• 72°

Phoenix Readers present Dr. Seuss to Smart Start Rowan

By Susan Shinn Turner
Smart Start Rowan

When listening to Seuss, you can’t be sad. You can’t be mad, you can only be glad.

The Phoenix Readers brought the Wonderful World of Dr. Seuss to a small but appreciative group on Wednesday at Smart Start Rowan. The readers are a company of a dozen performers, led by Dr. Jim Epperson, who share their talents with a variety of groups.

“The accent is on reading, and the performers are all seniors,” he said before Wednesday’s event. “We have performed at churches, senior centers, libraries and civic clubs. We travel wherever people want us.”

The Phoenix Readers are a part of the Center for Faith and the Arts, and they accept donations on behalf of that organization, to which Smart Start Rowan contributed on Wednesday, Epperson said.

The group reads everything from poetry to short stories and presented a Christmas program over the holidays, Epperson said. The Wonderful World of Dr. Seuss is for children and adults alike. After all, he said, “Adults are children when it comes to Dr. Seuss.”

And so it was with this group. Moms, caregivers and children all smiled and laughed as the six performers perched on stools and read Seuss’ delightful, silly, whimsical, and often-times made-up words.

Yertle the Turtle and the Northbound and Southbound Zax all made their appearances. The readers turned out to be fine kazoo players as well, punctuating the end of each reading with a tune or two.

The children especially loved “Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?” making all the fun sounds that come with that story: moo, buzz, clop clop, cocka-doodle-doo, dribble-dribble drop.

Alexa Alvarez, 2, who attended with her mom, Claudia Rodrigues, babbled happily along with the group.

Next to them, Brynlynn Shaw, 2, eyes wide, sat with her mom, Dedra Earnhardt.

“It was funny!” her mom said. “We liked it.”

Also enjoying the morning was Jack Hagen, 3, who came with his mom, Michelle, and his “lovey,” a well-loved Cleo the Cat.

“It was very cute,” Hagen said. “We’ve never seen the Phoenix Readers. I’m so glad we got to come.”

Wednesday performers included Nick Bishop, Mike and Judy Cline, Ray Davies, Jimmie Moomaw and Becky Porter. Other company members include Kate Davis, Buddy Farnan, Rebekah Hardison, Linda Jones and Shawn Van Wallandael.

Most have theater or acting experience. Moomaw was a professor of communication for 41 years.

“I have a theater degree I didn’t use for 57 years,” she said. “I’m loving doing this.”

Davies was involved in theater at Catawba before he graduated in 1974. He is a retired carpenter and English teacher.

“I’ve loved every minute of it,” he said.

“Early literacy is one of the focus areas of Smart Start Rowan,” said Mary Burridge, family support manager. “We are always looking for ways to make reading fun, not only for children but for the whole family. Today, The Phoenix Readers showed us all that reading can be fun at any age. We are honored that each member of the group took time to share their talents with us today.”

The Phoenix Readers meet each Thursday at Center for Faith and the Arts to prepare for upcoming events, Epperson noted.

For more information about the Phoenix Readers, visit www.faithart.org.

Smart Start Rowan is a United Way agency.

Comments

Education

RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest

Local

Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction

Business

Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured

Education

Profoundly gifted: Salisbury boy finishing high school, associates degree at 12

Local

Cheerwine Festival will stick to Main Street, stay away from new park in September

Lifestyle

Celebrating Rowan County’s early cabinetmakers

Education

Service Above Self announces youth challenge winners

Business

Economic Development Commission creates search tool for people seeking Rowan County jobs

Columns

Amy-Lynn Albertson: Arts and Ag Farm Tour set for June 5

High School

High school baseball: Mustangs top Falcons on strength of hurlers

Business

Biz Roundup: Application process now open for Rowan Chamber’s 29th Leadership Rowan class

Sports

Keith Mitchell leads McIlroy, Woodland by 2 at Quail Hollow

Nation/World

States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes

Nation/World

Major US pipeline halts operations after ransomware attack

News

NC budget dance slowed as GOP leaders differ on bottom line

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting

Coronavirus

People receiving first dose of COVID-19 vaccine grows by less than 1%

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools brings Skills Rowan competition back to its roots

Business

Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting in Elizabeth City

Sports

Woodland, two others share lead; Mickelson plays much worse but will still be around for weekend at Quail Hollow

Business

Former NHL player to open mobster themed bar in Raleigh

Nation/World

California population declines for first time