Off to NJ at 6:30 am for two sets at a middle school in Verona, NJ. The third gig for RockRoots this week after a long break. This one I was in better shape for, after the asthma gig yesterday, and its good I was in normal shape.
Middle schools are a quagmire of performance challenges while providing some great energy as well.
The back story for this gig: the school has a great musical program with well respected choruses, four bands including a great jazz band. Over 350 strong, too. But they were all at a competition at Four Flags in NJ. We, along with the predator bird assembly guy, got to entertain the leftovers. Not to jump to any conclusions, but it seems we were playing for less than creative kids. (Feel free to correct my arts bias.)
We were in the gym for the two sets, with the 7th and 8th grades first. Yes, it was a tough nut to crack, though the teachers were quite engaged and entertained, so I knew we were knocking it back musically. It was a struggle but we did okay.
Of course, the 5th and 6th grades were great, interacted well, danced and got it on with us. Now its no surprise in the differences between the age groups, but still interesting that the stereotypes remain true. My challenge is to NOT call out the older kids on their lack of connection, trust in the show’s quality and educational worth, and hope that it gets through to the kids. I know that it does, but does not manifest itself in recognizable performance indicators. (How’s that for arts-speak?)
Good to be working, though. Arts opening tonight.