Dini Petty
CD review: THE QUEEN THE BEAR & THE BUMBLEBEE
By Sherri Paterson

Former talk-show host Dini Petty has always had an affinity for writing. Her latest project, an empowering children's poem called The Queen, The Bear & The Bumblebee, has been turned into an original classical music adaptation by the Pickering-based children's INDEPENDENT record label, The Children's Group.

This recording features some of the classical music world's brightest talents, including counter-tenor Daniel Taylor (as "The Bee"), mezzo-soprano Erin Thrall (as "The Queen") and bass Luc Saucier (as "The Bear"). The music was written by Juno Award-winning composer/orchestrator Mark Goldman and Grammy Award-winning composer/orchestrator Andrew Homzy and the lyrics are by Dini Petty. The overall result is at once whimsical and inspiring. Even kids who haven't been exposed to classical music previously will be swept up in the music since it accompanies such a mesmerizing story, which is narrated by Dini herself.

The story revolves around three friends, a queen, a bear and a bumblebee, who are bestowed one wish apiece by the Prince of Night. The queen wishes for wings since she has always dreamed of being able to fly. The bear wishes to be a man so he can change clothes instead of wearing his fur coat all the time. While these two friends are experimenting with their new states-of-being, the bee muses over what his wish will be. His friends strongly urge him to change himself into something else with this wish, perhaps into another colour or shape, or to rid himself of his stinger.

But, then, when the bee saves the day by battling the evil monster Growliss with his stinger, he realizes the important lesson that it's best to be who you are. When he sees his friends having trouble with their new circumstances, he uses his wish to change them back to the way they were, and everyone is happy again.

This CD teaches children the critical lesson of self-acceptance, an important value in today's image-conscious society. And, the music fits perfectly with the message, engaging memorable songs and introducing children to the magic of classical music in the process.