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Vocalist Samantha Talora and New York City Cabaret singer and pianist Ron Ramsay will be performing March 21 at the Lee Congregational Church to benefit the Lee Food Pantry.

Bits & Bytes: Lee Food Pantry benefit; Food First activist address; CATWALK reopens; Michael Beck at Lenox Library; puppet shows at Matrushka

By Thursday, Mar 19, 2015 News 1
Benefit for Lee Food Pantry, FCC Youth Mission

LEE — New York City Cabaret singer and pianist Ron Ramsay and vocalist Samantha Talora present “Ron Ramsay & Samantha Talora in Concert” on Saturday, March 21 at 7 p.m. at Lee Congregational Church to benefit the Lee Food Pantry and the FCC Youth Mission Trip with the Appalachian Service Project.

The duo, both Berkshire natives, are best known for their eclectic musical styles and patter, and will offer a variety of vocal selections from Opera, Broadway and the American Songbook. Highlights will include Bach’s Toccata in D Minor for Organ interwoven with Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Phantom of the Opera” using the newly refurbished Hook & Hastings Organ originally built in 1927. Italian arias will be performed by Berkshire tenor Joe Sicotte. Four of Ramsay’s voice students (Hannah Morley, Lelia Gillespie, Lillian Colvin, Naomi Brown) will sing Broadway selections, and other works include selections from George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Stephen Sondheim.

Radio personality Bill Sturgeon says “Talora & Ramsay knocked it out of the park…their combined talents make one think that they are sitting in a club in a major city anywhere in the world.”

Ramsay was the Music Director at Lee Congregational Church from 1983-85 before moving to NYC full-time to launch a professional career as a singer and dancer. All are honored to be partnering with Lee Congregational Church for this fundraising effort for these worthwhile local organizations.

Suggested donation for this concert is $15, with no more than $30 per family. Refreshments will be served following the performance. Questions and inquiries, please call Lee Congregational Church at 413-243-1033. Produced by RER Pro Music.

— D.S. 

*     *     *

Food First activist Eric Holt-Giménez speaks at Congregational Church
Eric Holt Gimenez

Eric Holt-Gimenez

Great Barrington — Eric Holt-Giménez, Executive Director of Food First will speak about the global impact of the disappearing public sphere through the lens of access to farmland and the role he sees for community ownership of land. The lecture will be held at the First Congregational Church at 251 Main Street, Saturday, March 21 at 7 p.m.

Food First is also known as the Institute for Food and Development Policy, which the New York Times has called one of the country’s “most established food think tanks.” Through research, education and action, Food First works to end the injustices that cause hunger and has published over 60 books exploding commonly-held myths about hunger and food production.

Holt-Gimenez will speak about how engaged citizens can create their own food security, a talk based on a chapter from his forthcoming book, What Every Foodie Needs to Know About Capitalism.

Of Basque and Puerto Rican heritage, Eric grew up milking cows and pitching hay in Point Reyes, California, where he learned that putting food on the table is hard work. After studying rural education and biology at the University of Oregon and Evergreen State College, he spent 25 years in Mexico and Central America, where he was drawn to the simple life of small-scale farmers.

His deep appreciation for the value and power of building local food systems is tempered by his belief that working locally is not enough to bring about the larger changes that are needed. He has said “Small farmers and underserved urban communities need changes in national food policies and international trade rules to have a fighting chance of feeding themselves and building healthy, prosperous livelihoods.”

Holt-Gimenez is the editor of the Food First book Food Movements Unite! Strategies to Transform Our Food Systems; co-author of Food Rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice with Raj Patel and Annie Shattuck; and author of the book Campesino a Campesino: Voices from Latin America’s Farmer to Farmer Movement for Sustainable Agriculture.

The talk will follow the Community Land Trust’s annual meeting. Community Land Trust members attend free of charge. $10/Berkshares for non-members. The event is sponsored by the Berkshire Co-op Market, Berkshire Grown, Great Barrington Land Conservancy, Indian Line Farm, BerkShares, Schumacher Center for a New Economics and The Carrot Project.

— H.B.

*     *     *

CATWALK women’s boutique reopens March 27, benefits Berkshire Humane Society

Great Barrington — If you’re looking for something really cool to wear at a reasonable price, head on over to CATWALK to find unique and eclectic clothing and accessories that no other store will have. CATWALK is located in the retail complex on Stockbridge Road, across from the Kmart and Price Chopper plaza.

CATWALK is the edgy, new women’s resale boutique that was established just last year to benefit Berkshire Humane Society. All of the merchandise is donated so all of the profits directly benefit the homeless animals of Berkshire County.

Co-directors Leslie Weil and Mimi Rosenblatt carefully select clothing that is hip, fashionable and clearly affordable. Shopping at CATWALK is the ultimate “guilt free” shopping experience that we have all been looking for.

Women and girls of all ages have generously opened their closets to provide CATWALK with a stunning array of stylish and beautiful clothing and accessories. With new items arriving daily, there is something for everyone at CATWALK.

CATWALK launches its second season, reopening on Friday, March 27, with a whole new inventory of piquant, colorful spring clothing guaranteed to dispel those winter blues.

Donations of new and gently used women’s clothing and accessories may be dropped off at CATWALK any time during business hours. All donations are tax deductible with tax receipts being provided upon request.

For more information visit us at our Facebook page, www.catwalkboutique.org or call 413-717-4005. Store hours are the following:Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Sunday: 12 noon – 4 p.m. (closed on Tuesdays).

All of the homeless animals of Berkshire County are counting on your love, support and generosity.

— Leslie Weil

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Garden Confessionals: Director of Botanical Garden at Lenox Library
Michael Beck. Photo courtesy of The Berkshire Eagle

Michael Beck. Photo courtesy of The Berkshire Eagle

Lenox — There will be spring! And plants will grow again. Michael Beck, Executive Director of Berkshire Botanical Garden, will speak on “Confessions of an 81-Year-Old Public Garden: How to Remain Young, Beautiful, and Relevant” on Sunday, March 22 at 4 p.m. at The Lenox Library.

Mr. Beck, a former biological chemist and corporate patent lawyer, has been at the helm of the Garden since March of 2014, having served for a time as interim director and as a member of the board of trustees since 2012. He lives in Richmond.

The Berkshire Botanical Garden, founded by the Lenox Garden Club as the Berkshire Garden Club in 1934, attracts some 10,000 visitors annually to its 15 acres along Route 102 in Stockbridge. Popular annual events include the Plant Sale, Flower Show, and Harvest Festival.

This lecture and slide presentation, part of The Lenox Library’s Distinguished Lecture Series, is free and open to the public. For further information, contact Executive Director Sharon Hawkes at 637-2630.

 — D.S.

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Steiner School to perform free Puppet Plays              

Great Barrington— The Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School (GBRSS) will hold a Spring Puppet Series for children ages 2 to 6. “The Straw Broom” will be performed on Saturday, March 21 at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. at Matrushka Toys and Gifts at 309 Main Street.

“Little Rabbit Finds Spring,” Saturday, April 11 at 10:30am in the GBRSS Early Childhood building, 35 West Plain Road, Great Barrington. Based on an original story by GBRSS kindergarten teacher Somer Serpe, “Little Rabbit Finds Spring” will be followed by playtime in the classroom and an opportunity for parents to learn more about early childhood programs at the school. All events are free.

Especially magical and healing for children, puppet plays are part of the curriculum in the Early Childhood program at GBRSS.  As the storyteller’s calm, rhythmic voice accompanies puppets acting out the story, the effect is breathtaking to watch and especially powerful for young children, developing their capacities for imagination, creative play, movement and language in the process.

Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School’s developmentally appropriate, experiential approach to learning starts with a warm welcome in parent-child classes for babies and toddlers, two nursery (pre-K) programs for young children and mixed-age kindergartens. Early childhood classrooms are situated in their own building, equipped with natural playthings and surrounded by gardens, fields and woods. Tuition for nursery and kindergarten programs is based on a sliding scale, and new early childhood openings are available.

For more information, call Admissions Director Robyn Coe at 413-528-4015, ext. 106, or visit gbrss.org

— H.B. 

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