What’s Happening in Amherst?


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by Art and Maura Keene

There is a lot happening around town. You can help us make our events calendar more comprehensive by sending us your listings and including contact information and/or a link for more information. Send events listings to amherstindy@gmail.com.


FRIDAY DECEMBER 1: PARKER QUARTET “HOMELAND”. 7:30 p.m., Buckley Recital Hall, Amherst College. Grammy Award-winning string quartet from Harvard University will perform works by famed past composers and some noted contemporary ones—Beethoven, Haydn, Irish composer and conductor Donnacha Dennehy, and Ukrainian composer and pianist Valentyn Silvestrov. Tickets at www.amherst.universitytickets.com.

FRIDAY DECEMBER 1: KING PHILIP’S WAR TALK. Noon, Jones Library Woodbury Room. Local author and activist David Brule will discuss King Philip’s War emphasizing local impacts and the Turner’s Falls massacre that is viewed as a turning point in war. Part of the Amherst Historical Society’s History Bites series.

FRIDAY DECEMBER 1: GALLERY RECEPTION FOR WORKS OF JAMES H. BARNHILL. 6:30 p.m. Town Hall, 4 Boltwood Avenue. We hope you can join us for an evening with the artist and a reception full of goodies provided by the Amherst Public Arts Commission.  Town Hall, 4 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst, MA will be the location for the December 1st gallery reception for “TIME, DISTANCE & BEAUTY – IMAGES of ARIZONA” by James H. Barnhill.  

FRIDAY DECEMBER 1: LIGHTING OF THE MERRY MAPLE. 5 p.m. The original Merry Maple may be gone, but a lighting ceremony and other festivities are scheduled for the afternoon of December 1. Schedule of events: 3-6 pm – Fire Station Open House:  Visit the Amherst Fire Department and experience a life-size fire engine with all its bells and whistles.
 4-6 pm – Horse Drawn Rides: by Muddy Brook Farm (arrive/depart main Town Common)
Atkins Farms Cider Donuts and Cider, and S’Mores & Firepits hosted by Amherst College (on Spring Street Lot)
 4:30 pm – Amherst Regional Middle School Chorus (Inn on Boltwood Front Steps)
 5:00 pm – Lighting of the Merry Maple (on the main Town Common), Lights courtesy of the Amherst BID, next to the Arches!
 5:30 pm – UMass Marching Band parade: Santa will be delivered by the Amherst Fire Department and accompanied by the UMass Marching Band, and joined by Flakey of Amherst Recreation for photos. Sing-alongs and merry fun with our sponsors.

BEGINNING FRI DECEMBER 1. ALSO DECEMBER 2 6,7,8: UMASS RAND THEATER “THEY DON’T PAY, WE WON’T PAY.  7:30 (2 p.m. matinee on December 2), Rand Theater, Bromery Center for the Arts, UMass. The price of food rises astronomically every day, so what’s a working-class person to do? Join up with your neighbors and loot the local grocery store, of course! Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo—Italy’s premiere purveyor of social commentary and political farce—spins a relatable situation into an absurdly funny tale as wily Antonia and her friend Margherita cover their criminal tracks in a series of subterfuges including a baby transplant, a casket put to creative use, and a teetering tower of increasingly improbable lies. $17, $5 students, youth, and seniors. Tickets.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 2: JOHN SHELDON AT SONG AND STORY SWAP. 7-9 p.m. First Church, 165 Main Street (free parking in the rear). John Sheldon is in his 50th year of writing songs, composing music and performing his unique style of electric and acoustic guitar. Performing credits include a stint when he was 17 as the lead guitarist for Van Morrison, songwriter for James TaylorR, a member of the Sixties’ psychedelic jazz rock band The Bead Game (whose drummer was Jim Hodder, later of Steely Dan), and touring with Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor. Sponsored by the Pioneer Valley Folklore Society. Donations welcome ($5-$10 suggested). For information https://pvfs.us.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 2: UMASS CHOIRS’ ANNUAL “HOLIDAY CARD TO AMHERST.” 7:30 p.m. Frederick C. Tillis Performance Hall, Bromery Center for the Arts. Holiday favorites plus the popular audience sing-along led by choral conductors Lindsay Pope and Stephen A. Paparo. $15 for the general public, $5 students, seniors and UMass employees. Free for UMass students. Tickets at https://fac.umass.edu/Online/default.asp?BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::permalink=musicanddancedepartment&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::context_id=

SUNDAY DECEMBER 3: AMHERST COMMUNITY LAND TRUST ANNUAL MEETING. 2-4 p.m. Portas Lounge in the new Newman Center, 111 North Pleasant Street. Learn about the land trust model for homeownership and help develop priorities for ACLT https://www.amherstcommunitylandtrust.org/ in 2024. The parking lot is off Thatcher Road.

MONDAY DECEMBER 4: UMASS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA CONCERT. 7:30 p.m. Frederick Tillis Hall, Fine Arts Center UMass. Gonzalo Hidalgo Ardila, conductor
Cobus du Toit, faculty flute soloist.
Verdi’s Nabucco Overture, Mozart’s Flute Concerto in G Major, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. Plus: the All-University Orchestra plays Holst: St. Paul’s Suite & Corelli: Concerto Grosso in F major. $15/$5 students and seniors. Tickets at https://fac.umass.edu/Online/default.asp?BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::permalink=musicanddancedepartment&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::context_id
TUESDAY DECEMBER 5: EMILY DICKINSON BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE WITH EVIE SHOCKLEY. 7:30 p.m. Virtual program. We celebrate the birthday of Amherst’s bard, Emily Dickinson, with our annual birthday tribute reading. This year we highlight poet and literary scholar Evie Shockley. Shockley is the Zora Neale Hurston Distinguished Professor of English at Rutgers University. Her books of poetry include suddenly wesemiautomatic, and the new black.  Her work has twice garnered the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, has been named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and has appeared internationally. Register at: https://www.folger.edu/whats-on/emily-dickinson-birthday-tribute-2023/ . Suggested donation $15.

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 6: LING MA – READING AND CONVERSATION, CHI Think Tank, Lyceum 101, Amherst College, 197 South Pleasant Street. Ling Ma’s most recent book is Bliss Montage: Stories (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2022), which was named a National Indie Bestseller, a New Yorker Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel Severance (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2018), described as a “meticulous, caustic description of life in big cities and what happens when a terrible pandemic slowly annihilates most of the human population.” Severance won the Kirkus Prize for Fiction, the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. Named a New York Times Notable Book and an NPR Best Book of 2018. Free and open to the public.

THURSDAY DECEMBER 7: HOLIDAY STOMP WITH THE HOT SARDINES. 7:30 p.m., Bowker Auditorium, UMass. Swing into the holiday season with the romping,  rollicking fun, and festive sounds of the Hot Sardines. New York’s Hot Sardines havebeen pulling audience members out of their seats with their distinctive lighthearted and lively mix of hot jazz, swing, and stride since 2007. Formed by pianist Evan Palazzo and vocalist Elizabeth Bougerol, the Hot Sardines are united by a love of early twentieth century jazz forms and fueled by a belief that classic jazz feeds the heart and soul. The Hot Sardines mission is to make old sounds new again and prove that joyful music can bring people together in a disconnected world. $50/$35/$15. Tickets.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 9: EMILY DICKINSON 193RD BIRTHDAY OPEN HOUSE. 1-4:30 p.m. Emily Dicinson Museum, 280 Main Street. You are cordially invited to the Emily Dickinson Museum’s in-person celebration of the poet’s 193rd birthday! On Saturday, December 9, join us at the Homestead for a free open house with tours, crafts, music, cider and gingerbread cookies! Space is limited. Register at https://www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/193rd-birthday-open-house/. All are welcome to this free program. Can’t make it to Amherst? Stay tuned for the announcement of our virtual birthday celebration!|

SATURDAY DECEMBER 9: HUMAN RIGHTS DAY CELEBRATION. 1:30-3 p.m., Woodbury Room, Jones Library. The commemoration of the United Nations adopting the Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 will honor the late Martha Spiegelman, leader of the local chapter of Amnesty International until her death on November 10. Sponsored by Amnesty International’s Amherst Chapter 128. Through December, the Jones Library will also host the Human Rights Art exhibit, showcasing pieces done by Amherst Regional Middle School students that are inspired by the 30 articles of the Declaration of Human Rights.

SUNDAY DECEMBER 10: HUMAN RIGHTS DAY. 4 p.m., Bang’s Center. The Amherst Town Council hereby proclaims December 10, 2023 Human Rights Day, encourages our community to embrace every opportunity to reflect and embody the values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in their work for the community, and urges Amherst residents to celebrate this day with a communal reading of the Declaration of Human Rights at the Bangs Community Center, December 10, 2023, at 4:00 pm. Please join us.

MONDAY DECEMBER 11: DUTIES MEANINGFULLY DONE: A VIRTUAL PROGRAM. 6 p.m. In celebration of Emily Dickinson’s 193rd birthday, and of the 2024 reopening of The Evergreens at the Emily Dickinson Museum, this virtual program invites you into Susan’s, Martha’s, and Mary’s home, only ever lived in by the Dickinsons or their heirs until 1986. Join Jane Wald, Jane and Robert Keiter Family Executive of the Museum, and Martha Nell Smith, Dickinson scholar and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Professor of English at the University of Maryland,as they remember the house during and shortly after the life of its last resident Mary Hampson, who was a mere one-degree of separation removed from Emily Dickinson herself. Register at https://emilydickinsonmuseum.ticketing.veevartapp.com/tickets/view/list/duties-beautifully-done-virtual-birthday-celebration . Space is limited.

THURSDAY DECEMBER 14: SIP AND SHOP. 5 to 9 p.m. 45 South Pleasant Street (previous site of A.J. Hastings). Maker’s market now has an all-alcohol license. Also, horse drawn carriage rides. Sponsored by the Amherst Business Improvement District.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 16: THIRD ANNUAL KIMYA DIGGS AND FRIENDS HOLIDAY SHOW. The Drake, 44 North Pleasant Street, 8 PM. Join Western Massachusetts songstress Kimaya Diggs and her delightful jazz trio for a night of holiday magic featuring an all-star lineup of special guests from across the state.  One part jazz show, one part campy variety, and one part elf magic (if that’s a thing), the Kimaya Diggs & Friends Holiday Show is for lovers of tinsel, sing-along fanatics, and folks who want to kick off the holiday season in style. Whether your holidays feel joyful or blue, the Kimaya Diggs & Friends Holiday Show welcomes you with open arms and the ringing of silver bells.  TIX: $20 ADV. $25: day of.
More information

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 27: AMHERST MONTLY VETERANS LUNCH. Noon – 1 p.m. Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, 197 South Pleasant Street. Come join us for a monthly luncheon for the Veterans’ Community. Sponsored by Town of Amherst Community Responders for Equity, Safety, and Service (CRESS) and by Gene Herman, CRESS Veterans’ Outreach Volunteer. Free and open to the public.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 30 AND SUNDAY DECEMBER 31: NRBQ WITH LUXE DELUXE. 8 p.m on 12/30, 9 p.m. on 12/31. The Drake, 44 North Pleasant Street. NRBQ is Terry Adams, Scott Ligon, Casey McDonough, and John Perrin. “NRBQ”, which stands for New Rhythm and Blues Quartet, has often been called a national treasure, which may be why the band’s music has attracted legions of devoted fans worldwide, including Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Costello, Penn & Teller, Doc Pomus, R.E.M., SpongeBob SquarePants, Michael J. Pollard, Ian McLagan, Steve Earle, Drew Carey, and Nick Lowe, among many others. NRBQ songs have inspired cover versions by Bonnie Raitt, Los Lobos, Darlene Love, Dave Edmunds, She & Him, Widespread Panic, Yo La Tengo, and more. The group served as the unofficial “house band” for The Simpsons for Seasons 10-12. $30 in advance, $35 at the door https://www.thedrakeamherst.org/events/nrbq-lux-deluxe-nye

FIRST TUESDAY OF EVERY MONTH. RAINBOW COFFEE HOUR. 10-11 a.m. Amherst Senior Center, Bangs Center, 70 Boltwood Walk. The Rainbow Coffee Hour is a new LGBTIA+ social coffee group for ages 50 and above. Join us for this welcoming space to socialize. No format, no agenda, just community. The July coffee hour will be held on July 11, due to July 4 being the first Tuesday of the month.

FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAY OF EVERY MONTH (EXCLUDING JULY): NORTHAMPTON JAZZ WORKSHOP. The Drake. 44 North Pleasant Street. 7:30 p.m. Free (donations accepted). Featuring the Green Street trio with a special guest. Featured set at 7:30 followed by an open jam session. Bring your axe. Full calendar of events here.

SECOND TUESDAY OF EVERY MONTH (EXCLUDING JULY): OPEN MIC NIGHT AT THE DRAKE. 44 North Pleasant Street. Free event. Performers arrive by 5:30 p.m. Stage time: 6 p.m – 10 p.m. All ages. Younger performers will be slotted earler. All performers and styles of performances welcome, including but not limited to: music (of all kinds) – acoustic, folk, rock, hip hop, jazz, classical, etc…comedy, spoken word / readings, poetry, dance, performance art. House rules and more information.

FIRST WEDNESDAY OF EVERY MONTH: MOBILE FOOD PROGRAM. 1-2 p.m. The Boulders, 156 Brittany Manor Drive. Free produce. No registration necessary. Open to everyone. Brought by the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and the Amherst Survival Center. The Food Bank truck will be in the parking lot near apartments 115-125.

LAST WEDNESDAY OF EVERY MONTH: CRAFT AND CONVERSE. Mill District General Store and Local Art Gallery, 91 Cowls Road. 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Are you tired of creating in solitude? Looking to connect with other artistic individuals? Grab your sketchbook, knitting bag, or water color gear and join our monthly coworking group! Craft and converse, hosted by Easthampton artist Kaia Zimmerman, is held the last Wednesday of every month from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. This welcoming, intentional space is designed for community members to come together for a casual, social evening while pursuing their own creative projects. Drop-ins welcome, but registration encouraged for any weather-related changes in schedule. Bring your own arts or crafts project (BYOA) to work on. Ages 16+.

EVERY WEDNESDAY : CAN’T REMEMBER CAFE. Bangs Community Center, 70 Boltwood Walk. 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Are you or a loved one experiencing memory loss? At the Amherst Senior Center, we understand memory changes and have developed a new program based on the popular Memory Café format. The Can’t Remember (CR) Café offers fun, relaxation, and of course, snacks. This program is perfect for caregivers, people with mild memory loss, or anyone in the community who enjoys good conversation and strong coffee. Each Can’t Remember Café opens with a coffee and conversation hour, followed by a group activity. Join us on Wednesday, November 30th for a performance by our special musical guests, “Healing Hearts with Harmony” at 11:00am. Come for the coffee, stay for the connections! Email seniorcenter@amherstma.gov or call 413-259-3060 with questions. 

EVERY THURSDAY: STITCH CIRCLE. 4 to 6 p.m. Mill District Local Art Gallery and General Store, 91 Cowls Road. Grab your needles, venture to the General Store, and join us for our first Stitch Circle. Knitters, quilters, embroidery artists, and crocheters are all invited. Free.

NOW UNTIL FRIDAY DECEMBER 8: CLAUS FOR A CAUSE. The Amherst Council on Aging will be collecting donations of warm clothes, puzzle books, tea, cocoa, candies, lotion, lip balm, etc. to be packed into gift bags and delivered to older adults. Donation boxes available at the Bangs Center from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until December 8.

NOW UNTIL DECEMBER 23: BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA CHRISTMAS TREE SALE: Weekends 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Kendrick Park. Sale continues until sold out.

NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 29: CREATIONS IN BIRCH BARK BY JIM CROWELL. US Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate Drive, Hadley. M-F 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Jim Crowell, of Hatfield, is a maker. Now retired from professional cabinetry and finish carpentry, Jim Crowell continues to make, creating sculpture, vessels, and bas relief wall pieces that reflect his deep interests in nature and the natural world. The primary material he builds his pieces around is birch bark.

NOW THROUGH SUNDAY DECEMBER 31: MAKE A FREE HOLIDAY CARD. Local Art Gallery, The Mill District, 91 Cowls Road. Fridays 10-6, Saturdays 9-6, Sundays 9-12.  Swing by the General Store and Local Art Gallery to make a free holiday card this season! We will provide the paper, envelopes, and markers, you provide the kind messages and doodles! Enjoy finding accompanying gifts for your special people while you are here. We have lots of treats, goodies, and treasures to help you spread cheer and love this season! Fun for the whole family. Children 14 and under must be actively supervised in the Gallery. Donations accepted for the Amherst Survival Center.

NOW THROUGH FRIDAY JANUARY 5: MAKING A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE: STORIES ABOUT GLOBAL HEALTH. Exhibit 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Friday, UMass Science and Engineering Library, 740 North Pleasant Street. Around the world, communities, in collaboration with scientists, activists, governments, and international organizations, are taking up the challenge to prevent disease and improve quality of life. Making a World of Difference: Stories about Global Health examines stories of the people who are working on a wide range of issues—from community health to conflict, disease to discrimination—to improve health in their areas and beyond. Free.

NOW UNTIL JANUARY 7, 2024: BOUNDLESS, WORKS BY NATIVE AMERICAN ARTISTS AND WRITERS. Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, 41 Quadrangle Drive. Boundless is a nearly museum-wide exhibition that features work by Native American writers and artists, grounded in but not contained to the Northeast. Boundless takes shape like water, moving across generations and geographies, and expanding conversations about kinship, presence, resistance, and history through its flow. The exhibition never chooses one path, but moves in multiple directions and broadens as it goes. A wide range of materials from Amherst College’s Collection of Native American Literature and the Mead form the core of the exhibition, and are joined by key works on loan from artists and other institutional and private collections. Curated by Heid Erdrich, a member of the Ojibwe people of Minnesota. Hours 9 to 5 Tuesday through Sunday, Open until 10 p.m. on Thursdays during the semester.

NOW UNTIL JANUARY: WINTER COAT DRIVE. Amherst Survival Center, 138 Sunderland Road, is accepting new and gently used winter coats for a pop-up event in January. Donations may be dropped off at the center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays (closed on Wednesdays).

NOW THROUGH JUNE 7: DAILY YOGA AT THE MUNSON LIBRARY. Free outdoor yoga is now inside at the Munson Library. The schedule is: Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays at 8 a.m., Mondays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m., Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 a.m. No pre-registration necessary. Bring your own mats, blocks, straps, and blankets. Donations welcome.

DECEMBER 1,2, AND 6,7,8: UMASS RAND THEATER “THEY DON’T PAY, WE WON’T PAY.  7:30 (2 p.m. matinee on December 2), Rand Theater, Bromery Center for the Arts, UMass. The price of food rises astronomically every day, so what’s a working-class person to do? Join up with your neighbors and loot the local grocery store, of course! Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo—Italy’s premiere purveyor of social commentary and political farce—spins a relatable situation into an absurdly funny tale as wily Antonia and her friend Margherita cover their criminal tracks in a series of subterfuges including a baby transplant, a casket put to creative use, and a teetering tower of increasingly improbable lies. $17, $5 students, youth, and seniors. Tickets at https://fac.umass.edu/Online/default.asp?BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::permalink=TheaterDepartment&_gl=1*51n50f*_gcl_au*NDg4MjYwMTk4LjE2OTU5MTUzNzQ.*_ga*ODExODAxMjE1LjE2OTU5MTUzNzQ.*_ga_21RLS0L7EB*MTY5OTY0NzkyOC4xNS4wLjE2OTk2NDc5MjguMC4wLjA.

THURSDAY DECEMBER 7 THROUGH SATURDAY DECEMBER 30: SMALL WONDERS HOLIDAY SHOW AND SALE AT GALLERY A3. 2-7 p.m. 28 Amity Street 1D. Thursday through Sunday. Intimate, affordable, and fun…. Gallery A3’s annual December Holiday Show and Sale SMALL WONDERS features small-scale works of art created by current members of this contemporary cooperative gallery located in downtown Amherst. Original artwork includes paintings, prints, photographs, collages, and assemblages. All pieces are appealingly small, with none larger than 10 by 10 inches. All are affordably priced, with most ranging from $50 to $150. And all are “cash and carry”, making them an ideal choice for a unique holiday gift. SMALL WONDERS Holiday Show and Sale runs from December 7-30. Stop by the gallery and take a look. Discover perfect gifts for family or friends, or treat yourself to a tiny gem of art.

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