Kean professor performs duck-themed song on ‘most creative’ float in Denville parade
By Rebecca Panico | Published Dec. 3, 2016
One Kean University English professor is getting her ducks in a row to create a new series of educational songs for children on a CD.
Dr. Susanna Rich, a poet and songwriter, performed a duck-themed song from the future project with about a dozen Lakeview elementary school kids on a float at the Denville Holiday Parade on Nov. 27.
“I’m writing it from the point of view of the duck,” said Dr. Rich of the anthem, which uses hand motions to help children learn about the bird. “I’m a poet and poetry should bring you back to the body and so should songs too.”
The float was constructed to look like a duck and made by the Denville Sunrise Rotary Club, which is a local chapter of an international organization consisting of business and professional leaders who do charitable work in communities.
The float won most creative in the parade. Denville Mayor Thomas Andes will recognize the local Rotary Club for their design on Dec. 6, Dr. Rich said. Don Fast, who is the nephew of Dr. Rich’s husband, provided the audio system and accompaniment on guitar for the float.
Dr. Rich recently reconnected on Facebook with an old friend from high school, Roland Basinski, who is a former president of the Denville Sunrise Rotary Club.
“I read all that she had been doing with her Wild Nights Production company,” said Basinski, “and I said ‘holy mackerel,’ and I thought she’d be great to do a presentation for my Rotary Club.”
In June, he invited her to see the club’s annual rubber duck race fundraiser, where people pay $10 for a toy duck to be cast into the Rockaway River. It was there that Dr. Rich was inspired to write the anthem about the water-bound bird, she said.
“I wrote this song this summer and I just absolutely adore it,” said Dr. Rich. She later added with a chuckle, “I want to be the official world-wide rubber duck anthem songwriter.”
Basinski said the song was “great” and had nothing but praise for Dr. Rich, noting that “she is one of the most interesting people in the world.”
“It’s been nothing but a blast,” said Basinski of his work with Dr. Rich. “It’s been fun. Who knew after 50 years we would reconnect and do this stuff like this.”
Read the lyrics of Dr. Rich’s anthem below: