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Eagles Band Returns To The Colonial Stage

By Jack GuerinoPrint Story | Email Story
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Eagles will perform a free community concert at the Colonial on Friday, Nov. 5 at 7 P.M.
 
"I encourage people to go. People get there and they realize how much they missed the opportunity to just get out of the house to see something new," Conductor Carl Jenkins said. "It is so much better to see and hear things live."
 
The concert will feature music by John Philip Sousa. Serendipitously this is not the first time many of these arrangements have been brought to the Berkshires.
 
"We did a little research on Sousa and found that he did play with his band here when he was on tour. He played at the Colonial in 1916 and in 1920 they did a show at Drury," Jenkins said. "We were able to find those programs so we are copying some of that music at Friday night's concert. We will be playing music that was done at those two concerts 100 years ago."
 
The upcoming concert will also feature music by Leroy Anderson, Berlioz, and selections from the Broadway Musical "Les Miserables".
 
The group will perform a suite of music by John Williams from the movie "Catch Me If You Can."
 
"It really is a cool piece by John Williams…the first time I saw the movie I had to sit around and wait to see the credits because the music was so cool," he said. "It was John Williams, but it was like no Williams music I ever heard before." 
 
As in the past, the Eagles band will feature soloists. In this suite David Jenkins, a Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Band "President's Own" in Washington, will be the featured saxophone soloist accompanied by the Eagles Band.
 
David is a graduate of Mount Greylock Regional High School., U. Mass Amherst, Arizona State University, and he did his post-graduate work at the University of Minnesota.
 
David is Jenkins' son.
 
This concert is a somewhat return to normalcy as the community band has been mostly sidelined during the pandemic.
 
"Before the pandemic, we had a concert in January and then we didn't play after that in 2020 until mid-June this year. So it has been about a year and a half," Jenkins said. 
 
He said usually they would play 12 times during the summer.
 
Jenkins said the group is close and even though they were unable to meet throughout much of the pandemic, as the ensemble playing of wind instruments was considered a high-risk activity, they met remotely.
 
"We had communications...the group really does care for each other and we really stayed in touch," Jenkins said. "There is really a wide range of ages in the group. Some of them are 15 years old and we have 95-year-olds. So we all got together on zoom every few weeks just to check up on each other."   
 
He was happy to report that when the Eagles first started performing again once some of the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, it was all hands on deck.
 
"When I went to the first rehearsal I did not know if we would just have five or ten people or 50 or 60," he said. "But we had almost everybody. Everyone was really anxious to get back."
 
Tickets will be limited and must be reserved in advance. Masks and proof of vax/neg test required.
 
Tickets can be reserved here.
 
The Eagles Band was founded in 1936 and is the oldest continuing performance ensemble in the Berkshires. The band was originally sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie #358, but traces its roots to the 390th Field Artillery Band (1918).
 

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Pittsfield School Committee Aims to Shorten Meeting Times

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — School Committee members recognize that meetings can be dramatically long and are looking to change that.

The policy subcommittee on Monday unanimously voted to limit them to three hours with a 2/3 vote needed to extend; to move agenda item 6: School Committee non-agenda participation; 7: approval of minutes from previous meetings, and 8: approval of reports to the end of the agenda; and to remove item 9: school presentations from the agenda.

Mayor Linda Tyer assembled the subcommittee to address the issue of meeting lengths. She said that in the past year, they have sometimes run for four or five hours.

"My real aim here is to shorten the length of meetings to make them meaningful and productive, but not to the point of exhaustion for the committee members," Tyer explained.

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