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Bits & Bytes: Festive Frolic; ‘Marzipan and the Trout’; Berkshire Waldorf High School art show; invasive fish talk; 100 Cats for Christmas

A landmark of classical music, Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet weaves a net of enchantment with its catchy melodies and fresh exuberance.

Downtown Pittsfield Inc. to offer first annual Festive Frolic

‘Stars Over Town’ by Laura Didyk at NUarts Studios & Gallery. Image courtesy Downtown Pittsfield Inc.

Pittsfield — Downtown Pittsfield Inc. will present the first annual Festive Frolic Friday, Dec. 7, from 4 to 8 p.m. in downtown Pittsfield, which will feature free and low-cost family-friendly activities in honor of the holiday season. Attendees can enjoy 16 art shows, crafts and cookie decorating, pop-up vendors, Grampie’s Dog House, the Park Square tree lighting, reduced admission to the Festival of Trees at the Berkshire Museum, a free Salsa lesson and more. Downtown shops will be open until 8 p.m. and restaurants will be serving up specials for those attending the event. Also included will be a caroling flash mob and surprises throughout the evening.

The Frolic is partnering with First Fridays Artswalk for 16 art shows featuring over three dozen accomplished regional artists. There will be opening receptions and artists present throughout the Artswalk from 5 to 8 p.m., and a free guided walking tour beginning at 5 p.m. at the BRTA Intermodal Center.

NUarts Gallery & Studios will host a holiday show and sale with small works for sale, a hands-on holiday tree fiber-arts weave and a cookie-decorating contest. The Funky Phoenix will host a drop-in creative recycling ornament workshop and Dottie’s Coffee Lounge will host a cookie ornament decorating party.

A wreath from the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts’ wreath art auction. Photo courtesy Downtown Pittsfield Inc.

The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts will host its fourth annual wreath art auction. The wreaths will be on display during a $10 ticketed event with a preview from 5 to 6:30 p.m. followed by a live auction with handmade holiday wreaths, kissing balls and centerpieces created by local artists at auction and as grab-and-go items. All proceeds will benefit the food pantry at the South Congregational Church.

The Park Square tree lighting ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. and include carols performed by the Taconic High School chorus and hot chocolate provided by Patrick’s Pub. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive after the tree is lit. Framework, Pittsfield Coworking will host a pop-up market with vendors, free ornament making for the young and young-at-heart, hot beverages, on-site massage, and holiday music. Berkshire Salsa Dance Studio will host a free Salsa lesson from 7 to 8 p.m. The Marketplace Café will be give out free hot cider during the Frolic, and Grampie’s Dog House and Lucia’s Latin Kitchen will serve their specialties in a pop-up location at Persip Park on North Street from 6:30 to 8 p.m. After 8 p.m., Hotel on North, the Rainbow Restaurant and the Whitney Center for the Arts will host live music with no cover.

The event is free and open to the public. Some individual activities may have admission charges. For more information, contact Downtown Pittsfield Inc. at (413) 443-6501.


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Close Encounters With Music to present ‘Marzipan and the Trout’

Max Levinson. Photo: Liz Linder

Great Barrington — Continuing its season theme of pairing music and gastronomy, Close Encounters With Music will present “Mozart and Schubert: Marzipan and the ‘Trout’” Saturday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m. at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center.

A landmark of classical music, Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet weaves a net of enchantment with its catchy melodies and fresh exuberance. The piece, written by the then-22-year-old prodigy, was inspired by the tragic-comic death of a fish and captures the glories of nature. “Die Forelle,” Schubert’s own song used as his theme in the third movement and based on poetry by Goethe, was originally a warning to young women against being “caught” by “angling” young men, but Schubert didn’t set the final lines of the poem, preferring to concentrate on evoking the image of the trout in water and the reaction to it being caught by a fisherman. The program also features Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, and an all-star ensemble of pianist Max Levinson, violinist Itamar Zorman, French violist Katie Lethiec and bassist David Grossman joining CEWM artistic director Yehuda Hanani.

Tickets are $15–$50. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Mahaiwe box office at (413) 528-0100.


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Stockbridge Library to host Berkshire Waldorf High School art show

Self-portrait collage by student Antonius Louw. Image courtesy Berkshire Waldorf High School

Stockbridge — Berkshire Waldorf High School presents a student art show at the Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives through the month of December. The library will host an opening reception for the exhibit Friday, Dec. 7, from 5 to 7 p.m.

This fall, the students worked on two related self-portrait projects with art teacher Genève Brossard. For the first project, the students created self-portraits using collage, focusing on the work of collage artist Megan Coyle. National Geographic magazines dating as far back as 1920 provided source material. For the second project, the students drew inspiration from the work of contemporary painter Kehinde Wiley. Using a process of class discussion, observation, considering the concepts of “hero” and personal writing, students chose their own heroes, and then painted portraits of their heroes using a larger-than life scale and the intricate background patterns of Wiley’s paintings as inspiration.

For more information, call administrative director Sarah Blexrud at (413) 298-3800.


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Chef Parola to discuss invasive fish species

Philippe Parola

Williamstown — Williams College will host a discussion about invasive fish species with chef Philippe Parola Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. in the Paresky Auditorium.

Parola is a Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based chef who is developing a human consumption market for Asian carp, also known as Silverfin, an invasive species in the Mississippi River and beyond. Silverfin were brought to the United Sates in the 1960s and ‘70s for use in government agency and academic research; in sewage treatment plants; and as a biological control for algae, plants and snails in aquaculture. Since then, these non-native fish have entered and spread rampantly through the fresh waterways of the Mississippi River Basin. Now the Silverfin population is pushing the boundaries of the Great Lakes and entering Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, threatening multi-billion-dollar fishing industries. Parola founded the Silverfin Group and leads the Eat the Problem! campaign to promote Silverfin as a food source to help manage the growing Silverfin population and protect rivers.

The event is free and open to the public. For building locations on the Williams campus, consult the online map or call the Office of Communications at (413) 597-4277.


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BHS holds sixth annual 100 Cats for Christmas

Participants wait their turn during Berkshire Humane Society’s 100 Cats for Christmas initiative. Photo courtesy Berkshire Humane Society

Pittsfield — A grant from the Massachusetts Animal Coalition’s license plate program supports Berkshire Humane Society’s sixth annual 100 Cats for Christmas initiative, the shelter’s largest and most successful low-cost spay and neuter effort for kittens and cats.

To participate, qualifying Berkshire County residents must visit the main shelter, Purradise at 301 Stockbridge Rd. in Great Barrington, or Bark ‘n’ Cat in North Adams to complete a registration form and pay a nonrefundable $25 fee to cover the surgery and a rabies vaccination.

Appointments will be scheduled during the month of December. All cats and kittens will be dropped off at predesignated locations to be announced. All cats must be in secure carriers with proper identification including the owners’ and cats’ names. BHS staff and volunteers will transport the felines to participating veterinarians and will return them for owner pick-up in the afternoon. This year’s participating veterinarians include Bilmar Veterinary Services in Great Barrington; Valley Veterinary Service in Lee; Allen Heights Veterinary Hospital, Pittsfield Veterinary Hospital and South Street Veterinary Services in Pittsfield; and Greylock Animal Hospital and North County Veterinary Hospital in North Adams.

Registration for the program is on a first-come, first-served basis. For qualification requirements and more information, contact BHS at (413) 447-7878 x124.



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