HFVS Underground Railroad Episode (Podcast/Radio Show)

Listen to Podcast:

Hilltown Family Variety Show
Underground Railroad Episode

WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: “Follow the Drinking Gourd.” According to American folklore, this song was a “musical” map which led fugitive slaves north to freedom. For a history of the song, see www.followthedrinkinggourd.org.


Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

Discover the Songs: Lyrics & History

Read the rest of this entry »

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Win Tickets to See Mavis Staples at The Calvin Theater

Mavis Staples
plus Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside
Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA
Thursday, November 7th, 2013 8pm

Mavis Staples, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and National Heritage Fellowship Award recipient, comes to the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA, on Nov 7th! Enter to win a pair of tickets for a parents’ night out!

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

For November we are pleased to offer a chance to win a pair of tickets to see Mavis Staples plus Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Thursday, Nov 7th, 2013.

Win tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Monday, 11/4/13 by 11:59pm (EST).  Details below…

ABOUT MAVIS STAPLES

It has been more than sixty years since Mavis Staples began singing with her ground-breaking American gospel, soul, and R&B singing family group, the Staple Singers. She is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and a National Heritage Fellowship Award recipient. One True Vine, the follow-up to 2010’s Grammy-winning album You Are Not Alone features new songs written specifically for Staples by returning producer Jeff Tweedy (Wilco).

Mavis has been described by Rolling Stone as having “an almost superhuman ability to implant the pure power of passion and emotion.” She just returned from a series of dates in Australia with Bonnie Raitt and dates in New Zealand with Wilco directly prior to her appearance at the White House for the filming of a PBS All-Star show dedicated to Memphis Soul this past spring. Mavis will be touring internationally in support of One True Vine including a stop in Western MA at the Calvin Theater! – mavisstaples.com

Read the rest of this entry »

Equality for All: Spoken Word Video Contest for Western MA Youth

Hampshire County Law Day 2013
Spoken Word Contest for Middle & High School Youth

Hampshire County LAW DAY 2013: A Spoken Word Video Contest for Middle & High School Aged Youth. — Spoken word poetry is a powerful, high energy form of storytelling intended for onstage performance. It has ties to hip hop, modern poetry, postmodern performance and monologue theater, as well as jazz, blues and folk music.

As we teach our children how to conceptualize the world, they are most certainly forming their own opinions about what it means to live and exist within it.  We give them lots of information on the past, and perhaps even more than that, we give them advice and guidance for navigating today and the future.  We share with them critical information about our history – both as individuals and as a country and culture – and we try to help them make sense of it.  Whatever they gain from it, they then use to find their own place in the world.  But rarely do we ask them to tell us what it means to them.

When we teach students about things like feminism, civil rights, tolerance, and equality, the topics become important to them not when we teach them, but when they find a way to connect to them.  And what better way to find out what they’ve learned than to ask them to share what these things mean to them?

The upcoming Hampshire County Law Day (which will take place on May 1st, 2013) is offering an opportunity for middle and high school students to do just that.  Youth interested in making themselves heard can create an original piece of spoken word to the Northwest District Attorney’s Citizen Advisory Board – pieces will be reviewed by the board and three students will be given the chance to share their voice and their perspective during the event.  Held to celebrate the steady development of equality in America, the event focuses on the same ideals shared by those who wrote the Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago, as well as followers of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose famous, “I Have a Dream,” speech took place 50 years ago.

Submissions to the contest should be in video form, as the most important element in spoken word is the delivery of the poet’s work.  The deadline for submission is 4pm on Tuesday, April 23rd.  For more information about both the contest and the event, including specific content guidelines for submissions, visit northwesternda.org.

Underground Railroad History & Quiz

Underground Railroad Quiz
Listen to the HFVS Podcast Before Taking

Lloyd Miller from the Deedle Deedle Dees writes:

Our friends at the Hilltown Family Variety Show (HFVS) put together a special program all about the Underground Railroad. Our songs “Underground Railroad” and “Henry Box Brown” are on it. So are great versions of traditional songs by Taj Mahal and Bill Harley, a story read by Morgan Freeman and much more. Listen to it right now:

And listen carefully. That’s the only way you’ll pass the quiz we made up related to the show. The quiz is for 4th grade and up (or advanced readers of any age) and may require some extra research in addition to listening to the HFVS podcast.  Post your answers on a blog or Facebook page or public Google doc and share your link here.

Try to avoid using Wikipedia. Searching songbooks, history books, Bibles, and other tomes you hopefully have on your family’s shelves — or in your local library — will be a much more enjoyable way to find the information you don’t know already (Western MA resources available here).

  1. In our song “Underground Railroad,” what is the secret password needed to board? It’s actually three words.
  2. Name three cities or towns that were part of the Underground Railroad — and that we mention in our song about it.
    What is the “drinking gourd” described in the story read by Morgan Freeman and sung about by Taj Mahal?
  3. In the traditional song “Wade In the Water,” (Bill Harley’s version can be heard on the podcast) who, as the lyrics ask, are “these children all dressed in red” and “that young girl dressed in white?” There isn’t one right answer — tell us what you’ve read and what you think. (Hint: Many spirituals and Underground Railroad songs contained coded lyrics and secret messages)
  4. Henry “Box” Brown mailed himself to freedom in a box. In which city did he finally climb out of his box a free man?
  5. A state and a musical instrument are mentioned in “Nelly Grey” (Phil Rosenthal sings the version you hear on the podcast). Which state? Which instrument?
  6. Why was “Nelly Grey” written (Another question without one answer. We want your opinions as well as the results of your research)?
  7. “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” (Leadbelly and a choir close out the podcast with their version) describes a trip to heaven — or to freedom — in a real or metaphorical chariot. Which prophet left life on this Earth in a chariot according to the Old Testament?

Deedle Deedle Dee-Endorsed History Resources

“The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats” at The Carle this Summer

50th Anniversary of The Snowy Day

The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats pays tribute to award-winning author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (1916–1983), whose children’s book,The Snowy Day,was the first modern full-color picture book to feature an African-American protagonist, published in 1962 at the height of the civil rights movement in America. The exhibition marks the 50th Anniversary of The Snowy Day which paved the way for multiracial representation  in American children’s literature.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art presents a new exhibit – The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack KeatsOpening on June 26th, 2012 the exhibit is made up of over 80 of Keats’ works, including sketches, collages, and drawings, photographs of the author, and some of his less well-known Asian art and haiku, and will run through October 14, 2012.

Keats’ work is significant not only in that his children’s books (The Snowy Day, Whistle For Willie, and Peter’s Chair) have been read to and loved by many families, but is important also in that it features African-American protagonists in run-down urban settings.  In fact, The Snowy Day was the first full color children’s book to feature an African-American protagonist.  The settings depicted in Keats’ work reflect the environment in which he grew up, and the stories portray African-American characters in environments representative of urban life during the 1960’s.

By visiting the exhibit, families can begin a group dialogue about civil rights, urban life, and racial politics.  These themes are best for older students, who are beginning to learn about or have some background knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement, but Keats’ illustrations can be appreciated by kids of all ages!  Older students can also use the exhibit as a means of learning and thinking about how art is used to convey big ideas – not only does Keats provide effective illustrations for his stories, he offers a truthful portrayal of urban African-American life. For more information visit www.carlemuseum.org.


Illustration Credit: Ezra Jack Keats, “Peter, Archie and Willie crept out of the hideout.” Final illustration for Goggles!, 1969. Paint and collage on board. Ezra Jack Keats papers, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi. Copyright Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.

HFVS Underground Railroad Episode (Podcast/Radio Show)

Listen to Podcast:

Hilltown Family Variety Show
Underground Railroad Episode

Saturday from 9-10am
Originally airing on January 23rd, 2010
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA


New Podcasts ♦ Archived Podcasts Subscribe to Podcast
Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

Discover the Songs: Lyrics & History

Read the rest of this entry »

Giveaway: (DVD) March On! The Day Martin Changed the World

March On!
The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World
… and more stories about African American history

This January, as America prepares to commemorate the birthday of our country’s most iconic civil rights leader and Black History Month, families can learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr. and other heroes of African American history in an entertaining and educational new Scholastic Storybook Treasure DVD release, March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World, which includes more than an hour of inspiring true stories.

Hilltown Families is offering one winning family a copy of this newly release DVD.  Deadline to enter to win is Monday, 01/18/10 @ 7pm. Details below.

ABOUT THE TITLE STORY

The lead story, March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World, is a moving account of the day when Martin Luther King, Jr. presented his “I Have a Dream” speech to the world during the civil rights March on Washington in1963. The story is told by Dr. King’s sister, Dr. Christine King Ferris, with colorful animation of London Ladd’s illustrations. As a bonus, the DVD includes an interview with the author, Dr. King Ferris. As the American Library Association noted about the production, “Lynn Whitfield’s sensitive and stirring narration is enriched with audio clips of Mahalia Jackson’s powerful song, crowd noises, and clips from MLK’s speech. Music by Michael Bacon sets the tone for the film and seamlessly accommodates songs of the era.”

ABOUT THE DVD

Three more historical tales follow King’s amazing, true-life story, each carefully adapted from award-winning children’s books: Martin’s Big Words (adapted from the book by Doreen Rapport, illustrated by Michael Collier), Rosa (written and narrated by Nikki Giovanni, illustrations by Michael Sporn), Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad (based on the book by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Kadir Nelson). Together the stories have won 15 awards, including the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children’s Video, Caldecott Honor Award, and selection as a American Library Association Notable Video. Celebrity narration by Whitfield, Michael Clark Duncan and others, plus engaging music, make these tales come to life for a new generation of Americans.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World from Scholastic Storybook Treasures 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 and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) PLEASE 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, 01/18/10 @ 7pm (EST).

%d bloggers like this: