I made it to my neighborhood school, nick o’ time, for my first after-school workshop at Holy Infancy. This is the first of four visits as part of of a program developed by my friend Doug Roysdon of Mock Turtle Marionettes, bringing in local artists to SouthSide afterschool programs. A noble endeavor. A noble endeavor that pays me decent money as an artist.


I have a long history with this school, from my days with PASELA, another grant funded project with the Arts and the SouthSide that shaped my work with preschoolers ten years ago, or so. I learned the Tutti Tah from Ms. Perez and her preschoolers. It’s now a hit song in my solo shows. Yes, even the Philly Folk Fest on a Saturday night!


I am charged to write songs with these kids so I decided to do a school pride song. I checked out the school’s mission statement and found Love, Justice and Peace, and decided that was a good starting point. I hope to get around to it, but it got me started with some chords and a melody to start working with the kids. I was lucky in that there were some middle school kids working with the kids already, so I quickly invited them into this artistic community. Several of them took the bait and became important leaders and mentors for this project. Great energy to use.


I decided to work on a chorus first and do the Love, Justice, Peace later. I played the first phrase Holy Infancy, and asked for rhymes. Interesting suggestions: penalty, charity, community and others. An accessible and easy rhyme. Productive I noticed some of the kids signing ‘Love’. I took off on this. Show me that. Let’s try that. Physicality. I used this to have the kids sign H. I. Holy Infancy. I delighted in screwing this up in front of them. (This is a technique from past performance classes) It was a bonding moment for the kids, myself and their mentors. Bang. (more to follow….)


I allow some free play for these session, so I opened up the ole tool bag. We did some improv dance, worked on playing on the 2 and 4 (important life skill) and introduce the fabulous scarves. These kids are ready to create, for the most part, and we did some great explorations today.


Mr Ogando, the principal gave me a thumbs up, even though he did come up and point out that kids should wear shoes (unlike a certain local artiste). It was funny. He’s adjusting to me and me to him. I’ve already dropped the H bomb in one of our assemblies. Nothing like Catholic guilt, even when you are not Catholic. Next week will be another interesting session. I love it.