I headed up the Jersey Turnpike for my second gig of the day, at the North Haven Library’s Summer Series of music. Good music on the car stereo did the trick.

I’ve played several years in a row at the North Haven Library as part of their summer series of music for families on the green outside their fine library. It’s always a gathering of families, library supporters and readers in the setting sun of a summer evening. Tonight was a rather bigger crowd than usual, and I enjoyed the brief spotlight of the setting sun.

I was glad to encourage the early kids to come up and jump into the bag of instruments before the show. I wonder about the ‘pre-show’ experience and this is a good way to encourage interaction before the “SHOW” and engage the kids in selecting different instruments without public approval. They get to try things out before show time.

Tonight was a good night to try out dancing. The kids were up early (Skip to My Lou) and it was cool to see the kids willing to take to the open grass in front of me (adults shun the open space) and skip. It was a particularly opening experience for me and one I would persue.

After awhile, and some nice excursions into my ‘sure’ stuff, I decided on doing Little Sally Walker, a playsong I learned from Teresa Pyott, a mentor on children’s folk playsongs. The dancing kids actually bonded with each other (without adult supervision !), danced, played, and did the playsong. It was, perhaps, the pinnacle of the evening, seeing the kids take instruction and ownership of the dance. I think the audience of parents, librarians and grandparents took note of event. This is pretty rare in a public place. I was amazed myself.

It was a good night, in spite of the library’s cooling system running in the key of D, and several broken strings in course. The connection was strong, kids were dancing on the grass, making connections with other kids, and, I assume, the parents and grandparents enjoying the scene in front of us. My attention is on the kids, as it should be, but I trust my effort is appreciated by the adults in their portable seats.

Though I don’t sell a lot of CD’s at these gigs, parents, grand parents and kids come up and express their joys with me. It’s often a buckshot array of compliments but each is especially dear to me. It’s what I cherish as a musician. It makes the long drive home precious.