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RI Archives: Parties

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Parties & Openings

May 20 - Pine Plains
Memorial Hall Groundbreaking

May 19 - Pittsfield
Guitar Rocks Berkshire Museum

May 14 - W. Stockbridge
Turn Park Art Space Opening

Pine Plains Memorial Hall Groundbreaking Community Day

Jamie Larson reports from Pine Plains. The Pine Plains Memorial Hall was once a huge part of the town’s history. On Saturday, May 20, a day full of activities brought the community out to celebrate the groundbreaking of the long awaited restoration of the vacant town icon. The original Memorial Hall was constructed in 1915, but today the big brick building, its tall windows, crown of dormers and the grand theater inside are, admittedly, in rough shape. The mission of the renewal effort is to bring together the community and foster economic development in Northern Dutchess County and surrounding areas. With this restoration, the hall will be a vital part of the town’s future; plans are to make it a regional center for community-based civic and social programs, agriculture and arts education, cultural performances and a starting point for local charitable organizations. Now in its second year of a five-year planning, capital fundraising and construction cycle, there’s enough money to begin the first phase of the project. The man who got the ball rolling, PPMH President Jack Banning, said they’re excited for the innumerable possibilities for the venue. “The trick is that this can be done without taking ourselves too seriously,” Banning said, pictured at left with board secretary Hollis Bart.

The large assembled crowd cheered, “We dig Pine Plains!” as they ceremoniously shoveled out chunks of the Memorial Hall’s front lawn.

PPMH renovation architect Doug Larson and PPMH Executive Director Brian Keeler; Donn Potter, PPMH board member Claire Copley and advisory committee member Alan Eisenberg.

Head event coordinators for the Community Day, Chris Hedges and Jennifer Updike (fresh out of the dunk tank); Joan and Dick Dunham with PPMH volunteer communications representative and principal at VKLarson Communications Victoria Larson.

The atmosphere during the groundbreaking was decidedly jubilant, even after a full day of festivities.

Retired local farmer Barney Chase, attorney Charles M. Napoli with Judy and Tom Allen; Gallatin, New York Town Supervisor John Reilly emerges from the dunk tank.

Andres Vialpando and Anthony Silvia of Anthony Silvia Signs; Ann Simmons of the Little Nine Partners Historical Society with Brett McCormack and Josh Nathanson of Gathering Greens, which opened at the Grange Hall Monday.

The present condition and future vision for theater space in the PPMH.

Volunteer Gully Stanford and Louis Loeb; Ken and Ruth Noskin with their dog Rasa.

The current condition of the side of the hall, surrounded by partygoers; the future of the same view represented in model form.

Debra Bartlett and Gabriela Montenegro behind their booth for doTerra Wellness Advocate; Peter and Brittany Destler representing their family’s shop, A New Leaf Used Books.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 05/22/17 at 07:20 AM • Permalink

Guests Rock To A New Riff At The Berkshire Museum

Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield. The guitar is such a ubiquitous instrument that one tends to take it for granted. Until, that is, one takes in the Berkshire Museum’s current exhibition: “Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked the World.” The traveling collection, on loan from the National Guitar Museum, opened on Friday, May 19 with a debut party that featured music by the Berkshire Jazz Collective [at left] and food from Just Kickin’ It Bar-Be-Que. On display are 80 specimens of guitars (and guitar-like instruments) — many of them rare and antique. The exhibit also includes stations examining the science of sound, plenty of hands-on interactive stations, and videos and photographs of famous guitarists in history. The exhibit runs through Sept. 4.

Museum director Van Shields, board member Missy Scarafoni , Jen Hines and Steve Oakes; Maryellen Vincent and David Vincent with David Harrington of Lee Bank.

Jim Wojtaszek of Greylock Federal Credit Union, the exhibit’s sponsor, with Debbie Wojtaszek, who says her husband is “an awesome guitar player.”

Amy Bozek with Leah Thompson of BART Charter Public School; Alison Farkas and Matthew Farkas of October Mountain Financial Advisors.

Veronica Martin and Daniel Underhill.

Taking a special interest in the Fender Stratocaster are luthiers Darren Rahilly and Don Sweener, who own Firepit Guitars in Pittsfield; Ted Burdick, Chloe Geffken and Caroline Tegeler.

Matthew McLain serenades his colleagues from Greylock Federal: Meghan McGrath, Jordyn Mason and Kellie Canino.

Matt Scarafoni, president and founder of Scarafoni Financial Group and Dave Neubert; Ted DiPietro, a musician who works at General Dynamics and Alisa Costa, the initiative director at Working Cities Pittsfield.

The world’s largest guitar, certified by Guinness World Records, is 43.5 feet long and 16 feet wide.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/21/17 at 12:23 PM • Permalink

Welcome To West Stockbridge: Turn Park Art Space Opens

Amy Krzanik reports from West Stockbridge. Turn Park Art Space, a contemporary sculpture park and community gathering spot, opened to a large and eager crowd on Sunday, May 14. The Park’s architects and founders spoke about the conception of the site, about its construction, and about plans for its future growth and myriad uses. Newly elected West Stockbridge Selectman Bernie Fallon formally welcomed the project’s team to town. In what had been (and continued to be) a very rainy spot of weather for the region, the sun shone brightly down on Turn Park for the length of the opening event, allowing for a true celebratory mood. Both young and old came to walk the paths, as well as to veer off into the fields for pop-up “happenings” – stories, songs and skits from Brooklyn’s Floating Tower. Read RI’s recent article about Turn Park Art Space.

Turn Park architect Alexander Konstantinov with West Stockbridge Selectman Bernie Fallon; Eugene Mamut and Irina Borisova of AniMagic.

George Cox, Iin Puranti and Rya; Turn Park architect Grigori Fateyev and James Culliton, a principal at Allegrone Construction, the Park’s general contractor.

View of the Gatehouse from Brussels Square; Ekaterina “Katya” Brezgunova and sculptor Gene Montez Flores, whose work is featured in the Park.

Colin Harrington, Lisa Harvey, Deborah Balmuth and Jonathan Ginzberg.

Matthew Chester, Catherine Shearn Chester and their daughter, Leah; Turn Park founders Igor Gomberg and Ekaterina Brezgunova address the crowd.

The Dauphine of Brussels Sprouts (a.k.a. Alyona Gomberg.)

Visitors enjoyed complimentary food and drink from local establishments; The Megaphonics (a.k.a. Chris Okawa and Kierna Conner).

Members of Floating Tower parade through Turn Park.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/16/17 at 12:58 PM • Permalink

CATA Makes The “Everyday” Extraordinary

Amy Krzanik reports from Lenox. Although we may wear different “hats,” we’re all just everyday people who share more similarities than we do differences. The students and teachers of Community Access to the Arts (CATA) explored this theme in their annual performances on Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14 at Shakespeare & Company. At Saturday evening’s gala performance, “Everyday People” included all of the things CATA fans love most about the organization’s shows: creative and colorful juggling routines, a brand-new dance choreographed by the inimitable Dawn Lane, music, skits, and comedy from “stand-up” guy Scott Thomas. The cocktail and dinner portions of the evening, catered by Firefly, gave supporters a chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones. DJ BFG continued the good vibes with an after-dinner dance party. Funds raised from the events, including the gala’s live auction, help CATA foster and celebrate the artistry of people with disabilities in the Berkshires and Columbia County. [Above: Gala committee co-chair Claudia Perles with Natalie Neubert and Robin Slick.]

Jonathan Swartz, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Director Pamela Tatge, Rebecca Newman and her mother, CATA founder Sandra Newman; Mass. State Senator Adam Hinds with Cherri Sanes and Scott Sanes of ExtraSpecialTeas in Great Barrington.

Board and gala committee member Sharon Mozian with Amanda and Daniel Weil; Anne Schnesel, Cindy and Jeff Caminiti, and Lauren Smith.

Illustrator Elwood Smith with author Will Osborne and Janice Kittner.

Steve Bankert and Casey Jones; Anamyn Turowski, who is a member of CATA’s writing faculty, with board member Elaine Radiss and Eddie Allen, a faculty member who teaches improv.

The CATAdirect crew: Kara Smith, Trena Heinrich, Elaine Myers, Jane Johnson and Sandy Van; Jen Salinetti of Woven Roots Farm with author Rachel Urquhart.

Brett Goldberg, CEO of Synqware, with daughter Isa Goldberg, board member John Whalen, and Robin and David Slick.

Ilana Seigal, Andrea Blacklow, Jocelyn McGrath and Ellen Gorman; Marie Erwin, Sarah Burdsall, board member Kate Burdsall, Berkcirque’s Jill Fleming, a faculty member who teaches juggling, and Steve Bankert.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 05/15/17 at 05:34 PM • Permalink

Raising Glasses And Funds For The Berkshire Music School

Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. There were toasts…and toasts…and toasts to the Berkshire Music School at its wine pairing dinner on Tuesday, May 9 at the Castle Street Café. And although there was a special wine selected for each course, the cheer could be attributed to the purpose of the evening, which was to raise funds to benefit the school’s scholarship fund. Each year, BMS awards $16,000 in merit scholarships for students to take music lessons; no one is ever turned away from lessons if they can’t afford it. The evening began with hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction, and between the main course and dessert, the high-money live auction included tickets to “Hello Dolly”! (now on Broadway starring Bette Midler) and a Tanglewood/Guido’s package. “It’s for the little kids,” repeated board vice president Jeff Bradway (above, with school director Tracy Wilson) as he encouraged guests to up their bids. But the truth is, the school is populated as much with older students as it is with the young ‘uns. In fact, the oldest student is 93, proving you’re never too old to learn new music.

Tommie Hutto-Blake and Andrea Pecor, both from Beckett, Mass.; Sarah Novak and Sam Craig, whose wife, Kate Barton, is president of the Board of Trustees.

Mary Albertson, Dick Lipton and Bianca Wallen; Lynn Edelstein and Betsy Dovydenas, a painter.

David Hall and Marianne Hall, who is secretary of the Board of Trustees.

David Buxton, Lisa Avery, a performing artist, and Sheri James Buxton, cabaret singer who is also the music school’s outreach coordinator and instructor of the cabaret program; BMS registrar Sandy Moderski manages the “pick a number, get a bottle of wine for $20” lottery.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 05/09/17 at 10:58 PM • Permalink

The Proprietors Ball Celebrates Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow

Jamie Larson reports from Hudson. We go to a lot of great parties, but rarely does a gala feel like a significant historical event as did the Proprietors Ball at Hudson Hall at the Historic Hudson Opera House on Saturday, April 22. The party, which officially opened the fully restored and renovated hall at the center of Hudson’s cultural life, was a celebration of both the end of a long journey to return the hall to its past glory and the anticipation for all that is to come. There was a ribbon cutting, cocktails, and great food and entertainment sourced from Hudson’s diverse and hyper-talented arts community. Celebrating the work of the Opera Hall’s tireless staff, its board and its throngs of donors, the Proprietors Ball ushered in a new era for the venue and the city. The expectations for Hudson Hall moving forward are unenviably high right now, but it’s not just the gorgeous renovations that have us confident in the Hall’s future, it’s the people in these pictures, who run, support and love this building and all it represents. [Above: Proprietors Ball co-chair Richard McCarthy and Hudson Hall Executive Director Gary Schiro.]

Rick Sharp, Meredith Kane, Frances Spark and Michel Goldberg; President of the Columbia County Historical Society James Guidera, CCHS Executive Director Lori Yarotsky and David Forer.

Designer Harold Streitman, NY1 anchor and reporter Tamani Wooley and artist Gene DeBartolo; Columbia Land Conservancy Executive Director Peter Paden, President of the Olana Partnership Sean Sawyer and Executive Director of the Columbia-Greene Hospital Foundation Betsy Gramkow.

Hudson Hall co-director Tambra Dillon, New York State Assembly Member Didi Barrett and Hudson Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton.

Monique Heeremans and Michiel van Dijk; Maryna Bilak Haughton and Maurice Haughton.

Peter Bevacqua, Mayor Hamilton, Stephen King and Friends of Clermont Board Vice President Mary Ellen Ross; Deidre and Jonathan Meier, Mary Ellen Higbee and Hudson Hall Board Treasurer Jack Higbee with Maureen and Stephen Hansen.

Artist Dan Taulapapa, theater artist Andrew Loren Resto and founder of the Second Ward Foundation Walter Sudol.

Ann Artschwager and Natt Wieland; Director of Dancers Responding to AIDS Denise Roberts Hurlin, Executive Director of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site Betsy Jacks and DRA Development Officer Sarah Cardillo.

Clarinetist Paul Green, Rural Intelligence editor Lisa Green, Gwen Gould and Ed Grossman; The downstairs gallery was wall-to-wall revelry during the Ball’s opening cocktail hour as guests waited to get up into the refurbished Hall.

Thad Thomas and Laura Haspel; Despina Leandrou, Anne Schomaker and Michael Laudati.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 04/23/17 at 08:39 PM • Permalink

Berkshire Country Day School Fulfills Its Promise

Lisa Green reports from Stockbridge. We could all learn a thing or two from Berkshire Country Day School. Such as: how to complete a capital campaign in which you surpass your goal and upgrade facilities without taking on any additional debt. The SRO crowd at the cocktail reception in the school’s new multi-level learning hub on Saturday, April 7 came also to celebrate the life of Kevin Hirt, a former BCD student who died of a rare pediatric cancer at age 10, and who requested that his college fund money be donated to help build a new library. But there’s more: next door to the Kevin Hirt Library and Learning Commons is the Kim and James Taylor Music/Performance Room, a space designed to foster musical creativity and experimentation. Money raised for the project totaled $3,240,202 and not only supported the new building but strengthens the school’s faculty endowment. Speaking to the guests, Kevin’s parents, Paul Hirt and Lynn Campana, talked about Kevin’s legacy, and Head of School Paul Lindenmaier thanked the many supporters. BCD is a 71-year-old independent school in Stockbridge, Mass. for students from preschool through grade 9. [Above, Despite the sadness of Kevin’s death, Lynn Campana and Paul Hirt tells stories about their son that make the teary-eyed crowd laugh.]

Head of School Paul Lindenmaier with Joseph Lewis of Allegrone Construction, the facility’s builder; Paige Orloff and Claire Naylor Pollart, both previous board chairs, flank Robin Slick, whose child attends BCD.

Charlie O’Brien, president of Adams Community Bank, a contributor to the music room (site of the Adams Community Bank Stage) and Lisa O’Brien; Attending the reception were aunts, uncle and grandfather of Kevin: Alberta Hirt, Randy Hirt, Pam Calvert-Hirt and Robert Hirt.

Paul Lindenmaier; sciente teacher Tim Gore, Hilary Dunne Ferrone, campaign committee co-chair; Cara Vermeulen, board president; Lynn Campana and Paul Hirt.

Christopher Ferrone, campaign co-chair and treasurer of the board of directors; Cara Vermeulen and Lance Vermeulen of Lance Vermeulen Real Estate; Claire Naylor Pollart, Alendandra Heddinger, director of admissions, and Jessica Provenz, campaign associate.

Faculty members Katherine Allentuck and Andrea Patel flank Tina Petricca, a BCD alum; Trustee Stephanie Buchanan with David Silver and Marine Penvern, a BCD mom.

Snowflakes were swirling, but it was warm inside Furey Hall, originally built in 1895 as a cow barn. The art studios on the second story have also been renovated.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 04/09/17 at 02:05 PM • Permalink

Hudson Children’s Book Fest Literacy Fundraiser

Amy Krzanik reports from Hudson. A great cause deserves a great turnout, so it’s always a pleasure to see a large crowd of supporters congregate at the annual cocktail party fundraiser for the Hudson Children’s Book Festival Literacy Fund. Held at Stair Galleries on Warren Street for the past three years, the party is a way to assure that each Hudson City School District student is able to attend and to purchase a book of his or her choice at the summertime Festival. As the Fund’s co-founders, Chris Jones and Susan Simon, reminded the audience at the April 1 event, 73 percent of Hudson’s children live in poverty. The Fund, which became a certified 501(c)3 this year, has so far given away more than 2,000 books in its quest to instill the love of reading in area students. Along with last year’s creation of the Thumb’s Up book review program, the project has added a Young Writers Program, and the crowd was treated to readings by two of its participants — high school students Karrie-Ann Silvernail and Ingrid Kildiss. In addition to these ventures, the Fund works to bring a diverse array of authors to speak in classrooms, add new books to and replace much-loved classics in the city’s school libraries, and more. This year’s Festival is set for Saturday, May 6. [Above, Book Fest director Jen Clark with Melissa Brown, a board member and Hudson city school teacher.]

Simon Martinez, Susan Simon, Chris Davies and John Mahoney; Rob Bujan and Jeffrey Perry with board member and HCBF co-founder Lisa Dolan.

Kylie Heidenheimer, Jonathan Lerner and John Hunka; Katrina Wilbur and board member Jennifer Merwin-Domkoski.

Stephen King and Peter Bevacqua; Owen Davidson, board member Martha McMaster, Chris Jones and Mark Prezorski, who is now Olana State Historic Site’s senior vice president and creative director.

Darcy and Carolyn from 2 Note Hudson, also on Warren Street, supplied the ambience.

Arthur Baker, board member Agi Clark, Jacqueline Wilder, Martha McMaster and Sheldon Evans; Hudson Area Library volunteer Lucy Nathanson with the Library’s director, Emily Chameides.

Susan Simon and William Stone; Hudson high school students Ingrid Kildiss and Karrie-Ann Silvernail flank their writing teacher, Gail Wheeler.

Liz Nealon, Wendy Schmalz Wilde, Seymour Simon and Greg Powell; Michael Susi and Pamela Salisbury.

Keith and Katherine Kanaga flank a board member of the HCBF Literacy Fund, Virginia Martin; Melissa Brown, Peter Meyer, Ellen Thurston, host of the Thursday Afternoon Show on WGXC, and Janet Kealy.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 04/02/17 at 03:03 PM • Permalink