1. An Introduction to Jazz – The best idea I can think of is to show kids what jazz music is. What the instruments are and how it works. If you can find a local jazz band – and you may have parents who play together, many communities have parents bands (rockabilly, bluegrass, jazz) – ask them to come in and just explain their instruments and play two or three songs. Should be very entertaining and everyone will leave w/ a bounce in their step. Christopher Paul Curtis’ descriptions, in Chapter 17, of the sounds the instruments make and the effect they have on Bud, are so evocative, they may even inspire the musicians!
3. At the Log Cabin – One might also re-enact the scene in which Bud first walks into the Log Cabin and sees the different musicians onstage – all but Herman E. Calloway whose back is turned. I can see a scene in which the character Bud walks up the aisle of your auditorium, mounts the stage, the curtain is then opened, and the band is revealed in front of him. You might have teachers posed as the individual band members. They would each be holding (or sitting in front of) the appropriate instruments. Then they might each stand up or step forward and introduce themselves – calmly, slowly, w/ some grandiosity. “Hello, Bud. My name is Steady Eddie Harrison. I play the saxophone.” (Brandishes the saxophone.) You could go thru all the musicians – including Miss Thomas – before finally waiting for Herman E. Calloway. Then He could turn around slowly, stare intimidatingly at Bud and the audience – and announce, “These are the Dusky Devastators of the Depression. My name is Herman E. Calloway – (pause for effect) – and I’m the bandleader.” He stares intently at Bud – and then curtain. That ought to get them curious!