Review by Fiona Breslin
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass., November 15, 2011) – On Monday night at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, the third annual “Warm Up the Winter” benefit concert, hosted by Rabbi Deborah Zecher of Hevreh of Southern Berkshire, raised cash for those in need of assistance with heating costs this winter as federal funding for such assistance continues to be cut.
The evening featured performances by some of the Berkshire’s top musicians, including a cappella group Quintessential, pianist Joe Rose, singer Wanda Houson, Joshua Zecher-Ross and Rabbi Zecher herself.
Zecher-Ross accompanied himself on piano to perform renditions of hits such as Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” and the all-male a cappella group Quintestenial followed up by throwing finger-snapping covers of groups such as Moxy Früvous and the Four Seasons into the mix. The brassy, soulful Wanda Houston and her band closed out the night with sing-alongs, including favorites from Marvin Gaye and Sly Stone.
While the performers managed to keep the energy of the night upbeat, it was an original composition by bluesy pianist Joe Rose, titled “Warm up the Winter,” that reminded audience members of the significance of the night’s event. Rose’s lyrics spoke of how some residents will be making a choice between staying warm and staying fed this winter.
The performers came back onstage together to close out the night with a cover of Carole King’s classic “You’ve Got a Friend,” perhaps best known as a hit for the Berkshires’ own James Taylor. All proceeds raised from raffle and ticket sales will be distributed throughout Southern Berkshire by Great Barrington’s Construct Inc.
Fiona Breslin is a special correspondent for the Rogovoy Report.