Dorothy Cresswell, Helen Fortier, and Katie Tolles - Offering the magic of singing together
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Dorothy's Blog


There are giants around here!

Last Saturday, while having a good time offering some great sing-along kids music at the Amherst Winter Farmer's Market, this giant came walking up to me.  Who......? As a retired kindergarten teacher of 27 years, plus five other years teaching preschool locally, occasionally I find myself in this situation. But I don't usually have to look up quite so high. But the big smile, and the twinkling eyes waiting for that moment of recognition, sang loudly and clearly into my brain: kindergarten graduate!

The Curious Giraffe Visits the Amherst Farmer's Market!

Welcome back!  

The Curious Giraffe is on the move!  We will be singing and telling stories at the Amherst Winter Farmer's Market this Saturday from 10 AM to 12 Noon.  You will find us in the Amherst Middle School Cafeteria.  We will surely add some songs of hope and light and encouragement during this darkest time of the year.  Today it is wet and rainy and chilly, but inside it will be dry and "sunny" and warm. 

Hope to see you there!

Why I Do the Happy Valley Children's Chorus

The Happy Valley Children's Chorushas their next concert December 6th, at 1:30, at the First congregational Church of Amherst. The title of the concert is "Funny Friendly Songs." 

Sometimes we have a large group of kids, 15 or more. Sometimes we have fewer than 10. Children's lives are just so full these days, or parents cannot get them to the practices, and so participation varies. But whether many or few, every voice that sings is a light on this planet and I am happy to encourage this in our area.

Farmer's Market Musings

Ah the joy of making music with a friend at the Farmer's Market in Amherst.  The open air, the dancing grandchild, the curious toddler, the movers and shakers responded so freely out there in the open.  We were grateful for the canopy but we felt connected to those who were free to move to the melodies and beat. What a way to beat the heat.  These summer days slow us down to hang out together in the center of town. Sniffing homemade goodies, nibbling fresh strawberries or slurping up a yogurt popsicle, families strolled by just drinking in the slower pace.

Second Chances

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.

The Next Generation, Pete Seeger Style!

It is almost time for the next Happy Valley Children's Chorus Concert! This session we have 18 kids, ages 5-12, excited to share the Pete Seeger songs they've been learning.  (The photo at the side was last spring's group.) The concert will be held at the:
First Congregational Church of Amherst, 
165 Main Street, Amherst, MA 01002.
Dec. 7th, at 1:30 PM

Some of the selections are familiar to the whole wide world, and some are rare finds pulled from Pete's own "Singalong Memoir: Where Have All the Flowers Gone.

The Dance Goes On!

I received this surprise photo yesterday. My granddaughter was dancing to the CD.  When I asked which song, I was told, oh, all of them between "I Sing" and "Freeway, the High-Flying Pig!"  Wow.  When I checked, that was 9 songs worth of listening and dancing!  What a delight to know that not only is she enjoying the collection, but it is getting into her bones and into her movements.

A dream begins in the ethers. It nudges, it calls again and again as life flows past.

I stand all amazed!

Like the rest of humanity, I have never found a word that adequately names the Un-nameable, that is generally referred to as God, YHWH, or Abba.  I think the Native American term "The Great Mystery" comes closest for me.  What I do have confidence in is that there is a deeper, wider, higher, and wiser SOMETHING that I am saying more and more "Yes!" to, doing my best to step out of my doubt and allow it to move through me into this hurting world.
That said, I am a witness.

School begins without me!

Well, it's been a whole summer since my last day of school, and I still can't sleep in.  I'm still waking up right around 6 AM. So, when I woke up today, I was immediately aware that school would be starting without me.  It was okay, but I did wish I could sleep in! So I said a prayer for all the teachers and then all the students.  That the teachers would get to know, and then get to like, and then get to love all of their students.  Then I prayed for the students, that every one of them would feel welcomed and wanted and included.

Free to Follow My Joy

Many of you have been asking what I will do now that I have re-retired!  This web site is my announcement of the direction my life is moving now that I am more free.  I am very excited to pull together my different activities into one focus, "Building Community through Song."
 I hope you will take some time to explore the different pages, "Like" Pioneer Valley Singing, and share it with others. 
Would you like to add your group to the Networking page?
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