|Posted on August 22, 2015 at 10:55 AM||comments (60)|
Summertime fun shouldn't stop at the end of summer! In August, Dorothy took her Curious Songs and Stories down the road to South Hadley and the Odyssey Bookshop Family Entertainment program. Together we sang songs, solved riddles, asked questions, learned facts, and played with a wide selection of puppets and props. We danced, signed, and brainstormed together about why pigs can't fly, and then sang the true story of one who did! "Freeway the High-Flying Pig" wrapped up the show.
Dorothy loves songs, always has, always will. Songs she learned as a child still encourage her, lift her spirits, and help her make connections with others.
So, she offers the Happy Valley Children's Chorus to help the next generation of kids have a rich repertoire of songs to carry them through, this year and always. If your child loves stories and songs, and would like to make new friends through story and song, contact her to join the Happy Valley Children's Chorus. They meet on Mondays, 4-5:00 in the center of Amherst, MA. Running Sept. 21st through Nov. 30th, with a performance on Sunday, Dec. 6th, you too could be part of the fun. Contact Dorothy at [email protected]
|Posted on July 7, 2015 at 6:03 PM||comments (210)|
|Posted on June 17, 2015 at 11:54 AM||comments (45)|
It is mid-June, and I slow down to breathe. My seasons have been somewhat scrambled this year, with preparing the soil, fertilizing, and planting in the winter and seeing the fruit of my labors this spring.
The Happy Valley Children's Chorus held it's "Songs of Hope" concert in May. Kindergartners through 4th graders learned 9 songs, sang solos, and even choreographed a couple songs for their performance. I plant the seeds, the children add their sunshine, and a beautiful concert of youth and hope emerges. At the end they all received their yellow caps, and we sang Mama Mac's yellow cap song:
"Wake up in the morning, jump out of bed.
Put my yellow cap on my head.
Makes me feel happy, makes me feel strong.
Makes me want to sing the whole day long.
Got my yellow, yellow, yellow cap! Got my yellow, yellow, yellow cap!"
Also this winter I felt the stirring of a new seed that wanted to be planted. "What if...?" a voice in my head would whisper each morning as a I woke up. Finally I jotted down my ideas, took this photo and sent it to our local community TV station, Amherst Media. I proposed a new children's program, "The Curious Giraffe Show." Having never done anything like this before, they were very supportive, glad to add to their programming for kids. Thanks to their guidance, their skilled team, and the students training there, the dream came into reality this week! After months of planning, interviewing kids for the show, filming, and editing, our first three episodes are on the air! They can now be shown via any community TV station or anytime, anywhere by just clicking on these links. Relax and enjoy the show...
I wonder what the summer will hold?
Oh, yes, well a couple gigs are coming up...perhaps that is the harvest.
July 4th I'll add family music to the Amherst Farmer's Market in the center of town.
August 15th I will take my "Curious Songs for Curious Kids" program to the Odyssey Bookstore Children's Section in South Hadley, MA. Hope to see you there, and that you will join in the song.
|Posted on April 2, 2015 at 3:50 PM||comments (24)|
For Curious Kids of All Ages
Coming to you soon! This new project grew out of the "Curious Songs for Curious Kids" CD and songbook, published last year. There is a song where a curious giraffe asks lots of questions. Whenever I've taught that song the audience comes up with more questions and more verses! This may seem like a show for younger kids, but our cast includes kids from six to twelve years old, so it will have a wider appeal. The intention of the program is: (1) to bring a kids from a variety of backgrounds together, and (2) to use stories, songs, and interviews to discuss our questions and learn more from each other and local resources.
We have recorded the first two episodes at Amherst Media, our local community TV station. Here are the questions that have come up so far: Why do some folks have plenty, and some some never have enough? What can help? Why don't more people realize that real beauty is on the inside, not on the outside? These are not simple questions, but these are thoughtful kids. They will let us know where their questions want to go. Maybe the adults will take time to listen!
When the episodes have been edited and credits added, we will launch this new program. I'll let you know when you can tune in, if you are in the Amherst, MA area. Or a link will be provided for those farther away. There will be the opportunity for viewers to send in their questions and observations, too. Aren't you curious to tune in?
|Posted on December 16, 2014 at 1:37 PM||comments (24)|
Well, the best laid plans must be held loosely. After all of the work and publicity for the Happy Valley Children's Chorus Concert at the beginning of the month we had to postpone it until Sunday, December 21st---that is this coming Sunday at 1:30! (For local friends, it will be held upstairs in the First Congregational Church of Amherst, 165 Main Street, Amherst, MA, 01002.)
My apologies to anyone out there who came and did not find a performance. My beloved father, at age 90 1/2, suffered repeated heart attacks the week of Thanksgiving and I hurried to be with him and my family. It was a gift, as those were his final hours with us. As we hold the concert this Sunday, I will keep in mind an experience we had during the ice storm that arrived the day after we returned home. It made such an impression that I wrote a little song about it:
Two little juncos landed on the railing
Jumping all around, flu-flapping their wings.
They did a side-step like dance partners,
Bobbing and bowing like anything!
They didn't mind the chilling weather,
Freezing rain just pouring down.
They dipped and twirled and tipped their heads back,
Opened their beaks with a joyful sound!
Can't help but think they were my parents
Showing us their joy, that their song goes on.
They're back together and oh, so happy,
Free as the birds, their love goes on!
There may be stormy days with some dark clouds.
There will be challenges, oh yes.
But look at those birds right in the midst of it,
Singing their song brings happiness!
So, as the children sing their songs they will bring me happiness in the midst of my sorrow. May they do the same for you, whatever you may be experiencing this holiday season. Perhaps you are free from pain or sorrow and your inner life reflects the stubborn cheer of the holidays. Perhaps you carry other difficulties, in spite of the lights and glitter. Either way, I promise you that being in the presence of 18 children singing songs of community and hope, you will experience community and hope. If it can fit into your life, make it a priority!
|Posted on November 19, 2014 at 8:44 AM||comments (40)|
|Posted on June 9, 2014 at 8:55 AM||comments (15)|
|Posted on May 5, 2014 at 3:38 PM||comments (151)|
What a journey it has been to making a dream come true. Sometimes you can wish upon a star and that's all it takes. But sometimes you have to work quite hard, step by careful step, keeping that star in your sights.
That is what the path has felt like in writing and recording "Curious Songs for Curious Kids," my new collection of original songs and story-songs, which is coming out this week! The CD and songbook can be used as a set, or purchased separately. The songbook is for those who like to have lyric sheets, chords, and sheet music. The set is a great encouragement for young readers to become more fluent, and for older readers to also learn how to read music! I have provided chords and fret charts so that anyone, adult or child, can pick up a guitar and begin to strum along. The music in the songbook has a clear melody line, but those who would like the music in two-part harmony can contact me via this website.
Throughout my lifetime songs have been my way of making sense of the world, and of sharing meaningful experiences. During my 30 years in the classroom I often wrote a song to teach a concept, or help us talk through a difficult challenge. Over the years these songs became part of the school culture. I was frequently asked if I had a recording or if the music written down so that families could sing them at home. Alas, I had never learned how to write out the music, and I didn't have the time to make a proper recording.
So, as one of my first projects in retirement, I have spent the long winter months learning how to write music! The songs which have been in me can finally go out into the world and be shared. Then, as I focused my attention on recording the tried and true favorites (Grandmother Tree, All Kinds of Families, Freeway the High-Flying Pig) new songs jumped into my consciousness wanting to be included. So even for my old fans there will be some surprises, like "The Squashmuck!"
These songs include messages of inclusion, celebrating diversity, loving our planet and each other, speaking up, loving and loss of a pet, family adventure, and more. On many of the songs the Happy Valley Children's Chorus and even my grandchildren join in on the choruses.
This has truly been a dream come true to create a CD and songbook of original music. So spread the good news. I intend to keep it affordable, and want to get them out there to friends of children, families, grandparents, teachers, and song-leaders of all stripes. So I am asking $10/CD. At the end of the week I will be able to determine the cost of the songbooks, I will let you know the songbook/CD cost too.
Here is a preview of the CD:
|Posted on January 21, 2014 at 12:16 PM||comments (27)|
Today we are happy to announce Helen Fortier's brand new CD of healing, encouraging music called, "I Still Believe."
In her own words:
"You know I still believe in goodness, in kindness, in angels, in people, the way it's meant to be..."
"I am really excited announce my CD I Still Believe. This solo CD is hopeful and inspirational, but also about hard times, longings, and looking for the better way to live. The songs are about walking in the light of Spirit through the difficulties that constantly cross our paths, all the while holding a vision together for a peaceful planet.
There is a long story behind it that began in 2002 and ended in 2014! Some of these recordings were unfortunately lost. My life and career changed. When I got back to the project several years ago, I recorded new songs and mixed it all together. I want to say now that I am really happy with the final version even if it took 12 years! I want to send it out into the world as another source of comfort, of connection with Spirit. Send it out to heal and to express feelings of struggle, of joy, hope, and of unity
"Let our voices sing over it all as we hold this vision strong.. I Still believe in goodness" Helen Fortier
Cost $15/one or to $12 each/2 or more
Contact: [email protected]
|Posted on November 28, 2013 at 7:40 AM||comments (24)|