About

 

DSCN5163Fresh from intense work in speech writing and delivery with actor Tina Packer, founder of Shakespeare & Co., Lenox, Massachusetts, Mary Jo Maichack is a national award-winning singer, storyteller, speaker, public speaking coach, and teaching artist whose work has reached an estimated total audience of half a million people. She’s shared her skills from San Francisco to Prague, Czech Republic and endlessly through Massachusetts and Connecticut (which is much harder). Since founding Maichack Arts in 1989, she offers you:

–professional development workshops for adults (personal, education, medical, business, etc.) who want to speak and write with impact and confidence for any cause, personal or professional. The Speech Coach–Hire Mary Jo to put your feet under you and nerves under control when you give a speech to 1 or 1,000. Learn from her skills in sales, writing, performing, voice, body to own yourself and the room in your next presentation. Bring her to help your employees master communication skills that enable them to tell your business’s story.

–participatory programs (shows, workshops, residencies) in different themes for all ages–serving libraries, schools (integrating the arts into classroom learning for pre-k to grade 8), museums, your venue

–a magical one-person cabaret show of elegant and touching song standards interwoven with personal storytelling, and with professional keyboard accompanist.

Background Highlights: (Scroll down for philosophy.)

Two national awards (NAPPA Gold and Honors) for her original recordings, endorsements from regional festivals, PBS TV, Mass. Cultural Council, Mass. Humanities, Connecticut Storytelling Center (CSC) and more.

Founding Partner and business executive director, Maichack Arts with professional pastelist, Gregory Maichack (www.GregoryMaichack.com). Former director of marketing and development for CSC and brought a BIG audience increase to its 35th annual festival  largely through promotional writing.

PBS–On-Air Literacy Fair LIVE Performance, also wrote & appeared in 7 spots of literacy Tips for Parents, WGBY-TV

National Curriculum Advisory Council, Norman Rockwell Museum

Winner, NAPPA Gold and NAPPA Honors for CDs of Storytelling & Music

Winner, Julie Andrews Artist-in-Residence Award, Worcester MA Educational Foundation

Massachusetts Humanities Council FAIR roster artist (Family Adventures in Reading) 2012-2015, facilitating parent/child conversation and activities about literature–many times

Winner, 12 MCC STARS Oral Literacy 12-week Residencies, fusing performance skills with literacy and serving the Common Core. Master teaching artist bridging curriculum with the joy of all the performing arts

Nominee: MCC Gold Star Program Award for Multilingual Show for Families, “Everybody Says Hello” countless MCC grants since 1989

Featured artist in Legendary Locals of Holyoke, MA, a book by Jacqueline M. Sears

Creative Teaching Artist using traditional folktales and multi-performing arts approaches to literacy and STEM; innovative–garnered 3 MCC grants to apply narrative skills to computer animation (“Scratch”) for middle schoolers at Birchland Park, E. Longmeadow, MA

Professional Development: Teacher of Teachers, Librarians: Storytelling & the Arts as Classroom Skills, Audience Management Techniques–Teachers DO the stories with origami, puppets, speaking and presentation skills, learn stories instantly useable the next day. We dance, rhyme, laugh, create and find all the things we love to do in the classroom are completely in line with serving the gods of standards. No problem.

• Dynamic Teller of Folktales, Tunes for All Ages–Bringing audience to the stage to sing, dance, act, chant in variety shows

Cabaret Singer interpreting the Great American Songbook Performances at Nantucket Great Harbor Yacht Club, Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, MA, Cranwell Resort, Lenox, MA, Midnine Cabaret of 33rd Annual CT Storytelling Festival and elsewhere.

Regional Storytelling Festival Performances & Workshops: Sharing the Fire (multiple times), Featured Performer at “Midnine Cabaret,” Connecticut Storytelling Festival (2014), 2010; LAUGHS Fest (VA); Schoodic Festival (MA); Celebration Barn (ME), Emcee of National-level storytellers, CSC; Mark Twain Festival/Hartford, CT; Swapping ground of National Storytelling Festival. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, twice.

Europe: Regional festival stages; performances from San Francisco to Scuola Gozzi in Venice, Italy; Vienna, Austria; as well as in an exchanges with a storyteller in Paris, France and Prague, Czech Republic; at countless schools, libraries and many venues and taught children and adults how to brave the stage and build oral language skills for their education and delight.

She has performed & trained others in more than 3,000 sites since 1989 in after-school programs, countless preschools, YMCAs, family centers, libraries and schools from K-8; WGBY-TV (PBS) On-Air Literacy Fair; Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, MA; Story Cafe performance and interview, TV 9 in Seekonk. http://www.tv9seekonk.com/, Safe Kids & TV Award-Winning Educational TV (PEG Award) in Providence, RI; First Night Northampton, (five years). She is a regular workshop provider at the Northeast Regional Storytelling Conference (Sharing the Fire).

She has provided training and professional development for the City of Chicopee, Mass.; Holyoke Day Nursery, regional roundtable meetings of children’s librarians from Boston to southern Connecticut; Square One after school enrichment for literacy; Bright Horizons Corporate Day Care, Head Start, and Springfield City Library literacy STARR volunteers, to name a few. She served a year as (former) children’s librarian at Mason Square, Springfield, MA.

She earned a B.A. cum laude in English literature from Middlebury College, attended their German Summer School, uses French, Italian, & Spanish, even bits of Japanese & Russian in her many programs. Foreign language learning is a favorite hobby.

Personal Statement/Philosophy

“I am passionate about helping people of all ages to express themselves–their individual stories, needs and purposes, with joy and confidence. I was a very shy child with a big imagination in a family of word lovers–readers, natural storytellers, engaging and charming conversationalists. But I was so much younger than everyone, I had to raise my hand to participate. My ache for self-expression, belonging and need for self-esteem, in this nurturing nest of language lovers drove me to develop my powers of expression through language, spoken and written. Always artistic by nature, my love of performing has wrestled with these inclinations to be an inward-looking person.

Many adults find speaking their truths difficult, and I want to help. If you want to speak on anything–on, say, animal rights, or to sell a product you really believe in, I would like to help–with positive support and you in control. I know it can be scary, but I will make it affirming and fun. I can share techniques and skills that have taken me a lifetime to master (and I will continue as a life-long learner all my foreseeable days). 

 As for children, I believe that childhood should be a time of joy and exploration, with guidance but not constant intrusion by adults. It is my belief that human beings are naturally curious, that adults have an obligation to allow children to explore, to learn skills to express their own voices with the world, to become their best selves. I spend my time with them modeling the joy of telling stories, singing, moving, speaking, dancing, developing language skills and laughing. I believe I bring high standards because I was able to receive a first-class education in an era that had excellent teachers in Pittsfield, Mass., and at Middlebury College, always well within the top 7-10 liberal arts colleges in the U.S., although not as well known as Amherst, Yale and Williams. I was raised in a family that held life-long education high and, as I said, loved language. I am definitely a person who loves learning and has continually self-educated myself as part of my nature. I know these skills and our activities will serve children, teachers and principals well in any learning they pursue. I try to tell them YES YES YES, be honest and direct with them, and serve as a model of a kind and loving person. I’m no saint. But this is my ambition. It gives my life meaning and purpose.”

Training: Shakespeare & Co., Lenox, MA–Speech, voice/body work with founder Tina Packer, rhetorical with Dennis Krausnick, countless professional workshops in singing, storytelling, acting, Alexander Technique, violin (Jan Stocklinski), classical and folk music. Middlebury College, B.A. cum laude, English literature, with other liberal arts studies in French, German, music. Deutsche Schule cabaret in German with Herbert & Eva Nelson (who performed cabaret in the Weimar Republic), Middlebury College German Summer School. 

My strongest training? Thirty years, full-time, making my living in front of thousands of different audiences. It’s been difficult, but I’ve wrested some real inner diamonds from this experience. 

Please get in touch and let me know how my skills may help you.