Bernadette Foley reads the ‘a bear washing his hair’ rhyme from Raffi’s ‘Down by the Bay.’
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
On Monday, April 8, the Medfield Library held their “Music Makers” event, a song and instrument singalong for kids led by Bernadette Foley, the head of Children’s Services.
The day started with the kids singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” but instead of the classic “stomp your feet,” “clap your hands,” and “shout hooray” commands, there was a wrinkle. The children were given colorful scarves so that prompts like throwing the scarf in the air and waving the scarf in a circle could be added.
These scarves came in handy soon after, when a performance of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” included the scarves as a decorative, mood-setting accessory.
“If you want to make it look like a beautiful night with all your colorful scarves, you can,” Foley told the children.
Beyond the scarves, instruments and stuffed animals played a role in the festivities. The children were allowed to choose an instrument, as well as a stuffed animal of one of the barnyard critters from “Old MacDonald.” One little girl asked Foley if she could have an animal for her baby, as she had brought a baby doll with her for the event.
“Of course,” responded Foley. The baby received a cat.
Many of the songs had dances and moves that might be unfamiliar to older adults. For example, during “She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain When She Comes,” there was a part when everyone sang “she’ll be wearing wool pajamas when she comes,” and the kids were instructed to pretend to itch themselves upon hearing it. Another song implored the kids to “give a hug, show some peace, shake some hands,” and so they found a partner or administered some self-hugs throughout the song.
Other songs were very familiar to the parents. “Who knows Raffi?” asked Foley. “He sings ‘Down by the Bay!’” She found that the adults knew who Raffi was, but the kids didn’t. Still, when Foley had the kids be silent for the goofy rhymes, timeless classics like “have you ever seen a dragon puling a wagon” were a huge hit.
“We often have music teachers who lead us, but every once in a while, I get to do it myself,” said Foley of the Music Makers program. “I love what I do, and I love spending time with the kids. I read stories all the time, but the music makes it a little bit extra special.”