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Library hosts Australian-themed fun

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By Daniel Curtin
Hometown Weekly Reporter

Last Monday evening, kids at the Needham Library learned about the different cultures, animals and environments of the beautiful “land down under,” Australia.

Rob Thomas, an edutainer with Didgeridoo Down Under, taught the youths about the didgeridoo, an instrument that has been played by Aboriginal Australian communities for 1,500 years. He informed those in attendance that to properly play the didgeridoo, one needs to utilize circular breathing, a technique in which a musician breathes in through the nose while simultaneously pushing air out through the mouth.

The high-energy show even included a giant inflatable globe to help those in attendance understand just how far away Australia is in relation to Massachusetts.

The children in attendance learned about animals that are native to Australia, such as the more than 100 different species of snakes found in the country. They were shown different stuffed animal representations of marsupials, like the kangaroo and the wombat. Attendees also learned about the Tasmanian tiger, which was driven to extinction by humans.

Thomas, whose wife is from Australia, spent time working with Aboriginal communities in the 1990s. He taught the kids about the importance of respecting other cultures and the environment.

“I said during the show [that] adults can be creatures of habit, and unfortunately, some people are not willing to change. I think that we have to,” Thomas said. “A good place to start is with kids. If you can show them something that is really fun and different, maybe they will remember that and associate that memory with protecting the planet.”

The key to playing the didgeridoo is to breath in through the nose while simultaneously exhaling through the mouth, making sure to keep one’s lips pressed together.

The key to playing the didgeridoo is to breath in through the nose while simultaneously exhaling through the mouth, making sure to keep one’s lips pressed together.

The show ended with some of the older children playing makeshift didgeridoos made from PVC pipes. Kids pressed their lips together, blowing into the pipes to create funky beats that had the audience applauding.

Marlana Borgos came with her children, Eli and Ava, to see the performance. Eli is a big fan of everything Australia, and would like to visit the country one day.

“It was better than I expected,” said Borgos. “It was really engaging. I’m going to tell all my friends and family for their schools, they should call [Didgeridoo Down Under].”

Martha Schley Thayer visited the library because she is interested in learning about how to play the didgeridoo. “The kids are all so natural. [Rob Thomas is] incredible as well. For him, it seems like he fell into his perfect job,” Schley Thayer said.

For his part, Thomas was pleased that he can share his unique experiences with the next generation. “I’ve reached a point where it is time to give back,” he said. “I want them to have a good time.”

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