It was great to be ‘back in the saddle’ today with two large assemblies with K, 1, 2 and then 3, 4, 5 grades. 750 kids all together. When I got there a half-hour early, as I approached the main door, I was met with two concerned parents who were in charge. They thought that I needed an hour to set up, but I quickly calmed them down and we got things set up with time to spare. I usually phone the school if I’m running late, and I should have let them know my real time of arrival.
The first set was with the wee kids, all sitting in bouncy auditorium seats and off we went. I usually prefer a gym floor for the sake of dancing, but with their small bodies, there was lots of room. The principal, a Moravian grad and Quakertown resident, was particularly fun, doing the Tutti Tah, generally being engaged. Always a good sign for the quality of the audience and the gig’s success.
I surprised myself when I forgot part of the second verse of the Cat Came Back, a song I’ve been doing for decades. These mind spasms always creep up on me in unexpected places, in songs I am genetically programmed by now to do. Anyway, I was able to not sing the words, played the chords and then hit the chorus early. It was fine, but I put a check mark on that one for next time.
The second show was for a bigger audience, individually and collectively, and I still wonder how to connect with the older fifth graders, since they are the mature ones in the building. I really shouldn’t worry – they are still kids, enjoy the humor and the movement.
I did The Cat Came Back for the second set and I continue to explore the performance possibilities by having each class stand and sing the chorus for the rest of the crowd. I then, of course, have the teachers stand and sing (opera-style), and then get the kids to sing the last one, while I remove my voice from the mix and let them hear the hall ring with their own voices. It’s pretty subtle but powerful, as well. It’s satisfying for me as the artist in the house.
The Home and School folks loved the shows and were quite gracious in allowing me to show up that close to start time.
The weather was in the mid 50’s as I headed out, packed up the car and drove back to the Lehigh Valley, feeling the boost I always get from playing for 750 kids in the morning.