Friday, July 19, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: Blind Boys of Alabama at the Mahaiwe; Holiday Shop, Sip & Stroll; Sam Green, Kronos Quartet at MASS MoCA; student mandala exhibit; craft workshops at Olana

With something for everyone, the Holiday Stroll is the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce’s largest community event, attracting a crowd of over 3,000.

Mahaiwe to present Blind Boys of Alabama

Great Barrington — The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center will present a Christmas show with the Blind Boys of Alabama Sunday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. The Preservation Hall Legacy Horns from New Orleans will join the group for the performance. The concert will feature songs from the “Talkin’ Christmas!” album as well as the band’s previous Grammy Award-winning Christmas recording, “Go Tell It on the Mountain” along with Blind Boys’ gospel classics.

After touring in the gospel caravans of the 1940s and ‘50s, the Blind Boys have enjoyed accolades and awards from all parts of the music world, including a remarkable five Grammy Awards, lifetime achievement awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, as well as an induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. They have also appeared on recordings with Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Susan Tedeschi, Aaron Neville, Ben Harper, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, and many other artists. The group was recently nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award in the category of Best American Roots Performance for the song “Let My Mother Live” of of their most recent album, “Almost Home.”

Tickets are $30–$67. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Mahaiwe box office at (413) 528-0100.


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Great Barrington to host Holiday Shop, Sip & Stroll

Live window displays from the 2016 Holiday Show, Sip & Stroll in Great Barrington. Photos courtesy Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce

Great Barrington — The ninth annual Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce Holiday Shop, Sip & Stroll will take place Saturday, Dec. 9, from 2 to 8:30 p.m. in downtown Great Barrington. With something for everyone, the Holiday Stroll is SBCC’s largest community event, attracting a crowd of over 3,000.

The family celebration will feature store specials, refreshments, a store-to-store raffle with prizes donated by local merchants, kids’ crafts, North Pole Lane, music, caroling, performances, face painting, a food court, Rudolph’s Way, live window displays, a character parade, a holiday tree walk, letters to Santa, photo cut-outs, hayrides, a bonfire, and gifts for children from Santa Claus. A story hour for young children at Berkshire Community College’s South County Center will begin at 3 p.m. followed by performances from the Lucky 5, Berkshire Children’s Chorus and more. Fireworks will cap off the evening at 7:15 p.m.

For more information and a schedule of activities, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact SBCC at (413) 528-4284 or


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The Kronos Quartet. Photo: Jay Blakesberg

MASS MoCA to host live documentary with Sam Green and the Kronos Quartet

North Adams — On Friday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m. MASS MoCA will present “A Thousand Thoughts: A Live Documentary” with filmmaker Sam Green and the Kronos Quartet. Performed rather than screened, this work-in-progress will bring audience and filmmaker together for a singular collective experience with Green narrating on stage and Kronos itself providing a live soundtrack.

For over 40 years, the Kronos Quartet has combined a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually reimagine the string quartet experience and, in the process, has released more than 60 recordings, collaborated with many of the world’s most accomplished composers and performers, and commissioned more than 900 works and arrangements for string quartet. The ensemble has collaborated extensively with Terry Riley, Henryk Górecki, Philip Glass and Franghiz Ali-Zadeh; performed live with Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg, Noam Chomsky and the National, among others; and has appeared on recordings by artists from Nine Inch Nails to Nelly Furtado and Joan Armatrading.

Green began his career making traditional feature-length documentaries. His Academy Award-nominated “The Weather Underground” tells the story of a group of radical young women and men who tried to violently overthrow the U.S. government during the late 1960s and ‘70s. His first live documentary, “Utopia in Four Movements,” formally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010, followed by “The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller,” which premiered at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art with a live soundtrack from Yo La Tengo and has since been performed many times worldwide, including at MASS MoCA during the Solid Sound Festival in 2013.

Tickets are $20–$54. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact MASS MoCA at (413) 662-2111 or


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Berkshire Waldorf High School students to present mandala exhibit

Mandalas made by students from Berkshire Waldorf High School. Photos: Geneve Brossard

Stockbridge — Students from Berkshire Waldorf High School will display their mandala self portraits at the Stockbridge Library through the end of December. An opening reception will be held Friday, Dec. 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

Twenty-three students participated in the mandala self-portrait project in Geneve Brossard’s art class. Their large-scale artworks explore the idea of the mandala as representative of wholeness and the basic structure of life. Using a variety of techniques and mediums, students designed mandalas with the intention to represent themselves. They studied the international history and use of the mandala, as well as contemporary public art and concepts of symbolism in order to contextualize and visualize their own projects.

For more information, contact the Stockbridge Library at (413) 298-5501 or


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Olana to hold candle- and card-making workshops

A handmade holiday card. Image courtesy Olana

Hudson, N.Y. — Olana State Historic Site will host two holiday-themed workshops Saturday, Dec. 9: a class on 19th-century holiday card-making will take place at 10 a.m. and a workshop on beeswax candle-making will follow at 2 p.m.

The card-making program will be run by an instructor from Olana’s education department using historic papers and techniques. There will also be a make-your-own wrapping paper station set up. Participants are advised to bring a smock. The candle-making program will be taught by Megan Denver who runs hundreds of hives, teaches and sells bee-related and -made products at Hudson Valley Bee Supply in Kingston. In the program, Denver will teach participants how to make rolled beeswax candles and dipped taper candles.

The cost of the candle-making workshop is $15 for Olana members, $20 for nonmembers and $40 for families of up to five people. The card-making workshop is free. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Olana’s education department at (518) 828-1872 x105.



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