A&E » Arts

Diamond shines with kids

Long-time children’s entertainer to take the stage as part of Whistler Children’s Art Festival lineup



What: Whistler Children's Art Festival

When: Saturday, July 11 & Sunday, July 12, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Creekside

Cost: $5 kids, parents get in free. Workshops $4 to $8

Charlotte Diamond started out teaching children, classroom by classroom, but she soon discovered she could reach a broader audience simply by picking up a guitar and stepping onto a real stage.

Today, Diamond is known by thousands of children across North America and even further abroad as the lady who dons silly hats, sings fun songs, and is the president of the all-important Hug Bug Club. But Diamond's career as a children's entertainer actually came about almost accidentally. She originally had studied Zoology and French at UBC and went on to become a teacher, teaching science, French and music to junior high students.

Raised in a musical household, Diamond didn't truly begin to explore her musical side during her university years.

"My mom sang to us right from when my sister and I were very, very little, and it just seems like music was a way in which we expressed ourselves," she explained. "People have often observed that I live very musically, there's a rhythm to how I do things, and I think that you get that from childhood."

She later became comfortable in the limelight through performances with folk groups and performers like Pete Seeger and Tom Paxton, but didn't actually start writing children's music and songs until she had her own kids. Eventually, those songs fed into a preschool music program.

"I just started singing with them and the first song that I wrote was, 'Octopus, Slippery Fish.'"

That first song caught the ear of the students. Maybe it was Diamond's simple language, or the food-chain storyline, with tale of a fish being eaten by an octopus, being eaten by a tuna, and so on. Either way, it was a glowing success.

At the urging of other parents and teachers, she released an album of her work using her teachers' pension fund to independently produce and release 10 Carrot Diamond . That album went on to win a Juno Award in 1986, effectively launching her career. Today, 10 Carrot Diamond is a Certified Gold Record in Canada.

Next year will mark Diamond's 25 th year in the industry. In that time, she's won five Parents' Choice Awards, three American Library Association Awards, and produced 13 recordings, two music resource books and two nationally televised videos. Most importantly, she's become well-loved by thousands of children across Canada, the United States and as far away as Costa Rica, for catchy songs like "I'm a Pizza" and "All the Nations Like Banana."