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BC Arc Chairman Joseph Woitkoski, right, a present a recognition award a recent annual meeting with Executive Director Kenneth Singer.

Longtime Berkshire County Arc Board Chair Stepping Down

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Joseph Woitkoski

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Joseph Woitkoski, board chair of Berkshire County Arc, has stepped down from his position after 36 years of service. 

As board member and chair since 1984, he has helped lead agency growth from a few employees and a small budget into an organization with 800 employees, 43 group homes, numerous other offerings to the disability community, and a $36 million dollar budget.

"The number of changes and accomplishments BC Arc has experienced is mind-boggling," Woitkoski said. "I am so proud to have been part of this caring and successful group for all these years."

He credited the staff of BC Arc, along with its leadership, for the success and growth of the organization. 

"I never intended to stay involved this long, but after you see the love and respect the staff have for the people they serve, it's impossible to leave," he said. "And while it has been hard for me to resign, it's time for me to step down, allow for new leadership, and enjoy my retirement."

BC Arc provides a range of programs from employment to residential homes to day programs for people with disabilities. While many of the board members become engaged with BC Arc because of a personal connection with the disabilities community, Woitkoski fell into it as a community member. 

"I had a friend invite me to a board meeting, and I haven't left since. The entire board cherishes this agency like I do," he said.

He recalled joining the board in 1984.

"The fiscal situation was grave, no one knew we existed, and we knew new leadership would be crucial," he said. He served on a search committee to appoint a new executive director. "After a long and arduous search, we appointed Ken Singer, and he's brought the agency to its current state, a reputable and fiscally sound state even in these incredible times. 

"I've enjoyed every minute of my time on the board. It's a wonderful organization."

"Joe brought immeasurable value to the Agency, BC Arc would not have reached this point without his leadership," Singer said. "We are all thankful for his dedication."

Outside of BC Arc, Woitkoski worked in the financial services field for 49 years, employed by investment firms and banks in the region. He is a graduate of Assumption College, Worcester, and holds a graduate degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. He is a lifelong resident of Berkshire County, has been married for 49 years, and has three grown children.

BC Arc will soon announce the new board chair.

Tags: BC Arc,   retirement,   

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Berkshire Theatre Group to Present 'Godspell' Outdoors

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Theatre Group will produce "Godspell" this summer – the first musical in the United States to be approved by Actors' Equity Association in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The show will be presented outdoors in an open-air tent adjacent to The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, and is scheduled to run Aug. 6 through Sept. 4. Tickets will be available for purchase Tuesday, July 7, at noon. 

"We could not bear the thought of a Berkshire summer without live theater to support our community, so we jumped through every hoop to create a safe way to make this happen," said BTG Board of Trustees Co-President Lee Perlman. "I hope our production gives hope to the tens of thousands of theater professionals who are on the sidelines this summer. Theater is unstoppable and will be back”

Artistic director and CEO Kate Maguire said "Godspell" got the green light after BTG established a strict protocol to protect the health and safety of the audience, the performers and others involved in the show. 

"We have been working daily and in the true spirit of care and collaboration with Actors’ Equity Association for the past several weeks," she said. "Guided by Executive Director of Actors’ Equity Association Mary McColl and her extraordinary team, I have learned much about how to lead a theater in the new world. Our industry, which has been devastated by this global pandemic, will be served by their seriousness, data driven wisdom, and profound understanding of the need for artists to rebuild. 

"I am so proud that Berkshire Theatre Group, in its 92nd season will be authorized and granted the responsibility to produce the musical 'Godspell.'”

After careful consideration with the local and state government, Mayor Linda Tyer of Pittsfield and Actors’ Equity Association, BTG relocated "Godspell" from its original site at The Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge to outside under a tent at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield.

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