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Life on the Deckle Edge

Country Roads and the Big, Bad (?) Wolf

Betty King, VP for the WV Symphony Education and Operations, brought me to the Charleston area for several days in area schools (Nov. 2010). What great folks!
Gracious thanks to Betty King, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and so many great folks in the Charleston area for a week of wolfy, writing fun in schools! The Symphony sponsors and ambitious arts in education program, and I got to be part of it this year.

School children from throughout the region will get to experience Grant Cooper's "Song of the Wolf" (a recasting of the Three Little Pigs, with The Wolf as an environmentalist) as part of the Young People's Concert Series later this month. In preparation, arts-in-education goddess Betty King and her staff have been working with local educators, offering ideas for projects limited only by the imagination.

On walls and in halls, I saw all kinds of piggy-themed creativity at work - model houses with shredded wheat for straw and pretzel sticks for logs, inventive stories starring piggy characters, pink pig puppets made from recycled materials, and much more. A special shout-out goes to Ms. Adkins's second grade class at Flinn Elementary, which made a glorious book about three little pigs visiting West Virginia destinations - each child illustrated at least one page. Instead of a wolf villain, the adventurous piggies faced a ravenous black bear, the state animal. Not to worry - piggy wit and some helpful snow prevented disaster for our porky heroes.

I enjoyed meeting young wolf enthusiasts in several schools; students are happy to give wolves a little more credit than they typically get in folktales. As always, creating stories together and seeing what young minds can dream up is a privilege.

The trip back to my home territory involved driving through the season's first snow, but the adventure was well worth it. The voice of the late John Denver is still humming in my head, "Life is old there / older than the trees / younger than the mountains / blowin' like the breeze...." I'll treasure memories made along those country roads!

Check out the WV Symphony Arts in Education programs by clicking here .
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