Monday, September 22, 2014

Holyoke Library to Present Program on Life Before and After Slavery

David Fiske, a retired librarian, is the author of “Solomon Northup: His Life Before and After Slavery,” and a co-author of “Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years a Slave.” Mr. Fiske will be guest author at Holyoke Public Library on Saturday, October 4, at 2:00 PM. The program is open to the public free of charge.

Northup’s story tells of his experience of having been a free man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery before the American Civil War, as related in the Oscar-winning film “12 Years A Slave.” As an expert on Northup, Mr. Fiske appears in a bonus feature on the Blu-ray disc of the film.

Mr. Fiske’s presentation, “Rescued from Slavery: The Story of Solomon Northup” will cover the details of Northup’s experience as a free man living in New York State in 1841 and how he was lured away from his home and subsequently sold into slavery. For nearly 12 years, he was a slave in Louisiana. Finally he was able to get a message to friends in New York, and he returned home as a free man. After writing a book about his experiences (“Twelve Years a Slave”), he traveled around the Northeast giving speeches, and even helped fugitive slaves get to Canada, thanks to his work on the Underground Railroad, which passed directly through parts of Western Massachusetts.

The presentation by Mr. Fiske will be held in the Holyoke Public Library Community Room. Advance reservations can be made at the Library Circulation Desk or by calling the library at 413-420-8101.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hunting for a Cure 5K Run/Walk

Hunting for a Cure is a 5K Run/Walk that will take place at the Holyoke Lodge of Elks on October 18th 2014. The course is 3.1 miles and will be around the beautiful Ashley Reservoir. The event begins at 11:00 AM with a shotgun start for all runners and walkers. Plan to stick around after the run/walk for some great food provided by Hamel’s Catering and Meeting House, as well as live music from the Franny-O Show, raffles and more. For more information, contact Jennifer Gilburg at 413-335-4687. You can also “Like” us on Facebook for information and updates.

Huntington’s Disease (HD) HD is an inherited progressively degenerative brain disorder that results in the loss of both mental faculties and physical control. Presently, there is no effective treatment or cure. Each child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the gene. Finding a cure for HD is the key to ending not only this terrible disease, but also solving the puzzle for many other well known neurological diseases such as Parkinson's (PD), MS, etc.

All proceeds for the event will go directly to the Huntington’s Disease Society of America. You can register for the event at and search Hunting for a Cure.

Jennifer’s father lost his 20-year fight with HD three years ago and her brother has inherited the HD gene. Her goal is to have this generation be last to inherit this divesting disease. Please come out and support Hunting for a Cure on Saturday, October 18th, 2014.

Learn the Health Benefits of Laughter at Free Program October 4th 2014

Trevor Smith, a Certified Laughter Leader and human potential coach, will lead a free program to teach laughter exercises and other techniques to help people reduce stress in their lives.

The “Lighten Up With Laughter” program will be held Saturday, October 4th from 11am-12 p.m. at the Holyoke Public Library, 250 Chestnut St. The program is free and is open to the public.

Smith will use techniques he has learned as a recreation therapist and through his Master’s degree in counseling psychology to help people to, among other benefits, enhance their immune system and give them a more positive outlook.

Specifically, Smith will

  • Help participants develop self-care strategies to choose and modify their life and work directions where they can achieve their fullest potential
  • Identify and apply factors, especially the attitudes and emotions that improve health and increase happiness & life satisfaction for individuals.
  • Help participants to add more laughter into their lives using a mind/spirit component of a laughter program
  • Discuss the difference between laughter and humor and how laughter provides the opportunity to develop positive social connections between people
  • Teach participants an enjoyable, structured and systematic mind/body/spirit program that consists of theatre based laughter exercises, breathing, stretching and camaraderie.
“I welcome everyone to practice stress relief using gibberish, learn the principles of good-hearted living and dare to take the laughter oath with me to make laughter a part of their daily lives,” Smith said. “But mostly, I want everyone to have fun laughing out loud while rediscovering their inner child.”

For more information about the program, contact Smith at (413) 204-8308 or email him at To register, call the Holyoke Public Library at (413) 420-8101

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

An Afternoon Concert with Bella Voce

On Sunday, September 28 at 3:00 p.m. join us at Wistariahurst Museum for an Afternoon Concert with Bella Voce – a dynamic duo of Lisa Woods- Soprano & Teri LaFleur- Soprano with Jerry Noble on piano. The program will feature selections from Opera, Broadway and the American Songbook, taking you on a journey from La Scala to 42nd Street to Tin Pan Alley! Works by Mozart, Humperdinck, Bizet, Jerry Noble, Krieger, Bernstein, Porter, Gershwin and more!

Mezzo-soprano, Lisa Woods has fashioned a highly significant career in the Pioneer Valley and beyond as a soloist in opera, oratorio and recital, with hundreds of performances to her credit. Soprano Teri LaFleur has the unique distinction of excelling in the many worlds of Opera, Theatre and Music Education. Teri has performed as a soloist in numerous venues within the Pioneer Valley and throughout the region and is no stranger to the stage having appeared in many principle roles in both musical theatre and in several plays. Clifton ‘Jerry’ Noble is an active composer and pianist whose compositions include vocal, choral, chamber and orchestral music. Jerry is the staff accompanist at Smith College.

Tickets are $12 general / $10 for members and seniors. To reserve tickets visit

Holyoke Library to Present Best-Selling Author

David Soman, New York Times bestselling author, will be a special guest of Holyoke Public Library’s Children’s Department on Saturday, September 27 at 9:30 AM in the Library Community Room. A co-creator of “The Ladybug Girl” series, David Soman has made is solo debut with a beautifully illustrated new book, “Three Bears in a Boat,” for which he has also contributed the spectacular illustrations. During his visit to Holyoke Library, Mr. Soman will read excerpts from the book, which pays homage to such classics as “Where the Wild Things Are,” and “Huckleberry Finn.”

“Three Bears in a Boat tells the story of three young bear siblings who accidentally break their mother’s favorite blue shell. The three are so afraid to tell what happened that none want to take the blame. Their solution is to set sail in their little boat to fine Mama a perfect replacement. The three sail farther than they have ever gone before, past whales and islands and salty sailor bears, but are unsuccessful in finding what they are searching for. Finally a terrible storm blows in and the siblings realize they are far from home. Knowing that they must take responsibility for what they have done in trying to make things right, they join together to find their way back to Mama.

The book has already been highly praised by noted publications with Kirkus commenting that the book is “Filled with illustrations that insert lighthearted visual nods to classic books (a boat named “Melville” is fled with Moby Dick-ish bears, and a raft carries Huckleberry Finn-like bears), this tale is a treat for both eye and ear. Humorous and intelligent – and with watercolor seascapes so luminous that readers will want to jump in – this is a book to be treasured for years to come.” Other reviewers of children’s books have been similarly enthusiastic.

The presentation with David Soman is free to the public and especially appropriate to young patrons. Advance reservations are encouraged. For additional information, please call: 413-420-8105.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day

Wistariahurst Museum Offers FREE Admission for House Tours on

Smithsonian magazine’s Annual Museum Day

Saturday, September 27th

HOLYOKE: Wistariahurst Museum is pleased to be a partner in Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day on Saturday, September 27th to offer free general admission for guided tours. Attendees must present a Museum Day Admission Card to gain free entry which can be accessed online at Each card provides museum access for two people, and one admission card is permitted per household. Participants interested in touring Wistariahurst are encouraged to schedule a tour time in advance as group tour sizes are limited. To schedule a tour, please call the museum at 322-5660 or visit our website. Tours will be happening every half hour starting at 12:15 pm. A tour schedule can be found on the Museum’s website:

 A celebration of culture, learning and the dissemination of knowledge, Smithsonian’s Museum Day reflects the spirit of the magazine, and emulates the free-admission policy of the Smithsonian Institution’s Washington, DC-based properties. Doors will be open free of charge to Smithsonian magazine readers and visitors at museums and cultural institutions nationwide, including Holyoke’s Wistariahurst Museum. Listings and links to ALL participating museum can be found at
“Wistariahurst Museum is pleased to be a partner in Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day. This collaborative effort is an open invitation for community members to experience and enjoy a multitude of cultural offerings,” said Melissa Boisselle, Wistariahurst Museum Director.
Wistariahurst Museum was originally the home of prominent silk manufacturer, William Skinner and his family. The Skinner name was world famous for the company William Skinner & Sons, silk mills in Holyoke. The property is named for the expansive wisteria vines that cover the mansion. The house has stood as an example of elegance and fine architecture since 1874. The buildings and grounds were owned continually by the Skinner family until 1959, when Katharine Skinner Kilborne, the youngest child of William and Sarah Skinner, and her heirs gave Wistariahurst to the City of Holyoke for cultural and educational purposes. The Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of Holyoke and to inspiring an appreciation of history and culture through educational programs, exhibits and special events. Wistariahurst is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is open for guided house tours every Saturday, Sunday and Monday afternoon from 12-4pm. For more information or a schedule of upcoming events, visit our website or call 413-322-5660.

About Smithsonian
Founded in 1970 with the launch of Smithsonian magazine, Smithsonian Media – comprising Smithsonian magazine, Air & Space, goSmithsonian, Smithsonian Publishing Digital Network, Smithsonian Books and advertising for Smithsonian Channel – allows the intellectually curious to indulge and engage their passions for history, the arts, science, the natural world, culture and travel. Smithsonian Media’s flagship publication, Smithsonian magazine, has a circulation of more than two million. This multimedia network is also affiliated with the world’s most visited museum and research complexes at the Smithsonian Institution. For more information, visit

FREE admission with Museum Day Pass from
Please schedule a tour by calling us at 322-5660 or by visiting our website at

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Holyoke Library Friends Gala to Benefit Special Programs

The Friends of the Holyoke Public Library’s Cocktail Party on Saturday, September 20 at 6:00 PM, has been planned as a special gala evening to raise funds for a variety of library activities and equipment needs. The event will be held in the magnificently restored original main circulation area of the building, which has been called one of Holyoke’s architectural “grand jewels.”

Each year the Friends of the Holyoke Public Library host a special event to raise funds for a series of guest speaker programs, readings by area authors, children’s programs and special equipment needs not covered within the library budget

Tickets for the September 20 event can be purchased at the library in advance or they may be obtained at the door on the evening of the event. A special menu of hors dóeuvres will be provided by The Delaney House and a cash bar will be open throughout the evening. Background music for the gala will be drawn from a specially selected playlist of old favorites and popular contemporary selections.

The Friend’s annual Christmas ornament for 2014, “The Old Train Depot, will be introduced that evening and will be available for purchase”.

For more information, please contact, Connie Kennedy at 535-1592, or the library at 413-420-8101 or