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Todd Covert, co-founder and Head of School at the Montessori School of the Berkshires, addresses gathering at the 'Go Beyond' Campaign kick-off, which took place at the school on Friday, April 15.
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Montessori School Kicks Off $2.95 Million 'Go Beyond' Capital Campaign

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LENOX, Mass. — The Montessori School of the Berkshires, a school that serves toddlers through grade 8 in Lenox Dale, has launched a $2.95 million capital campaign called “Go Beyond.”

The campaign kick-off, which took place at a school-wide event on April 15, is part of the school’s 10th anniversary celebration. The “Go Beyond” Campaign is raising funds for a 7,300-square-foot expansion to the existing 9,000-square-foot building. Students, families, teachers and MSB board members attended the event.

In addition to a large space for whole school gatherings and indoor sports, the campaign will fund MSB’s expansion, including a second elementary classroom, a larger adolescent classroom, a visual arts studio, a music and performing arts space, and offices, as well as added outdoor play areas and an athletic field. Construction is scheduled to begin in June 2016 and to be completed by September 2017.

Prior to its kick-off event, the school reached 86 percent of its campaign goal through contributions from the board and early donors. With the full support of its community and outside donors, MSB plans to raise the remaining $411,000 over the next five years.

“Our growth over the last 10 years has required the flexibility and creativity of staff, students, and families to fully realize our potential,” said Todd Covert, co-founder and Head of School. “This campaign promises that MSB will continue to flourish and provide an educational offering that remains unique in a competitive market.”

Since opening its doors 10 years ago with 24 Children’s House students ages 3 to 6, MSB has more than quadrupled its enrollment. Over the years, MSB has expanded beyond the initial early childhood program to a whole-school Montessori approach, which encompasses toddlers through eighth grade. With this growth and expansion, the existing building that was designed to accommodate 125 students in five classrooms is now nearly at full capacity, and the school maintains waitlists for some programs.

The “Go Beyond” campaign also includes funds for improving staff benefits and professional development.

“The success of MSB resides in the quality and growth of the school’s faculty. A growing, collaborative faculty ensures the school can continue to live its mission,” said Meagan Ledendecker, co-founder and the school’s Director of Education. “At its very core - and for over 100 years - Montessori education has been helping children develop as independent human beings, think critically, and become productive members of a community."

In his opening remarks at the April 15th kick-off, Churchward Davis, chair of MSB’s board of trustees said the 10th anniversary year has been "one of reflection."

“In cooperation with the school’s board of trustees and community, Todd continues to think strategically about how to build on the school’s success to date and secure its future,” said Davis, grandfather of three current students and one graduate.

Chairing the campaign committee are current parent Daniel Neilson and board member Elizabeth Neale.

“This campaign will help give our children and their teachers room to grow," Neilson said. "We're starting from the hard work everyone at this school has done over the last 10 years, and adding space and resources so we can go even further, as individuals and as a community, in the next 10 years.”

Those interested in learning more or making a donation to the “Go Beyond” can visit


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Great Music and More at Tanglewood, Sevenars, Berkshire High Peaks Festival

By Stephen DanknerGuest Column

As Tanglewood enters its third week, stellar performances will take center stage in Ozawa Hall and in the Koussevitsky Shed. Why go? To experience world-class instrumental soloists, the Boston Symphony and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra perform chamber and orchestral masterworks by iconic masters Schumann, Brahms, Ravel, Shostakovich, Sibelius, Debussy, Gershwin, Stravinsky, Wagner and Tchaikovsky.

Add to the above an inspiring world premiere featuring Metropolitan Opera diva Reneé Fleming, baritone Rod Gilfry, and the Boston Symphony, led by maestro Andris Nelsons in composer Kevin Puts' orchestral song cycle "The Brightness of Light." The powerful and deeply moving "Enigma" Variations of Edward Elgar will precede this extraordinary performance.

And, if the offerings at Tanglewood aren't enough to pique your musical interest, there are also outstanding performances to be enjoyed at the Sevenars Music Festival in South Worthington, Mass., and at the Berkshire High Peaks Music Festival, presented by Close Encounters With Music in Great Barrington, Mass., in a series of concerts from July 23 through Aug. 2. All three venues present great music performed in acoustically resonant settings by marvelous performers. Read below for all the details.


On Friday, July 19, the Boston Symphony Orchestra will present its first-ever free community event on the Pittsfield Common. "Tanglewood in the City: Pittsfield" is a live video transmission of the BSO's concert at Tanglewood that will bring Tanglewood into the Pittsfield community and share one of the festival's major performances with a wider group of Berkshire residents. The performance, which will be transmitted onto a 15-foot by 27-foot screen on the Pittsfield Common, will begin with welcoming comments from a BSO musician and feature BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons leading the orchestra in music of Betsy Jolas, Debussy and Ravel, as well as Saint-Saëns’s Cello Concerto No. 1 with soloist Gautier Capuçon.

The Pittsfield event is inspired by the popular Boston edition of "Tanglewood in the City." Now in its fourth year, this year's "Tanglewood in the City: Boston" event takes place on the Boston Common, also on Friday, July 19.

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