IRS Tax Changes

Jan. 12: The Pioneer Valley Estate Planning Council Inc. announced that its next event will be held at the Hotel Northampton. The planned topic is an update on IRS tax changes that may result in changes to the tax code and estate-planning techniques. A buffet-style breakfast will be served. Social hour begins at 7:30 a.m. The event cost is $40 for both members and non-members. Checks will be accepted at the door. As an update, the council received $800 from the National Council as reimbursement of fees for the current fiscal year, helping to replenish its bank account. Full details will be provided at the January meeting.


Cirque du Soleil Presents ‘Corteo’

Jan. 12-15: Corteo, the arena production from Cirque du Soleil, is back in North America and heading to Worcester. This unique production, directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca, first premiered in Montreal under the Big Top in April 2005. Since its creation, the show has amazed more than 10 million spectators in 20 countries on four continents. Corteo will be presented at the DCU Center on Thursday, Jan. 12 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 13 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 14 at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 15 at 1 p.m. Corteo, which means ‘cortege’ in Italian, is a joyous procession, a festive parade imagined by a clown. The show brings together the passion of the actor with the grace and power of the acrobat to plunge the audience into a theatrical world of fun, comedy, and spontaneity situated in a mysterious space between heaven and earth. In a Cirque du Soleil first, the stage is central in the arena and divides the venue, with each half of the audience facing the other half, giving a unique perspective not only of the show, but also a performer’s eye view of the audience, an atmosphere never seen before in Cirque du Soleil arena shows. Tickets for Corteo in Worcester are currently available at



World Affairs Council

Jan. 13: The World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts announced that its next Instant Issues brown-bag lunchtime discussion will take place at noon on the new, ninth-floor event space at 1350 Main St. in downtown Springfield. Longtime friend of the council Mahsa Khanbabai, an attorney with Khanbabai Immigration Law, will speak on the current status of women in Iran. Khanbabai was born in Iran and raised in Western Mass. She is regularly interviewed by news agencies such as NPR, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, MSNBC, and others. Her legal advocacy and strategic use of the media spotlight has led to numerous high-impact immigration changes, including the reinstatement of deferred action. Admission to the event is $5 for council members without a lunch provided, or $20 with a box lunch. Non-members’ admission cost is $10 without a lunch or $25 with a lunch. For those who purchase a meal, box lunches with a choice of sandwich — turkey, tuna, roast beef, or vegetarian — will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Lunches also include a deli salad, cookie, chips, and soda or water. At the request of the speaker, this event will not be recorded. To register, visit


SSO to Celebrate MLK

Jan. 14: The Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) will celebrate the life and spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. on the Symphony Hall stage at 7:30 p.m. Music of African-American composers will be performed by the orchestra and guest pianist Artina McCain, and highlighted by a spoken-word presentation by Springfield’s poet laureate, Magdalena Gómez.

Tickets are on sale, starting at $15, on the SSO website, Kevin Scott, an African-American conductor, composer, and native New Yorker, will lead the orchestra on Jan. 14. Born in the Bronx and raised in Harlem, Scott has led various orchestras, choruses, and bands throughout the Greater New York area and in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Varna, Bulgaria. His works have been performed by the orchestras of Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Minneapolis, and St. Louis. Concert attendees will hear works such as “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson, arr. Hale Smith); “Rise to the Occasion” (Quinn Mason); “The Audacity of Hope” (Ozie Cargile II); and “Fannie’s Homecoming,” composed by the evening’s conductor, who has been inspired by the legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer, a leader in the civil-rights movement. Music of Florence Price and William Grant Still will also be performed. A ‘classical conversation’ with Scott will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 14 for all ticketholders, and there will be a meet and greet following the performance in the Mahogany Room.


MOSSO Concert Series at Westfield Athenaeum

Feb. 23, March 23, April 20: The Westfield Athenaeum will present a three-concert chamber-music series with MOSSO (Musicians of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra) performing. This is the second year of this partnership. Guy McLain, executive director of the Westfield Athenaeum, will offer a pre-performance talk at 6 p.m., which is free to ticket holders. The Westfield Athenaeum series opens with MOSSO and Friends on Feb. 23. Violinist Beth Welty, horn player Sarah Sutherland, and pianist Elizabeth Skavish will perform horn trios of Frédéric Duvernoy, Trygve Madsen, and Johannes Brahms. Welty, chair of MOSSO, is acting principal second violin of MOSSO and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO). Sutherland, MOSSO and SSO horn player, is also MOSSO’s finance director. The series continues on Thursday, March 23 with a performance by the Vermont-based Champlain Trio, which includes MOSSO and SSO principal cello Emily Taubl. The Champlain Trio will perform “Brilliant Colors,” a program that features music by Tchaikovsky, Erik Neilsen (“Trio No. 2” written for the ensemble), Jennifer Higdon, Amy Beach, and Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite.” The series concludes on Thursday, April 20 with MOSSO and SSO horn player Robert Hoyle’s quintet, the Connecticut-based Harmonia V. The quintet will celebrate April in Paris with an all-French program, featuring pieces by Barthe, Fauré, Ravel, Poulenc, Debussy, Pierné, and Lefebvre. Tickets for the concerts, $25 per person, must be purchased in advance at the Westfield Athenaeum during business hours, or online at