From John Farrell
January 2007
Greetings Friends,

The last newsletter I wrote, in October 2006, began with the observation that the seasons were changing, the days were getting shorter and the holidays and winter would soon to be upon us. Well, the holidays have come and gone, and the days are now getting longer, but winter has yet to arrive here in the Taconic Hills. As of the last week of January we still have not had a snowfall that needed to be shoveled or plowed. The local skiers are restless, the mountain and ski area is strangely quiet, and the only snowmen around are those peculiar inflatable ones. Since this is our first winter in the countryside we were looking forward to the snow and it’s been disappointing so far. On the other hand, it has been invigorating to bicycle and hike in December and January, and it doesn’t do any good to complain about the weather, but we
are ready for the snow.


My biggest news is that the picture book
Stargazer’s Alphabet is done and is now available. I am thrilled with the design and layout, and the photographs are gorgeous. Boyd’s Mills Press has done a wonderful job with the book. To see the cover and pages from the book go to the web site at You can order the book from the web site, or you can call Mary Jain at 607-965-8983.


The new CD titled “
All Around Us: Songs Exploring the Wonders of Nature and Science” is nearing completion and should be available by summer 2007. A fantastic children’s chorus sings on the CD. They are from Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Yorktown, NY and were directed by their wonderful music teacher Ms. Lorraine Cich. The children’s voices and enthusiasm, compliment Jeff Miller’s musical wizardry to bring the songs to life. Song titles from the CD include;

It All Begins With Just a Seed / Welcome to the World Baby Dolphin / There’s a Bear Over There / What’s So Great About the Great White Shark? / The Paleontologist Told Us So / In the Garden / I Am an Amphibian / Underneath the Sea / Stargazer’s Alphabet and more.


While in Europe in November I visited the International School of Brussels in Belgium, plus Benjamin Franklin International School and the American School, both in Barcelona, Spain. The teachers and students at each of these schools were warm, friendly and curious, like nearly all teachers and students I meet in schools wherever I go. They welcomed me generously and together we sang, laughed and celebrated learning and striving to live peacefully. I also spent four days in Nice, France, where I was a presenter and exhibitor at the European Council of International Schools conference. I was at the conference talking and singing about “Bridges of Peace.” While there I became acquainted with a man named Mark Cook who is the founder of an incredible project called “Hope and Homes.” Mark and his charity work with the poorest and neediest children on earth, the orphans of wars and the AIDS epidemic. I am hoping that “Bridges of Peace” may be able to help “Hope and Homes” with the magnificent work they are doing. I will keep you informed via this newsletter.


Spring is usually a busy time with school visits and conference presentations. The same holds true this year. I will be in Virginia, Arkansas, Texas, North Carolina, Maryland and Indiana in the coming months, and will also be at the International Reading Association meeting in Toronto, Canada, in May. There are still a few open dates available. Please check the link at if you’re interested in scheduling a school program or community concert, or curious about when I may be in your neck of the woods. If you don’t have time to check out the schedule, give Mary Jain a call. She’d be delighted to speak with you and she has many interesting thoughts to share. 607-965-8983 or 800-928-4007

I wish you all peace and good health throughout the remainder of the school year and into the future. I hope our paths will cross again soon. Thanks for your support and for all you do to help children. I love to hear from you and sincerely appreciate all emails and letters I receive.

Keep Singing!

John Farrell

2006 Hope River Music
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