Hilltown Family Variety Show
Cinco de Mayo Episode with Guest DJ, Mariana Iranzi
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Mariana Iranzi, children’s musician from Argentina living in New York, guest DJs our Cinco de Mayo Episode— a celebration of Hispanic culture and its friendship with the United States through great family music. Multicultural, bilingual (Spanish & English) and fun! – www.marianairanzi.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am May 4th & 5th, 2013 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
This weekend is Cinco de Mayo, and next weekend is Mother’s Day! In this video Mariana Iranzi’s bilingual song celebrates Mother’s day – Felíz día Mamá!
Hilltown Family Variety Show Guest DJ, Francie Kelley
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Los Angeles based singer/songwriter Francie Kelley will be taking us on a musical safari from our neighborhoods to places far and wide, with uplifting and joyful songs, from her new CD Where Do You Want To Go Today and other favorite artists. Infused with international sounds and rhythms, you’ll be transported to countries such as Ireland, Africa, Jamaica and back home to the heartland. – www.franciekelley.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am April 13th & 14th, 2013 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Hilltown Family Variety Show Guest DJ, Lloyd H Miller
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Lloyd H Miller is the leader of the Deedle Deedle Dees, a Brooklyn NY-based that draws inspiration from history, science, and folklore for their interactive family concerts. His guest DJ spot on HFVS is a celebration of Women’s History via the music of some of his favorite female artists. – thedeedledeedledees.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am March 16th & 17th, 2013 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
This week guest DJs Bill Harley and Keith Munslow teamed up and selected a bunch of their favorite songs; some from their childhood, recent discoveries, and a couple of ditties from their new CD as well! While not expressly “kids songs”, these are songs that Bill and Keith love. They love them for their humor, wit, silliness and musical wizardry. – www.billharley.com, www.keithmunslow.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am March 23rd & 24th, 2013 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured Video: “The Boy Who Hid In A Peanut” by Bill Harley
Hilltown Family Variety Show Guest DJ, Steve Weeks
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Join guest host Steve Weeks for a eclectic musical journey filled with new kindie releases, old favorites, and a few surprises. You’ll hear electro-pop, a capella, bluegrass, rock, Celtic and more as Steve explores the “Variety” in the Hilltown Family Variety Show. – www.steveweeksmusic.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am March 16th & 17th, 2013 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
In his excellent storytelling style, Steve Weeks’ newest song “Change of Heart” sends a positive message to both parents and children alike about sharing, accepting and trying new things… he’s even put together a super cute video!
Julianna Bright, the Portland based artist and musician and mom with the kids’ music moniker Cat Doorman gathers together a passel of tunes from her family’s record collection, dotting the playlist with a few tunes from her recent release Cat Doorman Songbook. Other songs hop from Andalusia to Paris, from the 1930′s through today with a common thread of playfulness and joy. – www.catdoorman.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am March 2nd & 3rd, 2013 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Mama Doni celebrates the Jewish holiday of Purim on Hilltown Family Variety Show! Celebrating the universal theme of Purim: standing up to adversity, having a voice, self empowerment, Mama Doni shares classic songs of strength. This unique Radio Show will give listeners a flavor of Purim – from the fun and crazy to the true meaning and message of this cool Jewish holiday. Produced by Doni Zasloff and Eric Lindberg
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am Feb 23rd & 24th, 2013 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: What to wear for the holiday of Purim? Mama Doni and her band have some engaging ideas to sort through the choices in their original song, “Costume Conundrum.” Learn more about the Mama Doni Band online at mamdoni.com.
Love & Social Consciousness Episode
with Guest DJ, Lisa Mathews of Milkshake
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Lisa Mathews of the Grammy-nominated kid rock band Milkshake talks about love and social consciousness in this musically diverse hour. With a song list that includes Sly and the Family Stone, Billie Holiday, the Civil Wars, Adele, Lucienne Boyer and a sprinkling of Milkshake tunes from the band’s brand-new 33-song Got a Minute? CD (featuring the long-lost 13 songs written for PBS KIDS), the show is sure to reward big ears and inspire discussion.
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am Feb 16th & 17th, 2013 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: “I Love You” Music Video: A compilation of clips from Real Look Autism, with the song “I Love You” by Milkshake. – www.milkshakemusic.com
Moon hugs and star kisses! Our friend Charity Kahn from Charity and the JAMband in San Franciso wishes us all a Happy Valentine’s Day in this archived episode of the Hilltown Family Variety Show which aired last year for Valentine’s Day on Valley Free Radio: HFVS Valentine’s Day 2012 Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn.
This year Charity gathered artwork from children all over the country, ranging in ages 1.5-9 years old, and put them together in this video to accompany her song, “Valentine,” off of her album, Family Values, Hilltown Families number one pick featured in our post, Top 11 Family Music CD Releases from 2012.
Mardi Gras Episode
with Guest DJs, Johnette Downing & Scott Billington
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Children’s book author and musician Johnette Downing and Grammy Award winning producer Scott Billington offer a carnival of Louisiana roots music; a showcase of Cajun, New Orleans Rhythm and Blues, Zydeco, Brass Band and Jazz music by Louisiana artists.
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am Feb 9th & 10th, 2013 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: Reading Rocks! By Johnette Downing Children’s book author and musician Johnette Downing sings “Reading Rocks!” from her Reading Rocks! CD to get children boppin’ into books and rockin’ into reading! – www.johnettedowning.com
Professor Longhair – “Go to the Mardi Gras” (The Complete Ric & Ron Recordings,
Vol. 6: Classic New Orleans R&B and More, 1958-1965)
The Hawkettes – “Mardi Gras Mambo” (The History of Rhythm & Blues, Volume 3 -
The Rock’n’roll Years)
Zachary Richard – “File’ Gumbo” (Zack’s Bon Ton)
Johnette Downing – “Bon Jour Mes Amis,” (From the Gumbo Pot)
Papillion – “Cocodrie” (Cajun for Kids)
Johnette Downing – “Why the Possum Has a Large Grin,” (Reading Rocks!)
Huey Smith and the Clowns – “Don’t You Just Know It” (Having a Good Time With
Huey ‘Piano’ Smith & His Clowns – The Very Best of, Vol. 1)
Robert Parker – “Barefootin’” (Introduction to Robert Parker)
Fats Domino – “Walkin’ to New Orleans” (The Fats Domino Jukebox: 20 Greatest
Nathan the the Zydeco Cha Chas – “Festival Zydeco” (Creole Crossroads)
Dirty Dozen Brass Band – “Little Liza Jane” (My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now)
Johnette Downing and Jimmy LaRocca’s Original Dixieland Jazz Band – “Dixieland
Jazz” (Dixieland Jazz for Children)
Louie Prima – “Banana Split for My Baby,” (Louis Prima Collectors Series)
Louis Armstrong – “What a Wonderful World,” (What a Wonderful World)
Johnette Downing and Jimmy LaRocca’s Original Dixieland Jazz Band – “It’s Time for
Mardi Gras,” (Dixieland Jazz for Children)
About Johnette Downing
Dubbed the “Musical Ambassador to Children” and the “Pied Piper of Louisiana Music Traditions,” Johnette Downing is a multi-award winning children’s book author and musician performing concerts and author visits for children, and workshops and keynote for educators globally. Dedicated to celebrating childhood, sharing cultures and fostering literacy through her music, books and programs, Johnette has performed in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Central America, North America and the Caribbean, has received twenty-one awards and has received rave reviews in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Disney Family Fun Magazine, Parenting Magazine, Parents Magazine and many more.
Scott Billington is a musician, writer and Grammy® Award winning record producer. With a discography of over 100 albums of roots-based music, Scott has received the Porretta (Italy) Sweet Soul Music Award, the Blues Foundation’s Keeping the Blues Alive Award, and the Offbeat (New Orleans) Lifetime Achievement Award. His records have garnered a total of ten Grammy® nominations, along with awards from the French Academie du Jazz, Living Blues magazine and many others. His writing has appeared in the Oxford American, Gambit, the Boston Globe and numerous other publications. Scott’s harmonica playing has been featured on albums by artists as diverse as Appalachian folk singer Hazel Dickens, rockabilly musician Sleepy LaBeef and soul singer Irma Thomas.
with Guest DJs, Michael & Tony Napolitano
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Preschool of Rock takes you on a magical musical journey from the late 1940′s to present day music.
Michael Napolitano hosts the show with his father, Tony Napolitano. Their musical experiences span 7 decades from Tony’s childhood singing Doo-wop on street corners in Newark NJ to Michael’s youth Rocking drums in the basement! With songs like Preschool of Rock’s Family Song they discuss how the Napolitano Family continues this musical lineage as Michael’s children sing on this track with their parents and grandparents. From Bobby Darin to Led Zeppelin, this show is certain to educate and entertain. Be sure to wear your dancing shoes!!
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am Jan 26th & 27th, 2013 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Music Collection Giveaway:
Top 11 Family Music CD Releases from 2012
We’re giving away an amazing CD collection of our top 11 family albums released this past year. Find out how you can enter to win this entire collection below. Deadline to enter is: Jan 19, 2013 by 11:59pm (EST).
Last month the winners of the Fids & Kamily Music Awards were announced, with a stellar list of new CDs released this past year!
Launched in 2006 and inspired by the Village Voice’s long-running “Pazz and Jop” music poll, the Fids & Kamily Music Awards poll is the first compilation of year-end kids and family music “best of” lists from critics, writers, radio programmers, and others involved in the music industry. Fifteen favorites are selected from outstanding releases, along with five honorable mentions, including kids and family albums from mainstream/adult artists, seasoned kindie artists and some fantastic newcomers!
For the sixth year in a row, Hilltown Families has participated as a judge for the Fids & Kamily Music Awards. Check out the winners at www.fidsandkamily.com and be sure to add some of these winners to your family music collection.
To start off the new year, Hilltown Families is giving away a collection of eleven CDs of family music released this past year. Several are winners of the Fids & Kamily Music Awards, and several others are releases we voted for and think are a must for your family music collection! Find out how you can enter to win this entire collection below. Deadline to enter is: Jan 19, 2013 by 11:59pm (EST).
Vote as the best family album of the year in the 2012 Fids & Kamily Music Awards, this album highlights a month-long journey Joe and Justin of The Okee Dokee Brothers spent traveling down the Mississippi River. During their trip they composed songs that make up this award-winning album. Special guests include Garth Hudson (The Band), Elizabeth Mitchell (Your Are My Flower) and Morgan Taylor & Rachel Loshak (Gustafer Yellowgold), and includes a DVD with music videos and footage from their trip. — Joe and Justin guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show in June this past year. Listen to the podcast and check out a few cuts from their new album along with tunes from other artist they selected, and one of their videos: HFVS Guest DJ, Joe & Justin of The Okee Dokee Brothers Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
In 2010, in response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Spare the Rock Records put out the award winning compilation album, Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti, raising over $50,000 for Haitian relief! This past year they did it again with the amazing compilation CD, Science Fair, raising money for Girls Inc.’s work for science education for girls. Placing second in this year’s Fids & Kamily Music Awards, Science Fair features exclusive tracks from Mates of State, Laura Veirs, Elizabeth Mitchell, Frances England and many others!
Released by Smithsonian Folkway Recordings, Blue Clouds placed fifth this year in the Fids & Kamily Music Awards. Putting a contemporary touch to traditional folk songs, and using simple arrangements to rework classic rock songs by Bowie, Hendrix, Morrison and others into folks songs, Mitchell has complied a new album that is already a classic!
This past summer Randy Kaplan guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show, spinning songs by bluegrass, folk, calypso, and broadway masters, alongside cuts from his new country-blues and ragtime CD, Mr. Diddie Wah Diddie. Placing seventh in the Fids & Kamily Music Awards, Randy Kaplan’s newest CD, Mr. Diddie Wah Diddie, pays tribute to America’s blues masters on an album with rollicking lyrics the kids will love! Listen to the podcast and get a glimpse into Randy’s new album and check out his video, “Ice Cream Man Rag.”: HFVS Guest DJ, Randy Kaplan Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
Ranging in style from Afro-pop to 60′s soul, Tin Pan Alley to bossa nova, Invisible Friends is an album the entire family can enjoy on road trips or Sunday morning PJ dance parties in the kitchen. Lead singer Dean Jones guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show this summer, pulling together a show that featured a few cuts from Invisible Friends interlaced with music from other kindie and mainstream artists. Give a listen to the podcast to sample a few songs on this award winning album (ranking eighth on the Fids & Kamily Music Awards!): HFVS Guest DJ, Dean Jones Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
We can’t speak highly enough of Charity & the Jamband! As Hilltown Families number one pick for the year, Family Values is a album that celebrates family and community. Understanding that all things peaceful must first start in our own hearts and homes before moving out into our community, Charity Kahn has crafted songs that are intelligent and from the heart. She tells stories set to music that is funky, with grooves and lyrics that talk up to kids and their grown ups! — Charity has guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show many times. This past Thanksgiving, through music and story, Charity explored some of the many things we have to be grateful for in our lives, including songs from this new album. Give a listen to the podcast anytime: HFVS Thanksgiving Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn (Radio Show/Podcast)
“Layered voices textured with Kwela flavored rhythms, up-beat melodies, a touch of Cape Town Jive and a hint of the blues,” is how Grenadilla describes their newest release, Can’t Wait. This past spring Debbie Lan from Grenadilla guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show, putting together a show with music from South Africa, including songs off of this new CD. Get a glimpse by listening to the podcast: HFVS Music from South Africa with Guest DJ, Debbie Lan (Radio Show/Podcast)
Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, Mister G, put out another excellent CD this year, Chocolalala. This new collection of original bilingual songs spans musical genres… from bossa nova to ska, funk to folk, rap to pop. Songs that are educational teach young listeners basic concepts while engaging adults with captivating Latin rhythms. In his monthly vlog on Hilltown Families, “Under the Hat: Independent Music Education,” Mister G goes a step further with his music, taking viewers into the backstory of songs released on this award-winning CD, and insight to the process of music making. Check out his column to see his vlog: Under the Hat: Independent Music Education.
Known for his deeply felt and socially conscious songwriting, often about heroes, Ellis Paul was inspired by his two daughters to write about people who contributed something to their world. The result… The Hero in You. Heroes featured on this educational CD include both well known and little know heroes. “These people did amazing things, but they can also inspire young people today to go out and do something out of the ordinary to become the heroes of their own lives,” explains Ellis Paul about this new release. — Last winter Ellis guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show, including songs from this new album. Check out the podcast to get a sample of songs: HFVS Guest DJ, Ellis Paul Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
We’ve loved Ben Rudnick & Friends since the beginning! Hailed as a founding member of the modern family music scene, Ben Rudnick & Friends continues to be a beloved band all family members will enjoy with their tenth release of Love is a Superpower. The band is good, really good… carving out their own unique music style that blends neo-western swing, bluegrass, folk music and flavors of rock. High quality musicianship seeps out slowly and steadily with each song, mixed with catching lyrics to which Ben Rudnick’s vocals bring wit and charm. — In the late summer, Ben guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show, bringing us a show all about love, including cuts off of this new album. Here’s the podcast and video to get a sample of this new CD: HFVS Love Episode with Guest DJ, Ben Rudnick (Radio Show/Podcast)
Receiving an honorable mention in the Fids and Kamily Music Awards, Elska is a newcomer to the kindie music scene. Elska is a fictional character living on a newly formed Arctic island where explorations are set against playful modern music and the delicate voice of Shelly Wollert. Songs like “Arctic Fox,” “Midnight Sun in the Arctic,” and “Winter Bear” tell stories of Elska on this new island and what she discovers.
HOW TO WIN
Hilltown Families has been serving Western MA since 2005 as a grassroots communication network! Being able to share community building events, community based educational opportunities, and community service experiences over the years, along with terrific music that brings families and the community together is song, has been a great honor! Share with us your wishes for the next year(s) and be entered to win this fantastic family music collection of 11 CD’s released this past year. To enter for a chance to win simply:
POST YOUR WISHES FOR A NEW YEAR AS OUTLINED ABOVE IN THE FIELDS BELOW (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
PLEASE CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below.
We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.
IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline to enter for a chance to win is: Jan 19, 2013 by 11:59pm.
American Roots Music Episode
with Guest DJ, Steve Pierson
Steve Pierson, creator of “Jambo,” hosts an American Roots Music themed show. Playing songs that have inspired him, as well as some of Jambo’s own “Roots Music for Kids.” Steve’s turn as our guest DJ will celebrate the great diversity of music that comes from America!
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am Dec 1st & 2nd, 2012 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: Steve Pierson and Jambo performing “Where Do They Go?” live at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, CA. – www.jambojam.com
This special Thanksgiving episode by Charity Kahn from Charity and the JAMband explores, through music and story, some of the many, many things we have to be grateful for in our lives — like the sun, rain, friends and family – - culminating in a vision for world peace where everyone finally has enough food, shelter, community and love. Incorporating songs by Snatam Kaur, Los Lobos, the Moody Blues, the Rolling Stones, and Nat King Cole, among others, the music and commentary weave a gentle yet thought-provoking meditation on gratitude, generosity, love and compassion to inspire folks of all ages this holiday season.
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am Nov 24th & 25th, 2012 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: Charity has a great song, “Loving Kindness.” She writes, “Love shouldn’t cost anything. This song emanated from the Buddhist practice of Loving Kindness (also called Metta), whereby you send wishes of health, happiness, safety and peace of mind to yourself and others.” In this video she shows you the movements to the song so you can show your preK kids how to dance along! Download the song for free here. – www.jamjamjam.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am Nov 3rd & 4th, 2012 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Western MA songwriter Dennis Caraher is our guest DJ this week! The last time Dennis was on our show was nearly six years ago when HFVS debuted on April 3rd, 2007! Dennis’s records for children have won two Parents’ Choice Gold Medal Awards and his poetry has been featured by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. This week he plays songs that have inspired him and talks about writing songs. He also, while broadcasting, has written a completely new song. Listen in to see what he came up with.
Saturdays from 9-10am & Sundays from 7-8am October 27th & 28th, 2012 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
It’s Howling Halloween with guest DJ. award-winning family music recording artist and performer, Andy Z. Listen along as Andy Z takes you on a musical tour of all things All Hallow’s Eve. Andy’s special set will include both classic and unexpected Halloween and Halloween-friendly tunes, including a few from his new Halloween-themed album, “The Grand Scream Of Things”. Don’t miss this Grand opportunity to gear up for the big holiday! – www.andyz.com
Featured Video: Andy Z & The Beeheads engage in a little healthy Halloween hijinks, with a helping hand from some “punk” rockin’ kids!
“Today’s show is all about dreams… dreams we have at night when we’re fast asleep and dreams we have during the day when we’re wide awake! Dreams can tell us many things… what we love to do, what we’re afraid of, what we’re really feeling and what we hope for in the future. Learning to believe in our dreams is the first step in making our dreams come true… Listen carefully and join the journey as we learn all about dreams!” – Alex Mitnick
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am Sept 22nd & 23rd, 2012 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Ben Rudnick guest DJ’s the HFVS this week, putting together a show celebrating love!
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am Sept 8th & 9th, 2012 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: Ben Rudnick and Friends tell the story of Sam. Sam is a country frog who heads off to the big city to fulfill his dream of singing for big audiences. With success, he misses his friends and returns to sing for them back at the pond. – www.benrudnick.com
Join acclaimed musicianer/songster (that’s what they called ‘em in the olden days) Randy Kaplan this Saturday at 9 a.m. (or anytime via podcast!) as he guest DJs the Hilltown Family Variety Show. In addition to spinning songs by Bluegrass, Folk, Calypso, and Broadway masters, he’ll be introducing his new Country-Blues & Ragtime CD, Mr. Diddie Wah Diddie!
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am July 21st & 22nd, 2012 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured Video: Five performance of “Ice Cream Man Rag” by Randy Kaplan. Recorded by Piter Marek at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, CA. - www.RandyKaplan.com
Ukulele Episode with Guest DJs
Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer
GRAMMY winners Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer are also known as the first ladies of the UKULELE. On this week’s show, they share their love of uke with you, showcasing vintage ukulele songs with contemporary sounds, and hopefully inspiring you to even consider picking up and playing a ukulele. Aloha and enjoy!
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am July 7th & 8th, 2012 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured Video: GRAMMY winners Cathy & Marcy perform Cathy’s original song, It’s A Ukulele” from the CD “Rockin’ The Uke.” Cathy’s instrumental break is done in clawhammer ukulele style. Marcy plays the cello banjo. - www.cathymarcy.com
Recess Monkey Brings the Big Top to
the Hilltown Family Variety Show this Weekend
Kids’ music authority Stefan Shepherd (Zooglobble) has declared, ““Dan Zanes may be the godfather; They Might Be Giants, the legitimizer; and Laurie Berkner, Ralph Covert, and Justin Roberts the genre’s superstars. But Recess Monkey is the heart of kids’ music today.” – Check out this Saturday’s show as they guest DJ the Hilltown Family Variety Show. Listen live, via streaming audio or via podcast immediately following broadcast.
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and children of all ages! Seattle’s celebrated band of teacher-rockers – Recess Monkey – will bring their special brand of “undeniably hip, yet also kid-accessible” music and humor to a stint as guest DJs for a special circus-themed radiobroadcast of Hilltown Family Variety Show on Northampton radio station 103.3FM WXOJ-LP (Valley Free Radio) this Saturday, June 23 at 9:00 a.m. and Sunday, June 24 at 7:00 a.m. Hilltown Family Variety Show programs are also available as podcasts any time immediately following broadcast.
Recess Monkey will offer live and pre-recorded songs from their new circus-themed album, In Tents, along with circus-oriented music from a number of the band’s favorite artists, including Ralph’s World, Sugar Free Allstars, Caspar Babypants, Ukulele Jim, Dog on Fleas, The Beatles, and even Robert Preston performing “Seventy Six Trombones” from Meredith Willson’s The Music Man.
An important element of In Tents is a 32-page story booklet that accompanies each CD. Right from the start, it’s apparent something big is going to happen in this story, as Recess Monkey enters the world of the all-American fantasy: running away to join the circus! Except, this time, through the trickery of the notorious Boregaard Noregaard, the circus joins Recess Monkey. From that point on, it’s a three-ring adventure: a fantastical celebration of popcorn, Tilt-a-Whirls, human cannonballs, dancing bears, and more, guaranteed to amaze, astound, and entertain. A highlight of the June 23 and 24 Hilltown Family Variety Show broadcasts will be Recess Monkey reading the In Tents booklet aloud. Audiences will be able to follow along, for the booklet will be posted on the Recess Monkey homepage and on the Hilltown Familes website.
Enter to win!
Notes Recess Monkey’s Jack Forman, “The circus is such a perfect blend of comedy and drama, careful pre-planning and extemporaneous fun, high and low energy, all of which are elements that we work into our songs and shows. How have we not already done a circus album? We’ve talked about this album for years but finally found that we had assembled enough wacky ideas, catchy melodies and a narrative to bring it to fruition. In fact, we actually conceived the album as the soundtrack to the In Tents story that we wrote, inspired by Seattle’s magical Teatro ZinZanni. In Tents has emerged both as a circus story-inspired album and as a series of kid-oriented, circus spectacular shows in which we’ve join forces with Teatro ZinZinni in their historic spiegeltent. Pretty amazing!”
Giving a wacky, fantastical edge to the “everyday lives of kids,” Recess Monkey weaves puns, jokes stories, and shenanigans into its songs. No play on words is too much of a stretch, and no rhyme schemes are out of bounds for the group’s genre-bending set of catchy, singable and dance-able ditties that NPR described as “inventive, brilliant, multilayered.” Audiences call it “a great way to spend an hour rocking out!”
Listeners to Hilltown Families’ weekly radio show/podcast Hilltown Family Variety Show (HFVS) know all too well about the great independent kids musicians we’ve featured on the show over the past five years. For this summer we’re reviewing a collection of CD’s to entertain the family while traveling in the car to far off beaches, or your favorite swimming hole here in Western MA, featuring several musicians who have also been our guest DJs.
While not an exhaustive list of the great music recently released or coming out this summer, here are 8 great CDs your family can enjoy this summer:
Alison Faith Levy ♦ World of Wonder
Alison Faith Levy, formerly “Sippy Alison” from the kindie band, The Sippy Cups, has released her debut album this spring, World of Wonder. In early May this year, Alison guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show, putting together an excellent show about all things weather, including two cuts from this new album, “I Love the Rain” and “Eye of the Tornado.” Get a taste of the fabulous music off her new CD by listening to the podcast and check out the video we featured of the title track off this fabulous new album.
Recess Monkey ♦ In Tents
Load up the car pretend the family is running away to the circus with Recess Monkey’s newest CD, In Tents. This circus inspired CD brings in the voices of stellar guest musicians who have guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show over the years, including Dean Jones and Sugar Free Allstars. And the 32-page story book, illustrated by Western MA’s very own children’s author/illustrator, Jarrett Krosoczka, will entertain the kids in the back seat while heading out on your big adventure. In late June, Jack, Daron and Drew will guest DJ the Hilltown Family Variety Show again this summer. Check back on June 23rd for the podcast and a peak at In Tents.
Orange Sherbet ♦ Delicious!
Delicious! celebrates the delights of eating seasonal locally grown foods during all seasons of the year. Orange Sherbet’s songs off of this new album celebrate farmers’ markets, gardening, the four seasons, and rice & beans… among many other celebratory songs about local food and the seasons. In late March this year Orange Sherbet guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show, spinning tunes off this new album, including “Waffle Day,” “Garden Song,” “Springtime,” and the title track, “Delicious.” Give the podcast a listen for a taste of this new CD, and check out their featured video.
Hope Harris ♦ Picasso, That’s Who!
Winner of the Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award for her previous album, Cousins Jamboree, Hope’s newest CD, Picasso, That’s Who! is a celebration of visual artists from the 19th & 20th century. The CD is a lovely way for families to receive musical mini-lessons in art appreciation. Kids can discover many great artists, including Romare Bearden, Jackson Pollock, Paul Klee, David Hockney, Pablo Picasso, Grandma Moses, Alexander Calder, Henri Matisse, Claude Money and Georgia O’Keeffe.
Mo Phillips ♦ Monster Suit
The family will love Mo Phillips fiery blend of Americana, soul and blues in his newest CD, Monster Suit, an album filled with music sometimes reminiscent of Western MA musical legends Woody and Arlo Gutherie. Mo plays classic acoustic rock ‘n’ roll influence by Neil Young and The Rolling Stones, on topics most families can identify with, like bad hair days and surprising facts about ducks.
Maestro Classics ♦ Casey at the Bat
Stephen Simon and Bonnie Ward Simon, the husband-and-wife team behind Maestro Classics, guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show in early March this year, calling their show “Classical Music Comes Alive.” Listen to the podcast and get the kids excited with their enthusiasm for sharing classical music with families. Their series of CDs began in 2004 as an outgrowth of their sold-out family concert series at The Kennedy Center with the Washington Chamber Symphony, for which Stephen served as music director and Bonnie as executive director. Casey at the Bat is a CD from the series that families can enjoy together while exploring classical music in similar fashion as the classic Peter and the Wolf.
The Broadway Lullaby Project ♦ Over the Moon
When the littlest one has fallen asleep on your family road trip, or it’s time for driving into the night, Over the Moon, a compilation of lullabies crafted together by a stellar cast of vocalists, Broadway composers, lyricists and producer, will speak eloquently to all listeners in the car. With piano and/or guitar, songs on this CD are about the love between parents and their kids, and the unique ways this love gets expressed.
Katherine Dines ♦ Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta
A pioneer of the “kindie” music genre, Katherine Dines newest CD, Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta, is a collection of her most requested songs over the past twenty years drawn from the eleven CD’s she’s released since 1992. Katherine’s songs tend to find the fun in everyday family life, along with softer inspirational songs. At the end of March this year, Katherine guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show, sharing her life journey in song. The show gives listeners a glimpse into Katherine’s experiences, and features songs from this new album, including “In the Backseat,” “Goosebumps,” and “Imagination.” She also shared the video for her song, “All the Way Around the World,” which you can check out along with the podcast.
"Hilltown Families keeps us connected with all the amazing educational and cultural activities and resources that abound here in W. Mass and curates them in a way to let us know just what’s out there for the many varied interests of our young families and communities,while creating networks of support and growth." - Kara Kitchen (Plainfield, MA)
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The exhibit will be on display at the Forbes Library in Northampton for the month of February 2013, and at the City Hall Gallery in Easthampton from Sept 13-Dec 11, 2013. - We're currently booking shows for the Spring/Summer of 2013 and for 2014. Each exhibit is a unique showcase of images that correspond with the season and venue. Contact us to inquire about hosting this fundraising exhibit for Hilltown Families in your town/venue.