Veronica Swift and her mother, Stephanie Nakasian, will perform Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Colonial Theatre as part of the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival. Photo courtesy Berkshire Theatre Group

Bits & Bytes: Pittsfield CityJAZZ Festival; Rotary Pumpkinfest; ‘True Dreams’ art show; dance workshop at Chesterwood

Veronica Swift, Stephanie Nakasian. Dayramir Gonzalez to headline Pittsfield CityJAZZ Festival

Pittsfield — Berkshires Jazz’s 15th annual Pittsfield CityJAZZ Festival will run Friday, Oct. 11, through Sunday, Oct. 20, at various venues throughout the city’s Upstreet Cultural District. Festival highlights include a rare pairing of mother-daughter vocalists Stephanie Nakasian and Veronica Swift, Cuban piano standout Dayramir Gonzalez and jazz prodigy Anton Kot.

The festival will kick off Friday, Oct. 11, with the Jazz About Town jazz crawl, with six restaurants and lounges featuring Berkshires-based musicians. On Wednesday, Oct. 16, 16-year-old pianist and drummer Anton Kot will make his Berkshires debut in the annual Jazz Prodigy Concert at 7 p.m. at the Berkshire Athenaeum. Hailing from Milford, Connecticut, Kot was a discovery of the Litchfield Jazz Camp and toured internationally this year with Carnegie Hall’s NYO Jazz.

Dayramir Gonzalez

Headline weekend begins Friday, Oct. 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Berkshire Museum with Cuban jazz pianist, composer and arranger Dayramir Gonzalez and his quartet. He was the first Cuban national to receive Berklee College of Music‘s Presidential Scholarship, and also received the Wayne Shorter Award for Best Jazz Composer in 2013. He appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba in 2016.

The keystone event of the festival will be a pairing of vocalist Stephanie Nakasian with her daughter, Veronica Swift, Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Colonial Theatre, 111 South St. At just 25 years old, Swift’s résumé includes tours as a featured vocalist with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and Chris Botti; a guest collaboration with Michael Feinstein; engagements at clubs like Birdland, the Jazz Standard, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola and the Jazz Showcase; and top festivals. Known as one of the world’s leading jazz singers, Nakasian will take listeners on a fresh and authentic swing voyage that transcends the Great Ladies of Song in both tribute and originality. With an extensive repertoire reaching from jazz to Broadway, Nakasian creates an atmosphere of romance and excitement that will transport listeners to another place and time. The Berkshires Jazz Youth Ensemble will open the concert. Pre-show entertainment will be provided by pianist Ben Kohn in the Garage at 6pm.

The weekend will conclude Sunday, Oct. 20, with two jazz brunches at Dottie’s Coffee Lounge and Hotel on North.

Tickets are $25-$43. For more information, contact Berkshires Jazz at


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Pumpkinfest to raise money for Rotary scholarships

Hillsdale, N.Y. — On Saturday, Oct. 12, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Catamount Ski Area, the Great Barrington Rotary Club will hold Pumpkinfest, an autumnal festival benefit for the Rotary Scholarship Fund, which supports local students.

Pumpkinfest will be a family-friendly event that is considered an opportunity for expanded connections between Berkshire County, Massachusetts, and Columbia County, New York. Live music will be performed by David Hodge and Karen Berger, the Berkshire Ukulele Band, and the Hudson duo Rick and Marilyn. Wandering Star Craft Brewery will have craft beer available, and Colleen’s Catering will have hot dogs and hamburgers. Activities will include an all-ages scavenger hunt, children’s games, pumpkin painting, and a sling-shot game.

The entry fee is $15 per car. For more information, call (413) 854-3511.


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Lauren Clark Fine art to host ‘True Dreams’ paintings, performance piece

‘Blue Bowl with Fruit’ by Douglass Truth. Image courtesy Lauren Clark Fine Art

Great Barrington — Lauren Clark Fine Art presents “True Dreams,” new paintings and a new performance piece by artist, writer and performer Douglass Truth, beginning Saturday, Oct. 12, with a reception for the artist from 4 to 7 p.m.

Of his recent work, Truth said: “My paintings are of a world, a world that I dream up when I have a brush in my hand. I must insist that in some sense those worlds—the worlds in the paintings—are as real as the one in which you seem to be reading these words. In fact these seemingly different worlds may be just different stops on the spectrum of reality, none more real than any other. I seem to be somewhere, of that I can be completely sure.”

Lauren Clark has been representing Truth since 2002. His most recent collaboration with the gallery was in 2016 when he participated in a show including Berkshire artists David Eddy and Julio Granda titled “Color Envy.” At that time, Truth performed his one-man show “An Intimate Evening with Death, Herself,” which has been performed coast to coast since 1995 with over 100 performances. Recently re-relocated, Truth now lives, paints, writes and performs in the Berkshires. The exhibition will include ticketed theatrical performances of Truth’s one-man show “True Dreams” Thursday, Oct. 17, and Friday, Oct. 18, at 7:30 p.m.; and a free painting demonstration Sunday, Oct. 27, from 1 to 3 p.m.

The reception is free and open to the public. The show will run through Sunday, Nov. 3. For more information, contact Lauren Clark Fine Art at (413) 528-0432 or


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Berkshire Pulse to hold dance workshop at Chesterwood

Stockbridge — Berkshire Pulse invites the community to participate in a unique dance workshop event on the grounds of Chesterwood.

The project is inspired and informed by the sculpture exhibit “One Impulse From a Vernal Wood” by Rick and Laura Brown that is installed throughout the woods and grounds of Chesterwood. In it, site-specific dances will be created in two rehearsals Saturday, Oct. 12, and Saturday, Oct. 19, from 3:15 to 5:45 p.m. Those creations will then be performed Saturday, Oct 26, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The dances will be easy to learn, and fit for anyone of any age and experience level.

The workshops are free and open to the public. Registration is requested. For more information or to register, call Berkshire Pulse at (413) 274-6624.