Kids’ Almanac (February 14-21)

George Washington by Gilbert Stuart

George Washington by Gilbert Stuart

Walk, Dance, Rise
– “Break the Chain” song by Tena Clark


Sing with your neighbors!

Wow, you Kids’ Almanac readers sure love your community music groups, don’t you? I got such an enthusiastic response to last week’s mentions of Kristen Garnier’s new upbeat singing group in Woodstock, the New Paltz community singing group and Nancy Chusid’s women’s singing group Byrdsong in West Hurley, so here are a few more, based in Ulster and Dutchess Counties. I find singing to be a great stress-reliever, plus it releases endorphins. As parents and grandparents, I figure we could use all of the stress-relieving and endorphins that we can get. Besides, giving your kids a personal concert experience starring you means that they get exposed to all kinds of wonderful choral literature along the way.

Ars Choralis is directed by Barbara Pickhardt and is based in Woodstock. Auditions are held prior to its concerts, and rehearsals take place on Sunday evenings. For more information, call (845) 679-8172 or e-mail


The Cappella Festiva Chamber Choir is an auditioned choral ensemble of trained vocalists directed by Christine R. Howlett. They rehearse on Monday evenings at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie. Members pay $100 to participate in the ensemble, as well as purchase their music (approximately $30 to $60 per year). For more information, call (845) 853-7765, e-mail or visit

The College/Community Chorale is a non-auditioned singing group open to all who love music, directed by Dr. Edward Lundergan. Rehearsals take place at SUNY-New Paltz on Wednesday evenings. Community members are asked either to contribute $20 per semester or to sell $20 worth of concert tickets. For more information, call (845) 257-2715, e-mail or visit

The Community Choir is directed by Amy McTear. This group is open to anyone with or without singing experience, rehearses two Wednesday evenings per month in New Paltz and costs $40 per month. For more information, call (914) 388-0632 or visit

The Ulster Choral Society and the Camerata Chorale are both directed by Lee Pritchard. Seasoned choral singers are welcome to audition for either group. Ulster Choral Society rehearsals take place on Monday evenings in Kingston. Camerata Chorale rehearsals take place on Tuesday evenings in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 399-3785 or (845) 943-8962; e-mail or; or visit or


Dance with your sisters!

For 15 years, Tony-award winning playwright, performer and activist Eve Ensler has called February 14 V-Day: “The ‘V’ in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.” V-Day has been a chance to honor and celebrate women while raising awareness about violence against women and girls. This February 14, I invite you to join in her most ambitious campaign yet: One Billion Rising. Based on the statistic that one in three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime, “One billion women violated is an atrocity. One billion women dancing is a revolution.”

So the idea is that one billion women and anyone who loves them, around the world, are dancing together in solidarity, especially to One Billion Rising’s anthem, “Break the Chain,” written by Tena Clark. My daughter and I are excited to dance and sing along in a dance flash mob to the song’s powerful words:

I dance ‘cause I love
Dance ‘cause I dream
Dance ‘cause I’ve had enough
Dance to stop the screams
Dance to break the rules
Dance to stop the pain
Dance to turn it upside-down
It’s time to break the chain

There are One Billion Rising events on Thursday, February 14 in Kingston, New Paltz, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh and throughout the Hudson Valley. For more information about One Billion Rising or to find an event near you, visit or One Billion Rising on


Science Club for Kids at Tivoli Free Library

Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says, “Kids are born scientists. They’re born probing the natural world that surrounds them. They’ll lift up a rock. They’ll pick up a bug. They’ll pull petals off a flower. They’ll ask you why the grass is green and the sky is blue, and they’ll experiment with breakable things in your house. I think the best thing a parent can do, when raising a child, is simply get out of their way.”

The Tivoli Free Library is offering a fun new science club for kids that sounds terrific. The Science Club for Kids takes place at 4 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of February and March: February 14 and 28, and March 14 and 28. This program is free and suitable for children in first through fifth grade.

The Tivoli Free Library is located at 86 Broadway in Tivoli. For more information, call (845) 757-3771 or visit


Free screening of Wreck-It Ralph at SUNY-Dutchess

When my husband and I took our kids to see the movie Wreck-It Ralph, we were thrilled to discover how much we enjoyed it. Frances Marion Platt wrote a fantastic review of this movie in her November 25, 2012 Almanac piece “Follow Your Glitch,” and we all thoroughly agreed with her: “Older kids and gamer geeks will have fun playing spot-the-meme, with lots of characters from existing or former real-world games making cameo appearances. Best of all, perhaps – certainly for parents of little girls – is a welcome continuation of the trend begun earlier this year in Brave for young cartoon heroines to reject opportunities to become corseted, cosseted Disney princesses in favor of a more adventurous lifestyle.”

This is a terrific film, and now you can see it for free this weekend at SUNY-Dutchess as part of its awesome weekend film series. Wreck-It Ralph shows on Saturday, February 16 at 10 a.m. in the James and Betty Hall Theatre in Dutchess Hall. SUNY-Dutchess is located at 53 Pendell Road in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 431-8000 or visit To learn more about the movie, visit