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Phone: 413-532-3667
For grades: pre-k through 8
Requirements for live visit: Please discuss. I keep it easy.
Fees for live visit: Please call or email to discuss fees.
Funding: NEFA touring artist outside Mass. Expert at Mass. Cultural Council grants. You also may apply for annual local cultural council funding (October deadline). In Connecticut, CT Humanities often funds my programs. Title One, 21st Century, Baystate Readers.


Minstrel Storyteller, Creative Teaching Artist »

I recommend Mary Jo Maichack as an artist in residence. Aligned with Frameworks....What a wonderful experience!
--- Amy Burke, Literacy Coordinator, Morgan School, Holyoke, MA

Your best bet is to visit for scads of photos and easy-to-access info on shows, workshops and artist-in-residence opportunities. Mary Jo Maichack is a national-award-winning professional singer, storyteller, and instrumentalist  who offers you shows (about 20 show themes), workshops and residencies in the art of storytelling from a multiple performance-arts approach. 

Mary Jo has performed in and provided literacy programs to thousands of schools prek-8 since 1989. She has learning standards down–by the number. This helps funding opportunities. Ask for her chart corresponding her work with standards, for example, traditional narrative, myth, legend, oral presentation skills from eye contact, enunciation to audience awareness.

She offers:

  • In-school shows for literacy, reading kick-offs or celebrations, field days, to enrich social studies, broaden cultural horizons, model oral language skills, and especially, to bring teachers and students together in a joyful community bond. Her shows are dynamic and give kids active, varied roles. They sing, listen, clap, wonder, dance, act, chant, play instruments and get a thorough literacy workout. They’ll just think it’s really fun and funny and interesting. Prek-grade 8, shows adjusted for all ages and groups. Some 20 different themes for reading campaigns, folklore celebrations, seasons, Greek myths, urban legends, animal/Aesop/how-and-why stories and songs, African-American celebrations, Irish folktales--you name it!
  • PTOs love her shows for Family Fun & Literacy Nights
  • Principals and teachers love her because she is warm and businesslike in preparation, reliable as the day is long, and brings her own superb educational background as a model.
  • Workshops: (for teachers and families and students prek-8)
  • An Integrated Arts Approach to Story Immersion & Oral Literacy”–because brain/learning research shows that students learn when the subject is meaningful and relevant, when their emotions are engaged, when they get to be physical, when it’s funny, and when they also get to relax and feel safe:

    First visitsample from a 5-day residency

    MJ sang original song, “Come Explore at Your Library”

    African folktale with song refrain, “Why Dog Chases Cat”

    “The Alligator Stomp”/dance and song with rhyme and movement

    “The Brothers Long & Short”–an origami story with surprise ending (paper box is the treasure box library)

    “It Snowed Last Night”–poem with handplay (gestures gradually replace spoken word)–funny and beautiful

    “Why Rooster Crows,” a story from Vietnam, with some children wearing feathers and costumes to speak dialogue (shared by audience kids)–drama

    Teachers review: Who, What, Why, Where, When

  • “Grab the Spot,” a storytelling, oral presentation skill-building exercise by Michael Parent. Mary Jo Maichack modeled poor self-introduction and children created a rubric of improvements. Ms. Maichack then repeated her presentation with their rules:

    • Stand up straight
    • Look at audience
    • Speak loudly
    • Go to the spot (center stage), THEN speak (not before)
    • Residencies

    Extended, regular visits to classrooms–You can combine with shows and ask for work to apply to any grade or grades, pre-k to grade 8, and can include professional development piece for teachers

    Please call and discuss your goals, 413-532-3667




Also available...

This is a new venture, so we can discuss what you are looking for, but for starters, I can offer pk-5 a program of folktales, songs, and even dance and theater--INTERACTIVE. Depending on the grade level, we can use this program to address Common Core standards, easily, and include a question-and-answer segment on folktales, how to tell them, how to make oral presentations. My style is a fusion of performance with teaching and I believe in giving children many diverse ways of participating. 

As this is a new format for me, I am willing to consider a fee of $100 per 40-minute session. I suggest we email or chat briefly about your needs. I have dreamed of doing this, so I am excited! 

For k-3, I offer many folktale variants, and kids get a happy work-out chanting, echoing, and singing along to songs I weave into tales. We can compare and contrast different cultural versions, develop skills in oral presentation and learn about narrative structure. Ask! I have a colossal range of experience over 25 years! 

Mary Jo Maichack is a national award-winning singer, storyteller and creative teaching artist whose work has reached an estimated total audience of half a million people. From classroom to school auditorium to festival stage--



• Winner, NAPPA Gold and NAPPA Honors for 2 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) 2011 and 2012

• Winner, MCC STARS Program for Oral Literacy Residency, Ells School, Springfield, MA

• Nominee: MCC Gold Star Program Award for Multilingual Show “Everybody Says Hello”

• Creative Teaching Artist using traditional folktales and multi-performing arts approaches to literacy

• Fearless Leader of Fun–Bringing audience to the stage to sing, dance, act, chant in extremely interactive, participatory variety shows, often in costume, sometimes w/foreign language play

• Integrates performing arts in classroom residencies serving language arts standards to the delight, empowerment and skill-building of students and teachers 

She has performed on regional festival stages from San Francisco to a school in Venice, Italy, at 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. Her workshops correspond with learning standards–by the number.

She has performed & trained others in more than 3,000 sites since 1989, from South Carolina, to Scuola Gozzi 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; 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; Preschool Enrichment Teaam, 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.

She is a Cabaret Singer interpreting the Great American SongbookPerformances at Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, MA, Cranwell Resort, Lenox, MA and elsewhere. Her business, Maichack Arts is a partnership with husband, Gregory John Maichack, a pastelist and traveling pastel instructor appearing July, 2012 at the Boston MFA.

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