M/cloudy
37°
M/cloudy
Hi 40° | Lo 30°

Music part of our industrial heritage

  • The Mist Covered Mountains Celtic Trio performs at the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage's Summer Fiddle Fest in Greenfield on Sunday. From left,  Donna Hébert on the fiddle and Max Cohen on guitar with vocals by Molly Hébert-Wilson.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    The Mist Covered Mountains Celtic Trio performs at the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage's Summer Fiddle Fest in Greenfield on Sunday. From left, Donna Hébert on the fiddle and Max Cohen on guitar with vocals by Molly Hébert-Wilson.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Donna Hébert plays the fiddle at the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage in Greenfield on Sunday as part of their Summer Fiddle Fest.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Donna Hébert plays the fiddle at the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage in Greenfield on Sunday as part of their Summer Fiddle Fest.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • The Mist Covered Mountains Celtic Trio performs at the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage's Summer Fiddle Fest in Greenfield on Sunday. From left,  Donna Hébert on the fiddle and Max Cohen on guitar with vocals by Molly Hébert-Wilson.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Donna Hébert plays the fiddle at the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage in Greenfield on Sunday as part of their Summer Fiddle Fest.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

GREENFIELD — The town and the region was once a manufacturing hub, a history the Museum of our Industrial Heritage displays to Sunday visitors. In the parking lot of the old factory building this latest Sunday, string and vocal trio Mist on the Mountains celebrated the cultures of some of the people who came from around the world to run the machines.

Fiddler Donna Hébert, also a scholar of Franco-American history and a fiddle instructor at Smith and Amherst colleges, said the Irish and French Canadians were the primary mill workers in New England, and the trio performs songs of both.

“My mother’s generation was discriminated against for speaking French, there was a very strong urge to become American, lose your ethnic identity,” Hébert said. Hébert, a third-generation French Canadian, said her grandfather insisted that English be spoken in his home. Even in Canada, anti-francophone sentiment was manifest in opposition to declaring French the official language of Quebec province in the 1970s, she said.

“That kind of anti-immigrant sentiment is part of what the problem is in this country,” Hébert sad. “Let’s embrace our diversity instead of legislating against it. It’s the seasoning that makes the stew, it’s not the water.”

As Hébert sees it, food, music and language are the main vehicles of culture and music often survived the pressure to assimilate.

“Even though my mom was shamed for speaking French, she sang to me in French,” Hébert said. For the past 45 years, she has carried on the musical tradition on the fiddle.

The trio is made up of Hébert on fiddle, her daughter Molly Hébert-Wilson singing and Max Cohen on guitar.

“It’s fantastic, I’ve never heard her before. They’re phenomenal,” said Greenfield resident Patti Williams, one of the 35 or so in attendance, many with feet tapping.

The performance was hosted by the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage, with funding from a number of area cultural councils, as part of the celebration of the summer season. The museum is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at 2 Mead St., overlooking the Green River. Admission is free; donations accepted.

Museum president Jim Terapane said the Newell Snow factory site and the town are centerpieces in a corridor from New Haven, Conn., to Windsor, Vt., that gave birth to an American manufacturing style characterized by the concept of interchangeable parts. Inside, there are lathes made in Greenfield, banana flavoring made in Montague Center, cutlery made in Greenfield and Turners Falls and Millers Falls Co., hand and power tools.

The new exhibit this year is “Rags to Riches,” the story of Franklin County’s paper industry.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.