The Philly Folksong Society has resurrected its Odyssey program, sending folks like me into inner city schools for assemblies. These schools have little money (I get $25 from the school) and the society fills in with a reasonable fee to make it worth it. I also think its simply worth the experience to play for these kids and give something back. Also, brownie points from the PFSS for a potential festival return.
It’s a long haul into a kind-of beat up neighborhood, with a mix of white, black and brown kids and teachers. The music teacher, Ms. Hood, is a very mild young teacher in a tough school, doing her best to make her difference.
They had asked for my solo RockRoots show, and though I hadn’t practiced it as a solo, it worked well enough for the little kids on the first set. The second crew was much more talkative and I pulled it in earlier than I would have liked.
I was in the basement cafeteria, low ceiling, kids, for the most part, at the tables. The kids stretched pretty far back with poor sight lines and the tables made it really difficult to get up and dance. The kids simply don’t have many opportunities to learn how to be an audience. It was a tough gig, and as tough as I have had it a while. Good though.