I’m often asked how Oliver & His Cool Jungle Band program came to be. Why is Oliver a Golden Retriever? Why are the band members animals?
Years ago, I was contacted by Roseanne Fry, Director of Crossing Cooperative Nursery School in Washington Crossing, Bucks County, PA. Roseanne wanted me to develop a musical program for her school, ages young 2’s through 5 year olds. I jumped at the chance to do this even though I was already quite busy teaching forty students weekly in my piano studio, Naylor Piano Studio. Creating a music program for young children was such an exciting venture I just had to say yes! My three great loves in life are music, kids and animals. Children have a natural affinity and love for animals. I had a charismatic Golden Retriever named Oliver so I cast him as the main character, a lovable Dog who sings! I then chose endangered animals to be the Cool Jungle Band. Children learn best when they’re having fun and Oliver and his band are fun!
My characters possess positive attributes that the children could happily embrace which added an extra dimension and depth to the program. Fearless the Lion is a natural born leader with a heart of gold. Eli-Phant is smart and she loves to read and write lyrics because she loves words and rhyming. Funky Monkey is a fun-loving adventurer who loves to explore the world. Crocker Docker loves to perform in the Spotlight and she demonstrates just how rewarding it can be to learn a skill, playing an instrument, singing, etc. through practice and determination. Stewey Kangarooy, Oliver’s best friend, is a social Dynamo, an extrovert, high energy character who can really tell a joke! He is a great example of being socially interactive and his enthusiasm for life has no bounds! And compassionate Oliver, Ambassador of Good Will whose only goal in life is to make everyone in the whole world, his one big family. I thought having Oliver & His Cool Jungle Band embarking on an exciting Musical World Tour would be a great way to incorporate the idea of a Global Family as they traveled to a new country each week meeting new children, animals, customs and culture expanding their world view. What a great adventure that would be!
I designed this music program to teach music fundamentals and reading skills with an added emphasis on the world we live in and the importance of being kind, respectful, and compassionate towards each other, animals and our beautiful Mother Earth.