I returned to The Crypt, a rather amazing gig I played last year in an old Episcopal church in Trenton last summer, part of Urban Promise day camp. I had two sets, like last year, and knew the older kids would be a hard sell. As it turns out, both sets were good, with some of the kids remembering what I did last year.
The Crypt is a large sub basement room, large enough to have a small basketball court. I set up in an area in front of a religious nave – flagstone, marble – and recalled the incredible echo in this room, several seconds delay.
Last year was quite a Zen moment when, doing the ‘Woo’ at the end of Peanut Butter, the kids ‘got it’, and centered themselves as a unit. I used my new three point rhythm technique (silence, beat, sizzle) and it, too, gave some unity to our explorations. With the older kids, I did I Heard It Through the Grapevine with egg shakers. I noticed one of the female counselors doing Motown motions to the song in the back, so I asked her to come up and involve the kids. They all got up and she did great, and eventually I had various kids come up and lead the rest with their dance moves. It turned out to be a very good exercise, physical and musical.
The little kids were next and they turned out to be a harder group, mostly because of some unfocused energy and a couple of kids with behavioral issues. Also, this set of counselors were talking in the rear of the area, and that white noise in this echo chamber created a distraction. I had to stop and let them know and they responded nicely.
The humidity and the intensity of the two sets really drained me, but my GPS took me through the country side of Bucks County and restored my center on the way home.
As always, the challenging gigs always give me more rewarding experiences, ones that I learn from.