“When Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart asked the University of Connecticut to provide a guest narrator to read ‘A Visit From St. Nicholas’ during a 2014 holiday concert at the school, he was expecting to get UConn’s president or perhaps a distinguished professor,” writes Pat Eaton-Robb in a Thursday (5/19) Associated Press article. “Instead, the school provided an orange puppet named Skip Toumalou, dressed in a Santa hat, to read the famous poem. ‘We had not known that the university has one of the best puppetry programs in the entire world,’ Lockhart said. ‘The result was so professional, and the puppet and the student who voiced the puppet were one of the best narrators we’ve ever had.’ That concert led to a bigger collaboration, which will culminate Saturday when students from UConn’s Puppet Arts Program perform two shows with the world-famous Boston Pops at the city’s Symphony Hall. … The puppets will act out Prokofiev’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’ and provide visual accompaniment to a suite of several short pieces by composer Leroy Anderson … The production is schoolwork for the UConn students, the final product of a semester-long seminar in their studies for either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in puppet arts.”

Posted May 19, 2016

In photo: A puppet of former Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler on display at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb)