Friday, June 26, 2015

Preparing for Mohawk's 50th

Front cover of the 1968 Massamet, the yearbook of the first graduating class from Mohawk Trail Regional High School. 155 pages, black & white photos and text, published after the June 20, 1968 graduation.
BUCKLAND—The Mohawk Trail Regional School District will turn 50 in two years, and former teacher/English department head C.J. Barnes, who taught in the district for 35 years, is helping coordinate a booklet to commemorate the milestone.

Barnes told the Mohawk School Committee on Wednesday, May 20 that with the class of 2015, Student Services reports that 5,273 students will have received diplomas in the past 50 years.

The publication may contain an overview of the District's formation, the current campus then and now, and tributes to "accomplished alumni." The Mary Lyon Foundation is supporting the project.

A nomination form has been developed and names are being solicited from community members. Find a nomination form at the Mohawk Trail Regional School or by contacting Barnes at [  ]. Nomination forms will also be on the school Web site soon.

(The above article is from the Shelburne Falls & West County Independent, Thursday, May 21, 2015, page 16.) 

Nomination forms (download and print a copy) may be submitted to C. J. Barnes via email at or mailed to
C. J. Barnes
395 Mohawk Trail
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370

Here are a few scanned images from the 1968 Massamet (click on each image to view larger):

The first page of the Senior portraits. The Dedication on page 8 says "To be a senior is to fuss with hairdos and neckties for one moment in front of a camera to capture that first realization that you are a senior ..."

A common theme throughout the book is building a community from the three schools that were combined into Mohawk. Grade Seven mentions being fortunate to not have "the problems of rivalry between schools which the upper classes had to be so careful to avoid."

"Our first task was to decide on a name for our new publication. The Indian name of the nearby mountain, the Massamet, was chosen."

Band uniforms did not arrive in time for Booster Day. "Undiscouraged, they appeared in jeans and sweatshirts ..."

The band's  first performance in their new uniforms was during the intermission of the Junior Class play on March 22 & 23, 1968.

Student Council is formed to strengthen and unify the student body.

The Booster Day football game was played on the field at the Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School.

The new gymnasium was not completed until after the Christmas vacation.

Mohawk's first graduation was on June 20, 1968, at 7:00 pm in the Mohawk gymnasium. Senator Edward Brooke was the guest speaker.

Graduation photos

There are 24 pages of ads in the back of the yearbook, including this full-page ad from Western Mass. Electric Co. saluting the "First Class to Graduate from Franklin County's FIRST ALL ELECTRIC HIGH SCHOOL."

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

AmazonSmile Donations to the Mohawk Music Association

You are probably doing some of your online shopping at Support the Mohawk Music Association at the same time by starting your shopping at Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Mohawk High Music Association (our official registered charitable organization name) whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.

Please give it a try. Same products, same prices, same service, but a small portion of the purchase price will be donated to the MMA.

Last year, between July 1, 2014 and June 9, 2015, AmazonSmile donated $21.94 to the Mohawk Music Association. Let's increase that donation amount in the coming year!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"All Talk" on June 12 and June 13

This year’s spring drama showcase is entitled “All Talk” and includes a variety of pieces that examine the theme of communication.

The production includes dramatic pieces by notable writers from Ernest Hemingway to David Sedaris, and also features the work of some of the most celebrated authors of ten-minute plays. “All Talk” endeavors to illuminate how we use language and how we, well… all talk.

Ernest Hemingway talks with Noel Coward in Havana, Cuba, 1959. Photo credit Getty Images.

Performances will be held in the Mohawk Auditorium on Friday, June 12th and Saturday, June 13th at 7:00 pm.

For more information, please e-mail Leanne Blaszak at We’ll see you there!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

New Officers Elected

Mohawk Music Association Officers (elected June 9, 2015)

  • Co-President: Laura Looman
  • Co-President:  Sherry Taylor
  • Treasurer:  Emily Robertson
  • Secretary:  Gina Glover

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mohawk Class of 2015 Graduation

On a beautiful early summer day, Mohawk held graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2015 on Bill Pollard Field. Congratulations Graduates!

Mohawk's Class of 2015 makes the long walk from the school to the football field, lead by Sally Slowinski, Graduation Marshall and President of the Class of 2016.

The Mohawk Band plays Pomp and Circumstance (video) as the graduates enter through the four ceremonial arches and take their place on the football field in front of their families and friends.

The graduates assembled on the football field, awaiting the start of the ceremonies.

School officials, and Commencement Speaker David Narkewicz, Mayor of Northampton, Class of 1984.

Mohawk's Chorus sings the National Anthem.

Earlier, eight Junior Class members hold the four ceremonial arches while awaiting the Senior Class to emerge from the school and begin the walk to the football field for the graduation ceremonies.

Music News

From Principal Lynn Dole's June 7, 2015 Newsletter:
High School Music News from Mr. Halligan
As the year comes to an end, our music students have a lot going on - as usual! You can read below about our year-end activities: Band and Chorus members will perform at Graduation, and also visit elementary schools for outreach performances this week; Tri-M will have an induction ceremony for new members; the Freedom Singers will visit Mohawk and work with our students on Friday. The following week will be finals.
Freedom Singers. Image courtesy of Bill Perlman
This picture, taken in Jackson, Miss., a couple of years ago, shows, from left, Bill Perlman, Chuck Neblett, Marshall Jones and Emory Harris.

You can also read below about some great opportunities for our students over the summer, and about the MMA meeting this week in which new officers will be elected.
This has been a great year for our high school music students! Thank you to everyone who came out to hear our students perform this year, and to everyone who contributed their time and energy to our numerous events and fundraisers! Summer will be sweet, but I already can't wait for next year!!
Scott Halligan

High School Band and Chorus members will be honoring the graduating class with performances at Graduation this Sunday. Call time for student performers is noon.

Elementary School Outreach Performances
High School and Middle School Band and Chorus members will be visiting our elementary schools this week to give outreach performances. On Monday students will perform at BSE, Hawlemont, and Rowe. On Thursday students will perform at Sanderson and Heath. Unfortunately we are unable to visit Colrain due to logistical challenges.

Tri-M Inducts new Members
Tri-M, the National Music Honors Society, will induct six new members this week! More info to come - watch my class pages for details.

Freedom Singers to visit Mohawk June 12
We are very fortunate to be welcoming The Freedom Singers to Mohawk this Friday, June 12. The Freedom Singers were significant players in the Civil Rights Movement. Their music helped fuel that movement and carry its message far and wide. They performed at historic marches, college campuses, and even at the White House. Each member of the group was also a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC (pronounced "Snick"). Mohawk students will meet the members of the Freedom Singers (including Bill Perlman of Ashfield), and hear the story and the music of the Movement from those who were there! [Article in The Recorder Saturday, June 6, 2015 "Freedom worth singing for"] 

Music students will have final performance exams before the end of the year. These exams can be performed live in the music room or can be recorded and emailed to me at

Summer Opportunities
Students have several opportunities for making music over the summer! Band members should strongly consider playing with the Shelburne Falls Military Band and/or the Ashfield Community Band. Singers should consider attending Summer Sings with the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, where they can sing gorgeous music with a large choir and live orchestra! More information about these opportunities can be found on my class pages:

An additional opportunity for singers is the Harmony Explosion camp at Worcester State University, August 6-9. Scholarships are available! This is a weekend music camp for high-school aged singers. Visit this website for more information:
If you would like to learn about scholarships please contact me via phone ASAP: 625-9811 x1317

MMA Meeting June 9
The Mohawk Music Association will meet on Tuesday, June 9 at 6:30pm in the Mohawk Library to elect officers for the 2015-16 school year. Be there!

Middle School Music News from Ms. Glover

In class chorus students are working on group projects. Each group has selected a song to learn together, and eventually perform. They are also exploring their creativity by adding instruments, solos and harmony. We will be working on this project from now until the end of the year, with the final project graded as the performance portion of their final exam.

Speaking of finals, each class will be taking a final exam this year. This will consist of a performance portion, as well as a written exam. Please see details and dates below so that your child can plan accordingly. We will also do some work in class. I will be posting all terms, policies and rubrics online, as well as a link to the quizlet, from which I will be taking the exam questions. Please see my Class Pages!

Chorus Final: June 9th
Performance: group work (50 points)
Written: 20 terms (15 for grade 7)

Band Final: June 10th
Performance: (sight-reading, salute to freedom: individual)
Written: 20 terms (15 for grade 7)

Elementary performances:
Both HS and MS ensembles will be performing at our district elementary schools. These performances will be during school on June 8th and June 11th. Students are not required to wear concert dress, however should wear nice clothes, following school dress code guidelines. The performances will be as follows.

June 8th
9:00 - BSE
10:00 - Hawlemont

June 11th
9:00 - Heath
10:30 - Sanderson

**All students must have a signed permission slip in order to attend. 

The Arts at Mohawk
All Talk on June 12 and June 13
This year’s spring drama showcase is entitled “All Talkand includes a variety of pieces that examine the theme of communication. The production includes dramatic pieces by notable writers from Ernest Hemingway to David Sedaris, and also features the work of some of the most celebrated authors of ten-minute plays. “All Talk” endeavors to illuminate how we use language and how we, well… all talk.   Performances will be held in the Mohawk Auditorium on Friday, June 12th and Saturday, June 13th at 7:00 pm. For more information, please e-mail Leanne Blaszak at We’ll see you there!
Concerts, Shows, and Plays available online
You can see videos of recent Mohawk student productions that James Sullivan, Program & Outreach Coordinator for Falls Cable, has added to the Falls Cable video website.  Check out the links to Mohawk Student Productions on the Falls Cable website:

MMA June Meeting

The next Mohawk Music Association meeting is Tuesday, June 9, at 6:30 pm in the school library.

Preliminary Agenda:

I. Treasurer's report
II. Minutes from last month
III. Director's report
     a. Scott
     b. Gina
IV. Election of Officers

1993 --- The U.S. Postal Service debuted its Legends of American Music, Rock and Roll/Rhythm and Blues stamp collection. The set featured Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Clyde McPhatter, Elvis Presley, Otis Redding, Ritchie Valens, and Dinah Washington.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Music Scholarships Awarded

Congratulations to the following Seniors who were awarded the Mohawk Music Association Scholarships, and the Shelburne Falls, Military Band Scholarship, at Senior Awards Night on Thursday, June 4, 2015.
  • Noah Blakeslee - $500
  • Nick Brown - $250
  • Caleb Browning - $500
  • Samantha Harris-Fried - $500
  • Hannah Monohon - $500

 Mohawk Music Association Scholarship Awards
These scholarships are awarded based on the following requisites (in order of importance): 1. Musicianship.  2. Student must have been a member of the Mohawk Music Department for a minimum of two years, including his/her graduating year.  3. Dependability, commitment, and merit within the Music Department and/or the Association.  4. A student planning to major in music in college will be given priority.

$200: Noah Blakeslee

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Summer Music Opportunities

Mohawk Music Director Scott Halligan offers some summer music options for his band and chorus students on his Class Pages.

There are a lot of local opportunities for singers and instrumentalists this summer!

Band members, click here for info about the Shelburne Falls Military Band, the Ashfield Community Band, and Mohawk Warriors Band Camp.
Shelburne Falls Military Band playing in the band shell at the Buckland Shelburne Elementary School. (see facebook page)
Ashfield Community Band playing on the steps of Ashfield Town Hall. (see facebook page)
Mohawk Warriors Band Camp. (more information)

Singers, click here for info about the Pioneer Valley Orchestra and Chorus All-Sing events - sing gorgeous music with a full orchestra!