A Festival of Latin American Music

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williams College Department of Music will present a festival dedicated to Latin cultures and to the late Steven Dennis Bodner, who had worked to make the festival possible.

The festival starts on Friday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m. with the Momenta Quartet at '62 Center and continues with a variety of music on Saturday, Feb. 12, at 6 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, concluding with a concert at 8 p.m. in Chapin Hall on the same day. These free events are open to the public. This is a celebration of Latin American music–its contemporary expressions, heritage, and legacy as bridges between peoples.

The Momenta Quartet provides the first Puente Sonoro on Friday night in the '62 Center. All of the details of that concert and master classes are being released separately.

Those with an interest in chamber music also get their due. On Saturday evening Williams Chamber Players members Ronald Feldman, Doris Stevenson, and Joana Genova will present selected movements of the Piazzola trio, Four Seasons. Violist Noah Fields '11, and guests Martha Mooke and Duo Iberoamerica will also take the stage in the more intimate Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall to perform music by Modesta Bor, Alberto Ginastera, Aldemaro Romero, Tania León, Marcos Balter, Astor PIazzolla, and Williams faculty member Ileana Perez Velazquez.

The Saturday evening portion of the festival then moves to Chapin Hall. The larger student ensembles present more works of great contemporary Latin American composers. This not only provides an opportunity to experience modern music inspired by Latin America: this is a chance to hear the popular ensembles Zambezi Marimba Band and Williams Jazz, Percussion, and Brass Ensembles all in one venue. These ensembles present music by Armando Bayolo, Alberto Ginastera, Alexandre Lunsqui, Allem Carvajal, guest composer Tania León, and faculty member Andy Jaffe. Of special poignancy are the performances by the Symphonic Winds and Opus Zero Band, two groups central to the mission of presenting living music to a greater public. These ensembles embody the musical vision and are the flagship ensembles of the Bodner.

This idea of the festival came about when the immigration laws created such an uproar in Arizona. Faculty member Ileana Perez-Velazquez expressed her dismay to Bodner, and together they birthed the idea of a festival celebrating Latin Heritage. Bodner was a musician and colleague whose contribution was central to the presentation of many festivals such as this. His recent and untimely passing was and continues to be an unspeakable loss to the students, faculty, and staff at Williams. The service for Bodner is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m. in Thompson Memorial Chapel.
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Mount Greylock District Builds Diversity Training Days Into 2021-22 Calendar

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School Committee last week approved a 2021-22 academic calendar that includes six half days for all-staff professional development with an emphasis on diversity training.
"When it comes to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging work, that's a community effort, and it starts with the community in the central office and goes to everyone who works in school buildings or around school buildings," Superintendent Jason McCandless said in proposing the calendar.
"I would suggest to you that if we adopt this calendar, it becomes, in many ways, a template for moving forward with inclusion of half days as professional development time. We need time to reflect, to gather and learn from one another, and we need time to learn from experts, whether joining us in person or virtually, who are helping us become better practitioners all the time."
McCandless scheduled the half days for staff training on Oct. 8, Oct. 29, Jan. 14, Feb. 11, March 11 and April 18 — all Fridays. He also built into the schedule a full day for professional development on Friday, March 18.
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