Culture to Do: March 29, 2023
Holyoke High School: West Side Story
Holyoke High School Auditorium
Thursday, March 30 – Sunday, April 2
First performed in 1957, West Side Story was conceived by Jerome Robbins. The music was composed by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Arthur Laurents wrote the book. The retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with two teenage street gangs vying for dominance of their NYC neighborhood, remains relevant today.
Many Patterns, One Cloth
The Curtain Theater, UMass
Thursday, March 30 – April 1 at 7:30 p.m.
The UMass Department of Theater presents a multi-disciplinary performance project led by Dr. Priscilla Maria Page and Professor Judyie Al-Bilali. From the revolutionary resilience of centuries-old terrieros (spiritual houses) of Candomblé led by Brazilian women to the fierce and famous Baby Dolls of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebrations to Beyonce’s bold embodiment of Osun in Lemonade the celebration of female power, beauty, and agency is central to African Diasporic religion and culture.
Bach in the Subways
Free Concerts all around Downtown Amherst Friday, March 31 – Saturday, April 1
Free Concert at the Drake Sunday, April 2 at 4 p.m.
So, we don’t have any subways, but that hasn’t stopped local western Massachusetts musicians, professionals and students from participating in the international Bach in the Subways (BitS) movement, which celebrates Bach’s birthday. These free concerts, all held above ground, are a lovely prelude to the UMass Bach Festival happening later this month.
Walter Wick: Hidden Wonders!
New Britain Museum of American Art
Opens Friday, March 31
The whimsical world of Walter Wick has fascinated people of all ages since 1991, when his first children’s book series I SPY found its way onto the bookshelves of millions of American households. The exhibition, the largest survey of Wick’s work to date, is organized by themes that have long fascinated Wick, including Miniature Worlds; Floor Games; Craft-Built Worlds; Optical Illusions; I Spy Games; Puzzle Challenges, Wonders of Science; Connecticut Woods; and Curiosity Shop.
Fuller Arts Center, Springfield College
Friday, March 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 1 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 2 at 2 p.m.
Four badass women lose their heads in this irreverent, girl-powered comedy set during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. A playwright, an assassin, a former queen, and a Caribbean spy walk into a room and attempt to save the soul of France while avoiding the edge of the guillotine’s blade. This grand and dream-tweaked comedy, presented by the Springfield College Theater, is about violence and legacy, art and activism, feminism and terrorism, compatriots and chosen sisters, and how we actually go about changing the world.
Jonathan Scales Fourchestra
Hawks & Reed, Greenfield
Friday, March 31 at 8 p.m.
This is not cruise-ship steelpan music! Jonathan Scales is redefining and challenging traditional expectations of his signature instrument. In his hands, the sonic palette of the steelpan — often associated with tropical resorts — is radically expanded to mimic the role of horns, piano, vibraphone or marimba. Scales’ mesmerizing compositions have forged new territory in the medium of instrumental music.
Dara Herman Zierlein: A 40-year Retrospective of Political Art
Amy H. Carberry Fine Arts Gallery, STCC
Reception Saturday, April 1, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Exhibit open through April 14
Springfield Technical Community College presents a 40-year career retrospective of Western Massachusetts artist Dara Herman Zierlein that includes nearly 150 watercolor paintings, figurative drawings and sculptures. A longtime resident of the Pioneer Valley, Dara Herman Zierlein has written books, been on panel discussions, presented lectures and exhibited her artwork internationally. She has created political paintings and illustrations for publications, including The Rumpus, Demeter Press, and The Nation magazine.
Pioneer Valley Ballet: The Little Mermaid
Academy of Music, Northampton
Saturday, April 1 at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 2 at 1 p.m.
Before it was a Disney blockbuster, it was a fairy tale by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. Since its original publication in 1837, The Little Mermaid has won fans through picture books, musical theater, animation, and dance. Set to a musical score by Saint-Saëns, PVB’s own extravagant production tells the story of a young mermaid who is willing to give up her life in the ocean and her identity as a mermaid to gain a human soul and the love of a human prince.
Pioneer Valley Symphony Spring Choral Festival
Greenfield High School Auditorium
Saturday, April 1 at 4 p.m.
Choral singers had a really tough time during the pandemic, so I’m sure that this weekend’s choral festival will be a very happy affair as singers from across the Valley will (once again) gather to celebrate the joy of community singing. This concert features the Brattleboro Concert Choir, directed by Dr. Jonathan Harvey; the Mount Holyoke Glee Club, directed by Rachel Feldman; and the Pioneer Valley Symphony Chorus and Chamber Chorus, directed by Dr. Allegra Martin. Each choir will perform a set, then the three choirs will come together to perform Ysaye Barnwell's uplifting “Hope.”
Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony
John M. Greene Hall, Smith College
Saturday, April 1 at 4 p.m.
Jonathan Hirsh conducts the Smith College Orchestra, in a performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection” featuring mezzo soprano Rehanna Thelwell, and soprano Katherine Saik DeLugan. The Smith Glee Club, members of the Smith Alumnae Chorus, the Amherst College Glee Club, the University of Massachusetts Chorale, and the Penn State Glee Club and alumni join forces as the chorus. It’s free and open to the public.
Sean Jones Quartet
Tillis Performance Hall, UMass
Saturday, April 1 at 8 p.m.
Trumpeter Sean Jones has been turning heads in the jazz world for two decades. He has eight records to his credit, he’s a former lead trumpeter for Wynton Marsalis’s Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and he spent two years as a member of the SFJAZZ Collective. Also an acclaimed music educator, he is chair of jazz at Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute and is the artistic director of Carnegie Hall's education program NYO Jazz. This performance will cap Jones’ visit with the annual UMass Amherst High School Jazz Festival.
Over Under and Through the Warp: The Art of Tapestry Weaving
Leverett Crafts & Arts
Opening Reception Sunday, April 2 from 1 – 4 p.m.
TWiNE (Tapestry Weavers in New England) presents a new exhibit featuring 40 recent works by established tapestry weavers and newcomers to the fiber arts. The show emphasizes the versatility and adaptability of this age-old medium for a modern audience. “When we tell people we are tapestry weavers the first image that comes to mind is a medieval wall covering with unicorns hanging in a castle,” said Martha May from TWiNE. “Our goal is to dispel this thinking and treat the viewer to a contemporary body of work using the same techniques used by weavers of the past.”
Arcadia Players: Johann Theile's St. Matthew Passion
Sunday, April 2 at 4 p.m.
Arcadia Players, the 413’s signature period instrument ensemble, presents Johann Theile’s St. Matthew Passion in its first-ever performance in the region. Theile was a gifted pupil of Heinrich Schütz and a teacher of Dietrich Buxtehude. His elegant 1673 setting of the Passion text is a little-known masterpiece of the early Baroque. William Hite sings the role of the Evangelist and baritone John Salvi sings the role of Jesus. Gregory Hayes conducts.
Felipe Salles' The New Immigrant Experience
Bowker Auditiorium, UMass
Tuesday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Felipe Salles is Professor of Jazz & African American Music at UMass. His multi-media work for the Interconnections Ensemble features music overlaid with video interviews with "Dreamers" — young adults who were brought to the U.S. as children and have been part of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This concert is part of “Immigration, Citizenship and Belonging: Two Days of Discussion, Debate and Celebration.” The concert is free.