Baby Oh!

Baby O is a opera experience aimed at babies, which had its New Zealand debut at the Christchurch Arts Festival. I went along to the first session with my son and it was magic! Sparkly fish, stomping gumboots and chewable rubber duckies totally captivated the under-one audience.

If you are keen for your child to be exposed to some classical music, then jump on the catalogue and look at some of these CDs aimed at baby boppers. It’s free to reserve things for your children on their card, so if you don’t have a PIN set up on their card, just call us on 941-7923 and we can set one up for you.

  • Music for Babies is a CD of baby friendly classics – Clair De Lune , Fantasia on Greensleeves and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy amongst others.
  • The cringingly named, but lovely to listen to, “So Smart!” series has three CDs, all presenting classical music for different occasions, sleep, play and car rides.
  • We have heaps of lullaby CDs, a lot of which are classical music based, as well as a lovely NZ Made CD; Sleep to the Ocean’s Heartbeat which features, waves, sounds of our environment and heartbeats.
  • Say Hello to the Opera is a comprehensive children’s introduction to Opera and its companion Say Hello to the Orchestra performs the same role for the orchestra.
  • If there is a certain composer you wish to focus on, then simply search the catalogue for Music for infants and then the composer’s name. Omit the composer’s name if you would like to see our full selection of music for babies and toddlers.
  • For a fun and free baby music experience – why not come along to our Baby Times? They are offered at almost all of our Libraries and are a great chance to learn some songs and meet with other parents and babies.

If you have a musical genre you enjoy, you don’t need to specially seek out children’s versions of it. Your baby loves listening to any music that you enjoy too, so crank it up, your baby won’t even mind if you sing along.

Baby Time customers go to Baby O

Before the showOne of the post-earthquake jokes that has been circulating is: You know you’re from Christchurch when there are university students congregating in your street and no-one is calling the police. University students are now synonymous with good works and schemes. And Christchurch City Libraries’ customers have been the happy recipient of a good deed from the tertiary fairy godmothers.

Eighteen lucky library customers were able to attend Baby Opera at the Christchurch Arts Festival last Sunday thanks to the fundraising of some University of Canterbury students. As part of their Management paper, the students had to arrange a community event that benefits people affected by the earthquake. Atawhai Murray, the project leader, decided it would be nice to send some library customers to the Scottish opera session at the Festival.

Funds were obtained from a local church trust and other sponsors. They went towards tickets, a Te Reo handbook and a shoebox of love. A prize draw was held at each Baby Time session around the library network. Margaret Clune from our Events team was pleased to be able to offer such a positive gesture to customers, and worked hard to distribute entry forms and inform each lucky winner of their success.

There were many fathers attending with their children, making it a special Father’s Day occasion. Comments were glowing and many spoke of the wonderful blend of fun and learning. A mother of three said it was lovely to see something new and fresh for little ones.

Some of our Children’s Librarians were also able to attend as part of their professional development,  and they reported that it was very interactive and perfectly targeted for babies. It also gives parents good ideas of things they can do themselves at home. Customers were given a take home pack with a CD.

More for babies and young children

Despite some libraries being closed, there are still at least twenty free Baby and Story Time sessions being offered. The Families Outreach librarian is offering weekly sessions at several locations in Sumner and  arrangements are being made to offer sessions at South City Mall. Baby Time  caters to under twos. It has age-appropriate songs and activities, taken by highly trained library staff.

Story Times incorporates more early literacy activities and prepares children to read, while still offering lots of songs and fun.

The library website offers plenty of good advice for parents of young children and if your child is about to turn four years old visit any library and pick up your free Ready for reading birthday pack.

Terrific Titanics and the Maori Volcanics

My latest Arts Festival outing was Raising the Titanics. Although my view of proceedings onstage consisted oCoverf the actors’ heads, and only their heads, framed by the backs of the heads of the people sitting in front of me, I still managed to enjoy it.

Vanity prevented me from taking a rug (so aging) as recommended by one reviewer and it proved the right call. The dome was toasty warm, and resembled an igloo only in shape.

The Titanics, fictionally set in the golden age of the Māori showband, featured some great singing and gave me a craving to hear those beautiful close harmonies from the real thing.  Where better to start than The Maori Volcanics? Billy T. James and Prince Tui Teka were alumni, and while I’m listening I’m going to flick through the book about them to enjoy their visual stylings .

Arts festival laughs in the face of adversity

coverChristchurch, gird your loins, pull up your bootstraps and pop a clean hankie in your pocket. Yes, the Christchurch Arts Festival, hard out laughing in the face of adversity, is back, and at the programme launch soirée last night, a varied and exciting array of artsy acts waiting to razzle-dazzle us was revealed.

Spread over eight weekends (12 August- 2 October) with 57 diverse events, The festival is utilising previously unplundered venues including the Rudolph Steiner School Hall, Aranui High School’s theatre and most bizarrely/excitingly of all Ginger Meggs Hair Design studio. Thanks to generous sponsorship ticket prices have been kept an incredibly low $5-$20 per ticket per event leaving us with no excuse to not to feast at the fest.

And what can you expect to enjoy? Theatre, dance, music, food, ideas, a programme for schools and the visual arts: Highlights include actress Jennifer Ward-Lealand as Rita Angus, the cast of the Simpsons in MacHomer, singer/songwriter Liam Finn, band Electric Wire Hustle Family, singer/songwriter Don McGlashan, The Royal New Zealand Ballet, chef Richard Till, writer Tess Gerritsen, Baby-O an opera for babies, The Press Festival of Ideas looking at Christchurch past, present and future … the list, as they say, is endless.

Tickets are available from Monday on the Christchurch Arts Festival website and Dash Tickets. Get in fast, as demand in culture-starved Christchurch is expected to be high.