Monday, January 13, 2014

The River Otter from Black Bear's Hudson Valley Tale

from Art Jonak on Facebook
We thought that this was a pretty cute photo of an otter and her baby!  Enjoy while listening to our recording of "The River Otter's Tale" from Black Bear's Hudson Valley Tale.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Hudson River School of Art: "Black Bear" was there too!

"Over one tier and then another..." where it all begins for Black Bear
At left: "The Falls at Kaaterskill" by Thomas Cole 

The Hudson River School was a mid-19th century American art movement embodied by a group of landscape painters whose aesthetic vision was influenced by romanticism. The paintings for which the movement is named depict the Hudson River Valley and the surrounding area, including the Catskill, Adirondack, and the White Mountains; eventually works by the second generation of artists associated with the school expanded to include other locales.

There is a special "Hudson River School Art Trail" that takes you to all of the sites that inspired the paintings, including the one of "The Falls at Kaaterskill" by Thomas Cole. Click here to learn more about the Art Trail, and to download maps to the different sites along the Hudson River.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Capital Region BOCES Arts in Education Showcase - May 17, 2012

Cornelia and Kelly spent the day upstate at the Capital Region BOCES Arts in Education Showcase.  Looking forward to connecting with the many teachers and parents we met during the day! Thanks to Shelley Viola and her colleagues for their hard work in putting this together every year.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Iza Trapani's Book Launch Party!

Here are some photos from Iza's book launch party - she was so wonderful with the children, and graciously talked about our performance of her "Black Bear's Hudson Valley Tale" in Beacon on April 14. Hopefully we will have some of her new books on hand too!

Introducing Keve Wilson!

Keve will be making her debut with MV on Saturday, April 14 in our beloved "Bear Tale" at the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon - here's the skinny on this delightful actor/dancer/oboe player:

Hailed by the New York Times for her “magnificently sweet tone”, oboist Keve Wilson released her debut album Pure Imagination on the CCR/Naxos label in January 2011. A past winner of Concert Artists Guild, Keve is solo oboist with Kristjan Jarvi’s Absolute Ensemble and can be heard on the group’s numerous albums, including the Grammy nominated Absolute Mix. With the Absolute Ensemble, she has traveled to Estonia, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Greece, London, Amsterdam at the Concertgebouw, and Finland. In New York in 2011, Keve performed with Jazz at Lincoln Center as part of the re-creation of Bird with Strings as solo oboist, played at the famed Newport Jazz Festival with Miguel Zenon, and performed as a member of the Wind Soloists of New York on a West Coast Tour. She also performed as principal oboist with Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas in New York and Mexico and recorded on the Sony released CD, Travieso Carmisí. Keve premiered “After Hearing Bach” for oboe and strings by Peter Schickele, won a coveted position with Opera Pacific, and co-founded the innovative chamber music series “Project Accidental” while living in Los Angeles for six years. A fellow at the Tanglewood Institute, she has performed at many summer festivals, including Chamber Music Northwest, Bremen MusicFest, Savannah Onstage, Juneau Jazz and Classics, and New Zealand International Arts Festival. Keve has toured extensively with Meliora Winds and Quintet of the Americas, and taught master-classes at Northwestern University, Eastman School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, University of Southern Utah, and the Chautauqua Institute. Radio appearances include NPR’s Performance Today, WQXR, and A Couple of Musicians, a weekly radio show she and her husband hosted and produced on Mountain Public Radio.

Keve currently teaches at the Diller-Quaile School and the 92nd Street Y. Past teaching engagements include the Pasadena Conservatory, the Heart of Los Angeles Foundation (HOLA), the Henry Mancini Institute, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Caramoor Center, the Chamber Music Conference, and the American Festival for the Arts in Houston and Argentina. She has also performed in hundreds of public schools across New York City and Los Angeles.

Originally from Hyde Park, New York, Keve graduated from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied oboe with Richard Killmer, piano with Patricia Arden, and dance with Elizabeth Clark. She resides in her favorite city of New York with her husband and two Portuguese water dogs. Keve is represented by Baird Artists Management.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Iza Trapani's new blog - "In and Out of My Studio"

Post for March 10, 2012: "Bears on the Brain"

Since I have a new picture book coming out April 1st (no foolin’) , The Bear Went Over the Mountain, I thought it’s about time I tell you about another story I wrote called Black Bear’s Hudson Valley Tale. I wrote it for a local musical group named Madera Vox, a marvelous quintet with a pianist, an oboist, a basoonist, a percussionist/composer and a soprano. They describe their style as “crossover classical,” but I would just call it uniquely beautiful. Here is a link to their site:

And here is the story behind the tale:

A few years ago they had approached me to collaborate on a project – to write a children’s story, a libretto, actually – something akin to Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. David Gluck, their percussionist and composer would set it to a musical score and they would perform it as a theatrical piece, a ”musical storytelling.”

I panicked, of course.

Yes, I had written many children’s books, but they were all in rhyme, and averaging under 300 words. Yes, I agreed to do it. But would I, could I deliver?

The six of us met and discussed possibilities. Their music, I told them, reminded me of water, which led us to think of the Hudson River and how I could base a story around that. Over the next months, I agonized. Nothing came to mind. But then, on our annual summer trip to Maine, with a sound track of Peter and the Wolf for inspiration, and a nine hour ride ahead, ideas started to sprout. I thought of our beautiful valley with its Catskill mountains and Hudson river, with its apple orchards and farms and woods and gorgeous seasons and abundant wildlife. And a black bear came to mind. Here is how it begins:

Black Bear’s Hudson Valley Tale

Scene 1

In the pink light of predawn, deep in the Catskill Mountains, a pile of twigs and leaves began to stir on the forest floor. Black Bear emerged from his den and stretched, yawned and scowled. Peep, peep, peep, he heard, peep, peep, peep. Following the sound he came to a scrub-shrub swamp filled with tiny frogs.

(Listen to "Time to Rise" here)

“Hey!” he grumbled, “I was sleeping.”

“You awoke me with your peeping.”

“Not a real nice thing to do.”

“Not one more peep out of you!”

To which the chorus of little frogs replied:


Every dusk and every dawn,

How we love to carry on,

How we love to peep and sing

To tell the world that it is spring.

Hurry up. It’s time to rise.

To open up your sleepy eyes.

Look at all the trees in bloom.

Smell the flowers’ sweet perfume.

We are peepers! We are peepers! (chorus)

We awake all winter sleepers!

We are peepers! We are peepers!

We awake all winter sleepers!

Every dusk and every dawn,

How we love to carry on,

How we love to peep and sing

To tell the world that it is spring.

Say good-bye to cold and snow.

Spring is here to steal the show.

Celebrate with us today.

Welcome spring! Hooray! Hooray!

We are peepers! We are peepers!

We awake all winter sleepers!

We are peepers! We are peepers!

We awake all winter sleepers!

With that, Black Bear, now awake and less grumpy, looked around and saw the brilliant yellow greens of spring and all the trees bursting into leaf. He sniffed the moist, fertile earth, felt the squishy moss that cushioned his tender footpads, and heard the happy chatter of songbirds. He took a long drink from a sparkling brook and ate some juicy grubs. “Ah,” thought Black Bear, “spring is here, and the world is full of possibility.”

And off he went exploring…

by Iza Trapani ©

Maybe someday they will perform in your area. The show is spectacular. But, in the meantime, if you’d like to buy the cd, you can do so here. It includes soprano Kelly Ellenwood’s beautiful and engaging narration of the full tale amid a backdrop of music and sound effects. She also sings six songs (say that six times!) accompanied by Sylvia Buccelli on piano, Cornelia McGiver on bassoon, Nicole Golay on oboe, and David Gluck setting a beat.

You just might like it :-)

You will be able to meet Iza Trapani at bookstores all over the region in the next few weeks. For a complete schedule, go to Iza's website: