Books by Day, Songs by Night

by Lauren Sigfusson

Horizon Reporter

When people think of librarians they usually think of books, books and more books. The librarians at Whatcom Community College break that mold.

 The library and other Whatcom staff members are a part of a group called Librettos.

            Founded in the fall of 2007 by Christopher Roberts, a music instructor here at Whatcom, the group consisted of only Whatcom librarians, later extending to all Whatcom staff.
            “He then passed the baton to me,” said Carol Reed-Jones, also a music instructor at Whatcom, who calls herself a “facilitator” for the group.

Margaret Bikman, Jenny Green, Linda Lambert, Laurie Starr, Sally Sheedy, and Heather Williams are all the founding members of the Librettos. Scott Blume, Jody DeWilde, Amory Peck, Pam Richardson, Rosemary Sterling and Beth Tyne joined later.

 Earl Bower plays classical guitar for the Librettos.  “He always makes us sound good,” said Sheedy. “Earl can play anything.”

The name “Librettos” is from a piece of sheet music that was found at the Salvation Army by instructional/systems librarian, Sheedy. “It read ‘Official Libretto’ and libretto is based on the word book,” said Sheedy. “We were trying to think of what to call ourselves and it just popped into my head.”

The Librettos first performed in 2007 at the fall concert singing “Java Jive.”  At first, that performance was taken as a fluke, said Sheedy, but then the group members wanted to make more out of it. “We were not that slick, but it was fun,” she said.

 Lambert, library director, said they sing very “whimsical material.”

“Java Jive,” “Bittersweet Tango” (written by a librarian in Seattle), “Honkey Tonk Refrigerator,” “Fever” and many more have all been performed at school functions by the Librettos.

“We tweak the tunes for our bizarre needs,” said Sheedy.

“I found an Argentinean tango and we tweaked it to be about a love affair with books,” said Reed-Jones. They performed the song in Spanish with the help of Mariah Thompson, in the Spanish department, who correctly changed the lyrics for them.

 The Librettos have only had one meeting so far this year, but more are in the works, said Reed-Jones.

“I think we could get five rehearsals in this year,” said Sheedy. In the past they have fluctuated from performing three quarters in a row to not performing at all.  On average, when they are able to get together they practice about six to 10 hours a quarter.

When the group finds time to get together, they meet about once or twice a week. It’s a very democratic group, said Reed-Jones. They sing, make musical decisions together and decide if they want to paraphrase a song to make it their own.

Some members have been singing for years ,participating in chorales or theater, while others have no formal training, said Reed-Jones.

 “I don’t have a great voice at all,” said Lambert. “It’s nice to do it in a situation where you do your best, but your best doesn’t have to be brilliant.”

The Librettos hope to perform at the November 22 concert in Heiner 209 at 7:30 pm.

If you are a part of the Whatcom staff and are interested in becoming a part of the Librettos, email Carol Reed-Jones at creed-jones@whatcom.ctc.edu.


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