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Celebrating the season with Davis Bates 

By Lauren Schiavone
Hometown Weekly Staff

As the Saturday rain began to trickle down on December 3, the Dover Town Library provided a respite for those at loose ends. Families journeyed to the library for story time, song participation and much more with storyteller Davis Bates.

Bates, who has over four years of experience storytelling and using music to communicate with eager listeners, thoroughly delighted the crowd.

On the day, audience members sat on the floor of the Community Room as Bates began by stating his love for the season of winter — mainly because of the snow. Plenty of giggles and smiles spread once he told a silly story of his daughter eating an abundance of the freshly fallen stuff, which quickly segued into a holiday singalong.

The festivities continued with a family-friendly story time. Kids mimed along with the animated story of tailoring a winter coat while Bates incorporated counting and learning skills through audience participation. The tale about worn-out clothing led to an uplifting message of confidence that applies to everyone. “Tell yourself: ‘Whoa! You look good!’” he encouraged.

Bates’s feel-good energy was contagious. “Stories don’t get worn out as quickly as clothing,” he shared. “This is 300 years old. I’ve heard it thousands of times, but it’s still not old!” He encouraged listeners to remember his stories and share them with others.

Bates has a sense of rhythm in storytelling that translates quite well into music. He’s been using music as a tool since childhood. “I used to love to sing when I was a kid. I’d sing in the car. We couldn’t decide which radio station to play, so we’d just sing,” he explained. His instruments included a cabasa, gourd and rain stick.  

Singing a rendition of “The Rising of the Sun,” Bates and friends made gestures of open arms as the sun rose, and holding hands out for deer antlers. A “Deck the Halls” singalong included lots of clapping along and provided a simple, sprited way to celebrate the season. Bates, who has a great appreciation for myriad cultures, also acknowledged the diversity of four winter holidays (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Winter Solstice). He gets at the root of celebration, which he believes to be connective.

Involving a mix of traditional and not-so-traditional folk and holiday songs, Celebrating the Season was a unique, enriching experience that visitors thoroughly enjoyed.

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