WHO ARE WE: The Western Massachusetts Raging Grannies began in 2002 as an off-shoot of the Women’s Peace Congress, held in Northampton, where Ruth Hooke, one of our Grannies, suggested starting a local “gaggle.” We are part of an international movement, and if you want to learn more about the other gaggles, go to the link at the right. Or read a book about the origins of the movement, “Off Our Rockers and Into Trouble” by Alison Acker and Betty Brightwell. We are women over 45 who like to sing and like to have fun! You don’t have to have grandkids or even kids, but just have reached “an age of wisdom”!
We believe that humor and song are wonderful ways to work for social justice and peace. We sing at a variety of events around the area. Because there are more than 30 of us, not everyone needs to sing at every event, although most of us try to sing at as many as we can, because we like each other’s company. We wear wildly decorated hats, and collections of protest buttons. We have fun!
LOGISTICS: We rehearse on the second Sunday of the month, meeting one month at Hampshire College in South Amherst and the next month at First Church in Northampton, so that women from each side of the river have a chance to drive less. At our rehearsals, we talk about upcoming gigs, announcements of interest, and mostly sing, sing, sing! The business of the gagle is overseen by one or two volunteering “great Grannies”. These Great Grannies rotate every two to three months. They chair the meetings, email out minutes and generally keep us in shape. We drop a little money into a kitty at each rehearsal to cover expenses such as copying songs. We communicate between rehearsals by an email list serve and phone. Grannies without email are buddied with grannies who have email. Questions? Ask another Granny!
OUR SONGS: We have pulled many songs from the collections of the International Raging Granny groups. Some of these we have revised a bit to suit us. Several of our grannies have written new songs for us. All of these songs work best when they are sung to old, very familiar tunes, such as “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.” Most of us are not sophisticated musicians. When someone gets an idea for a song, she goes ahead and writes the words to a familiar tune, which is vetted by the Song Committee.
ATTIRE FOR GIGS: We wear large hats with flowers and political badges or other imaginatively decorated hats. We also wear leis, boas or, in winter, gaudy scarves. Sometimes when singing with other gaggles, there may be other suggestions, such as black coats or jackets.
GIGS: Sometimes we are invited to sing at an event and sometimes we invite ourselves. While at a gig, we sing songs selected for their relevance to the occasion. It helps when we have sing-along sheets for our audiences.
Our goal is to have fun while we get our messages out.
Contact us at: GoGrannies@gmail.com