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Editorial: Rich weekend of arts kicks off new school year

The area’s plentiful buffet of arts and entertainment is on full display this weekend. The stellar weekend line-up is an opportunity and a reason to celebrate.

Northampton’s Arts Night Out Friday features the fourth annual festival of sidewalk chalk art, as well as the monthly gallery shows and events at the Smith College Museum of Art.

The Northampton Jazz Festival opened earlier this week. There are events downtown Friday night and the program culminates Saturday with a day and night of music on the main stage in the Hampton Avenue parking lot. The free program offers top names in jazz, locally and nationally, and an opportunity for student performers to be heard. Only in its third year, the festival is now a significant jazz showcase.

Across the river, the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Music and Dance hosts the Five College New Music Festival, which features 50 performers and composers, most Five College faculty, but also student and community musicians. It opens Friday night with a Five College Composers Concert at Bezanson Recital Hall at UMass, where all talks and concerts take place. The festival runs through Sunday afternoon and is free.

Finally, the music of John Phillip Sousa, Karl King, showtune composers and more will be featured at the 10th annual Community Band Festival at Look Park Sunday at 3 p.m.

The Florence Community Band will be joined by 10 local bands, a few drop-in musicians and, in a new twist, performances by a traditional Irish band and a local a cappella group. It is free with park admission; a donation of a non-perishable food item is requested. That’s only the highlights. Even more arts events are listed in today’s Hampshire Life.

The arts enrich our lives and stimulate the economy. See you out there.

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