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The union carpenters donated a days worth of labor to build the dugouts.
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Volunteers Build Dugouts At Taconic High School

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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At one point there were some 75 union carpenters working on the new school.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Most of those who worked on the new Taconic High School live in the area. They coach youth sports or they're volunteer firemen in their communities.
 
As the final pieces come together - with the school passing its final inspection on Friday - those workers turned their attention to the baseball field — even if they weren't getting paid for it.
 
The school project didn't include any work on the baseball field. But a volunteer effort from those who worked on the new school got the work done anyway.
 
On Saturday, two dozen union carpenters were on site volunteering their time to build dugouts.
 
"It is about giving back. The community uses a union contract, uses union labor, they get paid a fair, living wage. We want to give back. We want to work in the community and be part of the community," New England Regional Council of Carpenters Business Representative Timothy Craw said.
 
"Most of these guys and girls are sports coaches, we have a couple volunteer teachers."
 
Maxymillian had the contract for the excavation for the new school. Two weeks ago, they had volunteers on site doing drainage work to improve the baseball field and carved out the land for the dugouts. David Tierney had the school's concrete contract and he followed up, again on volunteer time, to pour the dugout's foundation. Skanska USA and Gilbane Construction had the contracts to manage the project and they donated the materials. LP Adams donated lumber for the project.
 
"This all started with a group of people, Jim Abel, the athletic director, and Anthony DiMartino. They got together a group to see what they could do," said James Moran, who is overseeing the Taconic Project for Skanska. 
 
"They desperately needed dugouts and now they've got them."
 
Gilbane and Skanska coordinated the efforts, reaching out to the various companies seeing if they'd help. The union had 24 people on site Saturday morning and planned to have the dugouts complete by the end of the day.
 
For the carpenters, this type of work is what they regularly do. Craw said they have a volunteer board which works with communities throughout the region on such efforts.
 
"These are all Berkshire County union carpenters. We've done ramps. We've done dugouts before. We've done house builds in Western Mass. Throughout New England, it is everything. It really depends on the needs of the community," Craw said.
 
The dugout project had been in talks for a while but the focus was on finishing the school. The students return on Wednesday. Moran said just about everything is ready to go - though the electrical shop won't be opening right away and the auditorium will be closed for two weeks of acoustic testing. But otherwise, the school will be ready to go and the construction is currently "on budget."
 
Demolition on the old school has begun. Moran said the school is expected to be down by the end of the year.
 
The project wasn't just a good one to provide work for the carpenters but the school's vocational programs will train future carpenters. Craw said he is already working with the school to find at least 10 apprentices at the end of the school year. 
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Studs Turkel Makes Music, Caroline Rose Switches Genres and More

By Grace LichtensteinGuest Column

A wonderful pops and dance week in the Berkshires is upon us. There is an original musical based on Studs Terkel's amazing oral history "Working," folk and pop acts at the highest level, Mark Morris at the Pillow, and twilight jazz on Edith Wharton's terrace. The pluses outweigh the minuses — the main minus being Patti Lupone's cancellation at the Mahaiwe. (She's still recuperating from hip replacement surgery, according to an announcement.) Lupone promises to reschedule.

Berkshire Theatre Group

"Working: A Musical" is based on Studs Terkel's brilliant collection of interviews chronicling the lives of ordinary Americans. It was first produced in 1977 but has been extensively revised. The updated version from 2012, opening this week at the Berkshire Theatre Group's Unicorn Stage in Stockbridge, features songs by Tony Award-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda ("Hamilton," "In the Heights"), as well as by Stephen Schwartz ("Wicked," "Pippin," "Godspell"), Craig Carnelia and the Berkshires' own James Taylor.

The show was adapted by Schwartz and Nina Faso with additional contributions by Gordon Greenberg. The director is James Barry. It begins Thursday, July 18, and runs through Aug. 24. I hate to be alarmist, but smart theatergoers should order tickets ASAP since the first two weekends are almost sold out. Get those tickets and  more info online.

Mass MoCA

Beginning Thursday, July 18, and running through Wednesday, July 24, fellows and faculty of the celebrated New York contemporary music collective Bang on a Can present informal recitals in various Mass MoCA galleries. The music ranges wildly — from solo cello to Latin big band.

In a different vein, singer-songwriter Caroline Rose brings her multi-genre sensibility to Mass MoCA on Saturday night, July 20. She was originally hailed for her folk/country rockabilly sound, but more recently it has been her darker indie pop, synthesizer-laden work that has gained attention. Opening for her is Zenizenn.

Find all the details on the website.

Guthrie Center

Tom Paxton visits Great Barrington on Friday, July 19, and Saturday, July 20, to reprise a career going back to the 1960s, protest sounds and the folky revival. I hope he sings "Ramblin' Boy." I would also love to hear "Talking Vietnam Potluck Blues," for the good old days, just to hear the line "I swear to God that I smell pot." He will have with him the Don Juans, made up of songwriters Don Henry and Jon Vezner.

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