The musical fantasy realm of Green Golly continues to grow with the help of a north country artist.
In 2011, the album Green Golly & Her Golden Flute won the Gold Award from the Parents Choice Foundation, the nations oldest nonprofit organization providing a guide to quality childrens media and toys. The awards are selected by panels of educators, scientists, performing artists, librarians, parents and children.
The album, by writer and storyteller Keith Torgan and Juilliard School-trained flutist Barbara Siesel, introduces children to classical music via a reworking of the Rapunzel fairy tale. In their story, Rapunzel becomes Green Golly, who relies on her musical abilities to help unravel the mysteries of life and to eventually escape her tower to find adventure.
Following the success of the album, Mr. Torgan and Mrs. Siesel took the Green Golly tale on a concert tour of the U.S.
On Oct. 15, a picture book with audio CD of the Green Golly & Her Golden Flute tale was published by Eifrig Publishing. Illustrations in the book are by South Colton resident Suzanne C. Langelier-Lebeda. She will host a book-signing of Green Golly & Her Golden Flute on Saturday at Brewer Bookstore at St. Lawrence University, Canton.
Also attending will be Ogdensburg resident Barbara Briggs Ward, author of The Snowman Maker. Ms. Langelier-Lebeda also did the cover art for that adult book.
Ms. Langelier-Lebeda was director of publications and design at SUNY Potsdam from 1974 to 1999, and her pencil and watercolor illustrations were frequently used in college publications.
The partnership that led to her Green Golly project had its roots with a college friend of hers at SUNY Buffalo. That friend, Cathy Siesel Reider, older sister of Barbara, invited Ms. Langelier-Lebeda to her home on Long Island during a school break.
Thats when I met Barbara, said Ms. Langelier-Lebeda, a 1967 graduate of SUNY Buffalo. She was five, (sitting) cross-legged, playing the flute on the rug with her cat.
All three stayed in touch over the years. After graduating from Buffalo, Ms. Langelier-Lebeda taught art for a year in Colton-Pierrepont Central School. She went on to earn a masters degree in graphic design and painting from Rochester Institute of Technology and was a graphic designer at SUNY Geneseo and Staten Island Community College before coming home to the Adirondacks in 1974.
When Cathy Siesel got married in 2007, Ms. Langelier-Lebeda met up with Barbara Siesel and Mr. Torgan at the wedding. A partnership developed and Ms. Langelier-Lebeda was encouraged to create the artwork for the Green Golly & Her Golden Flute CD.
Just introducing children to classical music really got me interested in being involved, Ms. Langelier-Lebeda said.
As the album grew more popular, fans requested that the author write a Green Golly book. Three summers ago, the two Green Golly musicians spent a week at Ms. Langelier-Lebedas home.
They performed (the album) so we could get a feel for what the character was doing right at that time, their expressions and how to best capture that particular time in the story, Ms. Langelier-Lebeda said.
She began the watercolor and pencil drawings with no deals for a book. But a deal was inked with Eifrig Publishing in May 2012.
I had about 14 pages complete, said Ms. Langelier-Lebeda, who at the time also was preparing work for a solo exhibit at the Adirondack Artists Guild at Saranac Lake. Between May 2012 and April 2013, the additional 38 pages plus covers had to be completed. I worked on it nonstop.
The audio component of Green Golly & Her Golden Flute is presented in two parts. The first section is a narrative reminiscent of the radio dramas of the 1940s. Musical selections include Felix Mendelssohns Spring Song, Rimsky-Korsakovs Flight of the Bumblebee, Frederic Chopins Minute Waltz and Habaņera from Georges Bizets Carmen.
The second part of the book consists of a flute recital by Ms. Siesel, who is accompanied by pianist Jessica Krash. Young listeners have an opportunity to explore, in greater depth, the context that supports the composers original conceptions of their music.
A lot of dilemma gets solved by the use of music creating some answers to Green Gollys problems, Ms. Langelier-Lebeda said. The kids love it. Its a lighthearted way to hear classical composers and musicians.