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Summer readers celebrate success in Sellwood, with salty pirate songs

by: David F. Ashton, Captain Bogg and Salty in action!

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 9th. 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! -- just like pirates. 'The Captain is tuning up his voice, best not to bother him,' said First Mate McGraw (Kevin Hendrickson). 'Or he may have 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, a/k/a Lucas Haley. 'This is the third time the band has 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!'

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.'

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 will play 'pirate fest' Sept. 23

If you missed this event, you can still take in a 'full 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 www.PortlandPirateFestival.com for more information.