By Sarrah Peters
The Gadsden Public Library is ready for summer, introducing programs during the summer months for children, teens and adults. This year the programs will focus on music and movement.
“Being a music lover myself, we thought this would be a really awesome opportunity to explore different types of music,” said GPL Director Amanda Jackson.
The Children’s Summer Reading Program’s “Libraries Rock!” will be held Fridays in June and July at 9 and 10:30 a.m., except for the program’s finale. Children will learn about music, rhythm and movement in the programs. The “Super Summer Reading Bash Finale” will be held at The Factory, where participants can enjoy 30 free minutes of jump time, cotton candy, popcorn and more. Children must be registered for the GPL Children’s Summer Reading Program via Beanstack by July 14 to be eligible to participate in the finale. Register at gadsdenlibrary.beanstack.org.
The Teen Zone Summer Reading Program will be held on Thursdays at 12 p.m. in the Teen Zone. There will also be two events in July. The scheduled events include karaoke, a poetry slam/rap contest, Zumba, a Hamilton the Musical contest and more.
The teen summer reading program finale will be held at the Gadsden Mall. You must be registered by July 6 to attend the finale.
Adult summer reading programs kick off with Music Appreciation with Brian Bankston on June 5, 12 and 19 at 5:30 p.m.
“What we are going to be doing for the first three Tuesdays in June is exploring music with Brian Bankston,” said Jackson.
Guitar 101 with Charley Freeman will be held on June 7, 21 and 28 and July 12 at 5:30 p.m. for ages 16 and up.
“It’s for anybody who ever said ‘I want to learn the guitar, but I just don’t have the time,’ ‘I don’t know if I want to make the investment,’ ‘I didn’t do it when I was a kid, but I’d really like to do it now’ and it’s totally free,” said Jackson. “You can bring your own instrument, or we have a few that will be available for checkout. This is a class for very, very beginner, so you don’t have to know anything about playing the guitar.”
Music and Movement will be held June 26, July 10 and 17. The Music and Movement classes will cover belly dancing, yoga and informal Indian dancing.
Brian Bankston, a music teacher at Gadsden Middle and Gadsden City High, kicked off the adult summer reading programs on Tuesday, June 5.
“This first week we really wanted to get a feel for what the audience was looking for,” said Jackson.
Bankston said that he wanted to get a feel for what the audience would like to learn about because “music encompasses so many things.” He started off with a brief history of music, and how it evolved over time to include more complex musical concepts.
Bankston started off by explaining that the first musical tools available to humans in the caveman era were rhythm, or beating on things, and voice.
In the dark ages, Gregorian chants used different octaves and notes in performances. The chants were the first music that was written down. While singing in acoustic halls, people were able to learn more notes through the overtone system. The overtone system is when, with acoustics, lower notes fade into higher notes, which Bankston demonstrated on a piano.
Bankston went on to describe how music became more and more complicated throughout the different historical eras, including the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Baroque period, the Classical Era, the Romantic Era and into the modern musical period.
Bankston also explained how people thought about music in the past as opposed to today. At one point in history, if someone used a specific interval, called the Devil’s interval, the punishment was getting their hands cut off. Bankston also highlighted how the prevalence of music in the modern world has made it less valuable to people than it was in the past. For a long time, the only way to listen to music was to travel to see a performance. Now, people almost always have music at their fingertips through radio, MP3s and access to the internet.
Bankston finished up the class by asking the audience what the world would be like without music. He even demonstrated how music sets moods in movies by playing a Star Wars clip with the music removed.
Bankston will return to the library on Tuesday, June 12, when he will delve into the history of jazz music.