With schools shuttered, it’s not easy for classroom volunteers to stay in touch with the students they’ve come to know. But Ray Wellbaum, 69, found a way.
A Experience Corps volunteer literacy coach with Generations Incorporated in the Boston area, Wellbaum shared his love of music — via video — with kindergartners at Lyndon School in West Roxbury.
“Hi everybody,” he says into the camera. “It’s me, Mr. Ray!” After reminding the 20-some kindergarteners about the importance of reading, he plays Take Me Out to the Ballgame on the piano and teaches kids the words.
Before the school year ended, Wellbaum submitted videos to the teacher he worked with, who showed them as part of a 30-minute morning meeting she held with the students in her class.
“Music is the family curse,” Wellbaum jokes. His parents were orchestral musicians. He was a professional trumpet player, then spent decades working as an administrator for the Boston Symphony Orchestra (he still works there part-time) and the Boston Pops. One of his daughters spearheads a rock band called Slothrust.
Wellbaum misses the students and the chance to help them learn to read. “I get a lot of energy from going into the classroom,” he says. “I do hope we eventually get back to the point when it’s an in-classroom experience, but that’s down the road.”
In the meantime, check out Wellbaum’s take on this favorite: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.