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

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Karaoke Confession was a performance I created last year for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.
The iconic painting by Norman Rockwell of  six-year old Ruby Bridges escorted by guards as she walked  to school led me to the theme of forgiveness.
I learned that Ruby's teacher asked her what she said as she walked through the angry crowds. 'I was praying,' she said. 'Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.'

To see photos and description of the show: Karaoke Confession  

Next year's performance will take place once again at the Norman Rockwell Museum on March 22nd and follow a similar format of a guided musical tour through the museum. I'll keep you posted as more poets and musicians are assigned a painting.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

 December 1 and 2 at Masonic Temple 
across and down the street from Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA

I'll be playing music at one of my favorite holiday fairs Saturday afternoon.

~>Alchemy Initiative

Batgirl, myself and Spiderman at Norman Rockwell Museum's Mini Comic Con
Flash getting his fortune told

Flash ran in for a fortune, Spiderman sat down for a reading and Batgirl shuffled the cards for her fortune as well. I loved getting younger fortune queries and seeing all manner of heroes and heroines running around.
Thanks to Tom Daly and everyone at NRM.
Special thanks to Tammis Coffin for help setting up.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Festival of Comics

Norman Rockwell Museum
Saturday, November 17 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

I can't wait to join the exciting world of comics with my collaged Moby Dick characters that have become Moby Dick Fortune Cards. Look for me and get your fortune told!

Celebrate the art of comics during this exciting afternoon of artist talks and demonstrations, workshops, signings, comic book appraisals, and tours of Heroes & Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross. Come dressed as your favorite superhero and get $2 off admission. Free with Museum admission, members free.

A WBCR Benefit Concert

House Concert: Songwriter’s Sampler

Gabrielle Senza & Darren Todd, Vikki True & Peter Schneider, The Berkshire Mountain Rambler, Chris Merenda, JoAnne Spies, Rodney Mashia, Steph Campbell, Ryan Foss

special event image
Saturday November 3 at 7pm
At Eleven (Gabrielle Senza's Art Studio) 11 School St, Great Barrington
Download a flyer here.
WBCR-LP · P.O. Box 152 Great Barrington, MA 01230· ph:413-528-5732

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sept. 21 - Dr. Jane Goodall Hosts International Day of Peace Ceremony At National September 11 Memorial, 21 September at 4:00 p.m. World Trade Center, New York City.
JoAnne Spies Performing Survivor Tree, Original Song Written for Event
The International Peace Day NGO Committee at the United Nations cordially invites you to participate in a reflective ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial to observe the annual UN International Day of Peace on September 21, 2012. The International Day of Peace, which was established by a resolution of the UN General Assembly, was first observed 30 years ago. Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, will officiate the ceremony in recognition of her 10th year as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, and her efforts to grow the Institute’s global environmental and humanitarian youth program, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots. The ceremony will reflect the theme of this year’s International Day of Peace, Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future, while honoring the victims of the World Trade Center attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001. The event will be held near the September 11 Memorial’s famous Survivor Tree.

                                                         Survivor Tree on youtube

JoAnne Spies and Jane Goodall Int'l Day of Peace Survivor Tree Ceremony
Dear Friends,

It was an honor to create a song for the Survivor Tree and sing it standing by the tree alongside peace leader Dr. Jane Goodall and Michael Johnson. We were surrounded in a semi-circle by a large group of people who sang along in a heartfelt way. 

There was a palpable sense of peace prevailing on earth at yesterday's ceremony. Dr. Goodall's presence radiates peace, and her Roots & Shoots organization actively works for peace around the world at a grassroots level.  
It was very moving to meet Richie Cabo, the man who helped nurture the tree back to life. I thanked him for what he did and showed him the verse in my song that he inspired.

* you tube about horticulturist who saved tree
info on Survivor Tree

Survivor Tree at Ground Zero
Thank you to Michael Johnson of Pathways to Peace for inviting me to be a part of the ceremony.
The process of writing the song in a week was intense and rewarding. I played it for all the artists I work with in the CATA art cart program during the week and they helped shape the final words of the song with their enthusiasm and comments.

I envision singing this song in many places and hope it helps water the roots of peace.
I'm eager to record the song soon and make it available on this site.
It's called Survivor Tree and invites you to water the roots of peace.
May Peace Prevail On Earth. 

Thanks to Kevin Furlong for his support with the day's event.

Monday, August 13, 2012

 Thank you to everyone who made the MMM event successful!
We raised awareness about the Elizabeth Freeman Center
and $130. for their benefit.

Shawn Stevens, Mohican musician

Elfie Six's gong hung from pine near old wolf pine where Melville stood
It was spectacular weather, Elfi Six's gong resounded and Shawn Stevens began the event with a rousing welcome song as he drummed and walked towards the audience encircling Melville's tree (tall wolf pine.)
Thanks also to Laurie Robertson Laurant, Melville biographer and writer who joined our performance and read some of her poems. Synchronistically with MMM, she is exploring Mumbet's history as well as the notion of what is true when you are looking historically at a person's life.

click here ~>Melville, Mumbet and Mohicans blog

Mumbet  Elizabeth Freeman

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Come for this band at 1:00 and stay the whole afternoon! 
 click here~> Call Me Ishmael performs at Arrowhead at 1:00pm
 Melville, Mumbet and Mohicans begins at 3:00.
 There are picnic tables on the grounds of Arrowhead, a gift shop, tours and a nature trail.

Friday, August 3, 2012

                                                                                     Shawn Stevens                                                                                                                               photo by Keith Emerling

Melville, Mumbet and Mohicans to benefit Elizabeth Freeman Center
August 18, 2012 at 3:00pm
Created and narrated by singer songwriter JoAnne Spies in collaboration with Mari Andrejco and Nathan Smith.
Herman Melville's Arrowhead
780 Holmes Road
(413) 442-1793
Suggested admission $5 - $10 to benefit the Elizabeth Freeman Center
What are the connections between these illustrious Berkshire residents? This interactive community event and performance celebrates Melville, Mumbet and the first people of the Berkshires with songs, stories and poems. The audience enters a living timeline with surprising guests like Emily Dickinson.  Performers include Mari Andrejco, Ann-Elizabeth Barnes, Jana Laiz,  Nathan Smith, Jennifer Reis, Rosemary Starace, Mohican musician and storyteller Shawn Stevens, Sean Vernon and special guests.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Moby Dick Fortune Cards

  I'm thrilled to have my multi-media collage of Moby Dick fortune cards at two galleries. Come ask me to tell your fortune. I always carry a spare deck!

Moby Dick Fortune Cards is at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts 

Art Opening Friday, August 17th.

5pm - 7pm

  The Bookstore in Lenox 

11 Housatonic Street  Lenox, MA 
 (413) 637 3390

Kindle-ing: artists reflect on the changing nature of books

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


                                                                                     "Ain't we all a slave?"                                                                                               Ishmael chapter 1, Moby Dick

Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Moby Dick characters  c 2012 JoAnne Spies collage 22x30

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Moby Dick cards are ready

Moby Dick Fortune Deck  Fedallah's Fortunes
         copyright 2012 JoAnne Spies
copyright 2012 JoAnne Spies
Fedallah's Fortunes
Moby Dick cards

I created card-sized portraits of the characters
in Moby Dick to make fortune cards with quotes 
from each character. I'm looking forward to using
the cards in music and songwriting  games at my summer 
teaching sessions at Becket Arts Camp and the Berkshire Athenaeum.
When making the copies I could see the pictures
would make an interesting painting lined up side by side
in five rows.
Here's a peek at one batch of the cards above.
I invited Lenox, MA artist Paul Graubard to make some 
of his folksy characters to add to my deck. 
We each agreed that making a painting of these miniature characters 
would be a good idea. His spin on my concept
is hanging at Ferrin Gallery. My painting will be 
at an upcoming show at the Book Store in Lenox, MA
curated by Jim Youngerman. 

cd cover JoAnne Spies; oil on paper

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

                                                       from "Fedallah's Fortunes"
                                                                                                 J. Spies

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Saturday, May 12 at 6:00pm
Sunday, May 13 at 1:00pm 
Annual Gala and Fundraiser for
at the Founders Theatre
Lenox, MA

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nathan Smith, left and Ben Friedman
 Thanks to all who made this event at the Norman Rockwell Museum such a success!
Here's link to more photos and poems:

photos by Tammis Coffin
JoAnne Spies leading audience through Norman Rockwell galleries in her performance 'Karaoke Confession'
with St.Patrick/Joseph jimmyjangle

main gallery Rockwell Museum call and response

  Gracie Berry by the Golden Rule


Thursday, February 2, 2012

March 16, 2:30 pm 
at Norman Rockwell Museum
"Karaoke Confession"   
Using Norman Rockwell's paintings as a launching point, "Karaoke Confession" is a performance by singer songwriter JoAnne Spies that weaves together songs, poems and stories on the theme of forgiveness.
Part guided tour and part interactive poetry and song, this program is being created for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.

 Karaoke Confession 'Tour Guides':
 Mari Andreyco    Cheryl Luft
Gracie Berry         Kasiya Phiri
Mindy Dow           Eric Reinhardt
Ben Friedman        Natalie Shiras
Jan Hutchinson       Nathan Smith
 click here: Norman Rockwell Museum
->Berkshire Festival of Women Writers

Sunday, March 11th    2pm - 6pm
Fundraiser for Mountain Road School
I'll be joining a wonderful array of bands and musicians at The Abode in New Lebanon, New York. 
  Come support this  school which is a gem and needs our help to grow in its new location.