News and Events

Spotlight Garden City

Rock Songs and Rubber Ducks


Published: November 20, 2009 Long Island Children’s Museum in Garden City exists to enchant children, not the grown-ups who escort them. But that is not to say the occasional adult doesn’t come under its spell.

“To me, it’s just this magical place,” said Bari Koral, a singer-songwriter who will perform at the museum’s theater on Nov. 27 and 28. She will sing songs from her new children’s album, “Rock and Roll Garden” (Loopytunes), to be released in January.

Several years ago, Ms. Koral, 40, who divides her time between Manhattan and Long Beach, started working with Jim Packard, the theater director of the museum, on a series of improvisational plays and songs for children.

Jim Packard

TRIO From left, Dred Scott, Bari Koral and Eric Halvorson.

“It was really Jim’s idea and my friend John Medeski’s,” Ms. Koral said of her decision to begin writing children’s music in 2007. Before then, she had been building a reputation performing original alt-country songs for adults. Since 1999, she said, “I was out there on the road, mostly in the Midwest, making a living. But I wanted to get off the road.”

After she spent a weekend in 2007 writing in Mr. Medeski’s cabin in Woodstock, N.Y., “I came back to the Long Island Children’s Museum, and Jim and I sat on a hillside and I played him the songs,” she said. “It was this great moment.”

“I didn’t even have a band, and he started lining up shows for me,” said Ms. Koral, who now performs with Dred Scott on bass and Eric Halvorson on drums.

These days, Ms. Koral’s fans mostly range in age from around 1 to 7. She also teaches music and movement classes for children at Rockefeller University’s Child and Family Center in Manhattan.

At the Long Island concert, she and her group will play “Hey Ducky” — the song she calls her “Hey Jude” — and hand out rubber ducks.

“The ducks have become our mascot,” Ms. Koral said.


Bari Koral, Nov. 27 and 28, 1 and 3 p.m. $4 plus museum admission; $3 for members; $8 for the theater only. Long Island Children’s Museum, 11 Davis Avenue, Garden City. Call (516) 224-5800 or visit

A version of this article appeared in print on November 22, 2009, on page LI18 of the New York edition of The New York Times.



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