Here are Ten Favorite Moments in my Music/Literacy Life, 2014. But actually, I couldn’t stop at 10, so there are 12!
1. The Condon School Grade 1 concert in June. At an annual concert at this large elementary school in South Boston, we share the songs the students write with me. For the second year in a row, I brought along my musician friends Sulinha Boucher & Tiago Michelin to accompany me. They bring a wonderful Brazilian/world music feel to the show. This year Tom Hayes, whom I met through The Children’s Music Network, captured some of the concert on video. You can see our opening song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG-Q0fMTKBk
2. Condon Kindergarten story sharing (spring & fall). My fellow VSA Teaching Artist Maureen “Moe” Finnerty helped me put together original stories written with each Condon kindergarten classroom, in collaboration with the DDC classrooms for students with multiple disabilities. All the stories also featured songs that I presented with the children. I’m happy to be in my fifth year as a VSA teaching artist at Condon, and also this past year at the Young Achievers Science & Math Pilot School.
3. The Arlington Outdoor Concert – Love doing summer concerts on the lawn behind Robbins Library in Arlington with Gordon MacFarland! This is nearly always my biggest crowd of the year. This is one of my repeat children’s music gigs that Gordon always shares, along with our annual gig at the Emerson Hospital staff holiday party.
4. I led workshops on music & literacy for Reach Out and Read-MA, librarians at Fobes Library, University of New Hampshire Early Childhood teachers & students, students at Lesley University, Wheelock College & more.
5. Horizons for Homeless Children. Thanks to Gail Zarren of Young Audiences of MA for putting together this ongoing program, Expanding Horizons through Music, which helps the children develop early literacy skills through music. Amazing teachers & kids who face many challenges but are so much fun.
6. Winchester Cooperative Nursery School, Gentle Dragon, Kids’ Corner, Open Center for Children. These are my other regular preschool gigs. Love you all! Wonderful directors & teachers, wonderful kids. At almost all these places, I get to sing with babies & toddlers – some super fun moments with these little ones who love music so much.
7. The libraries that faithfully invite me back: Belmont (long running monthly gig), Arlington (my original children’s music gig, and I still get there when I can), Winchester, J.V. Fletcher in Westford & more. Here’s a video clip from Westford last May: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjJyaELoBfk
8. Gardner Pilot Academy in Allston – My longest running BPS gig. Thanks to Hugh Hanley, who first guided me there to do a job-share with him. He needed to move on, but I stayed. I’ve met many great kids and teachers there since 2006, as well as other fun teaching artists such as storyteller Andrea Lovett.
9. Arlington Center for the Arts Drama Camp – This year’s original play was called Jambo Africa! My 9th year at ACA Summer Camp.
10. My repeat DC gig: Second year in a row at Tyson’s Pimmit Library! Thanks to my friends Jann & Mike Taylor who volunteer at this library and helped my arrange a gig. I also enjoyed a gig with percussionist Devin Walker at El Tamarindo restaurant in Adams Morgan.
11. Premiered my music/literacy concert for Young Audiences at the Thompson School in Arlington. Thanks to Liza Halley, Thompson library staffer, who helped make this happen.
12. The Children’s Music Network Conference in DC this year! Loved the energy there, even though the labyrinthine conference center sometimes got everyone turned around. In the Round Robin, I sang a song I wrote with Condon First Graders, “The Dot.” I hope to record it, along with many other songs, in 2015. I’m particularly excited about one upcoming project. More news to come in the New Year!