Kids’ Almanac (January 10-17)

gustafer @“Immature is a word that boring people use to describe fun people.”
– Will Ferrell


Check out Elizabeth Mitchell’s take on “Froggie Went a-Courtin’”

The song “Froggie Went a-Courtin’” has been around since the 1500s, so lots of people have had plenty of time to create their own versions. That includes musicians from the Hudson Valley: Legendary Pete Seeger sings it in spirited banjo style; fabulous Dean Jones tells the amphibious wedding story from the snake’s perspective in “Big Black Snake”; and Elizabeth Mitchell paired her beautiful acoustic harmonies with a stunning music video.

Mitchell and director/producer Beth Cramer put together such an amazing piece that I can’t wait for you to see it. This video got me all worked up about this folksong in a whole new way – which is perfect because it echoes Mitchell’s reinterpretation of the song after she recorded it years ago. I’m swooning at the charming animated bits. I am transported when I watch this video, listening to Mitchell sing, feeling the music at a whole new level, circling around, kicking up my heels while my kids ask why I’m dancing around the kitchen island again.


Watch this music video:, and check out the great local musicians who join the gathering. “Froggie Went a-Courtin’” is from Mitchell’s new album Blue Clouds which you can learn more about here:


Bard College Conservatory of Music seeks young musicians for Preparatory Orchestra

When I heard Wagner’s “Overture” to Die Meistersinger on WHMT recently, it brought back great memories of playing violin in the Empire State Youth Orchestra. Over the years, playing in orchestras has been a hands-on way for me to experience a wide range of musical genres and styles and familiarize myself with orchestral repertoire, to improve my playing and to meet some terrific friends.

I just learned that a new youth orchestra is forming here in our area! The Preparatory Division of the Bard College Conservatory of Music is starting the Bard Preparatory Orchestra for school-age Hudson Valley musicians. Open to students ages 8 to 18 who have played for at least one year – or even less, with special consideration – rehearsals will take place on Saturday afternoons from February 2 to May 11. Explore this wonderful opportunity for the young musicians in your family at this weekend’s Preparatory Division Open House on Saturday, January 12 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Avery/Plum Building on the Bard College Campus.

Apply before January 12 and waive the $30 application fee. The cost is $130 for 13 weeks, $65 for currently enrolled Preparatory students.

Bard College is located at 30 Campus Road in Annandale. For more information or to access the application forms, call (615) 498-4996, e-mail or visit


Half Moon Theatre offers Open House in Poughkeepsie this Saturday

Meryl Streep says, “My job is usually to express emotion as freely as possible.” Do you happen to have a 5-to-14-year-old child at home who can relate to that level of expression? Then perhaps you’d like to help him or her channel his or her dramatic tendencies into a positive outlet.

Half Moon Theatre’s School of the Arts is holding a free Open House this Saturday, January 12 from 1 to 3 p.m. Co-directors Denise and John Summerford will lead theatre game exercises for the kids, and will be available to answer questions about the Creative Movement, Acting and Musical Theatre classes.

The Open House takes place at 2515 South Road (Route 9) in Poughkeepsie, just behind the Red Robin Restaurant near the Pier 1/Starbucks Plaza. For more information, call (845) 235-9885 or visit