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BCI will bid farewell to its Sheffield home this summer after 35 years.

Berkshire Choral International Announces Its Final Summer in Sheffield

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SHEFFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Choral International, a nonprofit educational organization that provides amateur singers with professional-level choral immersion experiences, has announced that 2017 will be its final summer in its Berkshires location of Sheffield.

In efforts to increase both its national and international presence, BCI will bid farewell to its Sheffield home this summer after 35 years, closing out its Berkshires presence with two sessions scheduled to take place on July 15 and July 22. Founded in 1982, BCI is a mecca for amateur choral singers from across the world. BCI's choristers reside in 30 US states and five countries, and the faculty is comprised of career singers and musicians.

During their farewell weeks in Sheffield, choristers will study under two renowned conductors and be accompanied by the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. Referred to as "the brightest star in New York's choral music world," conductor Kent Tritle will lead choristers during the first farewell week in the Berkshires as they prepare to perform Mahler's Symphony #8 on July 15. Conductor Tom Hall will join BCI for his eighth season as he leads choristers in their performance of Verdi's Requiem, the final show in the Berkshires on July 22.

"We have incredible memories of Sheffield, but we are excited to begin a new chapter in the BCI legacy," President and CEO Debi Kennedy said. "Our decision to move beyond the Berkshires will allow us to truly become an international program and increase the number of cities our choristers visit each summer."

For tickets and information, visit BCI's website.


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PCTV Documentary Finds Pittsfield Parade Dates Back to 1801

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Community Television's recently released documentary "Fighting For Independence:  The History of the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade" has traced the first Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade back to at least 1801.  

An article in the Pittsfield Sun from July 7, 1801, says that "at 12:00 o’ clock at noon a Procession was formed consisting of the Militia of the town."

Previously the Pittsfield Parade Committee acknowledged that the parade dated back to 1824.

"This was a fascinating discovery, as we researched to put this documentary together," said Bob Heck, PCTV’s coordinator of advancement and community production and executive producer of the program.  "Not only were we able to trace the parade back further than ever before, but to see how the parade has impacted Pittsfield, and how the community always seems to come together to make sure the parade happens is remarkable."

The Pittsfield Fourth of July parade experienced bumps in the road even back in the early 1800s - most notably, when Captain Joseph Merrick, a Federalist, excluded Democrats from the yearly post-parade gathering at his tavern in 1808.

The parade ran concurrently from at least 1801 until 1820. In 1821, Pittsfield’s spiritual leader Dr. Rev. Heman Humphrey, canceled the festivities so the day could be dedicated to God before resuming in 1822 after residents decided they wanted their parade.

"Fighting for Independence: The History of the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade" premiered July 4 at 9:30 am on PCTV Access Pittsfield Channel 1301 and PCTV Select.  The program is available on-demand on PCTV Select, available on Roku and Apple TV, or online.

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