HFVS: Friends Episode with Guest DJ, Steve Denyes of Hullabaloo

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

This week’s show is all about friends. Good friends, unlikely friends, real friends that stick with you through the good times and bad. Steve from Hullabaloo hand picks his favorites and shares a story about how he met his best friend.

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
June 7th & 8th, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: “Out Standing” by Hullabaloo (from the album Raise a Ruckus)

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Guest DJ Playlist

  • Dan Zanes – Fine Friends Are Here – Catch That Train
  • Frances England – Place in Your Heart – Mind of My Own
  • Caspar Babypants – I Don’t Mind – Hot Dog!
  • Melissa Green – The Playdate – Sing Loud! 
  • Okee Dokee Brothers – Lucy & Tighty – Take it Outside
  • Elska – Don’t Make Fun of the Goobler – Middle of Nowhere
  • Hilltown Story Intro
  • Hullabaloo – Shy Kid Blues – Shy Kid Blues
  • Hullabaloo – 365 Days on Earth – Shy Kid Blues
  • Hullabaloo – Best Friends Forever – Shy Kid Blues
  • Dan Zanes – Side By Side – Night Time!
  • Randy Kaplan – Joe & Finn – The Kids Are All Id
  • Frances England – Cookies & Milk – Mind of My Own 
  • Jack Johnson – We’re Going to Be Friends – Sing-Alongs and Lullabies for
  • the Film Curious George
  • The Rembrandts – I’ll Be There For You – The Rembrandts: Greatest Hits
  • Bruno Mars – Count on Me – Doo-Wops & Hooligans
  • Randy Newman –  You’ve Got a Friend in Me – Toy Story
  • James Taylor – You’ve Got a Friend – James Taylor Greatest Hits: Vol. 1
  • Dan Zanes – Surrounded in Friendship – House Party
  • Dan Zanes – House Party Time – House Party

Locally Produced Family CD to Benefit Haiti

Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti
Locally Produced by Spare the Rock Records

Hilltown Families friends Bill Childs and Dean Jones have joined forces to produce "Many Hands," a locally produced CD of family music to benefit the Haitian People’s Support Project. This forthcoming CD will feature new music from Dan Zanes, Pete Seeger, Elizabeth Mitchell, They Might Be Giants and many more. National release date: Aug. 10th, 2010.

With a national release on August 10th, Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti is the first release from Spare the Rock Records, based out of Western MA.  This unique collection of songs is filled with uplifting messages from some of today’s very best family musicians.

After the January 12th, 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of the Haitian capital, family musician Dean Jones (Dog on Fleas) found himself feeling helpless and desperately wanting to help the people of Haiti. Having close friends in Haiti and feeling a deep love and respect for the music from the region, Jones felt the need to create something that could help the ongoing rebuilding effort.

The idea for Many Hands came to him in the middle of the night and the very next day several of his fellow family musicians signed on. “When I had the idea for the ‘Many Hands’ CD, I knew without a doubt that I could count on the big-hearted kindie community.” said Jones. “The generosity and the amazing work of all the musicians and everyone involved definitely exceeded my initial expectations.”

Almost all of the tracks on the album are previously unreleased, most of them recorded especially for this release. The gathering of artists featured here is a strong assortment of the unique and special talents creating and performing for today’s all ages audiences, from the legendary Pete Seeger to family hip-hop star Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. In addition, everyone involved in the process of getting this album out into the world from replication to distribution has also either drastically discounted or donated their services. Proceeds from this release will benefit the Haitian People’s Support Project and their long-standing work to help the people of Haiti.

Many Hands will be released as the debut album of Spare the Rock Records founded by kindie rock connoisseur Bill Childs. “After speaking with Dean it was immediately obvious to me that this would be a great record, and, just as importantly, that it would have the potential to help keep people’s attention on the ongoing recovery of Haiti,” recalls Childs on how the partnership came to fruition. “Dean asked for some help reaching out to a few artists, and that just naturally flowed into my helping the record get a wider release; ultimately, that meant starting a label.” Childs produces, with his kids, the weekly radio show Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child which airs every Saturday on 103.3FM Valley Free Radio from 7-9am, and 93.9FM The River from 8-10am. Bill also writes about kids’ music for Hilltown Families and various parenting magazines,  has produced numerous kids’ concerts and is the co founder of KindieFest, the family music conference.

Musicians include on the CD include: Dan Zanes, Pete Seeger, Elizabeth Mitchell, They Might be Giants, Gustafer YellowgoldCaspar Babypants, Frances England, Dog on Fleas, Lunch Money, Baby Gramps, Recess Monkey, The Deedle Deedle Dees, Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem, Bonga and the Vodou Drums of Haiti, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Jonathan Coulton, Uncle Rock, Grenadilla, Dean Jones, Emily Curtis, Randy Kaplan, and Jerrice Baptiste. – CD release shows are planned on both coasts, with details available at ManyHandsCD.com.

Ticket Giveaway: Mother’s Day Concert with Dan Zanes in Northampton

Win a Pair of Tickets to See:
Sunday, May 9th, 2010
At First Churches in Northampton, MA

Whole Children presents,"Everyone Has a Voice" - the Whole Children Community Chorus in concert with Dan Zanes. Choral direction by Joan Cornachio and special guest, local musician Mister G.

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!

We have two pairs of free tickets to see this heart-warming concert at First Churches in Northampton on Sunday, May 9th at 3pm.  All of the ticket sales from this concert will benefit Whole Children and its slate of programs for children of all abilities, including classes in theater, martial arts, gymnastics, and team sports. Deadline to enter to win is 05/05/10. Find out how to enter to win below.


On a recent afternoon, the voices of more than 50 children sang out, “All things are possible if you only believe” at Whole Children, an after-school center for children with special needs in Hadley, MA.

The song could well be the anthem for the Whole Children Community Chorus, a group of children with and without disabilities. They have been rehearsing together since February in preparation for a Mother’s Day concert with Grammy-winning musician Dan Zanes.

The concert, “Everyone has a Voice,” is the brainchild of a group of mothers at Whole Children who recognized that music would be a great way to bridge the social gap that often develops between children with and without disabilities. They also thought that singing in concert with a nationally known musician would give the kids a sense of pride and a chance to show off what they can do, rather than focus on what they can’t do.

Whole Children got a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the idea, and the Whole Children Community Chorus was born. The group is made up of kids ages 6-14, some with disabilities, others without. After months of rehearsing together they have mastered a full program of songs, which they will sing with Zanes on stage at The First Churches in Northampton.


Here are two things you should know right off about Dan Zanes.  Two things that set him apart from the huge and festive field of people who have in the past few years begun making music for families and people of all ages in a way that is changing the face of America, or the sound of it at least. First, he is making homemade family music and encouraging his friends and neighbors to do the same. Second, he is the guy who is always interested in singing along with people everywhere, which brings us to his mission, if you can call it a mission: Zanes is introducing his musical friends to his neighborhood friends and then showing everybody not just that they can play together but that they can also feel pretty good while doing so. In this sense, Zanes is a twenty-first century version of the guy, who in the old days, used to conduct the town band from the gazebo though in lieu of a gazebo he’s playing places like Carnegie Hall and the Melbourne International Arts Festival where no matter how you say it, good music is good. He is a ringmaster, introducing new songs and reconnecting people to songs that have always been there, and still are—it’s just that people forgot about them.

Take, for example, Dan Zanes and Friends’ Catch That Train!, the 2007 Grammy Award winner for Best Musical Album for Children (co-released with Starbucks/Hear Music). It is the one CD in America today that brings together the Kronos Quartet, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Father Goose, Zanes’ mother-in-law and the children of South Africa’s Agape Orphanage to sing Zulu folk songs, an old labor organizing tune, a song about the joys of farming the English countryside, and of course a few train songs—all in an instrumental mix that highlights cuatros and lap steels and does not in any way discourage the use of trombone.

Dan Zanes continues his traditionof bringing people together right here in Western MA with the Whole Children Community Chorus!


Whole Children, Inc. was started in 2004 by a group of mothers of kids with disabilities who saw a need for a place for their children to take typical after school enrichment classes. In four short years it went from serving 40 children to more than 400. The center holds classes for kids of all abilities — art, music, sports, theater, martial arts, and more. Kids who have never had the opportunity to play on a team or sing on stage are now taking theater classes, going rock climbing, and shooting hoops on a team. The center has raised the bar for a whole lot of children, showing them (and the rest of the world) all they can do if they’re given the opportunity.


Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Dan Zanes with the Whole Children Community Chorus at First Churches in Northampton, MA on Sunday, May 9th at 3pm is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. SHARE YOUR FAVORITE DAN ZANES SONG/ALBUM 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 two winners and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 05/05/10 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go!  Tickets are $15 each or four for $50, and sales benefit Whole Children. Tickets are available from the website (www.wholechildren.org), or by calling Whole Children at 413-585-8010.

Inclusive Community Choir Forming in Western MA for Dan Zanes Concert

Valle Dwight of Hadley, MA writes:

Whole Children is forming inclusive chorus to perform in concert with Dan Zanes!

Whole Children, an afterschool center for children with special needs in Hadley, MA, announced its first-ever Inclusive Community Choir, a chorus made up of children with and without disabilities. The chorus, supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, will rehearse throughout the winter in preparation for a concert with Grammy-award winning children’s musician Dan Zanes on Mother’s Day in Northampton, MA.  The ticket sales from this concert will be a fund-raiser for Whole Children.

The center is looking for children, ages 8 and up, interested in joining the choir. Rehearsals will be Monday evenings from 5-6:15 p.m. in Hadley, starting in February. Cost of participation is $65 to offset the cost of a choral director and assistants, with a special rate for siblings.

Guardians of interested chorus members should call Whole Children at 413-585-8010, or register online at www.wholechildren.org.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Win Free Tickets to See

At the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall in Amherst, MA

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.


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.


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.


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.


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!

Holiday Time In Brooklyn


This one goes out to all our transplants from Brooklyn, New York to the Hilltowns and Pioneer Valley:

“When our friends at Heifer (www.heifer.org) asked if I would do a holiday video, little did I know that a llama, a goat and a cow would visit my street in Brooklyn. I invited a bunch of high energy neighbors to join me for a crazy afternoon video shoot of laughing, strumming guitars, playing flutes, trumpets, saxophones, banging on drums, and dancing madly, all for the sake of helping Heifer International continue to raise money to combat world hunger.” – Dan Zanes

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