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Celebrate African American History Month with Jazz Available from

2 Feb
image from has expanded its offerings to include jazz which our patrons now can enjoy streaming along with classical music, ballet, and opera performances.  They have gathered the greatest jazz programs available: a mix of triumphant concerts and touching documentaries, and of course an unrivaled roster of performers, ranging from legendary, genre-defining artists of decades past like Nina Simone, Chet Baker, and Miles Davis, to stars who continue to light up the stage today like China Moses, Christian Scott, Ambrose Akinmusire, Chucho Valdés, and many more.  With over 300 programs to choose from, it is a jazz aficionado’s dream and also a great starting point if you are a neophyte to the genre like I am.  In honor of African American History Month, I sampled two amazing performances by Jazz Greats and proud African American Musicians Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald.

Ray Charles Live in Paris
I still remember the first time I saw the incomparable Ray Charles performance being broadcast, I was in awe of him as a kid when he participated in 1985 in the video for “We Are the World”. I was interested to see some of his earlier performances of which has several including when he performed live at the Salle Pleyel in 1970 in Paris.  I was particularly moved by his captivating cover of the Beatles song “Yesterday.” 

Ella Fitzgerald Live at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels
You will understand why Ella Fitzgerald is considered the queen of jazz when you enjoy her magnificent performance recorded live at the Palais de Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 1957.  She performs “Angel Eyes”, “April In Paris”, and one of my favorites “It Don’t mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).”  I felt like cheering along with the crowd in awe at her amazing vocal skills.  Her band-mates include Ray Brown, Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis, Jo Jones, and Roy Eldridge.

Have you checked out’s jazz offerings?  What are some of your favorites?

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

All the Hoopla about the Holidays!

8 Dec

I find Hoopla is my go to for fun holiday reads, movies and more.  I often recommend it to patrons for holidays from Hanukkah to Kwanzaa to Lunar New Year since Hoopla has lots of enjoyable holiday books.  Since my family celebrates Christmas, I thought I’d look at a few of the things I’ve been checking out this holiday season.

The Twelve Jays of Christmas
by Donna Andrews
Donna Andrew’s avian themed mysteries are always a hoot.  This year I’m listening to her latest audio book of The Twelve Jays of Christmas narrated by Bernadette Dunne who brings Meg Langslow, a blacksmith and mom of twins, and her extended family of quirky characters to life.  In this book, Meg must juggle a troublesome wildlife artist, Roderick Castlemayne, and her brother Rob’s surprise elopement plans along with the usual holiday festivities.  Many of Andrews other Meg Langslow mysteries are also available including several holiday themed audiobooks. You can read my blog post about her previous novel, Murder Most Fowl.

Inside Lyndey’s Kitchen:  Celebrating Christmas
If you are always looking for new holiday dishes to wow your friends and family like I am, then you may enjoy Inside Lyndey’s Kitchen: Celebrating Christmas.  They star Australian cooking host, Lyndey Milan. Broken down into three half hour episodes, she looks at classic, contemporary, and “lazy” dishes you can prepare.  On my must try list are her appetizers featuring duck breast with sour cherries and white gazpacho with scallops.  Also beautiful looking and delicious sounding is a raspberry terrine for dessert.  My favorite food, mushrooms, are featured in a Christmas morning mushroom custard.  Several other of Lyndey’s baking and travel series are also available from Hoopla.  As mentioned in a previous post our library patrons also have access to a variety of cooking and crafting videos from Craftsy that feature everything from roasting to bread making.

Midwinter Graces
by Tori Amos

I can remember as a freshman in college having to get up at 4 AM to stand in line for tickets for a Tori Amos concert.  I may not be willing to do that anymore, but she has always remained a favorite.  In Midwinter Graces, Tori puts her own unique spin on classic carols with her versions of Star of Wonder, Coventry Carol, and Emmanuel.  Plus enjoyable are her lush original songs like A Silent Night with You.  You can also borrow Tori’s latest Ocean to Ocean from Hoopla.  Also check out my previous blog post on eclectic holiday albums you can enjoy.

What favorite holiday items have you checked out from Hoopla for the upcoming winter holidays that you celebrate?

And don’t forget you also can check out a variety of holiday related items from our other ebook and streaming media services including Kanopy and Freegal!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services

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