Kids’ Music, for Grown-Ups

Many of us here are Foundling House are both parents and appreciators of fine music. This means we try to pass a love of good music on to our children, though this can be a difficult task at times. There exists a vast and nigh-impregnable jungle of subpar kids’ music out there—all of which will go unnamed here. Suffice it to say, it’s often designed to appeal quickly to children with the bare offering a danceable beat. Or it’s overly sentimental—the sonic and lyrical equivalent of trying to stand on a waterbed.

We remember being kids in the seventies and eighties, and some of us raised kids or had young siblings during the nineties. The Muppets and Sesame Street reigned supreme, with their apparent rock influences pushing into the music. Then there were shows like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which had that stellar piano combo and compositions put together by jazz great Johnny Costa, and later Blue’s Clues, which featured percussion-based jazz with cool world elements. The creators of these shows took obvious care in selecting music which was as good as the entertainment value of the productions. Plus, they seemed to think that kids could actually handle listening to excellent music.

The notion that kids need decent music as much as adults is home territory for us. Therefore, we’re taking the time to point you in the direction of a pair of wonderful offerings from a couple different artists.

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When the Light Disappears

Today, multitudes of Americans converged on a long swath of land stretching from the Oregon coast to Charleston. After a great deal of hype and expenditure, they took turns sitting in the dark together for a few minutes per group. Then they turned to go home.

It’s funny, historically speaking, to see everyone so thrilled and eager about a solar eclipse—an event that used to be a harbinger of doom. Solar eclipses have brought rulers to their knees, armies to armistice, and if you believe Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, a timely end to a series of beheadings. They also offer a representation of the word syzygy, which earns at least twenty-five Scrabble points. The moon passes before the sun, occulting its light and revealing the wild-hair halo of the sun’s corona.

In the fallout from the disheartening events in Charlottesville, it is a blessing to have such a grandiose celestial reminder of the centuries-old motto of John Calvin’s followers: Post tenebras lux—after darkness, light.

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Wildflowers

Oh wild wayside pilgrims, whose duty is pleasure—
Your faces all gleaming and grinning, they sing!
Royally fitted with robes and with rings,
      Light-spun along hillsides in draped rivulets,
      your petals sway gem-like in meek coronets.

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A Surprising Land of Splendor – Part 2

Interlude

Here’s what I’m asking you to forget: I want you to put away from your mind the pain of Mrs. Roger’s classroom, the slick palms and trembling twelve-year-old voice, as you searched the back of your classmate’s head for an answer, any plausible answer; the two trains were running towards each other on the same track, one at 60 miles per hour, and one at 80; when would they meet? And the absurdity of asking that question among all others. Would there be survivors? Would the explosion be heard for hundreds of miles around? Is it too late right now to board one of those trains, and be delivered from Mrs. Roger’s expectant stare?

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