I’ve come to prefer morning gigs at schools for several reasons, one being its easier to drive home midday than on a Friday evening. I also realize that schools often prefer to have the kids worked up and then sent home on a Friday. So, we do what we have to do to oblige.
We were in a city ES in a relatively stable community (thanks, in part, to the school). Mostly Hispanic, some blacks and a few whites. Mostly black teachers and a black principal and staff. This situation necessitates how we approach the show.
A nice moment happened even before we started. The custodian who was very helpful and friendly as we set up, came up and asked if he could play my acoustic guitar. He did and played a few chords for his fellow custodian who was finishing up mopping in the back. He made his mark as a musician on that stage, in that school, in front of his co-worker and friend.
The second good omen. As we started out with the opening Rock and Roll Music, the lady principal started to dance, shuffle, wiggle in the middle of the floor, between the older kids on both sides in the bleachers, and in back of the little kids in chairs up front. She gave a mighty okay that we are going to move to this music. Powerful stuff that rarely happens.
We do try to the educational patter (that’s my prime objective) but the kids are active (good) and noisy (who can blame them?) and young. They are not familiar with the unspoken etiquette of performances so I try to steer them into attention. But, after a point, its ‘shut up and play’. Which is okay, too. The kids got up and danced and had a great time. The band played well and the staff and principal were very grateful for what we did. We got the school up and dancing.
The lads had to split really fast due to evening gigs back in PA, but we did it professionally and left the community with a very nice experience. Not bad for a Friday afternoon in Trenton.