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Culture to Do: May 8, 2024

Brianna J. Robinson will join the Pioneer Valley Symphony as soprano soloist for their "Visions of Hope" concert on Saturday, May 11 in Greenfield.

The Plastic Bag Store
MASS MoCA, North Adams
Open Thursday, May 9
MASS MoCA, in association with Williamstown Theatre Festival, present “a tragicomic ode to the foreverness of plastic.” It’s an immersive, multimedia experience by Brooklyn-based artist Robin Frohardt that uses humor, craft, and a critical lens to question our culture of consumption and convenience During timed activations, visitors in groups of up to 40 people, step into The Plastic Bag Store which is then transformed into an immersive cinema, using inventive puppetry, shadow play, and intricate handmade sets to present a darkly comedic and sometimes tender story about the enduring effects of single-use plastics.

Look Again: Portraits of Daring Women by Julie Lapping Rivera
Springfield Museums
This new exhibit is an homage to exceptional, pioneering women working across centuries. In a series of hand-carved, woodcut and collage prints, local artist Julie Rivera highlights the lives and achievements of women who defied the status quo. The portraits invite the viewer to consider who is included, and omitted, from narratives of history today. Rivera is a Leverett-based artist who teaches printmaking at Smith College and at Zea Mays Printmaking in Florence.

Peter Rowan
Bombyx, Florence
Friday, May 10 at 7 p.m.
A Grammy award winner and member of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, Peter Rowan is a singer-songwriter with a career spanning over five decades. From his early years playing under the tutelage of Bluegrass veteran Bill Monroe, to his time in Old & In the Way, and his breakout as a solo musician and bandleader, Peter has built a devoted, international fan base through a solid stream of recordings, collaborative projects, and constant touring.

Sheep in the Shires Yarn Crawl
Friday, May 10 – Sunday, May 12
An assortment of local farms, yarn dyers/manufacturers and yarn stores have banded together to create the first ever “Sheep in the Shires Yarn Crawl.” With seven shops and farms participating, it starts in relatively nearby Shaftsbury, Vermont and ends in Great Barrington. Each stop will have something unique to offer knitters and crafters alike, and if you visit all seven, you’ll be entered into a raffle. This has the potential to become a local Mother’s Day tradition.

Illumine Vocal Arts: Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem
Buckley Recital Hall, Amherst College
Friday, May 10 at 7 p.m.
Brahms completed A German Requiem in 1868, then created a piano four hands arrangement in 1869. Over the past few decades, this arrangement has become accepted as an independent work of genius that allows for exceptional intimacy, flexibility, precision and clarity. Pianists Alan C. Murchie and Larry Schipull will perform on Amherst College's dual Steinway grands, supplemented by timpanist Kai Glashausser. The performance, conducted by Arianne Abela, will also feature vocal soloists Paige Graham and John Salvi.

Lyle Lovett and Lisa Loeb: In Conversation and Song
The Mahaiwe, Great Barrington
Friday, May 10 at 8 p.m.
A singer, composer and actor, Lyle Lovett has broadened the definition of American music in a career that spans 14 albums. Coupled with his gift for storytelling, the Texas-based musician fuses elements of country, swing, jazz, folk, gospel and blues in a convention-defying manner that breaks down barriers. Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb started her career with the platinum-selling Number 1 hit song “Stay (I Missed You)” from the film Reality Bites. A trailblazing independent artist, Lisa was the first pop musician to have a Number 1 single while not signed to a recording contract.

Kathia St. Hilaire: Invisible Empires
The Clark, Williamstown
Opens Saturday, May 11
Kathia St. Hilaire’s distinctive practice combines printmaking, painting, collage, and weaving. By building up as many as forty or fifty layers of ink using carved linoleum blocks, St. Hilaire creates striking surface textures. The substance of her work is equally layered: the artist, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Haiti, tells stories of the island nation’s history and the long shadows it casts, from French colonialism to independence, from U.S. occupation to the diasporic communities in which she was raised.

Mother's Day Tea at The Daffodil & Tulip Festival
Naumkeag, Stockbridge
Saturday, May 11 from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
This Saturday, your visit to Naumkeag’s Daffodil and Tulip Festival can be enhanced with a special tea in the gardens. Reserve a table in the outdoor café and enjoy an assortment of sweet pastries, traditional english scones and finely cut finger sandwiches along with your choice of tea and a glass of prosecco, mimosa or sparkling water. Admission to the Daffodil and Tulip Festival is included with Mother’s Day Tea ticket. Advance reservations are required for Mother’s Day Tea; you will not be able to reserve on site.

Poetry Walk 2024
Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst
Saturday, May 11 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
On May 11, in honor of the 138th anniversary of the poet’s death, join the Emily Dickinson Museum for the annual Poetry Walk through downtown Amherst, the town she called “paradise.” This year’s Walk celebrates the re-opening of The Evergreens with stops that explore its significance to Amherst’s cultural landscape and to the poet herself. Take the walk at your own pace, but be sure to head to Dickinson’s grave in West Cemetery in time for the 12 p.m. final poems and a toast to our revered local poet.

Cambodians in Amherst: A History of the Khmer Community
The Amherst Historical Society, Simeon Strong House, Amherst
Exhibit Opening Ceremony Saturday May 11 at 12 p.m.
In the early 1980’s, members of the Amherst community organized to give refuge to survivors of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia. Faith communities and their partners helped many Cambodian families escape the desperate circumstances they faced in refugee camps in Southeast Asia and resettle in Amherst. The Khmer community members worked hard in their new home to revive their cultural practices and rebuild the social structures that would sustain them as citizens of their new homeland. This exhibit tells the story of the courage and compassion of both communities.

Hampshire Young People’s Chorus 25th Anniversary Concert
Wesley United Methodist Church, 98 N. Maple St., Hadley
Saturday, May 11 at 3 p.m.
Directed by KC Conlan, The Hampshire Young People’s Chorus (YPC) is an award-winning youth choir that gives children the opportunity to experience choral singing in a comfortable and encouraging atmosphere. YPC chorus members learn healthy vocal technique and fundamental music skills while singing a wide range of music from many styles and traditions. We are very lucky to have this organization in our region! The concert program includes pieces by Vaughan Williams, Randall Thompson, William Boyce, Reena Esmail, Rollo Dilworth and more.

Berkshire Bach: James Bagwell Conducts Magnificat
First Congregational Church, Great Barrington
Saturday, May 11 at 4 p.m.
James Bagwell conducts professional soloists, chorus, and Baroque orchestra in a much-anticipated performance of two Magnificats by father and son J.S. and C.P.E. Bach. This is a rare opportunity to hear different settings of “the Song of Mary” — one of the most ancient hymns in the Christian tradition and an inspiration to composers from the Renaissance to the 21st centuries.

Pioneer Valley Symphony: Visions of Hope
Greenfield High School Auditorium
Saturday, May 11 at 7 p.m.
Tianhui Ng and Dr. Allegra Martin lead the PVS Orchestra and Chorus in their 85th season finale featuring the music of three African American composers. William Grant Still's Symphony No. 2 “Song of a New Race” brings classical Western orchestral composition together with blues and jazz to paint a united future for a diverse America. In “Credo,” Margaret Bonds sets Du Bois’ prose poem to sensitive, powerful music. Watkins’ “Dark River” tells the story of Civil Rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer’s fight for justice through interwoven elements of jazz, blues, and gospel. This concert features soprano Brianna J. Robinson and baritone Nicholas LaGesse.

Da Camera Singers: For the Love Singing
First Congregational Church, Amherst
Saturday May 11 at 7:30 p.m.

Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew
Sunday afternoon, May 12 at 3 p.m.
Da Camera Singers conclude their 50th anniversary season with a selection of music performed during their fifty-year history with a focus on pieces that celebrate the joy of making music. Plus, they will revisit important original works by local composer that Da Camera commissioned through the years.

Johnny Appleseed
First Church of Christ in Longmeadow
Sunday, May 12 at 3 p.m.
Johnny Appleseed is Clifton J. Noble, Jr.’s folk cantata for narrator, treble choir, and chamber ensemble inspired by Jane Yolen's book about the legendary character who grew up in Longmeadow. It will be performed by members of the Springfield Chamber Players and the First Church of Christ Children’s Choir under the direction of Daniel Rose. Also on the program: Ferdinand the Bull for violin and narrator by Alan Ridout based on the book by Munro Leaf; The Boston Wonder by Peter Schickeley for flute, piano and narrator; and The Swan for cello and piano by Saint Saens from The Carnival of the Animals.

Bad Bad Hats with Pronoun
The Drake, Amherst
Tuesday, May 14 at 8 p.m.
The Minneapolis duo Bad Bad Hats are named after a little-known song from “Madeline,” a beloved children’s book series about a mischievous young girl and her yellow-clad classmates. Founded by singer/songwriter Kerry Alexander and guitarist Chris Hoge, the band traffics in similarly playful concepts and warm scenes of youth. Bad Bad Hats are celebrated for crispy, lived-in melodies, big choruses that stick for days, and an easy musicianship that carries across their eclectic, wide-ranging releases.

The show will be opened by Pronoun, an indie pop singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist one-woman band from Brooklyn.