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Rogovoy Report 12/24/21

As one might expect, there are not a lot of live performances happening this holiday weekend, but there are a few that should not be overlooked:

West Stockbridge Chamber Players Winter Concert

The West Stockbridge Chamber Players present their annual Winter Concert at the West Stockbridge Congregational Church on Monday at 6pm. A benefit for the church, the concert features BSO violinist Sheila Fiekowsky, BSO violist Daniel Getz, and pianist Brett Hodgdon performing Aaron Copland’s Sonata for Violin and Piano; Bohuslav Martinů’s “Three Madrigals for Violin and Viola”; and Rebecca Clarke’s Sonata for Viola and Piano. (December 27)

A ‘Cozy Evening’ with Dar Williams at the Stationery Factory

Singer-songwriter and author Dar Williams will present what is being billed as a “cozy evening” at the Stationery Factory in Dalton, Mass., on Tuesday, December 28, at 7:30. Just a few weeks ago Williams released her latest album, “I’ll Meet You Here” -- her first in six years, featuring songs touching on relationships, climate change, body issues and small-town xenophobia, all set in Williams’s signature folk-pop arrangements. Williams, who calls the Hudson Valley home, is joined on the album by a few Hudson Valley all-stars, including Bob Dylan guitarist Larry Campbell and bassist Gail Ann Dorsey, best known for her work with David Bowie and Gang of Four.

Dar’s most recent book is called “What I Found in a Thousand Towns: A Traveling Musician’s Guide to Rebuilding America’s Communities—One Coffee Shop, Dog Run, and Open-Mike Night at a Time.” Drawing on her own travels and the work of urban theorists, Williams offers real solutions for how to rebuild declining communities.

Berkshire Bach’s Annual New Year’s Concerts

And looking ahead to next weekend, the Berkshire Bach Society presents its annual “Bach at New Year’s” concerts three times around our region next weekend, starting Friday, December 31, at 6pm, at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Mass., continuing at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Saturday, January 1, at 3pm; and concluding at the Academy of Music in Northampton, Mass., on Sunday, January 2, at 3pm. Berkshire Bach music director and nine-time Grammy Award winner Eugene Drucker, a cofounder of the acclaimed Emerson String Quartet, will lead the Berkshire Bach Ensemble in performances of all six “Brandenburg” Concerti.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to talk about some of the best books I read and best movies and TV shows I watched in 2021.

Bob Dylan fans are already familiar with Michael Gray’s work, as he was one of the very first (if not the first) to make the study of Bob Dylan a serious pursuit (some say he pioneered “Dylan studies,” and I have no argument with that). Yet Gray eschews an academic approach – rather, he works the middle ground, bringing a vast knowledge of literary and musical history to his subject while never sacrificing the joy that listening to Dylan brings. Like Dylan himself, Gray’s writing always has one foot in the “serious” world and the other in entertainment; he is an inventive and at times astonishing writer, himself adept at brilliant metaphors and turns of phrase. His latest book is “Outtakes on Bob Dylan: Selected Writings 1967-2021,” and it is must-reading for anyone looking to get a wide view across time of the Nobel Prize-winning rock poet.

Seth Rogovoy is editor of the Rogovoy Report, available at rogovoyreport.com

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.