I headed back to Flint Hill Farm for a Sunday set. Today was quite a bit chillier though sunny. I set up in the large pole barn with the food, lots of hay and Mike Holliday playing his songs off by the hay bale arena. It was nice to get there early so I could hear my friend sing his songs. I took advantage of him though, when some kids stopped by to listen, I handed out some tamborines, to encourage some interaction. I really don’t like to take any spotlight off of the performer on stage, but I felt Mike would understand. It was okay.
I set up my guitar and mandolin, bag of instruments and invited Dave Reber to join me on hammered dulcimer again. We had a good time the day before and I felt comfortable with him on my songs, and I really enjoy backing up him on guitar.
Hammered Dulcimer is a magnate to the general public so folks wrapped around us to see how Dave plays it. It was actually a great stage technique today and broke up our two hour set and my more interactive songs. A nice dynamic overall, with instrumentals dispersing and regathering folks as they wander through the farm, wagon rides, etc.
Families, kids and other curious folks wandered by, took in various songs, watched their kids play instruments and have some fun. I broke out the Thundertubes for two families with a teenager and other older people. It was nice to amaze and awe an older small audience. This covey of eight folks had a great time on it, participated with zest, and made for a great moment together.
There were several interesting interactions with kids during the afternoon including an autistic boy who fell in love with the rain stick (very cool), an African American kid who loosened up nicely (though probably had no idea as to who is this guy ?…. and what is he doing?….). Jelly in the Dish is funky, and a joy to bring out.
But, again, the amazing moments were with young toddlers and their moms and dads, sharing the magic moments of discovery. It remains ‘electric’ interaction when the child stops, takes it all in and eventually reacts. And, it often takes several songs to accomplish, as I’m working on the parents, too. They have to trust me, they have to be willing to lead the way and participate with their kids, and they get some magic moments back. I get a front row seat.
We finished up as the day wore down. Dave, Mike and I started to pack up when a dad and his young son came into the barn and sat down. Well, I guess we can do one more, so we did Old MacDonald. The son picked up a small maraca and was intently shaking that thang. As I tried to encourage some animal rhymes, he was into the playing, so I got Dave, Mike and Dad to offer some ideas. We stretched. And, eventually the boy came up with ‘cow’. Good. It’s important to stretch the learning experience for these kids, and I always try to push the envelop, and still be a welcoming performer. Hard work.
I got paid in broccoli, some sweets, a couple of apples, some artisan goat cheese, the opportunity to make music with some good friends and new families. It would be nice to get paid in the currency of the realm, but I had a great time anyway.
Open Mike tonight to finish it off.