Suggested Events for December 9th – 15th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

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

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

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Bulletin Board

Dec 8-10

Welcome Yule celebrates the return of light with an annual family show of music, dance, song and story to drive the dark away. The show is set on Solstice Eve until the sun returns in the morning. The theme is the mythology and the natural world at this point in the annual round. Songs of animals, trees, and spirits join the wassails, carols, horn dance, mummers play, and the passing of the yule log. Friday & Saturday Dec. 8 and 9, 7:30pm & Sunday Dec. 10, 2pm. Shea Theater, Turners Falls. Tickets $12 adults, $10 seniors and children 5-16 years. Tickets: Amherst Books, in Amherst, Broadside Bookshop in Northampton, World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield, at the door or online. For information and reservations, visit welcomeyule.org.

Dec 8-10

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker! Join Clara as she battles the Rat King to save the Nutcracker Prince, and then travel to the enchanted Snow Forest and beautiful Kingdom of Sweets. Featuring guest artists from Carolina Ballet & Festival Ballet. Live on stage December 8-10 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. New this year: Our Sensory and Family Safe Presentation on December 8 has lighting and sound accommodations for reduced sensory experiences, and a narrator will assist the audience at the start of the performance. Get tickets today at aomtheatre.com. For more information about the Pioneer Valley Ballet company and school, visit pioneervalleyballet.org.

Dec 8-20

The Polar Express Movie at South Hadley’s Tower Theaters. Enjoy a family adventure on The Polar Express this holiday season. Tower Theaters will host a limited run of the classic movie, The Polar Express, from December 8th through 20th. Tom Hanks stars in this inspiring adventure based on the beloved children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. Tickets for all shows are just $5 and includes a special treat for all young guests. Great for families, school, and youth groups for a low-cost holiday outing. Showtimes can be found at www.towertheaters.com.

Dec 10

The Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Admissions Open House for interested families on Sunday, December 10, with presentations beginning at 1pm. Meet students, teachers, and current parents, and get a feel for their creative and rigorous academic program and warm community. The Academy offers vibrant arts, athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership. Academy students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

Dec 10

Grab your holiday shopping list and join OnTrend on Sunday, December 10, for their fun and festive Holiday Market! They will be returning to the beautiful Hadley Farms Meeting House in Hadley, MA between 10am and 4pm. They’ll have 55 of the region’s top crafters and makers selling their high-quality handmade goods. You’ll find jewelry, paper goods, wood crafts, house wares, ceramics, apparel, and much more. Be sure to stop by their activity booth and take home a free gift! Free admission. For more information, visit ontrendcrafts.com or email Jennifer at jennifer@ontrendcrafts.com.

Dec 16

Save the Date! This holiday season, experience the beloved story of The Nutcracker told through Celtic Dance. A Celtic Nutcracker will beautifully blend the Tchaikovsky score with live Celtic music and original choreography by the Celtic Heels Dance Company Director, Cara Leach. Bring your family to this one showing event on Saturday, December 16th at 3pm at the Academy of Music, Northampton. Featuring the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company and live music this is sure to become a family tradition for anyone who loves the Nutcracker or Celtic Dance! Tickets are $12-20. Information can be found at www.ACelticNutcracker.com.

Dec 16

It’s A 21st Century Nutcracker! Join The Center Dance in Amherst on Saturday, December 16th for an exciting spin on a wintertime classic! Dance styles from across the globe (and right next door!) set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. Curtains will rise in the Amherst Regional High School auditorium at 1pm and 5pm. Tickets are available online or at The Center Dance Studio (321 Main Street, Amherst). A 21st Century Nutcracker. Let’s play with tradition!

Perform in a musical, delve into a marine biology intensive, write and deliver a Lyceum Lecture, participate in the Harvard Model UN, create a unique stone carving, travel on a foreign exchange, explore environmental sustainability. The Hartsbrook High School offers a well-rounded curriculum including Literature, Math, History, Science, the Arts, Land Stewardship, Service Learning, and Athletics. In all areas, teachers incorporate academic, practical, and artistic components, immersing students deeply into their subjects. Come and see for yourself. Schedule a private tour at 413-586-1908. 193 Bay Road, Hadley. Now accepting applications for the 2018-19 school year. For more information visit www.hartsbrook.org.

The Common School, serving children ages 3-12, is accepting applications for Fall 2018. The Common School’s mission is to develop strong academic and social skills while nurturing each child’s love of learning, respect and compassion for others, and a deep commitment to the natural world. The Common School provides admissions tours Monday through Friday. To make an appointment, please contact Dana Kadish, Director of Admissions at outreach@commonschool.org or visit their website at www.commonschool.org.

Local Organic Christmas Trees! Justamere Tree Farm in Worthington, MA, has cut your own and pre-cut Christmas trees available Friday, Saturday, & Sunday after Thanksgiving, and weekends in December. Come by the farm between the hours of 9am-4pm to select your very own locally grown Christmas Tree. Their gift shop, in the post and beam barn, will feature their very own artisanal maple products for sale. Also, handcrafted wreaths and swags made on the farm are available. Experience a wonderful destination and a beautiful drive into the Hilltowns, creating a new tradition with your family. Visit them at www.justameretreefarm.com/trees for more information & directions or email them at welch@justameretreefarm.com.

Add your class

Hilltown Families has put together an After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs Directory of classes and programs happening across Western Massachusetts throughout the school year. Our community is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and life-long learners and our directory makes it easier to find these gems while connecting families with resources that support their interests and education. — Have a class or program you’d like to include in our directory? Click here to find out how to have it added. New and updated opportunities are added throughout the year.

Add your school

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

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LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 9 – 15, 2017

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

Donate Now Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Hilltown Family Variety Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Get into the holiday spirit with three-time Grammy nominee Brady Rymer, as he spins some of his seasonal favorites! It’s the perfect soundtrack for baking cookies, trimming the tree or an ugly sweater party! Encore of Saturday’s broadcast airs Sunday morning from 7-8am and podcast is posted here on Hilltown Families immediately following Sunday’s broadcast. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcasts anytime. Click here select from over 10 years of archived shows!

 Saturday, December 9, 9am-4pm
AGRICULTURE/CHRISTMAS TREES
Local Organic Christmas Trees! Justamere Tree Farm has cut your own and pre-cut Christmas trees! Bring the family to select your very own locally grown Christmas Tree. Their gift shop, in the post and beam barn, will feature artisanal maple products and handcrafted wreaths and swags made on the farm. Experience a wonderful destination and a beautiful drive into the Hilltowns, creating a new tradition with your family. Visit them at www.justameretreefarm.com/trees for more information & directions or email them at welch@justameretreefarm.com. Worthington, MA

Saturday, December 9, 9:30am-4pm
CULINARY ARTS/HISTORY
Traditional holiday dishes tend to highlight rare or costly ingredients from around the world. Perhaps no dish epitomizes this better than the traditional British Christmas Pudding. Though versions of the dish have existed since the middle ages, this tasty dessert made with dried fruit became a symbol of British Imperial United in the 18th and 19th century, as it was made with ingredients that had to be shipped from colonies around all around. Come learn more about traditional Christmas baking with the Historic Deerfield Hearth Cooks. For more information visit Historic Deerfield. Deerfield, MA ($)

Saturday, December 9, 10-11am
HISTORY/DINOSAURS
Calling all dinosaur fans! The Pioneer Valley has a rich geological history; when the supercontinent Pangea began to break apart 175 million years ago it left a huge rift valley filled with massive basins. The hot, humid environment of the region at that time caused monsoon systems that filled these basins with water to create enormous lakes. These oases attracted dinosaurs for millions of years and many of the tracks left by these ancient visitors have been preserved in mud and remain to this day. Come learn more about the unique geological history of the Pioneer Valley and the particular species of dinosaur that lived in our region. For more information visit the Hitchcock Center. 845 West Street. Amherst, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 9, 10am-6:15pm
PLACEMAKING/HOLIDAY CELEBRATION
The town of Northfield has always been a gateway. As one of the northernmost towns in Massachusetts, Northfield borders the Pioneer Valley to the south and Vermont to the north. It’s history is a long and illustrious one; first settled in 1673, Northfield played a pivotal role in much of the history of early European settlement in New England. This holiday season come celebrate the town of Northfield and its history with a special holiday festival throughout the town. Enjoy an old fashioned hayride, check out musical and theater performances, and learn about local arts and crafts. For more information see the town of Northfield. Northfield, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 9, 10am
INTERGENERATIONAL/SING-ALONG
Singing and playing music with others is one of the most fun ways to build community and get to know others! Whether you are learning a new song or sharing your skills with others, the social and educational benefits to playing music in groups are truly vast. All ages and levels of experience are welcome at this holiday sing-along. Bring any instrument, or your voice. Holiday music will be provided and projected onto a large screen for easy reading. This event is brought to you by the A E I O Ukes, Northampton’s premier ukulele group. For more information visit Forbes Library. Northampton, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 9, 10am-2pm
NATURE STUDIES/DENDROLOGY
Which species of trees and shrubs play an important role in winter gardening. Identifying trees and shrubs in the wintertime carries with it some additional challenges, as plants adapt to the change in temperature and weather conditions. In this class, students will learn about bud and twig anatomy, bark structure, and plant architecture. For more information and to register please visit Berkshire Botanical Garden. Stockbridge, MA ($$)

Saturday, December 9, 10am-12pm
ART STUDIES/CHILDREN
Early child development researchers have consistently emphasized the numerous benefits of creating art for young children. In addition to working fine motor skills and building creativity, art can improve neural functioning in young children and help create the groundwork for future learning in other subjects. As a collaborative, group activity, art can also greatly benefit children’s social and communication skills. This session of Clark Art Institute’s popular “Start with Art” program will focus on using movement as a theme around which to create art. It will also include a gallery talk designed for young children. For more information visit the Clark Art Institute. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 9, 11am
ARCHITECTURE/PASTRY ARTS
The importance of gingerbread in European history cannot be understated. After the crusaders brought ginger back to Europe in the 11th century, it quickly became an important part of the European culinary landscape. Gingerbread was given out at weddings, people made gingerbread figurines of their patron saints, and gingerbread was even worn into battle as protection against bad luck and evil spirits! It seems that the custom of building gingerbread houses began after the brothers Grimm wrote their infamous story “Hansel and Gretel.” Now you can come take part in this time-honored holiday tradition and make your own gingerbread house with other members of the community. For details see Hatfield Public Library. Hatfield, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 9, 11am
FAMILY PERFORMANCE
David Grover is a Berkshires favorite who led Arlo Guthrie’s band for many years. David has performed and written with many talented musicians, including Pete Seeger and Doc Watson. His ability to connect with people of all ages creates a powerful sense of unity, and is a rousing crowd-pleaser. David will be performing accompanied by his daughter Jessica on bass. 413-997-4444. The Garage at the Colonial Theatre. 111 South Street. Pittsfield, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 9, 1-2pm
SKILLSHARE/MYO HOLIDAY GIFTS
Making your own gifts can be a great way to express yourself, save money this holiday season, learn a new skill, and create something unique. It strengthens self-sufficiency and can be a real source of pride. For many of us, who are not used to making things ourselves, this experience can be intensely rewarding and fun! This holiday season get together with members of the community to learn how to make some simple lip balms and hand lotions, scented with essential oils. It makes the perfect gift. For details see Bushnell Sage Library. 48 Main Street. Sheffield, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 9, 1-4pm
LOCAL HISTORY/EMILY DICKINSON
Emily Dickinson is one of the Valley’s greatest historical celebrities. Aside from a ten month period when she was at Mount Holyoke College, the poet spent her entire life in Amherst and it’s hard to think of Amherst without thinking about her life and her witty, insightful, haunting poetry. Come celebrate Emily Dickinson’s life and memory in style at her 187th birthday party. The Emily Dickinson House will be offering free tours, traditional music and holiday decorations, and you will even get to have some birthday cake made from Emily’s own recipe! For more information please visit the Emily Dickinson Museum. Amherst, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 9, 2pm
HOLIDAY FESTIVAL
The Sandisfield Arts Center traces its history back to the early 19th century when it was a baptist meeting house. It was later home to the only rural orthodox synagogue in Massachusetts for 75 years! It has since been reborn again as a community art center, which provides a space for members of the community to come together in good times and bad to create art, host performances, bake, and gather. This festival celebrates all the various winter holidays from around the world with arts and crafts, food, and singing. For more details please visit Sandisfield Arts Center. Sandisfield, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 9, 3-4pm
STORYTIME/HISTORY
Revisit the nostalgia and warm of the classic American Christmas with dramatic readings from Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Story” and Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Both these works portray a childhood perspective of Christmas and evoke the rich tapestry of mid-century American life. Both Capote and Smith are quintessential American authors; Capote was one of the greatest 20th century American literary celebrities and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was massively popular, especially with American soldiers overseas during World War II. This event celebrates the impact of these writers on American literature and the memories of Christmases long-past. For more information visit the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Western Gateway Heritage State Park. North Adams, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 9, 4pm
HISTORY/CHRISTMAS
The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is a long-standing Christmas tradition with an amazing history. Begun in 1918 at the King’s College Chapel, Cambridge by a former army chaplain as a way to make Christmas worship more dynamic and exciting, this service combines readings from Genesis, the Gospels and choir singing and caroling. Ten years later the service was broadcast by the British Broadcast Corporation, which has aired the service every year since then, including, dramatically in the 1930s during the bombardment of Britain. During this period the beautiful stained-glass windows of the Chapel was removed and there was no heating in the building but the service and its broadcast continued. Now you can be a part of this tradition at Williams College, which has performed this service since the 1960. For more details see Williams College. Thompson Memorial Chapel. Williamstown, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 9, 1pm & 4:30pm
DANCE STUDIES/BALLET
Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker! Join Clara as she battles the Rat King to save the Nutcracker Prince, and then travel to the enchanted Snow Forest and beautiful Kingdom of Sweets. Featuring guest artists from Carolina Ballet & Festival Ballet. Get tickets today at aomtheatre.com. For more information about the Pioneer Valley Ballet company and school, visit pioneervalleyballet.org. Academy of Music. Northampton, MA ($$)

Saturday, December 9, 7pm
MUSIC STUDIES/ORCHESTRA/MINIMALISM
Charles Ives and John Adams, two New England natives, irrevocably changed the course of modern American music. A former insurance executive, Charles Ives pushed the boundaries of conventional music in the early 20th century and played a pivotal role in defining a radical new American musical landscape. A generation later, John Adams, one of the United States most renowned composers, continues the genre-defying work of Charles Ives and early minimalists. Come hear a performance of works by Ives and Adams as part of the Amherst Symphony Orchestra’s yearlong survey of American music. For details see Amherst Symphony Orchestra. Buckley Recital Hall. Amherst, MA ($)

Saturday, December 9, 7pm
THEATER/STORYTIME
How can we take part in creating the future we desire, especially if our vision is something that has never existed before? What can we create now, from the materials and conditions of the present, that will develop into something new, dynamic, and exciting in the times to come? These are some of the questions that have inspired the Royal Frog Ballet’s most recent project. Founded in 2007, this art collective has been creating unique collaborative and multimedia performances. This ‘listening evening’ will feature original stories, songs, and poems presented in a cozy gallery setting. Pillows are encouraged! For more information and to buy tickets visit The Royal Frog Ballet. A.P.E Gallery. Northampton, MA ($)

Saturday, December 9, 7pm
THEATER/CHRISTMAS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 9, 7:30-9:30pm
HOLIDAY CONCERT
The mental and physical benefits of singing in a choir are so profound that some healthcare professionals are actually campaigning it to be prescribed as a treatment for various medical conditions. Perhaps the most amazing of the recent findings on these benefits is the fact that singers in a choir can actually regulate their heartbeat by breathing in unison! Other benefits include reduce anxiety and depression, improvement in lung condition, and a general feeling of social well being. To see these incredible benefits in action come to this special holiday concert, featuring a sing-along. For more information visit Springfield Symphony Orchestra. Springfield Symphony Hall. Springfield, MA ($$)

Saturday, December 9, 7:30pm
WINTER SOLSTICE/PERFORMANCE
Welcome Yule celebrates the return of light with an annual family show of music, dance, song and story to drive the dark away. The show is set on Solstice Eve until the sun returns in the morning. The theme is the mythology and the natural world at this point in the annual round. Songs of animals, trees, and spirits join the wassails, carols, horn dance, mummers play, and the passing of the yule log. Tickets $12 adults, $10 seniors and children 5-16 years. Tickets: Amherst Books, in Amherst, Broadside Bookshop in Northampton, World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield, at the door or online. For information and reservations, visit welcomeyule.org. Shea Theater, Turners Falls. ($)

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

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

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

Sunday, December 10, 9am-2pm
COMMUNITY MEAL/BRUNCH WITH SANTA
Old Sturbridge Village’s Sunday brunch gets a special visitor on select dates – Santa! Brunch with Santa at the Oliver Wight Tavern at Old Sturbridge Village offers a large selection of brunch items and a chance for the little ones to meet Santa Claus. Please call 508-347-0397 to make reservations. Old Sturbridge Village. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA ($$)

 Sunday, December 10, 9am-4pm
AGRICULTURE/CHRISTMAS TREES
Local Organic Christmas Trees! Justamere Tree Farm has cut your own and pre-cut Christmas trees! Bring the family to select your very own locally grown Christmas Tree. Their gift shop, in the post and beam barn, will feature artisanal maple products and handcrafted wreaths and swags made on the farm. Experience a wonderful destination and a beautiful drive into the Hilltowns, creating a new tradition with your family. Visit them at www.justameretreefarm.com/trees for more information & directions or email them at welch@justameretreefarm.com. Worthington, MA

Sunday, December 10, 10am-4pm
HOLIDAY MARKET
Grab your holiday shopping list and join Ontrend for their fun and festive Holiday Market! They will be returning to the beautiful Hadley Farms Meeting House this holiday season. They’ll have 55 of the region’s top crafters and makers selling their high-quality handmade goods. You’ll find jewelry, paper goods, wood crafts, house wares, ceramics, apparel, and much more. Be sure to stop by their activity booth and take home a free gift! For more information, visit ontrendcrafts.com or email Jennifer at jennifer@ontrendcrafts.com. Hadley, MA (FREE)

Sunday, December 10, 10-11:30am
ART STUDIES/HANUKKAH
Come create amazing Hanukkah inspired art with talented faculty members from the Lander-Grinspoon Academy! With its special emphasis on the themes of light and darkness, Hanukkah has much in common with other winter holidays. The Lander-Grinspoon Academy, which is committed to developing students into creative, independent, and responsible citizens of the world, is hosting a special Hanukkah art studio featuring Hanukkah stories, songs, and art projects. A variety of materials will be provided. To register and for more information visit Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. 125 West Bay Road. Amherst, MA. ($)

 Sunday, December 10, 1-3pm
OPEN HOUSE/EDUCATION
The Academy at Charlemont
(1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Admissions Open House for interested families on Sunday, December 10, with presentations beginning at 1pm. Meet students, teachers, and current parents, and get a feel for their creative and rigorous academic program and warm community. The Academy offers vibrant arts, athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership. Academy students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org. Charlemont, MA (FREE)

Sunday, December 10, 1pm & 4:30pm
DANCE STUDIES/BALLET
Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker! Join Clara as she battles the Rat King to save the Nutcracker Prince, and then travel to the enchanted Snow Forest and beautiful Kingdom of Sweets. Featuring guest artists from Carolina Ballet & Festival Ballet. Get tickets today at aomtheatre.com. For more information about the Pioneer Valley Ballet company and school, visit pioneervalleyballet.org. Academy of Music. Northampton, MA ($$)

Sunday, December 10, 2pm
WINTER SOLSTICE/PERFORMANCE
Welcome Yule celebrates the return of light with an annual family show of music, dance, song and story to drive the dark away. The show is set on Solstice Eve until the sun returns in the morning. The theme is the mythology and the natural world at this point in the annual round. Songs of animals, trees, and spirits join the wassails, carols, horn dance, mummers play, and the passing of the yule log. Tickets $12 adults, $10 seniors and children 5-16 years. Tickets: Amherst Books, in Amherst, Broadside Bookshop in Northampton, World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield, at the door or online. For information and reservations, visit welcomeyule.org. Shea Theater, Turners Falls. ($)

 Sunday, December 10, 2pm
FILM SCREENING/GLOBAL WARMING
Since the release of Al Gore’s 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth many of the grim environmental predictions made in the film have come true. Erratic and extreme weather has become the norm in the intervening years and it is clear that we will only face more and more turmoil as the climate crisis continues unabated. Because of these facts, the producers of the film came to the conclusion that they must release a sequel. Come together with members of the community for a special screening of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. This is an opportunity to work together to empower our community around these pressing concerns. Food and discussion to follow. R.H. Conwell Elementary. 147 Huntington Road. Worthington, MA (FREE)

Sunday, December 10, 2pm
THEATER/CHRISTMAS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

 Sunday, December 10, 3pm
MUSIC STUDIES/CAROLING
The mental and physical health benefits of singing with others have been well-documented. It’s certainly true that singing with others provides many of the same kinds of physical benefits as sports and exercise but it has also been recently found to improve your immune system! Singing is a full-body experience that releases endorphins, whether you consider yourself a good singer or not. Singing with a group takes these benefits a step further by adding the feelings of connectedness and comradery. So come and sing your heart out this holiday season with some community caroling in Goshen, featuring the Ashfield Community Band Brass Quartet. For details see Goshen Congregational Church. Goshen, MA. (FREE)

 Sunday, December 10, 4-6pm
LITERARY STUDIES/HOLIDAY READING
There are few things more cozy and heartwarming than snuggling up with a warm drink on a cold winter night and listening to stories. Come gather with friends and community members for an evening of special holiday readings from British, Jewish, and Japanese traditions. Reading together in groups can impart many of the same benefits as group singing. It strengthens social skills and bonds, reduces stress and anxiety, and improves memory and concentration. To learn more visit Meekins Library. Williamsburg, MA (SUGGESTED DONATION)

 Sunday December 10, 5:30-7pm
INTERGENERATIONAL/COMMUNITY SING-ALONG
Nestled among the Berkshire hills, Earthdance has been offering a unique approach to art and performance for decades, with a commitment to social justice and environmental sustainability. Join Earthdance co-founder Penny Schultz for an evening of inspiring and renewing a capella singing. Especially now that the cold, dark months are upon us, the need for heartwarming community gatherings such as these is more important than ever. No singing experience required, all ages are welcome. Songs will drawn from traditions around the world and will focus on themes of love and community. This event will be followed by a community potluck. For more information see Earthdance. 252 Prospect Street. Plainfield, MA ($)

Sunday, December 10, 6pm
PLACEMAKING/CONCERT
Enjoy lively holiday music and gather together with the community to celebrate the holidays. This event is really a piece of Valley living history: the Valley Festival Brass ensemble has been putting on a holiday concert for almost three decades! All of the performers are professional musicians and conductors who have donated their time to bring the gift of music to the valley for the holidays. The 22-piece band will be playing holiday favorites and, this year, will feature a special organ accompaniment for the carol sing. Donations will benefit the Amherst Survival Center. For more information visit First Church Amherst. 165 Main Street. Amherst, MA (SUGGESTED DONATION)

Sunday, December 10, 7pm
MUSIC STUDIES/BAROQUE MUSIC
The life of 12th century Christian visionary mystic Hildegard von Bingen has been of special interest to feminist scholars, among others. Her mystical visions have inspired millions and allowed her to speak her mind at a time when women were not given a voice in society. Considered one of the founders of scientific naturalism, her example was often used by pioneering feminists to argue for the acceptance of women into medical school. Among her many other phenomenal talents, Hildegard was an exceptional composer and left behind one of the largest repertoires of any medieval composer. Come enjoy an evening of music by Hildegard von Bingen and other Baroque and Renaissance composers with “Voce Feminae.” Mendenhall, Smith College. Northampton, MA (FREE)

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Monday, December 11, 2017

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

Storyhour & Playgroups: East Longmeadow, Pelham & Whately

Monday, December 11, 12-1:15pm
COGNITIVE SCIENCE
Iatrogenesis is the process by which an illness is created or intensified as a byproduct of medical examination or treatment. The term comes from the Greek “brought forth by the healer.” Unfortunately iatrogenesis is a relative common occurrence and can take the form of errors, side effects, complications, and others. This talk by Dr. Steven Hollon will focus on the question of whether or not antidepressant medications interfere with the positive results of Cognitive Therapy when treating depression. Dr. Hollon’s hypothesis is that antidepressants may in fact constitute a form of iatrogenesis. This lecture is brought to you by the Center for Research on Families. For details visit the Center for Research on Families. Umass Amherst. Amherst, MA (FREE)

Monday, December 11, 3:30pm
TRAINS/SPECIAL NEEDS
If you have a model train-lover in your family, this is the holiday event for you! Hobbyists have been constructing model train sets since the 1840. At the time, the trains were simple locomotives made from brass with very little decoration. Since then model trains have sure changed a lot. Nowadays the level of detail and precision is truly staggering. This holiday season the beautiful Look Park Garden park becomes a winter wonderland, inspired by the train stations of Victorian England. Visitors can check out the exhibit of exquisite antique, handmade model trains, enjoy a snack, and visit with Santa! This particular event is specifically geared towards families with children who are sensitive to noise or have special needs. For more information see Santa’s Trains at Look Park. Florence, MA (FREE)

Monday, December 11, 4-6:30pm
ART STUDIES/ART EDUCATION
Richard Avedon’s iconic, timeless photographs of the Kennedys in the White House contain some of the most enduring images from the lives of Jack and Jackie. In these works and others, renowned photographer Richard Avedon developed a style of portraiture that made him into one of the most recognizable 20th century American artists. Always focusing exclusively on the spirit or character of his subjects, Avedon avoided using props or soft lighting to distract from their essential nature. Thus, these portraits often show their subjects in ways that have never been seen in other images. This lecture will discuss the Avedon photographs and others in the permanent collection to demonstrate how portraits can be used in an educational context. It coincides with the special Avedon exhibition Jack & Jackie: The Kennedys in the White House. To learn more and to register go to Springfield Museums. Springfield, MA (FREE)

 Monday, December 11, 6:30pm
SKILLSHARE/JOURNALING
Get a headstart on the new year by beginning a journaling practice or refining your journaling skills! Psychologists have documented how this practice can dramatically improve memory, combat writer’s block, develop self-discipline, improve communication skills, and even boost IQ. A journal is a sketchbook, a notebook, and a planner all rolled into one and at this workshop you will get a chance to learn some great techniques for creating a journal that will work for your life. You will leave with all the tools needed to begin journaling right away. To register and for more information, visit Westhampton Public Library. This event is appropriate for people ages fifteen and above. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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

Tuesday, December 12, 3:15-3:45pm
PLACEMAKING/HANUKKAH
The custom of lighting the menorah or “lamp” to celebrate Hanukkah goes back thousands of years but it’s only recently that communities have gathered in public to light a large communal lamp. The practice began in 1974 and by 1979, President Jimmy Carter participated in the first public menorah lighting in Washington, D.C. Since that time there has been an annual ceremonial public menorah lighting at the White House. And did you know that the world’s largest public menorah, near Central Park in New York City, stands 32 feet tall? This ancient and festive tradition continues this holiday season in Springfield, with fun and delicious treats, and community members from all over the region. For more details see Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy. Court Square. Springfield, MA (FREE)

Tuesday, December 12, 5:30pm
CONCERT/HANUKKAH
No celebration of Hanukkah would be complete without music. It’s possible that more songs have been written for Hanukkah than any other Jewish holiday! In some traditions it is even customary for a rabbi to play the violin while the ceremonial menorah lamp is being lit. This holiday season, come experience Hanukkah music like you’ve never heard before. Nava Tehila is a Jewish congregation that specializes in blending music and prayer in an inclusive and egalitarian atmosphere. Welcoming members of the community from all faiths, this concert will present new music for prayers inspired by musical traditions from all over the world. For more information visit The Springfield Jewish Community Center. 1100 Dickinson Street. Springfield, MA (FREE)

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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

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

Wednesday, December 13, 6:30
SKILLSHARE/ZINES
Making a zine is a simple, fun way to express yourself and share ideas with others. Because zines are low cost, DIY, and self circulated, anyone can make a beautiful, thought provoking collection of text and images. A zine can also make a great holiday gift! This workshop is perfect for beginners or experience zine makers looking for more inspiration and techniques. Get together to draw, write, and create with others and share ideas. For more information visit Forbes Library Zine Club. Forbes Library. Northampton, MA (FREE)

Wednesday, December 13, 7pm
THEATER/CHRISTMAS
(Special Community and Sensory-Friendly Performance) What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

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

Thursday, December 14, 12:15pm
MUSIC HISTORY/JAZZ
Museums à la Carte lecture at the Springfield Museums, The Smithsonian’s Jazz Masterworks Orchestra with Kennith R. Kimery, Executive Producer, Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and Supervisory Producer, American Music History Initiatives. In 1990, the U.S. Congress, recognizing the importance of jazz in American culture, authorized the establishment of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra as the orchestra-in-residence at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Hear from the Orchestra’s producer (and drummer) about the role of jazz at the Smithsonian and the work of the Orchestra in sharing the importance of this art form worldwide. Best for self-directed teens and life-long learners. Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (<$)

Thursday, December 14, 7pm
THEATER/CHRISTMAS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

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Friday, December 15, 2017

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

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

Friday, December 15, 6:30-8:30pm
HISTORY/YOYO
Did you know that the yo-yo dates back to ancient Greece? Sure enough there are Greek vase paintings from 500 B.C. which depict a young boy playing with a painted terra cotta disk attached with a rope! There are also European images showing people playing with yo-yos from the 18th century. The modern yo-yo was the invention of a Filipino immigrant, who gave it its name. Come learn all about yo-yos and test your skills at the Yo-Yo Club Meet at Mill 180. Get to know people in the community and have some fun. For details see Yo-Yo Club Meet. Mill 180. Easthampton, MA (FREE)

Friday, December 15, 7pm
THEATER/CHRISTMAS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

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Hilltown Families’ list of Weekly Suggested Events is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Ashfield, Bernardston, Chester, Chesterfield, Conway, Erving, Heath, Holyoke, Ludlow, Montague, Montgomery, Pelham, Rowe, Russell, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Springfield, Ware, and Warwick Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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