Welcome / Bienvenidas to the 2019 – 2020 Wildwood PGO!

The Wildwood Elementary School PGO welcomes you to the 2019-2020 Academic Year. As we head into our fourth week of school, we wanted to reach out and thank our volunteers for all of the ways they made the first month of school special as well as share some of the PGO’s plans for the new school year.  Good news! You are already a member of the PGO simply by being a parent.  We appreciate all the ways people are involved in helping accomplish the mission of the Wildwood PGO. Whether it is through your donation of  time, energy and/or financial support, you truly make a difference in the lives of the students of Wildwood School. 

The mission of the Wildwood PGO is to:

  • build a strong community with academic enrichment opportunities and equity for all children. 
  • support the school’s teachers and staff in providing all children with the best elementary school experience possible. 
  • foster community-building by holding community events for families that provide opportunities for learning and connection, and by creating the annual Wildwood Yearbook and Wildwood Student Directory

Community Events Across the Year

  • PGO Potlucks in the fall
  • Math Night
  • Science Night
  • Multicultural Fair
  • End of the Year Picnic 
  • …and so much more! 

Morning Coffees and Evening Meetings with Principal Nick Yaffe

The Wildwood PGO regularly invites the principal and other guest speakers to present on a wide variety of relevant topics. Join us and stay connected!  Our first meeting will be Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. in the Wildwood Library. Principal Nick will be presenting on Wildwood’s identity and vision for the new school year. 

PGO Weekly Newsletter

Our weekly Saturday AM email newsletter will inform you about upcoming events, deadlines, news and more. We welcome any submission of information that is helpful to the Wildwood community. All families who register students for Wildwood prior to August 22 are automatically subscribed. You can sign up to receive the newsletter via email at wildwoodelementarypgo@gmail.com. The newsletter can also be accessed from the front page of the Wildwood Website  or at www.wildwoodpgo.com.  

Volunteer!

The PGO is a volunteer organization and we need your help in a range of areas.  We are particularly looking for people who are interested in coordinating events (with lots of support from the leadership team.) Interested? Email us at wildwoodelementarypgo@gmail.com or fill out the Volunteer Form and drop it off at school. 

Thank you to those who have already started the year by volunteering at the PGO’s Beginning of the School Year Events (pictures attached!)

  • Felicity Aulino and Mary Olmo–for organizing the staff breakfast on the Monday before school started.  
  • Laura Melbin— for hosting refreshments and an information table at the Wildwood New Family Welcome!
  • Sheilah Jones and Emily Riddle–for welcoming folks to the WW PGO at the Welcome Back To School on the Common event.
  • Jeremy Brown, Eugenia Clerico and Kerry Crosby for hosting the First Day Back to School Coffee!
  • Jane Sackett, Cynthia Mentzer, and Gretchen Loeffler-Peltier for hosting the Kindergarten Coffee for new kindergarten parents. 
  • Class Parents–Thank you to the many people who have already signed up to be class parents.  If you are interested in serving as class parent, it is not too late–please contact Tyffannie Flout at tyffannief@gmail.com .

Make a financial contribution to the PGO

You can make a  donation anytime to the PGO by going to www.willdwoodpgo.com and clicking on the donation tab.  

Another way to support the PGO is just by shopping. Check out how to make money for the PGO just by shopping at the places you may already shop by clicking here. And, if you’re looking for a home for old clothes, bedding, stuffed animals and more, drop your bagged items into the large metal collection box in the north parking lot. The PGO receives $$ for each bag of donated items. 

Thank you in advance for your help this school year!

Sincerely, 

The PGO Core Leadership

Eugenia Clerico and Kerry Crosby, co-chairs

Laura Melbin, treasurer

Christine Lindstom, fundraising chair

Laura Draucker, blogger

Lisa Berry and Janice Wing, co-secretaries

Becky Miller, volunteer coordinator

Jeremy Brown and Sheilah Jones, members at large

*Please note: The current leadership of the Wildwood PGO is bilingual in both Spanish and English; however feel free to write to us in any language, and we will work with translators to respond.

Photo of the wildwood PGO table at the back to school party on the common

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

La organización de padres de Wildwood (PGO) le da la bienvenida al año académico 2019-2020. Ya entrando en la cuarta semana de clases queríamos agradecer a los voluntarios que ayudaron a que este primer mes escolar fuera muy especial, y comunicarnos con ustedes para compartir algunos de los planes de PGO para el nuevo año.

La misión de Wildwood PGO es:

  • Construir una comunidad sólida con oportunidades de enriquecimiento académico y equidad para todos los niños.
  • Apoyar a los maestros y al personal de la escuela para proveer a todos los niños la mejor experiencia posible en la escuela primaria.
  • Promover la unión de la comunidad organizando eventos para familias que brinden oportunidades de aprendizaje y conexión, y creando el “ Álbum anual de Wildwood” y el “Directorio de familias”.

¡Buenas noticias! Ya eres un miembro de PGO simplemente por ser padre, madre o encargado de un alumno de Wildwood. Siempre apreciamos todas las formas en que los voluntarios participan para ayudar a cumplir la misión del “Wildwood PGO”. Usted realmente marca una diferencia en la vida de los estudiantes de Wildwood cuando colabora con el PGO ya sea con su tiempo, energía, ideas y/o apoyo financiero. 

Eventos comunitarios anuales:

  • Cenas “a la canasta” en el otoño
  • La noche de las matemáticas
  • La noche de la ciencia
  • Feria multicultural
  • Picnic de fin de año
  • …¡y mucho más!

Cafés matutinos y reuniones con el director Nick Yaffe

El “Wildwood PGO” invita regularmente al director y otros oradores a presentar a la comunidad escolar una amplia variedad de temas relevantes. Nuestra primera reunión será el miércoles 16 de octubre a las 6 pm en la Biblioteca de la escuela. Nick presentará la “identidad y visión de Wildwood” para el nuevo año escolar.

Boletín semanal de PGO

Nuestro boletín semanal es enviado por correo electrónico los sábados por la mañana e informan sobre los próximos eventos, fechas, noticias y más. Por favor, envíenos información que sea útil para la comunidad de Wildwood para que la incluyamos en el boletín. Todas las familias que inscriben estudiantes en Wildwood antes del 22 de agosto están subscriptas automáticamente al boletín. Si usted no lo recibe y desea suscribirse, envíenos un correo electrónico a wildwoodelementarypgo@gmail.com (en español o inglés). También se puede acceder al boletín informativo desde la página principal del sitio web de Wildwood o en www.wildwoodpgo.com.

¡Voluntarios!

El PGO es una organización compuesta solamente por voluntarios y necesitamos su ayuda en muchas áreas. Estamos buscando personas que estén interesadas en coordinar eventos (con mucho apoyo del equipo de liderazgo). ¿Está Interesado? Por favor, envíenos un correo electrónico a wildwoodelementarypgo@gmail.com o complete el Formulario para voluntarios y envíelo a la escuela.

Muchas gracias a quienes ya comenzaron el año como voluntarios en los eventos que se organizaron al inicio del año escolar de PGO (ver las fotos adjuntas):

  • Felicity Aulino y Mary Olmo, por organizar el desayuno del personal el lunes previo al comienzo de clases.
    Laura Melbin, por organizar la mesa de información en el evento de bienvenida a las nuevas familias de Wildwood.
  • Sheilah Jones y Emily Riddle, por dar la bienvenida a la comunidad en el evento “Welcome Back To School” en el centro de Amherst.
    Jeremy Brown, Eugenia Clerico y Kerry Crosby por organizar el café del primer día de clases. 
  • Jane Sackett, Cynthia Mentzer y Gretchen Loeffler-Peltier, por organizar el café para los padres/encargados de los alumnos que entraron al kindergarten.
  • Padres representantes de la clase (“parent class”): gracias a las muchas personas que ya se han anotado para ser “Padre representante de la clase”. Si está interesado en ayudarnos siendo el “Padre representante de la clase” no es demasiado tarde, comuníquese con Tyffannie Flout a  tyffannief@gmail.com.

Contribuciones financieras para el PGO 

Usted puede hacer una donación en cualquier momento a la PGO visitando  www.willdwoodpgo.com y haciendo “click” en la pestaña de donación. 

Otra forma fácil y sin esfuerzo para apoyar al PGO es simplemente ¡comprando! Vea cómo ganar dinero para el PGO simplemente comprando en los lugares donde ya compra haciendo “click” aquí (vea “passive fundraising”). Además, the PGO recive dinero por artículos viejos que usted tenga para donar: ropa, sábanas y toallas, animals de peluche, zapatos etc. Por favor, coloque los artículos en bolsas y deposítelos en la caja blanca de metal ubicada a la entrada del estacionamiento tresero de la escuela. 

¡Les damos las gracias por adelantado por colaborar en este año escolar!
Sinceramente, 

El grupo líder del PGO:

Eugenia Clerico y Kerry Crosby, co-presidentes

Laura Melbin, tesorera

Christine Lindstom, encargada de la recaudación de fondos

Laura Draucker, blogger

Lisa Berry y Janice Wing, co-secretarias

Becky Miller, coordinadora de voluntarios

Jeremy Brown y Sheilah Jones, miembros generales

**Actualmente, el grupo líder del PGO es bilingüe (Inglés/Español) pero usted puede contactarse con nosotros en cualquier idioma y nosotros nos ocuparemos de trabajar con traductores que puedan responderle**

Starting Monday! Amherst School Spirit Week – 9/22 – 9/27

Amherst School Spirit Week/Homecoming is organized by a group of students, parents, staff and coaches.  The week-long celebration from 9/22-9/27 is an opportunity for our community to come together and celebrate our kid’s passions (from Kindergarten through High School) including dance, music, visual arts and athletics.  Events planned include a kick-off celebration (9/22), district-wide school theme days, homecoming games (9/23-9/27 with student singers for the National Anthem), and a bonfire (9/26).  Our kick-off event will host a community rally, student musical and dance performances, live music, a dunk-tank (sponsored by UMassFive Credit Union), a red-carpet Amherst Hurricane photo-op station, fan-towel making, and a concession stand.  We look forward to seeing how you #rockitlikeahurricane!Spirit Week 9/22 - 9/27. Monday color by grade day, Tuesday dress up day, Wednesday wacky Wednesday, Thursday twin day, Friday Hurricane Day

ARPS PGO Fall Public Meeting 9/28

 

ARPS PGO Fall Public Meeting
The Works- Downtown Amherst

The Amherst Regional Public Schools Parent Guardian Organization (ARPS PGO) is a Registered 501c3 Massachusetts Charity encompassing the individual PGOs of the Amherst Regional High and Middle Schools, Crocker Farm and Wildwood Elementary.Our mission is to support the education of children within our schools through fundraising, supplemental programming and volunteer efforts.  We help build community by fostering relationships among the schools, parents, teachers and staff.

Meeting Agenda

Introductions

Individual School Updates

Election of President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Officers

Annual Taxes and State Filings

Group Fundraisers: UMACC (United Way), Giving Tuesday, Florence Bank, Amazon Smile

Other Business not anticipated by the chair

 

Amherst Boys & Girls Club Complimentary Community Breakfast – October 8th

 

Celebrate our Future! Come and enjoy a breakfast buffet and help us show gratitude  to our past board president Tom Crossman for his many years of service and dedication to the Amherst Boys & Girls Club, and welcome Kim Alli as our new acting Board President.  We will also provide Club updates and Share our Vision for 2020.  October 8th 7:15 – 9AM at The Red Barn at Hampshire College

Puerto Rico Day Celebration

pr flag

Amherst Regional Public Schools will host a Puerto Rico Day Celebration on Monday, September 23rd from 12:30 – 1:30 PM at the Amherst Town Hall.

The ceremony will include the raising of the Puerto Rican flag, a reading of the town proclamation, and performances by students and staff. The entire community is invited to come and celebrate.

Questions? Please call 413-362-1871.

Volunteer Opportunity with DCF

The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) offers a unique opportunity for community volunteers to make a difference in a foster child’s life. For a few hours of your time each month, you can participate on a panel called the Foster Care Review Unit that helps plan for the future of children in DCF care.

The Foster Care Review Unit makes decisions regarding children who are placed in foster care for six months or longer, assessing how well their needs are being met and what progress has been made toward establishing them in a permanent living situation. A Volunteer from the Community is one member of the 3-person panels that make these decisions.

Volunteer case reviewers are community members who are not employed by DCF. Case reviewers choose to volunteer in the DCF area office most convenient to school, work or home.

For more information, please see the FCRUFlyer or visit https://www.mass.gov/volunteering-and-giving

Amherst BID’s Annual Celebrate Amherst Block Party

blockpartyThe Amherst BID’s Annual Celebrate Amherst Block Party Celebrates the Businesses, Culture & Community of Downtown Amherst on September 19, 2019 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Music at the Futurliner Stage with WRSI’s DJ Kaliis
and at The River Stage/Realignment Park: Buddy McEarns Band 5 – 6 pm (60 min);
Masala Jazz 6:20-7:30 pm (70 min); and The Losers – Tom Petty Tribute Band 7:50-9 (70 min)

Food & Drink
Our restaurants, cafes and eateries are getting together great food for the event including samosas, momos, lassi, burgers, bubble tea, ice cream,
curries, pad thai, chicken wings,eggrolls, tacos, quesadillas and cotton candy will be on the menu! Special Alert: Judie’s is back with pies!

Part-time and Substitute Nutrition Department Openings

The ARPS Nutrition Department currently has part-time openings as well as a need for substitutes for kitchen staff.  Each of the schools in our district has these openings.  The hours would range from 2 – 5 hours/day several days/week.
If parents (or anyone else) are interested, they can contact our Nutrition Department Director, Michael Gallo O’Connell at 413-362-1826 or email him at oconnellmg@arps.org.

Amherst BID Block Party on 9/19

The Amherst BID’s Annual Celebrate Amherst Block Party Celebrates the Businesses, Culture & Community of Downtown Amherst on September 19, 2019 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Music at the Futurliner Stage with WRSI’s DJ Kaliis
and at The River Stage/Realignment Park: Buddy McEarns Band 5 – 6 pm (60 min);
Masala Jazz 6:20-7:30 pm (70 min); and The Losers – Tom Petty Tribute Band 7:50-9 (70 min)

Food & Drink
Our restaurants, cafes and eateries are getting together great food for the event including samosas, momos, lassi, burgers, bubble tea, ice cream,
curries, pad thai, chicken wings,eggrolls, tacos, quesadillas and cotton candy will be on the menu! Special Alert: Judie’s is back with pies!

Audition for LSSE’s Matilda The Musical

Audition for LSSE’s Matilda the Musical on September 13, 14, 15, with callbacks September 16.  The production will be staged in January 2020. To make an appointment call Amherst Leisure Services at 413-259-3065.

If you haven’t signed up for your audition slot by Friday, September 13 at 4:00 pm, please call Jim Pistrang, Producer, at 413-237-5710 and he will assist you.

Auditions will be at the Bangs Community Center (70 Boltwood Walk, Amherst, MA). Audition dates and time slots:

  • Friday, September 13 at 6:00 pm, 7:00 and 8:00 pm
  • Saturday, September 14 at 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, and 3:30 pm
  • Sunday, September 15 at 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, and 3:30 pm
  • Your audition will last for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Callbacks will be held on Monday, September 16 from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm at the Bangs Center.
    Performances of “Matilda The Musical” will be presented on: January 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25, and 26, 2020.
    ALSCT acknowledges, respects, and celebrates the diversity within our organization and local community. We seek to create theater that enables people of different genders, races, cultures, sexual orientations, levels of physical ability, ages, beliefs, and socioeconomic backgrounds to be represented in our productions.Questions: Call or text Jim Pistrang at 413-237-5710

Back to School Activities!

Decorative Back to School

Welcome back, everyone! The Wildwood PGO looks forward to an exciting new school year.  Please see below a list of beginning of school year events:

  • New Family Welcome, August 26, 6:30 pm.,  Wildwood Library
  • Back to School on the Common, August 27th, 5 – 6:30 pm, Amherst Town Common ( Flyer below – rain location 21 Mattoon Street in the ARHS Cafeteria)
  • PGO Welcome Back Coffee, August 28th, 8:40 – 9:40 am, Wildwood School Side Parking Lot
  • Wildwood First Day of School Parade, August 28th, 10:30 am, Outside Wildwood Gym
  • PGO Kindergarten Coffee, September 3rd, 8:40 am, Wildwood School Side Parking Lot

First Day Celebration August 27th 5 - 6:30 Amherst Town Common, Enjoy Free Food, Games, and more.

School Lunch Information for the 2019 – 2020 School Year

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The School Nutrition Department is so thankful for all of your support last school year and we are very excited about the upcoming year. The District is fortunate to be partnering with Project Bread for another school year to further enhance menu offerings. In addition, the department is actively exploring ways to expand breakfast access for all students and to incorporate more local food.

The cost of lunch is increasing by $0.25 to $3.25 per meal. This increase is required under the National School Lunch Program which sets a minimum price for the State. The cost of reduced-price meals is not changing.

As a reminder, children receiving free and reduced lunch benefits during the 2018-19 school year are entitled to the benefits through September 30, 2019. In order to maintain the benefit, a new application must be submitted or you must receive a direct certification notice. Direct certification notices will be mailed out during the first week of school. Applications are sent home with every student and available on the school nutrition website https://www.amherstfood.com/.

Thank you again for all of your support!

School Nutrition

Happy Summer!

On behalf of the PGO Leadership team, thank you for your generous time, donations and support in making it another great year at Wildwood. On Friday, June 14 the PGO blog and newsletter takes a break for the summer.  Have a restful and restorative summer!

Girls on the Run is coming to Wildwood this fall 2019

Volunteers are needed to support the Wildwood team. New coaches are needed for Fall 2019!

Girls on the Run (GOTR) is a unique 10 week (twice weekly) after-school program led by trained coaches who lead small teams through our research-based curricula which includes dynamic discussions, activities and running games. Over the course of the ten-week program, girls in 3rd-5th grade develop essential skills to help them navigate their worlds and establish a lifetime appreciation for health and fitness. Each season culminates with a Girls on the Run 5K event. This celebratory, non-competitive event provides girls with a sense of accomplishment and instills the value of goal setting at a young age.

GOTR encourages girls to recognize their individual strengths and celebrate connections with others. Each season, girls gain a better understanding of who they are and what’s important to them, the value of teamwork and healthy relationships and how they can have a positive impact on the world. Physical activity is woven into the program to inspire an appreciation for fitness and healthy habits and teach life skills including treating others with care, practicing gratitude and managing emotions.

All girls are welcome – nobody needs to be a runner. Each team will have at least 2 coaches. Teams are 8-15 girls. For more specifics about the curriculum please visit www.girlsontherunwesternma.org. You can also visit our Facebook page at
http://www.facebook.com/girlsontherunwesternmassachusetts to see pictures from our spring season.

When: Two times a week for 1.5 hours for 10 weeks. Practices will start the first week of
September and will continue for 10 weeks ending with our own GOTR 5K the third weekend in November. Days will be determined when we have coaches. We are looking for coaches for this team. Coaches do not need to be runners. Contact us for more information.
Registration is done on our website and will be open when coaches are found. The
cost for the 20 sessions is $150, with a sliding scale to $5, which includes snack, t-shirt, run registration and sneakers (if needed). Girls are selected by lottery. Partial and full financial aid is available when you register. We offer a sliding scale so all girls can participate. No girl is turned away. If you do not have access to a computer please let us know and we will assist with registration.

Interested in coaching? Looking for more information? Please contact Alison Berman, GOTR Council Director, alison.berman@girlsontherun.org, or Molly Hoyt, Program Director, molly.hoyt@girlsontherun.org.

LWV book sale – Summers are for Reading

LWV GIANT SUMMER BOOK SALE

Awesome Selection! Low Prices!
Friday, July 26: 9 AM to 6 PM

Saturday-Sunday, July 27-28: 9 AM to 4 PM
Friday-Saturday, August 2-3: 9 AM to 4 PM

Fort River Elementary School Gymnasium, 70 South East Street
We invite all young readers to come browse our wonderful collection of books for kids
and teens, all priced at 50c, $1, or $2, as well as books on sports, nature, crafts, and more

Please see http://www.lwvamherst.org for more information

Volunteers needed – can you help water our crops for a healthy fall harvest?

Dear Families,

Thank you for all of the ways you have supported our school gardens! After a cool, rainy spring with little growth, the gardens are ready for an awesome summer, and you can help! This year we will be doing things differently, as we will have weekly maintenance support from the UMass Permaculture program. However, if we face any periods of drought, we will need additional help. To this end, we are compiling a volunteer call list. In the event of a dry spell, we will contact those on the list to arrange for a day or two of watering. Can you help water our crops for a healthy fall harvest? If so, please complete this very brief form. We will follow up with you with additional details. Questions/comments can be sent to Jennifer Reese at reesej@arps.org.

With appreciation,

Jen and Leila

Elementary Garden Program

Estimadas Familias,

¡Gracias por todas las maneras en que ha apoyado nuestros jardines/huertos escolares! Después de una primavera fresca y lluviosa con poco crecimiento, los jardines están listos para un verano increíble, ¡y usted puede ayudar! Este año haremos las cosas de manera diferente, ya que tendremos soporte de mantenimiento semanal del programa de Permacultura de UMass. Sin embargo, si enfrentamos algún período de sequía, necesitaremos ayuda adicional. Con este fin, estamos compilando una lista de llamadas de voluntarios. En el caso de un período seco, nos pondremos en contacto con los de la lista para organizar un día o dos de riego. ¿Puedes ayudar a regar nuestros cultivos para una cosecha de otoño saludable? Si es así, por favor complete este breve formulario. Le daremos seguimiento a usted con detalles adicionales. Pueden remitir preguntas/comentarios a Jennifer Reese a reesej@arps.org.

Con agradecimiento,

Jen y Leila

Programa de Jardín/Huerto de Escuela Elemental

End of School Year Picnic 2019! Thursday June 13th 5:30 PM

Please join the Wildwood PTO for an end of the year picnic on Thursday, June 13th.  The event will start at 5:30 PM by the basketball court and will feature a dunk tank and student performances starting at 6:45 PM. There will be a table to sign up for PGO leadership and volunteer opportunities or you can sign up by following this link.   Bring food and drink for your family, blankets/chairs to sit on and plenty of excitement for the last school night of the year!

Multicultural Fair THANK YOU!

THANK YOU to all Multicultural Fair and Potluck participants and volunteers!
We had fantastic weather, outstanding performances, and lots of participation from adults and children alike on Wednesday, May 22. Thank you to everyone that helped in any way to make this a successful celebration of the many cultures at Wildwood Elementary School.

Thank you! Wildwood Gives Update

THANK YOU, WILDWOOD PARENTS AND GUARDIANS!!!
Thanks to the wonderful generosity of Wildwood families, the PGO exceeded the Wildwood Gives fundraising goal! You gave an incredible $4,480!!!  It is heartwarming how committed Wildwood families are to supporting the school.  With your help, the PGO can continue to support teachers and staff, enriching the curriculum and ensuring equity for all kids.
Here is a sample of some of the things your funds have gone to this year:
A large donation to the Principal’s Fund which Nick manages.
Reimbursing teachers and staff for classroom and project supplies.
Books for the library and for classrooms.
Art supplies for the art room.
P.E. equipment.
Field trip support to ensure every child can participate.
Staff Mini-grants, for example for author Natasha Lowe’s visit, supporting the Black History Month chorus, getting Balance Bikes for the K-2 P.E. program, Kindergarten sensory gardens, and more.
Staff appreciation events including the recent Woot Woot Wagon.
Community Building events like the Multicultural Fair and Science Night.
And more…
Go, Wildwood!
Wildwood Gives Brown Envelope Fundraiser

Rainbow Run this Saturday

image“Come one, Come all! ARHS is having its very Rainbow Run, hosted by the Class of 2021 on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. in the Summit Academy parking lot.
Walk/run a course around the high school and the middle school while getting multicolored powder thrown at you! Music, popsicles, and snacks to follow!
Entry for students and staff is $10 and entry with the official T-shirt is $15. There are a limited number of official Rainbow Run T-shirts, so please contact the emails provided in the flyer below to order while you still can! And make sure to bring eye protection- there will be color everywhere!
***If any school-affiliated adults or students are interested in volunteering at this event, please contact Seo-Ho Lee at leeseo@arps.org   or Tulsi Patel at patelth@arps.org.

Family Fun at the FAC: UMass Fine arts Center 2019-20 Season Announcement

Spring has arrived and so has the annual announcement of the UMass Fine Arts Center’s (FAC) new season. The 2019-20 FAC performing arts season hosts a brilliant line-up of international and local treasures, as well as some newcomers to FAC venues.  And for families, there are five events that are accessible for all ages plus many other events for older children. The season includes more than 30 performances, all with the goal of engaging, entertaining and inspiring its audiences.

For decades the FAC has been a place for families to gather and enjoy the power of live performance, and next season we have worked to continue this tradition. An affordable way to introduce children to the magic of live performances, these shows bring families together, spark creativity and engage the imagination as only a live performance can. With the FAC Family Fun Series, you not only get a season’s worth of great entertainment, you also get guaranteed family time.

The fun gets started in October when Lightwire Theater presents Dino-Light (10/20)A famous scientist with magic powers brings a friendly dinosaur to life. When the dinosaur wanders away from home, he discovers a wonderful world full of creatures that light up the darkness and help him find the true meaning of love. This glow-in-the-dark adventure has been praised for its cutting-edge blend of puppetry, technology and dance by audiences all over the world. There is a Family Fest in the lobby starting at 1 p.m. with curtain at 2 p.m.

Then in December award-winning fiddle virtuosos Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy accompanied by an incredible array of talented musicians – and their children – welcomes the audience into the wonderful world of their Celtic Family Christmas (12/4). It has an early starting time of 7 p.m.

In January, we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with We Shall Overcome (1/28) featuring Damien Sneed. From Nina Simone to The Wiz, Stevie Wonder to traditional spirituals, and interspersed with the spoken words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it’s an evening of music that shows the lineage of these Civil Rights visionaries is still with us today. In February, the award-winning theatrical drum group, GUGU Drum Group (2/11), brings its traditional Chinese drumming techniques with movement and stunning projections to portray Chinese proverbs, fables, and fairy tales.

From Broadway comes a musical the whole family can enjoy, Finding Neverland (2/25). The winner of Broadway.com’s Audience Choice Award for Best Musical, this breathtaking smash “captures the kid-at-heart,” says Time Magazine. The story-line follows the relationship between playwright J. M. Barrie and the family that inspired Peter Pan. The magic of Barrie’s classic tale springs spectacularly to life in this heartwarming theatrical event. It, too, has an earlier starting time of 7 p.m.

Just in time to alleviate that cabin fever, Cirque Flip Fabrique brings a Blizzard to the FAC stage. With some of the most exciting circus performers on the circuit today, Cirque Flip Fabrique (3/18) brings audiences on a crazy, fun, poetic and tender journey, and invites you to get lost in a moment of winter wonder. Topping off the family fun, Monkey Baa Theatre Company from Australia presents Diary of a Wombat (4/9). Millions of young people around the world have adored this multi-award winning picture book. Now this iconic work by Australian Children’s Laureate, Jackie French, and Bruce Whatley comes to the stage. Meet Mothball, the naughtiest wombat in Australia. Monkey Baa uses the magic of puppetry and live music to bring this delightful story to the stage. Family Fest in the lobby at 6 p.m. with curtain at 7 p.m.

We at the FAC know how harrying it can be to get everyone ready to go for show time, so for all the family shows, the FAC will have a food truck on the plaza with family friendly offerings. Concessions will also have family friendly options and we now have a water bottle filling station in the lobby. Also, there are baby changing tables in both restrooms. And for those date nights, we have plenty more great performances to choose from.

A fully-illustrated brochure will be available in June but for now, an online preview is available at fineartscenter.com/preview offering additional information, including videos and artist links or you can go right to the family page at fineartscenter.com/family.  The FAC also has two galleries and a museum. More on the 2019-20 visual arts lineup can be found at fineartscenter.com/visualarts.

To keep the arts accessible for all, the FAC offers a wide range of ticket prices. The “build-as-you-go” program for busy families that can’t commit far in advance and the create-your-own subscription package. Youth and Five College tickets range from $7 to $30. Single ticket discounts for seniors is now 15%. Discounted family packs are available for Lightwire Theater and Diary of a Wombat. There is also a popular discount program for those 40 years and under that includes exclusive artist meet & greets and other benefits. More on that at fineartscenter.com/under40. Subscriptions are on sale now by phone at 413-545-2511 or 800-999-UMAS. Online subscription sales and single ticket purchases are available May 31.