The tree lighting in Park Square will be part of Downtown Pittsfield Inc.'s second annual Downtown Festive Frolic, to be held this weekend in Pittsfield. Photo: Shawn Muldowney

Bits & Bytes: Festive Frolic; Dana Cowin at Scoville Library; ‘Christmas at Trinity’; Jewish music talk; Lenox Historical Society open house

The Park Square tree lighting ceremony will take place Friday at 6 p.m. and include carols performed by the Taconic High School chorus and hot chocolate provided by Patrick’s Pub.

Second annual Festive Frolic to incorporate two days of community events

Pittsfield — Downtown Pittsfield Inc. will present the second annual Downtown Festive Frolic in downtown Pittsfield Friday, Dec. 6, beginning at 5 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, will host its fifth annual wreath art auction on Friday. The wreaths, kissing balls, and centerpieces created by local artists will be on display during a $10 ticketed event with a preview from 5 to 6:30 p.m. followed by a live auction. All proceeds will benefit the food pantry at the South Congregational Church.

Santa Claus and friend. Photo courtesy Downtown Pittsfield Inc.

The Park Square tree lighting ceremony will take place Friday at 6 p.m. and include carols performed by the Taconic High School chorus and hot chocolate provided by Patrick’s Pub. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive after the tree is lit. The Berkshire Museum will host a special Festive Frolic Festival of Trees After Dark event on Friday. Other event highlights on Friday include free demonstrations on how to create holiday decorations at Township Four; a pop-up entrepreneur showcase by EforAll Berkshire County at Framework, Pittsfield Coworking; and a free glow-in-the-dark Jingle Bell Rock fitness class with Aimee Marshall at 5:30 p.m. at Berkshire Fitness and Wellness Center.

Downtown Pittsfield Inc. will also present the inaugural North Pole Pub Crawl, during which adult participants can travel to five downtown bars and restaurants on Friday and dress as their favorite holiday characters for a chance to win a prize for best costume.

Santa will visit the Beacon Cinema Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children may have their pictures taken with Santa in exchange for a donation of new warm clothing or a suggested $5 donation to the Berkshire Community Action Council’s Warm Clothing Program. On Saturday, there will also be free kids crafts at Peace Train Tees; the holiday craft fair, cookie walk and tag sale at Zion Lutheran Church; a free snowman story time and crafts at the Berkshire Athenaeum; holiday ornament making for ages 6 and up at Berkshire Paint and Sip; and the Albany Berkshire Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” at Barrington Stage Company.

The Festive Frolic is free and open to the public. Some individual activities may include a fee. For more information and a complete schedule of events, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Downtown Pittsfield Inc. at (413) 443-6501 or


*     *     *

Scoville Library to welcome former Food & Wine editor Dana Cowin

Dana Cowin. Photo courtesy Scoville Memorial Library

Salisbury, Conn. — On Saturday, Dec. 7, at 4 p.m., the Scoville Memorial Library will welcome Dana Cowin, longtime former editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine, who will discuss the rise of foodie culture in America. Cowin will interweave her own stories of cajoling now-famous chefs to step into the spotlight, her turns as a “Top Chef” judge, and her experience as part of a larger movement to create a more equitable and inclusive food world.

Cowin spent two decades as the editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine until 2016. She launched the branding and culinary connection consultancy DBC Creative, and simultaneously created “The Broadlies,” a podcast, event and content hub focusing on highlighting and linking extraordinary women in the food industry. In 2014 she published “Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen: Learning to Cook with 65 Great Chefs and Over 100 Delicious Recipes.” Cowin serves on the boards of the Food Education Fund, the Food Council of City Harvest and Hot Bread Kitchen, and was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Drink.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Scoville Memorial Library at (860) 435-2838 or


*     *     *

Cantilena Chamber Choir to perform Christmas concert

Lenox — The Cantilena Chamber Choir will present “Christmas at Trinity” Sunday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. at Trinity Church.

The concert will include Vivaldi’s “Gloria” with instrumental ensemble, “Winter” from Vaughan Williams’ “Folksongs of the Four Seasons,” and new carols by contemporary composer Dan Forrest. Guests will include the Hudson Valley Choral Society under the direction of Gretchen Reuckheim.

Now in its 16th anniversary season, the Cantilena Chamber Choir’s accolades include a multi-year Cultural Portfolio grant award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for the choir’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. program, and two Choral Arts New England Alfred Nash Patterson grants for innovative programming. Among the choir’s distinctions are performances with special guests Annette Miller, Benjamin Luxon and Tina Packer; collaborations with Baltimore’s Urban Choral Arts Society, the Empire Brass and six Berkshire public schools; and appearances at Tanglewood, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Hancock Shaker Village and WGBY.

Tickets include a special post-concert reception and are $25 for adults, $20 for students and seniors, and free for children ages 12 and under. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar, or contact the Cantilena Chamber choir at (518) 791-0185 or


*     *     *

Sacred Jewish music to be discussed at Knosh & Knowledge

Joseph Alpar. Photo courtesy Bennington College

Great Barrington — On Friday, Dec. 6 at 10:45 a.m. at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire, the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires’ Knosh & Knowledge program will welcome ethnomusicologist Joseph Alpar, who will discuss “The Sacred Music of Jewish Istanbul.”

In this talk, Alpar will discuss ongoing transformations in the sacred musical repertoires practiced by h’azzanim (synagogue cantors) of Istanbul and their synagogue congregations. He will trace the path of today’s Turkish Jews as they broaden the scope of their religious and musical experiences. The presentation will include musical performances.

Alpar is a scholar, performer and educator whose research centers on musical and religious practices in Turkey and former Ottoman territories. He is a visiting faculty member in ethnomusicology and music history at Bennington College for the 2019-20 academic year.

Admission to the program with lunch is $11; the program only is free. Advance reservations for lunch are required. For more information or to make reservations, contact the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires at (413) 442-4360 x10 or


*     *     *

Lenox Historical Society to host open house

Lenox — The Lenox Historical Society will host its annual holiday open house Saturday, Dec. 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Museum of Lenox History, 65 Main St. From 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Liz Celli will work with wool and demonstrate spinning on two different wheels; and Martha Joyner will showcase techniques for churning butter using a glass churn from 1910. On display will be other early butter churns, butter presses and milk bottles from the Berkshires. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. For more information, call Vickie at (413) 441-7902.