The big Friday Tour started early with two shows at a small Bucks Co. ES. The principal asked if I had played the Rose Garden Festivals in Bethlehem years ago. I had. That jarred loose some nice memories of a great run of festivals in the Rose Garden park on the North Side. Yes, again, a woman who had raised her kids on Aw Shucks. She also said that the younger teachers said, “Who?”
It was pajama day, so most of the kids were in PJ’s and boots. It was a rainy morning. It was a great way to signal a fun day at school.
We sang carols – its so cool that the kids are in on the second word. Each is a celebration of community and an immediate example of the power of folk music. Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Rudolph. I like to add Zat You? for historical significance (Louis Armstrong), great sound effects by the kids, and a mouth trombone solo that shakes ’em up. (especially when I ask them to bone along.) These are wonderful assemblies, if I don’t say so myself.
As I chatted preshow with the principal, she related that several parents were keeping their kids at home. Two reasons popped up. Believe or not, the Mayan Calender end times. (!!!) And, perhaps more worrisome, reaction to school closings in Michigan, a re-reaction to the Newtown shootings. We both shook our heads.
I’m amazed and confused with the curious spotlight on teachers, schools, security, gun-packing nonsense and fear. Yes, fear. Not healthy.
Again, I witness the power of the arts to engage, instruct and enthuse our kids.