Harriet the Spy Turns 50!

After surviving early library bans; continues to inspire critical thinking, writing and observation skills in children. 

Now through November 30, 2014, the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst invites you to a special exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of author and illustrator Louise Fitzhugh’s 1964 book Harriet the Spy.  The exhibition will feature a selection of original drawings from both Harriet the Spy and its sequel, The Long Secret.  Eleven year old Harriet, the only child of wealthy New York socialites, wants to be a writer, and spends her afternoons secretly observing her friends and neighbors and recording her observations in a notebook.  The book helps readers explore themes of class, gender, and friendship in the 1960’s.

Harriet the Spy is now widely regarded as a classic children’s story – even more well-known and well-loved following its reincarnation as the 1996 film of the same name starring a young Michelle Trachtenberg – but, interestingly enough, when the book was first published in the mid-sixties, it received a good deal of controversy and was even banned by some libraries!  Compared with other children’s and young adult book characters at the time, Fitzhugh’s curious, independent, impatient, and tomboyish young protagonist challenged dominant social ideas about how children, girls in particular, could and should behave.  Many reviewers have since noted, though, that it is precisely Harriet’s fierce independence and desire to understand other people through observation that endears her to readers of all ages.  Her “bad” behavior is relatable, and a refreshingly honest portrayal of childhood, while her struggle to stay true to herself and her ideas in a world that doesn’t understand or appreciate deviance from the norm resonates deeply with readers on their own path to self-discovery. Read the rest of this entry »

Mead Art Museum Supports Community-Based Education

Family Fun Days at the Mead Art Museum in Amherst

“Family Fun Days have been so popular in the past, we decided to make them even more frequent,” noted Wendy Somes, Coordinator of Community Programs. The increase is part of the Mead’s ongoing mission to connect families, teachers, and community organizations with their local art museum, she said. “We believe that museums are educational AND fun places for families to learn together.”

When we think of places in our community we can visit to support our children’s interests and education, museums are often the first institutions we think of… and rightly so! Their exhibit-filled galleries offer lots of educational potential, with both permanent and changing exhibits families can use to learn about a variety of topics throughout the year. However, without interpretation or support, the vast amount of information present in museum exhibits can be difficult to navigate and make accessible for children with little background knowledge.

Keeping this in mind, the Mead Art Museum in Amherst, MA, is now offering monthly Family Fun Days, making museum-based learning not only more accessible for families with younger children, but a whole lot of fun too! Family Fun Days aren’t new to the Museum,  but their popularity has encouraged the Museum to host them as a monthly event! Each month brings a new theme that matches an exhibit hanging in the museum’s galleries, and families will get a chance to learn about the theme through hands-on activities, guided gallery tours, read-alouds of children’s books, and group discussions. Not only will the educational potential of the museum be unlocked by museum guides and interpreters, but children will be able to learn in a collaborative, multi-age environment where they share their thoughts and observations with others and gain insight from information shared by other visitors.

February’s Family Fun Day will be held on Saturday, February 15th from 11am-2pm – and admission is free! This month’s theme is feasts and medieval life, and will include a kid-friendly tour of the museum’s Rotherwas Room. Read the rest of this entry »

One-Day Learning at Amherst College for Middle & High Schoolers

Splash! at Amherst College
Saturday, November 17th, 2013

Splash!… a one-day program in which college students lead fun classes for middle & high school students at Amherst College!

Jump into a deep pool of knowledge at Amherst College’s Splash, an event offering students in grades 6-12 the opportunity to take part in workshops on fun and fascinating topics not generally taught in school. Lead by Amherst College students, the workshops are designed to introduce participants to new topics and teach a few basic skills that can provide the foundation for future learning about each topic – which could be anything from origami to the math behind the electoral college.

Held on Saturday, November 17th, 2013, from 9am-4pm, Splash participation includes five different workshops, as well as lunch. Students are able to choose which workshops they will participate in, and can choose from over thirty different offering in the categories of engineering, math and computer science, humanities, art, and science. Many of the workshops cover topics that are popular amongst teens and tweens, like cartoon drawing, gaming, and food-related science; others cover topics that teens are likely aware of but are not well informed about, such as ethics, social entrepreneurship, and public speaking…

Read the rest of this entry »

Art History and Music Studies at the Amherst Cinema this Fall

Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure
Tour of London’s National Gallery Exhibition
Screens at Amherst Cinema this Fall

The latest in Amherst Cinema’s EXHIBITION screening series, Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure, documents and deeply examines the Johannes Vermeer‘s works on view at the London National Gallery. The film, hosted by British art historian Tim Marlow, tells the story of Vermeer’s life, a Dutch painter from the 1600’s, and gives viewers a chance to experience both the exhibition – which, notably, includes several works by Vermeer that have never before been exhibited together – as well as some stunning close-up footage of the paintings themselves, accompanied by Marlow’s knowledgeable analysis of the works.

The exhibition focuses on the popularity of music as a theme in Dutch paintings, and illustrates this connection quite clearly through its inclusion of “Lady Seated at a Virginal,” “Lady Standing At A Virginal,” and “The Guitar Player,” all by Vermeer himself. To highlight the significance of the instruments’ inclusion in the paintings – and the differences between the instruments and their two-dimensional representations – authentic 17th-century virginals (similar to harpsichords), guitars, and lutes are on display along with the artwork…

Read the rest of this entry »

Tibetan Sand Mandala on View at UMass

“Healing the Earth”: Tibetan Sand Mandala on View at UMass Fine Arts Center Concert Stage

The Asian Arts & Culture Program at the UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center opens its 20th Anniversary season with an outstanding event that speaks to transformation and healing of our planet and ourselves. The Fine Arts Center Concert Hall stage hosts Healing the Earth: the Tibetan Sand Mandala, a visual artwork exploding with color and design, created on by eleven Tibetan monks.

Among all the artistic traditions of Tantric Buddhism, painting with colored sand ranks as one of the most unique and exquisite. In the Tibetan language this art is called dul-tson-kyil-khor.  The literal translation means a “mandala of colored powders.” This week come see eleven Tibetan monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery at work as they use traditional instruments to lay down the finest grains of colored sand to produce a work of art that explodes with color and detail.  This unique event happens at UMass Fine Arts Center in Amherst, MA from Wednesday, September 25th – Friday, September 27th, 2013 and highlights the power of the healing arts to ignite peace and tolerance throughout the world.

Over a period of days, millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place in a circular design – a mandala – drawn on a flat platform.  The mandala, using traditionally prescribed symbols, geometric shapes, and images, is used as a tool for re-consecrating the earth and its inhabitants.  The experience of viewing this sand mandala will be particularly educational for those interested in, or studying, math and geometry, visual arts and color theory, world cultures, community values and traditions, and respect for the environment.

Sand Mandalas are an ancient Tibetan art form that were used to teach compassion, environmental relations and impermanency. With Tibet being one of the last ancient civilizations, teaching kids the history behind this ancient art form can supplement their global awareness of world civilizations and cultures. Witnessing the making and destruction of one of these amazing sand mandalas joins art and history together into a creative and tactile demonstration.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dance Into Art at the Mead Art Museum in Amherst

Mead Art Museum at Amherst College Presents
Dance Into Art
Pioneer Valley Community Celebration!

On Saturday, April 21, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will host a family-friendly event exploring the art of dance and costume in Amherst’s art collection. The fun-filled afternoon of activities for children and adults of all ages is free and open to the public.

Dance into art at the Mead Art Museum in Amherst!  The museum, which houses Amherst College’s art collection, is currently hosting a special exhibition featuring work from artists Robert Henri and Nick Cave, whose work explores the human form through examination of dance and movement as a form of cultural expression.

The museum will host a family-friendly event on April 21st, from 11am-3pm, where families can see music and dance demonstrations, tour the museum and learn about current exhibits, and take part in hands-on art activities.

Kids can make their own hand puppets and masks inspired by the works shown from Henri and Cave, and can use the performances taking place throughout the day as inspiration as well.

The event offers an opportunity for families to view great art, as well as a chance for kids to learn about ways of using sources of inspiration.  For more information, call the museum at 413-542-2000, or visit www.amherst.edu.

Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College

Beneski Museum of Natural History
Home of the World’s Largest Collection of
Dinosaur Tracks

Beneski Museum of Natural History

Click on the image to see 360° views of the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College. - The ground floor displays the world’s largest collection of dinosaur tracks (primarily from the Connecticut River Valley), skulls of a Tyrannosaurus rex and a Triceratops and a diorama with a model showing what some of our local dinosaur species might have looked like. There is also a cast of a dinosaur track “book” that visitors can handle.

Did you know that the world’s largest collection of dinosaur tracks is housed at Amherst College in the Beneski Museum of Natural History?  The Museum offers opportunities for families and students to learn about the natural history of the Pioneer Valley and many other parts of the world.  There are over 1,700 specimens (including skeletons of a mammoth, cave bear, and saber-tooth cat, and skulls of a tyrannosaurus rex and a triceratops!), some from as far away as Patagonia, housed at the Museum, along with several collections, including anthropology, ichnology, meteorites, mineralogy, osteology, paleobotany and taxidermy.

There are three levels to the museum, with an entire floor dedicated to local geological phenomena, such as glaciation and mountain building- point out the Holyoke Range to your kids on you way to visit, then learn how it was created at the museum.

  1. When you arrive you will find on the Entrance Level Ice Age Mammals and the Evolution of the Horse.
  2. Travel to the Upper Level to see Human Evolution, Geology of the Connecticut River Valley and Bedrock Geology Model.
  3. The down to the Lower Level to check out the Hitchcock Ichnology Collection and Mesozoic Reptiles.

The museum’s resources offer several ways to supplement lessons on natural history.  Before arriving, print out their self guided tour of the Vertebrate Fossils in the museum, and go on a quest with your kids/students when you arrive to locate and learn about vertebrate fossils.  And get your kids excited about their  Oddities of the Natural History Museum Collection by screening an audio slide show together online beforehand.

To arrange a guided tour of the museum for your youth group or school, email Alfred J. Venne, Museum Educator, at avenne@amherst.edu. – The museum’s regular hours are Tuesday-Sunday from 11am-4pm, and Thursdays from 6-10pm. Admission is free.  For more information visit www.amherst.edu/museums/naturalhistory.

Cultural Studies: Christian Folk Art from India at UMass

Christian Folk Art from India
Dec. 12th-16th, 2011
Augusta Savage Gallery at UMass

An exhibit from the collection of local, 83 year-old independent scholar of South Asian Studies Georgana Falb Foster at the UMass Augusta Savage Gallery in Amherst, MA. This exhibit features paintings of Christian stories by artists who come from Hindu hereditary castes of story teller/painters (Chitrakars) in Bengal province. Show runs Dec. 12th-16th with an opening reception on Monday, Dec. 12th from 5-7pm

The Augusta Savage Gallery at the University of Massachusetts’ Fine Arts Center will be hosting a show of Christian Folk Art from India opening with a reception on Monday, December 12th from 5-7pm and running through December 16th.

Each piece in the collection is a painted cloth scroll depicting a Christian story or concept- the scrolls were used by Chitrakars, traveling painters/storytellers in the Bengal province of India, and the scrolls were used to help illustrate the stories that the Chitrakars shared with communities.

Also included in the show are works by Christian Indian artist Frank Wesley, as well as other Christian artworks and artifacts.

A visit to the gallery can help students become aware of how Christianity influences and differs within various cultures worldwide, and thinking about this specific art show is a great way to segue into a broader dialogue on religion and cultures.

Dancers & Puppets Bring Picture Books to Life in Amherst

Picture Book Theatre Performs at The Carle in November

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art presents Picture Book Theatre featuring Eric Carle’s “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” said the Sloth and Rooster’s Off To See The World, Saturdays, November 5, 12, 19, 26 and Friday, November 25 with 45-minutes performances at 2pm & 3pm.

Eric Carle’s classic children’s books are coming to life this month!

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is hosting a series of puppet shows based on various Eric Carle stories throughout November.  The first of the shows, “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly Said the Sloth,” is set to music created by a local composer and includes many local puppeteers!  Families will receive a copy of the book to read and follow along with while they watch.

The second show performed is “Rooster’s Off to See the World,” which features local dancers from the Amherst Ballet.

There will be multiple performances of each throughout the month.  More information is available at www.carlemuseum.org.

Museum Haunting this Halloween at Amherst College

The Haunted Museum
at the Mead Museum of Art
Amherst College
Saturday, October 29th from 11am-3pm

Click to see poster

“Last year’s ‘Haunted Museum’ proved to be a tremendous success with children and grown-ups,” noted museum director and chief curator Elizabeth Barker, “We couldn’t wait to repeat it. The Docents do a wonderful job leading art-looking and art-making activities tailored to the interests of a wide range of visitors. We hope many families will take advantage of Amherst College’s free on-campus weekend parking, and join the fun!”

Amherst College’s Mead Museum of Art will come alive with Halloween spirit on Saturday, October 29th during their free family-friendly Haunted Museum! The spookier bits of the museum’s collection will be on display for those who dare to see them. Discover art and culture on a candle-lit tour of the galleries or a spooky scavenger hunt.  All afternoon there will be fun family activities, as well, including mask making, face painting, and pumpkin carving!  You can even celebrate Halloween with your taste buds by enjoying delicious local cider and cider donuts.  The event is lead by the college’s student museum docents and takes place from 11am-3pm.  For more information, call the museum at 413-542-5123.

Discover Buddhist Art and Culture in Amherst

Tibetan Art and Sand Mandala’s at Amherst College

On Sunday, Oct. 16, at approximately 2 p.m., there will be a dissolution ceremony at which the deity will be released by the dismantling of the mandala. This underlines the transient quality of life and the Buddhist emphasis on non-attachment. When the mandala is destroyed, the deity’s blessings are said to spread out to all. In this photo, Namgyal monks are completing a sand mandala. Click on the photo to learn more about sand mandalas.

The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College is currently hosting an exhibition of thangka- scroll paintings of Buddhist figures. The scrolls have recently been restored and preserved, and as a celebration, the scrolls are on display! To end the show, monks from the Tibetan Buddhist Namgyal Monastery in Ithaca, NY will be creating a sand mandala at the campus’ Frost Library. A mandala is an intricate design created and devoutly destroyed to demonstrate the Buddhist belief in the transitory nature of life. The mandala will be constructed over the course of 4 days (Oct. 13-16). The dismantling of the mandala will be at 2pm on Sunday, October 16th during a dissolution ceremony- bring the family and come see for yourself what it’s all about! This is a great way to introduce your kids to Buddhist culture.

Sand Mandalas are an ancient Tibetan art form that were used to teach compassion, environmental relations and impermanency. With Tibet being one of the last ancient civilizations, teaching kids the history behind this ancient art form can supplement their global awareness of world civilizations and cultures. Witnessing the making and destruction of one of these amazing sand mandalas joins art and history together into a creative and tactile demonstration.

The video below shows a close-up look at the application of sand to a Chenrezig the Buddha of Compassion Mandala by Tibetan monks, accompanied with Tibetan chanting. I first showed this video to my daughter when she was five years old. The chanting in this video captured her attention immediately, which led to an interesting conversation about sand mandalas and the impermanence of things. Her first inclination was to figure out how to make it permanent. Tape ended up being her suggested solution.

RECOMMENDED TITLES: TIBETAN FOLK TALES & STORIES

ON-LINE RESOURCES

Red Elephant Comes to Amherst

Mo Willems’ The Red Elephant

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA welcomed The Red Elephant by Western MA author/illustrator Mo Willems this past Saturday on the Museum’s terrace. More than 400 folks attended the installation of this 1,500 pound pachyderm sculpture.

“I began my career making small wire sculptures which somehow led to a life as a children’s book maker,” says Willems, “So the opportunity of combining my two passions and placing a large sculpture at a picture book museum is too awesome to pass up.”

Check out Mo’s digital journal of his progress from inception to installation of The Red Elephant.

This newest installation at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art can act as a fun catalyst for young students in their studies of art, reading and science. Mo has several teachers’ guides and event kits available on his website in pdf format.  His newest kit is Elephant & Piggie Event Kit is from his early reader series, Elephant and Piggie.  Other event kits offered on his web site include Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed and The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!

Looking for curriculum on elephants?  The Elephant Sanctuary has two units for grades K-3 and grades 4-8 which include integrated areas of study in each unit (social studies, literature, science and math).
Read the rest of this entry »

Discover the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College this Saturday!

Mead Art Museum at Amherst College presents
The Nature of Art Pioneer Valley Community Celebration

Nature of Art Flyer

This Saturday, April 30th families will have a free opportunity to visit the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College. Lots of interactive projects for kids and nature-themed lead tours of the museum's galleries.

On Saturday, April 30, 2011 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will host a family-friendly event exploring the natural world through art, and celebrating images of nature in Amherst’s art collection. The fun-filled afternoon of activities for children and adults of all ages is free and open to the public.

The Mead’s volunteer Docents, an energetic group of college students from Amherst and the Five Colleges, will lead the Nature-themed celebrations, guiding tours of the museum’s galleries and offering scavenger hunts that promise to challenge visitors’ powers of observation. The Docents will also lead interactive art-making projects, including animal mask making and face painting, and harnessing wind power with a custom kite building workshop.

“The natural world has inspired artists throughout history,” noted museum director and chief curator Elizabeth Barker. “The Nature of Art promises a fresh look at the natural wonders inside the Mead—and inside our visitors’ imaginations.”

A complete schedule of the museum’s events is posted on the Mead’s Web site. The Mead Art Museum houses the art collection of Amherst College, totaling more than 16,000 works. An accredited member of the American Association of Museums, the Mead participates in Museums10, a regional cultural collaboration. During the academic term, the museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please visit www.amherst.edu/museums/mead, or call 413/542-2335.

Ticket Giveaway: Family Concert with Gustafer Yellowgold @ The Carle

WIN A FAMILY 4-PACK OF FREE TICKETS:
Gustafer Yellowgold
Saturday, October 23rd, 2010
At the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA

Gustafer Yellowgold will be at the Eric Carle Museum on Saturday, October 23rd at 1pm. Deadline to enter to win a family 4-pack of free tickets is 10/20/10 @ 7pm (EST).

Hilltown Families and the Northampton Community Music Center have partnered up to offer a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Gustafer Yellowgold at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA on Saturday, October 23rd at 1pm. The proceeds from the concert go to benefit the Northampton Community Music Center.  Deadline to enter to win is 10/20/10. Find out how to enter to win below.

ABOUT GUSTAFER YELLOWGOLD

It’s been two years in the making and won’t be released until February, but families in Western Mass will have a sneak preview this month when the multimedia Gustafer Yellowgold’s Show comes to the Eric Carle Museum on Gustafer’s “Top of the Sock Tour.”

Gustafer Yellowgold’s Top of the Sock Tour heralds the release of the fourth in the series of award-winning Gustafer Yellowgold “musical moving storybooks,” Gustafer Yellowgold’s Infinity Sock, in which our hero from the sun journeys in search of the end of the universe’s longest sock. This fall’s shows will preview several story-songs from the new DVD/CD set, and Gustafer’s creator, illustrator/songwriter/musician Morgan Taylor, promises to include plenty of “Gustafer fan favorites” in the shows, too!

Hailed as one of today’s most original artists on the family music scene, Morgan Taylor was named “Best Kids’ Performer” by New York Magazine.  Taylor developed the Gustafer Yellowgold experience as equal parts pop rock concert and minimally animated movie, performing alongside a large screen displaying vividly colored animations with karaoke-style subtitles.  He’s dreamed up a whole world of catchy, original story-songs about Gustafer, a friendly creature who came to Earth from the sun and now lives out an explorer’s life in a slightly psychedelic version of the Minnesota woods.  Gustafer resides in a cottage with his menagerie of friends, including a pet eel, a tuxedo-wearing pterodactyl, and a dragon named Asparagus who inhabits the fireplace and loves corn on the cob. For recreation, Gustafer enjoys jumping on cake and, occasionally, punching cheese.

ABOUT THE NORTHAMPTON COMMUNITY MUSIC CENTER

The Northampton Community Music Center is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is “to foster the love and pursuit of music within the community through quality musical education, performances, and activities that are accessible to all.” NCMC’s talented 50+ faculty members offer a diverse range of musical programs to more than 750 participants a year—both adults and children—and bring concerts and other musical events to hundreds more in our surrounding communities, uniting people of all ages and backgrounds through the shared experience of music. NCMC is the only music school in Hampshire County that offers financial aid: no qualifying student has ever been denied scholarship.

This family concert a continuation in the Kids Concert Series sponsored in partnership by the Northampton Community Music Center, the Eric Carle Museum, and 93.9 The River.  The Eric Carle Museum is located at 125 West Bay Road in Amherst, MA. Admission is $6, with all proceeds benefiting the Scholarship Program at NCMC.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see Gustafer Yellowgold at the Eric Carle Museum on Saturday, October 23rd at 1pm in Amherst, MA, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. HELP CO-CREATE A COMMUNITY PLAYLIST AND RECOMMEND A SONG BELOW (one entry per family) 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, 10/20/10 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go! Tickets are $6 and available at 12:30pm the day of the show.  No advance reservations. – For more information about the Northampton Community Music Center, call 585-0001.

Ticket Giveaway: Family Concert with Princess Katie & Racer Steve @ The Carle

WIN A FAMILY 4-PACK OF FREE TICKETS:
Princess Katie & Racer Steve
Saturday, August 7th, 2010
At the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA

Princess Katie & fan. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Hilltown Families and the Northampton Community Music Center have partnered up to offer a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Princess Katie & Racer Steve at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA on Saturday, August 7th at 1pm. The proceeds from the concert go to benefit the Northampton Community Music Center.  Deadline to enter to win is 08/04/10. Find out how to enter to win below.

ABOUT PRINCESS KATIE & RACER STEVE

“Don’t let the name fool you, this Manhattan-based musical duo (and married couple) stirs up some seriously rockin’ music, ranging from alt-pop to country to reggae, all with a positive message.” (Publishers Weekly)

In 2008, Hilltown Families and Spare the Rock co-present Princess Katie & Racer Steve at Lyman Hall in Northampton, MA.  PK&RS had the kids rockin’ out and doing the tango, with the parents laughing and joining in … Two years and two albums later, they’re returning to the Pioneer Valley, and this time to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts, sponsored in partnership by the Northampton Community Music Center, the Eric Carle Museum, and 93.9 The River!

Princess Katie & Racer Steve have recently released a new album titled Tiny Cool, which has been described as “a book you cannot put down – in music form!” They create high energy, positive and upbeat music that both kids and parents alike can enjoy.

Spontaneity and surprise are key to PK&RS shows. You never know what they’ll dream up. Princess Katie (aka Katie O’Sullivan) says, “I just can’t seem to do a show unless it’s spectacular for the kids!”

“Alternative rock-loving parents will dig how much Katie sounds like Natalie Merchant (only much more chipper), and the high-spirited high jinks of Racer Steve will keep their tots in stitches.” (FamilyFun magazine)

Find out more about Princess Katie and Racer Steve at www.princessracer.com.

ABOUT THE NORTHAMPTON COMMUNITY MUSIC CENTER

The Northampton Community Music Center is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is “to foster the love and pursuit of music within the community through quality musical education, performances, and activities that are accessible to all.” NCMC’s talented 50+ faculty members offer a diverse range of musical programs to more than 750 participants a year—both adults and children—and bring concerts and other musical events to hundreds more in our surrounding communities, uniting people of all ages and backgrounds through the shared experience of music. NCMC is the only music school in Hampshire County that offers financial aid: no qualifying student has ever been denied scholarship.

This family concert is the sixth concert in the Kids Concert Series sponsored in partnership by the Northampton Community Music Center, the Eric Carle Museum, and 93.9 The River.  The Eric Carle Museum is located at 125 West Bay Road in Amherst, MA. Admission is $6, with all proceeds benefiting the Scholarship Program at NCMC.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see Princess Katie & Racer Steve at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. POST A COMMENT BELOW (one entry per family) 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! Tickets are $6 and available at 12:30pm the day of the show.  No advance reservations. – For more information about the Northampton Community Music Center, call 585-0001.

Ticket Giveaway: Family Concert with Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem @ The Carle

WIN A FAMILY 4-PACK OF FREE TICKETS:
Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem
Saturday, June 19th, 2010
At the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA

The music style of Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem is described by the Boston Globe as “neo old-timey with cosmopolitan splashes of contemporary pop and jazz.” - Your family will LOVE them!

Hilltown Families and the Northampton Community Music Center have partnered up to offer a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA on Saturday, June 19th at 1pm. The proceeds from the concert go to benefit the Northampton Community Music Center!  Deadline to enter to win is 06/16/10. Find out how to enter to win below.

ABOUT RANI ARBO & DAISY MAYHEM

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem is a rootsy, Americana-style string band of four musicians — all parents — who have played and toured together for 10 years. Their grooves are deep, their four-part harmonies are rich, and their adventurous, eclectic song selection serves their debut family CD Ranky Tanky well. Family music is a new endeavor for the band, but they have longstanding reputation for performances that are, as the Boston Globe put it, “playful and profound. Ranky Tanky sticks with that equation: it’s uplifting, danceable, playful, sometimes silly, sometimes wistful, and never sarcastic. Rani Arbo fires up the fiddle; Anand Nayak plays electric and acoustic guitars; Andrew Kinsy is on upright acoustic bass (and ukulele and banjo), and Scott Kessel pilots the Drumship Enterprise, a percussion rig made from cardboard boxes, tin cans, water jugs, and a vinyl suitcase. Together, they create a joyful, musical fusion of sounds both old and new — and a great soundtrack for family time.

ABOUT THE NORTHAMPTON COMMUNITY MUSIC CENTER

The Northampton Community Music Center is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is “to foster the love and pursuit of music within the community through quality musical education, performances, and activities that are accessible to all.” NCMC’s talented 50+ faculty members offer a diverse range of musical programs to more than 750 participants a year—both adults and children—and bring concerts and other musical events to hundreds more in our surrounding communities, uniting people of all ages and backgrounds through the shared experience of music. NCMC is the only music school in Hampshire County that offers financial aid: no qualifying student has ever been denied scholarship.

This family concert is the fifth concert in the Kids Concert Series sponsored in partnership by the Northampton Community Music Center, the Eric Carle Museum, and 93.9 The River.  The Eric Carle Museum is located at 125 West Bay Road in Amherst, MA. Admission is $6, with all proceeds benefitting the Scholarship Program at NCMC.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see Rani Arbos & daisy mayhem at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. POST A COMMENT BELOW (one entry per family) 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, 06/16/10 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go! Tickets are $6 and available at 12:30pm the day of the show.  No advance reservations. – For more information about the Northampton Community Music Center, call 585-0001.

Cultural Survival Bazaars in Pioneer Valley & the Berkshires

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Cultural Survival Bazaars in Western MA
Festivals of Native Art, Music, & Cultures Bring Together Public Support for Indigenous Communities Worldwide

The Cultural Survival Bazaar happens this weekend, May 29th & 30th, on the Amherst Common, and then again the weekend of July 17th & 18th, on the Kripalu Yoga Center Field in Stockbridge, MA.

[rockyou id=72112182&w=256&h=192]
(Photo credits: Sienna Wildfield)

The Cultural Survival Bazaars are festivals of Native art, music, and culture. Attendees can purchase unique handmade products, meet and socialize with visiting artisans and performers. Read about our day on the Amherst Common a few years ago here, and see photos above. These Bazaars offer free entertainment which includes live world music performances and a variety of cultural presentations.

Walk around and explore the world, learning all about the crafts, how they are made, the cultures they represent, the symbolism in the art, learn about the people who made them. The Bazaars are a world marketplace where you can find handmade jewelry, clothing, décor, area rugs, pottery, sculptures, and many other traditional arts and crafts from Africa, Asia, and the Americas. The proceeds support Indigenous Artisans, fair trade companies, and Cultural Survival’s work defending Indigenous lands, languages, and cultures.

For more information about the featured artisans, performance schedule, and other dates, and locations visit the bazaars web pages at cs.org/bazaar.

Four Babies. Four Countries. One Movie.

Everybody loves… Babies. This visually stunning new movie simultaneously follows four babies around the world – from first breath to first steps. From Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo, Babies joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all.

Opening today, May 7th, 2010, at the Amherst Cinema, Babies is being screened Friday (5/7) –  Thursday (5/13) at 2:30pm, 5pm, 7:30pm &  9:30. Saturday and Sunday shows are at Noon, and baby-friendly shows on Tuesday 2:30pm.

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Thomas Balmès, from an original idea by producer Alain Chabat, Babies simultaneously follows four babies around the world – from birth to first steps. The children include:

  • Ponijao, who lives with her family near Opuwo, Namibia
  • Bayarjargal, who resides with his family in Mongolia, near Bayanchandmani
  • Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan
  • Hattie, who resides with her family in San Francisco, USA

Re-defining the nonfiction art form, Babies joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all. Check out their official website.

Director Thomas Balmès. 79 mins, Rated PG. French with subtitles

Suggested Events 05/01/10-05/07/10

Follow Hilltown Families on

Discover fun and educational events happening this weekend in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Happy May Day! Dance around the maypole at dawn at the Chesterfield Gorge in West Chesterfield or at Limbofest in Northampton on Saturday. Then again at the Hilltown Spring Festival on Saturday, May 15th! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest an EventIf you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. 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.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

HILLTOWN SPRING FESTIVAL: The Hilltown Spring Festival, a daylong family-friendly celebration of Hilltown music, arts, culture and community, will take place Saturday, May 15th, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cummington Fairgrounds. Produced by the Hilltown CDC, the fourth annual Festival will feature 15 musical acts on two performance stages, including headliners Charles Neville, The Primate Fiasco and Swing Caravan, all-day children’s activities, maypole, local food and local brews, arts and crafts and a sustainable living expo. – (LISTEN TO PSA)

Irene Branson of Ashfield, MA writes: There will be a clothing swap on Saturday, June 5th from 10am-3pm at Ashfield Community Hall. “Ashfield Needles and Threads” will sponsor this one-day opportunity to clear out some of your clothes in a way that redirects and recycles them right here in the community. All remaining clothing will be donated to area shelters, the Salvation Army, etc.

DINNER IN THE HILLTOWNS

Friday, April 30th at Elmer’s Store in Ashfield: Pan seared scallops over Creole rice with crawfish & alligator,  Or  Stuffed mushrooms over veggie creole rice. BYOB 628-4003

Saturday, May 1st at Bread Euphoria in Haydenville: Sandwiches, salads, soups and pizza (including Gluten-Free pizza!).  Open mic! Beer & wine available. 268-7757


BULLETIN BOARD

SPONSORSHIP, ADVERTISING & ANNOUNCEMENTS: Deliver your message to a large local family based audience while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Advertise your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement here in the Bulletin Board section of our List of Weekly Suggested Events. – SPONSORSHIP: Interested in supporting the work of Hilltown Families?  Find out how to be a sponsor! Serious inquiries can email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for details

MotherWoman in Amherst, MAFUNDRAISER: MotherWoman’s annual Mother’s Day campaign is underway! “Mothers are Worth a Million, we’re only asking for $10” honors mothers & helps to fund mother’s support programs in our community. For every $10 you donate, a flower bearing the name of a mother you would like to honor will be hung in the window of a participating local business. When you buy a flower, you celebrate the women in your life, provide crucial funding to help mothers, and support local businesses. MotherWoman encourages you to patronize participating businesses and to stroll Amherst & Northampton to view the beautiful chain of flowers in storefront windows. Together- we can honor and support mothers- one flower at a time. Learn more about our campaign at motherwoman.com.

KINDERGARTEN ORIENTATION: Orientations have been scheduled for all children who will be age 5 by September 1, 2010 and their families. Kindergarten orientation for children who live in Huntington, Montgomery, Russell and Worthington will have their orientation on May 4 at Littleville Elementary School. Students who live in the towns of Blandford, Chester and Middlefield will have their orientation on May 6 at Chester Elementary School. Kindergarten orientations will begin at 6 p.m. and will run for about an hour.

MA GREEN (www.massvacation.com/MAGreen) provides online information about travel businesses’ environmental practices and informs visitors of the many attractions, lodgings, restaurants and other business who have environmental programs. In this way, MA GREEN supports the Commonwealth’s other green initiatives, including the Patrick-Murray Administration’s principles of sustainable development, which focus on encouraging smart growth, prudent use of natural resources, investments in clean, efficient energy through innovative technologies and environmental stewardship.

TICKET GIVEAWAY: On Mother’s Day, Dan Zanes will be performing in the Pioneer Valley with the Whole Children Community Chorus and special guest, local musician Mister G … and Hilltown Families and Whole Children have partnered up to offer TWO lucky families a chance to win tickets! Click here to find out how you can enter to win.

BOOK YOUR SPORTS PHYSICAL EARLY: Hilltown Community Health Centers is making a major technology transition this summer. As a result, they will be booking fewer appointments through the summer months. Any fall athlete who is a patient of HCHC and needs a sports physical for the fall is urged to book their appointment EARLY.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: The Botanic Garden at Smith College in Northampton seeks volunteers to lead tours through the greenhouses as well as staffing the reception and exhibition area. Call 585-2742 or email garden@smith.edu.

SUBMIT A VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Looking for volunteers for your non-profit, service organization or not-for-profit event? Post your “call for volunteers” on our Community Bulletin Board for profile consideration.

EARTH DAY MEDIA GIVEAWAY: Congratulations to Beth Caissie of Greenfield, MA. Beth has won our collection of Earth Day Media for sharing her eco-tip. Beth writes: “We put our wireless router and all those miscellaneous computer appliances all on 2 easy to reach power strips. When we leave the house or go to bed, we turn the power off. There was a noticeable drop in our electric bills when we started this and we’re not wasting energy to power things we’re not using.” Thank you to all families who shared their favorite eco-tips. So many great ideas to inspire us all!

TICKET GIVEAWAY WINNER: Congratulations to Suzette Snow-Cobb Turners Falls, MA. Suzette has won a pair of tickets to see Rodrigo y Gabriela at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA on Tuesday, May 4th @ 8pm.

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

Hilltown Family Variety Show

HFVS airs every Saturday from 9-10am, and encores air on Sundays from 7-8am, on 103.3FM WXOJ Northampton, MA

Tune in on Saturdays from 9-10am, or listen to our podcasts HERE. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am. Families have several ways to tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show:

  • Streaming Audio: Surf on over to ValleyFreeRadio.org on Saturday & Sunday mornings and listen to us live via streaming audio.
  • On Your FM Dial: Tune in to WXOJ 103.3FM if you live near Northampton, MA.
  • HFVS Podcast

    PODCAST: Listen to the most recent episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show anytime you wish! Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast too!


    WEEKLY LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS

    Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Free Museum Passes | Family Centers (Ages 0-4) | Movies in the Valley | Movies in the Berkshires | Ice Skating | Farmer’s Market | PSA

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns

    SATURDAY – 5/1

    HAPPY MAY DAY!

    Hilltown Family Variety Show6-10am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) offers 4-hours of commercial-free family programing every Saturday, including the Hilltown Family Variety Show and Spare the Rock. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org.

    SCIENCE FIELD TRIP: MIT’s Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department will open its doors and welcome families to “Brainia!”– a hands-on exploration of how the brain works. www.cambridgesciencefestival.org Cambridge, MA

    7am-1pm – FUNDRAISER: Big Tag Sale at the Deerfield Elementary School. Deerfield, MA (FUNDRAISER)

    8am – NATURE STUDIES: Help restore Atlantic Salmon in MA by stocking Salmon fry with MassWildlife at North Branch Manhan River, Westhampton. You will get wet!!! Some waders will be available for loan. A change of clothes is a good idea. You will be walking on slippery stream and river beds, up and down steep banks in chest or hip waders so you should be in good physical condition. Meet at the Hampshire Regional High School in Westhmpton. Call to confirm schedule: (508) 389-6331 Westhampton, MA (FREE)

    8am-12Noon – FUNDRAISER: 3rd Annual Mom-to-Mom Sale at the All Saint’s Church Kidder Hall. Baby and children’s clothing, toys, strollers, sporting goods, books, dvds, baby gear, maternity wear. Benefit for the South Hadley Family Center. www.shfamilycenter.org South Hadley, MA (FUNDRAISER)

    10am-2pm – OPEN HOUSE: Red Gate Farm will open it’s doors for an open house. There will be activities, tours, hayrides and snacks for people of all ages. You can explore the pond, walk a goat, and decorate a flower pot. This is a great chance to see the Farm. www.redgatefarm.org Buckland, MA (FREE)

    10am-Noon – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: From Trash to Treasure for kids ages 5-7 at the Museum School of the Springfield Museums. Pre-register. 413-263-6800, ext. 377 or 382 www.springfieldmuseums.org Springfield, MA

    10am-3pm – FUNDRAISER: The Little Red Schoolhouse will hold its second annual juried craft and tag sale to benefit the Williamstown Cooperative Nursery School. The event also will feature children’s entertainment. Bowey the Clown will perform at 11:30 a.m. and stay after his show for balloon-making; Magic Brushes will provide face painting. 458-9162 Williamstown, MA (FUNDRAISER)

    10:30am – FATHER ADVENTURES: Daddy & Me Workshop at the Jones Library for ages 4-6yo. www.joneslibrary.org Amherst, MA (FREE)

    11am – VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Trustees of Reservations will be celebrating the official opening of the new Land of Providence property adjacent to Nuestras Raices farm and the Connecticut River. At 11 o clock there will be volunteer work projects to help with, 12:30 is the celebration event, followed by 1 pm pig roast lechonera (free to volunteers). Boating will also be available. Holyoke, MA (FREE)

    11am-3pm – SPRING FESTIVAL: Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation (WRLF) will host its annual Sheep to Shawl Festival at its Sheep Hill headquarters. The festival will focus on historic fleece & fiber. Demos of shearing with traditional tools, carding, pinning and weaving. Sheep herding with boarder collies. Old-time toys and games for the kids. And much more! 458-2494 www.wrlf.org Williamstown, MA ($)

    11am-10pm –MUSIC FESTIVAL: LimboFest 2010 at Look Park. A family friendly day festival with music, performers, Maypole, drumming, and more. www.myspace.com/limbofest Florence, MA ($)

    12Noon-3pm – NATURE STUDIES: Connecticut River Valley Sanctuaries will be offering a 4 part class, “Behavior of Ants: Modeling and Building a Robatic Ant Colony!” for kids ages 9-12yo. Registration is required. 584-3009. Easthampton, MA ($$)

    12Noon – 5pm – PARADE & RALLY: Northampton’s 29th Annual Pride Parade and Rally Event. Parade starts at noon at Lampron Park marching down into rally site behind Thorne’s market on Armory Street in downtown Northampton. www.site.nohopride.org Northampton, MA (FREE)

    1-3pm – CHESS: Drop-in Chess at the Forbes Library Mezzanine. Casual meets every Saturday the library is open. All competition levels are welcome. Drop in for part or all of the session. Bring your own set if you have one or use one of the library’s. Northampton, MA (FREE)

    1pm & 3pm – THEATER: Castle Hill Theatre Presents Goldilocks and The Three Bears in the auditorium at the Eric Carle Museum. 658-1100 www.carlemuseum.org Amherst, MA ($)

    2pm & 7pm – THEATER: Annie at the Academy of Music Theatre. The timeless tale of Little Orphan Annie is back in the Pioneer Valley. With a cast ranging in ages 7 to 18 years, Starlight’s Youth Theatre, Inc.  Northampton, MA ($)

    3:30-4:30pm – FARM ADVENTURES: Farm Chores are Fun at Red Gate Farm. Children are invited to come help the farmer with Saturday afternoon chores. Come feed the animals, check for eggs and do other daily chores that make life on the farm so interesting. All are welcomed. Buckland, MA (FREE)

    7pm – CULTURAL CELEBRATION: Cambodia New Year celebration at the Cedars Banquet Facility. Children performance of traditional dance, food and drink. 535-9101, 364-9202 Springfield, MA

    8pm – THEATER: Arena Civic Theater presents To Kill a Mockingbird, Christopher Sergei’s beautifully crafted adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel at the Shea Theater. 863-2281, ext. 3. Turners Falls, MA ($$)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Raspberries with Jay O’Callahan at the Carle this Saturday

    Jay O’Callahan and Will Moses Present Raspberries at The Carle

    Storytelling at the Eric Carle Museum on Saturday, April 1th, 2010. Free with museum admission.

    The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art welcomes Raspberries, an exuberant and hilarious hour of storytelling by renowned storyteller Jay O’Callahan, and artist Will Moses on April 17, 2010, at 1 p.m. The event, which is free with museum admission, is geared towards school-age children.

    Editor and author Patricia Lee Gauch will introduce O’Callahan who will share several of his best-loved stories, including Raspberries, as Moses presents the beautiful artwork he created to accompany this timeless tale, now a picture book. The story features Simon, who was born to bake. His treats are famous until his bakery closes and everything he makes falls flat, that is, until a young girl gives him some raspberry seeds. What happens next will have everyone in the audiences yelling “Rasssspberrrrrieees!”

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Students Invited to Participate in Hilltown Spring Festival

    Barbara Solow of the Hilltown CDC writes:

    Hilltown Charter Cooperative Public School chorus performs as the 2009 Hilltown Spring Festival.

    We want to involve area students in all aspects of our 4th annual Spring Festival, coming up at the Cummington Fairgrounds on Saturday May 15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Last year’s Festival drew nearly 1,500 artists, musicians, businesses, sustainability educators, school and youth groups. Once again this year, we’re looking for young people to host exhibits, perform skits or musical numbers, or volunteer as recycling captains, game coordinators and setup and takedown crews. The Festival is a tailor-made opportunity for a school service club, honor society or environmental science class looking for a project that has an impact on the wider community. Please contact me about engaging your students in the learning and fun of our Festival: barbaras@hilltowncdc.org, 413-296-4536 X23

    Transition Towns & Time Banking: Building Community Strength and Resilience

    Building Community Strength and Resilience

    Transition Towns

    The Hitchcock Center is hosting a discussion for folks interested in increasing community resilience on Sunday, January 31st in Amherst, MA.

    • Transition Towns: Increasing Community Resilience in a Time of Change
    • Tina Clarke, Transition Towns Trainer
    • Sunday, January 31, 7-9pm
    • Donation requested, sliding scale, $5-$20
    • Pre-registration required; please call 413-256-6006.

    Transition Towns are communities that are proactively addressing the “Triple Challenge” of long-term rising energy costs, economic instability and climate change. Launched in the U.K., where 1,000 communities are involved and The Transition Handbook was among the top ten books read by Members of Parliament in 2008, the Transition Towns model and process helps local citizens and groups work together to build resilience for economic and environmental changes unfolding locally and globally. Tina has become one of the Transition Town trainers in the U.S. She will present the process for engaging large numbers of people in creative transition from dependence upon non-renewable energy sources to greater community resilience and quality of life. Pre-registration is required; please call (413) 256-6006. Check out Hitchcock’s other community programs here.

    Time Banking

    The West County Resilience Conversation is hosting a free gathering to discuss “Time Banking” on Tuesday, February 2nd in Shelburne Falls, MA.

    • Time Banking
    • Facilitated by Liz Sheehan.
    • Tuesday, February 2nd, 7-9pm
    • Free
    • Call for more information: (413) 625-9744
    • Location: Shelburne Senior Center, 7 Main Street, in Shelburne Falls

    Time Banks Weave Community One Hour at a Time – earn a time dollar, spend a time dollar while profoundly strengthening your community.

    Western Mass Families & Neighbors Gather for World Wide Grassroots Demonstration

    350.org International Climate Action Day in Western Mass

    This past Saturday, families and neighbors from all over Western Massachusetts gathered to take action in a world wide grassroots demonstration on climate change. Several of these events in Western Mass were posted here.

    On this day, people in 181 countries came together for the most widespread day of environmental action in the planet’s history. At over 5200 events around the world, people gathered to call for strong action and bold leadership on the climate crisis. Over 15,000 photos have been submitted so far!  See them all on Flickr.  Discover more about 350.org here.

    Many images of actions taking place right here in our home state of Massachusetts where submitted. As I looked through the photos I was so happy to see many familiar faces in several of the images.  The commitment of our local families, especially on such a terribly rainy day we had this past Saturday, is fantastic! I put together this collage of wonderful images of local Western Massachusetts families and neighbors taking action and being part of a global message to address climate change:

    350.org International Climate Action Day in Western Massachusetts

    Images pictured from left to right, top to bottom are labeled below.  Click on the label and it will take you to the image on the 350.org Flickr site and will include any descriptions of their events submitted with the photo.

    1. Montague, MA – Montague Neighbors
    2. Lenox, MA – Evergreen Environmental Club
    3. Monterey, MA
    4. Greenfield, MA – Climate Carnival at Greenfield HS. (photo credit: Daniel A. Brown)
    5. Old Deerfield, MA – Sarah Pirtle Concert
    6. Deerfield, MA – Eaglebrook School
    7. Northfield, MA – (photo credit: Maribeth Dawkins)
    8. Ashfield, MA
    9. South Hadley, MA – Mosier Science Buddies Program
    10. Northampton, MA – Laural Park
    11. Amherst, MA – Amherst College (photo credit: Jessica Mestre)
    12. Northampton, MA – N’hampton Climate Action (photo credit: David Solfiell)
    13. Sunderland, MA – Sunderland Kindergarten (photo credit: Susan Breines)
    14. Amherst, MA – Amherst 350 Committee
    15. Williamstown, MA – Williamstown Elementary School (photo credit: Cheryl Sacks)
    16. Cummington, MA – 350 Neighbors (photo credit: Richard Shephard)
    17. Great Barrington, MA – (photo credit: Jamie Goldenberg)
    18. Cummington, MA – 350 Neighbors (photo credit: Richard Shephard)

    Win Tickets to See Dan Zanes and Friends: Family Dance Party (Deadline 10/19/09)

    Win Free Tickets to See
    DAN ZANES AND FRIENDS: FAMILY DANCE PARTY

    At the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall in Amherst, MA

    SHOWTIME:
    Friday, October 23rd at 7pm
    Family Fun Pre-Show Party begins at 6pm

    Hilltown Families and the UMass Fine Arts Center have partnered up to offer a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Dan Zanes and Friends: Family Dance Party at the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall on the UMass campus in Amherst, MA on Friday, October 23rd.  Festivities begin at 6pm. This is an ASL interpreted event. Find out how to enter to win below.

    ABOUT DAN ZANES

    Concerts by Dan Zanes & Friends are always cause for celebration, filled with singing and dancing to songs brimming with warmth, wisdom and wonderful music. The Grammy-Award Winner is joined by his “beautifully scruffy, harmonically precise, spirited, and better-than-ever band” and they’ll be singing songs in both English and Spanish with their own homespun style giving you the feeling that a bunch of wildly talented friends and neighbors just got together to throw a party . . . and everyone’s invited.

    PRE-SHOW EVENTS

    Family Fun Pre-Show Party
    Please come at 6 PM for a pre-show party for families. There will be hands-on craft activities and healthy snacks for everyone while they last.

    Arts Give Back
    Please bring a new or gently used book to donate to Link to Libraries. Link to Libraries collects and distributes new and gently used books to elementary school libraries and nonprofit organizations to enhance the language and literacy skills of children of all cultural backgrounds. Please visit their site (www.linkstolibraries.org) for a list of preferred books or bring some goodies from your personal collection.

    LET’S SWEETEN THE POT

    The winner will receive four copies of a Dan Zane’s album to give to friends and family, courtesy of the UMass Fine Arts Center.

    HOW TO WIN

    Your chance to win a family 4-pack of  tickets to see Dan Zanes and Friends: Family Dance Party at the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall on the UMass campus in Amherst, MA, plus four copies a copy of a Dan Zanes CD is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

    1. POST A COMMENT BELOW and be sure to tell us your
    2. FULL NAME and where you
    3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) You must include your town and state 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 Monday, 10/19/09 @ 7pm (EST).

    If you don’t win you should still go! Tickets are available at the UMass Fine Arts box office, online at UMass Fine Arts Center or by calling 545-2511 or 1-800-999-UMAS.

    Click here to listen and subscribe to the Hilltown Family Variety Show Podcast!

    Autumnal Equinox Sunrise & Sunset Gatherings at UMass Sunwheel

    Autumnal Equinox Sunrise & Sunset Gatherings
    at the UMass Sunwheel in Amherst, MA

    The public is invited to witness the passing of the seasons by joining Dr. Judith Young of the U.Mass. Dept. of Astronomy to watch the Sun rise and set over the tall standing stones in the U.Mass. Sunwheel for the Autumnal Equinox of 2009.

    The sunrise and sunset events will be held on both Tuesday & Wednesday, Sept. 22 and 23, 2009. Visitors for the sunrise viewing should arrive at 6:45 a.m., and visitors for the sunset viewing should arrive at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

    These gatherings will celebrate the Equinox, the International Year of Astronomy, and also 12 years of Sunwheel seasonal events for the public, which have attracted over 10,000 visitors.

    Find out more here: SUNWHEEL GATHERING INFO.

    Win Tickets to See Cirque du Soleil: Alegría (Deadline 09/07/09)

    Cirque du Soleil: Alegría (tickets)

    The Singer in White from Alegría (Photo credit: Camirand)

    We’re very excited to be able to offer a family 4-pack of free tickets to see the Alegría, a Cirque du Soleil classic and an internationally acclaimed production that has entertained more than 10 million people worldwide since its world premiere in Montreal in April 1994.

    Alegría will be performing 8 shows at the Mullins Center at UMass in Amherst, MA, from September 16-20, 2009. Tickets range from $40 to $95 for adult and $32 to $76 for children (12 years old & under).

    Here’s your chance to win a free family 4-pack of tickets to see this amazing show on the premiere night, Wednesday, September 16th at 7:30pm.

    ABOUT THE SHOW

    Alegría is a Spanish word that means happiness, joy and jubilation. An operatic introspection of the struggle for power and the invigorating energy of youth, Alegría relates the tale of power versus weakness, the king versus his jesters, and age against youth.

    A kingdom without a king, Alegría is a world where everyone feels imbued with power —from impish court jester Fleur to the young and vital Bronx, to the aged and aristocratic Birds. Alegría is inhabited by minstrels, rogues, beggars, nobles, children and clowns, the only characters able to adapt to the changing times and the upheaval it brings. In this enigmatic, troubling world of profound changes and uncertainty, despite all the trials and tribulations, there is only one constant: the human spirit remains implacable.

    Alegría features an international cast of 55 performers and musicians from 17 countries and showcases breathtaking acrobatics. Acts include the Synchro Trapeze and the high-speed, high-energy Aerial High Bars in which daring aerialists fly to catchers swinging more than 40 feet above the stage. The vibrancy of youth is alive in Power Track, a brilliant display of synchronized choreography and tumbling on a trampoline system hidden under the stage floor. In Russian Bars, artists fly through the air and perform spectacular somersaults and mid-air turns, landing on bars perched on the sturdy shoulders of catchers.

    HOW TO WIN TICKETS

    Your chance to win a free family 4-pack of tickets to see Alegría is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! Tickets are for the premiere night, Wednesday, September 16th, at 7:30pm at the Mullins Center in Amherst, MA. To win simply

    • POST A COMMENT BELOW (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
    • FULL NAME and where you
    • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) PLEASE include your town and state to be eligible.
    • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
      We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

    IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Winner must provide identification when picking up tickets at the Will Call booth the night of the show. Please only enter if you know for certain that your family will be able to attend this Wednesday night performance. Deadline is Monday, 09/07/08 @ 7pm (EST).

    Food, Inc.: Special Benefit Screening in Amherst for CISA

    Food, Inc.: Discover What “Big Agriculture” Doesn’t Want Farmers to Tell You

    Tomorrow, Monday June 29, at 7:00pm at the Amherst Cinema there will be a special screening of Food, Inc. to benefit Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), followed by a discussion panel.

    In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults. Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising and often shocking truths about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here. (Director Robert Kenner. 94 mins, Rated PG)

    Opens June 26, 2009 at Amherst Cinema in Amherst, MA.  Showtimes: Friday 6/26 through Thursday 7/2 – 2:15pm, 4:15pm, 7:00pm, 9:15pm.  Plus Saturday 6/27 and Sunday 6/28 – 11:45am. NOTE: Monday 6/29 9:15pm show moves to 9:45pm. Baby-friendly Show Tuesday 6/30 2:15pm

    REVIEW BY VARIETY: With a constituency limited to anyone who eats, “Food, Inc.” is a civilized horror movie for the socially conscious, the nutritionally curious and the hungry. Yes, it has a deceptively cheery palette, but helmer Robert Kenner’s doc — which does for the supermarket what “Jaws” did for the beach — marches straight into the dark side of cutthroat agri-business, corporatized meat and the greedy manipulation of both genetics and the law. Doc biz may be in the doldrums, but “Food, Inc.” is so aesthetically polished and politically urgent, theatrical play seems a no-brainer, though it won’t do much for popcorn sales.  Read the rest of this entry »

    HFVS Giveaway (Tickets): Elizabeth Mitchell & Western MA Illustrators’ Guild Artists

    FREE FAMILY PASSES

    To the Eric Carle Museum
    Birthday Bash and Children’s Book Festival
    With Elizabeth Mitchell in Concert!

    Elizabeth Mitchell, a perennial favorite of the Hilltown Family Variety Show, will be performing at the Eric Carle Museum‘s Birthday Bash and Children’s Book Festival this Saturday, June 13th @ 10am, in Amherst, MA.  The festival is from 10am-5pm.

    The museum as offered Hilltown Families four free family passes for the event (2 adults and up to 4 children) .  Here’s your chance to win passes to meet many great illustrators and see Elizabeth Mitchell in concert!

    THE EVENT

    Birthday Bash and Children’s Book Festival
    with Western Massachusetts Illustrators’ Guild
    June 13, 2009
    10:00 am – 5:00 pm (Elizabeth Mitchell concert is at 10am)
    Celebrate, connect and create!
    In honor of Eric Carle’s 80th birthday and the 25th anniversary of the Western Massachusetts Illustrators’ Guild (WMIG), The Carle is hosting a day filled with book-signings, readings, and demonstrations by WMIG artists, hands-on activities in the Art Studio, and special performances by Smithsonian Folkways Children’s music recording artist Elizabeth Mitchell. Complimenting the art in the galleries will be an exhibit of original art by some of New England’s favorite illustrators as well as an art sale, silent auction, and raffle. Click here for more information.

    This event sponsored by FamilyFun magazine and The Bank of Western Massachusetts.

    Participating artists include:

    HOW TO WIN:

    Your chance to win a free family pass (2 adults and up to 4 children)is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply

    1. POST A COMMENT BELOW and be sure to tell us your
    2. FULL NAME and where you
    3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) PLEASE include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who leave a comment (along with their name and town/state) and contact the winner via email, so be sure to leave an
    4. ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).

    IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Thursday (06/11/09) @ 7pm (EST).

    Western MA Nursing Mothers Wanted for Breast Cancer Study

    Tanya Lieberman of Northampton, MA writes:

    I’m helping to recruit nursing mothers for a breast cancer study based at UMass, and am hoping that you might know of mothers who would qualify. We’re looking for:

    1. Mothers who are 25 or younger and nursing, and
    2. Mothers who are in their mid-30’s and nursing, who also had and nursed a baby in their mid 20’s or younger.

    They would be asked to donate a milk sample, which would be picked up from their home, and fill out a questionnaire. They would receive $25 in thanks. We’re trying to recruit locally (within 50 miles of Amherst), but could pick up samples from further away if there are several mothers who qualify. Any interested mothers can contact me at: motherwearblog@gmail.com. More information about this and another breast cancer study using breastmilk is at www.breastmilkresearch.org. We can also provide flyers and brochures about these studies.

    Thank you!
    Tanya Lieberman, IBCLC

    Free Parenting Workshops with Jeanine Fitzgerald (Huntington & Amherst)

    Jeanine Fitzgerald is offering a series of free parenting workshops
    for parents of children birth to age 8.

    Workshop:   Tips for Handling Children's Violent Play and Aggression (03/25/09)

    Workshop:  Tips for Handling Children’s Violent Play and Aggression

    • Wednesday, March 25, 2009
    • 6-8pm at Huntington Middle/High School
    • Free

    Should we ban or facilitate these types of play? This has been the great debate for years. This workshop will discuss the differences in these types of play, the pros and cons associated with them and the current research trends. Participants will learn effective techniques to combat aggression and violence.

    Free on-site childcare for children 2 and over on a first-come, first-served basis with advance registration. Babies are welcome to remain with parents. Early registration recommended. Deadline: March 18th. To register, call Gateway Family Center Coordinator, Kim Savery at 413.667.2203 x3.

    Mark your calendars now to save the date for this remaining workshop:

    • Monday, April 27th: Raising Better Problem Solvers
    • 6-8pm at the Amherst Family Center
    • Free

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