Summer readers celebrate success in Sellwood with salty pirate songs

Aaarrrr, avast, ye maties! See 1,200 kids and adults having a great time to the tunes of ‘Captain Bogg and Salty’, as a Southeast Portland Summer Reading Program comes to an end ‚Ķ

The turnout to see ‘Captain Bogg and Salty’ at Sellwood Park was even larger than expected by the youth librarians at the Sellwood Library.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The area of Sellwood Park north of the Sellwood Pool started filling with parents and kids long before the band was to take the stage on August 9. It was apparent that word had gotten out that ‘Captain Bogg and Salty’ were set to entertain.

Going backstage to greet Captain Bogg, we were rebuffed. This band dresses, swaggers,  talks — and treats the press! — like pirates. “The Captain is tuning up his voice, best not to bother him,” said First Mate McGraw (Kevin Hendrickson). “Or he may ye walking the plank!”

We settled for an interview with First Mate McGraw, who told us, “We’re a pirate band for all ages. We play many libraries every summer.”

We asked, “Why libraries?”

“Kids need good music, too!” exclaimed Mr. Fillabuster, aka Lucas Haley. “This is the third time they’ve played for Sellwood Library.”

The First Mate added, “Each time we’ve moved to a larger location. Now it looks like there be better than 1,200 young and old buccaneers here!”

Making their eye-patches at the event are Nico, Jake, Owen and Jenna Robertson. Asked why they came, mom Jenna said, “Why do you think? Arrrrr! This is so much fun!”

Reading treasured
Minutes after the very entertaining band started playing, kids were laughing and dancing. We asked Sellwood Children’s Librarian Marcy Davis why the library chose a pirate band to perform at the finale for their Summer Reading Program.

“Pirate-themed movies have caused an upswing in kids looking for pirate books. And we like anything that gets kids to read,” Davis explained. “We love having them perform for our kids. No one gets them having more fun than Captain Bogg and Salty.”

Everyone seems to be have a great time listening to, and watching, the antics of Captain Bogg and Salty’s professionally-performed, yet silly, musical show.

The band, all Portland natives who have played together for seven years, do more than just play songs and make jokes. “They connect kids with the love of books,” Davis explained.

School support for summer reading
Brianne Williams, another staffmember at the Sellwood Library, revealed that 747 kids signed up for the summer reading program at the branch this year. “But this number doesn’t include all the kids who signed up directly at their school,” Williams explained.

For the last few years, she said, the Multnomah County Library system has worked directly with public and private elementary and middle schools to get kids signed up for summer reading before school is out in June.

“For example, the librarian at Llewellyn Elementary, Cheryl McDonald, has worked with teachers to get every single student signed up for summer reading the last two years,” said Williams.

Bogg and band to play Pirate Fest Sept. 23

You have another chance to see this fun group on September 23 ‚Äì but you’ll have to go to St. Johns to see them!

If you missed this event, you can take in a “full day day of piracy,” as First Mate McGraw put it, at Cathedral Park on September 23. “We’ll have The Lynx, a replica pirate ship used in recent motion pictures docked under the bridge.”

Interested? See for more information.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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