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Bits & Bytes: Jon Cleary at Helsinki Hudson; transfer station holiday hours; BTCF 2016 grant deadlines; Schubert at Ventfort Hall; ‘Spirit of Giving’ campaign recipients

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF) has announced the first round of deadlines for competitive grants in the 2016 fiscal year.

New Orleans-style New Year’s Eve at Helsinki Hudson

Hudson, N.Y. — Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen will return to Club Helsinki Hudson to ring out the old and ring in the new New Orleans-style on Thursday, December 31, at 9 p.m. Cleary has been a mainstay on the New Orleans R&B scene for over 35 years. As a singer, pianist and songwriter, he is considered a peer of Dr. John and the late Allen Toussaint, with whom Cleary often collaborated.

Cleary’s band, the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, regularly plays at classic New Orleans venues like Tipitina’s and the Maple Leaf Bar, and at the annual Jazz and Heritage Festival. The band features Cleary on keyboard and vocals, Derwin “Big D” Perkins on guitar, Cornell C. Williams on bass and backup vocals, and Jellybean on drums. All of the band members with the exception of Cleary were born in New Orleans.

Jon Cleary’s first performance in public was at the age of eleven and by fourteen was gigging on the United Kingdom pub circuit. He arrived in New Orleans at seventeen and got his first piano job subbing for pianist James Booker at the Maple Leaf Bar.

Cleary has been a sideman for Ryan Adams, Taj Mahal, Dr. John, and John Scofield, and has worked with Bonnie Raitt B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Keb’ Mo’, and India Arie.

As the case when the club’s music veers toward the Big Easy, Helsinki Hudson’s bayou-born-and-bred Helsinki executive chef Hugh Horner will prepare a menu of authentic Louisiana specialties. For more information and tickets see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call the club at (518) 828-4800.

–E.E.

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Transfer station holiday hours

Great Barrington — The Town of Great Barrington’s transfer station/recycling center will be closed Friday, December 25 for Christmas and Friday, January 1, 2016, for New Year’s Day. The facility will be open the weekends following the holidays.

–E.E.

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BTCF announces first round of 2016 grant deadlines

Sheffield — Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF) has announced the first round of deadlines for competitive grants in the 2016 fiscal year. Covering the period from January through March, the winter cycle of deadlines is open to regional nonprofits, students, and schools.

For nonprofits

Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management program is an intensive six-day program for nonprofit CEOs, presidents, and executive directors who are responsible for shaping the direction, policies and major programs of their organizations. Applications are due March 1 and the program runs in July.

The Green Pastures Fund supports nonprofit organizations and public entities that encourage or preserve small, community-based agricultural ventures. Grants range from $1,000 – $3,000. Applications are due March 1.

The James and Robert Hardman Fund for North Adams supports nonprofit groups, community organizations, and public agencies that support the residents of North Adams and the neighboring communities of Florida and Clarksburg, Mass., and Stamford, Ver. The fund prioritizes projects that support disadvantaged residents or enrich the cultural and natural environment. Grants range from $500 – $3,000. Applications are due March 1.

The Fund for Williamstown supports innovative projects and services that benefit the residents of Williamstown. Letters of intent describing projects and their purpose are due March 15. Grants range from $500 – $2,500. Full grant applications are due April 15.

For students

The Alice and Richard Henriquez Memorial Fund/Youth World Awareness Program provides grants to students ages 14-22 for international travel and service. Grants range from $500 – $1,500 for individual applicants, and larger grants may be considered for groups. Applications are due February 1.

The Simple Gifts Fund awards grants to young people ages 13-21 for participation in cultural or creative summer programs. Grants range from $200 – $800. Applications are due March 30.

For schools

The James C. Kapteyn Endowment Fund honors excellence in teaching with a $10,000 prize for study or travel. Nominations from school principals or chief administrators are due February 2.

The Lenox Education Enrichment Foundation supports projects that enhance the educational experience of students and teachers in the Lenox public schools. Grants range from $100 – $1,000. Applications are due February 28.

Grant application forms for all the funds can be found online.

–E.E.

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Schubert performance at Ventfort Hall

Doug head shot
Doug Schmolze.
Larry head shot large
Larry Wallach.

Lenox — Tenor Doug Schmolze and pianist Larry Wallach will perform a series of German lieder (songs) by Franz Schubert titled “Songs of the Flow of Life and Love: Schubert’s Romantic ‘Water Music’ ” at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum on Sunday, December 27 at 3:30 p.m. and will be followed by a Victorian tea.

Schmolze and Wallach have selected a program that will convey the theme of nature and water, from the babbling brook of the “Schoene Muellerin (The Miller’s Lovely Daughter)” to the frozen tears of “Winterreise (Journey in Winter)” and the expansive depths of “Am Meer (By the Ocean).”  The program will contain several of Schubert’s most beloved songs: “Der Lindenbaum (The Linden Tree),” “Die Forelle (The Trout),” and “Staendchen (Serenade)” as well as select piano solo works from “Moments Musical.”  The songs will be sung in the original German with explanatory notes and printed translations.

Doug Schmolze has sung with the Pro Arte Chorale, the Lorien Ensemble, the Berkshire Bach Singers, Berkshire Choral Festival, Berkshire Opera, and the Cantilena Chamber Choir. He sings regularly in churches as a choir member and as a soloist and also performs programs of vintage American songs from the 1920s to the 1940s. Larry Wallach is a pianist, composer, and musicologist who leads the music program at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. He holds a doctorate in musicology at Columbia University and is an active performer of chamber music with harpsichord and piano and has appeared with the Avanti Wind Quintet, the New York Consort of Viols, and the Berkshire Bach Society. As a composer, he created a score for a TV film about Edith Wharton, and his “Prelude and Fugue” for viols premiered at the Boston Early Music Festival in June.

Tickets for the Concert and Tea are $22 for advance reservations and $27 day of the event.  Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. For information or reservations call Ventfort Hall at 413-637-3206 or email info@gildedage.org.

–E.E.

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Greylock announces ‘Spirit of Giving’ campaign recipients

Pittsfield — Greylock Federal Credit Union has announced the recipients of donations from its Spirit of Giving campaign. Fourteen teams within the credit union chose worthy organizations and causes to which Greylock donated $1,000 each. Greylock also gave each of the chosen organizations a $250 gift card from a local grocery store to “pay forward” to a charity or worthy cause of their choice.

The organizations that received the Spirit of Giving donations and the gift cards are Berkshire County Kids’ Place; Special Olympics Berkshire County; Moments House; Elder Services of Berkshire County; Construct, Inc.; Pediatric Development Center; PopCares, Inc.; Kiwanis Club; Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter; Berkshire County Arc; Soldier On; Berkshire Dream Center; the Neighbor-to-Neighbor fund; and St. John Paul the Great food pantry.

–E.E.

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