All entries filed under Dave Fry Gigs

Another under-the-radar gig during Musikfest at the Saturday Rose Garden Farmers’ Market.

After my nice Moravian Village the night before, it was good to have a low-pressure, two-hour gig under a shady tree, playing my stuff for folks walking by. Today’s gig had only a few kids, so I was able to uncap a bunch of my seldom-played adult material, semi-folk and roll stuff, and have the opportunity to chat with some good Bethlehem friends as well.

I was able to rationalize taking some chat breaks in order to have folks at the market enjoy some quiet and take in the refreshing sound of chatter on a gorgeous summer day, away from the hectic festival happening only a few blocks away.

As I was finishing up my two hours, I broke a string (nature’s way of saying it time to quit), one young family stopped by with their two-year old son. The family had stopped by a month ago, and it was cool to see the kids (and the parents) light up when they saw me and they sat down on the grass in front of me. The boy pulled out a couple of instruments, handed a couple to dad and mom, and I pulled out my mandolin for some tunes and we played. I put in some overtime but, of course, it was well worth the extra effort.

I packed up, chatted with some good friends, picked up my customary tomato (a standing tip from one of the vendors) and headed out for a Rita’s gelato, my personal post-gig treat. A fine Saturday morning in my home town.

This turned out to be an interesting gig for a retirement village gig. It started with the realization that these folk are not that much older than me. Phew.

It was held in a large outdoor courtyard inside of 5 floors of apartments. It was a beautiful evening and I was booked for a 7:30 to 9 pm gig. I usually have to mix some oldies in with my folk material, but, s I realized that these folks lived in Bethlehem for years and many knew of me, I decided to go with my good adult material. As I played my set, I was able to mix in recollections of my time in Bethlehem, at Lehigh, early Musikfest, my teaching artist vocation, as well as doing some of my weird stuff (The Irish Ballad, Giants, et al) for entertainment values. It mixed well with my customary humor and I felt that there was a good rhythm and dynamic to the flow of the evening. I came away feeling pretty good about the set.

Gertie Fox

One woman came up and said it was the best event in the series, and others came up a shared some of their recollections of Bethlehem events. One woman said she was a classmate of Mary Travers (Peter Paul and Mary) and we talked about the first Burnside Plantation festival, before it became The Blueberry Festival. We recalled Gertie Fox, the original eco-warrior, who patrolled the Monacasy Creek outing polluters.

I felt like a neighbor.

This was the last MF gig for me this year, my 40th, and, in spite of feeling a little miffed with a Monday / Main Street gig this year, it turned out to be a nice gig. Having Kris Kehr really helps out the whole gig with his solid bass and improvisational skills, as well. We were signed up for two hour sets at 12 noon and 1:30 pm.

There were forecasts of some nasty weather, but things turned out fine for our early set. As usual, the sound crew was professional and made for a great comfort zone for Kris and myself, no minor thing, as we could hear each other, had good monitors, fat guitar, etc.

It was a bonus to have Kris and his young friend Noah on hand to assist me getting to the gig. I’m finding myself increasingly handicapped with my recent bout with cancer. Praise the road crew!

Don’t Call Me Early, Shoo That Fly, Summertime Blues set the stage for an interesting mix of kids and adult tunes. Having kids in the audience is a great theatrical device, as the adults are drawn to the kids’ reactions. But I still have to serve up some “real” music to keep folks in mind of the concert situation. It worked really well today, and my chat in between songs seemed real and unforced. (I never have a real idea of how this works, but it does.)

I was able to chat with several folks during the intermission and I was able to get a grip on my place at this festival: folks coming up and commenting on various gigs over the last 40 years. I guess this is where I gained some sense of my part in this event for 40 years.

Kris and I finished up with very nice second set, with fewer kids’ songs, and some extending folky tunes like Giants, Dixie Chicken and Pay Bo Diddley, all songs giving more space to Kris’s fine musical work. We played well and strong, and I felt good about my musical muscles this afternoon. Great support from the audience, both kids and adults, no small skill that I have. Sold some CD’s, too.

I was interviewed by the local TV station, and acquitted myself in good form. I’ll check it out last on the web – Channel 69 Allentown.

It didn’t rain.


Thanks to the flexibility of the bluegrass festival, I was able to keep my gig at Musikfest at the movie theater on the Arts Quest site. I had a thirty minute set in the theater and set out at 6 pm. My good friend Bruce Gaston was in the audience for a brief slot in the middle.

There was a medium crowd for me with good sound. I started off with Don’t Call Me Early and went from there, chatting about the material as I went along, mentioning that I had played every MF for forty years. I mixed in a few kids songs with a couple of families in attendance. I felt comfortable.

Bruce Gaston came up to play his hands (manualist…) and played a couple of tunes that, of course, caused some great reactions from the audience. Roll Out the Barrel and Take Me Out to the Ball Game, classics, all. He’s been a part of some of my shows for over 50 years, and a welcome addition to my Musikfest gigs.

This was a good recovery from the day before, and though at a smaller venue than what I would have liked from MF, a good gig.

This was a tough gig. I was asked to do a kids’ show at this annual bluegrass festival in Wind Gap. I thought it a great idea, to provide some entertainment for kids of campers, and to give the parents a break, too.

I made a major blunder in mixing up the date with a Musikfest gig on Saturday. When it was pointed out that this was a double-booking, I apologized profusely and offered to cancel the MF gig. The festival contact said perhaps the festival could adapt and have me on the Friday. That was most gracious of them and spared me the ignominy of futzing with Mother Musikfest. I said thanks, and let’s do it.

The festival decided to bill it as Dave Fry’s Hootenanny, a pretty good title. As it turns out, there were very few kids for this session, a couple of adults, as we gathered around future campfire site. There were two brave kids, a couple of ladies with a flute and a mandolin and my bag of instruments. We proceeded to work with what we had, made some good music.

I felt pretty bad about the situation and refused the check if we could work on this concept for next year’s festival – better promotion, etc. I was feeling pretty low and decided to split for home with my tail between my legs. Tough gig.

My good friends at the Saucon Valley Community Center in Hellertown did an event at Reservoir Park near Hellertown this morning and afternoon. I was asked to play two sets with a magician in between. It turned out to be great weather, though a slim turnout for this event.

I set up in an open area and launched with some general tunes and I caught that one dad, mom and a very shy son had gathered nearby. The dad came up and played tambourine on a tune, but his son didn’t budge. I invited them to sit down nearby. There was nobody else to work with so I kept on with dad’s encouragement and his son’s reticence. Eventually, it became a rich experience.

As I found out, as we chatted between songs, Jesse (Dad) had emailed me earlier in the week and had made the trip down from Scranton to catch this set. He had seen me as a kid at an assembly in NJ 30 years ago, and had picked up my CDs and was playing them in the car with his son, Bennett and his wife. A true fan-boy.

We had a great time as I was able to draw Bennett into the music with Clattapillars, and other instruments, simple chatting, conversation with his parents, etc. so that, by the end of my first set, we were buds. He came up afterwards and asked for autographs for my CDs, including a cassette cover I autographed to his dad 30 years ago. This is pretty deep stuff.

I took a break for the magicians (they always command an audience) and followed with set of music for no one in particular. I wrapped up, apologize for the small turnout, ate a turkey hotdog and headed home. Life in the slow lane. Still, the work with Jesse and Bennett made it all worth it.

 I was looking forward to working with my core group of second and third graders again today. I had a vague idea of where I wanted to go today, to reinforce some of what we did yesterday.

I started out by playing Giants from my Playground CD, and encouraged the kids to listen and figure out the instrumentation. Just the fact that it was a CD was novel. They picked up the trombone, the drums but had to steer them to think about the vocals, the bass and the very subtle triangle. It was a rich, learning experience. Listening skills.

I followed up on my notion about turning over some leadership to the kids by getting a boy and a girl to lead the class in the Tutti Tah, with some success and some guidance. I hope to see some growth in this tomorrow. I did Down By the Bay and we worked on rhyming, active verbs and adjectives as well as singing out loud. This is a great set of engaged kids and we had some fun.


I then did some follow-up with Giants. I brought in a thumb drive of some picture drawn by some kids from about eight years ago, and, using the overhead projector, we explore the images and had a great conversation of art appreciation. The teachers chimed in, as well. It was another rich, non-musical art experience, and another learning extension for my, in my teaching artistry.

I broke out the bag of instruments and did a quick lesson on playing as a band. #1 – silence! #2 – with the beat. #3 – full-tilt shaking (big endings). They picked up quickly and gave us a good format to play together. I then launched into Shoo That Fly, with the kids up and moving and playing. It was a good way to wrap things up for the day.

I’m learning as much as the kids, especially by introducing some non-musical art excursions into the mix, amplifying the “multiple intelligences” theory into direct practice. We’ll see where we go from here.

As usual, I did a brief reflection on what we did as the kids got ready to leave for the day.

I have a four-day residency this week at a Bethlehem school on the Northside of town, Lincoln Elementary, set up by my friend and fellow teaching artist Doug Roysdon. I have an hour set from 12:45 to 1:45 each day with a group of about twenty 2nd and 3rd graders with their two teachers.

Today I started with I Like Peanut Butter, a great opening song that sticks to your brain, involves singing and movement. (The teachers really liked this one.) We did the Tootie Tah to further loosen things up and I plan on using this one as an opener each day, with different kids taking the lead (ownership).

I followed with Tropical Vacation with the kids adding hand movements while singing along. And, at the end, we all got up to do the Hula. I hope to play the CD version of this on Wednesday.

We did Peanut Butter and Jelly, Giants (and spent some time creating a giant on the board – a nice diversion into non-musical art) and finished up with Jelly in the Dish with the scarves. The time went quickly, the teachers were helpful and involved and I got a couple of hugs from two girls in the foyer on my way out the door.

I tasked the kids to draw their own giants and the teachers handed out blank paper for the kids to take home. A nice touch by them.

It was a good start to the week and the kids were polite, engaged and fun.

Father Folk is a date on my summer calendar that I always look forward to. It’s an annual gathering of musical friends on an undisclosed site south of Reading in a shaded grove, down a dirt road, in the middle of PA. This was its 25th iteration and I believe I’ve been to over 15 of them. It’s strictly word of mouth, with no mention on social media (thus the FF) in the lead above. It’s held on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a full sound system, a few food amenities, camping, jamming, etc. Friends put together 30 minutes sets, and some folks like me fly in to do a guest set. It has a great audience.

I signed up for a 5 pm Saturday set and got there around 3:30 to catch a nice trio of loose acquaintances do a fine set of folk, a short set from a young girl named Autumn on flute, and then it was my turn. I did my latest “festival” set with Don’t Call Me Early, July, Nadine, Giants, Giant and Lessons From Pete, a good mix of tunes and chat. Folks sang along on the appropriate tunes and I played well.

I ran into some my pickin’ friends, and an old band mate Bob Flower (Graveyard Skiffle Band) and we recalled that Bob was the one who turned me on to this gathering in the first place. I sold a few CDs, gave away a bunch to the kids in the crowd and hung out for a short bit before heading home. Invariably, I drive back to Bethlehem in a state of satisfaction and peace.

Oh, yeah. There’s no pay for this one, but worth the time and effort. Good for the soul.

I was asked to play three sets of music at this initial festival on the grounds of the Henry Homestead in Belfast, PA. Henry, and his kin, were early gun manufacturers during the Revolutionary war and have a very curious history in these parts. The old homestead is now a historic site and the folks in the society want to increase its visibility.

They hired me as a kids’ performer and the local bluegrass band Nightbirds Callin’ to exchange sets: me at 11, 1 and 3 and the band at 12 and 2. It was a good combination.

My first set was a little rough, but with a young girl and her grandmother, I was able to connect to the general gathering rather easily. Funny how that works. I was able to mix adult and kids’ stuff and hold my own. My voice and guitar was a little shaky, though. Out of practice.

The bluegrass band did a nice of some folk/rock tunes and traditional songs. I was glad I was able to use their sound.

I set up for the second set and things were definitely in better shape. It was nice that the band provided for a few more folks in the audience. Again, I had the opportunity to use my repertoire to cross between adult and kids’ stuff.

The band did their second set while I gathered myself in my car. The third set featured the daughter of my good friend Harley and his grandson in the audience. (“His first Dave Fry concert”) I had some gas left in the tank and was cruising when, during I Like Peanut Butter the sprinkles started, followed by a drenching storm. I got through two verses and packed it in. As everyone scrambled to pack up the equipment, I sold a few CD’s, got my stuff into my car (windows open) and headed out of the park in a veritable sheet of rain. I remarked later that it was nature’s way of telling you that you’ve played enough. It was good for my voice, as well.

It was a good, low-pressure way to get back on the horse and flex my musical muscles. And, I got paid! The society hopes to expand this into a larger festival next year. Yes.

Not much in the way of “real” gigs this season, and, I guess, that’s okay. I had two farmers’ markets this weekend, one in CT on Friday and one nearby in Hellertown on Sunday. I needed the time in between.

I hit the road at 10 am on Friday, thinking that traffic on a holiday weekend might be tough. Not the case, for the most part, and got to Madison in time to set up under the big old tree on the Madison Green. A good day but some lingering Canadian smog in the air. This gig is a long one – three hours – so I spend the first part aiming at the foot traffic between booths, and then turn around and face the green and the families that have brought blankets and socialize on the open lawn. This session usually involved a lot of close-up work with kids. Time does move along, but my voice was suffering today, which affects my concentration on the lyrics. It’s all connected. The drive home was quick (three hours) and mindless with good tunes on the deck.


Sunday’s Saucon Valley Market was quite a bit easier, with a mere two hour set and a ten minute drive. I was much more cognizant of the words and my guitar playing a bit more competent. (I need to change strings this week, though). It’s nice to have some familiar (and not so familiar faces) stop by and check in. Lots of dogs, and not so many kids today. I treated myself to Rita’s afterward. A good day.

A few tips and a couple of small checks. Beats workin’.

This turned out to be a pretty good session tonight with Russ Rentler. We have a scattered past but enough to make it interesting. Russ is no slouch as a performer, instrumentalist and storyteller. He did a great job holding down his side of the stage. I could stay out of the way, for the most part, and ask questions, steer the conversations and encourage reaction from the audience. Quite a few folks showed up, especially friends of Russ’s. Russ played hammered dulcimer, octave mandolin, guitar and mouth harps.

I added Roseville Fair, Branching Out, Giant and July, all of which Russ added some fine back up. Actually sounded quite professional. I should not have been surprised but it was.

Russ had a great grip on his storytelling, several times looking at me and asking if it was okay to tell a story. That’s the beauty of DNO. Always a great night.

Tuesday was the kick-off of Channel 39’s Summer Series of kids and family shows in the studio of the TV station. I had the option of dates, so I picked the opener. A good choice with some stormy weather in the forcast.

The show was supposedly sold out, though that was a stretch. Still, there was a decent crowd of moms, kids and one dad, all stretched out on the carpets in front of me. Some familiar faces (the moms) and away we go.

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these shows, so I was going on muscle memory, which seemed to work today. I Like Peanut Butter, Tutti Tah, We Gave Names,  Giants, Rhythm instruments (Splish Splash), Scarves (Jelly in the Dish).

The progression was pretty good in terms of interactions, with a nice culmination with the scarves dancing.

It was particularly nice that one dad showed up with his son, and the dad really got involved and dragged his reluctant son along, to the point where both were having a great time being son and dad. The kids dancing, almost right off the bat. Moms laughing. The ladies from the station sat in at the end and caught the general frivolity.

It was a particularly good gig, and I got paid more than I expected (!!!!). Home by 12:15.

I do several sets at this Northside Bethlehem day care center every summer and it’s always a challenge to be able to play for three distinct age groups, one after another. Puts my brain in overdrive.

I started downstairs in the toddler room for about 15 kids, including some two-year old’s. These kids really don’t know how to sing along to anything but Old MacDonald, but we had a good time. One girl kept on saying too loud, even when I simply strummed the guitar. Perhaps ‘too intense’ would be a better phrase. I caught myself thinkin’ that this was pretty hard and I worked up a sweat in the first set.

I headed upstairs for the preschool kids, and things were easier and the kids more receptive to singing along, although the ‘call and response’ songs took some work. I brought out the scarves and the rhythm instruments and we rollicked and rolled. I did Baby Shark for the first time in a long time.

The last group was the older kids, and, surprisingly, they jumped on board right away, perhaps since I had been there before. No ‘attitudes’ to speak of, and that was novel for this age group. The special wrinkle today was a signer for a young deaf girl. So I had an interpreter right next to me the whole show. We had a great time, again with the scarves and instruments.

The interpreter invited the girl to put here hands on my guitar when I played I Like Peanut Butter and she lit up. A powerful moment, and when I did ‘the big ending’ she yelled out with every one else. A perfect capture of the moment. Sometimes things just work out.

Three sets in a row kind of wore me out, but a good ‘worn out’.

I have a date later today, my first with Lorrie, and that really has me verklempt.

Having lost two gigs to the Great Canadian Smoke Out this week, it was good to have my annual folk service at Christ Lutheran in Hellertown to get me back on track. I’m asked to help kick off their summer musical series with a family-themed service. Usually, there are only a few kids in attendance (which led me to tailor my material to more adult songs), but today was an anomaly , with kids and parents coming from the day-care in house at the church. I went back out to my car and brought in my bag of scarves, just in case.

The sermon’s theme was reaching out to unexpected people in the community (tax collectors, etc.). So I picked several songs that would emphasize that. I started with A Place in the Choir and then, for the opening anthem, John Gorka’s Branching Out. As folks sang, I supplied the hand motions. With the words on the screen above me, the congregation did fine.

The youth pastor had introduced himself to me before hand and during his presentation used several quotes from my Lessons From Pete. That was gratifying. He sang a song on Uke and paraded the kids around the venue. Nice job.

After the sermon, I brought out John’s Good Noise and invited the kids and their parents to come up and dance with the scarves. It was quite the sight, and made for a wonderful spectacle for the rest of the congregation. We did Get Together as a closing hymn and I finished with the Carter Family’s Gospel Ship as folks recessed.

Folks came up to me afterwards and thanked me. It seems that this one is getting more popular with the general congregation, and I find this wooden room a delight to play in, and I’m comfortable enough to be able to toss in my usual asides to keep things loose.

It was a good gig, and I took advantage of the pot luck afterwards.

I headed up to Madison Green for my first farmers’ market of the year. A four hour drive that wasn’t too bad for a Friday and got there with a half hour to spare – time to meditate and then set up. It was a gorgeous day, with temps in the low 70’s and a mild breeze. I started out facing the market traffic and played my adult stuff, and, I must say, I was playing well for so early in the season. There were few tips, of course, but I got to chat with a fellow guitarist who was into Guilds. Always nice to sway guitar talk.

About an hour in, I noticed a few families setting up blankets behind me, so I did a 180 and faced the open Green for the rest of the gig. Kids, parents, grandparents started to gather and eventually we had a good connection – puppets, scarves, shakers spread out in front of me. I’m giving out my kids’ CD these days to the parents (hopefully they still have CD players). With about a half hour left, I asked the kids to gather the flotsam in front of me and put things back in the bags. I played a few more tunes and packed up my car for the ride home.

Daughter Rosalie was supposed to meet me for dinner, but she forgot. That gave me a head start back to Bethlehem and I could get back by 9:30.

I got some nice tips from the vendors who appreciate what I do for the market, especially the work with the kids and families: a nice bag of bagels, some craft cheese and a bag of greens and some scallions. Only about $35 in tips.

I was armed with a variety of CD’s for the trip and had a great time being able to take in full CDs, a rare treat these days. I always question myself about doing this three-hour gig with eight hours of travel, but I always enjoy getting out of town and having some time to ruminate on the road.

Thursday was the wrap up assembly for my Big Plans residency at Wm Penn ES. I got there early to work the core group on our songs and was reminded of the lack of focus these kids have, and how that’s not a big problem – they are kids. It was fun to see them relish performing on this stage in the middle of the school (open air format), and they took turns rolling around on the carpeted stage. I felt pretty good that they would handle the songs well.

The space filled up with K – 5th grades with the teachers along the sides in folding chairs. I’ve played here many times and I like the space and its unique layout. Full house!

I started with I Like Peanut Butter, the Tutti Tah and we were rolling! Even the older kids were engaged. I followed with The Cat Came Back which I prefaced with my pandemic discussions about the song having racist origins, something I promised my Black teaching artists that I would do. I have done the song at this school for years and it was requested by some of the tenured teachers who remembered it. It worked well, with the kids picking up on the chorus, getting the teachers to sing it and getting the kids to respond to the teachers chorus. This works great!

I Can Be – final assembly: Kayden, Karla, Skylar, Zahari, Jacen, Amerveer and Xavier.

I brought up the core group (who were sitting on the side of the stage) to do our Down By the Bay verses and it worked pretty well, in spite of being fairly vanilla in the writing. Still, they took well to the spotlight. I followed with Giants with two of the core group kids playing thunder tubes. It was then time to premier the Big Plans song I Can Be. Aaron, my liaison at the school, projected the words on the screen behind me so that it would be easier for the audience to sing along. It worked well, and the core group did fine, with all the clever nuances and movements that bring some charm to the song. I’ve used this chorus at Fountain Hill, linked with a Bruce Cockburn lick on the guitar. (I was glad to have that chorus and lick in my repertoire, considering the shorter residency). It came off well, short and sweet.

I finished with All Around the Kitchen which never fails to get every one up and dancing. I introduced the water sprinkler, the car dealership (forgot the name…) and then brought up kids to demonstrate their own moves. It always works to see the kids come up with moves and names. Then, I always ask a teacher to come up, with several of her fellow teachers (she gets to pick ’em). This particular teacher had already expressed that she wanted to come up, so she was ready. She did The Gritty and her friends did The Charleston, Around the World, showing some quick thinking and ingenuity. The place rocked. A great way to bring everyone together at the end.

I packed up my gear and headed off. The shy East Indian boy waved to me as I drove off among all the parents picking up their kids, and it was a nice payoff for the work I had done, on the micro and macro levels. Now, I await the check from Doug. I’m not even sure what I’m getting paid.

Second visit and time to get down to work on our Big Plans song.

I refreshed our version of Down By The Bay, and the kids had some good recall of the words, motions and reactions, but, as we went through the song, I realized how scattered these kids are. (pandemic?) A mix of too quiet, too bouncy, too unfocused, while still doing some good work. So it goes with a after-school program, I guess.

Since we have to come up with some verses on several jobs suggested last week, we picked up on truck driver, teacher and actor. Again, what once was a fairly productive process, the focus and verbal responses were all over the place. This puts it in my hands to come up with more of the content and rhymes. The kids get caught up in the rhymes and less on creating sentences and story arc. This was a tough session, and not as much play as last week.

  1. A cup of coffee and I head for my semi-truck.

Fill up with soccer balls at the warehouse, just to make a buck

I could do this forever cause I’m a lifer,

I think that I’ll be a truck driver.


  1. I have a classroom at Wm Penn with girls and boys,

Math Spanish, Reading, ; there’s so much noise.

Summertime you’ll see me down the shore; I’m a beacher.

I think that I’ll be a teacher (Sit Down!)


  1. At our talent show, I’m going to do my act.

A very dramatic scene, and that’s a fact.

When I grow up, I’ll read the script on the page,

I’ll think that I’ll be an actor on the stage. (Take a bow)

After our sweat shop session, I loosened things up with my scarf routine, and it was a great way to finish out the day. I’m glad we’re in the central library area, carpeted and nice open space. And, we are the people left in the building.

We covered our faces with the scarves and then came up with facial emotions. We then explore “writing” with the scarves, letters, names, etc. It’s a great swirl of colors. I then do Jelly in the Dish, with the kids launching their scarves at the end of the verse, and then trade scarves with each other. Controlled chaos with a visual payoff that is quite psychedelic, frankly.

I was pretty spent after today’s session. One more session next week and then an assembly. We’ll never be ready for the assembly and I’ll have to carry the load, but I can do that.


An interesting gig was offered to me recently; a one-day camp for diabetes-1 kids and families at Cedar Crest College on Sunday: CampConnecT1D. The pay scale was quite lucrative and I figured I could do it well. The theme was health and mental welfare through music. Right up my alley. There were about 15 kids with their parents. The local radio station B101 was there, as well.

I was asked to do two hours but negotiated for an hour and a half, considering our collective attention span. I followed Dr. David Holland’s presentation, spotlighting how the arts can affect emotions, which fit in nicely later on in my show.

Rain stick for Tropical Vacation

I was set up under a big balloon arch, with pillows for the kids and chairs for the adults/parents. A few blow-up guitars, mikes, keyboards were scattered about, and, as I started with I Like Peanut Butter, I encouraged the kids to take a lead on the props. They did and instantly came out of their shells. I followed with Tutti Tah, encouraging the adults to participate. We were on our way. Tropical Vacation, Down By the Bay, Giants, Branching Out, We Gave Names to the Animals (with shakers) and more.

As we headed into the home stretch, I broke out the scarves and we explore emotions, with Dr. Holland coming up and demonstrating being vexed, one of the more curious emotions brought up by the kids. We then did some scarf-art with the alphabet and followed with Jelly in the Dish, with kids (and, eventually parents, nurses and staff joining in) dancing, tossing scarves in the air, and sharing them with each other. I’ve been doing this exercise quite often recently with great effect as a closer.

I took time at the end to reflect on what the kids, and then the adults, liked about the show. This is a great was for folks to vocalize and establish a vocabulary on the arts experience. This was wonderful, as well.

Pizza and hoagies followed and I got to talk with some of the nurses and Dr. Holland about the session. They loved it. I picked up the check (with a 10% tip) and drove back home feeling fairly righteous about the event and my part in it. And I got paid well.

Ann, Cleveland, Dave, Danielle

A small audience for tonight’s Dave’s Night Out with poets Danielle Notaro, Ann Michael and Cleveland Wall. I looked forward to doing this format with my friends and with a spotlight on poetry instead of music. It was different and quite enjoyable. I

I started out with Rosie is a Friend of Mine which quite ironically features the words, “She’s like poetry that doesn’t rhyme.” A bit of whimsy to open up the evening. We did a round robin of the women’s poetry, and they are all professional readers as well as excellent poets.

Ann and Cleveland

Dave And Danielle

In the middle, I asked Cleveland about her work with “embodiment” in poetry, or how to intentionally incorporate (literally) physicality to the process of performing poetry. Great discussion. I did John Gorka’s Branching Out as a nice example of poetry in song, and it stirred up some poets from the ladies. (In the spirit of the evening, I didn’t do any instrumental breaks in the songs.)

I asked all of us why we do what we do, in my case, making albums and in their cases, chapbooks and live readings. Again, this format works well and we did some deep-digging on the creative process. I know the audience and my friends appreciated the session. “Make something out of nothing” was my response.

In my happy place

I finished up with Green Green Rocky Road (to clear the pallet, so to speak) and played it well. It was a good choice, especially with the verse “hooka tooka, soda cracker, does your mama chew tobacco”.

I then I realized that this was a good opportunity to employ my ‘reflection’ exercise, and asked the audience members, and then the poets to reflect on what they liked about the session. It was great to get the audience to come up with their thoughts and made for good way to wrap up the evening.