BITS & BYTES: Mac-Haydn Introduces New Initiative and Discount; FreshGrass planned; Bard Music Festival; FIRST Friday on Eagle Street; “The Tao of Judaism”

Mac-Haydn Theater Launches ‘Pay What You Can’ Initiative, Offers Discount to Mental Health Professionals at ‘Next to Normal’

CHATHAM, NY— The Mac-Haydn Theater will present apay what you can” performance initiative and award to mental health professionals for the next first regional production of “Next to normal.” Both initiatives are implemented in the spirit of community outreach and education.

The Mac-Haydn has made accessibility to the arts central to its mission, and with the highest ticket price at $45, it places the cost barrier lower than any other professional musical theater producer in the region.

The August 7 production of Next to Normal will feature Pay What You Can tickets. Additionally, mental health professionals receive $25 off tickets for all performances of the play.

The “Pay What You Can” initiative will be introduced with a designated performance of “Next to Normal” – Sunday August 7 at 7 p.m. – where spectators choose the amount they wish to pay for their ticket. For the remainder of the season, the Mac-Haydn will be offering a “Pay What You Can” performance for each Mainstage show, details of which will be released closer to the performance date.

Customers wishing to purchase “Pay What You Can” tickets for “Next to Normal” can call the box office at 518-392-9292, beginning at 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 7, or visit the theater box office on the day of the show starting at 6 p.m. to purchase tickets in person. The show will have a limited number of tickets available for the “pay what you can” promotion.

In addition, at each evening performance during the race, Mental health professionals can take advantage of a $25 discounted ticket to “Next to Normal”, to honor the area’s dedicated mental health workers. Any mental health professional can call the theater box office, open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or email [email protected] for more information and to reserve discounted tickets.

Please note that Next to Normal contains language and subject matter that may not be suitable for all audiences. The production addresses topics and conversations surrounding mental illness, addiction and suicide.

– A J

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The planned FreshGrass Festival

ADAMS NORTH — FreshGrass, the on-campus music festival at MASS MoCA, will bring roots and bluegrass heavyweights to the area in September.

FreshGrass day two lineup.

FreshGrass showcases bluegrass traditionalists and innovators on four stages and platforms spread across the museum’s 16-acre campus. The festival lineup also includes FreshScores, a silent film with original live music; FreshGrass orders and world firsts; instrument and industry workshops; pop-up shows and retail; and local Berkshire food and liquor vendors.

The festival will take place on September 23-25and three-day general admission tickets and one-day tickets are available for purchase online.

The festival will feature artists such as Gary Clark Jr., Old Crow Medicine Show, Tanya Tucker, Taj Mahal, Trampled by Turtles, The Del McCoury Band, Skip Marley and Yola.

To learn more, visit

– A J

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The Bard Music Festival returns

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY — The annual Bard Music Festival will be back on 5 August. The festival, dedicated to classical music, has established its unique identity in the field of classical concert by presenting programs which, through performance and discussion, place the selected works in the cultural and social context of the composer’s universe.

Intimate recitals and chamber performances, as well as exciting works for orchestra and choir, are complemented by informative pre-concert lectures, panel discussions by renowned musicians and scholars, and special events. Additionally, each season Princeton University Press publishes a book of essays, translations, and correspondence concerning the festival’s central figure.

Rachmaninoff and the Philadelphia Orchestra (photo: courtesy of the Philadelphia Orchestra Archives)

This year, the festival will explore Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff through twelve thematic concert programs. It will be spread over two weekends, the first weekend (August 5 to 7) devoted to Rachmaninoff’s navigation on “Russia and Modernity”, and the second weekend (August 12 to 14) on the theme of the composer’s relationship with “New Worlds”.

All events will take place at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and other locations on Bard College’s Hudson River Campus. Bus transportation from New York and live streams will be available for select performances throughout the festival.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Anglers Center website.

– A J

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FIRST Friday Block Party to activate Eagle Street

ADAMS NORTH – The community is invited to 5 August FIRST Fridays Block Party on Eagle Street – a monthly downtown event that includes live music, street games, activities for all ages, a rally with North Adams Mayor Jennifer Macksey, and store openings. gallery exhibitions of 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

The August 5 event will be the first of many Eagle Street business collaborations, with the intention of providing positive and uplifting experiences free of charge to all city residents and providing opportunities for local businesses to thrive. Eagle Street will be closed to vehicular traffic on the FIRST Friday evenings of August 5, September 2 and October 7.

Activities and entertainment will include live music in the Eagle Street Pocket Park sponsored by Eagle Street Music, a photo booth, street games and activities, and a beer and wine bar courtesy of Desperado Mexican Restaurant .

Andrew Fitch, a FIRST Friday organizer, said, “I see so many opportunities in downtown North Adams for collaboration and development. I have a vision of a bright and vibrant downtown that we can all be proud of and in which we can all participate. First Friday street closures are a big step towards realizing this vision.

– A J

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“The Tao of Judaism”, with Dr. Joel Friedman

PITTSFIELD- On Thursday August 4 and Thursday August 11 at 10:45 a.m., Dr. Joel Friedman will offer a meeting of Eastern and Western religious thought in his two-part presentation, “The Tao of Judaism.” The sessions, organized by the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, will draw on the text, liturgy, mystical traditions, symbols and ritual movements of Judaism, as well as images of quantum physics and concepts derived from the practice and of the philosophy of tai chi.

Joel M. Friedman is an MD, doctoral researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, professor and former chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. His focus is uniquely influenced by the synergy of his scientific/medical background, his 40 years of training and teaching Taoist Chinese internal martial/healing arts, and his passion for Jewish learning.

This free program will be presented in person as part of the Federation’s Connecting with Community series presented at the Knesset Israel (16 Colt Road in Pittsfield) and will be followed by a hot kosher lunch. Lunch is a suggested donation of $3 for adults over 60 or $7 for everyone else. Reservations are required for dinner and can be made by calling (413) 442-2200 before 9 a.m. on the day of the program.

To learn more about this program and other Federation events, visit our events calendar at

– A J

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