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Bits & Bytes: ‘Bach at New Year’s;’ West Stockbridge Chamber Players winter concert; marionettes at Ventfort Hall

The concert marks Berkshire Bach Ensemble Music Director Kenneth Cooper’s final performance with the ensemble, as he will be stepping down after having led it for 26 years.

Berkshire Bach Society to present ‘Bach at New Year’s’

Kenneth Cooper at the Troy Music Hall in Troy, New York, on Jan. 1, 2015. Photo: Anthony Tassarotti
Kenneth Cooper at the Troy Music Hall in Troy, New York, on Jan. 1, 2015. Photo: Anthony Tassarotti

Great Barrington — On Saturday, Dec. 31, at 6 p.m., Berkshire Bach Society will present its annual “Bach at New Year’s” concert featuring all six of Bach’s Brandenburg concerti at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center.

The concert marks Berkshire Bach Ensemble Music Director Kenneth Cooper’s final performance with the ensemble, as he will be stepping down after having led it for 26 years. Cooper will join the ensemble on the harpsichord and Emerson String Quartet founding member Eugene Drucker will play violin. Other performers will include Marjorie Bagley and Joel Pitchon on violin; Ronald Gorevic on violin and viola; Liuh-Wen Ting and Irena McGuffee on viola; Roberta Cooper, Lucy Bardo and Alistair MacRae on cello; Peter Weitzner on bass; Aldo Abreu on recorder; Judith Mendenhall and Alison Hale on flute; Marsha Heller, Meg Owens and Gerard Reuter on oboes and English horn; Stephen Walt on bassoon; Gerald Serfass on trumpet; Allan Dean and Neil Mueller on horns; and Ben Harms on percussion.

Tickets to the performance are $41–$86. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call the Mahaiwe box office at (413) 528-0100.

–E.E.

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West Stockbridge Chamber Players to hold winter concert

Catherine Hudgins. Photo: Tiziana Rozzo.
Catherine Hudgins. Photo: Tiziana Rozzo.

West Stockbridge — On Thursday, Dec. 29, at 6.p.m. at the West Stockbridge Congregational Church, the West Stockbridge Chamber Players will perform a benefit concert for the Campaign to Restore the West Stockbridge 1854 Town Hall. The concert will include works by Max Reger, Johannes Brahms and Ernő Dohnányi will feature the Players’ artistic director Catherine Hudgins on clarinet, Jason Snider on horn, Sheila Fiekowsky on violin, Mary Ferrillo on viola, Jennifer Lucht on cello and Sayuri Miyamoto on piano. Tickets are $35. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or call (413) 232-5055.

–E.E.

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Ventfort Hall to host ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ marionette show

Carl Sprague.
Carl Sprague.

Lenox — Puppeteer Carl Sprague will return to Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum for two marionette performances of the classic fairytale “Jack and the Beanstalk” on Wednesday, Dec. 28, and Friday, Dec. 30, at 3:30 pm. Audiences will have the opportunity to meet Sprague over holiday refreshments after the performances.

Sprague, who has appeared annually at Ventfort Hall, 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. Hybler’s legacy also includes two marionette theaters. 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 ages 3 and under. Children must be accompanied by adults. For more information or to reserve tickets, call Ventfort Hall at (413) 637-3206.

–E.E.

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