Tanglewood earns top honor at 1Berkshire's Celebrate the Berkshires

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Photo Gallery | 1Berkshire 2016 Trendsetter Awards

LENOX — Economic driver of the summer tourism season. Iconic cultural institution. It's hard to imagine the Berkshires without Tanglewood.

The folks at 1Berkshire feel the same way.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra's summer home since 1937, Tanglewood on Thursday received the "Putting the Berkshires on the Map" award, the key honor given at the sixth annual Celebrate the Berkshires event.

Hosted by 1Berkshire, the county's leading economic development organization, the event took place under a tent set up near Ozawa Hall at the back of Tanglewood's 540-acre campus. "Trendsetter Awards" were also given to seven other organizations or individuals in seven separate categories. Three hundred tickets were sold prior to the event, according to 1Berkshire officials.

In accepting the keynote award, BSO Managing Director Mark Volpe cited the close relationship the Boston-based orchestra has with Berkshire County.

"We work much closer together here than we do in Boston," Volpe said. "I'm sure I'll regret seeing that in The Boston Globe tomorrow if somebody's here."

The last part of Volpe's comment was greeted with laughter. Turning serious, Volpe said, "we feel absolutely a huge responsibility in terms of economic activity and generating a buzz (in the Berkshires)."

He noted that Tanglewood had its best attended season since 2012 this summer with 350,000 visitors "staying in your hotels and eating in your restaurants."

"When I first came here we had roughly nine weeks of activity," Volpe said, referring to the length of the summer season at Tanglewood. "We're probably 11 to 12 weeks of activity now, and we hope to sustain that through the years to come."

Looking into the future, Volpe said the BSO has "some pretty interesting plans" for Tanglewood.

"My chief operating officer would kill me if I go into the particulars, but we continue to invest not just in music and not just in the physical plant," he said. "We're approaching a $100 million operation. That's a pretty big scale for a nonprofit."

In the other honors, the city of North Adams received the Trendsetter Award for Comprehensive Marketing Campaign; Christina Barrett, the director of marketing and student recruitment at Berkshire Community College, received the Under-40 Change Maker award; the Berkshire Family YMCA in Pittsfield received the Nonprofit Impact award; and Blue Q, a design and manufacturing firm in Pittsfield, received the award for Creative Economy Standout.

Paul LeBlanc, founder and CEO of Zogics in Lee was named Entrepreneur/Visionary of the Year; Methusaleh, a bar and lounge in Pittsfield, was selected Newcomer of the Year; and Unistress Corp. was honored for Growing/Advancing the Berkshire Economy. Each category had five finalists.

A 25-member panel consisting of 1Berkshire personnel and stakeholders selected the finalists from over 120 nominations that were submitted by the public. The final judging was done anonymously by a combination of 1Berkshire board members and past winners.

Contact Tony Dobrowolski at 413 496-6224.


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