Learning Ahead: October 5th-9th, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 14 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens


Berkshire County

Wednesday, October 7, 4:10pm; Thursday, October 8, 7pm
CULTURAL STUDIES/TAIWANESE & CHINESE MOVEMENT ♦ 
Have you heard music performed on an erhu or a zhongruan? Experience traditional Taiwanese and Chinese musical sounds and themes in modern compositions performed by Sheng Dong, a Taiwanese performance group in residence at Williams College this October. As a part of its residency, the group will lead a tai chi and dance workshop. Tickets are required for this free workshop; please make reservations in advance. It is possible that the ticketing plan may change for this event in the days ahead. Please contact Williams College for more information. 413-597-2425. ’62 Center’s Main Stage, Williams College, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, October 8, 5:00pm
CONTEMPORARY ART/ARTIST TALK ♦ 
Since the 1970s, Jim Shaw has created a vast body of work spanning diverse media and reference points. Shaw’s work mines the essentials of American cultural detritus, from comic books, pulp novels, and album covers, to vintage advertisements, movie posters, and noise rock. His Entertaining Doubts exhibit is currently on view at MASS MoCA, where the community can attend a discussion of his career, practice and the exhibit. Tickets required. MASS MoCA members free. Club B10, MASS MoCA,1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA. ($)

Franklin County

Friday, October 9, 10am-4pm
COLONIAL HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS ♦
Experience life in an early New England kitchen at Historic Deerfield‘s Open Hearth Cooking demonstrations! Learn about traditional fall harvest foods like pumpkins, apples, and corn. These cooking demonstrations allow visitors of all ages to see what life was like in the past and the types of chores and activities they would do had they lived several hundred years ago! Free with admission. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. ($)

Friday, October 9, 7pm
THEATER/MUSICAL ♦ 
Ja’Duke presents a production of Into the Woods this October at Frontier Regional High School. The play is a musical fantasy that is inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales and is just spooky enough to get you in the Halloween spirit! Tickets available in advance. 413-863-0001. 113 North Main Street. Deerfield, MA. ($$)

Hampshire County

Monday, October 5, 6:15pm – 8:45pm
CULINARY ARTS/FOOD HERITAGE ♦ 
Words such as “heirloom” and “heritage” are all the rage in the food world – but there is more behind them than just a current fad. The drive for pure foods and heirloom varieties has helped farmers preserve heritage crops, seeds and livestock that may have been lost to extinction if not protected. A Different Drummer’s Kitchen presents “Heirloom and Heritage Cooking,” a class that will showcase the rich flavors of heritage meats and heirloom variety vegetables. From the delicate tomato salad to the rich cornbread stuffing, you’ll taste the difference! 413-586-7978. 34 Bridge St., Northampton, MA ($$$)

Tuesday, October 6, 7:30am-9:30am
MARKETING & BUSINESS SKILLS ♦ 
Adults and older students interested in creating or improving their business’ websites are invited to a Digital Marketing Trends and Strategies seminar presented by the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Participants will learn the basic vocabulary of online business presence, how to improve their websites, and how to increase their digital outreach and social media presence. Reservation required. 413-585-5207. Hadley Farms Meeting House, 41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, October 6, 5:30pm-7:30pm
COMPUTER SCIENCE ♦ 
The web is built with HTML. Imagine where we’d be without it! Have you wondered how webpages are created or wanted to make your own? Deepen your appreciation for and understanding of HTML in a hands-on workshop with Holyoke Codes, in which you will learn how to build a web page (using HTML) and beautify it (using CSS). You can even learn how to add Javascript to make your page interactive! Suitable for ages 11 and up. Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, 100 Bigelow Street, Holyoke, MA. (SUGGESTED DONATION)

Tuesday, October 6, 7pm
LITERATURE IN FILM ♦
Amherst Cinema is screening the film adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird (1962; not rated) on October 4th and 6th. This film screening would be an excellent supplement for students currently reading the book for school or on their own, and it is a good additional way to experience the story. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. ($)

Wednesday, October 7. 7:00pm
NATURE WRITING/READING ♦ 
The natural world around us is a time-honored inspiration. Yet in the modern age, we’re often less connected to nature, even as human activities change the earth more and more. The Coolidge Museum hosts “Earth and Cosmos: Nature Writing,” where six writers and scientist-writers turn their imagination to earth, air and sky, contemplating nature’s continuing gifts to us and our growing responsibilities towards it. Authors include Dava Sobel, Jonathan Mingle, Michael Dover, Elizabeth Farnsworth, Katie Koerten, and Naila Moreira. 413-587-1014. Coolidge Museum 20 West St., Northampton, MA (FREE)

Wednesday, October 7, 7:30pm
CULTURAL STUDIES/JAPANESE STORYTELLING ♦ 
Rakugo is a 400-year-old tradition of Japanese comic storytelling. Come hear Rakugo with two acclaimed Japanese women performers for an evening filled with humor, charm and elegance at Bowker Auditorium on the UMass Amherst campus. Award-winning storyteller Motoko shares hilarious and poignant tales from Rakugo, a storytelling tradition that originated in the 17th century. With accompaniment by shamisen virtuoso Masayo Ishigure, a featured recording artist with Yitzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma on the Grammy Award-winning movie soundtrack for “Memoirs of a Geisha,” you’ll be transported to the enchanting world of popular entertainment in Old Japan. Audience members are invited to a pre-concert talk on the Japanese storytelling tradition at 6:30 p.m. in Bowker Auditorium. Bowker Auditorium, Stockbridge, Hall, 100 Holdsworth Way, Amherst, MA ($$)

Thursday, October 8, 5:00pm-7:30pm
DOCUMENTARY/PHOTOGRAPHY ♦ 
Amherst Art Walk sponsors a viewing of Chuck Close Documentary, the last documentary made by the late director Marion Cajori, which expertly reveals Chuck Close’s singular process of portraiture. This viewing accompanies the Chuck Close exhibit at the UMass Fine Arts Center. $5 suggested donation. Unitarian Meeting House, 121 North Pleasant St., Amherst, MA (FREE)

Friday, October 9. 6:30pm-8:00pm
CONTEMPORARY DANCE ♦ 
You have likely watched a performance, but have you ever talked with the artist about the process behind making the piece? The School for Contemporary Dance and Thought invites you to a talk by artists about the artistic process as part of Arts Night Out. Studio Helix, 150 Main St. #4, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Hampden County

Monday, October 5, 10am; Friday, October 9, 10am
HISTORY & GENDER STUDIES ♦ 
Park rangers are essential to the functioning of countless parks and play an essential role in making parks accessible and engaging for visitors. In 1964, the first two National Park Service women were admitted to the official ranger training program. Here they were allowed to become “ranger-historians” or “ranger-naturalists,” rather than full “rangers” like their male counterparts. Up until 1978, female park rangers were required “not to look like rangers,” and instead needed to wear then-traditional stewardess-type garb that lacked the official Service badge. Learn more about the experience of early female rangers and the challenges they faced at the First Women Rangers program at Mount Tom Reservation. Intended for ages 12 and up. Meet at the Stone House. 413-534-1186. 125 Reservation Road, Holyoke, MA. (< $ for parking)

Tuesday, October 6. 6:30pm
AUDITION/TALENT SHOW ♦ 
Do you sing, dance, play an instrument, have a stand-up comedy routine, do magic, or have any other outstanding talent? Audition for Palmer Historical and Cultural Center’s 3rd Annual Talent Show! What a fun way to share your interests and abilities with your community! Fill out an application and bring it to the audition. If selected, performance dates will be November 6 (Opening Night) and November 14 (Finals Night). Harmony Hall at Palmer Historical and Cultural Center, 2072 Main Street Three Rivers, MA (FREE)

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