I headed out for my first of two SouthSide gigs on Thursday to Holy Infancy School, my neighborhood school a block away from home. I’ve had a wonderful history with this school, their teachers and the kids. I was involved with a pilot project called PASELA, bringing artists like myself into preschools and day cares on the SouthSide ten years ago. It was a marvelous opportunity to hone my craft with really young kids on a consistent basis. I got to experiment with material and rhythm instruments, get to know the kids well, and see what worked in the educational projects. I learned a lot in the process – things I use all the time nowadays in my pre-school work.

Today, I set up out behind the school in the Greenway, a nice strip of land with a walkway and benches on what was, at one time, the railroad in town. Grass, sunshine and kids. This is also the school I taped and used the sound on my Playground CD. The kids all know me and my songs so it turns out to be a good ole love fest of my music. Cat Came Back, Baby Shark, I Like Peanut Butter, etc. The teachers also go way back to those PASELA days, so we are good friends and enjoy each other’s company (and they enjoy my humor, as well).

It has always been for free and its my way of connecting with my neighborhood and the kids.

Tonight is phase two of the SouthSide Tour, opening for Tom Paxton at the Musikfest Cafe, quite a different landscape for my music. It’s what makes my world go ’round.