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Rogovoy Report 12/20/19

This weekend’s cultural highlights in our region include blues, avant-garde public sound art, folk music, chamber music … plus a whole lot more.

Unsilent Night, Phil Kline’s ethereal electronic soundscape, debuted in NYC in 1992 and has since spread to over 130 cities across five continents. Kline composed the public-art piece to be played by the audience on boomboxes and smart phone sound rigs carried through city streets. Each participant is given one of 4 composed tracks – either on a cassette tape boombox or a digital sound device -- which together creates an ever-morphing, unique sound each time it’s performed, as the landscape – buildings, trees, the ground, the crowd – always has an impact on how the piece is heard. I’ve done it in the past, and the effect is really phenomenal, both in sound terms as well as in the emotional experience of creating a kind of collective symphony-by-crowd.

This year marks the fourth consecutive presentation of Unsilent Night in Columbia County, which since 2016 has been set in downtown Hudson. New this year, Unsilent Night leaves its urban setting for the idyllic landscape at Art Omi Sculpture & Architecture Park in nearby Ghent, where contemporary artworks, outdoor sculptures, snowy paths and wooded areas will help create a unique sound for participants or those listening to a live stream on radio.  On top of all of that, it’s free. That’s Unsilent Night at Art Omi, Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

Afterwards, if you’re looking to warm up with some nighttime entertainment indoors, you can head over to the Egremont Barn in South Egremont, Mass., where the Tangiers Blues Band will keep things rocking from 8 to 11. The New York City-based outfit includes musicians who have played with Dangerman, Echobrain, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and the Gregg Allman Band.

Looking ahead through to the end of the year, The Suitcase Junket and the brilliant, witty and provocative indie singer-songwriter Carsie Blanton perform a double bill at Club Helsinki Hudson, on Saturday, December 28, at 9 p.m. The Hudson Valley’s own Felice Brothers, our leading Americana outfit in the style of the pioneering group The Band, ring out the old and ring in the new on New Year’s Eve at Helsinki Hudson, helped along by that fair city’s favorite son, the one and only Tommy Stinson, formerly of the Replacements, Soul Asylum, and Guns ‘n Roses, but heard to best effect as his own self.

The West Stockbridge Chamber Players perform their annual Winter Concert at the West Stockbridge Congregational Church on Monday, December 30, at 6 p.m. The performance will feature music by Bruch, Khachaturian, Schumann, and Dohnányi. 

Eugene Drucker returns to lead the Berkshire Bach Ensemble in three performances of the complete Brandenburg Concerti for the Berkshire Bach Society’s popular Bach at New Year’s celebration. Concerts take place on Monday, December 30, at 3 p.m. at the Academy of Music in Northampton, Mass.; Tuesday, December 31, at 6 p.m. at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Mass.; and Wednesday, January 1, at 3 p.m. at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, NY. This is Eugene Drucker’s third season as Music Director for Bach at New Year’s, and his first leading the orchestra in performances of all six Brandenburgs. Drucker, of course is a founding member of the Emerson String Quartet.

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