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December 2017

WDIJW? “Alma”

One of the most macabre, yet most lovely shorts we’ve come across. And just right for a cold and snowy weekend at the end of the year!

Alma from Rodrigo Blaas on Vimeo.

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Will Call #66: Bach At New Year’s and Travis Daly on “A Christmas Carol”

Longtime Berkshire Bach Ensemble member Eugene Drucker takes on directorship of “Bach At New Year’s”

Eugene Drucker takes the directorship of Berkshire Bach’s time-honored and celebratory "Bach at New Year’s"; submitted image.
Eugene Drucker takes the directorship of Berkshire Bach’s time-honored and celebratory “Bach at New Year’s”; submitted image.

Today is Wednesday December 20, 2017 and you’re listening to Episode #66 of Will Call, our final episode of the show for the year. I’m your host, Jason Velázquez, and I thank you not only for tuning in today, but for being such a fine, fine audience throughout 2017. It has been my treat to share with you news and interviews from the performing arts universe here in the Berkshires. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to find out where 2018 will lead us.

I am so pleased to announce that this episode is sponsored by one of the newest supporters of the Greylock Glass, The Spirit Shop of Williamstown, located at 280 Cole Avenue, purveyors of fine wines, a masterfully curated selection of domestic and imported beers, local hard ciders, and a full range of liquors—if you check your cabinet and find your holiday entertaining supplies lacking, a trip to the Spirit Shop, might just be the solution you’re looking for.

 

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At the top of the show, we heard a clip from Rondeau, one of six contradanses by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by the Berkshire Bach Ensemble, at their 2015 extravaganza, “Bach at New Year’s — A Blast of Brass,” under the direction of Kenneth Cooper. This season inaugurates a season of change for the Berkshire Bach Society. Emerson String Quartet founder and internationally renowned soloist, Eugene Drucker takes the directorship of Berkshire Bach’s time-honored and celebratory “Bach at New Year’s”, as well as performing as featured soloist with the Berkshire Bach Ensemble.

We’re joined this episode by Paula Hatch, Executive Director of the Berkshire Bach Society, to talk about this year’s Bach at New Year’s event and to look forward to 2018.

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol, at the Berkshire Theatre GroupFirst though, we had a brief conversation with Travis Daly of Berkshire Theatre Group who directs their beloved community production of A Christmas Carol again this year. And again, tickets are still available for this beloved staging of A Christmas Carol at berkshiretheatregroup.org.

That was a portion of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major, played by the Berkshire Bach Ensemble during their 2016 Bach at New Year’s. All six Brandenburg Concerto’s were performed for last year’s holiday spectacular, the final such with Kennth Cooper as director before his retirement. With me now is Berkshire Bach Society executive director Paula Hatch to describe this 2017 event and to fill us in about what’s known of the 2018 season.

Head on over to http://berkshirebach.org/ for tickets and more information. Well, that’s our show for this week. I’ve been your host, Jason Velazquez, and again, I do thank you for listening today, and throughout 2017. I hope you’ll join me next year for another great season covering the performing arts in the Greylock corridor. Take care!

 

Bach at New Year’s Program 2017-2018

Mozart: Divertimento in D Major, K. 136

William Boyce: Symphony No. 1 in B flat Major for oboes and strings.

Purcell: Chacony and Fantasias; Cebell and Fanfare; The Faerie Queen Prelude and Celebration

William Boyce: Symphony No. 1 in B flat Major for oboes and strings.

Mozart: Violin Concerto in A Major — K. 219 (the Turkish – Drucker soloist)

Bartok: Duos for Two Violins, Sz. 98: New Year’s Greetings

Telemann: Concerto in D Major for Four Violins — TWV 40:202

J.S. Bach: Contrapunctus #9 from The Art of the Fugue.

Mozart-Bach: Five fugues for String Quartet from The Well-Tempered Clavier

J.S. Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C Major — BWV 1066

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The Cornbread Cafe #6: INTERVIEW with Janie Barnett, too many new tracks to list!

Janie Barnett discusses her gracefully drifting release, You See this River.

Janie Barnett; submitted photo.
Janie Barnett; submitted photo.

 

Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #6—of the Cornbread Cafe. I am the mongrel, and I will be your waiter today. Cazh and cozy, we’re located at the five-corners of Blues, Americana, Folk, Country, and Gospel. And you can sometimes catch an express to Rock ’n’ Roll at the bus stop across the way. We hope to become your new new fave hang for the best in a sprawling menu of American Roots music.

 

Click the play button on this audio player to hear the complete interview with Janie Barnett.

 

This is episode six of the Cornbread Cafe, and do I have a special treat treat for you this time around. Actually I have a whole hour of special treats, as always, but one of them is especially rare and wonderful. We have with us Janie Barnett, who if she were the last Americana musician to be minted in this world, would be give us a perfect last lingering chord in the genre.

Artists Featured in this Episode:

Janie Barnett, “You See This River,” You See this River
Janie Barnett, “Better Times Are Coming,” You See this River
Molly Pinto Madigan, “Seven Tears,” The Cup Overflows
Bees Deluxe, “Industrial (espionage),single
Gus McKay, “Married a Snake,Salt Flat Mojo Blues
Heather Maloney, “Let Me Stay,” by Just Enough Sun
Almond & Olive, “We Will,” Standing at the Precipice
Birds of Chicago, “American Flowers,” American Flowers
Janie Barnett, “Sweet Thursday,”  You See this River

Note: Artist links provide access directly to artists’ websites or social media homepages. All album links provide access to song or album purchase options, often through our affiliate programs with Apple Music or Amazon.com.

 

On her just released album, You See This River, Janie crafts stories dug out your family’s cedar trunks up in the attic, memories traced in carbon copy from old letters in the shoebox in the back of the closet. Her ballads are painted in emotions as fresh as eternally wet paint. Her creations are woven from Words that seem like she could have teased them out of my own brain if I were an immeasurably more talented poet.

Some are Songs of stubbornly optimistic, inevitable love filtered through a self-knowledge even the most enlightened gurus would envy.

Some Songs echo the lives people who are really living their lives on the back stoops, in the kitchens, in bedrooms together in vulnerable companionship or the complex internal lives we’re living alone in our hearts and minds as we travel through our labors or little luxuries.

Penetrating and heartbreaking. Wise and reckless. True. Imagined. True anyway.

Janie Barnett thanks for being on the show!

(audio clip of our interview with Janie Barnett)

Upcoming Event

Janie Barnett, opening for Paula Cole
Saturday December 16, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.
The Center for Arts in Natick
info & tickets

Molly Pinto Madigan's 2017 release, The Cup Overflows, builds on her impressive songwriting and vocal skills with a heightened level of self-assurance that suits her musical direction.
Molly Pinto Madigan’s 2017 release, The Cup Overflows, builds on her impressive songwriting and vocal skills with a heightened level of self-assurance that suits her musical direction.

I think it’s about time that we all get a taste of the work that I know Janie can do, does do, and has done with Blue Room on this recent release “You See This River.” Before we do, though, I need to pause and explain that I had no idea just how engaging our conversation was going to be. I will confess right here and now that I was prepared to record for 20 minutes, keep the best 10, and share them with you. When I looked up at the clock and saw that a full 30 minutes had gone by, and realized that she had so many more stories and nuggets of wisdom to share, I made the decision to keep rolling tape and figure it out later.

And I think I’ve got it figured out, now. I’ve edited the entire conversation, keeping almost every syllable, and have made the entire talk available as bonus audio here in the show notes. Just look for the audio player below the first paragraph. You’ll want to hear everything Janie has to say. And to create the most powerful, most tempting incentive, I’m going to sprinkle jewels from our talk throughout the rest of the show. That way, you still get almost as much music as usual, AND you get an exclusive interview with one of Americana’s leading ladies.

Bees Deluxe Front: Conrad Warren, Allyn “Aldo” Dorr Back: Patrick Sanders, Carol Band photo courtesy Carol Band via Patch
Bees Deluxe
Front: Conrad Warren, Allyn “Aldo” Dorr
Back: Patrick Sanders, Carol Band
photo courtesy Carol Band via Patch

So let’s have two right now from Janie—One, a searching, buoyant rendition of Steven Foster’s “Better Times Are Coming” from 1862, but first the title track off this tuneful treasure trove, You See This River.

And THAT last number was “Seven Tears” off our old friend Molly Pinto Madigan’s very recent release The Cup Overflows. Before that, we heard Better Times Are Coming and the title track from You See This River, from the very phenomenal Janie Barnett and Blue Room. You can find purchase options for their most recent as well as prior releases in the “Artists Featured in this Episode” section, above.

After hearing Janie Barnett, you’re likely to ask yourself, “This is great, but how and where can I experience the magic live?” You’re in luck, because she has a couple shows coming up in the next couple of months, including a one-of-a-kind performance December 16 opening up for Paula Cole at the Center for Arts in Natick, Mass. If you’re anywhere in the Boston Metro neighborhood, you won’t want to miss what is sure to be a powerful evening of tunes.

Gus McKay; photo courtesy Gus McKay
Gus McKay; photo courtesy Gus McKay

Next course coming out of the kitchen is a sub-genre we have not explored much yet on the Cornbread Cafe—and that’s Acid Blues. Oh it’s true blue, but just a little bit gacked out. We’ll have a double shot that starts with a band I’ve been following since my days at the helm of the Mongrel’s Howl podcast, back in 2005. In fact, that’s why I was so grateful and honored that they responded to my note asking if they wanted to be part of this new show. Ever-gracious, they obliged, and YOU dear listener, reap the benefits of my association, I promise you that.

Also in this block, we’ll hear a deeper cut “Married a Snake,” off Gus McKay’s recent release, Salt Flat Mojo Blues. I don’t know if Gus would categorize his music as acid blues, but I’ll let you be the judge of whether it belongs in the same drawer as Bees Deluxe’s newest single, “Industrial (espionage)” right here on the Cornbread Cafe.

(audio clip of our interview with Janie Barnett)

Heather Maloney; photo courtesy heathermaloney.com
Heather Maloney; photo courtesy heathermaloney.com

That’s Janie Barnett talking about the need to wrangle, and ultimately reconcile time and creativity as responsibilities of family and paying gigs eat away at the leisurely time once spent waiting for the muse to show up with inspiration. In our extended conversation, Janie shares some deeply personal perspectives on subjects like family. I really encourage you to to listen to what was, for me, one of my most absorbing interviews ever. In fact, let’s have a listen to one of my favorite gems from our talk before we hear brandy new just released tracks from Heather Maloney, Almond & Olive, and Birds of Chicago.

We just heard the title track from the just released EP American Flowers, by Birds of Chicago, available through Signature Sounds. On a different podcast, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of sharing a long conversation with JT Nero who, along with Allison Russell, makes up the principle force of the group that’s been described as “secular gospel.” That identifier certainly seems to fit, doesn’t it? The affect some of their songs have on me definitely goes beyond simply my heart and mind.

Almond & Olive; submitted photo.
Almond & Olive; submitted photo.

Before that, we heard “We Will” off the new release from Almond & Olive. This duo, sometimes known simply as A&O, is comprised of singer-songwriters Natalie Alms and Ollie Davidson. The also call Chicago home, so if you think detect some shared musical DNA, you’re probably not wrong. The track comes from “Standing at the Precipice,” an album that came about less than two years after the two met in 2015.

And we started the set with another artist on the Signature Sounds label, Heather Maloney, who brought us “Let Me Stay,” from her latest effort, Just Enough Sun, which also features the instrumentation of Ryan Hommel.

You’ll be hearing plenty more cuts off each of these albums in the near future, probably just as soon as my heart recovers from the extreme emotional workout that triple of tunes put it through.

Birds of Chicago; submitted photo.
Birds of Chicago; submitted photo.

Before them, Janie Barnett gave us a deep look into the emotional dimensions of her own creative source material, and how motherhood instilled a sense of forgiveness in the artistic space she inhabits these days.

Let’s hear from Janie again as we work our way through dessert and coffee. She talks about the process of creating her new album, You See This River, one of the most consistent and structurally sound I’ve heard. She suggested we close out the show with a song she described as one of her more light-hearted compositions, “Sweet Thursday.” I think you’ll agree that it’s just the balm you need some days, these days.

(audio clip of our interview with Janie Barnett)

 

Janie Barnett; photo courtesy janiebarnett.com.
Janie Barnett; photo courtesy janiebarnett.com.

 

Well, that’s our show for the week. I know you won’t want to miss next weeks episode of the Cornbread Cafe, so I’d encourage you to subscribe through iTunes or Google Play Music—you’ll find the subscribe buttons on just about any page of our site. And when you subscribe, I’d be grateful if you left us a review—it really helps people discover us.

I’ve been your host, Jay Vee, aka the mongrel, and I thank you for listening. We’ll tuck into more heaping helpings of American Roots music next week. Take care.

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Will Call #65: The MCLA Allegrettos deep in a new season of harmony

Razor sharp a cappella and gospel group to give free performance

The MCLA Allegrettos; photo courtesy the Allegrettos, via Facebook.
The MCLA Allegrettos; photo courtesy the Allegrettos, via Facebook.

 

from publicity materials

Known for their powerhouse vocals, the MCLA Allegrettos are quickly becoming a name on the collegiate music scene. Focusing on complex vocals, rock solid technique, emotive nuances, and power; the Allegrettos deliver a sound that has no flats, avoids sharps, and only produces perfect harmony.

ADVERTISEMENT, The Spirit Shop, Williamstown, Massachusetts
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Allegrettos A Cappella Performance

Saturday, December 09 at 7:00 p.m.
SereniTea Cafe and Bar
303 Ashland Street, North Adams, Mass.
Free! More info.

In three short years the Allegrettos grew from a 10 person Christmas caroling group, to a thirty member, award winning ensemble that has opened for the likes of Craig Harris, The Sweetback Sisters, Blitz the Ambassador, and Regina Carter.

The purpose of the MCLA Allegrettos is to challenge its members in all aspects of performance, from learning vocals to developing a visually stimulating and entertaining performance to a variety of audience members. It also enriches the community by performing varying genres of music which therefore provides a sense of other musical cultures.

The Allegrettos began in the winter of 2009 as the Hoosings. Freshman J. Cottle had always wanted to go caroling and for the first time, found himself in the position to do so. Together with 9 other freshmen (Jessica Jean-Charles, Kate Moore, Lizzy Mullen, Shavonne Brown, Chantel Baptista, Paul Miranda, Quincy Goodwin, Ryan Howard and Joel Siskin) the Hoosings caroled all around campus. Since then the group has tripled in size, and now focuses on Holiday, A Capella, and Gospel music, and has performed over 30 times across the state. In 2011 they were finalists in the first season of Together In Song, and won 2nd place in the first annual Lenox Caroling Festival.

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Will Call #64: MCLA presents Tartuffe, Shakespeare & Co.’s 2018 line-up of Billy’s works

PLUS a sneak peek (well, more of a sneak listen) to our 1st place storyteller Jennifer Holey telling her tale about “Little Creatures” at the inaugural batch of the new Berkshire Yarn Mill’s live story event!

Sandy McKnight's Pop Clique provided welcome acoustic tunage for the first storytelling event of the new "Berkshire Yarn Mill," launched Wednesday night at SereniTea Café and Bar in North Adams.
Sandy McKnight’s Pop Clique provided welcome acoustic tunage for the first storytelling event of the new “Berkshire Yarn Mill,” launched Wednesday night at SereniTea Café and Bar in North Adams.

 

The Spirit Shop, 280 Cole Avenue, Williamstown, Massachusetts.
The Spirit Shop, 280 Cole Avenue, Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Today is Friday, December 1st, 2017, and you’re listening to Episode 64 of Will Call, here at the Greylock Glass. I’m your host, Jason Velazquez, and I have to say welcome to all our listeners, and thanks for tuning in. I am so pleased to announce that this episode is sponsored by the newest supporter of the Greylock Glass, The Spirit Shop of Williamstown, located at 280 Cole Avenue, purveyors of fine wines, a masterfully curated selection of domestic and imported beers, local hard ciders, and a full range of liquors—if you check your cabinet and find your holiday entertaining supplies lacking, a trip to the Spirit Shop, might just be the solution you’re looking for.

“Canon and Variation,” by Twin Musicom, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

This episode features two great conversations about Berkshires theatre, both performances that are being staged right now as well as productions that are coming up in 2018. We speak first with Laura Standley, Associate Professor, Theatre – Acting and Directing at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts about the 2017 / 2018 Season entitled, “We the People.” We explore Molière’s “Tartuffe,” which enjoys a much-anticipated opening this weekend at the Venable Theatre on The MCLA campus. The link to tickets and more information is, of course, in the shownotes.

We’re also thrilled to finally have our long-awaited conversation with Shakespeare & Company’s artistic Director, Allyn Burrows, who is feeling pretty pleased with the outcome of the 2017 season, his first at the 40 year old Lenox institution. We talk about how the 2018 line-up of Shakespeare works came together, and how developments in staging locations have generated new enthusiasm for outdoor performance. No amount of prying would get him to reveal other titles from next year’s roster, but he assures us that we won’t have to wait too much longer.

Some of you probably heard about the launch of the new Berkshire Yarn Mill storytelling project this past Wednesday, November 29th. Actually, I know some of you heard about it, because some of you were there. The Greylock Glass began this initiative to help promote live storytelling in North County, and our first monthly batch of yarns, spun at SereniTea Café and Bar in North Adams, was a huge success. We’ll hear a sampling from the winning story later, but right now, let’s go to our conversation with Laura Standley of MCLA’s Fine and Performing Arts Department.

 

Affiliate Link.
Affiliate Link.

“Tartuffe,” by Molière
Presented by the MCLA Department of Fine and Performing Arts
December 1 –10
Tickets

We speak about this complex work of satire with Laura Standley, Associate Professor, Theatre (Acting and Directing), who explained that this was a perfect choice for the 2017–2018 season, entitled, “We the People.”

 

 

 

Laura Standley, Associate Professor of Theatre—Acting and Directing; photo by Dennise Carranza.
Laura Standley,
Associate Professor of Theatre—Acting and Directing; photo by Dennise Carranza.

 

Laura Standley holds a BA in Theatre from University of Central Oklahoma and an MFA in Acting from University of California Irvine. She has studied under master teachers Robert Cohen, Dudley Knight, Annie Loui, Catherine Fitzmaurice, Ragnar Friedank, Joanna Merlin, Barney O’Hanlon, Lenard Petit, Ted Pugh, and Fern Sloan. Recent collaborations include Passage (work in progress) with Kickwheel Ensemble Theater, as well as Howard Barker’s Scenes From an Execution and David Ives’ The Liar with Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park. New York directing credits include Reckless Season (New Works Reading Series), Pump Boys and Dinettes, Lobby Hero, and Burn This, all with Ground Up Productions. Favorite academic directing credits include bobrauschenbergamerica,Romeo and Juliet, Mud and The Successful Life of 3 by Maria Irene Fornes, Angels in America,Hedda Gabler, and the punk rock version of Steven Berkoff’s Agamemnon.

 

Laura has taught at University of North Carolina – Charlotte, Stony Brook University, Chapman University, and University of California, Irvine. She is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Actors Equity, Voice and Speech Trainers Association, Association of Theatre Movement Educators, and the Michael Chekhov Organization. Laura is fascinated with the intersection of movement, action and the theatre experience. Her work incorporates classical theatre, body-based disciplines, and the use of dance choreography techniques in preparing performance. Laura continues to be inspired by this work in meaningful ways and is constantly looking for new forms of making theatre.

Thoughts on Shakespeare & Co.’s 40th season with Allyn Burrows…

…and a look forward to the 2018 line-up of Shakespeare works.

 

About Allyn Burrows

Allyn Burrows, Artistic Director at Shakespeare & Company, photo by Olivia Winslow.
Allyn Burrows, Artistic Director at Shakespeare & Company, photo by Olivia Winslow.

As Artistic Director of  Shakespeare & Company, The Tempest, God of Carnage, T.S. Eliot and his Love of Shakespeare, Or, King John, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry IV Pt 1, Measure for Measure, Betrayal, The House of Mirth, Love’s Labours Lost, Macbeth, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).

As Artistic Director of Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Allyn directed productions of Romeo & Juliet, Pericles, Jon Lipsky’s Living in Exile, Richard II, and The Tempest, and performances there included The Winter’s Tale, Henry VI Part 2, Henry VIII, Twelfth Night, King Lear, and Richard III. 

He recently performed in Can You Forgive Her (Huntington Theatre), Breaking the Code (Underground Railway Theatre), Shipwrecked (The Lyric Stage), Oceanside, The Seafarer, Pursuit of Happiness, and The Homecoming (Merrimack Repertory Theater), and Five by Tenn (Speakeasy Stage). The 2006 Elliot Norton Award recipient for The Homecoming, King Lear, and Five by Tenn, Allyn also received the 2011 IRNE Award for Breaking the Code. Off-Broadway credits include Bug, Killer Joe, Louis Slotin Sonata, Closetland, and The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd.

He has worked regionally at The Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, The American Conservatory Theatre, The Long Wharf Theatre, The Denver Center, and The Walnut St. Theatre. Television credits include The Broad Squad, Law and Order, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Against the Law, and on film in The Company Men, Julie & Julia, and Manchester by the Sea.

Learn more about Rosalind and other women who populate Shakespeare’s works.

Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare's Plays, by Tina Packer. Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare’s Plays, by Tina Packer (affiliate link). “Rosalind: A Biography of Shakespeare’s Immortal Heroine,” by Angela Thirlwell (affiliate link).

Macbeth
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Melia Bensussen
July 3 to August 5
Tina Packer Playhouse

A gripping tale of blind ambition and nefarious plotting by two of Shakespeare’s most notorious anti-heroes of all time, Macbeth is a deliciously shadowy thrill ride. When yearning and imagination collide in the darkest recesses of a passionate mind, there may be blood. If victims fall in the consumption of power, the conscience can devour itself from within. Peace and sleep do not come without a reckoning. Such is the eternal and towering reminder of this stunning classic.

As You Like It at twilight
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Allyn Burrows
July 10 – August 18
Roman Garden Theatre (Outdoors)

Like the Roaring Twenties for this country, the Forest of Arden represented a world of possibilities for young Rosalind. Our brilliant adventurer escapes a threatening world of suppression, even death, and her exile represents a dramatic break between past and future as she traverses the forest and the prospect of new horizons. Menace gives way to hope, re-invention, poetry, and love, cooked up with a big dose of hilarious comedy!

Love’s Labor’s Lost
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Kelly Galvin
July 11 – August 20
The Dell at the Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home (Outdoors)

 

 

 

 

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