Warm Up with the Berkshire Music Sampler at the Clark on February 26

For Immediate Release

February 16, 2005

The Clark will present an afternoon of music by Berkshire County musicians on Saturday, February 26 from 1 to 5 p.m. Area performers will include jazz artists, contemporary singer-songwriters and traditional folk musicians.  Pamela Wyn Shannon, The Ladies Auxiliary Ukulele Orchestra, Wintergreen, The Flying Garbanzos, Ben Kohn, Adam Rothberg and Bernice Lewis will perform in the "Berkshire Music Sampler" which is free and open to the public.

First to take the stage at 1 p.m., will be Irish singer/songwriter Pamela Wyn Shannon.  In addition to performing her original compositions in the folk troubadour tradition, Shannon has performed, accompanied, and recorded with traditional Irish musicians including Solas, Kila, Lunasa, Whirligig, and Cherish The Ladies, among others. Of her early music, Amazon.com writes, "The songs on Shannon's debut (CD), Nature's Bride, contain the chill up to the spine essence that lay behind the finest of Celtic songsmiths."

Following Shannon, The Ladies Auxiliary Ukulele Orchestra will perform at 1:35 p.m. This trio includes Cathy Shane Lydon, Audrey Their and Bernice Lewis playing ukuleles and singing in three-part harmony.  Their repertoire varies from old standards and light comedy songs to a unique version of "Stairway to Heaven."

At 2:15 p.m., the folk trio Wintergreen will perform a mixture of traditional and contemporary music from the British Isles and America, along with their own compositions.  Members of Wintergreen include Alice and Larry Spatz, and Jared Polens. Active musicians since the 1960s, the Spatzs have performed internationally and recorded several albums as soloists and with other performers. Listeners of WAMC are familiar with Alice and Larry through a monthly live radio show, "The Northeast Folk Festival."  Polens, who plays hammer dulcimer solo and with others throughout the Northeast, is also a member of the contra dance band Southwind and sings with the a capella vocal quartet Northern Sky.  For several years, Polens has organized weekly music nights on the summit of Mount Greylock and has performed at the Acoustic Brew in Williamstown.

Next up, at 2:50 p.m., will be local favorites The Flying Garbanzos.  The four-piece band from western Massachusetts plays original, contemporary and traditional instrumental tunes of Irish, French-Canadian and Appalachian origin.  Members include Eric Buddington on fiddle, viola, and wooden transverse flute; Tony Pisano on guitar, mandolin, and piano accordion; Josh Pisano playing dumbek, djembe, bodhran, ashiko, and other percussion; and Dale Ott on upright bass.

Jazz and folk pianist Ben Kohn will take the stage at 3:25 p.m. Originally from Windsor, MA, Kohn is well known in the local music scene as well as in New York City.  Although he studied jazz piano at both Westfield College and Berklee College of Music, his style of playing has developed principally by ear.  Kohn's influences include Keith Jarrett, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Bach, Mozart and Paul Simon. Clark audiences may remember him as the opening act for Chris Smithers. He is the son of singer/songwriter Ed Kohn.

New England native, Adam Rothberg will perform at 4 p.m. Rothberg's childhood music experience includes Scottish marching bands, Baroque sonatas and operettas, Broadway, the Beatles, Bob Dylan and Chet Atkins.  His early instruction included piano and violin, and at the age of 13 his obsession with playing guitar began.  Today, Rothberg plays acoustic and electric guitars, bass, piano, organ, and mandolin.

Folk musician Bernice Lewis will take the stage at 4:35 p.m. With tales highlighting the victories and defeats of everyday life, Lewis has earned a stellar reputation as a songwriter's songwriter. She studied vocal improvisation with Bobby McFerrin, guitar technique with Alex DeGrassi and Guy van Duser, and songwriting with Roseanne Cash and Cris Williamson. Lewis's latest CD, Religion and Release, features appearances by folk music's best-known performers including Dar Williams, Ellis Paul, Brook Williams, and Jennifer Kimball, among others.  Lewis is also a published poet, producer, and educator.  She lives in Williamstown.

The Berkshire Music Sampler complements the exhibition A Walk in the Country: Inness and the Berkshires, on view now through April 17 at the Clark.  The exhibition of 15 paintings marks the first time the Berkshire subjects of the prominent 19th century artist George Inness have been examined together.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.   The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Gallery admission is free through May.  For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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