Nathan and Julie Brannon generously donated a piano to the Louis Braille School on July 6th of this year and, just ten days later, a happy group comprised of Louis Braille School summer Braille Camp children, their teacher and her assistants, gathered close to the instrument for a spirited songfest that included renditions of everything from ‘I’ve Been Working on the Railroad’ to ‘Louie, Louie.’
Fortunately for all, one of the camp assistants this year is Suzanne Taylor, an accomplished piano player who graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in music theory history. She currently teaches piano and occasionally performs in public.
“It was so much fun,” she said when asked how she liked playing for the campers. “It was great watching them getting into the music and laughing. It’s wonderful to see everyone interacting and being so creative.”
Campers improvised rhyming couplets as they sang ‘Down By the Bay’ and rollicked their way through ‘She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain.’
“I think the kids enjoyed having an official accompaniment to go with their music,” said assistant Jess Cummings, a trained vocalist. “It added a different dimension from the ones they were used to.”
Morgan, one of the campers, had a wooden maraca that she made at camp and shook as she sang. Other campers were handed plastic eggs filled with pebbles to serve as their percussive instruments.
“It was really fun and kind of cool to see them all excited about the music and do the shakers,” said camp volunteer Amber O’Hara
Teacher Beckie let the children choose the songs they sang. “They feel they have more control that way and they have more fun,” she said.
“Yeah,” said camper Brett, “it was cool singing songs.”