Keith Bona checks out his piano at Memorial School.
ADAMS, Mass. — More than a dozen pianos are being transformed into singular artworks to evoke the county's musical and artistic heritage.
Dirty, dusty and out of tune, these castoffs found new partners as local artists tramped through the empty Memorial School last Tuesday to select the perfect piano for their endeavors.
Sue MacVeety of Sheffield had come prepared with primer, covering her selection with its first base coat of white. Keith Bona of North Adams picked a large upright and was planning out a celestial concept and figuring how he might use the frame-like back.
"This would be cool if we did it with a galaxy motif and do pictures here ... they look like frames for something," said Bona.
The piano meetup was hosted by the Adams Arts Advisory Board, with artists selecting their keyboards on a first come, first served basis. Three rooms were opened in the school where the artists will be able to paint and otherwise enhance their pieces.
"Each community will stage events once they're placed in their community," said Richard Tavelli, in between guiding artists between the rooms. The participating artists were invited, with the Adams board, since it was hosting the event, selecting two.
The instruments will be scattered across the county at participating venues this summer in a collaborative celebration of the Berkshire Summer of Music and famed conductor and pianist Leonard Bernstein's 100th birthday.
The transformed keyboards -- freshly tuned -- will be on display from July 18 through Aug. 25 and will be the focus of several pop-up concerts with local pianists.
At the end of the exhibition, they will be auctioned off with proceeds to benefit programming at Berkshire Music School.
Each artwork has a host venue, mostly libraries, and are being funded by local cultural councils. There's a long list of collaborators ranging from public libraries to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with All-Ways Moving Co. the major sponsor (it's moving all the pianos for free) and Greylock Federal Credit Union the corporate sponsor.
"I think it's sharing the wonderful 'Summer of Music' with the entire county," said Tracy Wilson, executive director of the Berkshire Music School. "We're connecting with the theme of the reading programs in the libraries, also double connecting with the Leonard Bernstein 100th anniversary of his birth. ...
"We wanted to get connected as the Berkshire Music School because Leonard Bernstein played a piano recital for us in 1942. It's just a perfect connection."
MacVeety had lucked out in finding a small acrosconic that she expected would save her time from driving 90 minutes away.
"It's a kind of little spinet piano and I have the exact same piano in my house," she said. "So I can do drawings and sketches and things with the exact measurements of the same piano."
Her piano will go on display at the Bushnell-Sage Library in Sheffield that is currently exhibiting her paintings celebrating local farms, "Boogie in the Barnyard."
"They asked me to do something similar," MacVeety said. "Flowers and chickens and a mountain view so it fits in with Sheffield. I'm trying to fit in Mumbet and the Shay's Rebellion stone as well."
Bona was disappointed a day later when he discovered the piano he picked out hadn't come from the late state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi's estate. It will still, however, be exhibited at the North Adams Public Library.
"The music school gets calls all the time about pianos that families don't want, don't need anymore," Wilson said. "Rather than me saying no, I'm sorry, they have another life. Everybody whose donated these pianos, when I told them the story of what was going to happen they loved it. ...
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Adams Offers DPW Director Position to Caritas Property Manager
By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Staff
The Selectmen voted to offer the post to Robert Tober after its other preferred candidate withdrew last week. Tober is expected to begin work in January.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen's search for a new Department of Public Works director started months ago with more than a handful of applicants.
The list was narrowed to three and then narrowed further when only two were called back for second interviews. Ultimately they ended up with one.
North Adams DPW Assistant Commissioner Paul Markland withdrew from consideration on Friday leaving Robert Tober as the only remaining candidate.
The board discussed the potential hiring at length last week and were split on the two applicants. The decision was made to hold a second round of interviews Monday night. Even with Markland backing out, Tober still made the trip from his current home in Millville to interview with the board again and tour facilities with Town Administrator Jay Green.
After last week's lengthy interviews of three finalists, it became apparent that the board on Tuesday could not come to consensus on one but was splitting in favor two of the finalists: Paul Markland and Robert Tober.
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The late Adams fire chief decided to throw a turkey dinner for any senior citizen able to show up on the first Wednesday in December. All the fixings, no charge, no questions asked. All run by himself and his fellow firefighters.
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