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The Beat Goes On: A trombone celebration in Holyoke, Lord Russ shifts gears, and the Hampshire Young People’s Chorus turns 25
05-02-2024 4:54 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

The Holyoke Civic Symphony has titled its 2023-2024 season “The Brass Menagerie,” not to be cute but to highlight a series of concerts dedicated to celebrating the family of brass instruments: the horn, the tuba, the trumpet, and the trombone.On May...

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Communities to mark Memorial Day with parades, ceremonies
05-23-2024 4:09 PM

The last Monday in May is Memorial Day, a federal holiday originally called Decoration Day that was formalized in 1868 and serves as the nation’s foremost annual day to honor its deceased service men and women.A bevy of parades and commemorative...


Time to celebrate kids and books: Mass Kids Lit Fest offers a wealth of programs in Valley during Children’s Book Week
04-25-2024 11:56 AM

By STEVE PFARRER

Just in time to coincide with Children’s Book Week, a national event established in 1905, the Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB) has created a children’s literary showcase here in the Valley.The Mass Kids Lit Fest, a new book festival taking...


Hitting the ceramic circuit: Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail turns 20 years old, April 27-28
04-19-2024 11:32 AM

By STEVE PFARRER

A lot can change in 20 years: Presidents and other politicians come and go, new cultural fads and technologies emerge, clothing styles morph, and music and movies take on different dimensions.In these parts, one tradition hasn’t changed. Since 2005,...


The Beat Goes On: Album release shows by Barnstar! and Lisa Bastoni, a Young@Heart Chorus concert with new special guests, and more
04-18-2024 1:43 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

’Tis the season of gigs by artists dropping new albums.In early April, the Valley indie-folk band Cloudbelly celebrated a new disc, “i know i know i know,” with back-to-back shows at The Parlor Room in Northampton, and Natalie Cressman & Ian Faquini,...


Area Briefs: Northampton kicks off Earth Day celebrations
04-18-2024 11:53 AM

NORTHAMPTON — The city will kick off Earth Day celebrations with a ceremonial tree planting on Saturday, with 12 trees planted by volunteers to replace ash trees on Ice Pond Drive damaged by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, a wood-boring pest that...


You’re up next: Western Mass open mic scene heats up post-pandemic
04-05-2024 2:04 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Not so long ago, there was a general lament sometimes heard among Valley musicians: “There aren’t enough places to play around here.”That might have been true for professional players who wanted to be paid — and maybe, despite the opening of new local...


A time for every purpose under heaven: Free sing-a-long Pete Seeger Fest returns to Ashfield, April 6
03-29-2024 12:40 PM

By SHERYL HUNTER

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Pete Seeger’s death. The legendary folk musician, political activist, and environmentalist touched lives around the world with his songs, which were rich in hope and history and exhibited a strong sense of...


Arts Briefs: Two-artist exhibits in Easthampton and Amherst, the South Hadley Chorale performs, and more
03-14-2024 2:40 PM

Artistic minds that think alikeEASTHAMPTON — City artists Ken Gagne and Adell Donaghue share a number of traits, from an inquisitive eye to a penchant for sketching surreal or humorous scenes in their drawings, yet that also engage viewers’...


The Beat Goes On: Chamber music at The Drake, a Saint Patrick’s weekend musical smorgasbord, and more
03-07-2024 1:09 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

Since opening in the spring of 2022, The Drake has featured a wide range of music, from blues to rock to folk (and various combinations thereof), to jazz and more.“More” includes the Amherst club’s periodic forays into classical music, with concerts...


Greening our brains and our thumbs: The many opportunities in the Valley to increase your garden knowledge and skills
02-29-2024 2:22 PM

By PAT JAMES

After moving from the city into a rural home with land 25 years ago, I was excited that the property was mostly bare ground that I could bend to my will and create beautiful gardens over time. As a kid, I’d helped in the garden a lot, so how hard...


Arts Briefs: BIPOC poets and racy love letters in Northampton, music inspired by T.S. Eliot in Holyoke, and more
02-29-2024 2:19 PM

Poetry night celebrates BIPOC writers andorganizing workNORTHAMPTON — Franny Choi, the new poet laureate of Northampton, will do a reading tonight (Friday, March 1) at 6 p.m. at the Northampton Center for the Arts, where they’ll be joined by a number...


New year, new look: Bombyx Center adds more varied arts programming to its lineup while making infrastructure improvements
02-22-2024 1:30 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

What a difference a year makes.Late last May, the Northampton Fire Department abruptly shut down virtually all music performances at the Bombyx Center for Arts & Equity in Florence, citing inadequate fire prevention measures at the venue.The move...


The Beat Goes On: The Back Porch Festival is just three weeks away, and the Iron Horse announces its opening lineup
02-22-2024 12:25 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

If you’re like me, counting the days to spring, it’s a little over three weeks to the official first day, March 19.Yet that’s just a date on the calendar, and the weather in mid-March can still spell winter. But one antidote to that is to hit the Back...


The Beat Goes On: Acclaimed dobro player shows her singer-songwriter side in Northampton, an eclectic duo comes to Florence, and more
02-08-2024 1:37 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

The Parlor Room features a steady stream of singer-songwriters, given the Northampton club’s intimate setting is ideal for acoustic music.The vast majority of those performers come bearing acoustic guitars. But Abbie Gardner will bring her dobro, or...


Arts Briefs: New exhibits and a gallery expansion in Easthampton, a musical cabaret in Amherst, and more
02-01-2024 3:08 PM

A grand reopeningEASTHAMPTON — With a dramatic increase in space, 50 Arrow Gallery will inaugurate its new locale Feb. 8 with a celebratory reopening and the unveiling of a new exhibit, featuring the work of Valley artist David Andrews.The gallery’s...


The Beat Goes On: A busy couple of weeks at The Drake, a new acoustic music series in Holyoke, and more
01-25-2024 2:58 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

In my last column, I mentioned that The Parlor Room in Northampton and the Marigold Theater are maintaining busy schedules right through these early, dead-of-winter days.Another area venue that keeps pumping up the music is The Drake in Amherst, and...


Arts Briefs: Forbes library staff exhibit their artwork, Heather Maloney performs three shows in Northampton, and more
01-18-2024 11:08 AM

Making Ground, Live!NORTHAMPTON — Late last winter, the Workroom Theater, the largest space in the city’s Community Arts Trust building (33 Hawley), was set to close down for months as new construction began to complete the 3,800-square-foot...


The Beat Goes On: Busy schedules at The Parlor Room and Marigold Theater, a ‘solo ensemble’ guitar concert in Greenfield, and more
01-11-2024 10:15 AM

By STEVE PFARRER

Early January, just after the holidays and New Year’s Eve have run their course, can be a quiet time for a lot of music venues.But The Parlor Room in Northampton has put together a pretty jam-packed schedule right through this month, starting with a...


Valley Bounty: Community has kept Leverett Co-op beacon burning for half-century
01-05-2024 12:54 PM

By JACOB NELSON

This year, the Leverett Village Co-op turns 50. Over half a century, it has grown beyond a grocery store to become a cultural institution and hidden gem on North Leverett Road. For many it is an indispensable source of food to eat and food for the...


Celebrate Southampton returns Saturday with music, food and festivities
08-09-2023 3:12 PM

By MADDIE FABIAN

SOUTHAMPTON — Established almost 250 years ago, the small town of Southampton has plenty to commemorate at its annual Celebrate Southampton event this Friday and Saturday.Each year, friends, neighbors and visitors come together for food, music, games,...

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