Celebrating the 1890s—Part Two: Who Was Claude Debussy?

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Today we had a special program in the library’s auditorium, celebrating the life and music of French composer Claude Debussy. We examined his childhood, his musical influences, his friendships with impressionist and symbolist painters and composers, and the explosion of beauty and artistic expression that was the Belle Epoque in France. We heard Lawrence Kolakowski play gorgeous renditions of his songs, and talked about the innovations that Debussy made that borrowed from Eastern Music pentatonic scales and medieval whole tone scales. We heard the song “Beau Soir” sung by Amanda Kolakowski and played by Lawrence Kolakowski. And we wrapped it up with a fun goldfish craft that kids could make and dance around with.

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Here are the slides for the program (for some reason the blog won’t let me embed them).

And here’s how to make your own goldfish kite at home:

We took orange paper cups, cut out the bottom of the cups, and punched two holes in the top and the bottom near the main opening of each cup. Then we cut out scales from orange streamer paper and red and yellow tissue paper. We glued the scales all over the cup and decorated it further with glue. We cut out bow tie shapes out of orange paper and folded them in half; this became the fish’s dorsal fin. And we pasted long tails made out of streamers onto the bottom of the cup, and glued eyeballs on the sides. When the fish was all decorated, we inserted a thin wooden dowel through the holes in the cup, and tied a string from the top of the cup to the bottom, tethering it to the dowel.

And then you’re done, and you have a beautiful goldfish kite–perfect for swimming along to the music of Claude Debussy!

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We have tons of books and CDs in our collection that will give you more information and exposure to Claude Debussy’s life and music. You can search for books, CDs and DVDs about Claude Debussy, or works written by Debussy, by clicking on the links. We have a collection of sheet music too, for those of you who are pianists yourselves!

It was a great turnout and a great program. Hope everybody had fun!

AnnMarie Kolakowski

I'm a youth services librarian working in the Children's Room at the Pasadena Central Library. I purchase juvenile nonfiction books for all sites, juvenile Spanish books for all sites, and juvenile DVDs for the Central Library. I do a lot of programs with school-age kids, including Lucha Libros, writing workshops, and STEAM/science programs. I also do 16 weeks of Infant/Toddler Storytimes each year. I love what I do, working with kids of all ages to inspire them to learn and use their curiosity and imaginations. Outside of my work at the library, I am also the author of a book on creative writing activities for kids.

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