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Bits & Bytes: ‘Bach at New Year’s’; West Stockbridge Chamber Players concert; Camp Humane; GB resident to judge dog show; marionettes at Ventfort Hall

Carl Sprague will return to Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum for two marionette performances of the classic fairytale “The Emperor’s New Clothes."

Emerson String Quartet founder to direct ‘Bach at New Year’s’

Eugene Drucker. Photo courtesy Emerson String Quartet

Great Barrington — Emerson String Quartet founder and internationally renowned soloist Eugene Drucker will take the directorship of the Berkshire Bach Society’s annual “Bach at New Year’s” concert at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center Sunday, Dec. 31, at 6 p.m. In addition to directing the performance, Drucker will perform as featured soloist with the Berkshire Bach Ensemble. The program will include works by Mozart, Boyce, Purcell, Bartok, Telemann and J.S. Bach.

The Berkshire Bach Society will reflect the turn of the year and its new “Bach at New Year’s” music director by presenting music that bridges the transition from the high Baroque to the early classical periods and highlights the stylistic changes audiences witnessed at the time. Purcell was at the height of his career in the 1680s when the German masters of counterpoint, J.S. Bach and his contemporary G.P. Telemann, were born. Two generations later, William Boyce was heir to an aging English Baroque style, writing elegant but old-fashioned symphonies and Anglican Church music as Bach and Telemann were ascendant. All three were eclipsed by the advent of Mozart, born while Telemann and Boyce still lived but sweeping in with a compositional style that was newer, predominantly secular, international and generally more accessible.

Tickets range from $42–$88. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Mahaiwe box office at (413) 528-0100.


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West Stockbridge Chamber players to present winter concert

Catherine Hudgins. Photo: Tiziana Rozzo.

West Stockbridge — The West Stockbridge Chamber Players will present a winter concert Thursday, Dec. 28, at 6 p.m. at the West Stockbridge Congregational Church. A reception next door to the church will follow the concert.

The program of chamber music will include pieces by Gustav Mahler, Franz Schubert and Alexander von Zemlinsky. Clarinetist and West Stockbridge Chamber Players artistic director Catherine Hudgins will be joined soprano Margaret Felice, cellist William Rounds and pianist Sayuri Miyamoto.

Tickets are $35 and free for West Stockbridge residents under age 18 with reservations. Proceeds will benefit the West Stockbridge Historical Society’s campaign to restore the 1854 Town Hall. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar, call (413) 232-5055 or visit West Stockbridge businesses that feature a blue music note in their windows.


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Berkshire Humane Society to host school break Camp Humane

Pittsfield — The Berkshire Humane Society is accepting registration for the 2018 sessions of its school-break Camp Humane. Designed for children in the fourth through sixth grades who love animals, Camp Humane offers hands-on workshops with local professionals that focus on animal behavior, training and health. Other activities may include field trips, arts and crafts, community service projects, and one-on-one experiences with shelter animals, farm animals and local ecology.

The winter session will run Monday, Feb. 19, through Friday, Feb. 23, 2018; the spring session will take place Monday, April 16, through Friday, April 20, 2018. Tuition is $200 per child and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Partial scholarships are available. Registration packets are available online and at BHS’ main shelter. For more information, contact Lizzy Brown at


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Thomas Coen to judge Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Thomas Coen. Photo courtesy Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

New York City — Great Barrington, Massachusetts, resident Thomas Coen will be among the judges of the 142nd annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Monday, Feb. 12, and Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. This will his first Westminster judging assignment and he will officiate over several breeds during the daytime competitions held at Piers 92/94. Coen will judge the Berger Picards, Border Collies, Briards, Canaan Dogs, Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs on Monday. All best-of-breed winners he selects will go on to compete in the herding group finals to be held that evening at Madison Square Garden.

Coen became interested in the world of purebred dogs at the age of 12 and whelped his first Shetland Sheepdog litter in 1964 while still in high school on Long Island. Over the past 50 years, Coen has bred or owned seven national specialty best-of-breed winners; eight all-breed best-in-show winners; and more than 20 register-of-merit producers, including the breed’s all-time top sire. In 1970 he became a professional handler. In 2000 he retired from handling and received his judge’s license. He judges all Herding breeds and Dachshunds. Coen has judged best of breed at the Collie Club of America and American Shetland Sheepdog Association national specialties. He has judged and given seminars in Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Japan and Norway.


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Ventfort Hall to host ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ marionette show

Carl Sprague. Photo courtesy Ventfort Hall

Lenox — Carl Sprague will return to Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum for two marionette performances of the classic fairytale “The Emperor’s New Clothes” on Thursday, Dec. 28, and Saturday, Dec. 30, at 3:30 p.m. Audiences will have the opportunity to meet Sprague over holiday refreshments after the performances.

Sprague appears annually at Ventfort Hall and has been a puppeteer since childhood. He inherited a collection of 60 antique Czech marionettes, each about 8 inches tall and assembled by his great-grandfather Julius Hybler with purchased heads and handmade costumes. Sprague has been a set designer for such motion pictures as “The Royal Tenenbaums” and Martin Scorsese’s “The Age of Innocence,” as well as for theater productions by Shakespeare & Company and others.

Admission is $15 for adults, $7 for children ages 4–12 and free for children ages 3 and under. Children must be accompanied by adults. For more information or to make reservations, contact Ventfort Hall at (413) 637-3206.



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