May There Always Be Sunshine, based on the children’s book by award-winning author and musician Jim Gill, will be the next release in the CSO for Kids video series, premiering Friday, Jan. 22 at 10 a.m. CST on CSOtv, the CSO’s Facebook and YouTube channels, and the Chicago Public Library’s Live From the Library series on Facebook.
The CSO for Kids series, launched in October by the Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, provides free, educational videos created especially for young audiences, as well as their families and teachers. Each video is based on a popular children’s book and features classical music performed by CSO musicians, with animation inspired by the book’s illustrations. Accompanying preparatory guides offer activities and resources for educators and parents.
Recommended for children ages 3 to 7, this animated story features the delightful children’s tune, based on a Russian folk song, later popularized by legendary folk singer Pete Seeger. The video takes its cues from the book and recording of “May There Always Be Sunshine,” by early-childhood development specialist Gill, who joins vocalist and Chicago Symphony Chorus member Melinda Alberty. The project encourages children to imagine and express their own wishes, following the example of wishes collected from children nationwide.
The video also features members of the CSO Brass section (Esteban Batallán, principal trumpet; Tage Larsen, trumpet; David Cooper, principal horn; Michael Mulcahy, trombone, and Gene Pokorny, principal tuba) performing music from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. The illustrations are by Susie Signorino, who created the artwork for Gill’s book, and animation is by acclaimed artist and illustrator Liviu Pasare.
Other CSO for Kids videos that remain available for free, on-demand streaming on CSOtv include The Music in George’s Head about composer George Gershwin and the creation of Rhapsody in Blue, with special guest narrator and jazz vocalist Kurt Elling, and My Magic Breath, created in partnership with Chicago Children’s Theatre and featuring CSO musicians performing the music of J.S. Bach, with narration by Chicago’s First Lady Amy Eshleman.
Educators have implemented these videos in lesson plans across a variety of fields, including music, reading, art, health, social learning and language skills. “The CSO for Kids series is educational and entertaining, and very well produced and edited,” said Nicholas Hall, a Chicago Public Schools music teacher. “I look forward to using all upcoming videos in the series with my students!”