Rosanne Cash, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Emanuel Ax help Mahaiwe celebrate a milestone

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GREAT BARRINGTON — Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is holding a virtual party Oct. 11 for a very real occasion — its 15th anniversary as a year-round, nonprofit organization.

Tony Award-winning Broadway singer and actor Brian Stokes Mitchell, Grammy Award-winning classical pianist Emanuel Ax, Grammy Award-winning country singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company in a specially staged solo piece are among the performers set for "Moving People, Moving Mountains," a free online event honoring Mahaiwe founder Lola Jaffe, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

They will be joined by Great American Songbook revivalist, singer and pianist. Michael Feinstein; jazz guitarist and vocalist John Pizzarelli and his wife, singer and songwriter Jessica Molaskey; China Forbes, co-lead vocalist of the jazz/pop band, Pink Martini; award-winning Broadway singer and actor Jason Danieley; and the Beatles tribute band, Fab Faux.

There also will be special tributes and surprise guests. Registration details are available at mahaiwe.org/15.

The program's title reflects "the alchemy of rich culture and natural beauty in the Berkshires, where performers move us, and the setting moves us, in tandem," executive director Janis Martinson said in a prepared statement. "It also aptly describes founder Lola Jaffe, who inspired so many people to join her in a grand and worthwhile enterprise."

"So many superlatives come to mind when I think of Lola, not least of which is her refusal to accept limitation or defeat," Mahaiwe board chair Margaret Deutsch said in a statement. "She is a role model, teacher, colleague, and friend."

"The Mahaiwe was launched when there were holes in the roof and the economy was rocky. But Lola knew what this aging building, given life, could mean to the southern Berkshires," Martinson said. "She put years into realizing that dream and building a movement that would sustain what she began. With this party, we celebrate our founder and her founding vision, and commit ourselves to her legacy, no matter the current obstacles."

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