Southwest Wisconsin Homeschool Community Communiqué October 22, 2012

1. Metropolitan Opera Live in HD
2. 3D Drawing Virtual Class – free Oct. 23, 27, 29, 30
3. Filming Shakespeare – free webinar October 26
4. Missoula Children’s Theater
5. Local: Groups and Field Trips

You may freely share this with your friends. (See below note.)
Know of an event or handy resource to share in an upcoming issue?
Send a note or add a comment.

1. Metropolitan Opera Live – Opportunities to experience real live opera via Online Streaming or Satellite. Listen LIVE online Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012 at 7:25 pm EST to Tempest  or contact a theatre near you for availability of the next screening.

Think opera is old and boring?

Let’s expand your education.

Opera is performing art. Drama set to music.

Here’s a little trip through this world of performing artists—opera singers, chorus members, the conductor, and more! Watch the Video!

Opera was rock concerts before there were rock concerts.  It’s a fantastic, impressive spectacle.  And really, there ‘s no “fat lady” singing.

No opera glasses needed!

The Met Opera performances will be broadcast live from the Lincoln Center in New York City. The 12-opera series of live transmissions will be shown in 1,900 theaters in 60 countries on Saturday afternoons with encore performances shown on Wednesday evenings.  This year’s specially selected performances will be shown live October through May 2013 at participating theatres.

In the Southwest Wisconsin area, The Marcus Theatres’ Cinema in La Crosse, has become a popular venue for the live broadcasts.

Dozens of people flock to the theater Saturday afternoons and Wednesday evenings to see The Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD via satellite. “These Met Opera HD performances are very popular, and it’s one thing people ask about all year long,” said Jennifer Cram, general manager of Marcus Cinema La Crosse. “I am amazed and reassured by the passion for opera in this community,” she said. “These transmissions are the next best thing to being at the Met, and people get to see a lot of opera and a variety of productions.”  (Source)

The La Crosse Marcus theater is offering a limited quantity of courtesy tickets to students and one or two adults accompanying the group but they need to know in advance.  Please contact Lyda Lanier at if you are interested and she will be happy to made arrangements with the theater.  For Marcus Theatre schedule of the live broadcasts, click here.

For Met Opera detailed information and a complete schedule, click  here.

Free Live Audio Streams

Enjoy free weekly live streams of Met performances in high-quality sound, directly from the Met’s own website. Streams are available on your computer or mobile device. All you need to do is “click and play.” Check the Schedule  for a complete list of upcoming dates to listen live to a performance from the Met stage.

New to opera?  Let Deborah Voigt one of opera’s leading dramatic soprano introduce you to the particulars of this vibrant art form. Watch the Video!

Once you understand what’s going on, you’ll realize that you probably know more opera than you think.

The Met’s Educator Guides’ are designed to bring opera to the classroom, each opera-specific guide includes full length classroom activities, musical highlights, story synopses, accompanying audio clips, post-opera activities, and student resources—all helpful tools to become familiar and understand the opera before viewing.

Parental Discretion: While I am advocating opera as a worthwhile educational experience for students,  parents will need to check into each opera to determine what is appropriate for their own children.  Most professional productions are geared for an adult audience and may include thematic elements that may not be suitable for younger audiences.

2. 3D Drawing Virtual Class

Best selling author/illustrator and PBS Emmy award-winning Mark Kistler has taken his live workshops online, with Mark Kistler’s Virtual Classroom. Now, thanks to the power of web-casting, you can sign up for live, real-time lessons with Mark himself, teaching you over the Internet from the comfort of your home. Every class is live and interactive. Ask questions (via chat), post your artwork into the student gallery, get an opportunity for personal encouragement, and, best of all, draw with Mark in real-time.

Mark Kistler taught my kiddoes to draw!

When my kiddoes were little, we used to watch Public Television shows in the afternoons. We watched “This Old House”, “Mister Rogers”, “ZOOM”; all sorts of cooking shows (my older son has said that he learned to cook from Julia Child), even “Lawrence Welk.  And we watched a lot of “Mark Kistler’s Imagination Station.”

Way back in 2004, there was an author event at my local Barnes and Noble Book Store. I herded my kiddoes together to attend a free art class with the one-and-only Mark Kistler. I was pretty “star-struck” about getting to meet Mr. Kistler, and was trying to keep one of my littles occupied prior to the class starting. Then, there he was coming around a bookshelf… He stuck out his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Mark.” Seriously, I couldn’t speak, and probably responded with just a dithery grin on my face.  That short class was a fantastic introduction to the idea of three-dimensional drawing and the fact that everyone can be taught to draw.  Mark’s simple techniques and enthusiasm had toddlers to grandparents drawing.  “Markypoo” signed the sketches from the class and gave them away to the younger students.  (We still have ours!)

“Mom, wouldn’t it be neat to get Mark Kistler to do art classes for our homeschool group?”  That was when we really started our drawing experience with Mark.  I still remember when he called me on the phone – I was speechless (again), it was almost a replay of the dithery grin episode.  Mark was so nice and his assistant was so helpful in working it all out.  Mark taught three 2 hour back-to-back art classes to about 150 homeschooled kids in one day!  Everyone learned and enjoyed the classes. Even if they couldn’t draw a straight line!  Mark was so calm and cool, even when one of the kids pulled the building’s fire alarm (yes, it was my kid).  Then came the homeschool summer camp sessions!  Mark did week-long summer art camps. In 2 locations.  For 3 consecutive years.  Woo Hoo! Those were great times.  My kiddoes still talk about it. And my kiddoes still draw almost every day.

The thing is, Mark is just a really good teacher. He’s funny and just a wee bit zany; and he adds details about biology, history, astronomy, architecture, and geography into the narrative as he draws along with the students. His captivating style will have parents picking up a pencil, too!

Live From Houston, It’s Mark Kistler!

Harness the educational power of distance learning technology with Mark Kistler’s world famous, energetically zany LIVE teaching style!
You can purchase a subscription to Mark’s Virtual Art Classroom directly.  Or for a limited time, you can sign up with the Homeschool Buyer’s Coop and get in on their special offer.

Mark is offering the virtual classes for FREE for you through October 30th!  

You still have several opportunities to try the class out for yourself.

Here is how you get access:
1. Visit
2. Look at the site and look at last weeks drawing lessons in the “Lesson Gallery”.
3. Go to the “Contact” tab and send Mark Kistler an email requesting your free “Be My Guest” Pass.
Class Times: Saturday’s at 10:00 am, noon CST; Monday’s and Tuesdays at 10:00am, 2:00pm, 6:00pm, 8:30pm CST

The classes are LIVE internet video streamed. All times are CST (Central Standard Time), LIVE from Houston Texas! Currently he has students in Taiwan, South Africa, Canada, UK, and all over the USA…all drawing with him weekly LIVE.  Is this cool or WHAT?!

You don’t need a camera or microphone, you will be communicating with Mark via built-in student texting, hand raising and response icons. You will need, a laptop or desktop computer (iPads and tablets are not compatible at this time) and High speed Internet access (you will be streaming “Skype” type real time video).

My family hooked up to the virtual classroom last Saturday. I had a technical glitch and had to restart my computer (with Internet Explorer instead of Chrome) so I wasn’t able to respond when he welcomed us to the class.  But I’m sure most of you will be able to figure it out quicker than me (wink).  This is cutting edge cool technology that’s getting more popular and accessible as schools start to flip their classrooms. Homeschoolers are starting to step up to the tech-challenge.

Don’t forget a pencil and some paper for an AWESOME drawing adventure!  Give it a try. It’s fun for kids and parents alike.  We’ll be doing this again ourselves.

Mark Kistler’s Live Virtual Drawing Class

3. Filming Shakespeare – free webinar October 26th, 2012 4pm-5pm British Standard Time (10am-11am CDT)

Join a conversation with world expert on Shakespeare on film, Professor Russell Jackson (University of Birmingham), who will be focusing on the Shakespeare films of Sir Kenneth Branagh. Russell has worked with Sir Kenneth as Textual Advisor on all of his Shakespeare films and has unique behind-the-scenes insights into the process of Filming Shakespeare. He will be joined by Professor Stanley Wells.

The context for this webinar is The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s first Shakespeare Film Festival and as part of it we shall be delighted to broadcast a special, filmed message from Branagh himself. The conversation will be chaired by Paul Edmondson and will also include details of how you can enter a film you have made into our prestigious Shakespeare Film Festival competition.

Webinar Registration  (You will need to register –name, email, city, country)

4. Missoula Children’s Theater

A little red truck  pulls into town with everything it takes to mount a full-scale musical production…except the cast. That’s where your children come in.
On Monday, they’re cast as characters. By Saturday, they’ve gained character – the kind that really counts.

Fantastic opportunity for budding thespians and good family entertainment.  For children – grades Kindergarten through 12th – public, private, and homeschooled!  Each child involved gets the full experience of working in a full-scale theatrical production.  If you have a child that wants to be onstage, or maybe a child that you think would benefit from being onstage (you know your kids best), THIS could be just what you’re looking for!  Performances are open to the public.

Each week-long residency begins with an open group audition and culminates in two public performances.  Fifty to sixty students grades K-12, or a combination of these ages, are cast and well rehearsed throughout the week, learning lines, songs and choreography to perform as an ensemble in producing a full-length musical.

The following productions have been scheduled for the Southwest Wisconsin area (starting dates shown, please contact the location listed for details):

  • “The Tortoise Versus The Hare” at Viterbo in La Crosse, October 29th, 2012  *** details *** (UPDATE BELOW)
  • “The Secret Garden” at Friends of Performing Arts, in Middleton, January 28th, 2013
  • “The Secret Garden” at the Heider Center in West Salem, February 4th, 2013
  • “The Tortoise Versus The Hare” at Ringling Theatre in Baraboo, February 18th, 2013
  • “The Secret Garden” Lancaster Community Children’s Theatre, March 11th, 2013

Contact the corresponding Presenting Organization for times and locations of auditions and performances. They set these specifics for the week.

UPDATED 10/31/12:
The race is on! The Missoula Children’s Theatre returns to Viterbo for the 20th consecutive year with their unique twist on the classic story of The Tortoise Versus the Hare.  Join a cast of local children as they tell the tale of the annual race between the reptiles and the mammals, full of twists and turns as only the Missoula Children’s Theatre can do.
Saturday, Nov. 3 at 1 pm and 4 pm– Main Theatre
There are several area homeschoolers in the cast!!!
If you are looking for something fun to do Saturday afternoon come and watch. This looks like it is going to be a fun performance!
Ticket prices:
Main Level $11 adults/$9 student
Lower Balcony $9 adult/$7 student
Upper Balcony $7 adult/ $5 student
Call Viterbo for tickets.

5. Local: Groups and Field Trips

Viroqua/CCA Gym –  Things are coming around so please stop in at see us. We will have a work day on Sat., Oct. the 27th, starting at 9 am.  Contact Dave Clark

Home School Swim at Symons Rec Center in Richland Center – weekly from 10:30 – noon Tues and Wed. Rates for non-members, $2/child over 2 and $4 for 14+. Contact Tracy at Symons.

Hillsboro Area Homeschoolers “Family Sports Nights” moving from softball at the City Park to Volleyball every Friday from 6-8 pm at the school gym.

Nature Explorers have had several nature study walks in and around Richland Center. Contact me and I’ll put you in touch.

Ho-Chunk in the Driftless Area Presentation, Wednesday, October 24th at Kickapoo Valley Reserve in La Farge. William Quackenbush, Ho-Chunk Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Officer will present how his ancestors utilized the Driftless area to their benefit some 12,000 years ago when the Wisconsin glaciers were shaping our landscape as we know it today. Refreshments and socializing at 6:30 pm.  Talk begins at 7:00 pm.  Free and open to the public

Norskedalen in Coon Valley annual event, “Ghoulees in the CouleesHaunted Halloween Hikes and Pumpkin Walks October 25-27. 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.  Note: after 7 pm. hikes will be SUPER SCARY. After the half-mile walk through the chilling and thrilling stations along the wooded trails lined by hundreds of carved, lit pumpkins, you will end up with a treat and hot apple cider at Bekkum Homestead to regain your wits! You can also enjoy other activities such as storytelling, fortune-telling, grabbing a snack around the roaring fireplace, or visiting the Haunted Barn. Plan earlier hikes while it is still light out for the very young and ‘faint of heart’. Advance Reservation and Prepayment Required. $9 per body. As of last week there were a few openings for volunteer hike leaders and concessions. You can check if they still need any help by calling Tim at Norskedalen 608 452 3424.

Boo Hike at Necedah Wildlife Refuge. October 27th from 5:30 – 9 pm. Visit creatures of the night in a non-spooky way. Costumes welcome.

Free Movies at  Black River Falls Cinema, 10 am: Oct. 27th, Madagascar and Nov. 24th Megamind

Homeschool Play in Platteville “My Father’s Dragon” by Ruth Stiles Gannett; adapted by Tasha Cederberg. PERFORMANCES: Friday, November 9th at 7pm and Saturday, November 10th at 2pm.  Sorry, I don’t have more details on this yet.


Southwest Wisconsin Homeschool Community Communiqué October 22, 2012

To be added to an email list for the weekly Communiqué,
send an email to

This little communiqué is an attempt to aggregate some things that hopefully are of interest to you, without loading up your inbox.  Newsletters will be archived on the site, so you don’t have to keep track of a bunch of separate emails; and you can use the “search” box to find what you’re looking for.
Until next time,

You may freely share this Communiqué with others. But please include this note: 

Reprinted from “Southwest Wisconsin Homeschool Community Communiqué”  Subscribe at


2 responses to “Southwest Wisconsin Homeschool Community Communiqué October 22, 2012

  1. Pingback: Everything Must Be Drawn in 3D First | Southwest Wisconsin Community of Homeschools

  2. Pingback: Missoula Children’s Theatre Returns to LaCrosse and West Salem | Southwest Wisconsin Community of Homeschools

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s