Suggested Events for December 8th – 14th, 2018

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more event, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools, and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Click HERE to find out more.

Each week, Hilltown Families taps into your interests and values and gives you the chance to connect with others who want to explore them. By highlighting the learning opportunities that are embedded in the everyday events, activities, and spaces that make up our communities, sharing this information with families via our extensive online network, and supporting your participation in engaging and meaningful ways – together – we are building connections that shape and change lives and communities. Hilltown Families is where families come to connect to the place where they live and the people who call it home.

The beautiful fact is, we can’t do any of this without you. It all comes back to you and your engagement. During this season of gratitude and giving, we are inviting you not only to get out and have some fun while you learn, we’re inviting you to invest in the organization that helps make that possible. Hilltown Families is in the process of redesigning our website and planning new in-person programming for the Spring. We will bring you seasonally-based mindfulness events and workshops for learners of all ages and backgrounds at our founder, Sienna Wildfield’s, new space, Curly Willow on the Westfield River. But we need your help. Please support what you love by donating what you can to Hilltown Families. Consider making it a monthly contribution. For less than what you spend on a cup of coffee, you can make a big difference in the lives of families – just like yours – throughout Western MA! We thank you!

Our Saturday Morning Music Party Series is BACK!

On New Year’s Day (Jan 1st), Hilltown Families, the Flywheel Arts Collective, and the Easthampton Family Center are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing, and diversions for kids! This year, we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day, January 1, with a First Day Morning Music Party from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and fruit, along with The Mr. Fuzznogginz Show – the hippest, coolest, funniest magic show in New England. As always, we close out the morning with an awesome dance party for all ages! It takes place at Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton’s old Town Hall. This event is a fundraiser for the organizers, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. So much cheaper than a night out on the town and just as much fun!

Plus, this year, we’ll be collecting donations of new toys and toiletries to donate to the YWCA of Western MA. This activity came out of one Hilltown Families grandma who wants to get her grandson into the habit of joyful giving at a young age. We think that more really is merrier and decided to open it up to the whole Hilltown Families community! Please join our family in expressing the value of generosity by developing a practice of giving as individuals, with our neighbors, to our communities. You bring the toys and toiletries and we’ll sort, package, and deliver them to the YWCA of Western MA, which, for over 150 years, has provided shelter, support services, and tools for self-sufficiency for women and girls in our community.

Bulletin Board

Dec 7, 8, & 9

Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration revels in the return of the sun with a family show of music, dance, song and story to drive the dark away. This year, everyone is invited to our village tavern to enjoy traditions from the early Middle Ages to rousing contemporary carols. Come hear ancient songs, see the Abbotts Bromley horn dance, a mummers play and the passing of the yule log! There will be Basque, molly and sword dances! Friday and Saturday Dec. 7 and 8, 7:30pm & Sunday Dec. 9, 2pm. Shea Theater, Turners Falls. Tickets $15 adults, $12 seniors and children 5-16 years, at Amherst Books, Amherst; Broadside Bookshop, Northampton; World Eye Bookshop, Greenfield; at the door or online. Information and reservations at www.welcomeyule.org.

Dec 7 – 9

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker! Join Clara as she battles the Rat King to save the Nutcracker Prince, then travel to the enchanted Snow Forest and beautiful Kingdom of Sweets. Live on stage December 7 – 9 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. A special Sensory and Family Safe Presentation on December 7 at 4:00 p.m. has lighting and sound accommodations for a reduced sensory experience, and is also ideal for young children. The 40th Anniversary Celebration Performance that evening features special musical guests and a champagne treat for the adults. Get tickets today at aomtheatre.com. For more information about the Pioneer Valley Ballet company and school, visit pioneervalleyballet.org.

Dec 8

As an alternative to traditional holiday buying, the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School will host a Winter Fair featuring musical performances and holiday gift-making on Saturday, December 8. Holiday crafts use recycled and natural materials and include fairy houses, full-sized wreaths, gingerbread people, and more. All proceeds support the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School library and educational programs. The Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School is a public school serving grades K-8 and emphasizing mixed-aged classrooms and an arts-integrated approach to curricula. There is no tuition; admission is by lottery and is open to students throughout Hampshire and Franklin counties. For more information about the Winter Fair visit www.hilltowncharter.org or call (413) 529–7178.

Dec 9

The Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Open House for interested families on Sunday, December 9. The program begins at 1 PM. Meet students, teachers, and current parents and get a feel for their their creative and rigorous academic program and warm community. The Academy offers vibrant arts, competitive athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership, with daily round trip bus service from Amherst, Northampton, Greenfield and the hilltowns, including several stops along each route. Academy students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

Dec 9

There Will Be Light: A Community Hanukkah Celebration. Sunday, Dec. 9, 5 pm – 7:30 pm at Congregation B’nai Israel, 253 Prospect St., Northampton. Join us at 5 pm for two programs: 1. Candle lighting & song circle. Light hanukiot in the main sanctuary and sing songs of light and hope in-the-round with Molly, Aram, and Rabbis Jacob and Justin. 2. Candle lighting & music for families with kids ages 0-5. Join Felicia Sloin & friends for 8th night menorah lighting, story telling, song, and play. At 6:30 pm, a catered dinner will be served. RSVP requested: cbinorthampton.org. $10/person, $7/children 12 and under. We encourage you to bring your own menorah. For more info, contact Merideth Lively: mer@cbinorthampton.org or (413) 584-3593.

Dec 15

Save the Date! This holiday season, experience the beloved story of The Nutcracker told through Celtic Dance. A Celtic Nutcracker will beautifully blend the Tchaikovsky score with live Celtic music and original choreography by the Celtic Heels Dance Company Director, Cara Leach. Bring your family to this one showing event on Saturday, December 15th at 3pm at the Academy of Music, Northampton. Featuring the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company and live music this is sure to become a family tradition for anyone who loves the Nutcracker or Celtic Dance! Tickets are $12-20. Information can be found at www.ACelticNutcracker.com.

Add your class

Reach thousands of families in the region with our 2018-2019 directory! Reserve your space. Our community is rich in after-school learning opportunities to supplement the interests of our children, teens, and life-long learners. We are putting together a directory of after-school & weekend classes and enrichment programs happening across Western Massachusetts to be published on our web site later this month and featured throughout the school year. If you have a class or program you would like to have included in our directory, contact us at sales@hilltownfamilies.org to learn about our advertising options and sponsorship packages.

Add your school

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, after-school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at at sales@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community-building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 8th – 14th, 2018

SaturdaySunday
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Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday, December 8th, 2018

advertise with Hilltown Families

Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Hilltown Family Variety Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Songs That Evoke Special Memories Episode with Guest DJs, Evan and Vanessa. Music and memories often go hand in hand, and this is a theme that bilingual children’s/family musicians “Evan and Vanessa” love to explore!  In this program they will take listeners through an array of beautiful music from many decades, sharing special memories they associate with each song, as well as discussing how music can develop a memory that sparks a child’s and enthusiasm for language and culture! Encore of Saturday’s broadcast airs Sunday morning from 7-8am and podcast is posted here on Hilltown Families immediately following Sunday’s broadcast. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcasts anytime. Click here select from over 10 years of archived shows!

Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration revels in the return of the sun with a family show of music, dance, song and story to drive the dark away. This year, everyone is invited to our village tavern to enjoy traditions from the early Middle Ages to rousing contemporary carols. Come hear ancient songs, see the Abbotts Bromley horn dance, a mummers play and the passing of the yule log! There will be Basque, molly and sword dances! Friday and Saturday Dec. 7 and 8, 7:30pm & Sunday Dec. 9, 2pm. Shea Theater, Turners Falls. Tickets $15 adults, $12 seniors and children 5-16 years, at Amherst Books, Amherst; Broadside Bookshop, Northampton; World Eye Bookshop, Greenfield; at the door or online. Information and reservations at www.welcomeyule.org.

Saturday, December 8, 10-11am
CITIZEN SCIENCE/ORNITHOLOGY
While many birds migrate south for the winter, many of the most distinctive and beautiful birds in our area stick around, such as Cardinals and Blue Jays. Local children’s author Heidi Stemple will be discussing the winter birds, as well as the citizen science program, which counts them. This program is designed for children and their parents or caregivers. The Hitchcock Center for the Environment. 845 West Street, Amherst, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 8, 10am-4pm
ART SHOW/ARTS AND CRAFTS
Nowadays, electricity and other modern so-called conveniences have lessened the impact that the seasons have on our lives. We go about our business, without much need to think about the weather or season. But historically, winter was a time to gather with loved ones, nestle into a big pile of blankets, bank the fire on the hearth, warm up a cup of mulled cider, and do some crafting. Winter’s Work, an art and craft show by young local makers, keeps this spirit alive. Pottery, fabric art, books, and lots more! A.P.E. Gallery. 126 Main Street, Northampton, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 8, 11am-12:30pm
ART STUDIES/GENDER STUDIES
There might not be a lot of gender fluid coloring books out there but you can do your part to change that this weekend! Jacinta Bunnell will be leading a DIY coloring book workshop at the Northampton Winter Farmers Market. Bunnell is the author of four coloring books featuring LGBTQ characters and themes for PM Press, a radical independent publishing company in Oakland. Come meet new people and help give voice to populations often neglected by mainstream youth media. This event is appropriate for ages 13 and above. Northampton Winter Farmers Market. 67 Conz Street, Northampton, MA (FREE)

As an alternative to traditional holiday buying, the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School will host a Winter Fair featuring musical performances and holiday gift-making on Saturday, December 8. Holiday crafts use recycled and natural materials and include fairy houses, full-sized wreaths, gingerbread people, and more. All proceeds support the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School library and educational programs. The Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School is a public school serving grades K-8 and emphasizing mixed-aged classrooms and an arts-integrated approach to curricula. There is no tuition; admission is by lottery and is open to students throughout Hampshire and Franklin counties. For more information about the Winter Fair visit www.hilltowncharter.org or call (413) 529–7178.

Saturday, December 8, 11am-12:30pm
LOCAL HISTORY/LECTURE
The circumstances surrounding the death of Elizabeth Sanford Botsford in 1915 is one of Williamstown most persistent mysteries. The only daughter of a prominent local family, Elizabeth’s death changed the history of Williamstown forever. Come learn more about this intriguing tale at this lecture by local historian Patricia Leach! Milne Public Library. 1095 Main Street, Williamstown, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 8, 11am-4pm
STEM/HOLIDAYS
This holiday season, Saturdays at Springfield Museums will be packed with fun, educational, holiday themed activities. On Saturday, visitors will have the opportunity to say ‘hi’ to Santa and the Grinch, create their own gifts to give to someone special in Santa’s workshop, and design and build a mini sleigh to compete in the Mount Crumpit Derby. There is truly something for everyone at Gingerbread Saturdays! Springfield Museums. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA (FREE W/MUSEUM ADMISSION)

Saturday, December 8, 1-4pm
FOLK ART/EXHIBIT
Polish creches, or ‘cribs,’ are a distinct type of nativity scene, which emerged in Krakow in the 19th century. Made from light materials such as cardboard and colored foil, these charming scenes often incorporate traditional Polish style architecture and distinctive bright colors. This holiday season, the Polish Center of Discovery and Learning will present an exhibit of creches, done in the traditional Polish folk art style. This exhibit will be up until January 6th! The Polish Center of Discovery and Learning. 33 South Street, Chicopee, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 8, 1-4pm
LITERARY STUDIES/BIRTHDAY PARTY
Emily Dickinson is our area’s greatest literary celebrity. Her mark upon American literature and the town of Amherst will never be forgotten. Despite her lonely life, Dickinson’s life and work has had a greater impact than most. Her words “My best Acquaintances are those With Whom I spoke no Word” have turned out to be true in ways she couldn’t possibly have predicted. All of Emily Dickinson’s “best Acquaintances” are invited to her house to celebrate her 188th birthday, this Saturday, with live music and cake. The Emily Dickinson Museum. 280 Main Street, Amherst, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 8, 1-4:30pm
HISTORY/THEATER
History, as they say, is written by the victors. In this sense, history has not been kind to George III, King of Great Britain. Remembered by the Americans as a villainous tyrant and by the British as the king who lost the American colonies to a ragtag bunch of rebels, his later life was defined by ongoing, and ultimately fatal, mental health struggles. Historians debate the source of his illness to this day. Some argue that the king suffered from the blood disease porphyria, while others believe he was bipolar. Alan Bennett’s 1991 play The Madness of King George offers a funny and touching look into the life and daily struggles of this much-maligned historical figure. A new production of The Madness of King George by the London National Theatre will be broadcast this Saturday at the Clark. The Clark Art Institute. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA ($)

Saturday, December 8, 1-7pm
HISTORY/LITERARY STUDIES
 Ever wonder how Christmas was celebrated in the 19th century? Many aspects of the holiday that we take for granted are relatively recent additions. In fact Christmas itself was not a legal holiday in Massachusetts until 1860. It was made a federal holiday in 1870. Even gift giving was not associated with the holiday until 1822 when Clement Clarke Moore wrote Twas the Night Before Christmas. Come learn all about Christmas of yesteryear with Old Fashioned Christmas at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead! Check out the lavishly decorated rooms, enjoy tasty treats, and visit with Father Christmas. William Cullen Bryant Homestead. 207 Bryant Road, Cummington, MA ($)

Saturday, December 8, 2-3pm
CHILDREN’S LITERATURE/ORNITHOLOGY
Calling all bird lovers! This Saturday, award winning authors Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple will be reading from their new children’s books, which are all about birds. Yolen’s Crow Not Crow tells the story of a father teaching his daughter about bird watching and Stemple’s Counting Birds is about the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. This reading and book signing will be followed by bird related activities. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA (FREE W/MUSEUM ADMISSION)

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker! Join Clara as she battles the Rat King to save the Nutcracker Prince, then travel to the enchanted Snow Forest and beautiful Kingdom of Sweets. Live on stage December 7 – 9 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. A special Sensory and Family Safe Presentation on December 7 at 4:00 p.m. has lighting and sound accommodations for a reduced sensory experience, and is also ideal for young children. The 40th Anniversary Celebration Performance that evening features special musical guests and a champagne treat for the adults. Get tickets today at aomtheatre.com. For more information about the Pioneer Valley Ballet company and school, visit pioneervalleyballet.org.

Saturday, December 8, 4-8pm
CHRISTMAS/TRAINS
It’s time again for a beloved annual holiday tradition: Santa’s Trains at Look Park! Every year, Look Park is transformed into a magical miniature Christmas village, with working model trains. Visitors will also have the opportunity to explore the enchanted Christmas tree forest. And don’t forget to say ‘hi’ to Santa and Mrs. Claus. Look Park. 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA (FREE)

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Sunday, December 9th, 2018

advertise with Hilltown Families

Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Hilltown Family Variety Show7-8am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs encores of the Hilltown Family Variety Show every Sunday morning. commercial-free family radio. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime – click here to select from over 10 years of archived shows!

The Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Open House for interested families on Sunday, December 9. The program begins at 1 PM. Meet students, teachers, and current parents and get a feel for their their creative and rigorous academic program and warm community. The Academy offers vibrant arts, competitive athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership, with daily round trip bus service from Amherst, Northampton, Greenfield and the hilltowns, including several stops along each route. Academy students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

Sunday, December 9, 2-3:30pm
LITERARY STUDIES/THEATER
Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella A Christmas Carol has become an important part of Christmas culture, but did you know that it actually played a huge role in creating the Christmas holiday as we now know it? While we may think of Christmas trees and carols as a vital part of the holiday, these elements did not exist before the 18th century and were not widely popular until the mid 19th century. A Christmas Carol is credited with popularizing these customs. The Silverthorne Theater Company will be performing an adaptation of A Christmas Carol as a 1930s radio show. Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center. 289 Main Street, Greenfield, MA ($)

Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration revels in the return of the sun with a family show of music, dance, song and story to drive the dark away. This year, everyone is invited to our village tavern to enjoy traditions from the early Middle Ages to rousing contemporary carols. Come hear ancient songs, see the Abbotts Bromley horn dance, a mummers play and the passing of the yule log! There will be Basque, molly and sword dances! Friday and Saturday Dec. 7 and 8, 7:30pm & Sunday Dec. 9, 2pm. Shea Theater, Turners Falls. Tickets $15 adults, $12 seniors and children 5-16 years, at Amherst Books, Amherst; Broadside Bookshop, Northampton; World Eye Bookshop, Greenfield; at the door or online. Information and reservations at www.welcomeyule.org.

Sunday, December 9, 3-5pm
READ ALOUD/LITERARY STUDIES
While not necessarily ranked among Charles Dickens’ greatest novels, A Christmas Carol has nevertheless perhaps had the strongest and most enduring cultural impact. The novella did much to establish Christmas as a secular holiday tradition. Victorian art critic and philosopher John Ruskin wrote that Dickens had taken the religious content out of the holiday and made it about “mistletoe and pudding – neither resurrection from the dead, nor rising of new stars, nor teaching of wise men, nor shepherds.” Critics in Dickens’ day were particularly drawn to the story in terms of its moral impact. The emphasis on the importance of doing good in society during the Christmas holiday especially resonated with readers. Leaving aside the moral and historical significance of A Christmas Carol the novella is also notable for the character of Ebenezer Scrooge, one of Dickens’ most grotesque caricatures. Scrooge, who has become synonymous with miserliness, is described as “a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!” Given this characterization, Scrooge’s transformation forms the story’s primary plot. Enjoy this classic story with an interactive read a round, with cider and cookies! Bushnell-Sage Library. 48 Main Street, Sheffield, MA (FREE)

Sunday, December 9, 3-8pm
HISTORY/CHRISTMAS
Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with having created the first nativity scene, in Greccio, Italy, in 1223. Francis’ nativity scene used live actors and animals and reenactments of this kind became enormously popular throughout Christian Europe. Eventually statues and miniatures took the place of live actors. In England, it became customary to bake a mince pie in the shape of manger and fill it with a baby Jesus. After the Puritans banned Christmas in the 17th century, these pies were prohibited as “idolaterie in crust.” Old Sturbridge Village’s Christmas by Candlelight features a wide variety of old fashioned historical Christmas activities, including, of course, the famous nativity scene. This is a great opportunity to learn about how Christmas would have been celebrated in colonial New England. Old Sturbridge Village. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA ($$)

Sunday, December 9, 3:30-4:30pm
CONCERT/MUSIC STUDIES
This Sunday, the Berkshire Concert Choir will be performing their holiday concert, featuring a variety of Christmas songs from traditional renaissance works to contemporary pop music. Berkshire Museum. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA (FREE)

There Will Be Light: A Community Hanukkah Celebration. Sunday, Dec. 9, 5 pm – 7:30 pm at Congregation B’nai Israel, 253 Prospect St., Northampton. Join us at 5 pm for two programs: 1. Candle lighting & song circle. Light hanukiot in the main sanctuary and sing songs of light and hope in-the-round with Molly, Aram, and Rabbis Jacob and Justin. 2. Candle lighting & music for families with kids ages 0-5. Join Felicia Sloin & friends for 8th night menorah lighting, story telling, song, and play. At 6:30 pm, a catered dinner will be served. RSVP requested: cbinorthampton.org. $10/person, $7/children 12 and under. We encourage you to bring your own menorah. For more info, contact Merideth Lively: mer@cbinorthampton.org or (413) 584-3593.

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker! Join Clara as she battles the Rat King to save the Nutcracker Prince, then travel to the enchanted Snow Forest and beautiful Kingdom of Sweets. Live on stage December 7 – 9 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. A special Sensory and Family Safe Presentation on December 7 at 4:00 p.m. has lighting and sound accommodations for a reduced sensory experience, and is also ideal for young children. The 40th Anniversary Celebration Performance that evening features special musical guests and a champagne treat for the adults. Get tickets today at aomtheatre.com. For more information about the Pioneer Valley Ballet company and school, visit pioneervalleyballet.org.

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Monday, December 10th, 2018

advertise with Hilltown Families

Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Storyhour & Playgroups: East Longmeadow, Pelham & Whately

Monday, December 10, 5:30-7:30pm
COMMUNITY MEAL/HOLIDAY CELEBRATION
The holidays are a time for gathering together with friends and community members to celebrate the things in life that are important to us. What’s more important than sharing good food, music, and our diverse histories and traditions? This Monday, join the Pioneer Valley Workers Center and First Church Amherst for a potluck and concert! First Church Amherst. 165 Main Street, Amherst, MA (FREE)

Monday, December 10, 7-9pm
FILM STUDIES/DISCUSSION
Genius filmmaker Ingmar Bergman intended 1982’s Fanny and Alexander to be his final film before retiring. As he remarked to the press around that time: “I don’t have the strength any more, neither psychologically nor physically.” Thus Fanny and Alexander was meant in some ways to be his magnum opus. A massive, sprawling epic, which in its original form is one of the longest cinematic films of all time at 312 minutes, it tells the story of two siblings and their family in Sweden at the dawn of the 20th century. Largely autobiographical, the main characters are based on Bergman, his sister, and father. Like all of Bergman’s films, critics and scholars have endlessly debated the complex constellation of themes and ideas, as well as the rich, symbolic imagery. Central to the film is the conflict between fantasy and reality. Seen primarily through the eyes of the child Alexander, based on Bergman himself, the reality of the world is consistently refracted through the lenses of imagination, dream, and half forgotten memory. As August Strindberg writes in his 1902 play A Dream Play, which itself has a significant role in Fanny and Alexander: “Anything can happen, all is possible and probable. Time and space do not exist. On an insignificant foundation of reality, imagination spins out and weaves new patterns”. In other words, the film portrays the world as Alexander the child perceives it. Conflicts acquire an epic, biblical scope, trivialities and accidents are suffused with supernatural importance. Part of Bergman’s genius is in being able to present such a vision without any of the dismissiveness, which unfortunately so often characterizes the responses of adults to the richly symbolic imaginative world of children. While the film’s philosophical density has intimidated some critics, for many, Bergman’s staggering use of color and visual warmth is enough to rank it among the greatest films of the modern era. If you are interested in discussing Fanny and Alexander don’t miss this meeting of the Far Our Film Discussion, this Monday! Watch the movie beforehand and then get together with members of the community to discuss. Forbes Library. 20 West Street, Northampton, MA (FREE)

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Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

advertise with Hilltown Families

Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Storyhour & Playgroups: Agawam, Amherst, Belchertown, Cheshire, Easthampton, Florence, Gill, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hatfiled, Huntington, Lanesborough, Lee, Ludlow, New Salem, North Adams, Sheffield, Sunderland, Turners Falls, Ware & West Springfield.

Tuesday, December 11, 10am-5pm
ARTS AND CRAFTS/CARD MAKING
The first Christmas card of all time was written by German physician Michael Maier to King James I of England in 1611. The card read: “A greeting on the birthday of the Sacred King, to the most worshipful and energetic lord and most eminent James, King of Great Britain and Ireland, and Defender of the true faith, with a gesture of joyful celebration of the Birthday of the Lord, in most joy and fortune, we enter into the new auspicious year 1612.” It would be more than two hundred years before another Christmas card was written. By the late 19th century, Christmas cards had become a profitable industry, with the lithograph firm Prang and Mayer producing over five million cards a year. All week long, drop in at the Goodwin Library for their popular DIY card making. Supplies provided! Goodwin Library. 50 Middle Street, Hadley, MA (FREE)

Tuesday, December 11, 6:30-7:45pm
CONCERT/CHORAL MUSIC
Celebrate the coming holidays with an evening of lively and enchanting choral music from six local choral groups at the Northampton Community Music Center’s 16th Annual Holiday Choral Festival! Since 1986, the Northampton Community Music Center has been committed to cultivating a love of music in the community and providing accessible ways to pursue music. This concert will feature choral groups from Pioneer Valley Performing Arts School, Hilltown Cooperative Charter School, as well as the NCMC. Northampton Community Music Center. 139 South Street, Northampton, MA (FREE)

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Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

advertise with Hilltown Families

Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Storyhour & Playgroups: Amherst, Athol, Becket, Belchertown, Bernardston, Cummington, Deerfield, East Longmeadow, Erving, Granby, Greenfield, Huntington, Leverett, Monson, New Marlborough, North Adams, Northampton, Sheffield, Shelburne Falls, South Deerfield, Springfield, Turners Falls, Wendell, West Springfield, and Williamsburg.

Wednesday, December 12, 4:30-6:30pm
LITERARY STUDIES/BIRTHDAY PARTY
Monday is Emily Dickinson’s 188th birthday and this Wednesday, the Center for Humanistic Inquiry is having a birthday party in her honor. Emily may have been a recluse but that doesn’t mean we can’t get together to celebrate her memory and enduring legacy. There will be poetry readings, period music, tapas, wine, and cake! Childcare provided. The Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Amherst College. 61 Quadrangle Drive, Amherst, MA (FREE)

Wednesday, December 12, 5:30-6:30pm
SOCIAL ISSUES/WORKSHOP
An organized community is a strong community. Learning how to build relationships and bring people together around a range of issues is a key part of being organized. For those that are struggling against systemic forms of violence right here in Western Massachusetts, this workshop will provide important skills and a framework for understanding the kind of work that goes into community organizing. Make-It Springfield. 168 Worthington Street, Springfield, MA (FREE)

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Thursday, December 13th, 2018

advertise with Hilltown Families

Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Storyhour & Playgroups: Agawam, Amherst, Athol, Belchertown, East Longmeadow, Florence, Gill, Greenfield, Hatfield, Huntington, Lee, Lenox, Millers Falls, Montague, Northampton, Sheffield, South Hadley, and Turners Falls.

Thursday, December 13, 10am-5pm
ART STUDIES/POPULAR CULTURE
America’s pop culture is probably it’s most significant export. Domestically as well, pop culture influences the lives and imaginations of millions. Through February, a number of special pop culture artefacts will be exhibited at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts on loan from the Smithsonian. Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to see the actual Superman costume worn by Christopher Reeve, Marilyn Monroe’s gloves, Julius Erving’s shoes, and Eddie Van Halen’s guitar! D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA ($)

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Friday, December 14th, 2018

advertise with Hilltown Families

Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Storyhour & Playgroups: Amherst, Belchertown, Cummington, East Longmeadow, Easthampton, Florence, Granby, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hadley, Housatonic, Longmeadow, Monson, Northampton, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Stockbridge, and Sunderland.

Friday, December 14, 12:30-3pm
BAKING/RELIGIOUS STUDIES
Bread plays an enormously important role in Judaism. Challah, a traditional braided loaf, is rich with symbolic and ritual significance. The origins of the word itself are murky, though it is etymologically linked to the word “circle,” which may be understood as “space.” The concept of “letting go” or “putting space between things” is also relevant in terms of “hafrashat challah,” literally meaning “separating challah.” This refers to the ritual commandment of setting aside a portion of the bread as a tithe for the ancient priestly caste. Come learn all about how to make challah and the deep meaning associated with this bread at Beauty and the Yeast: Part 1, the first in a two part series on Jewish baking. Congregation B’nai Israel Northampton. 253 Prospect Street, Northampton, MA (FREE)

Friday, December 14, 4-7pm
ART STUDIES/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Free Second Fridays at the Smith College Museum of Art gives visitors a special opportunity to explore the collections and engage with art on a deeper level. Create your own work of art, with hands on activities for all ages based on specific works in the museum and go on a special guided conversation tour. Light refreshments. Smith College Museum of Art. 20 Elm Street, Northampton, MA (FREE)

Friday, December 14, 5-8pm
PLACEMAKING/ART STUDIES
We are lucky enough to live in an area with a very high proportion of artists. One of the great things about living in such a creative community is that there are so many resources for aspiring artists. There is no better way to pursue a creative path than to surround yourself with other creative people. Northampton Arts Night Out, the second Friday of every month, is a great opportunity to see what other artists in our area are up to. Get new ideas, make connections in the art world! Downtown Northampton. Northampton, MA (FREE)

Friday, December 14, 6-7pm
PAJAMA PARTY/STORYTIME
What could be cozier and more fun than a winter holiday pajama party? This Friday, community members will be gathering to read stories and sing songs, in the spirit of the holidays. Refreshments will be provided and there will be a special visit from Franco the Wonder Dog! Lenox Library. 18 Main Street, Lenox, MA (FREE)

Friday, December 14, 8-9:45pm
CHRISTMAS/THEATER
In the long tradition of holiday variety shows, “Christmastime in the City” is coming to the Whitney Center for the Arts for the fourth year! This mix of song and spoken word is sure to bring lots of holiday cheer and Christmas spirit to you and your family. This beloved event is sure to sell out! Whitney Center for the Arts. 42 Wendell Ave, Pittsfield, MA ($)

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Hilltown Families’ list of Suggested Events is supported in part by grants from the Belchertown, Buckland, Chicopee, Hadley, Plainfield, Shelburne, Westhampton, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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