TODD'S MUSICAL PETTING ZOO
Todd Crowley’s Musical Petting Zoo is an active part of the folk and bluegrass festival circuit. Since 2007, it has appeared at more than 75 festivals in a dozen or more states and five Canadian provinces. It has been a mainstay at the Summerfolk Festival in Owen Sound ON since 2009 and a popular attraction at the Mariposa Folk Festival, Clearwater Folk Festival, Ogden Music Festival, Old Songs, Podunk BG & Pickin’ in the Pines, among other festivals large and small.
Todd Crowley is a member of the Folk Alliance International and Todd’s Musical Petting Zoo has appeared at the Folk Alliance Conference in both Memphis and Toronto.
Besides being a touring exhibit during the festival season, Todd’s Musical Petting Zoo is also a community center and resource for promoting folk music and teaching about the different instruments. It recently moved to its new permanent home at 216 Maple Ave Corry PA 16407 after three years in North East PA.
Representing the musical alphabet from accordion to zither, Todd’s Musical Petting Zoo is a fully interactive, hands-on activity. Not only are festival-goers invited to examine the instruments, they are encouraged to touch, play, and share the instruments. All ages are welcome—from a child learning how to hold a fiddle for the first time to the old gentleman remembering Irish button accordion tunes.
The Zoo offers the usual instruments like the guitar, banjo, ukulele, mandolin, and fiddle. But there are also a host of other folk instruments such as the kantele, cuatro, bouzouki, and dobro. Dulcimers, autoharps and odd musical gizmos like saws and limberjacks also abound along with drums from five continents. And too many wind and percussive instruments to name.
This spirit of discovery is the inspiration of the zookeeper —Crowley is a patient, caring man with a true love for folk music. "My belief about folk music is that it isn't just music to listen to from a seat in the audience. Folk music is about making music of our own,—on all levels,—and then passing it on to the next generation.”
"The instruments have a common DNA," says Crowley, "just like human beings.” From a mouth bow to a Celtic harp, from an Andean charango to a Hawaiian ukulele, Todd’s Musical Petting Zoo is a vivid and tangible display that instruments, like people, are all interconnected.
Crowley believes a folk instrument is part of the folk tradition, where the sharing of one's love and knowledge of the music, song and stories of the past help to keep the traditions alive. The instruments in the zoo tell a story of their own each time a child connects to the folk tradition by trying an instrument for the first time or an adult rediscovers the joy of making music.
To book Todd’s Musical Petting Zoo for a festival or community event, please see the contact page.
At the 16th annual Podunk Bluegrass Festival about his petting zoo & the different instruments that both amateurs & professionals can try out while there.
Ottawa Tonite's roving reporter, Spencer G., checks out what's happening at the musical petting zoo at the Ottawa Folk Festival.
Call Todd at (703) 999-4972