My sophomore year of high school, Ross Sutter performed a folk song for one of my English classes. A few bars of the song stuck in my head nearly a decade before I heard them again – on a children’s CD I had purchased for my first child at A Scottish Ramble, an annual event in St. Paul. Ross Sutter quickly became a family favorite for his Celtic, Scandinavian and American folk melodies. We have kept in touch with his music ever since, bringing our kids (now numbering four) to his performances at festivals and fairs in Minnesota.
This month, he teamed up with the lovely Laura MacKenzie for a children’s show at the downtown St. Paul Central Library. The event was part of the weekly “Saturday Live!” series. Supported by Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, the program brings in musicians, storytellers, magicians and puppets to entertain and promote literacy.
Ross and Laura spun stories with their instruments – bagpipe, bones, antique concertina, and button accordion to name a few – and rich voices. Occasionally, they would sing in Gaelic. An Irish dancer accompanied with her toes and heels click-clacking on a wooden floor. She taught the children a simple dance on the last musical number, holding my toddler daughter’s hand to guide her in the steps.
Olivia’s older siblings might have joined in the dancing and familiar songs if there hadn’t been so many well-stocked bookshelves nearby. Andy and Emily could only be coaxed to join in on “Aiken Drum”, the Scottish tune whose modern lyrics describe Aiken Drum as a man made out of various foods. Ross makes the song interactive by passing out shakers shaped like fruits and vegetables to the children. I’ve lost count how many home videos we’ve taken of the kids shaking things up with that plastic produce.
For the Files: “Saturday Live!” is presented at 11:15 in the children’s room. Metered street parking available nearby. Event is free thanks to Friends of the Library.
About the Author: Anne Kingston is the Owner and Founder of Tourmoms.com.