'Tanglewood in the City' by Susan Geller is the winner of Downtown Pittsfield Inc's Pittsfield Photo Challenge.

Bits & Bytes: Pittsfield Photo Challenge winners; Stockbridge Festival Chorus Christmas concert; Unsilent Night; Kids 4 Harmony concert

Kids 4 Harmony, a program of 18 Degrees, is inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema, an intensive, values driven, ensemble-based approach to teaching classical music to effect social change.

Winners of Pittsfield Photo Challenge announced

Pittsfield — This past fall, Downtown Pittsfield Inc. held a photo challenge to find the photo that best captured why downtown Pittsfield is the “Heart of the Berkshires.” The first-place winner, as determined by a panel of local judges, was Susan Geller of Lenox. Her photo of this summer’s Tanglewood in the City performance at the Pittsfield Common has won her a prize package donated by local downtown businesses, and her photo will be featured in Pittsfield’s 2020 Downtown Guide and a Downtown Pittsfield Inc. social marketing campaign.

The second-place winner, Terry Holland, who submitted a photo of an aerial view of North Street, will also take home a prize package donated by local downtown businesses. Honorable mentions were awarded to photos by Shaun Muldowney, Gary Pratt, Maz Ghani, Elena V. Nuciforo, Meredyth Banahan, Lewis Reed, and Christy Butler.


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The Stockbridge Festival Chorus at its 2018 holiday season concert at the First Congregational of Stockbridge. Photo courtesy Stockbridge Festival Chorus

Stockbridge Festival Chorus to present Christmas concert

Stockbridge — On Saturday, Dec. 14, at 5 p.m., the Stockbridge Festival Chorus, under the direction of Tracy Wilson, will present “The First Nowell,” a pageant in concert that will include several contemporary Christmas anthems, at the First Congregational Church of Stockbridge. The chorus will be accompanied by Rev. Tim Weisman on organ and piano, as well as soloists soprano Andrea Bargabos and baritone Steve Hassmer.

“The First Nowell” contains music composed and arranged from traditional tunes by Ralph Vaughan Williams. It was first performed Dec. 19, 1958, at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London. The 45-voice chorus will perform the concert version followed by eight Christmas anthems, including “The Angel’s Carol” by contemporary composer John Rutter, and “And Every Stone Shall Cry” and “The Shepherd’s Carol” by Bob Chilcott, followed by “Lully, Lulla, Lullay” and “Irish Blessing” by British composer Philip Stopford.

Admission is a suggested donation of $15 for adults and $10 for members of local community choruses. Youth under age 18 will be admitted free. A reception will follow the concert. For more information, For more information, contact the First Congregational Church of Stockbridge at (413) 298-3137 or Tracy Wilson at (413) 822-8688.


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An Unsilent Night event in New York City. Photo: Taylor Davidson

Mobile sound sculpture ‘Unsilent Night’ to visit North Adams, Ghent

New York City — Phil Kline’s mobile sound-sculpture “Unsilent Night” will visit North Adams, Massachusetts, Thursday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m. and Art Omi in Ghent Saturday, Dec. 21, at 6 p.m.

“Unsilent Night” is an original composition by Kline, written specifically to be heard outdoors in the month of December. It takes the form of a street promenade in which the audience members are the performers. Each participant gets one of four tracks of music. The music was originally played using only cassette tapes in boomboxes but, as vintage boomboxes have become harder to find, most people use smartphones with portable speakers to blast the music. Together, all four tracks comprise “Unsilent Night.”

A limited supply of boomboxes will be available to borrow on a first-come, first-served basis. Those planning to use smartphones are asked to go to unsilentnight.com/participate before the event to download a track, or download the Unsilent Night app. The event is free and all are invited to participate. For more information, contact info@unsilentnight.com.


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Kids 4 Harmony to perform at North Adams City Hall

Participants in Kids 4 Harmony performing at a Casual Concert in Pittsfield in October. Photo courtesy 18 Degrees

North Adams — Mayor Tom Bernard will host Kids 4 Harmony for a holiday concert Friday, Dec. 13, at 4 p.m. at City Hall, 10 Main St.

Kids 4 Harmony, a program of 18 Degrees, is inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema, an intensive, values driven, ensemble-based approach to teaching classical music to effect social change. Kids 4 Harmony is offered at Brayton Elementary School in North Adams and at Morningside Community School in Pittsfield.

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, contact (413) 448-8281 x236 or info@18degreesma.org.