After a successful paying gig this morning, I returned to my SouthSide neighborhood for my annual end-of-the-year benefit gig at Holy Infancy. We usually go out on the Greenway behind the school and play. Since the kids are really familiar with my material they don’t hesitate to yell out their favorites: Cat Came Back, Giants, Bear Hunt, Tutti Tah and even All Around the Kitchen (an obscure one, but a good one). Even the older kids enjoy the tunes they grew up with.

I had the chance to write a song with them three years ago that incorporated the school’s mission statement: Love, Justice and Peace. I was able to recall it during my set up time and pulled it off to the delight of the teachers and kids. It involves sign language and I got some help on the nice Peace move. I initially called up one girl who I count on to do the movements. Several others came up and joined and then I invited anybody who wanted to come up.

There was a tsunami of kids, but since I do not fear chaos, it turned out to be a highlight of the show. The kids took ownership.

We did all the favorites and finished with All Around the Kitchen with the kids coming up with a fistful of current dance moves, some familiar (The Dab, The Dental Floss…) but some really quite new and wonderful. Again, when I open it up to the kids who are comfortable with me, they respond in spades.

I returned home a block away, drenched in sweat but feeling good about my place in the neighborhood.