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Culture to Do: Dec. 14, 2022

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'Joan Holliday’s Holiday Hootenanny Sweetback Sisters Country Christmas Sing-Along Spectacular!' will be at the Academy of Music in Northampton on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.

How will you spend Winter Solstice, the shortest day, the longest night of 2022?

It’s a lovely day to bundle up and head for a forest. For that you can go on a walk with a Kripalu-certified mindful outdoor guide at the Mount Greylock State Reservation. Or you can get yourself to the D. A. R. State Forest — locals call it the “Goshen Ocean” — for a sunset solstice hike. If you want something heartwarming and indoors, there’s “Joan Holliday’s Holiday Hootenanny Sweetback Sisters Country Christmas Sing-Along Spectacular!” at the Academy of Music in Northampton.

A Christmas Carol
Springfield Museums
Thursday, Dec. 15 at 12:15 p.m.
Join actors Stephen Collins and Poornima Kirby for a funny, heartfelt journey through Charles’ Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. With Stephen playing Scrooge and Poornima swiftly changing between the other characters, this fast-paced, playful adaptation keeps the beauty and humor of Dickens’ original text, interspersed with melodious Christmas carols, and a lively English folk dance.

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Lúnasa
Bombyx Center for Arts & Equity
Thursday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m.
Named for an ancient Celtic harvest festival in honor of the Irish god Lugh, patron of the arts, Lúnasa is a gathering of some of the top musical talents in Ireland. Its members have helped form the backbone of some of the greatest Irish groups of the decade. Folk Roots magazine has rightly termed them an “Irish music dream team.”

The Slambovian Circus of Dreams: A Very Slambovian Christmas
The Drake, Amherst
Friday, Dec. 16 at 8 p.m.
The Slambovian Circus of Dreams have been expanding the borders of the Americana genre with fantastical stories and performances since the late 90’s in Sleepy Hollow, New York. With a rootsy psychedelica that hints at Dylan, Bowie, Neil Young, The Beatles, and Jethro Tull, the 'Very Slambovian Christmas' show is designed to spark the holiday spirit.

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Promenades on Paper: Eighteenth-Century French Drawings from the Bibliothèque nationale de France
The Clark, Williamstown
Opens Saturday, Dec. 17
In partnership with the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Clark presents the first exhibition of the library’s eighteenth-century French drawings. The selection of eighty-six enchanting studies, architectural plans, albums, sketchbooks, prints, and optical devices expands our understanding of drawing as a tool of documentation and creation in the age of Enlightenment.

Connecticut Yuletide Carolers
Stanley-Whitman House, Farmington
Saturday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m.
The Stanley-Whitman House is a living history center and museum centered on a ca. 1720 National Historical Landmark house furnished to reflect the everyday activities of colonial life in Connecticut. The Connecticut Yuletide Carolers will present a concert of holiday music sung in four-part harmony in the Whitman Tavern. While there, you can check out “The Baldwin Christmas Collection: The Folklore of Santa Claus Through the Ages.” This exhibition features vintage holiday shopping bags, postcards, and other memorabilia.

Pioneer Valley Symphony: Holiday Pops
Greenfield High School Auditorium
Saturday, Dec. 17 at 4 p.m.
More than 150 musicians of the PVS Orchestra, Chorus, and Youth Orchestra present a delightful afternoon concert full of holiday spirit, featuring singalong favorites and “Christmas Realness Extravaganza” a mischievous new commissionfrom Puerto Rican composer Iván Enrique Rodríguez.

Arcadia Players presents Handel's Messiah
Saturday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m.
Abbey Chapel, Mount Holyoke College
Arcadia Players renews a treasured holiday tradition: Handel's Messiah, live in concert. This production, led by Artistic Director Andrew Arceci, brings together a strong cast of local and regional artists, including Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble. Performed on instruments similar to those Handel would have known, this Messiah will offer moments of intimacy and drama.

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Suzanne Vega
Academy of Music, Northampton
Saturday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m.
Suzanne Vega emerged as a leading figure of the folk-music revival of the early 1980s when, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, she sang what has been called contemporary folk or neo-folk songs of her own creation in Greenwich Village clubs. Vega’s songs have tended to focus on city life, ordinary people and real-world subjects. Notably succinct and understated, her work is immediately recognizable.

The HodgMonte Holiday Spectacular!!
Shea Theater, Turners Falls
Saturday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m.
This popular one-of-kind show features comedian John Hodgman and the Shea's own board president Monte Belmonte. Musical guests this year are Jonathan Coulton, Jean Grae, Boston-based indie-folk duo High Tea, and Joshua Kantor who is the organist for Boston Red Sox home games at Fenway Park!

Strings Attached with John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington
Saturday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m.
An intimate evening of standards performed by a “Django-esque”-group of two guitars, violin, bass and John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey. Travel back to the days of the Hot Club of France and Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli.

Holiday Dance Party
Northampton Center for the Arts
Sunday, Dec. 18 from 3:30 – 6 p.m.
It's the ever first holiday dance party at the Northampton Center for the Arts. The party will be hosted by Meli Morash and Joni Fraser is the DJ. Guest instructors Savio Cheng and Megan Tierney will teach everyone how to waltz line dance.

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Mountain Mindfulness Winter Solstice Walk
Mount Greylock State Reservation, Lanesborough
Wed, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m.
On this mindful walk Suzy Conroy, certified by the Kripalu Yoga Center as a Mindful Outdoor Guide will guide the group on a slow saunter incorporating elements of meditation and mindful breathing. Walkers will sit with the trees, inviting present moment awareness, reducing stress and gaining inspiration.

Hilltown Land Trust: Silent Solstice Sunset Hike
D. A. R. State Forest, Goshen
Wed, Dec. 21 at 4 p.m.
Enjoy the shortest day of the year with a meditative hike. Take a short, silent walk along the Upper Highland Lake in the D. A. R. State Forest and enjoy the sunset together in peaceful quiet. Depending on the group, the leaders may extend the hike a bit longer. All ages are welcome.

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Joan Holliday’s Holiday Hootenanny Sweetback Sisters Country Christmas Sing-Along Spectacular!
Academy of Music, Northampton
Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.
The rollicking country swing of the Sweetback Sisters is as infectious as it is heartbreaking. Their charismatic charm harkens back to the golden era of both the silver screen cowgirl and the ersatz cowboy stars of local UHF TV kiddie shows. Their wildly popular holiday show delivers an explosion of yuletide splendor, with the “Queens of Christmastime” bringing their signature mix of modern nostalgia to a wide array of holiday classics.