Winter Solstice celebration to benefit Colrain’s Roundhouse 

  • Some of the performers to be featured in this year’s Winter Solstice Storytelling and Songfest Celebration at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center on Dec. 16. Contributed photo

Recorder Staff
Tuesday, December 05, 2017

SHELBURNE FALLS — A winter solstice celebration, usually held in The Roundhouse at 68 Van Nuys Road in Colrain, will be held this year in Shelburne Falls, with proceeds to be spent on upgrades for the Roundhouse to meet state codes as a bed & breakfast/conference center.

The 32nd annual Winter Solstice Storytelling and Songfest Celebration starts at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16, at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center at 55 Main St. Participants are asked to come with a nonperishable food item to be donated to the Franklin Area Survival Center and a potluck treat to be shared with all during the intermission.

This year’s storytellers and musicians include David Arfa, Sonny Crawford and Emily Gopen, Michael Evans, Yosi “Joe” Kurland, Rob Peck, Sarah Pirtle, John Porcino, Bob Reiser, Rebecca Tippens, Tim Van Egmond and Rochelle Wildfong.

Alex O’Brien Feldman, also known as “Alex the Jester,” is a medieval-style jester/comedian who became interested in “connecting beyond words” when he was an 11 year-old boy who collected National Geographic magazines. While performing at an international comedy festival in Montreal, Feldman began speaking a medieval gibberish language he calls “Grammelot,” which cuts through language barriers. In 2009, the U.S. State Department recognized the cultural significance of his work and sent him, as a cultural ambassador, on tour in Russia, Singapore, Belgium, Australia, Belgium, Japan and many other places. He has also appeared on “America’s Got Talent.”

New this year is guest artist Jill Connolly of Shelburne Falls, a professional singer and voice-over artist. Connolly sings blues, rock, rhythm and blues, jazz, and pop. A sampling of her music can be heard on her website: www.venusintransit.

As in past years, suggested donations are $12 to $20 per adult and $5 to $10 for children. All donations will be collected at the door and will go to help the Roundhouse, Partners in Health and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. For reservations call 413-624-5140 or email: rebecca_tippens@yahoo.com. Indicate how many people are in your group and leave contact information, in case the event is postponed due to bad weather. The snow date for this is Sunday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m., also at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center.

The Roundhouse, also known as “The Center for Cultural Evolution” and “Bekki’s House,” has functioned as a cultural center for workshops and celebrations for about 27 years. The rounded structure, with 14 sides, has stained glass windows and a domed center.

In late October, Roundhouse owner Rebecca Tippens was notified by Colrain Building Inspector Shawn Kimberley that the single family residence, with 10 bedrooms, could not be used as a bed & breakfast without a change-of-use permit. To meet state building codes for this use would require a fire sprinkler and fire alarm system and an inspection by the electrical inspector, plumbing inspector, fire chief and building commissioner before it could be used as a bed & breakfast, airbnb or other transient use.

A report from a state-licensed architect will be required to verify that the building is in compliance with its intended use and occupancy. Tippens said she is already working with an architect on that component.

Also, Tippens said she needs to work on the driveway to address parking. She is currently fundraising online at GoFundMe.com/savetheroundhouse