Music Books

Carnival of the Animals: A Poetic + Musical Collaboration

Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra releases new CD + book

Barbara Arnold |

What does the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra do when a global pandemic cancels all its live concerts? Why, they band together with supporters, poets, and artists to create Carnival of the Animals – Eau Claire Edition, a live recording of its Jan. 25 Family and Friends concert at the Pablo Center, remastered and accompanied by a book with illustrations by Paris-based artist Léna Henry.

Carnival of the Animals is a comical musical suite of 14 movements by the French romantic composer Camille Saint-Saëns. The Eau Claire Edition features 15 movements and has specific references to Eau Claire history and lore, written and performed by local poets Jennifer Eddy, Jeannie Roberts, Jane and Jim Jeffries, and Tom Giffey.

Eddy sourced an artist in Paris who completed the illustrations for the beautiful book, and also called upon Lisa Govan, Eliad Design, and Ned Gannon for additional graphic design and layout help. Evan Middlesworth, director of artistic programming at the Pablo Center and owner of Pine Hollow recording studio, coordinated the remastering.

“Working with the local Eau Claire poets on this project was an absolute joy,” said ECCO Music Director Dr. Frank Watkins. “What a novel idea to update a classic work with the writings of contemporary thinkers.”

The CD and book will be available Dec. 5 at The Local Store and on the ECCO website site for $25. All proceeds will benefit ECCO.

For more information, visit or find the group on Facebook.