Woodstock Tribute Band
July 9: The Rotary Club of West Springfield will stage a concert appearance by Back to the Garden 1969, a Woodstock tribute band at the Morgan Road Pavilion.
Doors open at 4 p.m. at the pavilion, located behind the Irish Cultural Center, 429 Morgan Road, West Springfield. Opening band Great Acoustics will appear from 5 to 6:30 p.m., followed by Back to the Garden 1969 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The playlist will include as many of the original tracks as time allows. Food and drink will be sold. Outside beverages or food may not be brought into the venue; ’60s inspired attire is highly encouraged. RotaryRocks is a rain or shine event. Seating is available under the pavilion, or guests may bring folding chairs for the lawn. There are only 350 tickets available for this show and patrons are encouraged to order theirs early through www.WestSpringfieldRotaryClub.com. RotaryRocks is the club’s main fundraiser. All Rotary Club fundraising proceeds fund scholarships, community grants and other local projects for the betterment of the community.
Celebrity Bartending Fundraiser
July 14: The Hampden County Bar Association Legal Clinic will stage its Celebrity Bartending Tip-Off event at Kaptain Jimmy’s restaurant. The event will start at 4 p.m. and will include celebrity bartenders, a DJ, and a silent auction. All proceeds from the event go toward the agency’s legal clinic programs. The legal clinic is still seeking sponsorships for the event from local businesses. Sponsors will be recognized as supporting the mission of providing legal services to people who cannot afford an attorney. For further information, contact the Hampden County Bar Association Legal Clinic at (413) 733-6500.
Juneteenth Heritage Walking Tour
Ongoing: Starting with the recent Juneteenth weekend, a new walking tour of local historic homes and museums will showcase the unique history and contributions of generations of Black families in Amherst that ranged from music to manufacturing. Ancestral Bridges, a local nonprofit organization, collaborated with the Amherst Historical Society & Museum, local organizations, and the descendants of local Black families to produce the Juneteenth Heritage Walking Tour, a 1.5-mile story-filled tour that invites visitors to immerse themselves in the day-to-day experiences of Black Amherst residents from 200 years ago to more modern times. “There is so much important Black history in Amherst that has been hidden from view for too many years,” said Anika Lopes, founder of Ancestral Bridges. “With this walking tour, we are pulling back the curtain, highlighting the way that my family and other Black and indigenous historic residents of Amherst lived and worked, what they hoped and fought for, so that Black youth and others can understand this part of our history and use it to grow.” The Juneteenth Heritage Walking Tour is the first descendant-led and curated walking tour of its kind in the area. A family-friendly event on June 18 will serve as a kick-off of the walking tour and encourage local residents and visitors to explore exhibits featuring historic photographs, artifacts, and millinery that bring to life the essence of Black neighborhoods in Amherst. The tour begins at the historic West Cemetery to honor the lives and contributions of the all-Black 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment and the famed 5th Cavalry, the soldiers who alerted Texas residents that the Civil War and slavery had ended. This event is the origin of the holiday celebrated as Juneteenth. Additional tour stops include special exhibits at the Amherst History Museum with artwork and images from the mid-18th century and on; The Emily Dickinson Museum, where stories of Charles Thompson and other Black residents familiar with the Dickinson Family are featured; Hope Church, the first Black church in Amherst; and Goodwin Memorial AME Zion Church. The event to be emceed by descendant William Harris, Jr., president and CEO of Space Center Houston. Neighborhoods featured on the tour include the Westside District (Hazel Avenue, Baker Street, Snell Street, Northampton Road), which was designated a National Historic District in 2000 thanks to the efforts of Dudley J. Bridges, Sr.; and the neighborhood of McCellan, Beston, and Paige Streets. Also featured on the walking tour will be a special art installation by local artist Dr. Shirley Jackson Whitaker that will highlight the Tote2Vote campaign, launched recently to raise awareness of voter suppression. Learn more at ancestral-bridges.org.
Art with Heart
July 20: Community members are invited to attend a free art exhibit and reception for the debut of Art with Heart, a collaboration between local grieving youth and caregivers and area artists. The exhibit will run the month of July with the reception on July 20 at 6 p.m. at the BOMBYX Center for Arts and Equity. Art with Heart, the vision of Shelly Bathe Lenn, program coordinator at The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children and Teens, paired local grieving youth and caregivers with artists to create art as an expression of grief. Children ages 5 to 17 participated in workshops that were held in May. “We believe in reinforcing the connection between the head, heart, and hand to help one express their feelings around grief that may have previously been unspoken,” Lenn said. “Grieving youth can use art to help them further understand their experience and gain a sense of mastery and confidence while serving as a ‘container’ for the intense feelings associated with grief.” Artists Barbara Neulinger, Christine Southworth, Frankie Borrero, and Omarthan Clarke each worked with one of four small groups of grieving youth and caregivers. In each of the groups, the participants learned the artist’s medium and made an art piece. The art piece that was created was designed to help participants express their feelings and/or remember those in their life who have died. The artwork will be on display throughout the Pioneer Valley each month through June 2023 and a culminating event will be timed with the 25th anniversary of The Garden in 2023. To learn more about the Art with Heart program, contact Shelly Bathe Lenn at (413) 727-5749.