Sacred Music

This workshop is designed for participants to hear and enjoy the musically gifted pianist Dr. Ruth Bass Green play selections of sacred songs and Negro spirituals that inspired and motivated the enslaved people and later Civil Rights activists to work for social justice and freedom for all. Ruth will describe the differences in the genres of spirituals, gospel, and secular songs and the role that the technique “call and response” provides to blend the spoken word with choral style music. The workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to delve deeply into the authentic sound and message of the music, and to see how the experience of listening and singing helps them open their hearts and minds to become advocates who will embrace diversity and inclusion in their communities.


Trainer: Dr. Ruth Bass Green, educator, piano and voice teacher, and church musician, is the founder and president of the Hazelle Catherine Bass Institute for the Arts ( For over 50 years, Ruth has served underprivileged and privileged students and adults across diverse fields of age, race, and gender. As a music educator, Ruth is a spokeswoman for the legacy of Negro Spirituals and the priceless contribution they bring to the genre of music in the Americas. Ruth’s teachings and travels abroad, in Europe and Africa, fueled her determination to cultivate a deeper passion for the transformative personal and social power of the arts. She is unerring in her devotion to the idea that “music is a healing, cross-cultural gift and bridge” that can grow connections at profound levels of heart, mind, and spirit. Ruth received a BA in Music Education from California State University, a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education, and a doctorate in Educational Studies from UMass Amherst.

Labyrinth Through Fear: A Gift Event

This workshop offers participants the opportunity to transform the energy of fear and adversity into courage and hope. Through movement meditation, free writing, storytelling, and theater activities, unknown gifts of the Labyrinth will reveal themselves. This fear I face/ is a deeper breath I take/ is the courage I share. The gift of fear, small or large, is a daily gift. Taking the risk to face fear invites and supports us to move, step by step, through a constricted space into the next level of fearlessness, confidence, and transformation. All are welcome; there are no pre-requisites for this class, just come with an open heart.


Trainers: Janet Aalfs, Poet Laureate Emeritus of Northampton, Master Martial Artist and Integrative Dance Instructor, Founder and Director, Lotus Peace Arts at Valley Women’s Martial Arts; and Ingrid Askew, a theatre-maker, cultural activist, and the Executive Director of Crossing the Waters Institute for Cultural Exchange. Ms. Askew lives in the Pioneer Valley and also in Cape Town, South Africa, where she facilitates theatre-making projects with community activists and artists. Her most recent project is “Labyrinth Through Fear” which she developed with Janet Aalfs.