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Arts & Culture

Rogovoy Report 9/24/21

The cultural highlights for our region this weekend include roots music, chamber music, baroque music, jazz, a new dance musical … plus a whole lot more.

Freshgrass, the annual roots-music festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams, takes place this weekend, today through Sunday. Artists include Sam Bush, Dom Flemons, Alison Brown, Aoife O'Donovan, Steep Canyon Rangers, Amy Helm, Darol Anger, Martha Redbone, Bela Fleck, and Trombone Shorty. You can also catch Trombone Shorty this weekend on Sunday at UPAC in Kingston, N.Y., at 7pm.

At the opposite end of the Berkshires for MASS MoCa, it’s also a weekend of roots music at the Egremont Barn, in South Egremont, on Saturday night at 7:30 featuring the Wildmans, who come from the hills of Floyd, Virginia, the heart of the Appalachian mountain music tradition. This family-based group, featuring Eli Widman on mandolin and Aila Wildman on fiddler, along with banjoist Victor Furtado, winner of the 2019 Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo, is on the cutting-edge of latest renaissance in Americana, bluegrass, and folk.

Speaking of roots music, on Saturday in Sheffield, Mass., author Roselle Kline Chartock will discuss her latest book, “The Jewish World of Elvis Presley,” at the Bushnell-Sage Library at 2pm. In her new book, Roselle Chartock reveals a little-known side of the King, in particular, Presley’s deep and lifelong affinity to Jews as well as to his own Jewish heritage. Yes, you heard that right.

The Aston Magna Chamber Players will perform two concerts featuring masterpieces of the late baroque this weekend, at Hudson Hall in Hudson, N.Y., on Saturday at 7pm and at Saint James Place in Great Barrington, Mass., on Sunday at 3pm. Works by J.S. Bach, Marais, Rameau and Leclair will be performed on period instruments by Edson Scheid and Daniel Stepner on baroque violins; Laura Jeppesen on viola da gamba; Catherine Liddell on theorbo; and Michael Sponseller on harpsichord.

This Sunday at 3pm, Trio Virado! kicks off the fall season for Clarion Concerts Leaf Peeper Concert series with a performance at Hudson Hall, featuring flutist Amy Porter, violist Jaime Amador, and guitarist João Luiz, performing works by Ravel, Piazzola, Francesco Molino and Leo Brouwer.

On Saturday at 5pm, the Arts Alive program at Chesterwood in Stockbridge, Mass., presents a literary reading with Brendan Mathews and Nathan McClain in the historic home’s beautiful studio garden. Brendan Mathews, who lives in Lenox and teaches at Bard College, is the author of This Is Not a Love Song, which was longlisted for the Massachusetts Book Awards and shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Nathan McClain is a poet, editor, and educator living in Amherst, Mass, and the author of Scale and Previously Owned. McClain teaches creative writing and African American Literary Arts at Hampshire College and he serves as Poetry Editor of The Massachusetts Review.

Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Mass., presents the world premiere of “A Crossing - A Dance Musical,” created in association with Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, running tonight through October 17. Written by Mark St. Germain, the story focuses on a group of migrants crossing the southern border. The dance musical features original songs and vocal arrangements by Zoe Sarnak alongside traditional Mexican folk song arrangements, with choreography by Joshua Bergasse and Alberto Lopez.

The trio of pianist Armen Donelian, bassist David Clark and percussionist George Schuller will bring their distinctive jazz to the Hilltop Barn at Roeliff Jansen Park in Hillsdale, N.Y., on Sunday at 3pm.

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