July 17, 2019

Duke Otherwise rocks the library - Daily Leader Extra : Local News

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Duke Otherwise rocks the library

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Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2019 2:02 pm

The songs that Duke Otherwise performed for hundreds of boys and girls on Tuesday at Madison's public library couldn't be described as serious, but the music was artful, cheeky and kind of silly -- and just right for a young audience.

Duke Otherwise, the stage name for a visiting singer, songwriter and guitarist from Madison, Wisc., drew about 150 children to the Madison Public Library for a concert to help kick off the library's summer reading program, "A Universe of Stories." At the start of his concert, Otherwise told the youngsters that he had plenty of his own stories to tell with songs such as "Creepy Crawly Love" and "Dog Without a Tail."

Duke Otherwise coaxed and led the boys and girls -- and even parents -- in helping out with his songs. He had the children join-in by singing certain phrases, suggesting characters within the tunes, clapping, dancing, and playing back-up musical instruments to accompany his guitar.

He recruited eight boys and girls to accompany him on the cowbell, maracas, hand shakers and other rhythm instruments in performing "What Kind of Hairdo Do You Do?" Duke Otherwise also coached his young musicians, who were nicknamed the "Rock Stars," to perform solos and encouraged the audience to get up and dance.

Duke Otherwise, also known as traveling musician Noah Reimer, has called "What Kind of Hairdo Do You Do?" his favorite song. As a young adult, he studied classical music -- with the guitar -- at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and performed with several bands.

Reimer created his onstage personna in 2012 and during the next three years, he recorded two albums filled with youthful, silly songs. His character, Duke Otherwise, currently performs about 150 concerts each year. During the 2018 holiday season, Reimer created and performed a musical called "Ebenezer Duke," a mini-retelling of "A Christmas Carol." He also has a new CD arriving for sale soon, titled "Kith & Kin."

Duke Otherwise also encouraged the boys and girls to read many books during Madison's summer reading program. At the start of the concert, Lisa Martin, children's librarian, explained the library's "read-and-bead" rewards, a participation program for the boys and girls.

Martin announced that Madison Public Library would host a rocket-launching session on Monday, June 10, from 4-6 p.m. in Library Park.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel contributed to this article.

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