Lenox, MA – It’s Christmas all over Lenox next weekend as music, theatre and hundreds of residents come together with community caroling, Santaland Diaries at Shakespeare & Company and the arrival of Santa for the town’s annual tree lighting. It’s not only a heart warming tradition, it’s fun for all ages, too.
The Town of Lenox also finds many of its famed guest houses lighting their fireplaces, preparing the eggnog and welcoming returning guests for the plethora of holiday activity that the Berkshires are so famous for. Located between Stockbridge and Pittsfield, who have their own unique festivals, Lenox makes a great jumping off point for visitors to enjoy Christmas in New England.
New to the events is a permanent trophy that will be festooned with the name of the top caroling group this year, and each year into the future. What might be called the “DeVries Prize” also carries with it a cash prize of $2,000. Both will provide an extra incentive for participation since it is awarded to the Grand-Prize-winning ensemble at the second Lenox Caroling Festival, Dec. 7-9.
A handsome bronze, this trophy created by the sculptor Andrew DeVries graciously characterizes a singer in performance, and appropriately is titled “La Chanteuse,” or “The Singer.” It is one of a series of eight certificated pieces, each valued at $5,000, by the Berkshire-based artist.
DeVries said “Chanteuse” began its life as a sketch he made during a trip to France : “A singer at the Cluny Museum in Paris was singing Medieval songs – the voice went right through your body. It was enchanting!” he exclaimed. “And I had always admired Degas’ pastels of café singers – it has a bit of that feel as well.”
“La Chanteuse,” which is 18 inches high, is mounted on a vermillion base of antique African wood that will accommodate the plaque offering details of annual winners.
The sculpture was developed through cire perdue, or “lost wax,” an eight-step process, according to DeVries: “You begin with a clay model, then make a series of molds, first producing a hollow wax casting.” he explained. “The most common mold-making material is rubber. There are many different rubbers available today – silicone, latex, polyurethane and polysulfides, each with its own properties – strength, hardness, flexibility, among them.”
DeVries then creates a second series of molds. “They are of refractory material; then the wax is melted out of the refractory mold – that is why it is called ‘lost wax.'”
A later step involves pouring bronze into the refractory mold, and when the mold is broken a bronze sculpture emerges, reading for “chasing,” that is refining the surface of the piece, and finally patination, the process of creating its permanent patina.
Any of DeVries sculptures, he said, require from six to 12 months to complete. “It’s not like I have the time to work on one piece,” he said, noting that generally many other things occupy his attention, such as running a gallery and preparing for shows.
DeVries also suggests that most sculptors in metal don’t cast their own bronzes, preferring to send them out to foundries: “But I do. I’ve done it for 34 years here at my studio in Middlefield, Mass, he affirmed.
The Andrew DeVries Gallery’s annual holiday reception will take place Dec, 8, from 2 to 4 p.m. It is located on Church Street in Lenox, where many of the caroling groups will be performing.
More than 200 choristers, part of eight selected ensembles from as far away as Delaware, and from the Boston area, as well as local groups, will compete in this year’s Caroling Festival, which also includes second and third place prizes of $500 and $250, respectively.
The awards and the plaque will be presented in special ceremonies in which all the groups perform, Dec. 8, at Shakespeare & Co.’s Studio 3. The weekend celebration commences Dec. 7, with the arrival of Santa Claus and lighting of the town Christmas tree in Lilac Park at the center of the village, followed by a reception with more singing at Ventfort Hall, the Museum of the Gilded Age.
The Saturday (Dec. 8) activities also include a performance of David Sedaris’ comedy “The Santaland Diaries” in Shakespeare & Co.’s Bernstein Theatre and “Dancin’ at the Mansion,” a social event at Ventfort Hall.
The Lenox Library’s eighth annual Gingerbread House Competition is a Sunday (Dec 9) highlight, along with a Children’s Tea with carol singing at Ventfort Hall.
DeVries, especially renowned for his sculptures of dancers, is preparing for a show, set for Mar. 19 through Nov. 24, 2013, at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga , N.Y.
More Information: See Calendar of Events below or go to lenoxcarolingfestival.org for the latest updates.
- Dusk – Christmas Tree Lighting, Lilac Park…Santa Arrives
- 6:00pm – Gala Reception and Concert, Ventfort Hall
7:00pm – Opening Reception with Music By the MCLA Allegrettos
Caroling Throughout the Historic Village
- 10:30am-4:00pm – Caroling Festival Competition
- 5:00pm – Festival Awards Ceremony and sing along
- 7:30pm – Dancin’ at the Mansion “Holiday Style”, Ventford Hall
- 7:30pm – Shakespeare & Company presents David Sedaris’s The Santaland Diaries in the Bernstein Theater.
- 1:00pm – 3:00pm – Gingerbread Contest and book sale at Lenox Library
3:00pm – Children’s Holiday Tea & Caroling at Ventford Hall