Hi Friends,

Despite the assertions of some, it’s been pretty warm and spring is advanced much earlier than usual. Our lilacs are out ten days earlier than normal, and my bees are already busy storing up pollen and nectar. Maybe global warming will be good for honey production.

Things are good here. I’m finishing up a busy spring and looking ahead to working on some long-term projects this summer - more on those below. I will be doing a series of shows locally this summer, and hope to be spending some time on my poor neglected sailboat. If I can get it in the water!

 
   
From the Chocolate Chip Cookie Bake Off at the Seekonk Public Library.
 
A
The Teaching Power of Stories – workshop
A
 

I’ll be repeating my weeklong workshop for teachers on stories and storytelling at Pendle Hill, the Quaker retreat center outside of Philadelphia. Pendle Hill is a great place with good food, beautiful surroundings and a nice sense of community. We had a great time last year, and it should be even better this year, since I now have some idea of what I’m doing. In addition, we’ve managed to go through the hoops for CEU credits for teachers, so you can be official. You can check out the course at Pendle Hill's website.

Here are some comments from the workshop last year:

 

“Bill was able to build a great community and he honored all of us. I now know how important storytelling is in both the classroom and in our lives.”

 

“This workshop not only gave me ideas to bring directly back to my teaching but also connected me with people who helped me rediscover my voice. I have a renewed enthusiasm for starting the school year and a blueprint for weaving storytelling into my language arts curriculum.”

 

“Bill built a safe, nurturing community of learners – he made us laugh, cry and reminded us to honor our stories and ourselves. Storytelling is an essential part of who we are and provides a satisfying richness to life - we must reconnect with it.”

If you’re interested in the workshop and have questions, please contact the office (508-336-9703 or Michele@billharley.com) and I’d be happy to talk with you. If you have questions about the logistics or CEU credits, contact Walter at Pendle Hill (610-566-4507 xt160). Limited numbers, so sign up early – I’d love to have you there!

 
   
A Folk Songs for Families A
 

Thanks to all of you who have made suggestions for songs to be included in the recording I’ll be making this summer, presently titled “Songs We Sing”. I’m narrowing in on the songs I’d like to include, including some familiar ones (This Little Light, Go Tell Aunt Rhody) some more obscure ones (Bound for the Promised Land, Donkey Riding, The Titanic) and a good dose of ridiculous ones (John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, One Bottle of Pop). Still welcoming your favorite songs.


I’ve got a great line-up of musicians working with me, and we hope to do the whole thing live in the studio over a three day period with everyone chiming in on whatever instrument and voice they have. Should be a blast!

 
   
  Barney and the Best Candy in the Whole World  
 

Before I get to the music recording, I’m working on a recording of stories, including “The Best Candy in the Whole World", an original story many of you have heard, and “Jack and the Singing Leaves”, a traditional story I learned from Duncan Williamson and have been telling for years. Hopefully out in the fall!

 
 
 
  Looking for funding – “Stories Out of School”  
 

One of the challenges of being an artist and an independent scholar, unaffiliated with any institutions, is finding a way to devote time to larger projects. As I've mentioned in past newsletters, I've been thinking about a book about the culture of schools for several years and plan to focus on it more this year. While I'll keep my other balls up in the air (performing, recording, rocket science), I'm also looking for a way to fund my time on this project. If you're interested in what I'm doing, or have some ideas about grants/foundations or investors, email Debbie and we'll send you my treatment for "Stories out of School" when it's completed in early June. This is a new and different kind of undertaking for me, trying to organize my thoughts and experiences about schools and learning - I welcome your input and will keep you posted as it unfolds.

 
   
  Books we like  
 

We have been overwhelmed with the great books we’ve come across in the last several months. I recently discovered John Banville, an Irish writer whose command of the English language (those Irish) is astounding. I’ve loved both The Sea and his latest book, The Infinities. I’m speechless. I also (finally) read Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Last, my dad gave me a spectacular book called The Deep, by Claire Nouvian – a photo essay on the strange, wonderful creatures, mostly undiscovered and threatened that live far, far beneath the ocean’s surface. Looking at these things, you realize that when someone asks “Why”, Nature responds “Why Not?”
Like many of you, both Debbie and I have hung on every word of Stieg Larssons book The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and will get to the other ones soon.

Books from Debbie – Hi All! Like my quilting, I seem to have 3 books going at once now – one in the car (our library has an incredible collection of recorded books), one while I’m quilting (also recorded) and one before bed at night or curled up on a rainy day. I’ve just finished Elizabeth Berg’s Home Safe– a wonderful story about our closest relationships, longing, loss and self-discovery. The next book for car listening is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows - I've heard great things about it and am really looking foward to it!!!

I am deep into Louise Erdich’s book The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse and am having a hard time putting it down – it’s about a priest, who, for 50+ years, disguises the fact that “he” is a “she” to serve the Ojibwe people on their remote reservation – the story is astounding, her writing dense and wonderful. And, finally, I LOVed Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann and hope that Bill starts reading (or listening to it) soon so we can talk about it – I can’t recommend it highly enough… a series of stories whose characters are all somehow touched by Philippe Petit’s high wire walk between the Twin Towers in NY. The writing is stunning – the stories and characters compelling and I know (already) that I will be sad when it’s finished.

 
  Enjoy the final months of school. Don't forget - summer is car trips, and I spend half my time in someone's car - why not yours? Check our sale below.  
 
     
 
 
 
 
From the Office
 
   
  New Bill Harley on YouTube  
 

In case you missed it, we recently posted Bill performing "You're Not the Boss of Me" on YouTube. We're hoping to post some other songs and short stories on our YouTube page. Click here to see all the videos we have so far and keep checking back to see what else is new.

 
   
  Rock & Roll Playground  
 

Putamayo Kids latest CD "Rock & Roll Playground" will be available everywhere June 15. In addition to Bill's "Sleep the Whole Day Through", the recording contains Peter Himmelman's "Little Bitty Baby", Rosie Flores' "This Little Girl's Gone Rockin'" and "Let's Shake" by Dan Zanes and Friends. For a preview of songs and a free download visit their website.

 
   
  On Sale in the Bill Harley store  
 

Stock up on Bill Harley now! Keep him in the car, give him away as gifts, or listen to him when the kids are out of the house. These titles are on sale for $10 each, but only until June 30th. Don't delay - buy today!

 
   
  Bill Harley mp3s  
 
If you haven't downloaded a song or story from our store yet, give it a try. It's so easy and you'll have your purchase immediately! Download Zanzibar to your desktop. Add Battle of the Mad Scientists on your ipod. Put Barbie's Head is Missing on a mix CD.
 
   
  Bookings  
 

Beginning with this newsletter, we’ll be making a shift in our concert bookings and wanted to let you know. Mike Green and Associates will continue to handle Bill’s booking in the Performing Arts world and the Folk Festival/Music world – but we’ll be handling the Educational and Storytelling world – so, schools, libraries, storytelling festivals and conferences should be in touch with Debbie (debbie@billharley.com or 508-336-9703) – performing arts presenters, folk clubs and festival presenters should be in touch with Mike (mikeg@mikegreenassociates.com or 734-769-7254). Do let us know if you have questions – we’ll make sure you are talking with the right person!

Every now and then we have openings to fill in specific parts of the country - so - If you live in the Philadelphia area or in the vicinity of Albany, NY and would like to schedule a school and/or family concert please let me know. And we are currently booking school and family concerts in New England for the coming school year with reduced block-booking rates available for multiple school bookings.

 
   
  Tales2Go  
  Available on your iphone or ipod touch, Tales2Go puts hundreds of stories within your ears. They have tons of great tellers in addition to audio version of popular books. If you haven't checked them out, visit their website today. And if you'd love to use the app, but don't have the right phone, contact them through their website and let them know.

 
   
  Kindiefest  
  The first weekend of May, Bill and Debbie went to Kindiefest, a conference, showcase and festival for the children's music industry. Here's a link to a slide show of some of the performers from Time Magazine's website. Or, you can read about it on the zooglobble blog here.  
  Cathy Fink with Bill at Kindiefest