Concerts, Tea and Talks recall the Berkshire’s “Gilded Age” at Ventfort Hall

High Lawn gates.

High Lawn gates.

On Sundays there may be a concert, but on Tuesdays, a proper Victorian Tea is set out for guests who visit Ventfort Hall. All the better to enjoy the sparkling guest speakers who recount great moments in the history of the Berkshires and its cherished “cottages”. Here are the details on three talks and a concert that are coming up this month.

Victor Borge

Victor Borge

FREDERIKKE BORGE WILL BRING TO VENTFORT HALL
“MY FATHER, VICTOR BORGE:
CONCERT PIANIST/COMEDIAN,” JUNE 14

Frederikke (Rikke to friends) has been heard to say, “I had the best childhood that could ever be had. It’s been downhill ever since.” The speaker will spotlight “My Father, Victor Borge: Concert Pianist/Comedian” at a Tea & Talk presented at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 4:00 pm. She will join her audience afterwards for questions and answers at a Victorian tea.

Using videos and anecdotes, Rikke will share what it was like growing up with Victor Borge in the house, on the road and as her father. She will also let us in on his Danish childhood, upbringing, family and career. How could she improve on his life of travel, beautiful homes and being celebrated everywhere he went. “Being a world famous celebrity, who brings music and laughter to his audiences, is definitely a great job if you can get it,” she says.

Rikke went on to study acting at Carnegie Mellon and with Stella Adler, Uta Hagen and Sanford Meisner, creating her own celebrity on stage and TV and in feature films. As a Berkshirite, Rikke trains and boards horses.

Jeffry Bradway

HISTORIAN JEFFRY BRADWAY TO PRESENT A TEA & TALK on  “JOSEPH McARTHUR VANCE, ARCHITECT”
AT VENTFORT HALL, JUNE 21

LENOX, MA. Until recently, little was known about Pittsfield’s most prolific architect. Historian Jeffry Bradway will introduce “Joseph McArthur Vance, Architect for the Berkshires and Beyond” at a Venfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum Tea & Talk on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 at 4:00 pm. The speaker will answer questions at a Victorian tea that follows his lecture.

Vance was a practicing architect for 54 years. His designs ranged from private residences to hotels, commercial buildings, schools, churches and theaters. His projects dotted the Berkshires and even extended across the state and beyond. Some of his buildings did not survive his lifetime, others succumbed afterward, many still survive.

Ironically, the building for which he is most famous, the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, was only partly designed by him. This fact was revealed during 14 years of research for the book History of the Colonial Theatre. Before research began, about a dozen buildings were known to have been designed by Vance. With the appearance of new material, some 250 buildings can now be attributed to him.

A native of the Berkshires, Bradway teamed with Anne Wojtkowski, Bob Boland and Bill Munn to search for the information that led to the publishing of History of the Colonial Theatre in 2014. A year later, the book was named the Outstanding Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society of America.

Vance is a member of the Historical Commission in Pittsfield and serves on the board of trustees of the Berkshire School of Music. He is an avid Sherlock Holmes fan, belonging to several societies, including the Baker Street Regulars.

Jessica Roemischer

Jessica Roemischer

“THE GILDED AGE IN MUSIC AND WORDS
WITH JESSICA ROEMISCHER”
AT VENTFORT HALL, SUNDAY, JUNE 26

Pianist and historian Jessica Roemischer will combine music and the story behind Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum when she appears at the historic mansion on Sunday, June 26, 2016 at 7:00 pm.

Roemischer has an unusual combination of talents. She is a pianist, author and award-winning architectural historian. Greg Thomas, writer for the the New York Daily News calls her performances, “an evocative tapestry of sound textures that evoke peace.” Frances Hesselbein, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, says that, “Through Jessica’s music and story-telling, her wisdom, faith, and love become part of your own life, and the door she opens for each listener is a gift you will cherish always.” As an architectural preservationist, Roemischer earned a New York State Historic Preservation Award for her National Register work in historic communities of the Adirondacks.

At the special concert at Ventfort Hall, Roemischer will highlight the historic themes and architecture of this Gilded Age mansion. What would it have been like to welcome the first electric lights; to be steering our country’s expansion; to inhabit such architectural magnificence? Roemischer will uniquely combine piano music and story-telling to bring the past to life and an appreciation for one of the Berkshires’ finest historic properties.

For more about Jessica Roemischer, visit www.pianobeautiful.com.

Cornelia Brooke Gilder, Photo by Philip Howard

Cornelia Brooke Gilder, Photo by Philip Howard

“PAST PRIVATE GATEPOSTS” IS THE SUBJECT FOR A TEA & TALK
AT VENTFORT HALL MANSION & GILDED AGE MUSEUM, JUNE 28

LENOX, MA. Architectural and social historian Cornelia Brooke Gilder will present a Tea & Talk on “Past Private Gateposts: Up Winding Drives of Historic Berkshire Houses” at Ventfort Hall Mansion & Gilded Age Museum on Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 4:00 pm. A Victorian tea will follow.

The dramatic experience and thrill of visiting a country estate is foretold in the property’s gates and sometimes even a gatehouse. Many of these Berkshire gates and gatehouses of once-grand private houses of the late 19th and early 20th centuries survive today, and we pass them in our daily lives. Where do they lead? Who lived there?

Gilder, co-author of Houses of the Berkshires and Hawthorne’s Lenox and a member of Ventfort Hall’s program committee, will give a virtual tour of these elegant Gilded Age places, focusing as well on the big houses at the far end of the driveways and the stories of the fascinating families who built them.

Advance Reservations and Ticket Information

Tickets for the concert are $20 while tickets for the Tea & Talk are $24 for advance reservations and $29 day of the event. Reservations are highly recommended as seating is limited. For information or reservations call Ventfort Hall at 413-637-3206 or visit info@gildedage.org. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox.

An Official Project of Save America’s Treasures program sponsored by The White House, Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum offers tours of the historic mansion built in 1893 for George and Sarah Morgan, as well as Tea & Talks, such exhibitions as the Bellefontaine Collection, concerts, theater, and other programs. This elegant Jacobean-Revival Berkshire “cottage,” listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is open to the public year round and is available for private rental. Sarah Morgan was the sister of financier J. P. Morgan. Ventfort Hall has undergone substantial restoration, which continues.

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