Encores and Curtain Calls
Big Bird is seen during the taping of an episode of Sesame Street on Thursday, April 10, 2008 in New York. Being Big Bird is sweaty, physical work. But puppeteer Caroll Spinney, who has worked on Sesame Street for nearly four decades playing both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, has no wish to be anywhere else. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Encores and Curtain Calls: The man inside Big Bird flying into the Academy of Music

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.” — Jim Henson Although they may be reluctant to admit it, there are few living mortals, young or old, who have not had the opportunity of experiencing the iconic, outsized friendly fowl of Sesame Street, Big Bird, over the course of the past half century, on the show of the same name. Just how this adorably curious but clueless feathered friend made his way to the nothing-if-not-inner-city environment of Sesame Street is a mystery we may never quite solve, but the clear fact of the matter is that, for — to be precise … 0

Encores and Curtain Calls: French horn will take center stage in Feb. 13 Pioneer Valley Symphony concert

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The sound of the horn is the soul of the orchestra. — Robert Schumann Never underestimate the feistiness factor of a French horn player. For feistiness — right along with artistry — are, in equal measure, what it takes to master this most daunting of instruments. Just listen to the testimony of one … 0

Encores and Curtain Calls: A new African spin on classic ballet

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I had seen the ballet of ‘Swan Lake’ as a child but it was as an adult, when I saw a production featuring Erik Bruhn, that I first noticed how significant a part the ever-present threat of violence played. This juxtaposition of great beauty and grace with a backdrop of pure evil stayed … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: the sound of the human heart

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

“The sound of the mandolin is a very curious sound because it’s cheerful and melancholy at the same time and I think it comes from that shadow string, the double strings.” — Rita Dove, U.S. poet laureate There’s … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: It's all in the ear of the beholder

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

“The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.” — Rumi A curious query and take your time, please, this may be a trick question): How wide and how high is your visual field — 10 … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Berkshire Bach brings a new edge to baroque

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

“I was cut off from the world. There was no one to confuse or torment me and I was forced to become original.” — Joseph Haydn Kenneth Cooper is nothing if not passionate about his music. I recall, … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home! — … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: musical stocking stuffers

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

One nutcracker dancin’ Just ahead loom the Pioneer Valley Ballet’s six performances — two per day — of a traditional Christmas favorite, “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 12, 13, and 14 at the Academy of Music, 274 Main St., Northampton. … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: ‘For Cynthia’ honors a slain Ashfield journalist

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

“I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world.” — Henry Luce I have just listened to Tony Jillson’s recent CD, “For Cynthia.” It is a set of eight instrumental works … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Light in the heart of darkness

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Again I say, for art’s sake, think north at least as often as south, as both Brattleboro, Vt., and Keene, N.H., venues are virtually half the time and trouble as Amherst and Northampton ones and the quality of … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Looking at the ‘crazy redhead’ with new eyes

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

“I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” — Vincent van Gogh The re-creation of history by dramatists in pursuit of a deeper glimpse into its larger-than-life protagonists often turns out more to … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: A life worth singing

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We are all swimming slowly toward the man with Mozart flowing from his hands. I want nothing but to put my fingers inside his mouth, let that prayer hum through my veins. I want to crawl into the … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Organist Rhonda Sider Edgington

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

“The organ is the grandest, the most daring, the most magnificent of all instruments invented by human genius.” — Honore de Balzac, French novelist and playwright It seems that the house organ for the First Church of Deerfield … 0

Encores and Curtain Calls: ‘Phantom’ lovers unite!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

“Can you even bear to look, or dare to think of me?... This lonesome gargoyle who burns in hell but secretly yearns for heaven ... but Christine ... fear can turn to love you’ll learn to see to … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Do not fear the trombone

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

“I don’t know why but the trombone makes me very uncomfortable.” — Sigmund Freud, father of psychology A close encounter of the trombone kind is in the offing as the opening concert of the Pioneer Valley Symphony’s season … 0