Monday, July 15, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: Cocek! Brass Band at Dewey Hall; ‘March for Our Lives’ solidarity rally; VITA taxathon; ‘GI Jews’ documentary; ‘Telling Your Story in Video’

Indivisible Pittsfield urges the community to join a student-led March for Our Lives solidarity rally in support of common-sense gun law reforms Saturday, March 24, from noon to 1 p.m. at Park Square in Pittsfield.

Oldtone Productions to present Cocek! Brass Band

Sheffield — Oldtone Productions will present the Cocek! Brass Band Friday, March 23, at 7:30 p.m. at Dewey Hall.

A five-piece ensemble from Boston that plays all-original compositions, Cocek! Brass Band’s music is influenced by Eastern-European and New Orleans dance songs, Afrobeat, klezmer, reggae and Western classical music. The band has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival in Vermont; WorldFest in Louisville, Kentucky; and the 11th New York Gypsy Festival as well as in programs for schools and universities. Cocek! Brass Band consists of Sam Dechenne on trumpet and vocals, Ezra Weller on flugelhorn, Clayton DeWalt on trombone, Jim Gray on tuba and Grant Smith on Tappan drum).

Tickets are $20. Refreshments will be available. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar.


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‘March for Our Lives’ solidarity rally

Pittsfield — Indivisible Pittsfield urges the community to join a student-led March for Our Lives solidarity rally in support of common-sense gun law reforms Saturday, March 24, from noon to 1 p.m. at Park Square in Pittsfield.

Students from Pittsfield High School and community members request that all who are interested gather at Park Square to participate in a rally and walk to Pittsfield High School. The musician activists of the Hoping Machine will be on hand to complement with words and music. A voter registration drive will also take place.

Signs on the topics of keeping students safe in school, improving background checks, and more are welcome. Signs may not be mounted on sticks or poles. For more information, contact


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Berkshire United Way to hold taxathon

Great Barrington — Berkshire United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program will hold a taxathon Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Berkshire South Regional Community Center with free tax preparation by IRS-certified volunteers. Appointments are highly recommended, but walk-ins who arrive by 3 p.m. and have all the necessary tax documents in hand are welcome if preparers are available. In addition to the tax prep, community partners will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with information on financial literacy programs and door-prize drawings for attendees.

To qualify for free tax prep, one’s individual or household income must be $54,000 or less. All taxpayers must bring photo IDs, social security cards and tax forms for every member of their households. For more information or to make an appointment, call (413) 442-6948.


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‘GI Jews’ documentary to screen at Berkshire Museum

Image courtesy Jewish Federation of the Berkshires

Pittsfield — WGBY, the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires and the Berkshire Museum will present a screening of the documentary film “GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II” Sunday, March 25, at 2 p.m. at the Berkshire Museum.

“GI Jews” tells the story of the 550,000 Jewish Americans who served their country in all branches of the military during World War II. Filmmaker Lisa Ades brings the struggles of the men and women to life through first-hand experiences that reveal their fight against fascism as well as their more personal war to liberate loved ones in Europe. The film features new interviews with Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Henry Kissinger, the late Bea Cohen and others. “GI Jews” will also be broadcast Wednesday, April 11, at 10 p.m. on WGBY.

The event is free and open to the community. For more information, contact the Berkshire Museum at (413) 443-7171.


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Opper to speak on ‘Telling Your Story in Video’

Susanna Opper. Photo courtesy Shawenon Communications

Great Barrington — On Monday, March 26, at 5:30 p.m. at Mason Library, communications professional Susanna Opper will present “Telling Your Story in Video,” the latest talk in the library’s “Local Voices” speaker series.

Opper, who has spent her life communicating in words, has published a book and numerous articles in local publications and is now making videos. “Telling a story in sound and motion is far more compelling than just using words. But videos are also much more complicated,” she said. Opper’s presentation will include the screening of her videos “Silver Scramblers’ Trail Magic” and “Home Grown: West Stockbridge Farmers Market,” both of which were shot in Berkshire County and produced at CTSB-TV in Lee. Opper will discuss how she got into video-making and encourage her audience to try their hands at filmmaking.

For more information, contact the Mason Library at (413) 528-2403.



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