Bedford’s Matthew Siegal New Director of LexArt; Brings World Perspective from Years with MFA

There’s no place like home…. especially during a global pandemic.

Matthew Siegal of Bedford, president and executive director of the Lexington Arts and Crafts Society (LexArt), was until recently “the primary caretaker for one of the best art collections in the world…. Many people would find this difficult to believe.”

For some 20 years, Siegal worked for Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, directing its department of conservation and collections management.  Museums, he explained, “borrow and lend from one another all over the world. When we organize exhibitions, we travel with whole exhibitions that we lend or lease to one another. I spent the past five years going to the finest museums in the world looking at art – probably 150 museums in 40 countries.”

Les Miz Meets the 21st Century; BHS Musical Streaming in May

Jean Valjean, with all due respect, had some bad days. But he never knew what it’s like to have to abandon a high school musical performance on the threshold of opening night because of a sudden global pandemic.

Valjean and the other characters from Les Misérables are a big part of the response to last spring’s colossal disappointment at Bedford High School.

Preparations are in high gear at the high school for a filmed version of the sung-through musical Les Misérables (school edition), by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, based on the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo. The decision was made early to bypass live performances, and that turned out to be the right call, as Covid-19 protocols are still in place.

No Pandemic Slow-down for Playwright Melinda Lopez

If the performing arts reflect society’s mood and outlook, Melinda Lopez’s optimism and workload are signs that good times are on the horizon.

Bedford’s nationally-known playwright said Monday, “I see lots of signs of hope. Of course, it all depends on the vaccination rates, and public safety. But I am feeling optimistic!”

Superintendent’s Update ~ Friday, December 18, 2020

I hope that everyone stayed safe during our first snow day of the school year. I want to assure the students that I did not consult the website Snow Day Calculator. Instead, I relied on the expert analysis of David Manugian, our Director of Public Works, forecasts from Precision Weather Forecasting, and the National Weather Service in Norton, MA. Thank you to the Department of Public Works and the Facilities Department for getting us ready for school on Friday morning. DPH Vaccine Update
On Monday we had the opportunity to hear from Marylou Sudders the Secretary of Health and Human Services about the distribution of COVID vaccine.

Les Misérables ~ Coming to BHS as the 2021 Spring Musical

There will be a 60th annual Bedford High School musical, to be presented in May 2021.

It will be just a little different.

The first Zoom audition workshop took place this week for the epic sung-through musical Les Misérables (school edition), by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, based on the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo.

Local Musicians: Stacy Swider ~ Stacy and the Party

The performance season for Stacy Schalick and her band was a short one this year, thanks to the coronavirus Covid-19. Indeed, the restaurant where she sang last weekend will be hibernating for the winter.

Hibernation, however, is not in Schalick’s plans.

“One of the things I will be trying to do is get back to my saxophone playing – I just got the sax repaired,” she said. “And I can be rough on my guitars. I am going to get a new one, invest in a better instrument. And practice more.”

Performing Arts in the Bedford Schools ~ Music and Drama in the Time of Pandemic

Performing arts teachers in the Bedford schools are relying on energy, creativity, and technology to build a meaningful academic year despite debilitating virus-imposed restrictions.

And there’s another key ingredient: collegiality.

“The Performing Arts Department works really well together and enjoys collaboration. We are very supportive of one another regularly checking in and offering moral support,” said Nicole O’Toole, program director for kindergarten through high school.

Connecting Music Students and Instruments ~ Leonards Music Clobbered by Pandemic Restrictions

“Music is here to stay,” Rebecca Leonard asserted. “The learning environment is going to be different for a while.”

Leonards Music, at 128 The Great Road since 2011, rents, sells, and repairs musical instruments – everything except pianos and electric guitars. Their business has been clobbered by the restrictions of the pandemic, reflecting the shriveling landscape of performing arts.

Bedford Cultural Council Looks Ahead to a New Grant Season, and Reflects on Prior Awards

The fine and performing arts are a big part of the collateral damage inflicted by the Covid-19 virus. Even museums have been compromised, with limited capacity and operations.

At the local level, the Bedford Cultural Council is moving forward with grant applications and a community survey, with an implicit hope that the threat of the pandemic will be eased sometime next calendar year.  The current grants period will open on October 1, 2020, with applications due on November 16, 2020

Artmaking and Wine

Janet Powers and the Gallery@First Parish will host a fun filled night of art making and wine.  Come learn the process artist Janet uses, while making your own drawing or working on a larger collaborative piece.  No prior art making experience needed.

History of Speakeasies

Professor Dan Breen of Brandeis University and a favorite lecturer a the Bedford Free Public Library each winter, will be speaking about prohibition in Somerville.  Dan has a lot of fans in Bedford and they might might want to come out and hear him speak in Somerville at the Aeronaut Brewery. Prohibition was the death of the traditional American saloon, and the ruin of many a brewery–but at least it was the making of the Speakeasy. Join us for a talk about the history of how Speakeasies helped the beer-drinkers of Somerville endure the bleak years 1920-1933, led by historian, Dan Breen. This event is co-sponsored by Somerville Museum and Aeronaut Brewing Company

BCA Photo Group: My Best 5 Shots

The BCA Photo Group concludes its 2018-19 season with a BCA tradition, led by member Dennis Rainville. Members present up to 5 of their own photos, describing how each made a difference in their creative journeys this year. There will be time to socialize afterward. The meeting is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:45 pm (Elm Street entrance).

BCA Photo Group: Member Image Sharing

The BCA Photo Group concludes its 2018-19 Image Sharing with the theme “After Dark.” Photographer and member Bill Davison will provide constructive critique ( The meeting is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:45 pm (Elm Street entrance). This program is supported in part through a grant from the Bedford Cultural Council, a local agency, which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

BCA Photo: Diane Bennett on “Copyright Basics for Photographers”

The Bedford Center for the Arts Photo Group Technical Series with photographer and BCA member, Diane Bennett, speaking on “Copyright Basics for Photographers.”

Digital images are easily appropriated over the Internet and through social media. Bennett will discuss the basics of copyright protection for photographs: basic tenets of fair use, reverse image searches and a range of practical steps you can take to protect your images from misuse. This talk will be followed by a member-centered discussion of image sharing websites, led by Helena Long. If you’ve attended the BCA Photo Group, you know our members’ photographic knowledge and experience is deep and varied. Learn from others and share your own insights on options for sharing images online.

Lecture: “Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride: The Myth and the Man”

How did Boston silversmith Paul Revere end up riding to alert the countryside that “the British are coming” in April 1775? How many know that Paul Revere was an express rider for the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the MA Committee of Safety in 1774 and 1775, to carry news, messages, and copies of important documents from Boston as far away as New York and Philadelphia? These facts and others will be offered when retired John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum Curator Frank Rigg talks about the impact and legacy of Paul Revere’s historic ride. – Click this link to learn more! Join us in the Upper Fellowship Hall of the First Church of Christ, Congregational at 7:30 pm for the annual meeting of the Bedford Historical Society and at 7:45 for our guest speaker.

Lecture: “Irish Need Not Apply: The History of the Irish in Boston”

The Bedford Historical Society welcomes back history teacher, author and lecturer Chris Daley with his latest presentation, Irish Need Not Apply: The History of the Irish in Boston.  The 90-minute slide lecture examines many facets of the early Irish experience in Boston. These will include a look at the scant evidence about Irish brought over unwillingly as indentured servants in the late 17th Century; the arrival of the Scotch-Irish or “Ulster Irish” in the first real migration of Irish in 1718; the increase in anti-Irish/Catholic sentiment in Boston – starting with the notorious Pope’s Day celebrations; and a discussion of the burning of Charlestown’s Ursuline Convent in 1834 and the Broad Street Riot of 1837. Join us in the Great Room of the Old Town Hall at 2:00 pm for refreshments and at 2:30 pm for announcements our guest speaker. Free and open to the public. This event is sponsored by the Bedford Historical Society.

Earth Alive ~ A Concert by Bedford Singer/Songwriter/Environmental Activist Neil Dale on May 4

Submitted by the First Parish Green Sanctuary Committee

Celebrate “Earth Alive”, an evening of interactive, multi-media song and storytelling for all ages from 7-9 pm on Saturday, May 4 at the First Parish on Bedford Common.  The First Parish Green Sanctuary Committee is proud to present Bedford’s own Neil Dale, a singer, songwriter, artist, author, scientist, and environmental activist.