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Culture to Do: Dec. 20, 2023

Joan Holliday’s Holiday Hootenanny Sweetback Sisters Country Christmas Sing-Along Spectacular is at the Academy of Music, Northampton on Thursday, Dec. 21.

Amherst Cinema
Daily through Thursday, Dec. 28
This love story chronicles the lifelong relationship of conductor-composer Leonard Bernstein and Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein. It is written and directed by Bradley Cooper (and stars Cooper himself and Carey Mulligan.) Sure, it will be streaming soon, but wouldn’t it be better on the big screen?

A Christmas Carol
The Unicorn Theatre, Stockbridge
Thursday, Dec. 21 and Friday, Dec 22 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 23 at 2 p.m.
Celebrate this timeless holiday tradition with the whole family, and revel in the joy and redemptive power of Christmas as told in the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the infamous miser who is shown the error of his ways and reformed by four spirits. Journey back to Victorian England and experience the classic story filled with holiday carols and the wonderment of the season.

Winter Solstice Circle Dance with Gwyn Peterdi
Wendell Meetinghouse
Thursday, Dec. 21 at 6 p.m.
As part of the Wendell Meetinghouse celebration of the Winter Solstice, community members are invited to dance in a circle to dances from around the world, with music from many cultures, ranging from meditative to lively, from traditional to modern. Circle Dance is a participatory dance form based on ancient roots and practiced around the world. Gwyn Peterdi is an internationally renowned Circle Dance organizer and teacher, who has been introducing people to Circle Dance and leading Circle Dances for four decades.

Joan Holliday’s Holiday Hootenanny Sweetback Sisters Country Christmas Sing-Along Spectacular
Academy of Music, Northampton
Thursday, 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 a veritable explosion of yuletide splendor, with a mix of modern nostalgia to a wide array of holiday classics.

Seth Glier’s Holiday Sing-A-Long
Hawks and Reed
Saturday, Dec. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Grammy-nominated Seth Glier was born in Shelburne Falls and went to PVPA, then Berklee School of Music. You can get into the holiday spirit with Seth at Hawks & Reed this Saturday. This magical holiday sing-a-long will be filled with joy, laughter, and heartwarming melodies.

Bach At New Year’s: A Very Baroque Celebration
Academy of Music

Saturday, Dec. 30 at 7 p.m.

The Berkshire Bach Society presents an event that has been a holiday tradition since 1993. Nine-time Grammy Award winner, co-founder of the legendary Emerson String Quartet, and Berkshire Bach Music Director Eugene Drucker leads the Berkshire Bach Ensemble in a veritable tasting menu of the splendid feast that is Baroque music Join Berkshire Bach for an evening of great music and dazzling performances in works by Bach, Telemann, von Biber, and more to start your New Year on a high note. This concert is co-presented by Berkshire Bach and NEPM.

NRBQ with Lux Deluxe
The Drake, Amherst
Sunday, Dec. 31 at 9 p.m.
Consider yourself warned: this will very likely sell out soon! NRBQ stands for New Rhythm and Blues Quartet. They’ve attracted legions of devoted fans worldwide, including Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Costello, Penn & Teller, Doc Pomus, R.E.M., SpongeBob SquarePants, Michael J. Pollard, Ian McLagan, Steve Earle, Drew Carey, and Nick Lowe, among many others. They will play a special 2-set show for New Year’s Eve, following an opening performance by Northampton’s Lux Deluxe.


Classics & Jazz – MLK Jr. Celebration
Symphony Hall
Saturday, Jan. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Conducted by Damien Sneed and and featuring Mebrakh Haughton-Johnson, Clarinet and Jason Flowers, Piano, this concert features some of the most beautiful American orchestral compositions created by African Americans. The first part of the program incorporates two well-known African American female composers, Florence Price and Margaret Bonds. The second half of the program is all about jazz. The concert’s finale is the world premiere of Sneed’s A Symphonic Homage to The Duke, a sizzling tribute to one of America’s greatest composers, Duke Ellington.

Valley Classical: Merz Trio
Sweeney Concert Hall, Smith College
Sunday, Feb. 4 at 3:00 p.m.
For the serious chamber music lover on your list — the Merz Trio are multiple prize-winners and innovative programmers. Their program, “Alma Mahler Goes West,” consists of brief works of composers ranging from Berg and Webern and Britten to Charles Ives and Thelonious Monk, as well as Mrs. Mahler herself, and concludes with pianist Eduard Steuermann’s excellent transcription for piano trio of Arnold Schoenberg’s gorgeous “Verklärte Nacht.”

M@A Presents: Raehann Bryce-Davis, mezzo-soprano
Buckley Recital Hall, Amherst College
Friday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Raehann Bryce-Davis has been hailed by The New York Times as a “striking mezzo-soprano” and by the San Francisco Chronicle for her “electrifying sense of fearlessness.” Her program will include works by Richard Wagner, Melissa Dunphy, Margaret Bonds, Florence Price, Maria Thompson Corley, and Peter Ashbourne.

Cirque Mechanics — Zephyr
Tillis Performance Hall, UMass
Thursday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Founded in 2004 by Boston native and German wheel artist Chris Lashua, Las Vegas-based Cirque Mechanics, quickly established itself as a premier American circus troupe. The company is revered for its unique approach to performance, inspiring storytelling, and innovative mechanical staging.Zephyr is Cirque Mechanics’ latest expression of their celebrated blend of ingenuity, theater, and circus arts. It tells of a miller, and his complicated relationship with wind, the natural resource that powers his flour mill.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Bombyx, Florence
Sunday, Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo bridges racial and cultural boundaries. Their concerts are known for their infectious joy. Named for their late founder Joseph Shabalala's hometown of Ladysmith, the group of mostly brothers and other relatives became hugely popular in South Africa in the early 1970s with white and black audiences during apartheid. In the mid-1980s, Paul Simon visited South Africa and incorporated the group's rich harmonies into his renowned Graceland album.

Ballet Hispánico
The Mahaiwe, Great Barrington
Saturday, March 2 at 3 p.m.
Ballet Hispánico is the nation’s renowned Latino dance organization and one of America’s Cultural Treasures. For 50 years Ballet Hispánico has been bringing communities together to celebrate and explore Latino cultures through innovative dance performances, transformative dance training, and enduring community engagement experiences.