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Culture to Do: April 10, 2024

Hancock Shaker Village's popular Baby Animals Festival is happening Saturday, April 13 – Sunday, May 5.

Best of Valley Voices Story Slam
Academy of Music, Northampton
Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m.
After intimate sold-out story slams at the Marigold Theater in Easthampton, Hawks & Reed in Greenfield, The Drake in Amherst, and the NEPM studios in Springfield, it’s time for the big Best of Valley Voices Story Slam at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Audience members have selected the top three stories at each slam. Now, they’re heading to the Academy to compete on the big stage for the top prize — Best of Valley Voices Season 9!

Springfield Public Forum: Stephen Breyer
Reading the Constitution: Why I Chose Pragmatism not Textualism
Springfield Symphony Hall
Thursday, April 11 at 6 p.m.
Stephen Breyer is a former associate justice of the Supreme Court who served there for twenty-eight years until retiring in 2022. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His new book deconstructs the textualist philosophy of the current Supreme Court’s supermajority and makes the case for a better way to interpret the Constitution.

Bowker Auditorium, UMass
Thursday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m.
JIJI is an adventurous guitarist known for her virtuosity and her expansive, progressive outlook on the form. Equally at home with both acoustic and electric guitar, JIJI presents programs that range from traditional and contemporary classical to free improvisation. Co-sponsored by the UMass Korean Students Association, this is the final event in the 2023-2024 ¡Guitarra! series presented by the Fine Arts Center.

BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet
Bombyx, Florence
Friday, April 12 at 7 p.m.
For 50 years, Two-time Grammy winner BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet have been hailed as “the best Cajun band in the world.” Doucet and the band can be credited with taking Cajun music from its regional roots in Louisiana to popularity worldwide. Born from their rich Acadian ancestry BeauSoleil’s distinctive sound derives from the distilled spirits of New Orleans jazz, blues rock, folk, swamp pop, Zydeco, country and bluegrass.

Smith Arts Day
Smith College, Northampton
Saturday, April 13
Presented by Smith Office for the Arts (SOFA) it’s the first Smith Arts Day — a day-long celebration of the artistic and creative community at Smith College, featuring exhibitions, performances, workshops, art-making activities and more. The festival will kick off on Friday night, April 12 with the Smith College Museum of Art’s Second Friday from 4–8 p.m., followed by a full roster of events on Saturday. Most events are free and open to the public. I’ve got my eyes on the Bell Tower open house.

The New Consort with the UMass Chamber Choir
Bezanson Recital Hall, UMass
Saturday, April 13 at 4:30 p.m.
Winners of the American Prize in Chamber Music, The New Consort is a vocal chamber ensemble dedicated to exploring the roles that musical ritual and community can play in 21st-century lives. With the UMass Chamber Choir this free concert will include music by Jean Sibelius, Henry Purcell, Charles Strousse, William Byrd, Gerald Finzi, Loyset Compère, David Shapiro, John Farmer, David Lang, William Schuman, Josquin des Prez, Samih Choukeir, and an arrangement by the Wailin' Jennys.

Trash Rabbit w/ The Howlers, & Senior Year
The Drake, Amherst
Saturday, April 13 at 8 p.m.
Since their inception five years ago, Trash Rabbit has established themselves as a mogul of punk in Boston. Playing anywhere from the filled basements of the local D.I.Y scene, to venues such as The Sinclair, The House of Blues Foundation Room and The Crystal Ballroom, the four-piece are a must-see band for the local Gen Z, college, and queer communities.

Arcadia Players: Il Pastor Fido
Bombyx, Florence
Sunday, April 14 at 4 p.m.
Giovanni Guarini published Il Pastor Fido (The Faithful Shepherd) in 1590. Set in Arcadia, the pastoral tragicomedy became one of the most famous — and controversial — plays of its time. The play inspired musical works by many composers including Giovanni Bononcini, whose secular cantata Siedi Amarilli is a highlight of this program. Mezzo-soprano Christina English is the featured soloist.

Double Edge Theatre
Wednesday, April 17 — Sunday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m.
SUGA is conceived, created, and performed by Travis Coe and directed by Stacy Klein. Travis began working on SUGA in 2016 as he explored the Afro-Caribbean/Latinx history of his family, and their native lands spanning Belize, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico. Klein, It is an investigation of freedom, and the bounds—personal, artistic, societal, and political—one must break through to achieve that end. As a caretaker of a museum of memory, Coe touches, reveals and remixes all the aspects of himself—as Queer, Black, Latinx, and American.


Baby Animals Festival
Hancock Shaker Village
Saturday, April 13 – Sunday, May 5
Welcome the arrival of Spring with Hancock Shaker Village’s beloved Baby Animals Festival. Meet their newest farm babies – lambs, piglets, calves, chicks and kids (goats, that is). You can also enjoy events and activities throughout the Village, from daily talks about the farm and the Shakers to craft demonstrations to walks along the Farm & Forest Trail.

Meltdown 2024
Court Square and Hawks & Reed, Greenfield
Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Head to Greenfield for The River’s spring family festival.There will be delightful live music and magical stories from celebrated authors (including The Fabulous 413’s Kaliis Smith) at Hawks & Reed. “The Fair on Court Square” will host acrobatic performances from Show Circus Studio, games, interactive exhibits, and arts and crafts. Food and treats on site courtesy of Cocina Lupita, Mohawk Falafel and Shawarma, Vegan Pizza Land, Bart’s Ice Cream, and other great local vendors.

Earth Week Investigation Station and Indoor StoryWalk® – One Earth
Great Falls Discovery Center, Turners Falls
Saturday, April 13 – Sunday, April 21
Head to the Great Falls Discovery Center during school vacation week for activities to inspire taking care of where we live. Enjoy indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts, crafts, and activities to honor the Earth, our shared home. Includes the indoor StoryWalk® — One Earth by Eileen Spinelli, which is an invitation to both celebrate our planet and honor it through stewardship.

Fourth Wall Ensemble presents Fruit Flies Like a Banana!
Springfield Museums
Monday. April 15 at 1:30 p.m.
Part chamber music group, part devised theatre company, part modern dance troupe, part circus act, The Fourth Wall blends music, theatre, dance, and acrobatics into a new hybrid art form. In their award-winning variety show Fruit Flies Like a Banana, this trio of musicians creates new interdisciplinary works and reinterprets classic repertoire — all performed in an order chosen by the audience — to make music the leaps off the stage.

Plus! Every day during vacation week, Springfield Museums has a fabulous line-up of “Spark! Your Imagination” activities.

Academy of Music, Northampton
Monday, April 15 – Friday, April 19 at 11 a.m.
KidsBestFest is a free school vacation week festival for kids and adults. This year’s line up includes The Emperor’s New Groove on Monday, – The Great Muppet Caper on Tuesday, Singin’ in the Rain on Wednesday, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem on Thursday, and Holes on Friday.

Shakespeare & Company: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Tina Packer Playhouse, Lenox
Wednesday, April 17 – Saturday, April 20
Shakespeare & Company presents a series of open–caption performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring the Northeast Regional Tour of Shakespeare. Open captioning features a large projection screen above the stage, displaying the text the actors are reciting via “supertitles.” Four performances will be staged during school vacation week. Saturday’s show includes Shakespeare’s Birthday Bash (with cake!)

Nature Scavenger Hunt
Mount Greylock State Reservation, Lanesborough
Sunday, April 14, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Adventurous self-guided quests invite you to search for natural treasures along park trails and inside the Visitor Center. There will be several “seek and find” scavenger hunts for different ages and skill levels. All ages welcome. Aimed for families with children. For more information, call 413-499-4262.

Budding Painter's Workshop
Holyoke Heritage State Park, 221 Appleton Street
Wednesday, April 17
Leaf Printing and color usage (Ages 6 -9) at 10 a.m.
Brush strokes and perspective (Ages 10-15 at 11:30 a.m.
Kids can learn painting techniques from watercolor artist Christine Copeland. Explore perspective, colors, leaf printing, brush strokes, and more. Display your finished artwork on the forest mural next to Christine’s exhibited works in the visitor center. Create some pieces to take home. Materials will be supplied, but bring your own if you like. Wear old clothes. The program is free but registration is required by calling 413-534-1723.

Find more Massachusetts State Parks eventshere.