photo: Jane Feldman

photo: Jane Feldman


Ongoing singing and toning gatherings, exploring the majestic sound of the RAV Vast drum.

rav  vast drum.jpg

Bmin pentatonic RAV Vast drum.


Contact me at : for more info



presenting 'Story Songs : Using Poetry and Music to Build Community'


"Incantations and Song Magic"     bascom lodge     may 27th

I'm looking forward to the second year of "Song Magic and Incantations" atop the highest mountain in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock. Last year J.K. Rowling designated our own Mt. Greylock the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardy!
Come join me at
Bascom Lodge on May 27th as we weave our magic, creating our own chants and songs.

To register: email


Kicking off the 80th season of Bascom Lodge, it's an honor to create a mountain blessing song that will salute all the elements. Hope to see you up there!  

Ella Tawes in "Song Magic and Incantations' atop Mt. Greylock at Bascom Lodge photo: Gillian Jones Berkshire Eagle

Ella Tawes in "Song Magic and Incantations' atop Mt. Greylock at Bascom Lodge photo: Gillian Jones Berkshire Eagle

My favorite thing is to tailor a workshop to an event. Invited to present a workshop on Family Day at the Rockwell Museum in conjunction with the opening of Istvan Banyai's "Zoom" exhibit, I asked participants to zoom in on different shapes they saw,  then explore the rhythm and feel of these shapes. Everyone had fun with rhythm games, and  had opportunities to conduct  to different styles of music.

"ZOOM" by Istvan Banyai

"ZOOM" by Istvan Banyai

Adding to Paul Klee's saying: "If a line is a dot that went for a walk".......a song is a sound that wanted to talk.

workshop for "Zoom" with guest conductor from audience photo: Stephanie Plunkett

workshop for "Zoom" with guest conductor from audience photo: Stephanie Plunkett


Istvan Banyai "Zoom" exhibit, Family Day workshop Norman Rockwell Museum  Stockbridge, MA

"Writing Songs of Peace”      Simon's Rock College,       Great Barrington, MA

        "Watershed Waltz" Assembly Program    Undermountain School  Sheffield, MA

 Presenter at “Mahler, Creativity and Conflict” Austen Riggs, Stockbridge, MA

"Songwriting and Improvisation"Herman Melville's Arrowhead, Pittsfield, MA

“The Art of Improvisation”A Walk through the Galleries with Sound and Rhythm

Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA

“Power, Passion, and Play: Reclaiming Our Voices”   Miss Hall’s School, Pittsfield, MA


main gallery Rockwell Museum

main gallery Rockwell Museum



"I can't thank you enough for the outstanding session that you conducted with our educators at Norman Rockwell Museum during our Symposium for Educators yesterday. As always, you were captivating, and the interactive opportunities that you provide make personal expression comfortable and possible for all. 

People clearly enjoyed this immersive approach to teaching, and will hopefully now feel comfortable introducing such elements into their own work with students. 

Thank you again for making this inspirational session possible, I look forward to working with you to develop opportunities for the future."

Stephanie Plunkett, Chief Curator, Norman Rockwell Museum

International Women's Day -                            Simon's Rock College

"JoAnne, thank you so much for adding your music and strong voice to our program yesterday!  It was just the perfect, rousing, interactive break we needed from all the sitting and talking, and you certainly modeled for us what a powerful woman looks like when she's writing/righting the world!"

Jennifer Browdy, PhD   Founder, Berkshire Festival of Women Writers,   Associate Professor of Comparative Litereature, Simon'sRock College

"Writer and song" drawing by JoAnne Spies

"Writer and song" drawing by JoAnne Spies

I'm so glad you came and shared the evening with us. I loved your songs -- really amazing, powerful, original. I can't wait to hear more. I hope we see you next year at Omega."
Love, Janet Gilmore / Jimmie Dale Gilmore


"JoAnne is a seasoned performer with a strong, beautiful voice and a great sense of rhythm.  She is wonderful to watch and listen to.  Her authenticity, her spunk, and her pure love of music is infectious.  If you can make it, you will be glad you did."               Mieke Kohl -   SOMA Dance Studio Eclipse Mill, North Adams, MA


"I just listened twice to your wonderful CD while making blueberry muffins.  I could hardly wait to write and congratulate you on your inspiring songs and authentic voice. I had to make myself focus on not burning the muffins. You are a honking, hooting, get down and get sacred, smell the water and trees lady. "

Trisha Pope - Director, Sutton Gospel Choir, Quebec