Summer at the library officially begins on Monday, June 2! Sign up for Summer Reading Games at any of our locations beginning June 2. Kick off the summer by attending some of the library's great programs for the whole family, starting next week. Preschoolers ages 3 to 6 can explore strength and materials at Central'sLittle Scientists program on Monday, June 2 at 10:30am. Later that evening, join us at Oshtemo for an outdoor performance of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Learn how to beat the heat by brewing your own iced tea with Tudor House Tea & Spice at Washington Square on Tuesday, June 3 at 6pm. Calling all nerdfighters! Head to Central on Tuesday, June 3 at 6:30pm for An Abundance of John Green and enter to win movie tickets to The Fault in Our Stars. LEGO fans can practice their skills at Oshtemo on Saturday, June 7 at 10:30am. The week wraps up on Saturday, June 7 at Central with the Summer Reading Kickoff Party at 1pm, featuring music, games, obstacle courses, and a bounce house!
A Midsummer Night's Dream
There are lots of fun things to do at Kalamazoo Public Library locations during Spring Break. If you're at the Central Library and want to borrow child/family movies and music, come to the Children's Room. That's where those materials are now located. Maybe you've been wondering what those lullabye renditions of Michael Jackson music sound like. Or maybe it's time to see how Danny Devito voiced The Lorax. Or revisit that beautiful Carl and Ellie sequence from Up. You'll find something that you'll enjoy in this collection and you'll be able to check it out at the kiosk in the Children's Room, too. And while you'll be able to find Dr. Seuss books in the Children's Room, you'll want to go to the lower level to find Thriller and The Wiz. You'll find lots of movie musicals and documentaries that make great family viewing in the lower level, too!
Movies and Music in the Children's Room
Our next Musical Storytime is coming right up! Last time, the multi-talented Mr. Ben Lau showed, played, and told us all about the pedal steel guitar! What an interesting mechanical musical instrument! It was neat to see how the cables, rods, and pedals work with Ben's musical playing to create music. Plus the pedal steel guitar makes some pretty great letter crane sounds!
At Musical Storytime, we read stories, sing songs, play musical games and generally have fun with music, songs, and our imaginations. Everyone is always welcome. The program is designed for children from preschool age up to about eight years old.
Pedal Steel Musical Storytime
Octy, who speaks with musical notes, not words as you and I do, wanted to let you know that the surgery was successful. Like Adele, John Mayer, and others lately, it was an issue with the vocal cords. Octy was overdoing it and was having a difficult time speaking and singing in tune. You might be glad to know that Octy's voice is recovering nicely. Octy would love to hear from you, especially with messages of “speedy recovery” or “best wishes”. Feel free to drop Octy a line via the mailbox in Children’s Room (see picture) or through the USPS addressed to “Octy” care of: Children’s Room, Kalamazoo Public Library, 315 S Rose St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007.
Speedy Recovery, Octy!
The National Association for the Education of Young Children has some fine online materials about playing with music at home with children. Kids love music and you will love the ideas for incorporating music into your play with children. I appreciate the great music for children that's on the NAEYC site, as well.
We know that playing with music can be a powerful and enjoyable tool to learn about the world and to develop reading readiness skills. All children's programs at KPL incorporate music in accessible ways. Musical Storytime at KPL features a special musical guest every month. Kalamazoo Public Library has lots of recorded music for children available to borrow as well and additional resources if you would like more ideas about playing with music with your children.
Kids and Musichttp://www.kpl.gov/kids/events/musical-storytime.aspx
The Kalamazoo Public Library is celebrating the Earth with a variety of programs for all ages in the coming weeks. This afternoon at Oshtemo, tweens and teens can make crafts from recycled items. On Saturday, also at Oshtemo, join us for a family-friendly outdoor concert with the Earthwork Music Collective. The Kalamazoo chapter of the American Chemical Society will be at the event to talk about the impact chemistry has on the planet, and the Organic Gypsy will sell delicious food from her truck. You can learn to make your own green, nontoxic cleaning products at Eastwood on April 23, and learn how to make compost for your garden on April 30 at Powell. KPL's librarians will be at the People's Food Co-op on April 27 to read stories for Grow It Yourself Day.
What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?
Earth Day Concert 2013
It was a Musical Storytime to remember when special guest Jay Gavan brought in his sitar, one of the best known instruments from the classical Indian musical tradition. Jay told us all about the sitar and accompanied us on sing-along versions of "I've Been Workin' on the Railroad", "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" (Octy's Favorite), "On Top of Spaghetti", "Buffalo Gals Won't You Come Out Tonight", and, to celebrate the start of baseball season, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game".
Join us for the next Musical Storytime on Monday, April 8, at 6:30 pm.
How fortunate we are to have musicians of this caliber in our midst. Elden Kelly and Carolyn Koebel staged a remarkable show at Central Library on September 19th, the 69th show in the library’s ongoing live concert series. Kelly is often labeled as a virtuoso guitarist and Caroline a percussionist extraordinaire, but there is simply no better way to describe them, and there is truthfully no easy way to put into words what they do. Their music crosses borders and bridges genres, both are absolute masters of their craft. Kelly sings and plays an array of exquisite instruments, including six and 12-string guitars, a Turkish cumbus, and an 11-string fretless guitar. And Carolyn’s self-described “broad palette” of percussive instruments, ranging from tiny bells and tuning forks to the “giant drum,” takes the art of percussion to a whole new level. Thanks to the generosity of both artists, you can relive their show in its entirety here, or purchase their recordings here and here. Please support these artists; how fortunate we are to have them both.
Elden Kelly & Carolyn Koebel
Believe it or not, this week we just passed another milestone - number 60 in KPL’s series of free concerts! Seriously, where does the time go? The Mickeys, a Kalamazoo-based foursome fronted by twin sisters Amy Sherman and Julie Peebles put on a wonderful performance Wednesday evening in front of a large KPL crowd. The sisters’ vocal harmonies are tight and focused, with superb instrumentation added by multi-instrumentalist Bascom Peebles and bassist Tom Rogers.
The Mickeys team took the audience (including Mom and Dad Mickey!) through a sixteen-song set, which included plenty of original material from their first two CDs (Finding Our Way and Walk Along), plus a sample from a soon to be released third. Great stuff! They included a cover of Tom Petty’s “Wildflower,” but their super-strong original material was definitely the highlight. Learn more about the Mickeys on their website and hear some samples of their recordings on Facebook and MySpace. Of course you’ll also find their complete KPL performance linked on our Concert Archives page.
Going back a month, KPL capped off another amazing year of concerts with a December 14th appearance by award-winning singer/songwriter Shelagh Brown. Shelagh is quickly making a name for herself as an up-and-coming country star. She not only earned a Readers’ Choice Award from the Kalamazoo Gazette in 2011, but won a nationwide contest to sing a duet with country star Josh Gracin on his latest release. Shelagh’s set at KPL featured highlights of her own work, plus a timely version of “Let it Snow.” Catch highlights of her KPL performance in our Concert Archives, and watch for more great things from Shelagh in the very near future.
Coming up next… be SURE to catch our February concert, featuring Jerome Holloway, he’s an AMAZING vocalist and musician. If you like his contemporaries like say Ben Harper or Jack Johnson, you’re going to love this concert. Jerome’s voice is smooth as silk and his songwriting is superb. Visit his website and listen to a few samples (very generously, you can download more than a half-dozen complete songs!), you won’t be disappointed!
Hope to see you there!
Concerts @ KPL
As the December holiday season rolls around, it seems like it might be a good time to look back at KPL’s concert performances and try to catch up with what’s been happening over the past several weeks.
The highlight of Summer Reading was of course KPL’s amazing end-of-summer concert featuring The Verve Pipe. What a show! The band gave a terrific all-ages performance in Bronson Park on August 28th, and played a bunch of tunes from The Family Album, with a couple of classics thrown in for good measure. I’m honestly not sure who had more fun, the band or the crowd! If you missed it, the band was kind enough to let us post the entire show on our Concert Archives page!
Back in the Van Deusen Room, Joe Wang and the Test Pilots pulled off a great show in September with a full set of originals and a couple of cool covers. (When was the last time you heard a live band play a Vapors tune?!) Typically an electric band, the library setting allowed “Joe” (Peter George, Tom Cross, Mark Kalinowski, Tony Nuismer) to stretch out with a rare acoustic set that let their excellent songwriting abilities shine through. As the JWTP Twitter feed says, “The KPL gig has been immortalized on YouTube.. there’s no denying it.” You can see and hear the entire show via our Concert Archives page! …And if you get a chance to see them play live, do it—you won’t be disappointed.
Midnight Cattle Callers
One of my favorite shows of the series was an October performance by Gifts or Creatures. You might remember that Brandon and Bethany Foote were a highlight of KPL’s Earth Week Celebration at the Oshtemo Branch Library last April. For our 55th live show, the husband-wife duo returned to the Van Deusen Room with some help from good friends Joshua Keller, Ty Forquer, and Ian Gorman. They worked their way through more than a dozen homespun originals, before label-mates Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp (Red Tail Ring) added vocal harmonies to the set-ending version of “I Shall Be Released.” If you like truly inspired Michigan-rooted songwriting, Brandon and Bethany are two of the best! See and hear the full performance on our Concert Archives page.
November brought even more amazing talent to KPL. West Michigan-based Midnight Cattle Callers (another personal favorite!) provided an evening of old-time, country, bluegrass, jazz and swing on November 16th. The following weekend, KPL participated in the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music, with inspired music and conversation by flutists Michael Chikuzen Gould (Japanese shakuhachi) and Juan Manuel Cruz (Native American flute). Art Hop on December 2nd featured a wonderful set by classical guitarist Jeff Dwarshuis.
Michael Chikuzen Gould
So what’s next? Well... KPL’s December concert, #59 in the series and our 20th this year (but who’s counting?!) will be Kalamazoo’s own up-and-coming country singer Shelagh Brown. Shelagh received an honorable mention in the 2011 Gazette Readers’ Choice Awards, and won a nationwide contest to sing a duet with country superstar Josh Gracin. She has an amazing voice! Don’t miss Shelagh’s special KPL concert in the Van Deusen Room on Wednesday, December 14th!
And speaking of the holiday season, here’s an idea... the works produced by these or any of our other fine local artists would make great gifts for anyone on your list! Think global, buy local!
Ho Ho Ho! Happy listening!
Juan Manuel Cruz, part of the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music