My good friend John Christie lined up a return to this South Allentown school as part of their rewards program. Initially, the both shows were supposed to be outside on  a hillside withing the U of the school building, actually a very nice amphitheater. As I got there for a 10:15 assembly, the lawn was pretty dew-laden so we moved into the gym for the first one. 


The first show was for 200 3rd through 5th grades, a mostly Hispanic group, and with a surprisingly higher number of male teachers. There was a larger special-needs group of kids up front as well. I can do this. 


I’ve worked several times now with John on a professional level, and I’m completely comfortable with his presence, musical abilities, and intuition on what I’m trying to do. He’s a treat to work with, his guitar work is wonderful (and sometimes quite nasty…), and he is a long-time friend. He and Sue have raised their three sons on my music, and now both of them are hard at work raising their first granddaughter (who has yet to emerge from her shyness in my presence – I’m a scary dude). 


As to her shyness, she is young enough to enjoy my CD’s but cannot quite figure out my live music with the recorded music. It’s an interesting phenomenon that I’ve shared with other parents. “That’s the guy on the tape!”


I had a bunch of trouble with my sound system from the get go. My guitar was overloading the system, resulting in a 3 second delay. I’m aware of it from RR gigs, but it still is a major diversion from the performance. I make it work by going with the flow. 


The fun part remains with All Around the Kitchen at the end. They’re up and dancing with the teachers, doing the singing AND dancing (this is the hard part at this developmental stage, for all of us), and then I get to create the group experience. I give them the first couple of dance moves, and then I step on the precipice and take a leap. 


I call up three kids to come up on stage and present (and name) their dance move. We do it on the fly, and we’re up and dancing a movement piece. Yes, a movement piece. This is what I’ve pulled from my Touchstone Theater skills. A roomful of people, adults and kids (and special-needs kids!!!) dancing and singing as a community. My artistic heaven on earth. 


Today, John and I reprized our ‘Air Guitar’ section when I get the kids to play air guitar while John gets to really rip on some nasty electric guitar. And I get to watch. 


I’m now inviting teachers (‘inviting’ is an inaccurate word – ‘shaming’ works better) to come up at the end and add their moves. Today a gentleman teacher came up and did ‘The Swim’. Later John told me he’s recovering from shoulder surgery, so he was hurting a little. (John noticed…) Anyway, it’s a great moment in so many ways: community, movement and dance, group singing, rock and roll music, and a cool guitar part for me. 


I was drenched with sweat, but that’s what gyms are for, I guess.