Legacy of Music, People and Place: Holyoke 1800 – 1950

Wistariahurst Museum is launching a new historical and cultural project entitled, Legacy of Music, People and Place: Holyoke 1800 – 1950. With funding support from the Holyoke Cultural Council and the Country Dance and Song Society, Jacqueline Cooper is collaborating with the museum as the Project Director and is working to develop sketches of Holyoke’s past to form a collective of local music culture from 1800-1950.

Cooper and Wistariahurst are seeking to include community members of Holyoke and nearby towns to participate by sharing personal music-related memories. They are looking for community members, elders, descendants of earlier settlers, immigrants, and travelers who can share stories or family anecdotes related to particular songs that were listened to, played, sung, danced to and enjoyed in households, factories, at gatherings, or in clubs, churches, community centers, etc. They are looking for stories that not only represent local culture, but also reflect what working people at the heart of the community thrived on.

Do you, your parents, your grandparents, have a memory to share? Being interviewed for this project is an inspiring opportunity to have a music-related memory as part of Holyoke’s cultural heritage collection.  The research is the foundation for Legacy of Music, People and Place: Holyoke 1800 – 1950, a live music and storytelling production to be performed at Wistariahurst in July of 2014.
Click here to find out how to participate…

History Exhibition Recalls Holyoke’s Industrial Past

Echoes of Industry:
The Death and Rebirth of Holyoke’s Mills
Jan – Feb, 2014

With 25 mills near the end of the 19th century, Holyoke was the largest paper manufacturer. Today these mills are reminders of another age – victims of fire, demolition or a new purpose. What remains offers a silent dignity that demands to be recorded.

This January and February, Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke remembers the city’s past through a display of artwork by Eric Broudy. “Echoes of Industry: The Death and Rebirth of Holyoke’s Mills” contains photographs Broudy took of the old, run-down mills – their exteriors and vast interiors, the “architectural details with rubble and shattered windows” – and a video installation featuring footage of Holyoke mills being given new life, through the development of creative spaces like art galleries, dance and yoga studios, offices, restaurants, even homes, in these once-mighty industrial structures…

Read the rest of this entry »

“Holyoke Remembers the Civil War” Exhibit at Wistariahurst Museum

Museum Volunteer’s Research Results in Commemorative Civil War Exhibition at Wistariahurst

Artifacts featured are from the Museum Archive Collection and include a period carte-de-visite portrait of George H. Smith, who later became a well known local physician and held municipal positions in the city of Holyoke. On display through Oct 31, 2013.

Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, MA, commemorates the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the Civil War with a new display of artifacts from the Museum’s Archive Collection, entitled “Holyoke Remembers the Civil War.”

One hundred and fifty years ago, Holyoke residents left their homes and families in Massachusetts to join in the fight for the Union. Visitors can look at these brave civilians’ belongings on display now at Wistariahurst – a carte-de-viste portrait of George H. Smith, a well-known figure in Holyoke’s history, as well as a Bible dating back to the 1860s that Smith carried during his war experience that contains a personal note, in addition to uniforms, newspapers and other documents dating from the period, and veterans’ medals – and immerse themselves in the rich history of the time period.  This exhibition is the result of research compiled by James Ubertalli, an archive volunteer at Wistariahurst with a particular passion for Civil War history.

Students of American history – and people of all ages hoping to learn more about Holyoke and Pioneer Valley history – will find this an enriching experience. Saturdays-Mondays, noon-4pm, through October 31, 2013. Holyoke, MA.

In addition to this exhibition, Wistariahurst offers house tours, and their calendar is full of other local history lectures and events happening this fall. For more information: www.wistariahurst.org. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot St. Holyoke, MA.

Ticket Giveaway: Parents’ Night Out at Mountain Park with Dropkick Murphys

Dropkick Murphys
Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA
Friday, August 16th, 2013 @ 8pm

Parents’ Night Out to see Dropkick Murphys plus Swingin’ Utters at Mountain Park! Enter to win a 4-pack of tickets to take your spouse, partner or gang of friends on Friday, August 16th!

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

For August, Dropkick Murphys are coming to Mountain Park…and we’re giving away a 4-pack of lawn tickets for a group of friends to enjoy an evening out! Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner and gang of friends for a fun evening away from the kids! Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 08/13/13 @ 11:59pm (EST). Details below…

Read the rest of this entry »

Ticket Giveaway: Parents’ Night Out at Mountain Park with YES

YES
Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA
Saturday, July 27th, 2013 @ 8pm

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

This month at Mountain Park, enjoy an evening with YES performing three classic albums in their entirety: The YES Album, Close to the Edge, and Going For the One and we’re giving away a 4-pack of lawn tickets for a group of friends to enjoy an evening out! Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner and gang of friends for a fun evening away from the kids! Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 07/23/13 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT YES

Founded in 1968, Grammy-award winning recording artists YES have created some of the most important and influential music in rock history, selling close to 50 million albums worldwide. YES continues creating masterful music four decades on that inspires fans and musicians from around the world. On this tour, for the first time since 1973, YES will perform their three classic albums in their entireties, all in one concert: 1971’s The YES Album, 1972’s Close to the Edge, and 1977’s Going for the One.  For the latest news and tour info, visit www.yesworld.com.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ticket Giveaway: Parents’ Night Out at Mountain Park with Chicago

Chicago
Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA
Friday, June 21st, 2013 @ 8pm

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

This month at Mountain Park, enjoy an evening with Chicago, winner of the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award and we’re giving away a 4-pack of lawn tickets for a group of friends to enjoy an evening out!  Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner and gang of friends for a fun evening away from the kids! Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 06/18/13 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT CHICAGO

Chicago is one of the most successful American bands of all time with musical ambitions that go beyond rock into classical, jazz, and soul. Since the 1969 release of their debut album Chicago Transit Authority, they’ve been able to fill arenas with satisfied fans. Beyond the staggering sales and chart statistics, their music has endured, played constantly on the radio and beloved by tens of millions. Record sales top the 100,000,000 mark, and include 21 Top 10 singles (11 of those #1) , and 5 consecutive #1 albums. An incredible 25 of their 32 albums have been certified platinum, and the band has a total of 47 gold and platinum awards. The line-up on tour will include original band members Robert Lamm on keyboards, vocals, Lee Loughnane on trumpet, James Pankow on trombone and Walt Parazaider on woodwinds.
For the latest news and tour info, visit www.chicagotheband.com.

Read the rest of this entry »

Two Bike Tours of Holyoke Mills & Canals and Mansions

Bike Tours of Holyoke Mills & Canals and Mansions: June 1st & 8th

Teens & adults can take to the streets via bike and join Wistariahurst Museum for two historical bicycle tours around Holyoke. Tours will be led by historian Craig Della Penna who will share his insights of historical buildings, landmarks along Holyoke’s streets.

The Wistariahurst Museum is holding two bicycle tours around the city of Holyoke, one exploring the city’s mills and canals, and the other exploring the mansions of the Fairfield Avenue Historic District.  Teens and their parents can spend quality time together while learning local history and developing a greater sense of place by becoming better acquainted with the history and current landscape of this first planned industrial community in the U.S.

The first ride, taking place from 11am-12:30pm on Saturday, June 1st, leads cyclists along the many mills and canals of Holyoke.  Local historian Craig Della Penna will be there to teach you about the history of these waterways, as well as the historic buildings built along them.  The ride begins and ends at Holyoke Heritage State Park (221 Appleton Street).

The second ride is on Saturday, June 8th from 11am-12:30pm.  Cyclists will ride around the Holyoke Highlands and Fairfield Avenue Historic District while learning about the architecture of the area’s Victorian mansions, as well as the architects, builders, and families connected to them.  This tour begins at Kennedy Park (Waldo Street) and ends at Jones Park (Oxford Road).

Read the rest of this entry »

1800′s Journal Unfolds Online, Sharing Western MA History

Blogging the Days in the Life of William Cobbett Skinner
1888 Journal is posted online as the year unfolds.

William Cobbett Skinner (1857 - 1947) 1888 Journal

William Cobbett Skinner (1857 – 1947) 1888 Journal

In 1888, William Cobbett Skinner was 31 years old, working under his father’s guidance at Skinner and Sons Manufacturing in Holyoke, MA. Wistariahurst Museum’s blog entries will track Will’s 1888 journal. Each week new entries will be transcribed and uploaded to the Wistariahurst Museum website for interested readers to follow.

“The journal entries will unfold like a mystery” remarked Penni Martorell. “It is all new material to us. We’ve never had the time to transcribe this journal and we thought we would share the discoveries as they happen along in the year.”

Follow along as Will’s journal lends insights into his business dealings, family relationships and social life.

Dale Platenik, a select volunteer with skills at deciphering handwriting has stepped up to take on this time consuming and yet intriguing process. “I love the challenge of decoding Will’s handwriting and I am learning all sorts of things about Will and the Skinner Family. It is quite fun.”

You can find the entries at wistariahurst.org/experience-history/wcs-journal.  Scroll down to the weekly blog entries.

-Submitted by Michelle Fredette

Victorian Valentines Workshop & Era Days at Wistariahurst Museum

Victorian Valentines Workshop
Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke
Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Join museum staff for an afternoon of crafting valentines for friends, family and sweethearts on Sunday, February 10th. Antique valentines, bygone love poems and enchanting phrases will be on display for inspiration.

On Sunday, February 10 from 1-3pm, come to Wistariahurst Museum for this fun and creative program that will inspire the artist in everyone! In 1847, the year she graduated from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, Esther Howland of Worcester, Massachusetts received her first Valentine’s Day card. She was so pleased with this English novelty that she tried making some valentines of her own. With the help of her brother, a salesman who carried her cards with him along with his other samples, she received $5,000 worth of orders her first year in business!

Esther was able to handle the large volume of orders by employing friends and using “assembly-line” techniques for the production of her cards. Her cards were covered with an array of linen lace, colored paper, hand-painted birds and flowers and hand-inscribed, rhymed messages.

Esther found herself a true businesswoman by the end of 1849. She continued to make valentines for two decades. She eventually would profit $50,000 -$100,000 annually from the sale of her cards. Esther Howland’s business success made her one of America’s first “modern woman.”

Channel your inner Esther by creating your own beautiful, unique card for special friends, family and sweethearts. Antique valentines, bygone love poems and enchanting phrases will be on display for inspiration. Reservations for the workshop are suggested. $5 per person.

Victorian Era Days

Holyoke: From Monday, February 18 to Thursday, February 21 from 11am – 12pm, step out of the winter doldrums and back in time at Wistariahurst Museum! The museum is offering daily craft workshops for interested Girl Scouts and other young women. Victorian Era days is a program designed to educate young women on pastimes of yore. $5 per person per activity. Reserve online at www.wistariahurst.org

Monday, February 18, 11am-12pm: Decorated Diaries
Each member of the Skinner family kept countless journals, diaries and scrapbooks. Help keep the tradition alive by binding and decorating your own diary and learning a bit more about what was in the heads of the Skinner family.

Tuesday, February 19, 11am-12pm: Build a Bookmark
Before Kindles & Nooks there existed books! Often acting as mini-scrapbooks, bookmarks were more than just a placeholder. Join us for story-time and the opportunity to make your own bookmark keepsake.

Wednesday, February 20, 11am-12pm: Historic Hats & Hatboxes
First, take a peek at some of the antique hats Wistariahurst has gathered over time in its archives. Then, after being inspired by such ornate headwear, decorate your own miniature hatbox to take home with you!

Thursday, February 19, 11am-12pm: Fancy Fans
Become bilingual in the language of the fan with an afternoon at Wistariahurst! Scouts can see some examples of antique fans and then have the chance to decorate their own. Ending the hour of fun is a lesson on the art of communicating with your fan.

Wistariahurst Museum is located at 238 Cabot Street in Holyoke. For more information, please call 413-322-5660 or go online at www.wistariahurst.org.

-Submitted by Marjorie Latham [Photo credit: (ccl) SLV]

The Holyoke History Walk: A Virtual Tour of the City

The Holyoke History Walk: A Virtual Tour of the City

“Holyoke, Massachusetts is marked as one of the first planned industrial cities famed for its paper manufacturing,” writes Penni Martorell, City Historian. “The City’s rich past is reflected in its architecture: remnants of the paper mills topped with wrought iron widow’s walks; the stunning City Hall, buffeted on all sides by stained glass windows; and the central train depot, originally designed by H.H. Richardson. The Holyoke History Walk was created to engage the public with the history of the city through their direct geographic interaction with its architecture, monuments, and historic landscapes while at the same time utilizing historical collections and materials present in the city’s archival records.”

Have you ever walked, biked, or driven through downtown Holyoke and wondered about the history of the city’s numerous old buildings?  Each empty mill, towering church, and brick rowhouse tells a story of the city’s past.  An exploration of Holyoke’s history reveals a rich, diverse, and complicated history.  Visitors to Holyoke can now learn about the city’s history themselves – from home or while exploring the city’s streets thanks to the Wistariahurst Museum!

The Museum has recently added a gigantic community resource to its repertoire- the Holyoke History Walk, available on the museum’s website, offering a comparative look at the city and many of its streets and buildings as they once were (up to 125 years ago).

“A collection of historic maps from the Holyoke History Room were digitized and stitched together to form a single map. The map was then sliced into tiles and geo-referenced for use as a layer in Google Maps. Overlaid atop the map are approximately 100 buildings, monuments, civic structures, and street views. These images were re-photographed from the same vantage point in the summer of 2012.”

The program (created by UMass intern, Jonathan Haeber) uses Google Maps, and provides a map – created by piecing together numerous maps from the museum’s archives – of Holyoke past, layered above a map of Holyoke present.  Scattered across the map are over 100 of the city’s landmarks – churches, civic buildings, prominent businesses, and views across the canal, from hilltops, and down various streets in the busiest parts of town.

The old photos are shown next to a current image of the location.  In some cases, the buildings are unrecognizable; in others, entire blocks are boarded up; meanwhile, some others remain relatively unchanged.  Families can use the interactive tour to learn all about local history, and can use what they learn about the city to bring context and deeper understanding to American history and changes in industry, technology, and the American way of life.

“When visitors view the map on their device, they can see where they are in relation to the sites, touch or click the site that interests them, and watch as the 19th century photograph fades into the 2012 photograph of the same location,” writes Penni Martorell, City Historian.

Topics to explore include the industrial revolution, immigration to the United States, the Great Depression, and issues of race, class, and gender throughout the last 100 years (students can pursue this topic to varying degrees depending on maturity and background knowledge).

The history walk is available in both English and Spanish, and can be used via the internet on any computer, smartphone, or tablet.  Check it out at wistariahurst.org/walk-holyoke/index-en.html.

Community Service: Source-to-Sea River Clean-Up with The Trustees

Source-to-Sea Clean-Up in Hampden County
Sunday, Sept. 30th

Ellie Lobovits, Holyoke Education Coordinator for the Trustees writes, “The river is such a spectacular resource in Holyoke. From restoring ecological habitat along its banks to leading kayaking trips we really want to keep it healthy and make sure people are enjoying it.” (Photo source: CT River Watershed Council)

The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees), United Water, and Holyoke Friends of the River have joined forces this fall to organize a river clean-up volunteer day on the banks of the Connecticut River. On Sunday, September 30th, from 9am-Noon, folks of all ages and abilities are invited to meet at the American Legion next to Pulaski Park (50 St. Kolbe Dr., Holyoke, MA) to walk down to the river, picking up trash and debris along the way. The trash will then be organized into categories (metal, wood, etc.) and picked up by the Holyoke DPW. Much of the trash will be recycled… even tires get recycle! This clean-up is part of a larger effort organized by the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) called “Source-to-Sea,” a clean-up that will run all weekend and will span all four states through which the Connecticut River runs.

This volunteer day is a great opportunity for youth groups, student groups, and other local organizations to come together to help clean-up the river and to make this precious resource safer for all. The river is used for all sorts of recreational activities, including boating and fishing, and is an important ecological resource, providing habitat for bald eagles, turtles, herons, and various fish. Last year, 1,500 Source-to Sea volunteers pulled over 51 tons of trash from 60 miles of shoreline throughout Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut!

Looking for an existing group in your area to join? Check the CRWC website for groups still looking for volunteers, including the Friends of the Green River for the 9th Annual Green River Clean-Up on Saturday, Sept 29th from 9am-3pm.

Become a Friend of the River:


Houdini’s Magic Comes to Holyoke

Houdini’s Magic Come to Holyoke
Opening Night: Friday, Sept. 14th
Wistariahurst Museum

Select pieces from the Magic Collection of Sidney Radner are highlighted by many items of Harry Houdini memorabilia. The exhibit, ” Houdini, Holyoke and the Sidney Radner Collection” explores Radner’s connection to the history of magic and Houdini, through his collection which contains handcuffs, tools, posters, documents, and ephemera. There will be an opening reception on Friday, Sept 14 from 6-8pm to view significant pieces of magic and Houdini memorabilia. Roving magicians and slight of hand practitioners will keep all delighted and entertained. ($)

During the months of September and October, the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke will house a special exhibit filled with magic history – featuring specifically many items used by the world famous magician Harry Houdini!  The exhibit includes many different objects, including handcuffs, tools, posters, documents, and more, all from the collection of Houdini enthusiast and fellow magician Sidney Radner (known otherwise as Rednar the Magician).

The opening night of the exhibit (September 14th) will include exciting events between 6 and 8pm.  There will be roving magicians (pockets literally full of illusions to share), and a chance to see some of the most exciting Houdini memorabilia up close and personal.

By visiting the museum, families can learn about the history of performed magic and its evolution over time, as well as the secrets behind some of Houdini’s favorite tricks.  Older students can use a visit to the exhibit as a logic lesson, especially when learning about card tricks.  Looking at the history of magic can also help supplement studies of American history and cultural change.  Kids can compare the portrayal of magicians in posters and print material to the ways in which magic is introduced and portrayed today.

The Wistariahurst Museum is located at 238 Cabot Street in Holyoke, MA. For more information, visit www.wistariahurst.org or call 413-322-5660.

Ticket Giveaway: Parents’ Night Out at Mountain Park with Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker
Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA
Friday, Sept 14th, 2012 @ 7pm

Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or gang of friends for a night out to see Darius Rucker plus Joel Crouse at Mountain Park in Holyoke on Friday, Sept. 14th. Deadline to enter to win is 09/11/112 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

This month at Mountain Park, Darius Rucker brings country favorites and Hootie classics to the Pioneer Valley on Friday, September 14th at 7pmand we’re giving away a 4-pack of lawn tickets for a group of friends to enjoy an evening out!  Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or gang of friends for a fun evening away from the kids. Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 09/11/12 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT DARIUS RUCKER

As leader of Hootie & the Blowfish, Darius Rucker was one of the most popular frontmen in mainstream pop/rock during the mid-’90s. The band’s debut album, Cracked Rear View, was virtually inescapable in 1995, eventually selling more than 16 million copies and becoming one of the most successful albums of all time. Hootie & the Blowfish couldn’t recreate that magic on future albums, though, and the band took a break from the studio after releasing 1998′s Musical Chairs. Rucker used his free time to launch a solo career, which allowed the singer to explore his R&B and country influences.

Darius Rucker is now riding high with the release of his sophomore country album, Charleston, SC 1966. USA Today raved, “Rucker has made a fine-sounding country album, full of singable choruses, bittersweet fiddle and steel, and guitars with bottomless twang,” and Rolling Stone said, “On his Nashville debut, Rucker’s rich baritone, sentimental ballads and bright hooks made him the most successful African-American country singer since Charley Pride.” Rucker amps up that formula on album number two. The debut in referral is his chart-topping 2008 release, Learn To Live  an album that produced three consecutive No. 1 singles and Top 5 smash, “History In The Making,” Ruckers success in the country music format was recently recognized at the 43rd Annual CMA Awards when he received the Top New Artist title and again with ACM, Teen Choice, and AMA Award nominations. Charleston, SC 1966–a title which pays tribute to one of Rucker’s biggest influences, Radney Foster–includes the multiple-week #1 hit single, “Come Back Song,” and his current Top 10 single, “This.”

For the latest news and tour info, visit www.dariusrucker.com.

ABOUT MOUNTAIN PARK

Following its opening in 1894 as a picturesque retreat on the side of Mount Tom, Mountain Park expanded and evolved into one of the most beloved amusement parks in New England. At the beginning of the 20th century, Holyoke was the most prosperous community in the state and the first planned industrial city in the United States. The city’s progress drew crowds of visitors to Mountain Park, and the park gradually developed into a bustling destination. Although the park closed its gates in 1987, the echoes of laughter from generations of visitors still reverberate throughout the Pioneer Valley. Today, Mountain Park evolves into the next millennium as a new host for music, entertainment and outdoor family fun.

HOW TO WIN

We’re putting together a bucket list of things to do and places to see in Western MA with the family in the fall (Sept-Dec). Recommend your favorite attraction, must see or must do family autumn activity, and be entered to win a 4-pack of lawn tickets to see Darius Rucker plus Joel Crouse at Mountain Park in Holyoke on Friday, Sept. 14th, 2012 at 7pm, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply:

  • POST YOUR RECOMMENDATION AS OUTLINED ABOVE  (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).
  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below.
  • We’ll randomly draw two winners and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Tuesday, 9/11/12 @ 7pm (EST)

If you don’t win, tickets can be purchased at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, by phone at 413-586-8686 and online at IHEG.com.

Victorian Lawn Games & Intro to Classical Music in Holyoke

Wistariahurst Museum Hosts Victorian Game Day & Beethoven’s Wig

Marjorie Latham of the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, MA writes:

Are you and your kids looking for some great ways to have fun this coming weekend? We would love to see you!  Wistariahurst Museum is hosting two free youth events this Saturday and Sunday, June 2nd & 3rd!

Victorian Game Day on the Lawn at Wistariahurst: On Saturday, June 2, from 1 to 3pm, Wistariahurst is hosting an afternoon of old-fashioned outdoor games on the lawn. Visitors of all ages are welcome to play a rousing game of croquet, volley the birdie with an invigorating match of badminton, let kites soar as high as they’ll go, or keep their elegance intact with the Victorian favorite, “Graces.”

Richard Perlmutter as “Beethoven’s Wig” in Concert: On Sunday, June 3 at 2pm, we’ll keep up the exciting pace with an energetic concert for kids! As you may know, Wistariahurst has a proud musical history. The Italianate music room that Miss Belle Skinner had built in 1914 housed a rare collection of instruments and welcomed guests to enjoy both their beauty and sound. On that musical note, we welcome Richard Perlmutter into Belle’s Music Room. His 4-time Grammy nominated “Beethoven’s Wig” is a fabulous introduction to classical music for children of all ages. Perlmutter was inspired by Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and the rhythmic phrase “Beethoven’s Wig is very big.” He has continued creating silly lyrics and has many an album’s worth of classical songs with added humorous lyrics. Bring your family, your friends and have a great time on the lawn and in the Music Room this coming weekend at Wistariahurst Museum.

Saturday’s Victorian Game Day and Sunday’s Beethoven’s Wig Concert are FREE! Wistariahurst Museum is located at 238 Cabot Street, Holyoke, MA.  For more information call 413-322-5660 or visit online at www.wistariahurst.org.

[Image courtesy Wistariahurst Museum via BBC Primary History.]

Ticket Giveaway: Summer Night Out at Mountain Park with The Decemberists

The Decemberists
at Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA
Sunday, July 31st, 2011 @ 7pm

Enter to win a pair of tickets to see The Decemberists at Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA on Sunday, July 31st! Deadline to enter to win is Wednesday, July 27th. Details on how to enter to win are outlined below.

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

The Decemberists were one of the first bands to play at Mountian Park in Holyoke in 2009 and the Portland, Oregon band whose artistic and  career trajectory has continued to rise will return to the outdoor mountainside venue this summer on Sunday, July 31st at 7pm – and we’re giving away two pair of lawn tickets for two lucky couples to enjoy an evening out!

Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Wednesday, 07/27/11 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

The Decemberists have just released the video for “This Is Why We Fight,” a cinematic tour-de-force by acclaimed director Aaron Stewart. “This Is Why We Fight” is the second single from the band’s new album The King Is Dead (Capitol Records), which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 after its January 2011 release.

ABOUT THE DECEMBERISTS

With their brilliant sixth album, The King Is Dead, The Decemberists illustrate the power that comes from continual artistic evolution. One idea spawns a fully realized project and, from a seed within it, the next is born. The band’s wildly ambitious 2009 song cycle The Hazards of Love was a narrative suite that grew out of old English folk tunes. Colin Meloy took a few songs that had been left off of Hazards and started working on a set of more stripped-down, country-based songs. The mostly-acoustic arrangements on The King Is Dead, which included cameos from Gillian Welch and Peter Buck, showcase the ways in which The Decemberists’ Meloy, Chris Funk, Jenny Conlee, Nate Query, and John Moen sound just as glorious in simple, concise compositions as they do on the elaborate structures that have defined their work for years. Says Meloy, “I guess I’ve kind of come back to a lot of the more American music that got me going in the first place; R.E.M. and Camper Van Beethoven and all these bands that borrowed from more American traditions like Neil Young and The Byrds.” The Decemberists take their live shows as seriously as their albums, and there is never a dull moment. www.decemberists.com

ABOUT MOUNTAIN PARK

Following its opening in 1894 as a picturesque retreat on the side of Mount Tom, Mountain Park expanded and evolved into one of the most beloved amusement parks in New England. At the beginning of the 20th century, Holyoke was the most prosperous community in the state and the first planned industrial city in the United States. The city’s progress drew crowds of visitors to Mountain Park, and the park gradually developed into a bustling destination. Although the park closed its gates in 1987, the echoes of laughter from generations of visitors still reverberate throughout the Pioneer Valley. Today, Mountain Park evolves into the next millennium as a new host for music, entertainment and outdoor family fun.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a a pair of lawn tickets to see The Decemberist at Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA Sunday, July 27th, 2011 @ 7pm is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!

To enter to win simply:

  1. CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting “Like” below
  2. TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND A DAY IN WESTERN MA WITH THE FAMILY (any season) below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL IN THE EMAIL FIELD BELOW (we never share your email address).
  6. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 07/27/11 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win, tickets can be purchased at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, by phone at 413-586-8686 and online at IHEG.com.

Hear the Tales of Local History at the Wistariahurst Museum

History Comes Alive in Holyoke

Students and families have a great opportunity to learn about local history by taking a tour of the Wistariahurst Mansion with the last living Skinner descendant to call Wistariahurst home on Sunday, June 19th @ 4pm in Holyoke, MA.

Marjorie Latham of Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, MA writes:

For most people, Wistariahurst is a museum. But when Allerton Kilborne enters the home on Cabot Street, it is like entering a time machine. On Sunday, June 19th at 4pm, Allerton will return to Holyoke to offer a tour of Wistariahurst as he remembers it as a child and will share intimate stories about the family not often told. Allerton lived at Wistariahurst with his grandmother, Katharine Skinner Kilborne, and a full staff, whom he remembers in detail and with great affection.

Two years ago, the Springfield Republican wrote the following about following Kilborne on a tour of the house: “Allerton Kilborne has given tours before at Wistariahurst according to museum executive director, Melissa Boisselle, and each time, the tours have been extremely popular. Last week’s tour was no exception. More than 40 people attended the event…Kilborne began the tour by talking about the well known history of the Skinner family. . . But it was the lesser known, intimate stories about the Skinner family that seemed to keep the audience spellbound.” Read the rest of this entry »

Ticket Giveaway: Summer Night Out at Mountain Park with Lucinda Williams & Amos Lee

Lucinda Williams & Amos Lee
at Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA
Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 @ 7pm

Another fabulous concert at Mountain Park this summer! Enter to win a pair of tickets to spend a lovely evening on the lawn at Mountain Park with Lucinda Williams & Amos Lee! Deadline to enter to win:May 6th.

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer another chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

Mountain Park just announced another fabulous concert this summer:  Lucinda Williams & Amos Lee will be at  Mountain Park in Holyoke this summer on Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 (the night before Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas)and we’re giving away a pair of lawn tickets for one lucky couple to enjoy an evening out!

Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Wednesday, 05/06/11 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT LUCINDA WILLIAMS

Lucinda Williams never backs down from a challenge, whether collaborating with surprisingly kindred spirits like M. Ward and Flogging Molly or putting her own spin on iconic tunes like Bob Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street” and Jimmy Webb’s classic “Galveston.” She’s taken that same approach to her most recent recordings as a solo artist as well: The 2006 release West and 2008’s buoyant Little Honey – which Paste hailed as “an album that brims with varied, impeccable writing” – made for an ethereal emotional travelogue that takes in both great loss and the sort of discovery one can only make when emotional barriers are taken down. Her new album Blessed, recorded at the end of what Williams calls “a really big writing streak that gave me enough to make two albums,” reveals some of the most straightforward songs she’s ever written. While it’s not a concept album as such, Blessed – recorded with producer Don Was – brings together a dozen masterfully-crafted pieces that fall into place beautifully, their welcoming sonic tenor offering an ideal foil for the conversational narrative that runs through the dozen short stories – tales that take in plenty of topical territory, but invariably end up offering the listener a sense of affirmation. www.lucindawilliams.com

A series of videos featuring individual testimonials of what it means to be “BLESSED” Lucinda Williams YouTube page. Everyday people from the city of Los Angeles, CA sharing their story of why they are Blessed. These beautiful stories were volunteered, when simply asked to hold in their own hand writing a sign featuring the title of the upcoming album. Here’s one:

ABOUT AMOS LEE

Since the release of the Amos Lee album in 2005, the Philadelphia-born and –based former schoolteacher has been one of his generation’s most celebrated songwriters. After being named one of Rolling Stone’s “Top 10 Artists to Watch,” Lee quickly went on to tour with such giants as Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, Paul Simon, and Elvis Costello. His third album. Mission Bell, released at the beginning of 2011 and produced by Joey Burns of the acclaimed band Calexico, displays both range and cohesion, an array of emotions unified by Lee’s eclectic taste and distinctive vocals. It’s easily Lee’s richest and most fully formed album to date.  Willie Nelson who guests on the album says “Great songwriters don’t come around that often. Amos is an exceptional artist, a true story teller, unique to his generation.” Other guests on the album include Lucinda Williams, Sam Beam (Iron & Wine), James Gadson, Priscilla Ahn, and Pieta Brown—with the musical backing of Calexico. Mission Bell marks the arrival of Amos Lee as a mature artist who continues to explore his musical and thematic interests.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a a pair of lawn tickets to see Lucinda Williams & Amos Lee at Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 @ 7pm is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!

To enter to win simply:

  1. SHARE ON FACEBOOK by selecting “Like” below
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOU CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL IN THE EMAIL FIELD BELOW (we never share your email address).
  6. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Sunday, 05/06/11 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win, tickets can be purchased at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, by phone at 413-586-8686 and online at IHEG.com.

Ticket Giveaway: Summer Night Out at Mountain Park with Alison Krauss & Union Station

Alison Krauss & Union Station
featuring Jerry Douglas

at Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA
Sunday, July 24th, 2011 @ 7pm

Start thinking about the summer! Enter to win a pair of tickets to spend a lovely evening on the lawn at Mountain Park with Grammy award winner, Alison Krauss and Union Station! Deadline to enter to win:May 6th.

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

Mountain Park just announce that Alison Krauss & Union Station will be at  Mountain Park in Holyoke this summer on Sunday, July 24th, 2011 – and we’re giving away a pair of lawn tickets for one lucky couple to enjoy an evening out!

Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Wednesday, 05/06/11 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

More Mountain Park shows to be announced next week!

ABOUT MOUNTAIN PARK

Following its opening in 1894 as a picturesque retreat on the side of Mount Tom, Mountain Park expanded and evolved into one of the most beloved amusement parks in New England. At the beginning of the 20th century, Holyoke was the most prosperous community in the state and the first planned industrial city in the United States. The city’s progress drew crowds of visitors to Mountain Park, and the park gradually developed into a bustling destination. Although the park closed its gates in 1987, the echoes of laughter from generations of visitors still reverberate throughout the Pioneer Valley. Today, Mountain Park evolves into the next millennium as a new host for music, entertainment and outdoor family fun.

ABOUT ALISON KRAUSS & UNION STATION

In 2007, Alison Kraus’  collaboration with Robert Plant created the award winning album, Raising Sand, winning her a Grammy for Album of the Year and Song of the Year! On April 12th, 2011 Rounder Records will release the eagerly anticipated Alison Krauss & Union Station album, Paper Airplane.  Winner of 26 Grammys, Alison Krauss & Union Station new album is a truly breathtaking collection of 11 exquisite songs, and is Krauss’ 14th album.

Part of Alison Krauss’ incontestable talent is how effortlessly she bridges the gap between roots music and country, rock and pop. Don’t miss this opportunity to catch the stunning live performances of Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas.

For the latest news and tour info, please visit www.alisonkrauss.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a a pair of lawn tickets to see Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas at Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA Sunday, July 24th, 2011 @ 7pm is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!

To enter to win simply:

  1. SHARE ON FACEBOOK by selecting “Like” below
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOU CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL IN THE EMAIL FIELD BELOW (we never share your email address).
  6. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Sunday, 05/06/11 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win, tickets can be purchased at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, by phone at 413-586-8686 and online at IHEG.com.

A Day at the Children’s Museum in Holyoke

Children’s Museum in Holyoke

It’s winter here. The ground is cold, but not yet snow-covered. The days have been getting shorter and we’ve hit the point at which they will grow longer again. We spend our time at home with playdough, legos and K’nex. My two older kids, Henry and Isaac, are at school. Weekends have been filled with cookie-baking and holiday traditions of many kinds. Henry is tired from school. Isaac is busy with friends and homework. I still have a preschooler home most of the time, even while I learn to parents a soon-to-be adolescent. It’s my youngest son, Theo who requires keeping busy during these winter months. He wants and needs to run, jump, climb, crash, spill and splash. At a friend’s house, he begged for the pool so he could float some boats. The thermostat said 17 degrees. I shuddered to think of it, but I do see his point: cabin fever.

I’ve been looking for a few spots worthy of the preschooler’s outing: either in the morning before his afternoon preschool starts, or on Fridays, which for Theo are currently school-free, stay at home with mom days. The Children’s Museum at Holyoke is a fantastic winter spot for preschool aged kids looking to get out some energy. Henry is on the younger side for 1st grade, and I will absolutely return during one of our vacation weeks because I think he’d enjoy it as well.

The first thing to know is that the museum is not big. You can take a preschooler there for an hour or so, so you don’t have to wait for the weekend when it may be more crowded. We picked up our library passes from the Forbes Library in downtown Northampton so it was a free visit for the two us.

What Theo loved the most was the over-sized water table. It is really more like a water-course with multiple levels. He is at an age where engineering the course of the flowing water was interesting to him and he set about it very diligently in a scientific way. I am at an age in which I am pleased to sit down on the bench and take out my knitting while he did that for as long as he liked (about 25 minutes – I counted just out of curiosity.)

There is a 2-3 story indoor climbing structure. As a playground, it isn’t much — but in the dead of winter, while stuck inside, it really captured my little guys’ attention. I kept sending him back up over and over to see how long I could keep his body moving — again, me with the knitting and verbal encouragement from the bench.

There were some areas for pretend play such as an ambulance, a restaurant and grocery store. Theo buzzed through these a bit in favor of more physical activities but if your toddler or preschooler is deep into pretend and dress-up, they’d be very satisfied.

Other exhibits that attracted Theo were anything that he could call science. He has learned from his brothers that science is cool. He played with the gravity maze for such a long time — arranging and rearranging tubes to make ping-pong balls travel down a complex path — that I began to wonder if I should make one whole wall of his bedroom magnetic. We’ve bumped into that same gravity maze at the Cup and Top Cafe in Florence, MA where it will entertain him while I chat with grown-ups and drink my tea before it gets cold.

The Children’s Museum at Holyoke is open Wednesday – Saturday from 10-4 and on Sundays from 12-4. There are bathrooms, water fountains and the ground level has indoor picnic tables that look like you could pack a quick bite if there is no birthday party or field trip taking up the spot. In warmer weather, we will go back and hit the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round as well. It was a lovely trip and a sweet reminder to me that I still do have a very young child at home and taking him on his own adventure is very satisfying for both of us.  For m0re information visit: www.childrensmuseumholyoke.org.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Bayne

Karen grew up in Manhattan and lived in Connecticut before moving to Northampton with her husband Matt to raise their boys. Her sons Isaac, Henry and Theo are 11, 6 and 4,  leaving Karen on a search for all the “just right adventures” that will wow them and wear them out.  She works as a birth doula, childbirth and parent educator in the greater Northampton area. She writes about mothering at Needs New Batteries and about birth in our culture at Gentle Balance Birth.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT TICKET GIVEAWAY: Willie Nelson & Family at Mountain Park

Like This!

Willie Nelson & Family at Mountain Park
Holyoke, MA
Sunday, August 8th, 2010 @ 7pm

Deadline to enter to win: August 4th

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

This month we are pleased to offer a chance to win a pairs of tickets to see Willie Nelson & Family at Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA on Sunday, August 8th, 2010.

Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Wednesday, 08/04/10 @ 7pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT MOUNTAIN PARK

Following its opening in 1894 as a picturesque retreat on the side of Mount Tom, Mountain Park expanded and evolved into one of the most beloved amusement parks in New England. At the beginning of the 20th century, Holyoke was the most prosperous community in the state and the first planned industrial city in the United States. The city’s progress drew crowds of visitors to Mountain Park, and the park gradually developed into a bustling destination. Although the park closed its gates in 1987, the echoes of laughter from generations of visitors still reverberate throughout the Pioneer Valley. Today, Mountain Park evolves into the next millennium as a new host for music, entertainment and outdoor family fun.

ABOUT WILLIE NELSON

Willie Nelson played a vital role in post-rock & roll country music. Although he didn’t become a star until the mid-’70s, Nelson spent the ’60s writing songs that became hits for stars like Ray Price (“Night Life”), Patsy Cline (“Crazy”), Faron Young (“Hello Walls”), and Billy Walker (“Funny How Time Slips Away”) as well as releasing a series of records that earned him a small, but devoted, cult following. During the early ’70s, Willie aligned himself with Waylon Jennings and the burgeoning outlaw country movement that made him into a star in 1975, as recognizable in pop circles as he was to the country audience. In addition to recording, he also launched an acting career in the early ’80s. Willie has never played it safe musically. Instead, he borrowed from a wide variety of styles, including traditional pop, Western swing, jazz, traditional country, cowboy songs, honky tonk, rock & roll, folk, and the blues, creating a distinctive, elastic hybrid. Nelson has gone back to his roots for his new album Country Music, produced by T-Bone Burnett and featuring a collection of vintage country standards played by Nashville’s top flight bluegrass musicians.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Wilie Nelson and Family at Mountain Park on Sunday, August 8th at 7pm is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. SHARE YOUR FAVORITE COUNTRY OR BLUEGRASS SONG BELOW (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  5. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 08/04/10 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go. Check out the Mountain Park music line-up here. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

%d bloggers like this: