The last RR of 2013. We were at a middle school in Clinton, NJ for two afternoon shows, 7th and 8th grades. We usually expect some differences between the two ages, but to day was remarkably polar. The school staff was excited to have us back (every two years), and the first show with the 7th graders proved to be spectacular. Great energy from the kids and teachers. The music teacher sat in on electric guitar with some fine licks. We played really well, I was funny and it was nice and loose.
The second show with the 8th graders was painful. It started off poorly with little audience lighting (important for me to connect, especially with asking questions, etc.) and little reaction from the kids. We felt like we were playing to a void. They finally got the lights to work, but any attempt at humor, engagement or reaction was tepid, at best. At least it wasn’t negative, I suppose.
The teachers reflect the attitudes of their students. The first show’s teachers were up and dancing and having a good time. The second show’s teachers were practically invisible.
When I go out into the audience for volunteers for the Doo Wop segment, the 7th graders were raising their hands, “Pick me! Pick me!” The 8th graders were pointing at others saying, “Pick him! Pick her!” That says something.
It was exhilarating romp for the first hour and a depressing slog for the second hour.
And then I drove back into Friday afternoon traffic. I’m beat.