It was a wonderful few days in my kids-and-family music making. And I had great help from none other than my wife Amy and daughter Holly! Both ladies in my life played ukuleles in front of an audience for the first time at these two Summer Reading Program shows at Eatontown and Sea Girt public libraries.
Amy had been writing lyrics with me all along and now adds the element of live performance to the mix. Her uke playing gives me the freedom to add some lead guitar without losing the texture of the song along the way. Her presence onstage is warm and inviting to the kids as her experience as a teacher seems to come across.
Holly, what can I say? At age 3 she’s a force to be reckoned with on and offstage. Her body language shows how she connects with every song on a gut level, swaying to the music. She strums those big song endings with gusto, right along with me. She knows every lyric to every song, often before a song is completely written.
Children’s librarian Barbara Chung was a pleasure to work with putting this little concert tour together and really rolled out the red carpet for Holly, Amy and me. She prepared thoughtfully for the experience the kids and their parents would have before, during and after the concert. The stickers on the after-show goodie bags was compelling proof. During the show Barbara was there to keep the kids playing safely, respectfully of one another while keeping the fun, happy mood of the program.
Seeing families return to see me play was incredibly satisfying. One mom from the Eatontown area who’d seen me play at Monmouth Mall with her spirited young boy Daniel planned her morning around my show after seeing my e-mail message. Amazingly, a north Jersey mom made the trip to the shore with her kids to catch the show, her son shaking a blue egg shaker she had gotten from me last spring at a show in Livingston.
We had a treat for the Sea Girt concert: performing in a lovely gazebo by the train tracks, which added a little extra magic of the song “Window of the Train.”
The 3rd show of this little tour was a surprise to me; I realized I was traveling into fellow kids-and-family singer Yosi’s (http://www.yosimusic.com) home area so I invited him to join me onstage at Sea Girt. Well, wouldn’t you know, he counter-offered for me to sit in with him at Ocean County Park’s beautiful amphitheater! So I performed “Stay in the Pool” and Yosi and I played a little game of Marco Polo with the audience. Then we harmonized to his cool ska number, “Hole in the Ground.” If you ever get the chance to take the kids to a Yosi concert, do it. He’s funny, warm and a real rock-n-roller you’ll all enjoy together.
It is so pleasing to be a part of this dream growing a little every day and to have family and friends doing this with me. Thank you and I can’t wait to bring your family much more live, recorded and video music!