BITS & BYTES: Trade Secrets; ‘All In’ screening, discussion; Vocalis benefit concert; Dignity Drive; Pittsfield Cultural Council seeks members

Trade Secrets garden sale, tours, book signing to be held this weekend

LAKEVILLE, Conn. — Trade Secrets’ two-day event begins on Saturday, May 14with a rare plant and garden antiques sale from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. at Lime Rock Park. Tickets are priced from $25–$150.

On Sunday, May 15, the Trade Secrets garden tour boasts six gardens—three private and three public. The private gardens include that of Michael Trapp, as well as Clove Brook Farm. (Please note the tour of Bunny Williams’ garden is sold out.) In addition, there will be three public gardens on tour — Wethersfield in Amenia, New York, Innisfree Garden in Millbrook, New York, and Hollister House Garden in Washington, Connecticut .

Michael Trapp’s property stands out on a Sharon road bordered by old farmsteads and rolling pastures, where cows still graze. His house by him, dating in part from the 18th century, and the great barn alongside it are strikingly painted — their doors, windows, and trim a black-green against cream-colored clapboards.

The garden at Clove Brook Farm was started in 2014, following a full restoration of the circa 1830s Greek Revival farmhouse on the property. The garden has quickly grown into a series of interconnected spaces, beginning with a horseshoe-shaped garden near the house that is surrounded by a clipped hornbeam hedge and anchored by a dovecote. It’s this garden where a spectacular show of tulips and sweet peas emerges in spring, followed by towering dahlias in late summer.

Also on Sunday, Trade Secrets will host a Brunch and Book Signing at the White Hart Inn from 9:30 a.m.–Noon. Authors signing books will include Matthew Patrick Smyth, Carolyne Roehm, Frances Palmer, and James Golden. Tickets are $50 and there is limited seating. Visit the Trade Secrets website for Sunday events in surrounding towns.

Trade Secrets will follow COVID-19 guidelines for both days and require proof of vaccination.

—AK

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“All In” screening and discussion to be held in Tyringham May 14

TYRINGHAM — Jillian Bergman, co-producer and archival producer, will moderate a screening of the Academy Award-nominated documentary film “All In: The Fight for Democracy,” on Saturday, May 14 at 7:30 pm at the Tyringham Union Church, located at 128 Main Road.

Joining her in a post-film discussion will be a member of RepresentUs, a voting rights advocacy group.

Through a “behind the curtains” look into Georgia’s 2018 governor’s race, “All In” examines voter suppression and the barriers to voting that can adversely affect election outcomes. With critical primaries coming up and a presidential election on the horizon, the film raises issues of urgent importance for ensuring fair and equitable voting for all.

The event, sponsored by Tyringham for Racial Justice and the Hop Brook Community Club, is free and open to the public. Masks will be required inside the church.

—AK

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Vocalis Youth Choir to perform benefit concert for The People’s Pantry

GREAT BARRINGTON — The Vocalis Youth Choir, led by Julie Bickford, will perform a concert at Saint James Place on Sunday, May 15 at 4 pm Proceeds for the event will be donated to The People’s Pantry in Great Barrington.

The choir, made up of middle and high school students, will perform music that celebrates the joy of singing. Founder and director Julie Bickford believes that choir’s purpose is not only musical, but serves to develop leadership and mentoring skills. The older choristers mentor younger ones, both formally and informally. The choir also connects with the community through service days, including cleaning up around Saint James Place, developing partnerships with other nonprofits, and volunteering at The People’s Pantry.

The People’s Pantry has worked to respectfully serve community members experiencing food insecurity since 1999 by distributing healthy food that is locally sourced whenever feasible. Food insecurity in the community has grown exponentially in recent years, with the Pantry experiencing 160% growth in service visits between 2019–2021, and an additional 21% rise in the last four months alone. The Vocalis Youth Choir Benefit concert comes at the perfect time, as Pantry expenses have markedly risen and this last quarter marks the first time in a decade that the organization has been forced to work at a financial deficit.

Vocalis will also perform John Rutter’s “Mass of the Children,” collaborating with the Berkshire Concert Choir, on Friday, June 3 at 7 pm at Zion Lutheran Church in Pittsfield, and at Saint James Place on Saturday, June 4 at 6 pm

Admission is free. Donations are gladly accepted. All funds raised at the May 15 concert will benefit The People’s Pantry.

—AK

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Jewish Federation hosts Dignity Drive through the month of May

PITTSFIELD — Jewish Federation of the Berkshires’ Dignity Drive will be held through May 31. The community is asked to donate new, packaged menstrual and incontinence products for neighbors in need.

Menstrual and incontinence poverty is a real but often unseen and overlooked need, especially during difficult times as so many are experiencing right now. You can bring dignity to a neighbor in need by dropping off new, packaged products at the following locations:

  • The Berkshire Food Co-op (34 Bridge Street, Great Barrington)
  • Concepts of Art (65 Church Street, Lenox)
  • Jewish Federation of the Berkshires (196 South Street, Pittsfield)
  • Williams College Bookstore (81 Spring Street, Williamstown)

Volunteers from the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires will be collecting the donations on a weekly basis and organizing them to be distributed through local food banks and social services organizations across the region. For more information, call the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires at 413-442-4360, Ext. 10.

—AK

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Pittsfield Cultural Council extends invitation to join committee

PITTSFIELD — The Pittsfield Cultural Council (PCC) is extending an invitation to Berkshire County residents to apply to join the committee. Those who join in the summer will be on board in time to participate in reviewing the fall grant applications. The committee invites potential members to come to a meeting, ask questions, and see how they can be involved. The next meeting will be Wednesday, June 8, at 7 pmat Pittsfield City Hall, room 203.

Funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, each year the PCC reviews grant applications from artists, cultural groups and organizations in Pittsfield and surrounding communities and decides if those applications meet the criteria for funding. With limited funding available each year and working with the priorities established by the council, the members of PCC collaborate to fund projects that best serve the needs and interests of the residents of Pittsfield.

There is a limit of two three-year terms that members may serve, and new member recruitment is ongoing throughout the year. Membership on the PCC offers an opportunity for anyone interested in supporting the arts and culture in Pittsfield. Members participate in one of the largest grassroots cultural funding networks in the nation with other like-minded volunteers who are passionate about the local cultural program and the positive impact it has on the community.

The PCC meets once a month from July through February, and meetings are typically no more than an hour in length. There are no special qualifications to join the council, and it offers an opportunity to meet new people, share skills and support an important program that contributes to the quality of life. For more information about the PCC or to attend the next meeting, contact PCC at pittsfieldculture@yahoo.com or visit the PCC website.

—AK

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