It was a long hike to Bayville (near Toms River) with a 5 am bugle call, 6 am lift off, 8:15 arrival for a 9 am first show. The old Honda, now over 400,000 miles, keeps me going.
This is a friendly school near the ocean. A mixture of sand and ice outside the door. The teachers were friendly, especially the music teacher. My friend Caryn Lin was there last week so that made me feel at home.
The first set was for the pre-K through 1st grade and we had a good time. It’s nice to have a real solid set for these kids, with Bear Hunt, Cat Came Back, Tutti Tah, etc. I did spring All Aroung the Kitchen at the end, and it continues to grow as a performance piece.
The second show was for 2nd through 4th grades so I could still maintain some of the standards but invited the ‘Garbage Girls’ (two girls who hauled some trash bins when I was setting up) to come up and play Thunder Tubes for ‘Giants’. Again, this is developing into a nice performance piece. I finished up with All Around the Kitchen, this time expanding on the kids’ ideas. I even asked a teacher to come up with a move, and she did the ‘Running Man’. Great. I’m also trying to get the kids to come up with descriptive titles for the movements, adding a nice bit of literacy to the process.
I chatted with the security cop at the school in between sets and he said how refreshing it is to do his duty at the school, and how different it is from the stuff he has to do outside in the township. He remarked how he comes away with a different attitude. He was in the back during part of the first set and was reacting to the show. I told him how important that was for the kids to see a policeman dance and sing along with them.
As I was packing up after the shows, the cop came in singing Loudon Wainwrights’ The Swimming Song. He said, “I know some folk songs.” That was truly wonderful.
I’m doing some fine assemblies now-a-days, and teachers, kids and cops are noticing. Long day on the road, but good work.
Tomorrow, First Friday at Cleo’s.