Contact: Tess Mayer
Director of Library Services
Berkeley Public Library
All-Star Storytime Series with the Berkeley Symphony begins Friday
Berkeley, California (September 23, 2020) -- Join the virtual family fun with Reading Is Instrumental, a weekly musical storytime produced by the Berkeley Public Library Foundation and Berkeley Symphony.
The series streams live on the Berkeley Public Library’s Facebook Page on Fridays at 11am, beginning September 25.
Each week a Bay Area celebrity will read a beloved children’s book with musical accompaniment by members of the Berkeley Symphony. The all-star line-up of readers includes:
• Rita Moreno, Actor
• Maxine Hong Kingston, Author with Earll Kingston, Actor
• Andy Samberg, Comedian/actor
• Joseph Young, Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony
• Michael Kwende, Berkeley Public Library Children’s Librarian
• Thacher Hurd, Illustrator/author
• Marcus Semien, Shortstop and third baseman, Oakland Athletics (Oakland A’s)
“Storytime is one of the keys to literacy. Music and words together are a magical combination,” notes Kathy Huff, Berkeley Public Library Foundation Executive Director. “We are incredibly grateful for all who have agreed to help make this fun program happen during these exceptional times. We all need stories and music to keep our spirits up, but our kids and families who are at home need them now more than ever.”
Many of the books read during Reading Is Instrumental will be recognizable to patrons of all ages such as Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, Baby’s Got the Blues by Carol Diggory Shields, and Thank You, Omu by Oge Mora. Reading Is Instrumental may also introduce viewers to new titles. For example, comedian/ actor Andy Samberg will read his longtime pal Jorma Taccone’s new book, Little Fox and the Wild Imagination and Thacher Hurd will read his own award-winning book, Mama Don’t Allow, about a swamp band and alligators who love the saxophone.
Berkeley Symphony artistic director Rene Mandel worked closely with each all-star reader for every episode of Reading Is Instrumental to choose the pieces of music and instrument(s) to best complement the story and enhance the storytime experience. Listeners of all ages will be sure to enjoy this uplifting virtual program.
“Berkeley Symphony is proud to partner with the Berkeley Public Library Foundation on this exciting new project that combines the art of story-telling with live music performance,” said Music Director Joseph Young. “There is no better time for our friends and family to come together virtually and see that arts are alive and well in Berkeley.”
For questions regarding Reading Is Instrumental and other Library programs, services and collections, please call 510.981.6100 during Central Open Hours: Monday, 12:00-8:00 pm; Tuesday, 10:00 am-8:00 pm; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 10:00 am-6:00 pm. For Library locations, Outdoor Pickup hours, Library Collections and the Event Calendar listing other virtual programs including additional storytimes, visit the Library’s website: www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org.