I returned for my third visit to the IceHouse on Sand Island, part of this series of shows put together by my friend and puppeteer Doug Roysdon. The last two have been wonderful opportunities to work on my Teaching Artist tools, and it turned out to be a good opportunity today as well.
There were only the young kids in camp today, but I knew that these counselors would participate and help lead the way. They had said previously that they had grown up on my music A couple of moms with their kids showed up, too, so I had a mixed crew to play to.
We did some explorations with Down by the Bay with great interactions with the kids. The whole set was lots of fun.
The defining moment came when I was doing Tutti Tah. I asked everybody to join in and made the mistake of insisting that the young sons under the watch of one of the moms participate. The two boys collapsed into embarrassment and tears. Oh, boy. I apologized during the song and the mom motioned to me that it was okay. The three of them retreated to the rear seats to collect themselves. I avoided looking at the boys the rest of the show, but saw them eventually warm up to the music.
As I wrapped up my equipment, I asked them to come over for a free CD. I explained why I try to have people involved in what I do. I think some of it sank in. It makes me wonder how radical my live performance is, especially with my rather intense (to them) effort to engage the audience. It is foreign to many, many kids in this day and age of passive, screen-driven entertainment. I have to beware and be better at adapting to this challenge.
Another good opportunity to grow in my craft. That’s all I ask for… and perhaps a check at the end.