Are you looking for things to do in western Massachusetts? Seeking place-based learning ideas? Are you a self-directed, life-long, and/or experiential learner? Are you curious or wanting to support the interests of your family? Our weekly Suggested Events list includes suggested learning ideas, resources, and fun events for all ages, each week!
The Institute for the Musical Arts (IMA) celebrates its 35th anniversary with a day-long music festival: Lady and the Amp Fest3. The quinquennial event features faculty, students, and alumnae of IMA’s summer rock programs and will include a memorial tribute to the music of Jana Ivanova Abromowitz. Takes place on Sat, Aug 27, on the lawn in front of IMA’s Big Barn (inside if it rains). Gates open at 11:30am. Music until 7:30pm. Family-friendly. Food, drink & merchandise on-site, including instruments & vintage gear. Coolers allowed. Tickets/info:www.ima.org. Sponsors and underwriters include: WRSI/The River 93.9; The ASCAP Foundation; Public Emily Artist Management; Signature Sounds; Dave Sullivan, DA; Healy Guitars. 165 Cape St, Goshen, MA
AUDITIONS are almost here for Amherst Community Theater’s production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid! Nine fabulous performances in the 600-seat UMass Bowker Auditorium are coming in January 2023. This will be a production filled with irresistible songs, lavish sets and costumes, and a full live orchestra. Actors, singers, and dancers ages 7-107 are encouraged to audition! For more info, including character descriptions, audition music, and readings, visit amherstacts.org/auditions or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Housatonic Heritage Walks are FREE, guided interpretive walks to the most interesting historic, cultural, industrial, natural, and scenic sites in Berkshire County, MA, & Litchfield County, CT. These family-friendly free walks are offered on autumn weekends throughout September and early October. Explore with knowledgeable & local historians, naturalists, and environmentalists at sites within the Housatonic River Valley: tours of historic buildings and town centers, trail hikes, walks through industrial heritage sites, a canoe paddling trip on the Housatonic River, bike rides on quiet country roads that have a history, behind-the-scenes tours at performing arts venues, and strolls through formal gardens and estates. All ages & all people are invited. More info: Heritage-Hikes.org.
Northampton, MA ♦ Whole Children’s goal is to create an inclusive environment where every child is successful & valued for who they are, no matter their abilities or disabilities. Visit their new location at 11 Village Hill Rd in Northampton, where they have classes emphasizing social skills, self-advocacy, and just plain fun. They offer a diverse roster of afterschool & weekend classes, including gymnastics, yoga, theater, art, music, cooking, performing arts, and much more. Whole Children is filling a vital need by creating classes where the hard work of skill-building is made social & fun for children of all abilities & by creating a supportive & caring community for their parents. For more info: email@example.com; 413-585-8010; www.wholechildren.org
Downtown Sounds Music School provides music education for a wide variety of instruments. They offer in-person and online lessons seven days a week for guitar, piano, voice, bass, drums, percussion, ukulele, brass and woodwind instruments, mandolin, and more. Whether students are just starting, looking to expand their abilities, or learning to play a favorite song, their teachers are passionate about working with students of all ages to meet their musical goals! For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org; 413-586-0998; downtownsounds.com.
Founded in 1986, the Northampton Community Music Center offers quality music instruction for all ages and abilities. The Center houses 15 teaching studios, 2 recital halls, keyboard lab, music library, and recording studio. 50 professional faculty members teach private lessons in more than 20 instruments. Other programs include Music Together® for babies and toddlers, a comprehensive Suzuki program in violin, cello and guitar for ages 4+, instrumental and vocal ensembles, multitrack recording, songwriting, and more. There are many programs for adults and seniors, too. Events showcasing professional and student performances are hosted throughout the year. Financial aid is available to all who qualify. Visit ncmc.net for more info.
Starlight’s Youth Theatre 2022 fall classes begin Saturday, September 10.Grades 1-3 will present the musical Frosty the Snowman; Grades 4-6 will present the musical Rudolph the Red nose Reindeer. Both shows will be at Amherst Middle School on Saturday, November 5, 2022. Grades 7-12 will be working on straight plays that are all based on true stories: And then they came for me, A Thousand Cranes, and Just before Sleep. Classes will be held at Maple Ridge Community Center in Sunderland, MA. Saturday and Monday classes are available. To register for classes, visit their website. More info: www.starlights-youth-theatre.com.
Play classical music, learn, and have fun! The Pioneer Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra is currently accepting all instruments. The Youth Orchestra (YO) is an ensemble of talented, hard-working musicians ages 10-18, led by Director Nell Wiener. A year with the YO includes many exciting activities, such as presenting live concerts, playing with the Symphony Orchestra, performing music for their peers in local schools, playing in chamber music groups, and special small group coaching from professional musicians. Rehearsals are Sundays 5-7pm at Greenfield High School, Sept 11 – April 13. Tuition is $150 per semester; partial and full scholarships are available. To join the YO, schedule a placement hearing on our website, by email, or by phone. For more information: email@example.com; 413-773-3664; www.pvsoc.org/youth-orchestra
Experience the joy of music at the Berkshire Music School! Take a private lesson for all levels and ages offered in any band or orchestral instrument as well as voice and theory, online or in-person at our historic Pittsfield campus. Lessons may be arranged for 30, 45, or 60 minutes each week to meet the needs of the individual student. BMS’s fun Community Group Classes are offered on a pay-what-you-can basis. Visit the Berkshire Music School website for class offerings. Check out why BMS was named the Berkshire Eagle’s 2021 Best of the Berkshires “Best After-School Program.” For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org; 413-442-1411; www.berkshiremusicschool.org
Classes are offered throughout the year. Berkshire Pulse is a dynamic, welcoming, nonprofit dance, music, and movement arts education center. Outdoor and in-studio year-round programming provides children, teens, and adults the opportunity to engage in the joys of movement, music, and performance while experiencing the rewards of community involvement and fitness – plus the vast benefits of artistic exploration and expression. High-caliber, professional teaching artists offer ongoing classes and workshops from beginner to advanced levels in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop, Breaking, Creative Dance, Choreography, Musical Theater, Tap, Flamenco, Scottish Folk Dance, West African Drumming, Tai Chi, Zumba, Yoga, and more. For more information: email@example.com; 413-274-6624; berkshirepulse.org.
We are living in historically stressful times. Unfortunately, many families and marriages have struggled to navigate these difficult times. But did you know that science-based couples therapy is 70-92% effective for most motivated couples? Daniel Dashnaw is a Marriage and Family therapist AND one of the founders of www.couplestherapyinc.com, the most extensive science-based couples therapy practice in the United States. Daniel has been a Hilltown resident for over 20 years. Couples from around the world visit his secluded sanctuary in the deep woods of Cummington to roll up their sleeves and turn their marriages around. We live in tough times. Intimacy is hard. Can science-based couples therapy help your marriage? Email Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
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Partner with Hilltown Families in your online advertising! Delivering your message each week to over 35,000 subscribers, web visitors, and social media followers each week, Hilltown Families can bring your message to thousands of families in Western Massachusetts. Serving the region since 2005, Hilltown Families is an award-winning, online communication network, recognized as a leading family strengthening initiative in the region, promoting “positive parenting through the social norm of community social connectedness.” A trusted partner in your online marketing! To find out how we can partner together in your online marketing and outreach, contact us for info on our affordable options and packages: email@example.com. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.
Benthic freshwater macroinvertebrates are animals without backbones visible to the naked eye, living on the bottoms of waterways. These animals include beetles, crayfish, snails, and dragonflies! Learn about the aquatic state and adaptations of the dragonfly and what makes them excellent hunters! Getting curious about dragonflies can encourage learning about entomology. Their behavior and lifecycle can inspire your approach to learning, along with the practice of art techniques, like drawing and paper-folding. Studying dragonflies and learning how to sketch them can give you a better understanding of their structure and is an excellent skill for budding naturalists to practice.
Born on April 26, 1564, William Shakespeare‘s lasting popularity over hundreds of years may stem from his command of the English language and the universal themes explored in his plays and poetry. Shakespeare used a great deal of creativity with words. He combined short, familiar words into compound words and sometimes changed verbs into nouns and vice versa. This is how he invented hundreds of words still used every day. Shakespeare’s plays allow us to explore relatable ideas by reading, performing, and witnessing performances of his words. Plays are meant to be performed, and Shakespeare’s plays undergo countless renditions, iterations, and adaptations on stage and on film. Families can celebrate Shakespeare’s lasting impact by screening the 2011 film Gnomeo and Juliet. (Rated G), the 2010 adaptation of The Tempest (Rated PG-13), and the 2012 film Much Ado About Nothing (Rated PG-13).
The Local Food or ‘Locavore’ movement is built on the premise that food is powerful and important. It is not merely fuel, and it is not simply entertainment. Everything we eat becomes a part of ourselves, and everything we eat comes from somewhere. An enormous amount of money and energy goes to moving food products around the globe. In today’s global, industrial food system, we are separated from the source of our food. We don’t know how it was produced, under what conditions, or by whom. As agrarian philosopher Wendell Berry puts it: “The industrial eater is, in fact, one who does not know that eating is an agricultural act, who no longer knows or imagines the connections between eating and the land, who is therefore necessarily passive and uncritical.” The locavore movement seeks to restore that ancient tradition binding humans and human communities to the earth through food. From an insistence on only consuming food produced within a one hundred-mile radius to shopping at farmers’ markets to joining a local Community Supported Agriculture farm, there are many ways to put this belief into practice.
Zines (short for magazine or fanzine) are self-published books that include different media forms: collage, illustrations, comic strips, and words. A zine can be a book of poetry or a story, it can be a guide book or a collection of fairy tales – the sky’s the limit! Zines can also be photocopied and bound so that you can produce multiple copies. Making a zine is a rewarding, creative process and can undoubtedly be a part of your gift-giving plans for the holidays while supporting interests in language arts, literary art, paperarts, and self-publishing.
German author Peter Wohlleben’s recent bookThe Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate has sold more than 800,000 copies in Germany and is now on the best-seller list in the United States and elsewhere. Wohlleben’s book popularizes revolutionary new scientific research demonstrating conclusively that trees communicate with each other. Through what some scientists call the ‘wood wide web,’ intricate underground fungal networks that connect them, trees exist in colonies, which share a collective intelligence, like ants. The fungi, which grow from the tiny tips of tree roots, consume around 30 percent of the sugars that trees gather through photosynthesis, almost like a form of payment. Without access to rain and sunshine, these trees are supported by the rest of the colony by transferring much-needed sugars to the youngsters through the fungal network. This fungal communication system is vital to the survival of many younger trees, particularly in the darkness of the deep forest.
Spring is an excellent time to pay attention to the seasonal changes that only happen this time of year. It’s a great opportunity to get curious about phenology! What is phenology? One online definition states, “Phenology is the study of periodic events in biological life cycles and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors.” Families can help with studies of phenology! The National Phenology Network has developed Nature’s Notebook, a citizen science program that aims to get people outdoors to observe nature. Nature’s Notebook has an app and a website where citizen scientists can record observations to help scientists better understand how climate change is affecting plants in New England. The National Phenology Network needs volunteers to take part in many of Nature’s Notebook projects, of which there are several throughout the country. Independent, citizen science like Nature’s Notebook is a great way to connect with nature, learn about phenology, practice gathering data, and learn the basics of experimental design while contributing to a scientific study.
MUSIC STUDIES/ DRUMMING. 6:45pm. The Hilltown Intergenerational Drum Circle – All ages and beginners are welcome to this biweekly drum circle, led by Rosie Fanale. Call to confirm before heading over. Shelburne Senior Center. 413-625-8470. Shelburne Falls, MA.
Money-saving is a form of delayed gratification, the ability to resist an immediate reward in favor of a later reward. Often, and especially in the case of money-saving, the later reward is also a greater one. Money-saving requires planning ahead, envisioning a goal, and exerting self-restraint. These skills benefit young children just as they benefit adults. Talking to your children about saving up for college or trade school, for example, can get them thinking realistically about their long-term goals and future planning. Learn more with videos from Two Cents.
Online and in-person events and resources shared above are done so as a courtesy and not as an endorsement. While we do our best to share accurate and up-to-date information, please take the time to confirm information, age appropriateness, registration requirements, safety protocols, and associated costs.
Hilltown Families’ list of Suggested Events is supported in part by grants from the Agawam, Amherst, Becket, Bernardston, Buckland, Chester, Chicopee, Colrain, Cummington, Easthampton, Goshen, Granby, Greenfield, Hadley, Hatfield, Heath, Hinsdale/Peru, Huntington, Leyden, Montgomery, Mount Washington, Northern Berkshire, Orange, Otis, Palmer, Pelham, Rowe, Shelburne, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Tolland, Tyringham, Westhampton, Windsor, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.