We are really enjoying Long Beach Public Library’s FREE events this summer! One new event to us this season is the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra’s (LBSO’s) Instrument Petting Zoo, which we attended last week at the El Dorado Library branch location.
The event kicked off with Children’s Librarian Mrs. Tweedt, whom I have to say is one of the best kids’ librarians that we’ve come in contact with inside of our library system to date. She really knows how to warm up a room of kids and prepare them for the main event to come by reading interactive stories that involve music and movement (think get the sillies out before 15-20 minutes of sitting still and listening). I applaud Mrs. Tweedt and her awesome charisma with kids of all ages, and we definitely will return for a regular story time at this location in the future!
And now, on with the show! Members from the LBSO’s volunteer organization, Ovation!, led kids through an introduction of the instruments that comprise a formal orchestra set up. A head volunteer broke it down into easy to understand mini-presentations, which showed and explained the different instrument families of the orchestra, which are: Strings; Woodwinds; Brass, Percussion, and the Conductor.
After that, the zoo opened! Several Ovation! volunteers staffed interactive stations open-house style, where kids lined up – in a surprisingly orderly fashion – to view, touch, and play a variety of instruments for about 45 minutes. Don’t worry, RMT’ers, staff made sure to disinfect the instruments (especially the oral ones) between players so as not to create a germ zoo for us to take home as party favors. While the event was crowded, honestly all kids got a chance to touch and play as many of the instruments during the time allotted that they wished to, sometimes twice!
LBSO’s Petting Zoo program is a wonderful way to introduce children to musical instruments and the orchestra overall. Kids as young as three years old get a thrill from banging on the drums, and older elementary-aged children can easily try out any instrument they want to play as a hobby should they get a chance to sign up for lessons later. Kids of all ages had ample opportunity to ask questions in the group setting beforehand or one-on-one during the zoo open house about anything music-related, and volunteers were more than happy and eager to answer and chat with the kids. While young kids might not be ready to sit for a two-hour formal symphony concert, they are more than ready for this interactive hour-long program and all that it has to offer.
The next LBSO Instrument Petting Zoo during the Long Beach Public Library summer tour is Tuesday July 17, 4-5pm at Mark Twain Library (that’s tomorrow, RMT’ers)! I know, short notice, sorry about that, but we just discovered this program ourselves! So if you can’t make that, then there’s just one more chance at Cerritos Library (in nearby Cerritos, CA) Wednesday, August 1, 3:30-4:30pm.
And don’t forget that you can do more on your visits to the library than attending these special events! We dropped off a healthy donation of used books, and we stopped off and updated T’s progress on his summer reading program chart during our visit. He’s “read” (meaning been read to) enough so far this summer to earn a free meal at TOGO’s. Encore!