Monday’s park was Father Tucker’s Park, in the heart of Little Italy in Wilmington. I was hired by the Grand Opera House, a leading arts organization in the city. I was here several years ago, pre-covid and remember playing on this site. The turn-out was pretty small, with two dads with their boys, the Opera House folks and one 11 year-old girl, Asheka. She was great! She picked up on rainbow streamers and began to dance around the site, and was involved from the get go. She made my day. The Opera House provided a PA, and, over my objections, insisted we use it (for 10 people?), and the manager also insisted I perform on this natural stage, distant from the people. It seems he knew what he wanted to do, and not necessarily what was best for a slow session. Anyway, I plowed through, playing for the kids and adults and finished out my hour in front of nobody. So it goes. Back on the road for another hour and half drive.

Early drive to Wilmington on Tuesday with little traffic. I got to Haynes Park with time to spar, a large park in the northern part of the city. This one had a tennis camp going on, and I hoped they would stick around for the show. I’m glad they did. I had a group of about ten teens and sixteen tweeners so, at least today, I had critical mass to play for. And, as expected, the teens were less responsive than the younger kids, and, for a while, the younger kids got involved right away and made it easier to gradually win over the teens.

I was surprised that my friend Asheka was there. It seems her grandma supplies juice and snacks for the playground system. I thanked her grandma for Asheka’s talent and energy.

I was able to bring out the rhythm bag, then the puppet bag and finish up with the scarves. This worked really well, and I was able to shift gears every 15 minutes or so. For Giants, I was able to pull up a teen boy for the Thundertube, and he helped get the teens loose. He had a good sense of humor and it showed.

It was particularly good for the three Opera House folks to see me work a larger crowd, and one that had an age difference. They commented how good the session was and that I should apply again next year. That feels good.

It was only an hour and half commute (standard for my usual school work) up and back, and the pay was in my comfort zone. I also realize how much I miss being on the road, seeing a different part of the world, and listening to some good podcasts (today was about Motown and I Heard It Through the Grapevine). A good June tour, of sorts.