Williamstown Museum Benefit Features Cabaret, AuctionBy Phyllis McGuire
Special to iBerkshires
05:30PM / Thursday, March 01, 2012
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williamstown Historical Museum's 2012 fundraiser will bring twofold pleasure: a cabaret and a silent auction.
The "Moon Over the Mountains" event will be held on Sunday, March 11, from 5 to 8, at the '6 House Pub on Cold Spring Road.
"The House Tour in 2011 was very successful, and we hope this will do as well," said Rita Watson, vice president of the museum and program chairman.
It is the first time the museum, formerly the Williamstown House of Local History, is hosting an auction. Nonetheless, it has secured donations of a wide variety of desirable items that organizers hope will encourage attendees to open their wallets.
Williams College alumna Martha Williamson, best known as head writer and executive producer of the nine-time Emmy-nominated television series "Touched By an Angel," is putting together a tribute to perform in the cabaret. Wilson said organizers were overwhelmed by Williamson's generosity. "It is Martha's gift to us," she said.
Williamson has been honored many times in her 25 years in the entertainment industry, receiving the Producers Guild of America Nova Award, the Freedom Works Award from Congress, and the Edward R. Murrow Responsibility in Television Award, to name a few.
"I started with Carol Burnett doing music and special material for variety shows," Williamson said via phone from Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children and three dogs. "Now, I'm having great fun writing a special tribute to Williamstown ... There will be singing, some backstage stories, and maybe even a little inspiration to take home along with those auction items!"
As a member of the Williams class of 1977, (the very appropriately named) Williamson is no stranger to Williamstown. When she returned for her class's 30th reunion five years ago, her one-woman show at Adams Memorial Theatre was a hit. "I was shocked," she said. "They were turning people away at the door and I was touched by such wonderful support from the community."
Some material from "Martha At Risk" will be included in the performance at the '6 House Pub, something of a homecoming for Williamson as a founder of the Williams College Cabaret.
"Our first performance was at the 1896 House in 1975," she said. "I have remained friends with so many of the performers from that cabaret, and some of those talented people are coming from New York, Boston and elsewhere to lend a hand, sing a song, and support the Williamstown Historical Museum."
The evening will celebrate Williamstown and highlight some great memories of the original Williams Cabaret. "It gives me joy to be able to give back a little," said Williamson.
The silent auction runs from 5 to 6:45 for items ranging in value from $30 to $1,400. Bidders can vie for tickets to Red Sox games, the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, N.Y., and a James Taylor performance at Tanglewood. History buffs may prefer to bid on a night's stay at historic River Bend Farm; a history hike; a behind-the-scenes tour of Hancock Shaker Village, or mahogany side chairs from the old Greylock Hotel.
Also among the more than 50 items offered are cocktails and dinner for as many as eight people; artwork, including a watercolor by Hugh McKenzie and a painting by Peter Trabold of "The Old Mill." Trabold, a noted photographer who also painted landscapes, was the father of Randy Trabold, longtime photographer for the North Adams Transcript.
Tickets at $45 for museum members and $50 for others entitle attendees to two beverages and hors d'oeuvres. Tickets are available from the museum at the Milne Public Library and the '6 House Pub.
Proceeds will benefit the museum, a non-profit organization founded in 1941 to conserve and protect historic items connected to Williamstown's past.