Bits & Bytes: Norman Rockwell Museum to honor first responders; ‘Halloween in Boosatonic;’ ‘The Ambulance Drivers’ at Ventfort Hall; organ concert to benefit food pantry; ‘Stupendous Child Prodigies’

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By Wednesday, Oct 25 Life In the Berkshires
Norman Rockwell's 1958 painting 'The Runaway' will be featured prominently during a family event honoring first responders Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. Image courtesy Norman Rockwell Museum Collections, ©SEPS: Curtis Licensing, Indianapolis, Ind.

Norman Rockwell Museum to honor first responders

Stockbridge — The Norman Rockwell Museum will honor the work of first responders from the local community during a family event Saturday, Oct. 28, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. At noon and 1 p.m., attendees can enjoy a K-9 officer demonstration on the museum grounds. At 1:30 p.m., museum staff will offer a drawing demonstration based on “The Runaway,” Norman Rockwell’s classic 1958 tribute to law enforcement. Visitors will also have the opportunity to view official police cars, fire trucks and an ambulance; and take photos with a special mock-up of the diner from “The Runaway.” Food will be available throughout the event from the East Chatham Food Company, with representatives also on hand from the Stockbridge and Great Barrington police and fire departments, Southern Berkshire Volunteer Ambulance Squad, and the East Chatham Fire Department. The event is included in museum admission and is free for members. For more information, contact NRM at (413) 298-4100.


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Ramsdell Library to host ‘Halloween in Boosatonic’

Housatonic — The Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries will present “Halloween In Boosatonic” at the Ramsdell Library Sunday, Oct. 29, from 1 to 4 p.m. Activities will include pumpkin decorating; Halloween story time; a screening of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown;” Halloween button-making and buckets of treats. The event is free and appropriate for all ages. Attendees are invited to arrive in costume. In addition to the Halloween-themed activities, the library circulation desk will be open, and the Sunday papers and free coffee will be available. For more information, contact the Ramsdell Library at (413) 274-3738.


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Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos. Photo courtesy Ventfort Hall

Author James Morris McGrath to present book ‘The Ambulance Drivers’

Lenox — On Saturday, Oct. 28, at 3:30 p.m., award-winning author James McGrath Morris will introduce his latest book, “The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos and Friendship Made and Lost in War” at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. A Victorian tea will follow the talk.

James McGrath Morris. Photo: Jane Harris

On a summer day in 1924, Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos sat in a Paris café sharing literary aspirations. The two writers had first met on the European battlefields of World War I while volunteering as ambulance drivers. Eight years later, the war was still on their minds as they discussed the inadequacy of old writing styles to describe the conflicts that had shaped their generation. At that Paris café, the two plotted a literary revolution. Morris’ book follows the turbulent friendship of two authors who, after being marked by the same war, reached very different conclusions: While Hemingway believed that literature should be a perfect representation of an imperfect world, Dos Passos wanted his writing to change the world. Both became voices of the Lost Generation.

Morris’ books include the New York Times bestselling “Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press,” which was awarded the Benjamin Hooks National Book Prize; and “Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power,” which the Wall Street Journal deemed as one of the five best books on American moguls. Morris has also written extensively for newspapers and magazines. Now a resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico, he is a native of Lenox.

Tickets are $26 in advance and $32 on day of the event. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. For information or reservations, contact Ventfort Hall at (413) 637-3206 or


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Organ concert to benefit People’s Pantry

Richard Damon. Photo courtesy Grace Episcopal Church, Amherst

Great Barrington — On Sunday, Oct. 29, at 4 p.m., the First Congregational Church of Great Barrington, 251 Main St., will welcome Richard Damon, a Stanford University graduate and current organist and composer at Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst, who will present a concert on the church’s Hilborne Roosevelt organ with a hymn sing that will include the works of Buxtehude, Walther, Bach, Franck, Pierne’, Willan, Chausson and Joplin, as well as Damon’s own arrangement of “Amazing Grace.” An offering will be received and be given to the People’s Pantry of Great Barrington. For more information contact Rev. Randall K. Wilburn at (413) 687-5568.


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‘Stupendous Child Prodigies’ at Scoville Memorial Library

Salisbury, Conn. — On Saturday, Oct. 28, at 4 p.m., the Scoville Memorial Library will present the talk “Stupendous Child Prodigies: Mozart and Mendelssohn” by musicologist Jeffrey Engel.

Mozart displayed incredible talent as a composer, pianist and violinist at a very young age. Mendelssohn is usually ignored in the conversation about prodigies, but he was no less extraordinary and topped Mozart in at least one way: He was composing masterpieces as a teenager, several years before Mozart wrote anything comparable. Engel will compare the two youngsters and let his audience decide who was more remarkable.

Engel lived in Paris for 14 years where he studied cello. As a cellist, he played with many orchestras in France, performed in chamber ensembles and taught in municipal conservatories. Engel has been giving lectures devoted to music history in colleges, libraries, retirement communities and other venues for 15 years and, since 2004, has taught at Northwestern Connecticut Community College. He was a contributor to the 2001 edition of the “New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians” and, in 2010, was selected by Litchfield Magazine as one of the 50 most influential people in Litchfield County.

For more information, contact Scoville Memorial Library at (860) 435-2838 or


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