Breathing space in the heat of summer — #Berkshireweekend

We’re sharing iced coffee and a palm-sized blueberry pie — my old friend Teresa is here for the weekend, and we’re escaping the sun for a minute with pastry in Lenox.

We have been getting lost at Tanglewood and slipping into the Boston University Tanglewood Institute’s harp concert in honor of Ann Hobson Pilot, just as it begins. Charles Overton plays Lift Every Voice and Sing in a sound like warm rain.

Last night I was listening to Magela Herrara draw tones out of a silver flute I’ve never heard before — low and full-bodied and head-thrown-back whole.

Performers with Music from the Sole perform tap inflected with Brazilian rhythms. Press photo courtesy of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.
Photo by Jamie Kraus

Performers with Music from the Sole perform tap inflected with Brazilian rhythms. Press photo courtesy of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.

She’s a leading Afro-Cuban jazz flute player with Music from the Sole, and on the outside stage at Jacob’s Pillow her liquid notes lifted high over the quick polyrhythmic beat.

She called out ashé — to hear it, the same word as the name of Valerie Coleman’s new work, the theme we have just heard rounding out the BUTI concert.

Coleman is a widely acclaimed flutist and composer, and in Herrara’s improvisations I thought of Coleman, and the opening world of ensemble music she imagined when we talked … all the creative potential she sees.

Ashé, when I look it up, offers me a Yoruba idea — an energy, the power to change — yes! That affirmation has a pull for me right now.

Sometimes, this time of high summer, time turns into a friendly blur. Stories and performers call so powerfully from so many directions.

So it feels good to sit down and talk. The coffee is cold and strong, and the blueberries remind me what flavors are coming into season.

After the last few dry weeks, they are finally ripe now for picking at Second Drop Farm, and Chenail’s has sweet corn at the roadside stand.

This weekend …

Events coming up …

Find more art and performance, outdoors and food in the BTW events calendar.

Abbie Chambers joins an exhibition of The Art in Gathering, as Paradise City asks artists to explore ideas of community. Press photo courtesy of Paradise City Arts Festival
May 27 2024 @ 10:00 am
More than 220 selectively curated artists and makers come to Northampton for the annual three-day celebration of art, live music and local food.
Mass MoCA catches sunlight on a summer day.
May 27 2024 @ 11:00 am
Mass MoCA and the Williamstown Theatre Festival present The Plastic Bag Store, an immersive, multimedia experience by Brooklyn-based artist Robin Frohardt.
A Baltimore Oriole looks out from a slender branch. Creative Commons courtesy photo.
May 28 2024 @ 8:00 am
Mass Audubon will explore Edith Wharton's historic home, including its woods, wetlands, and meadows, to find birds by sight and sound.

By the Way Berkshires is a digital magazine exploring creative life and community — art and performance, food and the outdoors — and I’m writing it for you, with local voices, because I’ve gotten to know this rich part of the world as a writer and journalist, and I want to share it with you.

If you’d like to see the website grow, you can join me for a few dollars a month, enough for a cup of coffee and a cider doughnut. Members get access to extra stories and multimedia, itineraries a bookmark tool. Let me know what you're looking for, and we’ll explore together.

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