Community Contra Dance in Williamstown

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — North Berkshire Community Dance will hold its monthly contra dance on Saturday, April 13, with live music by "Spare Parts", and calling (teaching) by Jonathan Greene. 
 
The dance will run 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. in the Community Hall of the First Congregational Church, 906 Main St., Williamstown. Admission is pay-as-you-can:  $12 - $20 suggested, and barter is also welcome.
 
According to a press release:
 
Contra dancing is a living tradition in New England; for hundreds of years, neighbors and friends have made their own social entertainment in this easy and highly collaborative dance form.  All are welcome.  Come alone, or with friends -- most people change partners for each dance throughout the evening. 
 
New dancers and families with children are encouraged to arrive by 7:30 for instruction in the basics.
 
Jonathan Greene, the caller, will teach all the dances, using "gents and ladies" role terms.  Jonathan regularly calls at the popular Lenox contra dance series, and lately has been working to keep local contra dancing alive and lively by teaching new callers at a "callers club" dance series in Housatonic.
 
Berkshire County band, "Spare Parts" will provide live dance music, performing the traditional fiddle tunes.  Bill Matthiesen on piano and Liz Stell on flute combine with one or more "spare parts du jour."  For our April 13 dance, fiddler Eric Buddington will round out the sound.
 
Covid Policy: NBCD encourages masks, but no longer requires them.

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Williamstown Town Meeting Passes Progress Pride Flag Bylaw Amendment

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff

Mount Greylock sophomore Jack Uhas addresses town meeting on Thursday as Select Board member Randal Fippinger looks on.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — By a ratio of nearly 2-to-1, town meeting Thursday passed a bylaw amendment to allow the Progress Pride flag to be flown on town flag poles.
 
The most heavily debated article of the 40 that were addressed by the meeting was decided on a vote of 175-90, amending a flag bylaw passed at last year's town meeting.
 
Mount Greylock Regional School sophomore Jack Uhas of the middle-high school's Gender Sexuality Alliance opened the discussion with a brief statement, telling the 295 voters who checked into the meeting that, "to many, the flag is a symbol that, in our town, they belong."
 
The speakers addressing the article fell roughly in line with the ultimate vote, with eight speaking in favor and four against passage.
 
Justin Adkins talked about his experience as, to his knowledge, the only out trans individual in the town of about 7,700 when he moved to Williamstown in 2007.
 
"Most people, when I moved here, had never met a trans person," Adkins said. "Today, that is not the case. Today, many people in this room are free to say who they are.
 
"LGBTQ-plus youth still face a world where their basic being is questioned and legislated. … Flying a flag is, really, the least we can do."
 
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