I returned to this wonderful Preschool in Vineland, NJ, one I’ve played every couple of years as a solo and with RockRoots. Miss Carol, the director and founder of this facility was welcoming, as usual, and the staff was glad I was there, too. I had two sets at 10 and 11 am for about 120 kids and 25 teachers, all splayed out on the carpeted floor of the indoor recreation room, a space with fantastic art and creative equipment – well thought out on many levels.
It’s quite a hike to Vineland in southern Jersey, so I had to leave before 7 am to get there. The travel was fairly easy, but one never knows what traffic is like in between. I’m still in a bit of a fog recovering from my operation last month, and my kids repertoire is showing some rust. Still, I have faith in my abilities to make things work. (I got lost during Bear Hunt…)
I had hoped to distribute rhythm instruments during the first set, but knew I didn’t have quite enough to initially go around for 120 kids. I experimented with dealing out instruments to the first three rows, and then have the kids pass them on during the song. It didn’t work due to the age level, and the kids not knowing how to share. The teachers came to the rescue though, and saved my ass. I also tried the same thing with a limited number of scarves, and, though the sharing of scarves worked better, the chaos bit my efforts. We had fun anyway.
I gathered myself for a second set, willing my way through the next 45 minutes. This time, I distributed both instruments (to the first few rows) and scarves to the back rows and that worked much, much better. With the help of the teachers, the sharing element concept worked well this time. Always something to learn, especially when I embrace the chaos.
It was a long drive home and found myself wrung out upon my return mid-afternoon. There is a noticeable recovery lag these days and I find myself trying to figure out how to book my gigs these days. I need the money and I find a return on the the energy spent, grateful for the opportunity to get my feet back on the ground again.