Veteran Canadian childrenâ€™s entertainer Charlotte Diamond will be back in Langley for the Walnut Grove Family Day Festival this weekend.
The singer has been coming to Langley ever since her career began in 1984, almost 30 years ago. One of her early performances was singing for a meeting of Canadian Parents for French in a local high school, Diamond recalled.
She also recalled singing at public festivals held in parks like Campbell Valley.
In fact, one of her early songs, Metamorphosis, was written specially for a Langley festival. The song is about how tadpoles turn into frogs, something that plenty of kids taking hikes around the local ponds could observe first hand.
Before she started singing for a living, Diamond, who lives in Richmond, was a teacher in New Westminster.
She had majored in zoology and French, but it was the arts that drove much of her teaching, regardless of subject matter.
â€œI always seemed to work the arts in to my teaching,â€ Diamond said.
Songs and drama became part of her regular curriculum, and the school had a strong music program as well, she said.
Over the years, thousands of children have grown up listening to the songs Diamond sings in English, French, and Spanish. Her catalogue includes songs like Four Hugs a Day, Octopus (Slippery Fish) and Dicky Dinosaur.
From her start as a mother with young children, Diamond now has her grown son Matt Diamond as her musical accompaniment.
Diamondâ€™s life in recent years has had both ups and downs.
She recently faced a diagnosis of breast cancer, and spent much of 2013 recovering.
â€œIâ€™m one of the lucky ones,â€ Diamond said, saying she is now clear of the disease.
â€œ2013 was a year of changes for me,â€ she said.
Through it all, her passion for song helped her out.
â€œMusic really sustains us,â€ said Diamond.
That is just as true for children as it is for adults, she believes.
Her songs celebrate diversity in children, and she hopes they can allow children to deal with their emotions.
â€œChildren are strengthened by being able to talk about things that are difficult,â€ Diamond said. A story or song can help children open up and talk about their issues in ways they couldnâ€™t otherwise.
Diamond is looking forward to coming out to the Family Day Festival in Walnut Grove.
â€œI do enjoy performing outdoors, and hopefully itâ€™s not going to rain!â€ she said.
The June 21 festival is the third annual version of the event, and will boast a petting zoo, pony rides, a bouncy castle and hot air balloon rides, a dress up photo booth, and face painting.
In addition to Diamond, local talent including Bird Dawg, Cambree Lovesy, Kristal Barret and Mike Steen, and other performers from Langleyâ€™s Got Talent, will take the stage.
The event will be held at the Walnut Grove Community Park, adjacent to the community centre, and the event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children, $5 per family. All proceeds will be going to children in the Walnut Grove area through the Langley School District Foundation.