Alaskan fiddler and poet Ken Waldman recently performed a special program for Benjamin Logan Elementary School third- and fourth-graders, an experience made possible by The Holland Theatre in collaboration with LoCo Art.
Students were engaged from the start, as Waldman spelled (sometimes backwards) much of what he wanted the students to hear.
Interspersed with listening to poetry composed by the musician himself as well as by students from across the country Waldman shared tunes on mandolin, banjo, fiddle and harmonica. The third- and fourth-graders also got to write their own poetry.
“The students were excellent — they stayed attentive,” Waldman said. “It’s a testament to the staff there, and the community.”
Since 1995, the musician and writer has performed at venues from the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage to the Dodge Poetry Festival to the Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland, Australia.
His 20 books consist of 16 full-length poetry collections, a memoir, a creative writing manual, a kids’ poetry book and a novel. Waldman’s 12 CDs include two for children, and another that was recorded to accompany the novel.
While he sometimes will still appear solo, more often he appears with The Wild Ones, an ever-changing troupe of local, regional, and nationally-recognized musicians, many of whom are headliners themselves.
Also known as Alaska’s Fiddling Poet, he’s visited more than 250 schools in 35 states and especially loves putting together shows.
Ken Waldman captures the attention of Benjamin Logan Elementary students during his recent assembly at the school. (Benjamin Logan PHOTO)