Arts Previews

  • Mrs. Smith performs at UMass Amherst Feb. 1 Contributed photo

  • “Dutch Island Light, RI,” watercolor by Ed Travis at the Oxbow Gallery in Northampton. Contribued image

Thursday, January 24, 2019
Local high schoolbands join prestigiousjazz festival

Two jazz bands from local high schools will take part in the Berklee College of Music’s 51st High School Jazz Festival this weekend, joining some 275 musical groups from 16 states and Puerto Rico in an event organizers call the largest high school jazz competition in the country.

The ELF Jazz Ensemble of Easthampton High School, led by Patrick Lennon, and the Hampshire Regional High School Jazz Combo, which is directed by Dara Adams-Smith, will play at the festival on Saturday, Jan. 26 between 9 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. Jazz groups from Springfield Central High School and the Northfield Mount Hermon School will also be part of the competition.

Bands and individual singers compete for various prizes, including scholarships to “Aspire: Five-Week Music Performance Intensive (Five-Week), the world’s preeminent summer musical performance program,” according to program notes. More details are available at festival.berkleejazz.org.

Mrs. Smith goes to UMass

Mrs. Smith, a heavy metal guitar playing, cat loving semi-thespian, comes to the Curtain Theater at the University of Massachsetts Amherst Friday,Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. with an electric guitar, an elaborate wig and a strange tale of being “kidnapped from her Upper East Side penthouse and held for ransom by a Norwegian death metal band.” The performance is free.

Mrs. Smith is the alter-ego of guitarist/actor/cabaret performer David Hanbury, who says Mrs. Smith, following her kidnapping by the Norwegian rockers, developed “Stockholm Syndrome, granting her extraordinary musical abilities. She uses her mad guitar skillz and vocal stylings to express the grief and rage she feels over the disappearance of her beloved cat Carlyle. Why aren’t you helping find him?”

Vogue magazine describes Mrs. Smith as “an elderly, pearl-wearing lady that rocks out to heavy metal and wails about her missing cat. Ridiculous and bizarrely funny.”

Oxbow Galleryexhibit

The Oxbow Gallery in Northampton is currently hosting a unique exhibition: artwork from a multi-generational family. “Diane Travis & Family” features pieces by Travis, who teaches art in Amherst public schools, and work by her parents, her three sisters, and her two children.

The work is not only multi-generational, it’s multi-medium, ranging from hooked rugs made by Travis’ mother and watercolor paintings by her father; stone carving, silk painting and crochet work by her sisters; and collage and photography by her children, Travis Weitzman and Devan Weitzman.

In addition, the exhibit features mixed media pieces by Travis herself, such as an installation of dollhouse furniture “from my childhood (including the dollhouse my Dad made when we were very young).”

The show runs through Feb. 3 at the Oxbow Gallery, 273 Pleasant St., Northampton.  The gallery website is o xbow gallery.org.