@ Your Library

Recent library events, news and more.

Jim Gill's Family Room Tour

What a great time was had by all when Jim Gill came to the Van Deusen Auditorium! Jim performed audience favorites while children and families clapped, danced, and sang along. When he presented his new picture book, A Soup Opera, the whole audience had the chance to be opera singers complete with sound effects and a musical soundtrack.

Jim Gill leaves people feeling like they attended something more than a concert. With wordplay and movement opportunities, Jim leads families in playing together with music and movement. He has a unique ability to get everyone in the room participating in songs and musical movement games. Videos of more concerts at KPL are available in the Live Concert Archive.

Take a look at upcoming events for children and families at the KPL children's program calendar.


Jim Gill Family Room Concert

Micaela Kingslight Band

I know I am incredibly biased, but the level of local talent that has graced the KPL stage in our long running concert series has been pretty amazing. The Kalamazoo music scene is definitely one of the most underrated in the state and on December 15 fans were treated to a group on the verge of great things – The Micaela Kingslight Band. Not only is Micaela an eye-opening guitarist, she possesses a deep, powerful voice that backs up her well crafted songwriting with passion and authority. Accomplished musicians, bassist Joe Chamberlin and percussionist Ashely Ickes provide more than just well timed rhythm, but a style that only enhances the group’s stage presence.

The set included both originals (The band is going into the studio in a few weeks to record a new CD!) and covers from Led Zeppelin and The White Stripes. I cannot say enough great things about our 39th consecutive free concert at KPL. The Micaela Kingslight Band show has been the best pre-Christmas present this year!


Micaela Kingslight Band
Kevin King

We had a Wii good time!

We had a great Nintendo Wii Game Night at Powell! The release of The Experience, the new Michael Jackson video game, brought out lots of talent and some strong competition. On December 14 the tweens and teens from the Boys and Girls Club joined us and others for a fun-filled Smash Brothers and Wii dance night. The competition was fierce but there was one young man who out-Billy Jeaned them all. Powell has game nights from 6 pm - 7:30 pm on the second Tuesday of every month. Our next Game Night is scheduled for January 11, 2011.


Game Night at Powell

Dance! At Your Library!

Kalamazoo Public Library has hosted some great dance programs in the last month! In October, Dunuya Drum and Dance performed Music and Dance of West Africa and the Diaspora. When they say they encourage audience interaction through singing, dancing, or playing instruments, they mean it! Everyone had the opportunity to dance and to play authentic instruments. What a great program!


In November, members of the Ballet Arts Ensemble performed some of their own pieces after Youth Services librarian Karen read the classic Grimm’s fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. The show was a preview of the Ballet Arts Ensemble’s 12 Dancing Princesses performances at Chenery Audtorium on November 20th and 21st with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra performing original music.


Kalamazoo Public Library’s calendar of children’s events has more programs. Mark your calendar for upcoming events now!


Dance! At Your Library!

Singalong Fun with Kevin Devine

Kevin Devine's Musical Circus landed at the Eastwood Branch Library today. Culminating with a parade of tambourine wielding kids, this Make a Splash program was total fun. There were lots of opportunities for audience members to participate when Kevin invited them up to sing or to play the drums or to be the sun shining in the sky. Kalamazoo Public Library was pleased to have this award winning songwriter and entertainer back and will look forward to another great show in mid October at the Oshtemo Branch Library.

There really are lots of great programs for all ages at your library. Take a look at the calendar and sign up for Summer Reading Games! There's a game for everyone from birth through adults.


Singalong Fun

Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros

What a great Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros here at the library! Acclaimed bilingual author Pat Mora, who has written books for children, teens and adults, founded Día to nurture bookjoy—delight in the magic of words and a passion for reading. On Saturday, April 24th, Fantasía Ballet Folklórico performed several traditional dances and students from El Sol School performed songs and a readers’ theatre piece. All children who attended received a special prize and a book to keep. Next time you come to the Central Library, take a look at the posters created by El Sol students for Día. You can see them on display as you pass into the Children’s Room.


Día de los Niños

A Conversation of Instruments

The New York based Enso String Quartet played at KPL on March 11 in a program made possible by Fontana Chamber Arts.

The program featured “The Art of Conversation: Seven Dialogues for String Quartet” written by Karim Al-Zand who introduced his composition and answered questions. Al-Zand wrote the piece for string quartet, which he explained is the “quintessential ensemble” for chamber music (two violins, a viola and a cello). Comprised of “agile instruments” producing “homogeneity of sound,” a string quartet “always looks like a conversation” as it performs, Al-Zand said.

Inspired by this idea of a conversation, Al-Zand composed seven dialogues, all resembling conversations among friends. The first dialogue is an idealized gathering in which everyone is lively and engaged. The other dialogues proceed in various combinations of dominance and engagement – idiosyncratic with one dominant; two conversations at once; three in sync while one speaks in nonsequitors; recitations in unison. The sixth dialogue was the equivalent of four people talking on a cell phone, with each instrument’s part was taken from other dialogues.

The seventh dialogue was a fugue — a single melody or subject passed from instrument to instrument, with each expounding on the subject. Just as with a conversation among friends, the music spiraled up, then wound down to small moments of silence before resuming to a crescendo. After a few more thoughts were added, the conversation ended harmoniously with everyone in agreement.

The seven dialogues were written especially for the Enso String Quartet, which is dedicated to performing the work of contemporary composers. It is a rare pleasure to hear a composer discuss his work and to hear a work performed by the ensemble for whom it was written.


Enso String Quartet

Capoeira: Cordão De Ouro (West Michigan)

On February 22 the Alma Powell Branch had a fantastic fun-filled Capoeira demonstration. The presentation was done by Capoeira: Cordão De Ouro (West Michigan).

What is Capoeira? Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines dance, music and acrobatics all in one.

With February being Black History Month we wanted to learn some of the history behind the fine art of this Afro-Brazilian defense technique.

Capoeira was first developed between the 16th and 19th centuries by African slaves brought to Brazil during the slave trade. It was illegal for slaves to learn or practice self-defense. So they camouflaged their martial arts practice with music, acrobatics and games.

Their program included:

  • African Dance
  • Maculelê
  • Bimba’s 8 Secuencias and Game
  • Capoeira
  • Capoeira Song
  • Samba de Roda

With more than 80 people in attendance we learned about their instruments, songs and how to participate with the Cordão di Ouro: West Michigan. The kids loved it! They tumbled, flipped and danced along with the performers. Fun was had by all.



Getting Green with Belfast Gin

Last Wednesday local band Belfast Gin played to a full house of rabid Irish music loving fans. Their unique brand of the Celtic music is heavily influenced by rock, soul and blues.

Lead singer Laurie Laing’s expertly slipped between the raucous beat of a bar ballad to the slow jam sound of an R&B tune. The band was very personable and made the audience feel like we were all sharing a pint together somewhere in Ireland. Belfast Gin was the perfect antidote to a cold January day because they chased away the winter blues with a ton of green!


Live Music: Belfast Gin
Kevin King

Lloyd and the Fellas

Calling Kalamazoo home, Lloyd and the Fellas formed in February 2009. At its concert on December 16, the band performed its own compositions plus a handful of shape note songs from the Sacred Harp tradition. This is music to really listen to – thoughtful lyrics combined with skillful acoustic instrumentation. Lloyd and the Fellas has a promising future and we look forward to hearing more from these talented musicians.


Lloyd and the Fellas