Thanks to Doug Roysdon and his connections in the community, I had another Saturday’s Child event at the IceHouse. He put together the Bethlehem Public Library, Buchanan School’s jump rope group and my Playground material for a Jump Rope show.
I did a lot of my new stuff, including Tootie Tah, Rosalie, Where are You Going, All Around the Kitchen, as well as went through a bunch of the jump rope rhymes from Anna Banana. It was a friendly crowd of parents and kids, mostly from the Buchanan school connection, so I was glad for that.
I had fun with the parents, chastising them for not participating, and they accepted the challenge. At one point, I said one dad had a six-pack to pass around if the other dads helped out. One dad then chirped up his part. I said that now I knew what his buttons were. I enjoy my ability to engage, poke and humor the adults and parents. It makes for a really good show.
As I was packing up the car, my friend Doug came up and asked about the evolution of pieces like “Peanut Butter and Jelly”. A good question. We talked about how performance pieces develop, how they have spaces for improvisation, and how audiences react to that improvisation.
Peanut Butter and Jelly really had changed from its initial performance, done for the recording on the Aw Shucks! tape. Dividing the parts between girls and boys, switching genders for the last chorus (a principal’s disapproval of a perceived sexism), hand motions, getting the kids to stand and sit down, and other techniques. Yes, there’s a lot going on in such a simple piece. Nice to break it down as well.
Off to Allentown to see if I have a gig this afternoon.