Tag Archives: minor league baseball

Trucks, Superheroes, Gardens and Kindie Rock! What a weekend!

Last weekend saw lots of action in Jungle Gym Jam land! Your kids were great puppeteers bringing “Sally the Sea Lion” to life along with “Mimi the Ladybug,” “Mr. Moon” and assorted turtles and monkeys!

Jason Didner and Stephanie Fitzgerald in front of Garden Project MuralOur first stop on Saturday was at Montclair Community Pre-K’s celebration of their Garden Project’s 10th Anniversary. They unveiled a beautiful mural created by kids of all ages, including the little ones that attend the school. Families were hard at work planting flowers in the lovely garden. It was kind of a kick singing “Jungle Gym Jamming” to kids who were actually climbing jungle gyms at the time, since the stage was located fairly close to the playground.

jason_batmanThe next day brought its own unique adventures as we performed at Mountain Top School’s “Touch-a-Truck” event in Warren. There were superheroes to serenade, baseball mascots to meet, and lots and lots of music to play. It was great to see kids boppin’ along while waiting their turn to board the next big truck. Batman was a big hit, as you’d expect, with his Batmobile, a shiny, black suped-up Camaro. This particular Batman was on a special mission, a bit different from the comic books. You see, his secret identity wasn’t an angst-ridden billionaire. This Batman is a Newark police detective who’s on a mission to teach kids how to seek help from local authorities when there’s trouble. Of course when the Batmobile pulled up during our sound check, we couldn’t resist improvising to the ’60s Batman theme (na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-BAT-MAN!)

jason_sparkySparkee, the Somerset Patriots’ mascot was on hand as well. I’ve got a long history with local minor league baseball, having sung the National Anthem at games for the past 11 years and having written and performed one team’s theme song, but this was my first contact with the Patriots organization. The folks I met from the Patriots were nice, fun to hang out with. I may have to bring the band to their ballpark one of these days…

Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam, photo by Lilah GivensThe band performed like champs, taking in stride the threats of rain and occasional droplets teasing us, the high winds making their own music in the microphones, and the wild fluctuations in temps. We also broke a band record by playing four sets over the course of four hours. Previously our longest band appearance was three sets over three hours last year at Turtle Back Zoo. Preparation for this marathon concert was especially complicated because we had to rehearse while actively battling a flood in our studio.

Meet-and-greet with Lare and her family!

Meet-and-greet with Lare and her family!

One of my favorite parts of performing steadily and keeping up weekly correspondence via our free eGoodie Bag program is seeing families come back again to see us play and start to follow us from show to show. One family even came both to Montclair on Saturday and Warren on Sunday to share our brand of entertainment with the kids! Another family came to Warren after having won my CD giveaway earlier in the week. Lare, the mom of the family is also working behind the scenes to help us get a very big performance opportunity she had an idea for.

This week will show a different side of my music making for kids, as I have two solo acoustic performances. Thursday May 8 I’m at a Diva Moms NJ Mother’s Day craft and concert at Eye Level Learning Center in LivingstonSaturday May 10 I’ll appear and perform at Dirt and Noise, an awesome kids’ clothing store on Church Street in Montclair, a lovely location for a May afternoon event. Dirt and Noise carries my award-winning album “Everyone’s Invited!” and I’ll be autographing copies of the CD that day.

What were your weekend adventures last weekend? What does your Mother’s Day weekend look like?

Keep Creating; You’re Making a Difference!

The creativity you share is making a difference with people long before the accolades come back to you.There I was on the field at Yogi Berra Stadium, preparing to sing the National Anthem before a playoff game that involved local independent minor-league ballclub the New Jersey Jackals. A familiar looking ballplayer approached me and said, “We play your song in the clubhouse after every win and we hope to be playing it tonight.” I was stunned to know that the song I had written for the Jackals had become such an integral part of their off-the-field ritual.

And it really got me thinking: as an independent musician, as long as I’m sharing my creativity with those who want to engage with it, my works are making a difference to people who will attach their own meanings to the works, and more often than not, I won’t even know when it’s happening, or with whom. Or, as in the case with the ballplayer, I may stumble upon such a connection years later.

I write this to encourage my fellow creative people and the new generation of future creatives I may be entertaining now with my brand of children’s music. When you choose to create – music, writing, visual art, theatre or film, you will most likely go through very long stretches where it appears that no one is paying attention. The “likes” and “shares” you’re expecting won’t be there. Your videos are unlikely to “go viral.” The sales of that debut CD may not adequately reflect the effort and resources you poured into it. But if you see your creations all the way through and really put them out there, I have real reasons and personal history to believe your creations will matter to someone long before the accolades come back to you.

I heard a previous Oscar winning set builder talk about how the glitz and accolades of the Oscar ceremony is not the real Hollywood he knows – The sweaty workshops where he does the unglamorous work every day is the real Hollywood.

If you’re feeling hungry for applause, focus on doing what you love and remember why you love it. Imagine stumbling into someone 10 years from now who tells you how much he loves your song, painting, book, etc. and keep creating! Leave your personal story about sharing your creativity and making a difference to others in the comments.