Mary Jo Maichack is a national award-winning singer, storyteller and teaching artist whose work has reached an estimated total audience of half a million people. Since 1989, she offers you an enormous variety of participatory programs for all ages–serving libraries, schools (integrating all the arts into classroom learning for pre-k to grade 8), museums, your venue–from in-school residencies, to shows, to professional development to the “thinking person’s” cabaret show of elegant and touching standards. Two national awards for her recordings, endorsements from regional festivals, PBS TV, Mass. Cultural Council, Mass. Humanities, CT Storytelling Center (CSC) and more. She recently was hired part time as the first director of marketing and development for CSC and brought a record 100 new people to its 35th annual festival (April 28 & 29, 2017–come!) 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, 11 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
• Creative Teaching Artist using traditional folktales and multi-performing arts approaches to literacy and STEM; innovative–got 2 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.
Regional festival stages from San Francisco to Scuola Gozzi in Venice, Italy, as well as in an exchange with a storyteller in Paris, France, 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 won two national awards for her CDs of storytelling & music, including an original tale of historical fiction. Her workshops correspond with learning standards–by the number.
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, (League for the Advancement of New England Storytelling) held annually at M.I.T. and elsewhere.
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; Bright Horizons Corporate Day Care, Head Start, and Springfield City Library literacy STARR volunteers, to name a few. She served a year as 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 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. 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 well in any learning they pursue. I try to tell them YES YES YES and serve as a model of a kind and loving person. I’m no saint. But this is my ambition.”
Proud alum. of Middlebury College, B.A. cum laude, English literature, with other liberal arts studies in French, German, music. Deutsche Schule cabaret.