Saturday, December 27, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
The picture above is his moving the people and animals around, after I built the barn for him. The best part of the afternoon together is hearing his little voice say, "Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus." That is still a lot for him to say in one phrase, but it's very clear and makes me smile, whenever I hear him say it.
We worked for quite a while to get the whole story 'orchestrated' for this photo opportunity. It wasn't till I down-loaded the pictures of the day, that I noticed we have a camel-doing-cartwheels, apparently. I think that's why everyone always appreciates seeing the Sunday School Christmas pageant, as there's always a little something that's unpredictable. May all of your camels cartwheel gracefully into the New Year!!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
As quick as a wink, I get the director to take me back to the classroom where my song is playing. We go down the hall to the kindergarten room...... and open the door and REALLY surprise the children who are in the midst of practising my song for an upcoming holiday show. The timing couldn't have been more amazing if it had been planned by a whole, entire committee of angels -- or maybe it was?
For the first time ever, after the song and sign language performance was complete, my new kindergarten friends READ my book to me!! Some of the kids even 'sang-read-sang' their two page spread. After lots of hugs, I hit the road for my mini-tour in Michigan. Welllllllll........ then under the capable hands of their creative teacher, the class crafted me a big, bright, paper quilted thank-you gift, but it turned out too big to fit in an envelope.
So then I got invited back to their classroom for the great reveal! Pictured here, at the end of their day are my creative kindergarten friends. I'm holding their AWESOME present. As a special reciprocal thanks to them -- I let them hear a couple of the new songs that I've been working on. They were the first kids on Planet Earth to sing along to these new pieces. This is an example of mutual fan-clubs in action.
Friday, December 19, 2008
My dear friend, Dan Green, had a brilliant insight. He is working on another project where he is mixing a choir's recording that features vocalists from Ghana, Africa. Dan's thought -- how about we invite one of those soloists to add some 'world-flavor' on my ZB recording? Snap your fingers, click your heels and before you know it, we have the young and talented Dorigen Bamfo Koomson adding her UNBELIEVABLE talent..... singing lead, alto and "turner." (A term from her native Ghana -- the high descant part.)
The dittie of this brainstorm is "Rain, Rain Go Away." Yes. The traditional children's chant..... only Ronn has arranged it with a whole new sound and feel, including African drumming as the template driving this sentiment to a whole new stratosphere of wow. We have truly gone international with the flavor of this piece. I sing: 'rain, rain go away' and then Dorigen sings the same chant in her native Ashanti language, as a sort of rain-esque echo, 'ensu, ensu, ko ko.'
It's just amazing. Simply amazing. Think Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo and you'll be in the correct ballpark. Thank you Dan. Thank you Dorigen. Thank you ZB!! This newest VOICE on the project is award winning.
It's such a thrill to be greeted at the beginning of a visit, with a special request. "Please, please, please, may we sing "Goldie Goldfish" today?" To make their point, here's the incentive the teachers dangled in front of my camera. Behold: this is the artwork that was created by my very own local chapter of my "Goldie, Goldfish" fan club, since our last visit together. How exciting to have special requests from my little pips. (I told you that whatever songs we sing on our first visits, become their absolute favorites through the whole year.)
Having the children create their own artwork to support a favorite song is the perfect example of "Arts Integration" in action....a cross-curricular approach to education. Let them experience 'goldfish' with all of their senses: Sing. Move. Swim. Shake. Paint. Count. Eat the crackers. Read the book. Dance the dance. Write the story. Then these little grasshoppers will say, "Ahhhh, yes. Goldfish. Now I get it!! Thank you teachers for helping me grasp this concept through immersing me in every possible learning style. I just love Arts-Integration-in-action..... it expands my horizons and helps clarify & answer all of my questions. Let's be certain to use this approach to learning, ALL the time!" ***
***Of course the fact that they're only two years old, we have to be given the editorial prerogative to edit some of their rambling discourse on the topic.