The Kids Koncert Series put a bow on its 2019 season with a performance by Richard Renner, the “Vodvill Klown,” Wednesday afternoon.
Each Wednesday from May 29 to June 26, Emporia Public Library hosted its Kids Koncert Series. Over the lunch hour, families gathered in the courtyard for musical, magical and downright silly performances.
“We try and get some good performers — something that everybody’s going to enjoy as a family,” Library Specialist in Children’s Services Kelli Proehl said. “We encourage them to come to the library, have a fun show and maybe check out some materials on their visit.”
Preschool Aide Tabitha Maske with the Emporia Christian School brought a group of about 30 children to each performance.
The school brought the children to the series “to be sure to check out some books, encourage reading and have fun with the concert series,” Maske said. Her students said “it’s awesome!”
Some people picnicked, some participated in the performances and others spent their time doing arts and crafts through the Emporia Arts Council ArtMobile. USD 253 brought their MealSpot food truck, through which they offered a free meal to children under 18. Adults were able to purchase meals.
“It draws a lot of good things to the library when we’re able to put something like this on,” Proehl said.
Proehl said the Kids Koncert is made possible through strong community relationships.
“We have a phenomenal crew with the City of Emporia,” she said about the maintenance folks who put up the event tents and chairs each week. In addition, on the one rain day this Kids Koncert season, the event was held inside the Little Theater at the Civic Auditorium.
This season’s lineup included Dino O’Dell, Monty Harper, Funky Mama (Krista Eyler), The Amazing Arthur Fratelli and Vodvill Klown Richard Renner. All performances were funded through a donation from the Friends of Emporia Public Library. Each performance averaged about 250 attendees.
Renner has been performing at the Kids Koncert throughout a 20-year period and said he would love to participate the next 20 years.
“It’s just tons of fun,” he said. “They’re having a blast. They like to watch me fall down and hurt myself, so what can I do?”
Renner said he enjoys how the audience’s laughter builds in waves until he tickles it a bit and it turns into an explosion of laughter. It’s one of the most rewarding aspects of his job, he said.
The library books performers with whom they’ve had success, who have performed at other libraries in the area and who come highly recommended both online and through word of mouth.
Renner said attending performances is valuable for the community because, “It’s culture, by gosh! We’re doing the art here.”