead vocals and harmonica; Bill Curtiss on lead guitar; Ed Locke on bass guitar and vocals; Gary Pitney on rhythm guitar, mandolin and vocals; and Bob Jones on drums and vocals.

“Having remained friends, we reunited as a band about 10 years ago and played our first gig at Dewey Hall. We don’t play out often, but when we do we like to give back to the community that has always supported us,” said Curtiss. “The work Music in Common is doing is the direction the world should follow. We commend both organizations for their efforts to celebrate the power of music and of community.”

Tickets are $15 and all proceeds will be split equally between Dewey Hall and Music in Common. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Gary Pitney at (413) 298-4941 or


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CDC to offer charity softball game

Rep. William ‘Smitty’ Pignatelli, D-Lenox

Great Barrington — The Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire will host its first Community At Bat charity softball game Sunday, Oct. 22, at 1 p.m. at Memorial Field on Bridge Street.

Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, D-Lenox, will serve as the game-day announcer. Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, and Great Barrington town manager Jennifer Tabakin will be the team captains. Monument Mountain Regional High School student Taylor Slonaker will sing the national anthem. There will be a raffle for personal training sessions, wine and movie passes, and CDC will give away boxes of Cracker Jacks to the first 50 spectators.

“This is about bringing the community together for a great cause and raising awareness about the deep need for affordable housing and jobs,” said CDCSB executive director Timothy Geller. “We are excited to host this event and plan to make Community At Bat an annual fall event in the southern Berkshires.”

For more information or to register to volunteer or to play in the game, contact CDC at (413) 528-7788 or


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Hevreh to host Berkshire SPEAKS

Homer ‘Skip’ Meade. Photo courtesy BerkshireSPEAKS

Great Barrington — Hevreh of Southern Berkshire will host its fourth annual BerkshireSPEAKS event Sunday, Oct. 22, at 1:30 p.m.

Michelle Chappell. Photo courtesy BerkshireSPEAKS

BerkshireSPEAKS is an afternoon of inspiring presentations by Berkshire visionaries and trendsetters who are making a difference in the lives of area residents. The BerkshireSPEAKS format is modeled after TED, the nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas from science to business to global issues in the form of short, powerful talks of 18 minutes or less. This year’s presenters will be HospiceCare in the Berkshires executive director Michelle Chappell, UMass Amherst African-American studies professor Homer “Skip” Meade, Food Bank of Western Massachusetts executive director Andrew Morehouse, Jacob’s Pillow Dance director of preservation Norton Owen, and Railroad Street Youth Project executive director Ananda Timpane. A reception with the speakers will follow the program.

Tickets are $15 online by Friday, Oct. 20, and $20 at the door on the day of the event. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Hevreh at (413) 528-6378 or


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Spencertown Academy to present ‘Music That Dances!’

Mitsuko Suzuki. Photo: Gary Gold

Spencertown, N.Y. — Spencertown Academy Arts Center will present the Bend the Knotted Oak Chamber Music concert “Music That Dances!” Saturday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m. The program will feature violinist Mitsuko Suzuki partnered by BKO’s pianist andartistic director Uel Wade. The evening will include Tchaikovsky’s Scherzo-Valse, Wieniawski’s Capriccio-Valse, and Miletic’s Danse for Solo Violin. There will also be the humor of Shostakovich’s Polka, the perfume of Ravel’s Habanera, the grit of Piazzolla’s Tanguano, and the quirkiness and melancholy of a Chopin Mazurka as well as ragtime, polka, barn dance, Spanish dance, African dance and “Fiddle-de-Bop” by Lincoln Mayorga.

Tickets are $20 for the general public, $15 for Spencertown Academy members, and free for youth ages 18 and under. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Spencertown Academy Arts Center at (518) 392-3693 or


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