I was called upon to play some music for a SouthSide community that I rarely get a chance to travel through, a couple of blocks up South Mountain from Steel Stacks and the Sands Casino. It’s cut off from standard city traffic so it has its own neighborhood identity. This small park features a basketball court, some grass and a pavilion. The community folks, and the city set up pop-ups, invited some snow cone vendors, the Thai and Latina take-out places to provide free food, and invited some fellow arts-educators to mix it up with the kids and families: Touchstone Theatre doing masks, Hala doing dance, Doug Roysdon doing puppets and myself doing music.
I got the chance again to work with Doug and his marvelous marionettes. Dancing Granny danced to several songs, his flute-playing puppet and I did Charlie Stone and we worked on a fairly dark Frog dance. Otherwise, I spread out my instruments and connected with the various kids that stopped by. It’s the very young ones that catch my attention. One young girl, pre-speaking, was enchanted by playing the maraca. I invited a couple older girls to join in so that she could react to other girls playing along. As I would play guitar, the little girl would go pick up a tambourine and hand it to me to play (while I was strumming guitar) and I did. I would go back to my guitar and she would go pick out another instruments and hand it to me. This went on for a while, all to the delight of her dad standing nearby. She did not want to leave when her mom picked her up to leave, and as she left sobbing in her mom’s arms, we waved to each other. It was a rich connection.
The event was pretty nice, with the good weather, lots of testosterone out on the basketball court, young girls dancing, some older neighbors stopping by, good snacks, and a fair amount of applied art as well.