What’s big and fun and read all over?

Extravaganza!

A poster showing the chorus girls of a 1900 extravaganza. Image from Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division, Wikimedia Commons.

And it’s coming to Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland this Sunday, June 10, 2012.

Extravaganza’s official purpose is to promote summer reading programs. But whether or not you sign up for “Summer Reading” (we offer programs for every age group), there are many reasons to visit the Oakland Library between 12:00 and 5:00 PM this Sunday.

For the past eleven years, kids and adults, friends and families have gathered inside and outside the library on a June afternoon to celebrate the beginning of summer. This Sunday’s festivities will include lots of hands-on activities as well as entertainment—puppet shows, story tellers, and an enticing menu of musical offerings. I’d like to point you to one particular program, 2:30 – 3:30 PM inside the library. Come to the Quiet Reading Room (not so quiet today), get out of the sun, have a seat, and listen to the Riversong String Ensemble, from the Pittsburgh Mandolin Society.

The Riversong String Ensemble is six musicians, each of whom plays at least two different instruments. You will hear various combinations of fiddle, dulcimer, mandolin, mandola, mandocello, bass, guitar, tenor banjo, cello banjo, harmonica, and hurdy-gurdy. A YouTube channel provides a preview.

The leader of Riversong contacted the Music Department and asked if we’d be interested in assisting them put together a program that would highlight materials the library has to offer. She wrote, “For example, we could play a piece by John Dowland (16th century), and then tell the audience that, if they liked it, they can get copies of his works in your printed music section. Then we could play a piece by Gershwin, and tell the audience that they can hear more of his work in your audio music section.”

Librarians get excited by this kind of project. My colleague, Kirby, eagerly put together a long list of relevant printed music, recordings, and books.

I’ll be there Sunday, ready for the pluck, strum, plunk, pick, and twang.

By the way, as of April 18, I’m the new Head of the Music, Film & Audio Department. In a future post I’ll tell you more about myself and what the future might hold for MF&A.

—Julie

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