Virtual shows with a nod to history in Northampton, Holyoke

  • Vocal duo Moonlight Davis and Morning Star Chenven will perform a live-streamed show from Northampton’s Unitarian Society on Thursday to honor the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. NORTHAMPTON UNITARIAN SOCIETY

Staff Writer
Published: 1/10/2021 7:26:54 PM

The new year is beginning much as the old one ended: with virtual artistic performances. But two that take place in the Valley this week offer a look or make note of some important stories from U.S. history.

At the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence (USNF), the “Live from the Sanctuary” music series continues with a performance Sunday, Jan. 17 by Moonlight Davis and Morning Star Chenven, a multicultural vocal duo who offer original songs and spoken word collaborations in a number of genres including gospel, jazz, folk and blues.

That performance, which will be live-streamed from the society’s meeting hall in downtown Northampton at 4 p.m., is designed to honor the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a prelude to the national holiday Jan. 18 that celebrates the slain civil rights leader.

USNF’s music series, begun last summer, is designed to help musicians struggling with economic losses during the pandemic, as well as to raise funds for the society’s immigration justice work. In particular, the Main Street church has been a sanctuary for Irida Kakhtiranova, a Russian immigrant, who since 2018 has lived in the building to avoid deportation and separation from her nearby family: three American-born children and her husband, also an American citizen.

Kakhtiranova took shelter in the church after the Trump administration changed federal immigration policies in 2017.

The Unitarian music series is free but donations are encouraged. For more information, including about other shows — the next one, of classical music, is Jan. 31 — visit livefromsanctuary.org.

Wistariahurst virtual program

And on Thursday, Jan. 14, Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke will host a live-streamed staged reading of “Failure is Impossible,” a 1995 play by Rosemary Knower that dramatizes the debate about women’s suffrage by drawing on the Congressional Record, petitions to Congress, and other archival sources.

The play also uses personal letters, diaries, and memoirs from a cast of characters including Abigail Adams, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglass among others.

Thursday’s reading, to be done by Holyoke Community College students, will recognize the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, just as the play was initially commissioned in 1995 to recognize the 75th anniversary of women gaining the vote.

The reading, which takes place at 6:30 p.m., is open to all but is aimed in particular at helping area seniors fight social isolation.

Registration for this live, virtual program is required and can be done at wistariahurst.org or by contacting Eileen Maginnis at the Holyoke Council on Aging at maginnise@holyoke.org.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.




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