Many many thanks to Ted Botsford for bringing TWO double basses to Storytime on Wednesday. He played his own beautiful instrument while I read Mole Music by David McPhail, and Rain Talk by Mary Serfozo. These two books are perfect for a stringed instrument. In the first, a mole gets a violin and spends years practicing until he can play beautiful music. In the illustrations, we see that above his underground home, his music is having wonderful, positive influences on the world, but he is unaware. There's a staff of musical notes from real compositions coming out of the tree above his tunnels, and Ted played them - everything from "Twinkle Twinkle" to "Ode to Joy" to "Brahm's Lullaby." In Rain Talk, Ted made rain noises by bouncing his bow on the strings, sliding his fingers up and down the fret board and tapping on the body. Very cool. He also played a wonderful short piece about a shepherd with his flock. He asked the kids to listen for the part where the shepherd dances, and several kids were excited that they heard it.
All this took only 15 minutes, and I was torn between reading another book and going straight to our "petting zoo" where the kids get to come up and play the half-size bass he brought for them. The group had gotten very squirrely (lots of rug-rolling), so I opted for the petting zoo. I felt a little bad that the story portion was so short, but because the group was so big, and so young, it seemed the best thing to do. We had handed out all 150 tickets to the audience, and I think there had to have been about 75 kids. It took the rest of the hour to give every child a chance to play the bass. Ted (and Monica Hayes, the program director) were wonderfully patient with them.
I hope to see you all next week for Karen Wagner and her oboe!