BlogDowntown Pittsfield Summer Music Series: June 1 - September 6

The Downtown Pittsfield Cultural Association, with partners the City of Pittsfield, MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI), and Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. (DPI), are presenting a free Downtown Pittsfield Summer Music Series on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays starting June 1st and running through September 6th, 2024.


Fridays will feature a variety of local musicians and performers live at Persip Park, 175 North Street, from 5 to 8 pm. Saturdays will feature live Jazz in collaboration with Berkshires Jazz from 2 to 5 pm at Persip Park; and Sundays will feature Latin Dance Instruction in Dunham Mall, 100 North Street, from 5 to 7 pm.


Upcoming events:


Friday, June 21, 5 to 8 pm: Youth Alive in Persip Park CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER


Saturday, June 22, 2 to 5 pm: Jazz in Persip Park with Rees Shad and The Conversations; Folk singer Carole Wise to open

Rees Shad made a name for himself as a wordsmith troubadour traveling the country and the world sharing his particular blend of Americana gothic storytelling. Over the years, Rees has recorded over 30 albums with compositions often influenced by classic American songbook writers such as Hoagy Carmichael, Willie Dixon, Robert Johnson, and Cole Porter. In 2019, Rees began to perform with a band he dubbed “The Conversations”. Together with longtime collaborator/drummer, Bobby Kay, and bassist Jeff Link, Rees seeks to make the audience smile, tap their feet, and enjoy the many stories he loves to share and sing. This music is nothing short of joyful and swinging. It “cruises like a convertible” (Americana Highway).

Carole Wise is a Maine-based singer songwriter. Her guitar/mandolin playing is both intricate and straight forward and her lyrics are nuanced, lyrical and both personal and universal. Every song offers us a chance to connect to something: a feeling, a thought, a fear, a hope. She evokes something familiar – something we have felt, thought or worried about – as though she knew us.

Carole’s first CD, The Long Way Home, charted in the top 20 on Folk radio in 2021.


Sunday, June 23, 5 to 7 pm: Zumba® with Sandra Zarate in Dunham Mall

Sandra has been a Zumba® instructor since 2016. She is from Colombia and has her own Zumba® studio in South County. Follow her on Instagram @sandrapatriciazumbazin


Friday, June 28, 5 to 8 pm: DJ Jimmy Hall in Persip Park


Saturday, June 29, 2 to 5 pm: Jazz in Persip Park with the Matt Steckler Quartet

Matthew Steckler, aka Matty Stecks, performs and composes in several musical settings internationally. Primarily a saxophonist/woodwind specialist, he also performs on vocals, keyboards, percussion and electronic media, bringing a dynamic, holistic approach to the live musical experience. As an artist, Matthew has appeared at prominent festivals and concert series, including: The Blue Note and Lincoln Center (NYC), the Kennedy Center (DC), Winnipeg Art GalleryOperetta Teatrul (Bucharest), House of Blues & Jazz (Shanghai), and the Tri-CKey MaineNew HavenDiscover and Flint Jazz Festivals. He has received commissions from Chamber Music AmericaMeet the ComposerAmerican Music Center and American Composers Forum; has recordings on RopeadopeCuneiform and Innova labels; and has made Best CD lists in Downbeat and Jazz Times. Over the course of his career, Matthew has also performed alongside Lonnie Plaxico, Gary Smulyan, Lee Konitz, Anthony Braxton, Roswell Rudd, George Russell, Joe Lovano, Wynton Marsalis, Bobby Sanabria, Gunther Schuller, Tony Lewis, Alex Blake, Jon Hendricks, and many others. Matthew has written for concert music, theatre, film and game audio settings, and continues his own foundational work in electroacoustics and multimedia that began with his 2013 research-based, extended work Eco Beat Heresy. Matthew holds a Ph.D. in Composition (NYU) and M.M. in Jazz Performance (New England Conservatory), and a B.A. in Music (Wesleyan University).


Sunday, June 30, 5 to 7 pm: Andres Ramirez from the Funk Box Dance Studio teaching hip-hop in Dunham Mall


Friday, July 5, 5 to 8 pm: First Fridays at Five in Persip Park with the Wandering Dance Society

Performances will be 30-45 minutes each:

5 pm African Dance with Noel Staples

5:45 pm Salsa with Wale Oladehin

6:30-7:15 pm Berkshire Rhythm Keepers

7:15-8 pm More Salsa


Saturday, July 6, 2 to 5 pm: Jazz Duo in Persip Park: JoAnne Redding and Benny Kohn

JoAnne Redding is an emotive singer who has performed on stages from New Orleans to New England, sharing the bill with major acts including The Mavericks, Asleep at the Wheel, and many others along the way. She’s written songs that have aired on TV, in film, and on the radio, and stream worldwide.

Benny “Fingers” Kohn is undeniably the most sought-after piano player in the Berkshires and beyond. His impressive skills on the black and whites, his keen musical sensibilities, and his occasional comic shenanigans make for non-stop entertainment.

Joining forces, JoAnne Redding and Benny Kohn will present a diverse and plentiful mix of swingin’ jazz with a touch of smokey blues and soul-infused retro-pop!


Sunday, July 7, 5 to 7 pm: Salsa and Brazilian Samba Classes with Luana Dias David in Dunham Mall

Luana Dias David is a performing artist and choreographer based in the Berkshires. With over two decades of experience, Luana embodies a profound passion for dance and a steadfast commitment to cultural preservation and community engagement. Hailing from São Paulo, Brazil, Luana excels in various dance forms including Samba, Capoeira, Break dancing, Latin dance, Jazz, and Classic Ballet. Her rich cultural heritage is evident in her teaching and choreography, ensuring that every performance is an authentic blend of tradition and innovation.

5 pm: Salsa Class
60 minutes

Dancers will focus on basic footwork, body lagging, spinning techniques, and partner work. Additionally, this class will explore salsa choreography, timing & musicality, and performance skills. Be ready to learn fun routines that you can take on the dance floor!

6 pm: Samba for Beginners 
60 minutes

This class will teach you Brazilian Samba from the ground up. You will learn the technique for the basic Samba step including the foundation footwork and hip movement. You will also learn arm placement, basic body movement, and simple transitions. Luana will teach and break down the timing and movements in fine detail to ensure that everyone in class learns at a comfortable pace.

This class is ideal for absolute beginners (no dance experience required) or beginner level Samba students who want to refresh their basic skills.


Friday, July 12, 5 to 8 pm: TBD in Persip Park


Saturday, July 13, 2 to 4 pm: Jazz in Persip Park with Andy Kelly


Sunday, July 14, 5 to 7 pm: Capoeira with Tarcisio Ramos in Dunham Mall


Follow along with @downtownpittsfield on Facebook for updates including cancellations due to weather.


Thank you to the Downtown Pittsfield Summer Music Series organizers, including:

Andy Wrba and Ed Bride for Jazz programing

Marina Dominguez and Daniel Gomez for Latin Dance programming

Tor Krautter and Rebecca Brien for programming for Friday Nights at Five