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Culture to Do: Oct. 11, 2023

Pianist and Smith College faculty member Jiayan Sun plays Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 during the Pioneer Valley Symphony's season opener on Friday, Oct. 13 in Greenfield.

The Incredible Naumkeag Pumpkin Show
Naumkeag, Stockbridge
Wednesdays – Sundays through Oct. 29
Head to Stockbridge to explore Naumkeag’s famous gardens transformed into a celebration of autumn with over 1,500 jack-o-lanterns, hundreds of mums, pumpkins and countless gourds. Naumkeag is a part of the Trustees of Reservations, which protects over 100 properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value throughout Massachusetts. Warning: this event tends to sell out!

JCA Klezmer Band
Great Falls Discovery Center, Turners Falls
Friday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.
The JCA Klezmer Ensemble led by Brian Bender, is a community-based band from the Jewish Community of Amherst performing traditional Jewish music from Eastern Europe and North America. They promise to play music you can listen to, sing along with, and dance to.

Layaali Arabic Music Ensemble
Hess Center Concert Hall, Deerfield Academy
Friday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.
Layaali is a group of local talented musicians whose love and dedication to Arabic music have earned them wide acclaim from both ethnomusicologists and audiences at sold-out performances throughout the U.S. and internationally. The ensemble is committed to performing the traditional music of the Arab world and to preserving the rich legacy of Arabic culture through soulful vocals, hypnotic instrumental improvisations, electrifying percussion, and faithful renditions and recordings of master works.

Hope in a New Home
Pioneer Valley Symphony Season Opener
Greenfield High School Auditorium
Friday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
The Pioneer Valley Symphony opens its 85th season with three moving musical reflections on our season theme of hope and home. The program opens with Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra which captures the bitter emotions of being unable to return to Hungary during WWII. The PVS Chorus join the orchestra for a powerfully percussive chorus from the first Nigerian opera, "Irin Ajo," composed by Mount Holyoke Professor Olabode Omojola. Pianist and Smith College faculty Jiayan Sun joins the PVSO for Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3, composed as Rachmaninoff returned home to Russia after several years in Germany.

Springfield Dragon Boat Festival
North Riverfront Park, Springfield
Saturday, Oct. 14 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Presented by the Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club and the Chinese Association of Western Massachusetts, the Springfield Dragon Boat Festival is a series of friendly, fun dragon boat races between groups, companies, and organizations assembled to compete for one day. Each race lasts about one minute and each team races at least three times. Spectators can enjoy the dragon boat racing, food trucks, cultural performances, and more.

Working Weavers Studio Trail
Saturday, Oct. 14 and Sunday, Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Working Weavers Studio Trail is a self-guided driving tour of weaving studios along back roads in western Mass. This is a great way explore the handmade textiles that tell the stories of the people who created them — weavers who are dedicated to bringing handwoven textiles into the future. Download the map and go!

Comic Book Fest
Athol Town Hall and Public Library
Saturday, Oct. 14. from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The Athol Public Library and Hero Shack Press will present a comic book festival that will take over both floors of the Athol Town Hall and the library next door. This all ages event will be a comic book lover’s dream with eighteen independent artists, workshops, vendors, a cosplay contest, games, crafts, and more. You can meet the artists, join in free activities and earn free raffle tickets for signed prints, pop culture collectibles, exclusive items, and more.

Fabric of Life: Barnfest 2023
80 Bassett Road, Shelburne
Saturday, Oct. 14 starting at 1 p.m.
I’m very glad that this event popped into the Culture to Do inbox, because it looks wonderful. Fabric of Life, a group that believes in the value of learning traditional agricultural, construction, music, craft and hand skills, will present live demonstrations, interactive workshops, raffles, a buffet dinner, and after-dinner musical entertainment into the wee hours of the morning. Mini workshops include topics like international family dance, beginner ukulele, hand-sewn buttonholes, tool sharpening, and more.

Goodell Lawn, UMass
Saturday, Oct. 14 at 3 p.m.
Thai-Swedish multimodal artist, singer and producer Sirintip creates works that center climate action through empathy and meaningful connections. Ethereal but impassioned, Sirintip’s vocals move nimbly across sophisticated harmony, soar over dense walls of sound, and pulse through rhythmic modulations. Through her work, Sirintip seeks to create bridges of empathy. This free concert will be a solar-powered and carbon-neutral.

A Festive 80th Anniversary Year
Springfield Symphony Orchestra Season Opener
Springfield Symphony Hall
Saturday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Maestro Mei-Ann Chen opens the Springfield Symphony Orchestra’s 80th season with a program full of invigorating, energetic works. It begins with a celebratory gem — Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture,” an aural, upbeat revelry in sound with its exhilarating, flowing melodic lines. Violinist Amaryn Olmeda joins the orchestra for Bruch’s Violin Concerto, a passionate masterpiece full of rich melodies, lush orchestral moments and violin virtuosity at its best. The evening comes to a close with Rachmaninoff’s magnificent Symphony No. 2.

Chinwag Podcast Taping
MASS MoCA, North Adams
Saturday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m.
Let me just say that it’s really fun to be part of a live audience during a taping session. This year I was part of the audience for “Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!” at Tanglewood, and a live album taping of Misty Blues in North Adams. Here’s another chance. Award-winning actor Paul Giamatti and Professor of Philosophy Stephen Asma will do a live taping of their hit new podcast, Chinwag.

The Acting Company: Odyssey
The Mahaiwe, Great Barrington
Saturday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 15 at 1 p.m.
What will you do to go home again? Lisa Peterson’s stage adaptation of The Odyssey, performed by Members of The Acting Company, brings new life to this ancient epic. Four young women trapped in the limbo of a refugee camp retell Odysseus’ adventures as they struggle with their own search for a home. A production based on the revelatory new translation by Emily Wilson, its bold theatricality brings new humor and grace to a story we all think we know.

The Brass Menagerie: Tuba Diving
Holyoke Civic Symphony Season Opener
Holyoke Community College
Sunday, Oct. 15 at 3 p.m.
On April 6, 1873, the city of Holyoke was incorporated as a municipality. The HCS is proud to participate in the celebration of its 150th anniversary with a special 2023-24 concert season that Maestro Kidwell has entitled “The Brass Menagerie” – an appropriation of the title of Tennessee Williams’ well-known play, “The Glass Menagerie.” For this year’s concert season, the term “menagerie” will embrace the four types of instruments that comprise the orchestra’s brass section. First up, an often-overlooked but essential brass component — the tuba.

Caña Dulce & Caña Brava: Show + Dinner
Bombyx, Florence
Sunday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m.
Head to Bombyx for a feminine take on the traditional music of Veracruz and an authentic Mexican dinner from Masa Mexicano of Florence. Caña Dulce y Caña Brava play Son jarocho, a style of folk music that originated in Veracruz, Mexico. They use traditional string instruments and perform poetic improvisation in rhyme from a woman’s perspective. Explosions of color, textures and images unite the traditional with the contemporary. After the show, enjoy and authentic Mexican dinner from Masa Mexicano of Florence.

Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares Mat Maneri Quartet
Community Music School of Springfield
Sunday, Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Mat Maneri is a leading improvisational voice of his generation. Important influences include Baroque music (which he studied with Juilliard String Quartet co-founder Robert Koff), Elliott Carter, and the Second Viennese School of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern. Of his studies Mat has said, “Studying Baroque music helped me to find my sound. Robert Koff brought me into the world of contrapuntal playing and a way of using the bow that sounded more like a trumpet, like Miles, to my mind.”

Ewe Drumming and Dance Workshop: Community Info Session
Community Music School of Springfield
Wednesday Oct. 18 at 6 p.m.
This is an opportunity to learn about an upcoming free program at the Community Music School of Springfield. You will meet teacher Nani Agbeli, a renowned Ghanaian master drummer and dancer in Ewe traditional music from Ghana.