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Bits & Bytes: Du Bois Legacy Festival; ‘Grand Piano Trios’; author talk at Lee Library; ‘Potluck & a Play’

This year, the program centers around Du Bois’ commitment to progressive education.

Du Bois legacy celebration to include renowned artists, scholars

Great Barrington — In celebration of the 152nd anniversary of the birth of W.E.B. Du Bois, the town’s W.E.B. Du Bois Legacy Committee will hold the third annual W.E.B. Du Bois Legacy Festival Saturday, Feb. 22, and Sunday, Feb 23.

This year, the program centers around Du Bois’ commitment to progressive education. The festival kicks off with the Du Bois Center at Great Barrington exhibit “Du Bois: An Enduring Educational Legacy” at the Mason Library for the duration of February. Then, on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 1:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 251 Main St., the event takes a deep dive into the songs, poems and text that make up Du Bois’s 1903 book “​The Souls of Black Folk​.” A trumpet and voice performance led by Donna Gouger and Bob Paynter, Ph.D., with MaryNell Morgan, Ph.D., and Barbara Dean will accompany the community read. A book discussion will follow, facilitated by Legacy Committee vice chair Gwendolyn VanSant, who is also CEO of Multicultural BRIDGE, and Legacy Committee member Stephanie Wright.

Joanna Haigood. Photo courtesy Zaccho Dance Theatre

On Saturday night at Bard College at Simon’s Rock’s Daniel Arts Center, San Francisco-based choreographer, director and performance innovator Joanna Haigood will present the performance installation “​Between me and the other world,” an exploration of ​“The Souls of Black Folk”​ created in collaboration with composer Anthony Brown, Ph.D., video artist David Szlasa, and scenic designer Sean Riley. After each performance installation, there will be interactive spaces with trained facilitators for community discussion and reflection on the dance.

Ayokunle Odeleye. Photo courtesy Odeleye Sculpture Studios

On Sunday, Feb. 23, there will be a church service in Du Bois’ childhood church led by Rev. Tara Tetzlaff and her life partner, Rev. Sloan Letman, at 10:30 a.m. at the First Congregational Church with fellowship to follow. At 1 p.m. the church will host a program with town leaders; Legacy Committee members; Jeffrey Peck, Du Bois’ great-grandson, Haigood and Zaccho Dance Theatre; and a panel of scholars curated by Emily Williams, Ph.D., and moderated by Karl Johnson, Ph.D., of Ramapo College. The panel will include Danille Taylor, Ph.D., of Clark Atlanta University; sculptor and professor Ayokunle Odeleye, Ph.D.; and Dr. Chenzira Davis-Kahina, director of the University of the Virgin Islands’ Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural Center. Legacy Committee members Leah Reed and Gwendolyn VanSant will facilitate the reflection and community discussion that follows.

Events are free and open to the public. Some events require registration. For detailed event descriptions and tickets, see the Berkshire Edge calendar.


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Close Encounters With Music to present ‘Grand Piano Trios’

Max Levinson. Photo: Liz Linder

Great Barrington — On Saturday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m., Close Encounters With Music will present “Grand Piano Trios: Schubert and Brahms,” a midwinter fireside concert, at Saint James Place.

Schubert’s Trio in B flat Major and Brahms’ Trio in B Major were both written or rewritten toward the end of the composers’ lives. Brahms makes use of the piano to create a symphonic sweep, and is in the best of hands with pianist Max Levinson, violinist Peter Zazofsky, and cellist and CEWM artistic director Yehuda Hanani. Schubert’s trio, despite having been written in the difficult last year of his life, conveys triumph and tenderness.

“What unites the two trios, apart from celestial melodies, grandeur, joy, mystery and beauty, is that they are both at the heart of Romanticism and reflect the highest achievement of Schubert and Brahms,” said Hanani. “To call them epic or transformative pieces is not an overstatement!”

Tickets are $52. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar, or contact Close Encounters With Music at (800) 843-0778 or


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Lee Library to welcome author Serena Burdick

Image courtesy Lee Library

Lee — On Thursday, Feb. 20, at 6:30 p.m., the Lee Library will welcome author Serena Burdick, who will discuss her new novel, “The Girls With No Names.’ A question-and-answer session will follow the talk. Books will be available for purchase.

“The Girls with No Names” pulls readers into the gilded age of New York City in the 1910s, when suffragettes marched in the street, unions fought for better work conditions, and girls were confined to the House of Mercy for daring to break the rules.

Burdick graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in California before moving to New York City to pursue a degree in English literature at Brooklyn College. Also the author of “Girl in the Afternoon,” she lives in western Massachusetts with her husband and two sons.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Lee Library at 413-243-0385 or


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Mill City Productions to bring back ‘Potluck & a Play’

Adams — Mill City Productions has announced the return of its Potluck & a Play series, which invites community members to drop in and read aloud from scripts and enjoy good food.

Hosted by the Adams-Anthony Center, Potluck & A Play runs February through May on the third Thursday of each month. Planned readings include Larry Shue’s “The Foreigner” (Feb. 20), Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” (March 19), and Noël Coward’s “Private Lives” (May 21). April’s event will be a special Potluck & a Sing-Along featuring the music from “Mary Poppins” (April 16). Members of the public are encouraged to bring a dish to share or their separate dinners to enjoy a night of interactive theater. Scripts will be provided. Doors open at 6 p.m. for mingling and the assigning of roles, with readings starting at 6:30 p.m.

The events are free and open to the public. All ages and abilities are encouraged to attend. Synopses of the plays and character lists are available online. For more information, contact



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