Calendar of Events

Jun 15 - Aug 28: IS 183 Art Classes. Scroll down for WSHS member rates
Aug 6: Life Member Reception
Aug: West Stockbridge in the 1970's*
Aug 21 - Sep 3: Richmond - West Stockbridge Artists Guild Show
Sep 8, 7 pm: Berkshire Hills Chorus of Sweet Adelines
Sept 23, 10 am: Housatonic Heritage History Walk*
Oct: Harvest Concert*
Nov 10: Jeremy Kittel Trio
                                     *Please watch for details on these events
In This Issue ... Click to Read
Recap of Memorial Weekend Concert
IS183 Art Classes
Recap of Rene Wendell Talk on Wildflowers
Monument Mountain Girls Write On!
Elvis Sighting in the Old Town Hall
A rainy night filled with warmth and celebration at the West Stockbridge Chamber Players' Benefit Concert for the Old Town Hall Restoration   
Clockwise from top: Linda Toote, flute; Catherine Hudgins, clarinet;
Daniel Getz, viola; Sheila Fiekowsky, violin; Oliver Aldort, cello;
Edwin Barker, double bass. Center: John Holland, violin

The room was filled to capacity on Friday, May 26, as Robert Salerno, president of the West Stockbridge Historical Society, welcomed the audience to the sixteenth benefit concert that the Chamber Players have performed for the Old Town Hall Restoration.  After offering his thanks to the Chamber Players and to Dr. Richard Ziter who underwrote the concert, Salerno read aloud an e-mail from the Massachusetts Cultural Council announcing a $90,000 matching grant in support of the next phase of restoration.  The concert began on that high note and continued with a richly diverse program performed by Boston Symphony Orchestra members Sheila Fiekowsky, violin; John Holland, violin; Daniel Getz, viola; Oliver Aldort, cello; and Edwin Barker, double bass; along with Linda Toote, flute; and Catherine Hudgins, clarinet.

L-R: Sheila Fiekowsky, violin; Daniel Getz, viola; Oliver Aldort, cello; Edwin Barker, double bass;
Linda Toote, flute; Catherine Hudgins, clarinet (Photo: Joe Roy, Jr.) 
Programmed by the Chamber Players' musical director Catherine Hudgins, the evening was dedicated to music by American composers or inspired by our heritage, beginning with Jennifer Higdon's haunting Soliloquy for Clarinet and String Quartet.  Violinist Sheila Fiekowsky then introduced Samuel Barber's String Quartet, Op. 11, pointing out that while almost everyone recognizes the slow second movement, the piece as a whole is beautiful -- and then proceeded to prove her point with a soaring rendition of the three-part composition.

The second half of the concert began with Antonín Dvořák's Terzetto in C major, Op. 74, a piece so difficult to perform that, according to violist Daniel Getz, Dvořák had to rewrite a less demanding version for its original performers. Catherine Hudgins then introduced Jerod Impichch aachaaha' Tate's Toklo (Two) for American Indian Flute and Clarinet, mentioning that Dvořák, who taught in America and championed an American style of composing, would have been delighted with the piece that is written by a Native American and interwoven with native themes. The concert concluded with Osvaldo Golijov's Lullaby and Doina that bassist Edwin Barker mentioned he first performed under the composer's direction.  "Be more free!" Golijov kept telling Barker, advice that led to a passionate, thrilling finale and a standing ovation.
Linda Toote, flute; Catherine Hudgins, clarinet (Photo: Joe Roy, Jr.) playing
Jerod Impichch aachaaha' Tate's Toklo (Two) for American Indian Flute and Clarinet.
Ms. Toote learned to play the American Indian Flute just for this performance
 on a beautiful inlaid wooden instrument. 
The audience joined the musicians downstairs after the concert for light refreshments, with many lingering to talk and catch up after a long winter as a soft rain continued to fall outside.

IS183, one of our cultural partners, is offering classes on the first floor of the 1854 Town Hall this summer with our downtown as subject matter. Classes are open to everyone.

*    Travel, With Camera  - June 8-29
*    Foundation Drawing  - July 11-August 15
*    Pastels on the Green - August 14-28

Historical Society members can enroll at the IS183 Member rate.

You can go to the IS183 website for more information on the classes and how to register:     or call 413-298 5252 x100.

 Wildflowers Program 2017

On Friday, April 7, we held our official welcome to spring in the Berkshires featuring a presentation by Rene Wendell, Nature Conservancy naturalist for Berkshire County. Rene is a Berkshire native, BCC and MCLA grad, and longtime guide/instructor at Bartholomew's Cobble.

Salerno photo
Photo: Bob Salerno 
Salerno photo
Trillium (Photo: Bob Salerno)
Rene opened our eyes to what is happening around the Berkshires as spring arrives. Who knew that skunk cabbage generates enough warmth to melt the late snow cover and poke its green shoots through the crust? Or that trillium, that early beautiful white or deep maroon flower, actually smells like decaying meat to attract insects for pollination.

Rene not only showed us the plants, flowers, and animals arriving this season, but the why and how they all work together to create a viable and active environment. It was a fun night, and we are hoping to have Rene back later this year to cover all the activity that happens in the fall.    
Monument Mountain Girls  Read at West Stockbridge Historical Society  
Photo: Andrew Blechman
On May 12, the Fifth Annual Girls Write On! project was presented at the West Stockbridge Historical Society. This was the third year that the event was held at the Historical Society.
Ten female high school students from Monument Mountain High School, chosen by their teachers, read original works of poetry and prose. For some, this was the first time in front of an audience.  

The students credit their writing skills to their wonderful teachers at Monument Mountain and thanked them, along with family and friends, for their support and encouragement.   

Many of the readings presented were based on personal, life experiences.  They were filled with courage and the desire to succeed in life.  It was a privilege to be in the audience and to know that each student was creating a platform for her future.

Below is a thank you note written by one of the attendees.


Not really, but almost. Our cultural partner, the Berkshire Theatre Group is rehearsing the award winning play, Million Dollar Quartet on the second floor for three weeks this June. Sounds of classic, early Rock 'n Roll fill Main Street during the day, drowning out the truck and motorcycle traffic and giving everyone a smile. The play opens at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge on Saturday, June 17. The play's synopsis follows:

Award-winning jukebox musical, and epic night of rock 'n roll, Million Dollar Quartet brings you into the recording studio with icons, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Based on a true story, set on December 4, 1956, Million Dollar Quartet follows the tale of these four legendary musicians, as they come together for one monumental night of music at Sun Records in Memphis. Directed and musical directed by James Barry (Broadway: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; BTG: A Thousand Clowns, Tommy, The Caretaker), this smash-hit musical includes classic tunes such as: "Blue Suede Shoes," "Fever," "Walk the Line," "Sixteen Tons," "Who Do You Love?," "Great Balls of Fire," "Folsom Prison Blues," "Hound Dog," and more.

It's a great, fun show -- go see it. Here's their link:

Please support our business and organization members
who support our efforts*
*Underlined businesses link to their website ... just click.  

A Grateful Welcome to these new members 
Donald Brown
Edward A. Loring Builder
Sheila & Wallace B. Lehman
Raquel Levin
John Olander
John Oliver
Jackie & Peter Troiano

The West Stockbridge Historical Society is grateful for the generous support of its members. Strong community backing is important when donors review our requests for grants, and there are many benefits and interesting activities that you will enjoy as a member. If you have not already joined, we encourage you to do so.

2017 June 10

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ABOUT US: The mission of the West Stockbridge Historical Society is to preserve and promote the history and culture of West Stockbridge through research, programming and community involvement.