Arts & Entertainment


Published: 4/22/2022 8:52:49 AM

Modified: 4/22/2022 8:51:33 AM

39th Saxophone Festival coming to UMass

AMHERST — The UMass Amherst Department of Music and Dance is set to host the 39th annual New England Saxophone Festival and Competition on Saturday, a free event that will feature a day of workshops, performances, panel discussions and friendly competition.

Organized by the UMass saxophone studio professors Jonathan Hulting-Cohen and Felipe Salles, the daylong event will culminate with performances by each faculty member, along with turns by special guests Popebama, a classical saxophone musician, and Jacques Schwarz-Bar, jazz saxophonist.

Students can compete in the Gerry’s Music High School Competition for a chance to win pro gear, Gerry’s music store gift cards, and the opportunity to perform in the opening act for the concert later in the day.

Cohen will also lead the popular Community Saxophone Ensemble, which allows artists of all ages and levels to come together and perform.

The festival is set to take place throughout the day, with performances commencing at 7 p.m. The event is free and will take place in Bezanson Recital Hall in the Bromery center at UMass Amherst.

Florence Poetry Carnival next week

FLORENCE — The annual Florence Poetry Carnival returns on Saturday, April 30, with an afternoon of poetry fun and games for all ages.

Hosted at the Florence Civic Center and Lilly Library, the event, which runs from 1 to 5 p.m., will include readings from local poets and poetry presses, and an array of interactive poetry-themed games and activities.

New to the carnival this year “Poetry & Pie,” a 7 p.m. event and community reception that features National Book Award Winner Martín Espada and is co-hosted by the Bombyx Center for Arts & Equity.

The event is designed to empower creativity and present poetry as an expressive interdisciplinary art form. The creator of the event, local artist Rachel Cyrene Blackman, hopes to lift poetry out of the traditional academic setting and provide a space to play with words and explore new ideas.

Attendance at the event is by donation, a recommended $5 at the door.

UMass Theater’s Fringe Fest ’22 opens this week

AMHERST — What’s known as Fringe Fest ’22, a festival of student-generated theater, including original work, a fresh interpretation of Shakespeare, and an online drama begins April 21 and runs through May 8 at the University of Massachusetts. All performances are free, with most taking part in the Curtain Theater in the Bromery Center for the Arts.

The fest opens at 7:30 p.m. April 21 at the Curtain Theater with “Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert” by Bianca Dillard, followed April 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Rand Theater with “Parzival” by Percival Hornak. Both of these plays, by two of the Theater Department’s graduate students, were developed in the UMass New Play Lab and will have repeat performances during the festival.

“Students have been brewing on creative ideas and projects for over two years now, with little opportunity to bring them to fruition due to the pandemic,” said theater Chair Harley Erdman. “Some of these projects have been nearly three years in the planning.

“The time is finally here when we are able to open up the doors of our theaters to them,” Erdman noted. “It’s an exhilarating and joyful way to end a year that has been full of stress and challenges.”

Also on tap at the festival is a production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Other America” by Pedro Eiras, which was inspired by the Nobel Prize-winning play “Johan Padan and the Discovery of the Americas.”

For more information on the complete schedule, making reservations (recommended but not required), and COVID-19 safety protocols, visit


Martín Espada reading at UMass Amherst

AMHERST — Celebrated poet and UMass Amherst professor Martín Espada will read from his National Book Award-winning collection “Floaters” on May 2 at 5 p.m. in the Old Chapel, after which he’ll sign copies of the book during a reception.

​​A longtime advocate for social justice, Espada has published more than 20 books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. He’s won a number of honors in addition to his 2021 National Book Award, including a Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize and a Massachusetts Book Award.

The UMass English Department is sponsoring the May 2 event. Department chair Randall Knoper says of his colleague, “Professor Espada is a believer in the power of poetry and the power of the imagination to conjure a more just society … Professor Espada makes poetry matter, personally, and communally.”

Face masks are strongly encouraged for the event, and UMass ID or proof of vaccination is required, as is registration, which can be done at

— Compiled by Steve Pfarrer.


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