Disc Man

Bill Crofut and guests, Dance on a Moonbeam: A Collection of Songs and Poems (Telarc) As fascinating as "modern" music may be, receiving this sweet, absolutely precious CD felt like clicking my ruby red slippers three times and finding myself safely back home. Singer, composer, and master banjo player Bill Crofut, who first learned his craft from Pete Seeger, conceived of a CD "offering poetry, song, and the word-music of Shakespeare to children who I believe can be counted on to respond to the fresh impact of beauty. They need not be talked down to." Crofut invited artists he had worked with over the years—Julianne Baird, Benjamin Luxon, Dawn Upshaw, Frederica von Stade, Chris Brubeck, and others— to join the project, whose profits are donated to the Simple Gifts for Children Fund he founded in 1998. (He also recruited Meryl Streep, who called Bill's Lullabies and Dreams 1990 CD collaboration "magical," to read from Shakespeare.) Although Crofut didn't live to complete the project, his vision and artistry remain intact. Everything about the disc, including delightful artwork by daughter Erika, is filled with love. Everything from Bill's first sung verse, "While you sleep you can talk to the angels all night long;" to the "Children's Prayer" from Hansel and Gretel, performed by the children's Chorus Angelicus; to von Stade's amazing artistry; to the unique Streep's take on the Bard; to Bill's final reprise, "While you sleep all the world will be peaceful all night long."

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