Monday, July 15, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: GB Heritage Day; ‘Fiorello;’ Aston Magna opening weekend; ‘Ami and Tami’ at Berkshire Museum; ‘the Longest Day;’ storage for Sheffield Farmers’ Market; Pittsfield Repair Café

Bring one or two damaged but repairable items to the Repair Café in Pittsfield (Mass.) to be fixed for free by neighborhood volunteers.

Great Barrington Heritage Day

Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Gt. Barrington, MA
The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center.

Great Barrington – The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center will co-present Great Barrington Heritage Day on Saturday, June 18, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Mahaiwe will screen “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)” at 10 a.m., “King Kong (1933)” at 4 p.m., and “Pretty Poison (1968),” which was filmed in Great Barrington and stars Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld, at 7 p.m. At noon and 1 p.m., technical director Maia Robbins-Zust and movie projectionist Paul Kakley will lead behind-the-scenes tours of the Mahaiwe. At 2 p.m., community members are invited to join Barby Cardillo on the stage of the Mahaiwe to share personal recollections and local history in a guided story circle.

Great Barrington Fairgrounds
Great Barrington Fairgrounds.

At 8:45 a.m., participants will meet in front of the Mahaiwe for an opportunity to “Explore Our Watershed” via a 3.5-mile guided hike with Christine Ward to Lake Mansfield. After the hike, Rachel Fletcher will lead a tour of the Housatonic River Walk and the William Stanley Exhibit. Later, Dennis Regan of the Housatonic Valley Association will lead a canoe paddle down the Housatonic River to the Sheffield covered bridge. A 9 a.m. bike ride led by Town Planner Chris Rembold will feature highlights of Great Barrington and Housatonic Village, including Rising Mills, Monument Mills, and the Guthrie Center. Guided tours of the Truman Wheeler Farmstead, former home of Revolutionary War patriot Captain Truman Wheeler and now the headquarters of the Great Barrington Historical Society, will take place at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, and 1 p.m. From 9 a.m. – 11 a.m., Great Barrington Fairgrounds will offer a photo walk with photographers Bruce Panock and Lynnette Najimy. At 9:30 a.m., meeting in front of the Mahaiwe, historian Bernard Drew will offer a 1.5-hour “Alternative History Tour” of downtown Great Barrington.”

Bernard Drew.

The Great Barrington Farmers Market will be open on Church Street from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Alice Maggio, Susan Witt, Harry Conklin, and others will offer a noon lunch talk entitled “The History of Indian Line Farm: Birthplace of Community-Supported Agriculture and an Unconventional Approach to Land Tenure.” At 10 a.m., Massachusetts Certified Arborist Tom Ingersoll will lead a tour of Great Barrington’s urban forest. At noon, David Glassberg and Camesha Scruggs will lead a guided walking tour of the W.E.B. Du Bois National Historic Site. At 1 p.m., Bernard Drew will offer a two-hour moderate hike on “How to Find Iron Industry History in the Woods,” starting at Fountain Pond on Three Mile Hill Trail. Many downtown restaurants will feature special offers and tastings from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

All of the day’s events are free and open to the public. Advance reservations are recommended as many tours and activities have limited capacity. For more information, call the Mahaiwe box office at (413) 528-0100.


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BTG presents ‘Fiorello!’

Stockbridge — Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG) presents the Pulitzer Prize– and Tony Award-winning musical, “Fiorello!,” directed by Playwrights Horizons founder Bob Moss, through Saturday, July 23, at the Unicorn Theatre.

Tammany Hall is in dire need of an honest leader, and Fiorello LaGuardia is just the man for the job. Battling against the corrupt, political puppets of New York City, Fiorello vows to clean up the Big Apple. A man of the people, Fiorello must use his wit and charm to fight for the right of the citizens. Based on the real-life rise to power of Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, “Fiorello!” is one of only eight musicals to have been awarded the esteemed Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The musical features music and lyrics by Tony Award-winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick (“Fiddler On The Roof,” “She Loves Me”) and book by Tony Award and Drama Desk Award winner George Abbott (“The Pajama Game,” “Damn Yankees”) and Jerome Weidman (“Tenderloin”).

For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call the Colonial ticket office at (413) 997-4444.


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Aston Magna opening weekend

Erin Headley.

Great Barrington – The Aston Magna Music Festival will open its 2016 summer season with a concert entitled “Love and Lamentation: 17th Century Italian Monody” on Saturday, June 18, at 6 p.m. at Bard College at Simon’s Rock’s Daniel Arts Center.

The program will be guest-directed by internationally renowned musician and musical scholar Erin Headley. Headley is a regular member of the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra and other organizations. The program will feature Prologue from L’Orfeo and Lament of Arianna by Claudio Monteverdi; Elena invecchiata vanitas’ cantata on the aging Helen of Troy by Marco Marazzoli; Lament of Zaida, and Scenes from Orfeo by Luigi Rossi; and instrumental music by Biagio Marini, Monteverdi, and Rossi. The featured artists will be Guest Director Headley on lirone andviola da gamba, Catherine Liddell on theorbo, Laura Jeppesen on violin and viola da gamba, Aston Magna Artistic Director Daniel Stepner on baroque violin, Michael Sponseller on harpsichord, and soprano soloists Kristen Watson and Nell Snaidas.

Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call (888) 492-1283.


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Berkshire Museum to present musical fable ‘Ami and Tami’

Ami and Tami 2
A performance of ‘Ami and Tami.’

Pittsfield – Close Encounters With Music, Floating Tower, and the Berkshire Museum will present a special preview performance of “Ami and Tami,” a musical fable for children, on Saturday, June 18, at 11:30 a.m. at the Berkshire Museum. Composed by Matti Kovler, “Ami and Tami” is a modern twist on the story of Hansel and Gretel.

Matti Kovler
Matti Kovler.

The classic fairy tale Hansel and Gretel has been adapted to the reality of today’s teenagers with schedules overstretched by the demands of their success-driven parents. The story chronicles Ami and Tami as they find their path in the forest and discover how the power of imagination can bring a family together. The special preview performance of “Ami and Tami” will feature seven versatile actors, each doubling as musicians playing piano, accordion, double bass, recorder, and small percussion. The production is headlined by the Emmy Award-winning TV host Sonya Hamlin as the Storyteller, and Kovler will perform the role of Composer on stage. The performance is a preview of the full orchestral version planned for summer 2017 in the Berkshires, introducing “Ami and Tami” to the Berkshires’ cultural audience as well its community institutions. Originally written in Hebrew, “Ami and Tami” has been translated into English and workshopped at Boston University, Boston Children’s Museum, and American Repertory Theater’s Oberon Club. Last summer the concert version of the piece, with orchestra, singers, children’s choir and tap dancers, was chosen as the closing family act at Outside the Box and performed on the main stage at the Boston Common with Landmarks Orchestra.

The performance is included with regular Museum admission. For more information, call the Museum at (413) 443-7171.


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‘The Longest Day’ Alzheimer’s awareness event

Pittsfield — The Berkshire Alzheimer’s Partnership will raise funds and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association in an event called “the Longest Day” on Monday, June 20, beginning at 5:15 a.m. in Park Square.

Thoughout the longest day of the year, volunteers will maintain a presence in the park, offering educational and resource information to the public. At 7:30 p.m. there will be a short ceremony during which State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier will speak about her own experience with Alzheimer’s disease. The event will conclude with a candlelight sunset vigil. Community members are invited to stop by at any time during the day. Personalized tribute flags will be available for a small donation. Funds raised will benefit the research, programs and public awareness efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association in Massachusetts.

From sunrise-to-sunset teams across the nation participate in activities on the Longest Day to honor someone facing the Alzheimer’s. The duration of the event symbolizes the challenging journey of those living with the disease and their caregivers.

For more information, contact


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New storage shed for Sheffield Farmers’ Market

Sheffield Farmers Market shed
Left to right: Will Conklin of Greenagers, Mt. Everett teacher Curtis Von Ruden, Evan Bailey, Trystin Barbiere, and Will Green in front of the new Sheffield Farmers’ Market storage shed.

Sheffield — Thanks to generous donations of time and materials, the Sheffield Farmers’ Market acquired a much-needed shed in which to store all of its signs, tables and tents. Will and Amelia Conklin of Sky View Farm donated the wood for the shed, Mt. Everett Regional High School teacher Curtis Von Ruden and students in his Building Structures class built it, Tom Ingersoll lent a trailer, Jim Kelly helped with the design, and the First Congregational of Sheffield donated the space on which it is located. The shed is also used by Greenagers to store tools used in the maintenance of adjoining raised beds, which provide fresh vegetables for the Sheffield Food Program.


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Repair Cafe on Saturday

Pittsfield — The next Pittsfield Repair Café, which offers free repairs for household items, will be held on Saturday, June 18, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the basement of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

Bring one or two damaged but repairable items to be fixed for free by neighborhood volunteers: Clothing, cushions, bags, chairs, small tables and other wood items, lamps, vacuums and other electrical items, bicycles, knives and blades for sharpening, crockery, toys, some electronics, and more. Everything is free: Repairs, refreshments in the Café Corner, musical entertainment, and freebies in the Giveaway Corner.

All are welcome.



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