Member Press Releases

Construct Presents Annual Cold Weather Benefit Variety Show

Great Barrington, Mass. – January 14 – Construct presents Warm up the Winter, an annual benefit Variety Show to raise money for Fuel Assistance. The show is co-hosted by the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, and will take place on Monday, February 10th, 2020. 

“We are delighted with the talent that has stepped forward for this years’ show, in addition to returning acts, there are two exciting dance sets and some new bands. We are planning a fun and fast paced event”, stated Construct’s board president, Elizabeth Rosenberg.

The annual show is a highlight of the local winter season and features well known Berkshire Artists. The Sunday Strummers ukulele band will play pre-show in the lobby as people gather. Construct board member Barney Stein will emcee, and the song “Warm up the Winter” written and composed by Joe Rose will open the event. This year’s show will include Youth Alive (drum and dance band from Pittsfield), Alan Chartock & the Berkshire Ramblers (Chartock’s roots band), Tumo Kohrs, a well-known duo, The Spartones from Monument Mountain Regional High School, the Olga Dunn Dance Company. The Wanda Houston Band will close the evening. 

Construct’s Mission is to “Change and save lives through housing options and a continuum of related services”. According to Jane Ralph, Construct’s Executive Director, “Warm up the Winter provides funds for the challenges that colder weather presents for people who have higher barriers to safety and sustainability. In addition to helping with increased fuel costs, the funds help with cold weather emergencies such as burst pipes or dead batteries which can have a huge impact on a household.”

To purchase tickets contact the Mahaiwe at: www.mahaiwe.org or call 413-528-0100

Co-Sponsors of the event are: Berkshire South Regional Community Center, Berkshire United Way, CHP, Fairview Hospital, Railroad Street Youth Project, and VIM.

The Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire and Berkshire Housing Development Corporation Close Financing for Bentley Apartments Affordable Housing / 100 Bridge Street, Great Barrington Construction Beginning January 2020

Great Barrington, MA — January 14 — The Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire (CDCSB), and Co-sponsor / developer Berkshire Housing Development Corporation, announce the closing on all financing for its Bentley Apartments affordable housing development at 100 Bridge Street, Great Barrington. The project provides 45 new affordable apartments for families with incomes of up to approximately $53,000, in the core of downtown on the Housatonic River. Construction has commenced with the site work for the initial building. Apartments will be available by late spring 2021.  

The closing signifies the completion of the complex funding process from 14 separate local, state, federal and private funding sources including: Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, MassHousing / Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Great Barrington Community Preservation Funds, Berkshire Bank, Federal Home Loan Bank Boston, Redstone Equity Partners, TD Bank, Dorfman Capital, and the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation. “This was a very complicated closing, given the challenges of the site,” said Timothy Geller, CDCSB Executive Director. “We are especially grateful to Mass. DHCD for their commitment and support through this process.”

Bentley Apartments is meeting the growing challenge of affordable housing that faces 40% of the working families in the southern Berkshires, and helps address our slowing regional economic growth. The 45 apartments include twelve 1-bedroom units, twenty-two 2-bedroom units, and eleven 3-bedroom units, with universal wheelchair access. The project also includes a 1-acre restored Riverfront walk along the Housatonic River.

“Bentley Apartments exemplifies community-centered, low-carbon-footprint development,” said Timothy Geller, CDCSB Executive Director. “It provides high quality, extremely energy efficient units with walkable access to jobs, services, shopping, cultural amenities, Berkshire Community College, parks, houses of worship and Town Hall.”

The Bentley project team includes: CDCSB, co-sponsor/developer and management agent Berkshire Housing Development Corporation, MBL Housing and Development, Dietz & Company Architects, Foresight Land Services, Furrow Engineering, Stockman and Associates, Saloomey Construction, site contractor DR Billings and the legal team of Nolan Sheehan Patten, LLP of Boston.

The CDCSB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating job opportunities, promoting economic development, and building low-moderate income housing in the southern Berkshires. In collaboration with other local organizations, CDCSB has helped build over 60 affordable housing units, leveraged over $36 million in private and public funding for south Berkshire County and has a current development pipeline of 114 new affordable housing units.

As a nonprofit organization, CDCSB actively seeks support for its many ongoing projects and programs. To make a donation or for further information about CDCSB, please visit cdcsb.org or call 413-528-7788.

Berkshire Housing Development Corporation brings to this project its successful, 45+ year history of creating and improving the quality of life for the people of Berkshire County, through the creation of affordable housing, property management, and community development. Berkshire Housing has created over 950 units of quality affordable rental units across the county, constructed and sold 110 homes for first-time homebuyers and renovated over 1,000 homes for low-income homeowners throughout the county and southern Vermont. BHDC also administers rental and housing assistance programs for the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. Through its subsidiary Berkshire Housing Services Inc, it manages over 815 homes and apartments.    

Clark Art Institute to Broadcast London National Theatre’s “Present Laughter”

Williamstown, Mass. — Noël Coward’s provocative comedy Present Laughter, starring Andrew Scott (BBC’s Sherlock, Fleabag), airs at the Clark Art Institute on Saturday, January 25, at 1 pm.

As star actor Garry Essendine prepares to embark on an overseas tour, his colorful life is in danger of spiraling out of control. Engulfed by an escalating identity crisis as his many and various relationships compete for his attention, Garry’s few remaining days at home are a chaotic whirlwind of love, sex, panic, and soul searching.

With a slew of five-star reviews, this updated production of Noël Coward’s classic play presents a giddy and modern reflection on fame, desire, and loneliness. This HD broadcast of Present Laughter was captured live from The Old Vic in London, with Matthew Warchus directing.


Tickets are $18 ($16 for Clark members) and can be purchased at clarkart.edu or by phoning 413 458 0524. All ticket sales are nonrefundable. 

The nextNational Theatre Live broadcast is All About Eve, starring Lily James and Gillian Anderson, and airing on Saturday, February 8, at 1 pm.

ABOUT THE CLARK

The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 275,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.

The Clark, which has a three-star rating in the Michelin Green Guide, is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Its 140-acre campus includes miles of hiking and walking trails through woodlands and meadows, providing an exceptional experience of art in nature. Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm; open daily in July and August. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. Free admission is available through several programs, including First Sundays Free; a local library pass program; EBT Card to Culture; and Blue Star Museums. For more information on these programs and more, visit clarkart.edu or call 413 458 2303.

Berkshire Grown Produces Winter Farmers Markets

Berkshire Grown’s Winter Farmers Market in Great Barrington features the freshest locally grown and produced foods and gifts, including fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, breads, preserved foods, plus the yummiest grilled sausages and egg sandwiches. These popular community markets take place on Saturdays in winter all the way through April at the Monument Valley Regional Middle School. Each market runs from 10 am to 2 pm and shoppers can find their favorite farmers, food producers, and crafters among the more than 60 vendors. Join us for food, friends, farmers, and loads of fun on January 18, February 15, March 21, and April 18.

The winter markets feature fun activities for kids, food for lunch, and live music. Admission is free and SNAP/EBT is accepted at all markets. Thanks to our market sponsors, SNAP dollars will doubled at all of the Berkshire Grown Winter Market! Berkshire Grown’s indoor farmers markets showcase the array of seasonal bounty of apples, potatoes, carrots, beets, winter squash, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and a variety of winter greens — all grown on local farms. Plus there will be the freshest eggs, chicken, lamb, grass fed pork and beef, cheeses, jams, pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, honey, and delicious baked goods.

“Every dollar shoppers spend at a farmers market grows the local food economy, puts money directly into a farmer’s pocket, and keeps those farmers farming,” says Margaret Moulton, Berkshire Grown’s executive director.

Major sponsors of the Winter Farmers Markets include Jane Iredale Skincare Makeup, Lee Bank, Storey Pubishing, and the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives at Williams College.

In addition, Berkshire Grown is grateful for generous support from the Ed Herrington Inc., Berkshire Property Agents, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, Rolling Rock Salt, the Center for Environmental Studies at Williams College, Mountain One, and the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce.

Berkshire Grown supports and promotes local agriculture as a vital part of the Berkshire community, economy, and landscape; its mission is to “Keep farmers farming!” Through events, workshops, promotions, advocacy, and education highlighting locally grown and produced food, Berkshire Grown helps to create a thriving local food economy. For more information, go to berkshiregrown.org or call 413.528.0041.

BCC to host Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service Event

Pittsfield, Mass. — Berkshire Community College (BCC) plans to honor one of America’s greatest heroes by giving back to the community at its annual Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service event – taking place in the Connector building at BCC’s main campus on Monday, January 20.

The National Day of Service event begins at 8:30 a.m. with registrations and a light breakfast. Then, from 9:00-9:45 a.m. there will be welcome remarks by President Ellen Kennedy and a keynote address by Dr. Eden-Reneé Hayes, Dean of Equity and Inclusion and Associate Professor of Psychology at Bard College at Simon’s Rock.

Volunteers will be then sent out into the community to build with Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, play Bingo with veterans at Soldier On, create Valentine’s Day cards for the elderly and write thank you letters to active service members at the First United Methodist Church, play with children at the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center or join the family feud fun at the Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires.

The event will conclude at 12:00 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church on Fenn Street in Pittsfield with a community lunch hosted by Harvest Table in the Berkshires, shared by all volunteers and fellow community members.

FORUM credit is available for BCC students for attending the keynote and the community volunteering.

People interested in volunteering on this day are asked to please register in advance at www.berkshirecc.edu/mlk or contact Sarah Offenbach, BCC’s Career Center Coordinator, at careers@berkshirecc.edu or (413) 236-1611.

About Berkshire Community College

Berkshire Community College (BCC) is a public, fully accredited, community college offering associate degree and certificate programs, as well as various other educational opportunities, primarily to the residents of Berkshire County and surrounding areas. Visit BCC online at www.berkshirecc.edu.

Berkshire Waldorf School Announces January Open House and “Meet the First Grade Teachers” Event

Great Barrington, Mass. – January 13 – Berkshire Waldorf School (formerly Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School) announces January events for prospective parents including a classroom tour and open house Thursday, January 16, from 9-11am, at the school, 35 West Plain Road, Great Barrington. This free community event includes a peek into classes in progress for students from PreK (2s and 3s) through eighth grade.

The school will also host a special “Meet the First Grade Teachers” event Saturday, January 18 from 10am to 12pm on the school campus. Current and prospective families and interested community members are invited to meet 2020-21 first grade class teacher Safina Alessandra and first grade subject teachers in music, language, biodynamic farming, movement and handwork, to learn more about how first grade at  Berkshire Waldorf meets children’s curiosity, imagination and active learning. Students are ready for Berkshire Waldorf School first grade in Fall 2020 if they turn 6 by June 1. Families can register for free childcare during the meeting by contacting Admissions Director Robyn Coe at admissions@berkshirewaldorfschool.org or 413-528-4015 x.106. 

At Berkshire Waldorf School, as in most Waldorf schools worldwide, grade school class teachers practice “looping,” moving through the grade school curriculum with their classes, and building strong, long-term relationships, for up to eight years. Berkshire Waldorf School is now accepting student applications for the 2020-21 school year. Application deadline is February 1.

BWS’s Waldorf curriculum integrates academic excellence with movement, music, outdoor learning and the arts. The school has been preparing students to achieve their full potential for almost 50 years, earning BWS “Best School in the Berkshires” accolades for the past seven consecutive years. Berkshire Waldorf School is one of over 1,000 international Waldorf schools, part of the fastest-growing independent school movement in the world, and offers sliding scale tuition and generous scholarships for students based on need.

Berkshire Bach Presents The Organ Masters: Bach, Louprette and Stauffer

Renee Anne Louprette

The Berkshire Bach Society presents acclaimed organist Renée Anne Louprette in a recital of music by J.S. Bach in its annual Organ Masters series at 2pm on Saturday, February 8th at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House in Housatonic. This year’s concert comes with a bonus: Louprette’s husband, distinguished musicologist and Bach specialist George B. Stauffer, shares the spotlight and provides insight into Bach’s organ music, introducing the individual works on the program and tracing the development of Bach’s style. The concert promises to be a special experience, both auditory and intellectual, and showcases the beautiful 1893 Johnson and Son organ that is truly a hidden gem of the Berkshires. 

George B. Stauffer

Louprette has been hailed by The New York Times as “one of New York’s finest organists,” and has an active international performance and recording career. Her program includes four of the Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes, BWV 651–668 that she recorded on the Metzler Organ, Trinity College, Cambridge, in 2014. The recording was named a classical music Critic’s Choice by The New York Times. Other works on the program include the rarely-heard Pastorella, BWV 590, the Prelude and Fugue in D minor, BWV 549a, the Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 537, and the Allegro from the Concerto in C Major (“Il grosso mogul”), BWV 594, that Bach transcribed from the original Concerto for Violin in D Major, RV 208 by Antonio Vivaldi.

Stauffer is the author of several well-regarded books including J.S. Bach: The Mass in B Minor and The World of Baroque Music, and is currently at work on a book analyzing Bach’s organ music. He is the rare scholar who has also had a performance career, studying organ at Juilliard and serving as university organist and chapel music director at Columbia University. Thus, he knows whereof he speaks—and our audience is the beneficiary.   

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear Louprette and Stauffer at the UU Meeting House. Tickets are $25, and $20 for Berkshire Bach Society members, online and at the door. Admission is free for children under 18 and students with ID. A reception follows the concert. Call ahead to reserve handicapped parking. For more information, visit www.berkshirebach.org.  

The Berkshire Bach Society’s season-long media sponsors are WMHT and NEPR/New England News Network.

CHP Names Karen Johnson as HR Director

Great Barrington, Mass. – Community Health Programs has named Karen Johnson as director of human resources for the countywide healthcare network.

Karen Johnson

Johnson has more than 20 years of leadership experience in human resources, primarily in the healthcare sector, most recently at First Choice Health Centers in East Hartford, Conn. She previously held human resources positions at JGS Lifecare Corp. and with CIGNA insurance company’s health care division.

Johnson has expertise in employee development, engagement and retention, workplace inclusivity and employee coaching.

Johnson is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and she also holds certification in Culture of Safety from ECRI Institute.

She earned her MBA at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, and resides in North Granby, Conn.

BFAIR Celebrates Selection as a Stop & Shop Community Bag Program Beneficiary

North Adams, Mass. – December 26 – BFAIR has been selected as a beneficiary of the Stop & Shop Community Bag Program for the month of January. The Stop & Shop Community Bag Program, which launched in May 2019, is a reusable bag program that facilitates community support with the goal to make a difference in the communities where shoppers live and work. BFAIR was selected as the January beneficiary of the program by store leadership at the Stop & Shop located at 876 State Road, North Adams, MA.

BFAIR will receive a $1 donation every time the $2.50 reusable Community Bag is purchased at this location during January, unless otherwise directed by the customer through the Giving Tag attached to the bag.  “We are excited to participate in this program.  It’s a win-win for BFAIR and the community; supporting BFAIR programs and services and helping the environment by supporting the reusable bag initiative”, said Rich Weisenflue, BFAIR’s CEO. 

For more information on the Stop & Shop Community Bag Program, visit stopandshop.bags4mycause.com

About BFAIR

Since 1994, BFAIR providing adult family care (AFC), residential, in-home clinical services, employment and day services for adults and children with developmental disabilities, acquired brain injury, autism and homecare services for older adults. 

History Talk Replay: “Coming to Terms with Colonial America: Another Look at Natives and Other Early Americans”

The Bidwell House Museum, in collaboration with the Monterey Community Center, is excited to again present the off-season program “History Talk Replay”.  Join friends and neighbors at the Monterey Community Center on one Sunday afternoon in January, February and March to view a broadcast of one of our popular summer History Talks.  First up on Sunday January 12 at 1pm is a talk from 2019 titled Coming to Terms with Colonial America: Another Look at Natives and Other Early Americans.   The History Talk Replay series is free, but donations are welcome.

Scholarly study of Native Americans before ca. 1800 has flourished recently, extending our knowledge of Indian peoples during that era well beyond Squanto and Pocahontas. Nonetheless, to a surprising degree, when talking about the continent’s first peoples we still use language that would be familiar to William Bradford and Capt. John Smith. Is thinking about our loaded vocabulary an exercise in “political correctness”? Or is it simply “correctness”?

Born and raised in Minnesota, James Merrell is the Lucy Maynard Salmon Professor of American history at Vassar College. Recipient of several fellowships, including from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEH, he is the author of The Indians’ New World: Catawbas and their Neighbors From European Contact Through the Era of Removal and Into the American Woods: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier. Both books won the Bancroft Prize; Into the American Woods was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

The Bidwell House Museum is located at 100 Art School Road, Monterey, MA. The Museum is closed for the season but will re-open on May 25, 2020.  The gardens and grounds are open for free, year round.  For more information, please call 413-528-6888 or go to www.bidwellhousemuseum.org.