Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am April 22nd & 23rd, 2017 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured Video: “World of Wonder,” the title track from Alison Faith Levy’s debut album for children World of Wonder… a paean to the natural world and all its mystery. Animated by filmmaker Danny Plotnick.
Hilltown Family Variety Show
Earth Day Episode
with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn
This special Earth Day Episode by Charity Kahn from Charity and the JAMband highlights songs and concepts that explore compassion, kindness, and our interconnectedness with Earth and all beings. The episode underscores the reminder that our love and intention are powerful forces that can inspire all of us to act in ways that protect and take care of the Earth. In addition to music along these lines, the show also includes a story (theme: interbeing) and a guided meditation (theme: non-harming). Because every day should be Earth Day! — www.jamjamjam.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am April 15th & 16th, 2017 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: EARTH DAY by Charity and the JAMband
Twofers & Threefers Episode
with Guest DJ, Randy Kaplan
Randy returns to the Hilltown airwaves with a set of twofers and threefers: short mini-segments of two or three related songs——songs by the same group, in the same style, or whose themes or subject matter connect in some way. You’ll hear blues, folk, country, calypso, a few off-the-beaten-path numbers, and even a show tune lullaby sung by Randy’s wife, Julie May Kaplan…and, of course, a few trademark Randy songs as well. — www.randykaplan.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
April 1st & 2nd, 2017 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Springtime is filled with sightings of all kinds of exciting natural wonders. The season’s outdoor appeal makes it a perfect time of year not only for enjoying our natural surroundings, but for learning about conservation and species preservation, too!
In particular, springtime is the season for bird sightings as Western Massachusetts becomes filled with a variety of migrating bird species in the early spring months. Species to look for in the spring include Baltimore Orioles, Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Whip-Poor-Wills, American Kestrels, Indigo Buntings, Cedar Waxwings, American Robins, Carolina Wrens, American Goldfinches, Great Blue Herons, Red-winged Blackbirds, and many others! Knowing the names of the birds we share our home with and being able to identify them by their songs and behavior helps us connect to the seasons and strengthens our sense of place. Read the rest of this entry »
The bird populations in Western Massachusetts have inspired many poets and writers to pick up their pens and compose verses dedicated to our feathered friends, celebrating nature and the land. Cummington native William Cullen Bryant, and Amherst native Emily Dickinson, both wrote poems about the bobolink. This intriguing species migrates back to New England in the late Spring (mid-late May) where it prefers large grasslands, such as hay fields, where they can build their nests on the ground. They are impressive birds, with a curious and clownish fluttering that is a joy to see in the late spring and early summer. Due to their preference to nest in hay fields often utilized by farmers, The Bobolink Project seeks to work with farmers to delay haying fields in order to protect grassland birds such as bobolinks.
Mama Doni celebrates the Jewish holiday of Purim on Hilltown Family Variety Show! Celebrating the universal theme of Purim: standing up to adversity, having a voice, self empowerment, Mama Doni shares classic songs of strength. This unique Radio Show will give listeners a flavor of Purim — from the fun and crazy to the true meaning and message of this cool Jewish holiday. Produced by Doni Zasloff and Eric Lindberg
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am March 11 & 12, 2017 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: What to wear for the holiday of Purim? Mama Doni and her band have some engaging ideas to sort through the choices in their original song, “Costume Conundrum.” Learn more about the Mama Doni Band online at mamdoni.com.
Living Seasonally & Cooking Seasonally:
Pancakes & Maple Syrup
Did you know that pancakes are over 6,000 years old? Although not in the present form we know today, the predecessors to the modern pancake consisted of ground wheat cooked in a form of a pancake. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans ate a form of pancake sweetened with honey! Later in history, American colonists ate pancakes also known as Johnny Cakes.
Modern day technology and contemporary recipes have added to our cultural repertoire of recipes. Take for instance this demonstration on how to make maple cream:
Mardi Gras Episode
with Guest DJs, Johnette Downing & Scott Billington
LISTEN TO PODCAST:
Children’s book author and musician Johnette Downing and Grammy Award winning producer Scott Billington offer a carnival of Louisiana roots music; a showcase of Cajun, New Orleans Rhythm and Blues, Zydeco, Brass Band and Jazz music by Louisiana artists.
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am March 4th & 5th, 2017 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: Reading Rocks! By Johnette Downing Children’s book author and musician Johnette Downing sings “Reading Rocks!” from her Reading Rocks! CD to get children boppin’ into books and rockin’ into reading! – www.johnettedowning.com
Professor Longhair – “Go to the Mardi Gras” (The Complete Ric & Ron Recordings,
Vol. 6: Classic New Orleans R&B and More, 1958-1965)
The Hawkettes – “Mardi Gras Mambo” (The History of Rhythm & Blues, Volume 3 –
The Rock’n’roll Years)
Zachary Richard – “File’ Gumbo” (Zack’s Bon Ton)
Johnette Downing – “Bon Jour Mes Amis,” (From the Gumbo Pot)
Papillion – “Cocodrie” (Cajun for Kids)
Johnette Downing – “Why the Possum Has a Large Grin,” (Reading Rocks!)
Huey Smith and the Clowns – “Don’t You Just Know It” (Having a Good Time With
Huey ‘Piano’ Smith & His Clowns – The Very Best of, Vol. 1)
Robert Parker – “Barefootin’” (Introduction to Robert Parker)
Fats Domino – “Walkin’ to New Orleans” (The Fats Domino Jukebox: 20 Greatest
Nathan the the Zydeco Cha Chas – “Festival Zydeco” (Creole Crossroads)
Dirty Dozen Brass Band – “Little Liza Jane” (My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now)
Johnette Downing and Jimmy LaRocca’s Original Dixieland Jazz Band – “Dixieland
Jazz” (Dixieland Jazz for Children)
Louie Prima – “Banana Split for My Baby,” (Louis Prima Collectors Series)
Louis Armstrong – “What a Wonderful World,” (What a Wonderful World)
Johnette Downing and Jimmy LaRocca’s Original Dixieland Jazz Band – “It’s Time for
Mardi Gras,” (Dixieland Jazz for Children)
About Johnette Downing
Dubbed the “Musical Ambassador to Children” and the “Pied Piper of Louisiana Music Traditions,” Johnette Downing is a multi-award winning children’s book author and musician performing concerts and author visits for children, and workshops and keynote for educators globally. Dedicated to celebrating childhood, sharing cultures and fostering literacy through her music, books and programs, Johnette has performed in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Central America, North America and the Caribbean, has received twenty-one awards and has received rave reviews in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Disney Family Fun Magazine, Parenting Magazine, Parents Magazine and many more.
Scott Billington is a musician, writer and Grammy® Award winning record producer. With a discography of over 100 albums of roots-based music, Scott has received the Porretta (Italy) Sweet Soul Music Award, the Blues Foundation’s Keeping the Blues Alive Award, and the Offbeat (New Orleans) Lifetime Achievement Award. His records have garnered a total of ten Grammy® nominations, along with awards from the French Academie du Jazz, Living Blues magazine and many others. His writing has appeared in the Oxford American, Gambit, the Boston Globe and numerous other publications. Scott’s harmonica playing has been featured on albums by artists as diverse as Appalachian folk singer Hazel Dickens, rockabilly musician Sleepy LaBeef and soul singer Irma Thomas.
Writer Ayesha Siddiqi is quoted as giving this piece of advice: “Be the person you needed when you were younger.” Working to inspire younger generations can ensure that your vision grows, expands, and lives on beyond you. Many young people do have peers as well as older adults in their lives who inspire them to do important deeds such as organize within their communities, fight injustice, and educate others. Identifying leaders can help young people to discover qualities they would like to cultivate for themselves.
Making Democracy Work in My Community is a video contest for Massachusetts teens. The contest asks young people to create a two-minute video about a person who is “making democracy work.” This challenges teens to think about leaders who foster dialogues, organize action, and encourage civic participation from other community members. The contest will amplify young voices as teens have the chance to articulate what they admire about their chosen community leaders. Finally, the contest will have the broader impact of shining a spotlight on politically active people in our neighborhoods, thus encouraging everyone to get more involved in the democratic process. Read the rest of this entry »
VALENTINE’S DAY EPISODE
with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn
Listen to Podcast:
Moon hugs and star kisses! Our friend Charity Kahn from Charity and the JAMband in San Francisco wishes us all a Happy Valentine’s Day in this archived episode of the Hilltown Family Variety Show which originally aired for Valentine’s Day on Valley Free Radio in 2012. – www.jamjamjam.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am Feb. 11th & 12th, 2017 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
This week, Little Miss Ann, a former Chicago School Teacher, first generation Filipina American, and decade long kids musician, has created a playlist with the theme “Yes I Can!” She chose songs to inspire and empower kids to recognize their strengths, be themselves, and try new things. This special playlist includes artists like Cat Stevens, Charlie Hope, Dean Jones, and Frances England. – www.littlemissann.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am Jan 28th & 29th 2017 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
In addition to your literary explorations of African Americans’ creativity and contributions to U.S. literature, explore African American History Month in Western Massachusetts through the different cultural organizations and institutions that educate the public on the history of African Americans in our region.
One of the most significant pieces of New England history is the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes, stops, and places throughout 14 northern states that were established to help escaped slaves to freedom.
Ice harvesting is embedded within the history and cultural traditions of New England. So much so, in fact, that it also influenced the literary reflections of writers such as Henry David Thoreau who described the harvesting of ice in his chapter, “The Pond in Winter,” from Walden. As you explore ice harvesting through living history demonstrations and artifacts from the past, read Thoreau’s chapter on “The Pond in Winter” for historical understanding from a literary perspective. Read the rest of this entry »
with Guest DJs, Michael & Tony Napolitano
LISTEN TO PODCAST:
Preschool of Rock takes you on a magical musical journey from the late 1940’s to present day music.
Michael Napolitano hosts the show with his father, Tony Napolitano. Their musical experiences span 7 decades from Tony’s childhood singing Doo-wop on street corners in Newark NJ to Michael’s youth Rocking drums in the basement! With songs like Preschool of Rock’s Family Song they discuss how the Napolitano Family continues this musical lineage as Michael’s children sing on this track with their parents and grandparents. From Bobby Darin to Led Zeppelin, this show is certain to educate and entertain. Be sure to wear your dancing shoes!!
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am Jan 7th & 8th, 2016 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Local museums are an experiential way to explore the history of New England holiday traditions and how our present customs were influenced by the cultural practices of the past. Whether you’re interested in learning about food traditions from the past, historic decorations or customary festivities, museum exhibitions and demonstrations provide us with tangible examples in their exploration of history and culture. Specifically, living history museums and events are engaging ways to witness firsthand how holidays were celebrated in early New England. Hands-on activities and demonstrations create unique experiences for visitors to learn about different holiday festivities. It’s also a great opportunity to see how the season was celebrated in a non-commercial way; many decorations and gifts were handmade!
Hanukkah is the Jewish holiday known as the Festival of Lights. For eight days, Jewish families light one more candle of the eight that create the menorah each evening. In Western Massachusetts there are many places to explore the traditions of Hanukkah and Jewish culture through community events and local museums. Bring your family to celebrate while participating and learning about customs of the holiday.
Here in this video is a brief history of Hanukkah and the origin of many customs:
In 1966, Dr. Maulana Karenga established an African American and Pan-African holiday, Kwanzaa, based on traditional African “first fruit” (harvest) celebrations. Organized around seven principles (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith), Kwanzaa aims to preserve, continually revitalize, and promote African American culture. A week-long celebration observed from December 26 to January 1. During this time, look for annual community-based celebrations in which to participate.
Share this video with your kids, discovering the history and tradition of this celebration:
The Malcolm X Cultural Center at UMass in Amherst hosts an annual Kwanzaa Celebration. Other annual Kwanzaa celebrations take place in Springfield and Pittsfield. Learn more about the symbols, values, and history of Kwanzaa online at www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org.
Three Kings Day Customs: Food, Giving & Celebrating
The intersection of food and culture are great ways to make learning connections! Make Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings Bread) at home and discover this delicious food tradition!
On January 6th in many Hispanic countries, the Day of the Three Kings, or Los Reyes, is celebrated. This day marks the biblical adoration of the magi or the three kings that came to visit the newborn baby Jesus. Each king comes bearing a gift. Traditionally on this day gifts are exchanged and, on the island of Puerto Rico, another sweet and interesting tradition occurs with children writing a letter to los reyes asking for gifts. Then, on the night before the Day of the Three Kings, children gather cut grass and place it in a box underneath their bed. The grass is meant for the kings’ camels to eat. In exchange for the grass, and in gratitude, the kings leave a special little gift for the children!
Lookin’ Back and Forth
with Guest DJ, Danny Weinkauf
Danny Weinkauf, of They Might Be Giants and Danny Weinkauf and the Red Pants Band, looks back to the past and forward into the future with old favorites and brand new releases from fellow kindie artists. He also shares a couple of requests from his own family members.
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am December 10th & 11th, 2016 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: “Look at Those Clouds” – Music by Danny Weinkauf’s album Red Pants Band.
1. Danny Weinkauf – “Picky Eaters” (Red Pants Band)
2. Fountains of Wayne – “Survival Car” (Fountains of Wayne)
3. Danny Weinkauf – “My Magic Helicopter“ (Red Pants Band)
4. They Might Be Giants. – “Moles, Hounds Bears, Bees, and Hares “ (Why?)
5. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo – “Secret Superhero” (Infinity Plus One)
6. Justin Roberts – “Lemonade” (Lemonade)
7. XTC – “Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead” (Nonsuch)
8. Danny Weinkauf – “Look at Those Clouds” (Red Pants Band)
9. Francis England – “Explorer of the World” (Explorer of the World)
10. The Okee Dokee Brothers – “Jackalope” (Saddle Up)
11. They Might Be Giants – “Elephants” (Why?)
12. Stacy Peasley – “Rocketship” (RSVP)
13. Jumpin’ Jamie – “Astronauts Love” (Single)
14. Steve songs – “Song without a rhyme” (Orangutan Van)
15. Danny Weinkauf – “I’m a Girl (Step Aside)” (Single)
Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Holiday Segment
Non-Commercial Gift Giving
Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News! Each month, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield, joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).
What is folklore? Folklore includes the traditions and stories of a culture or community that are passed down for generations. Typically, folklore is passed on through word of mouth in the form of a narration. Over time, stories can change, morph, and transform depending on the place, culture, context and the storyteller. That’s the beauty of a folktale; it has many added layers as the story moves from narrator to narrator, place to place. Storytelling is an art, both the narration and the listening.
Some of our holiday traditions today are a result of folklore and myth. For example, the contemporary Christmas tree has an interesting past with a story and history that has been passed down from generation to generation. From its original form with the ancient Norse pagans to its present day form in the houses of those who celebrate Christmas, the Christmas tree, like many folktales, has changed shape and meaning as it has been adapted to new cultures, people and places.
Excerpt from Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts (Seasons: Nov/Dec), a downloadable bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.
Where does the Christmas tree come from? Did you know that the origin of the Christmas tree has roots in ancient Norse paganism from Northern Germany? Evergreens were seen as magical entities due to their ability to withstand the frigid, cold winter and stay green. During the winter solstice, Norse pagans, who celebrated the Norse god Jul (pronounced Yule) brought entire evergreens into their homes. These trees were called Yule Trees and were believed to protect the home during the darkest times of the year.
Learn more about the origins of Christmas traditions and symbols…
Hilltown Families has a new directory coming this spring! Our Health & Wellness Directory will be a comprehensive list of services and practitioners that can support the health and wellness of you and your family. If you would like to nominate a local Health & Wellness business or service provider, or would like to be included in this list yourself, reach out to our amazing Sales & Marketing Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org. (Online publish date: Spring 2017)
Established in 2005, Hilltown Families has been supporting community-based education through community engagement for over a decade! With your support we can continue to connect community members of all ages with learning and value-based opportunities throughout the four counties of western Massachusetts! Make a tax-deductible donation to Hilltown Families today! - Hilltown Families is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Welcome to Hilltown Families, an online grassroots communication network for families living throughout the four counties of Western Massachusetts. Hilltown Families believes in creating resilient and sustainable communities by developing and strengthening a sense of place in our children and citizens through community-based education and engagement. We work to accomplish this by highlighting the embedded learning that is found everywhere in our communities, making the information accessible to families, and giving parents/educators access to opportunities that support their children’s interests and education while encouraging community engagement.
Hilltown Families was founded in 2005 by Sienna Wildfield and is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
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"Hilltown Families keeps us connected with all the amazing educational and cultural activities and resources that abound here in W. Mass and curates them in a way to let us know just what’s out there for the many varied interests of our young families and communities,while creating networks of support and growth." - Kara Kitchen (Plainfield, MA)
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