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Boston Symphony Orchestra violinists Ala Jojatu, left, and Rebekah Edewards perform a Mozart duet at Berkshire Medical Center's North Adams campus on Wednesday.

BSO Popup Concert Brings Mozart to North Adams

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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The violinists, posing with Mayor Thomas Bernard, performed the last of three popup concerts for health-care workers at BMC. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The sounds of Mozart and Beethoven could be heard across the back parking lot at the Berkshire Medical Center campus on Wednesday afternoon. 
The noontime popup performance by violinists Ala Jojatu and Rebekah Edewards was a joint venture by Boston Symphony Orchestra and BMC to offer a musical respite for frontline medical workers as well as anyone else who loves music. 
"[During the pandemic] musicians wanted the opportunity to go into communities, and particularly partner with health care, which is so directly in the front lines," said Alexandra Fuchs, BSO's chief operating officer. "This year we're fortunate that Berkshire Medical Center is a sponsor and they were very happy to work with us to facilitate all the on-site preparation, and the invites for staff and caregivers and everyone to attend."
The North Adams performance was the final of three planned "mini" concerts hosted by the hospital system, with the first a brass quintet at the main campus in Pittsfield and the second with strings at Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington. 
A dozen or so staff and others, including Mayor Thomas Bernard and his family, were treated to 40 minutes of duets by Jojatu and Edewards. The violinists said it was nice to be able to play in front of live audiences again after last year's concert cancellations because of the pandemic — even in a parking lot. 
"It's always good, very different and very casual but in a way it's very pleasant to play for just whoever wants to come by,"  said Jojatu, a Boston University master's graduate who joined the BSO and Boston Pops a decade ago. 
Edewards, a five-year BSO veteran who graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music, noted, "it's the way music should be used. We started out as chamber music in small intimate settings so it's always nice to be able to do it again."
Fuchs said the players had welcomed the opportunity to perform within the communities, and that their performances can suffer without an audience to respond to them. 
"I think we've learned a lot in the last year and a half," she said. "I think it is important that we stay really connected with communities and externally focused and I think this is resonating also with the musicians."
BMC spokesman Michael Leary said the health-care community has been appreciative of the musical interludes. 
"It has just been an incredible treat and respite, I think, for our staff but we're very, very happy with our relationship and
we're thankful that the BSO was back this year," he said. 
While there have been no discussions on future concerts, Leary said BSO officials had toured the main campus and its auditorium "and they did mention that there was a possibility that maybe we could extend this over other periods of time. ... We would love to work with Tanglewood on something like that."
Bernard echoed Leary's comments, saying, "it's this little break in the day, this beauty, this joy, this talent, coming in a place where people can really use it, at a time when we all just have to remember that we've had a hard road behind us and it's a road we're still on ... a little music, a little joy along the way, it's not a bad thing."
After the first concert in Pittsfield, Fuchs said she heard some hospital staff saying it's the first live music they'd heard in years. 
"So just knowing how much it means and how the pandemic has upended everyone's lives. It's really meaningful all around," she said. 
The audience offered rounds of applause and thanks on their way back into the building, with one woman telling the violinists, "thank you very much, it was really lovely."

Tags: BMC North,   BSO,   classical music,   music,   

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Sacco Brothers Honored at North Adams American Legion for WWII Service

By Stephen
Members of the Sacco family and others participate in a flag raising ceremony at the North Adams American Legion on Sunday.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – The sacrifice of the Sacco family is part of history.
A piece of World War II memorabilia that honors the Saccos at North Adams American Legion Post 125 has a bit of legend attached to it.
“While doing my research, I was not able to find the exact source of where this propeller comes from,” Post 125 Commander Mitchell Kiel said on Sunday afternoon. “Which makes my job up here today a little bit easier, because I can exaggerate how we came in possession of it.”
Kiel then told the tale of the propeller to the crowd gathered to honor Peter, Ralph, Samuel, Anthony, Pasquale and Joseph Sacco.
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