We played a religious school this early this morning – Bryn Athyn Church School north of Philly – and we had a strange stipulation: we had to be set up by 8:00 am for an 8:30 show, with a half hour church service in between.
I left 4th Street at 5:45 and traveled the NE Extension down to the Huntington Valley area, a bearable 75 minutes. I made it with my usual hour to make contact, scope out the venue, lug the sound system in and tune up.
Amazingly, the band also got there with time to spare (pros that they are…), set up on stage and the curtain closed in front of us. There were hymns, prayers, invocations, a sermonette on “Walking and The First Commandment”, more prayers and hymns, and then we were introduced, the curtains parted and we launched into the show.
We did a good show and the kids were really responsive. I’m feeling better about this revival of the show, post-Covid, and the band is tight, and my monologue is becoming smoother. I’m still working on remembering some of the expositions, but I’m not as worried about leaving whole sections out earlier in the year. That’s good. I’m getting really good with the pacing of my introductions. Always learning how to do it better.
Somehow, I related Robert Johnson’s “Walkin’ Blues” to the preacher/teacher’s homily. Phew…
As with our Catholic school assemblies, the audience (about 240 kids and 25 teachers) runs from K through 8th grade; the show has something for everyone, even if some of the historical observations are at a pretty advanced level. Still, the little ones get to see a live band in a social situation, the older kids get some sophisticated education, and the teachers are engaged to the point of dancing with the kids. The biggest takeaway is it’s great to see the whole community have a great time together. It’s still a pretty powerful presentation, in spite of its somewhat dated material. (We end up at Disco these days. We’ve, thankfully, eliminated the Rap.) Still, it’s a well-oiled and effective Teaching Experience.
I was back home by 11 am. How rock n’ roll is that?