Children gathered at the Jackson branch of the Stark County District Library (SCDL) April 9 to hear stories and music.

Children gathered at the Jackson branch of the Stark County District Library (SCDL) April 9 to hear stories and music.

More than 70 children, parents, grandparents and caretakers were excited for the musical story time program called “Listen at the Library,” which traveled to 10 branches of the library district.

Kids joined children’s librarian Teri Bendekgey and three musicians from the Canton Symphony Orchestra – Cynthia Warren, oboe, Tom Pylinski, trombone and Tom Pleban, viola –  to listen to the stories, the music and learn more about the musical instruments.

Jackson Library branch manager Kathy Kibler said it was obvious the children were enjoying the performance. The majority of children were preschoolers between the ages of 2 and 5.

“This is a great opportunity for the youngest Jackson patrons to see their librarian interacting with the musicians,” said Kibler.

The partnership between the library and the Canton Symphony Orchestra pairs music with children’s literature. As the librarian reads out loud to the children, the musicians create sound effects that go along with the story.

“Between the stories, the musicians also show the children their instruments and teach them about how they work and how the sounds are made,” said Stephanie Soduk Public Relations Manager for the SCDL.

It is a popular program among the libraries.

“We all love the program because it combines literature and music, and actively engages young children,” said Bendekgey. “For most of them, it is their first time interacting with musicians and being able to see and hear the actual instruments.”

Librarians and musicians spent time rehearsing together and fine tuning the coordination between story and music.

Programming coordinator for the district library Ann Wetmore Pukansky collaborated with Lisa Boyer director of education and community engagement for the Canton Symphony Orchestra, to select the books to be read. The books were “Interrupting Chicken” by David Ezra Stein, “Goldilocks and Just One Bear” by Leigh Hodgkinson and “The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf” by Mark Teague.

Boyer said children do love stories, but they also love music.

“The program entices children to start reading at an early age by adding a new dimension to the process – music,” Boyer said.

Musical selections included Brahms “Lullaby,” George M Cohan’s “Give My Regards to Broadway,” and “Wolf theme” from “Peter and the Wolf” by Prokofiev.

Kibler also said one of their goals is to foster a life-long love of learning with the hope the collaboration with the symphony will begin a life-long love of music as well. “It is an ongoing program and we hope to continue it well into the future,” said Kibler.

The program is sponsored in part by The Dominion Foundation, The Albert W. and Edith V. Flowers Foundation and the Stark County District Library.