Downtown Pittsfield Farmers’ Market, “8th Annual Rock, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow”

There was a definite Saturday summer morning feeling all about as I made road travel from my pond and brook-side home in New Ashford south for an August 10th stop to check out the Downtown Pittsfield Farmers’ Market.  Joggers, cyclists, and dog walkers were trotting, rolling, and following their enthusiasms abundantly.  And so it was under another blue-sky cloud-dappled bliss-infused Berkshire day, with the sun above and sunflowers earthbound coddled, cohorts and witnesses to this winsome effect.

Downtown Pittsfield Farmers' Market

With solid footing now attained as a nice destination point and a pleasant nostalgic harkening back to golden Pittsfield eras, this edition built on previous successes and seemed all the more inviting due largely in part to the added draw provided by the inclusion of juried fine art and artisanal crafts.

Downtown Pittsfield Farmers' Market

First tent stop was a pleasant visit with Cecilia Barrett Stevens.  Stevens, an outgoing and popular nurse in the area, has been increasingly devoting more and more of her time to the pursuit of her passion for art.  Stevens works in a variety of mediums, including watercolor, oil, graphite, acrylic, and charcoal through a broad range of subject matter and is particularly fond of rendering floral and avian pieces.

Cecilia Barrett Stevens

Nearby to Stevens, I made acquaintance with watercolorist Barbara Rosenzweig.  The multi-faceted Rosennzweig has always maintained an interest in painting from the time of her initial pursuits with Philadelphia’s School Art League and the Tyler School of Arts, but came back in a more serious vein to painting only relatively recently after a rewarding career teaching middle school students biology for 36 years.  Rosenzweig references her love for nature and own photography for inspiration.

Barbara Rosenzweig

Further along the corridor of tent displays, Daniel W. Daniels was also showing a fine display of watercolors.  The Williamstown resident’s wildlife paintings are a well-received staple of regional juried art fairs.

Daniel W. Daniels

And it’s always great seeing Alchemy Initiative co-founder Diane Firtell’s beautiful work.  Firtell is well-versed in many mediums and carries a recognizable and acutely discerning flair throughout every facet of her oeuvre.  Her display at this venue included several of her collaged terra cotta pots, some framed watercolors, examples of her photography, and packaged prints of her work.

Diane Firtell

After a pleasant time touring the tents and displays of the market, arts indie colleague Lisa Merullo and I drove up to Bowe Field in Adams to attend the “8th Annual Rock, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow”.

8th Annual Rock, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow

We arrived at the Field with the strains of flute music wafting ethereally through the air.  Nammy Award winner Arvel Bird had just recently begun his performance and presentation on Native American flute.  Bird’s wonderfully informative talk covered a good deal of ground as an overview.  He started with the materials and process involved to produce theses flutes, pointing out that without the six holes, the instrument would be considered a whistle.  The flutes are set up to play pentatonic scales and their size determines what key they are in.  Traditional flutes are produced individually and are meant to be played as solo instruments with percussive accompaniment.  A modern adaption is to produce the flutes tuned so that they may be played in ensembles.

Arvel Bird

Photograph (c)Lisa Merullo.

Bev Cat Goodell followed Bird with some beautifully expressive storytelling.  Goodell regaled her audience with tales featuring familiar woodland creatures, rabbits, mice, coyotes, and foxes in particular, and how these living beings’ lives and certain interactions either directly changed the course of history for all or at least metaphorically teach us a wealth of information about ourselves and others.

Bev Cat Goodell

Photograph (c)Lisa Merullo.

Following this storytelling segment of the program and an interestingly mysterious series of wind gusts that seemed to appear without due obvious cause on this almost inordinately beautiful day, the first dance group made their way into the bleachered outdoor arena.  Costumed in the tradition of Native Mexicans, the group resplendently performed a selection of Danza Azteca, Aztec traditional dances which pay homage to the creator and are used for harvest ceremonies.

Aztec Dancers

Aztec Dancers

 

Aztec Dancers

Photograph (c)Lisa Merullo.

After the Danza Azteca selections, the official start of the Pow Wow began with a series of solemn ceremonies, including the Eagle Staff-led Grand Entry, the Posting of Colors, blessings and thank you’s acknowledged by event co-organizer Fidel Moreno, performance of the Veterans’ Song, singing of the National Anthem by 9-year old Sabrina Lewis, and a welcome message from Adams selectman Joe Novak, which made special note of the landslide on Mount Greylock that exposed for a time the distinctive image of a Native American chief.

Flags and colors posted included the Eagle Staff, United States Flag, Indian Nation Flag, American Legion Flag, U.S. Navy Flag, U.S. Air Force Flag, U.S. Coast Guard Flag, U.S. Marine Flag, U.S. Army Flag, Vietnam Veterans’ Flag, and the POW Flag.

As a courtesy and gesture of respect, photographs are discouraged during this series of ceremonies.  Following this portion of the program, an announcement was made by master of ceremonies Aaron Athey, Mohegan Nation, that re-encouraged photographs and introduced the first of the intertribal dancers.

Accompanied primarily by two groups of drummers and singers, this colorful and highly spirited portion of the program certainly did keep the shutters on the cameras opening and closing.  I include the highlights below, but to fully appreciate, a visit to the complete arts indie Facebook album, found HERE, may be in order.

8th Annual Rock, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow

8th Annual Rock, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow

8th Annual Rock, Drum, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow 8th Annual Rock, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow

Photograph (c)Lisa Merullo.

 

8th Annual Rock, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow

8th Annual Rock, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow

8th Annual Rock, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow
8th Annual Rock, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow

Photograph (c)Lisa Merullo.

While my colleague stayed nearby the arena and continued to photograph throughout the dances, as well as photograph another performance by Arvel Bird, this time on violin, I was happy to witness the setting up of the event’s tipi.

8th Annual Rock, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow

8th Annual Rock, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow

8th Annual Rock, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow

8th Annual Rock, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow

8th Annual Rock, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow

8th Annual Rock, Rattle, & Drum American Indian Pow Wow

And with this, we took our leave, happy to have been a part of such a beautiful event on such a beautiful day.