Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The Newburyport Literary Festival closed with a program honoring children's book author and illustrator and native son David McPhail. Fontaine Dollas and the Joppa Jr. Jazz Dance Company performed a spirited original dance of David's book Pigs Aplenty, Pigs Galore with a reading by her husband Andre Dubus III. Jay Schadler gave a humorous and heartfelt tribute to his friend and introduced a film about David McPhail by Peter Vandermark. David then spoke about growing up in Newburyport and experiences at the Newburyport Public Library. The evening and the festival concluded with a reading of Mole Music by Maureen Daly, director of the Newburyport Montessori School, accompanied by Madeline and Claire Werner on violin.
The presentation of Mole Music left us all with inner glow from both the words of David McPhail and the poise and talent of the two young violinists. The book is proof that picture books are not just for kids and that simple stories can speak to us at a deep level. Mole lives underground and spends his days digging and his evenings watching TV. After seeing a violinist performing on TV, he orders one. His first sounds are horrible but he practices and practices until many years later he can play even better than the violinist he heard on TV. He is happier than he has ever been but wonders what it would be like to play for others. Although he doesn't know it, his music travels above ground and brings pleasure and peace to the world above. Mole Music speaks of the power of art to change the world and its intrinsic value whether it is made in a hole in the ground or in a concert hall or gallery.