Sunday, July 14, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

BITS & BYTES: Aston Magna co-founder tribute; sexual violence presentation; Community dinner; Gershwin Extravaganza; Hoffman Bird Club bird watching; Contra dance; “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” screening; Andrew Victor performance

Aston Magna Chamber Players will perform a concert on Sunday, April 16 to pay tribute to its late co-Founder, Lee Elman.
Aston Magna at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center 0n 6-29-2013. Image courtesy of Aston Magna.

Concert tribute for Aston Magna co-founder Lee Elman

Great Barrington— Aston Magna Chamber Players will perform a concert on Sunday, April 16, at 3 p.m. to pay tribute to its late co-Founder, Lee Elman (1936-2022). A string quartet will perform Mozart and Spalding at a private home high up on the Aston Magna estate, where the Aston Magna Music Festival was founded. The Aston Magna Music Festival celebrates 50 years this season. A reception opens the event at 3 p.m. Seating is limited.

For information/tickets write to:

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“Assume Nothing: A Story of Intimate Violence” author Tanya Selvaratnam. Image courtesy of Berkshire Domestic and Sexual Violence Task.

“Assume Nothing: A Story of Intimate Violence” book discussion

Pittsfield— The third “One Book, One Community” county-wide read sponsored by the Berkshire Domestic and Sexual Violence Task will culminate on Thursday, April 13 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. with a webinar presentation by, and discussion with, award winning producer and author of “Assume Nothing: A Story of Intimate Violence,” Tanya Selvaratnam.

Selvaratnam’s memoir examines her relationship with former NY State Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, and how she was able to extricate herself from the relationship and his abuse. He resigned his office within 3 hours of publication of her story in The New Yorker magazine.

Almost 20 groups from Sheffield, in the south, to North Adams, in the north, read and met to discuss the book between Domestic Violence Awareness Month last October and this month which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The webinar is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Closed captions will be available, and it will be interpreted in both Spanish and ASL.

Register at:

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Stockbridge Grange Community Dinner

Stockbridge— Stockbridge Grange is having a community dinner on Sunday, April 16, featuring stuffed chicken breast, potatoes, vegetable, with dessert choices of chocolate cream pie or lemon meringue pie.

Dinner is $15.00 per person, take-out only 12 to 1:30 p.m. pick up at 51 Church Street, Stockbridge, MA.  Orders may be made by calling 413-243-1298 or 413-443-4352. Reservation deadline Friday, April 14.

Grange Community Dinners are designed to raise money for non-profit projects and building maintenance.

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Ted Rosenthal. Berkshires Jazz 2023. Image courtesy of Berkshires Jazz.

Gershwin Extravaganza to feature Ted Rosenthal

Lenox—  Berkshires Jazz today announced a “Gershwin Extravaganza” on April 15 at 7 p.m., featuring the Ted Rosenthal Trio and the Kids 4 Harmony strings ensemble. The concert, at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre at Shakespeare & Co., includes jazz interpretations of George Gershwin compositions, concluding with an orchestral performance of his iconic Rhapsody In Blue.

Virtuoso pianist Ted Rosenthal has interpreted the works of many American and European jazz and classical masters, and explores the Gershwin oeuvre in this one-time event. George Gershwin created an amazing legacy of jazz, classical, and popular tunes, and one centerpiece that crossed genres. Ted’s trio (Martin Wind, bass; Tim Horner, drums) performs the first set, exploring the Gershwin catalog as only he can.

The Kids 4 Harmony strings ensemble continues the Gershwin thread into the second set, concluding with Rhapsody In Blue, featuring Rosenthal as soloist. He has performed this masterpiece numerous times, worldwide, in settings ranging from his trio to symphony orchestras. This will be the debut performance of this composition with the advanced strings ensemble from Kids 4 Harmony, the remarkable Berkshires ensemble inspired by the global Il Sistema movement.

Kids 4 Harmony is the musical arm of 18 Degrees, a social services agency formerly known as Berkshire Children and Families. In its 10 years of operation, K4H’s student musicians have advanced from never touching a musical instrument to obtaining college scholarships. Teachers and families report that participating students have demonstrated improved grades as well as classroom behavior and family relationships. The ensemble is directed by Sean Elligers.

Tickets are now on sale online at or by calling 413-637-3353.

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Hoffman Bird Club bird walk through Williamstown

Williamstown— The Hoffmann Bird Club is Berkshire County’s premier ornithological organization. It was established in 1940 with a mission of promoting the study of birds in the county. The club is named in honor of Ralph Hoffmann, a naturalist born in Berkshire County.

The next Hoffman Bird Club field trip will occur on Sunday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. Attendees will look for arriving migrants at one or more hotspots in Williamstown with easy to moderate walking on grassy or gravel paths, or along the roadsides. Please meet at the Williamstown Public Library, 1095 Main Street at the intersection of Routes 2 and 7.

Dress for the weather, wear proper footwear, and bring binoculars (if you have them). Register for the trip by contacting the leader’s contact details at

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Attend the Lenox Contra Dance

Lenox— The Lenox Contra Dance will be held on Saturday, April 15. The dance starts at 7:30 p.m. The introductory session starts at 7:15 p.m. The Russet Trio will perform, with Aldo Lavaggi (fiddle and mandolin), Peter Madsen (guitar and percussion), Stuart Kenney (bass and banjo), with caller Maggie McRae.

Admission is $13-$15 for adults, $8-$10 for students. The Contra Dance will be held at the Lenox Community Center, 65 Walker Street, Lenox.

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“Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” movie poster. Image courtesy of The Norfolk Library.

See “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down”

Norfolk, Conn. — The Norfolk Library will present a screening of “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” on Thursday, April 13 from 7 to 8:45 p.m. “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” tells the extraordinary story of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords: her relentless fight to recover following an assassination attempt in 2011, and her new life as one of the most effective activists in the battle against gun violence. Featuring extensive vérité filming of Gabby and her husband, astronaut-turned-Senator Mark Kelly; interviews with Barack Obama and other friends and colleagues; and exclusive access to stunning videos taken in the weeks following her near-death, this film is the story of a rising star transformed by gun violence, and a close-up portrait of the marriage that sustains her.

Please register here.

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Andrew Victor. Image courtesy of the Race Brook Lodge.

Andrew Victor performs at The Down County Social Club

Sheffield— Andrew Victor returns for an intimate evening of music at The Down County Social Club at the Race Brook Lodge on Thursday, April 13 from 8 to 10 p.m. Throughout his career, Victor has shared bills in the U.S. and Europe with Sharon Van Etten, Alela Diane, Marissa Nadler, and Damien Jurado. He has been a core part of local scenes in Brooklyn, Seattle, Joshua Tree, and Rhode Island. For more info & music, check out Andrew’s page on Bandcamp.

Tickets are $8 / $10 at the door, available here. The Down County Social Club is located beneath The Stagecoach Tavern at Race Brook Lodge, 864 South Undermountain Rd, Sheffield.


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