March 26, 2022
Dr. Moore’s friend Jennifer Cooke Dino shared this picture, which was recently rediscovered, tucked away in a closet down east. Dr. Moore explains in another Facebook post: “Oh my goodness!!! This is a picture of me singing to the girl acting as my daughter in the opera, ‘Street Scene’. I was performing the role of the janitor, Henry Davis, in the 1976 John Brownlee Opera production in New York City.”
“Street Scene” premiered as an opera in 1947. Its cast of New York tenament house characters explored issues that remain relevant today: gun violence, immigration, ‘law and order’ and economic disparities. Lyricist was Langston Hughes. Dr. Moore recalls that there were about three performance of the opera in spring 1976.
Dr. Moore says there were four principal singers in the show. He said his roommate at the School of Music, “Norman Large, was one of the principal singers. He recently starred in ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and performed in several Star Trek episodes.”
After the “Street Scene” semester, Thomas Moore was back in Charlotte for the summer and, in July 1976, held a workshop on “black and white spirituals” on a Sunday afternoon at Seigle Avenue Presbyterian Church.
We have not found a recording from the Brownlee Opera production, but a clip exists from the 1947 Broadway cast recording involving Creighton Thompson singing the Henry Davis song, “I Got a Marble and a Star.”
Oct. 23, 2021
Friends gathered in Washington D.C. and via Zoom to honor the memory of Dr. Marilyn M. Smith, Ed.D., who died June 24 at age 84. She had served as Executive Director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world’s largest organization of early childhood educators, from 1972 to 1998.
Dr. Moore writes: “I was part of a group of people who worked on creating a better world for all young children and their families. Because of Marilyn, Dr. Sue Bredekamp, Dr. Carol Brunson Day and Dr. Barbara Willer and countless others, I believe we can create a better world for every girl and boy.”
The video below opens with “Melody for Marilyn” © Thomas Moore, composed for the occasion by Dr. Moore.
Aug. 6, 2021
Morning Bugle Productions is working to finish a video on the life and work of Ella Jenkins, who long ago was dubbed “the First Lady of the Children’s Folk Song.” In a career as a freelance musician spanning 70 years, she has been an inspiration to children, and not a few adults.
Tim Ferrin of Morning Bugle Productions also produced a video marking Jenkins’ 90th birthday. On that occasion he was quoted by Smithsonain magazine as saying, “‘She really approached making children’s music in an intelligent way, which had never really been done before,’ … incorporating Americana and folk traditions and making them accessible for children. ‘She was really trailblazing.’”
The scenes above are from a short limited-circulation “happy birthday montage” video possibly available for home viewing here. The late Fred Rogers had her on his PBS show. Dr. Thomas Moore describes the other two photos:
“Both events were within the last 10 years, at Ella Jenkins’ teaching and learning concerts/workshops before between 1,000-5,000 early childhood educators at the National Association for the Education of Young Children annual conference.
“Ella often invited her children’s music friends to join her on stage. Several decades ago, 1979, we first met. We’ve been friends since.” Dr. Moore said he first heard her music when he was a 16-year-old bus driver for Gaston County schools.
On Ella Jenkins’ stage, he wrote, “I was special because I was the one who played the saxophone and I was one who knew how to play the blues and the spirituals like the ‘old timers.’”
Aug. 4, 2021
A podcast released today captures Dr. Thomas Moore talking about how adults can build bridges to the children in their lives and help them through tough times.
Interviewer was Dr. Cathy Grace, co-director of the Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning at the University of Mississippi.
When Dr. Grace asked about how adults could nurture connectivity with children even amidst the Covid pandemic, Dr. Moore talked about a recent children’s choir rehearsal in the parking lot of Covenant United Methodist Church on Charlotte’s Tuckaseegee Road, where he is director of music.
When jets soon to land at Charlotte-Douglas airport fly overhead, the singing stops. After one recent fly-by, he told the children that that sure was a loud truck. No, said the children; it was a plane. That began a word game in which the children defined where it went. There was, Dr. Moore explained, “something we are creating in that moment that can only be created when we allow children to take the lead.”
The podcast is below.