MuseFLASHES: Arts happenings this week in the Amherst area

  • The Amherst Area Gospel Choir will perform Saturday at Amherst College.

  • An example of artwork by a member of the Quabbin Art Association COURTESY OF THE QUABBIN ART ASSOCIATION

  • Jeff and Dawning Holmes perform at NEPR's 2015 Jazz Holiday Party.

Thursday, December 08, 2016
Performance art

The Amherst College Department of Theater and Dance’s “Performance Project” offers an evening of original dance, theater and video works on Friday and Saturday, when Five College students will bring various media to the stage.

“In Cuba I was Lucille Ball” is a duet featuring Stephanie Turner and Letty Bassart. “Reflexiones” by Diana Cricien is a drama of dance.

Lauren Horn’s “Do Ask. Do Tell.” presents a dialogue between two men about black identity. “The Witch” is a short film by Diana Lopez, chronicling the story of a young woman accused of witchcraft.

“I’m Fine” by Yetunde Ojetade is an exploration of the inner thoughts one has when one lies, saying, “I’m fine.” Finally, “Galactic Girl” is a solo by Amandala Zalameda as Aurora from Planet Zoron.

The performances will take place in the Holden Theater at Amherst College. Tickets are free, and reservations can be made by calling 542-2278.

The gospel truth

The Amherst Area Gospel Choir will present its seventh annual Christmas Concert Saturday at 3 p.m. at Johnson Chapel on the Amherst College campus. “The Christmas Story in Words and Music in the Black Gospel Tradition” is a retelling of the Christmas story through lessons and carols. Traditional songs are replaced with modern gospel songs or arrangements. Scripture texts are read, but are then followed by interpretations reflecting the black struggle for justice.

Gospel and pop singer Michelle Brooks Thompson and poet Xinef Afriam will be soloists.

There is no admission, though donations and offerings are appreciated, and will be used to support local community organizations like the Amherst Survival Center.

NEPR benefit

NEPR will host the second annual Jazz Holiday Party with the Jeff Holmes Big Band Saturday from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Hadley Farms Meeting House, 41 Russell St. in Hadley.

The space will be transformed into a 1950s-style nightclub, decked out for the holidays. Singers Dawning Holmes and Rob Zappulla will cover tunes by Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. There will be dancing, cocktails, food, including desserts. Guests are encouraged to wear vintage and/or festive attire.

A complimentary dance lesson will be offered from 7 to 7:30 p.m.

Tickets cost $125 and can be purchased at NEPR.net. The event benefits New England Public Radio.

Holiday tunes

The 27th annual Holiday Brass Concert and Carol Sing will be held Sunday at 6 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 165 Main St. in Amherst.

The 22-member Valley Festival Brass Band, under the direction of Matthew Westgate, will present a program of holiday favorites. Richard S. Matteson, director of music of Music on Main and minister of music at the church will join the band, on organ, for the carol sing. Donations benefit the Amherst Survival Center. For information, visit www.facebook.com/FirstChurchAmherst.

Narnia, the musical

“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” the musical, will be presented Tuesday at 10 a.m. by Theatreworks USA in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Based on the first of the “The Chronicles of Narnia” books by C.S. Lewis, published in 1950, it is the story of four young siblings during World War II, who escape to the land of Narnia, via a wardrobe in their uncle’s house in London.

The musical, writes Lynn Heffley in The Los Angeles Times, “conveys the inspirational magic that has captivated young readers for decades.”

Tickets cost $10 for adults, $9 for children. To reserve, call the UMass Fine Arts Center box office at 545-2511.

A winter’s tale

Amherst Ballet presents “Snegurochka” (“The Snow Maiden”) Dec. 15 and 16 at 7 p.m. at the Academy of Music in Northampton.

The ballet is based on 19th-century Russian folk tales and is set to music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

Snegurochka is the daughter of Father Frost. She has grown up in the Kingdom of Ice and Snow and spends her time in the forest playing with her animal friends. Father Frost has warned her not to go to the village. One day in the forest, she encounters Boris, a young man from the village. They fall in love. When spring comes, she melts in his arms, but the Maiden of Spring reassures Boris that, just as spring follows winter, winter will come again and Snegurochka will return to him.

Tickets cost $20 ($10 for ages 4 to 17), and are available at ticketfly.com.

Artists invited

A sampling of members’ artwork will be on view Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. at the next meeting of the Quabbin Art Association, at Belchertown Town Hall.

The Association offers support, demonstration, local art exhibits and more. Prospective members are invited to attend.

Jim Gambaro will speak about photography and its place in fine art. He has worked as a photojournalist, an art teacher and has written about photography.