such an honor to hear Sarah Lee Guthrie & Hoping Machine sing my song at the Climate March in DC!


new CD available on band camp click on cover image below to download tracks

new CD available on band camp          click on cover image below to download tracks

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Click here: Pumpkin Hollow Retreat Center

Sounding the River

Sunday, July 13th

Join us in the morning

10am - 12 noon

Lecture by Mohican scholar Lion Miles

Shawn Stevens, Mohican Drum Leader of Nanapowe will share songs and stories

2pm - 4pm

Sounding the River Performance

A celebration! A procession! A Sound and Rhythm Event!

Celebrate the river at Pumpkin Hollow in a procession of rhythm and song

Follow the river to the beat of drums and the sound of gongs

join with

Shawn Stevens, Nanapowe Drum Leader and Storyteller

Members of KDZ, Kripalu Drummers

Youth Alive Step Line and Drum Team from Pittsfield, MA

Marafanyi Percussion

Shirley Edgerton Trio

Vikki True

Beth Craig

JoAnne Spies

Ed Mann, noted Frank Zappa percussionist and sound artist

and other special guests

as we honor the land and river and celebrate different traditions

At Pumpkin Hollow retreat center the beautiful Taconic stream caterwauls into a waterfall and then heads out toward the Hudson. Sounding the River starts at one end of the river and ends by the waterfall and peace pole area.

Early Registration suggested:

$10.00 - Lecture and storytelling only: 10am - 12 noon

$10.00 - Sounding the River performance only: 2:00 - 4:00

$30.00 includes all activities and lunch 10:00 - 4:00

Bring canned goods for Hillsdale Helping Hands Food Pantry

To register call:

Pumpkin Hollow: 518-325-3583

For information about performance e-mail:

Lesley Beck, then-editor of Berkshires Week, who took part in the first Sounding the River performance as a member of the choir, wrote a glowing review. In its first incarnation the celebration was called RiverMASS:

Funded in part by the John A. Sellon Charitable Trust and the Women's Interfaith Institute of the Berkshires, donations from Staples in Great Barrington, MA are in place for writing workshops before the event and we look forward to welcoming new art partners and collaborations within Columbia County.

Thank You to Jody Rael of Solaqua in Chatham, NY for providing his solar-powered sound system


To write letters of welcome to Mohicans


Rivermass Song

Twelve thousand years of tears are standing in my throat
A hundred million fears are woven in my coat
Illusion and memory are all the same
Can you tell me, what is my name?

Beyond the mountains I move along
My voice is hidden, then my voice is strong
After so much silence and separation
Will you praise my beauty, my reparation?

Rising, falling, known, unknown
My water blossoms in your bone
I am the heart of tree and bird
I am the river, a holy word

c 2007 words and music by JoAnne Spies

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Youth Alive

Raphael and Jerome of Youth Alive
photo by Keith Emerling c 2005

One of the highlights of the RiverMASS performance at St. Stephen's in 2005 occurred when Raphael drummed a solo on his bucket and the Nanapowe drummers all stood up with smiles on their faces looking to see what grooves he was laying down. That curosity and appreciation helped shape the line-up for Sounding the River. We will all have a chance to sit in a circle together and learn each other's songs and grooves. Debra Winchel will be hand drumming and singing Mohican songs Sunday morning, July 13th, teaching new songs and old.