Kids’ Almanac (Feb. 7-14)

Family Fun Mardi Gras in Saugerties benefits Arts Lab

Paczki (pronounced punch-kee) season at Deising’s Bakery in Kingston means that it’s Mardi Gras time! These jelly-donut-style pastries are available during the month of February and are a delicious yearly tradition. Another great tradition is Art Lab’s sixth annual Family Fun Mardi Gras celebration. This year’s gathering takes place on Sunday, February 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. and features an open song circle, so bring an instrument and a tune to share! (Is there a song called “I Love Paczkis”?) Enjoy gumbo and other treats as well as float and maskmaking, followed by a parade down Partition Street.

The suggested donation for this event is $5, and all proceeds fund Art Lab’s free and low-cost art programs. The Family Fun Mardi Gras takes place at Dave’s Café, located at 69 Partition Street in Saugerties. For more information, call (845) 246-3925 or visit


“A Ride on the Underground Railroad” in song at SUNY-New Paltz

This event seems pretty spectacular; check it out! On Sunday, February 10 at 3 p.m., the SUNY-New Paltz Department of Music and the Poné Ensemble present “A Ride on the Underground Railroad,” centered around songs about the work of Harriet Tubman, an abolitionist who led slaves to freedom through an intricate secret network. The concert features contemporary music as well as traditional spirituals, with performances by the Newburgh Free Academy Choir and composer Nkeiru Okoye, among many others.

Historic Huguenot Street will present a special photographic exhibit chronicling slavery in the mid-Hudson Valley. I think that events like this are so helpful for learning our history, because it’s not just reading about it; it’s seeing photos, it’s hearing music and letting those pathways awaken us in a different way from reading history books.

Tickets cost $12 general admission, $8 for seniors and $5 for students with identification. “A Ride on the Underground Railroad” takes place at the Julien J. Studley Theatre at SUNY-New Paltz. SUNY-New Paltz is located at 1 Hawk Drive in New Paltz. For more information or advance tickets, call (845) 257-2700 or visit To learn more about Nkeiru Okoye’s work, visit


Community singing groups in Woodstock, New Paltz & West Hurley

As a parent, I often need to recharge. When I’m energized, I feel more patient, more focused and just more myself when I’m with my kids. Here’s a great way to refresh physically, mentally and emotionally, while connecting with other folks in your area: community singing. Here are a few options to consider.

A new, all-adult, fun-loving chorus is forming at Nevessa Studios in Woodstock. Join the group on Wednesday evenings to sing upbeat, positive, popular songs from the 1950s to today, such as those by George Harrison, the Clash, U2 and more. No auditions are required, and the bigger the group, the better. This gathering is open to adults and older teens who don’t mind adults laughing a lot and occasionally singing very off-key, both men and women. For more information, contact Kristen Garnier at

Around 20 years ago, Karen Cathers was inspired to begin a local community singing group of uplifting songs. The group has continued ever since, currently meeting on the second and fourth Tuesdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Quaker Meeting House at 8 North Manheim Boulevard in New Paltz. Songs include selections from Rise up Singing, and singers are accompanied by guitar. The atmosphere was described to me as singing around a campfire: It’s not a performance-based group and no audition is required to participate. A tambourine gets passed around to collect a dollar or two from attendees toward use of the building. For more information, contact Gene Cotton at

Byrdsong is a mostly a capella singing group of women. Directed by Nancy Chusid, Byrdsong is open to new members by audition and trial membership. Prospective members should have a love for all kinds of music, and need not read music but must have a good ear, be committed to learning songs and coming to weekly rehearsals.

Byrdsong takes place at the Music Room on John Street in West Hurley. The fee is $100 for eight sessions, and drop-ins are at the discretion of the director. For more information, contact or call (845) 633-1237.


Hudson Valley Homeschool Mini-Expo & Curriculum Swap

Whether you’re a current homeschooling family, or you’ve been thinking about it and want to learn more, you might want to check out the Hudson Valley Homeschool Mini-Expo & Curriculum Swap this Tuesday, February 12th from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Gardiner Library Community Room. Listen to Wild Earth’s presentation about their Dawn Song Village homeschool nature program, and connect with more than twenty other local tutors, teachers, clubs, and organizations gathering for this Mini-Expo. This event is free and open to the public. Gardiner Library is located at 133 Farmer’s Turnpike in Gardiner. For more information or to register as a service provider for the Mini-Expo, call (845) 255-5896.

Erica Chase-Salerno lives in New Paltz with her valentine Mike and their two children: the inspirations behind When she’s not rehearsing for the One Billion Rising flash mob dance, she can be reached at

Share this article
Submit your comment

Please enter your name

Your name is required

Please enter a valid email address

An email address is required

Please enter your message

Hudson Valley Almanac Weekly © 2013 All Rights Reserved

An Ulster Publishing publication