Friday, December 17, 2004

Checotah - Intermediate School / Stillwater Concert CD

I was back in Checotah this morning, this time to sing for the 4th - 6th grade. That's always a challenging audience. When the older kids are on their own they are less likely to participate. I had to laugh because when I sang "Take Me to Your Library," I asked them to sing along one last time, as I always do, and I could see all the fifth graders looking back up at the 6th graders, and the 6th graders looking at one another as if to say, "Are you going to do this?"

So I did mostly story/library songs, but they did great snapping and popping with "The Brainiacs" and repeating the "Bibliovore"s lines. I also did "Lisa Lee Elizabeth," and "Loose Tooth" and we finished up with "Hanging Out With Heroes" which inspired some spontaneous clapping with the beat.

I've been mixing mixing mixing the Stillwater show during all my work hours at home & got it in the mail to those who ordered one this afternoon! After Christmas, I'll be ready to start the very tedious and thorough work of polishing up all those mixes for the final version of the CD.

Good night!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Checotah - Marshall Elementary School

I was up bright and early this morning driving to Checotah for two shows at Marshall Elementary. It was a bit hectic when I arrived, with the third grade on stage practicing for their Christmas show. But we figured it out - I just set up on the side of the gym instead of in front of the stage, and the kids entertained me for a change while I got ready!

The program was sponsored by the Checotah Public Library, and Beth Sherrill, the children's librarian, was there to give me a very nice introduction. Both groups of PK-3rd graders were very enthusiastic. The second show went especially well. We held a little "Ho Ho Ho" contest with my song "Santa's Laugh." Two teachers and the pricipal took turns "Ho Ho Ho" - ing, and the kids cheered for the best Santa. The principal won hands down!

I will be back in Checotah to sing for 4-6th grade Friday.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Live Concert Mixes

Here's an update on the new CD...

I've been working on the live concert mixes. These are the concert CDs that some folks at the concerts pre-purchased. Each one contains an entire concert with little or no editing. The Oklahoma City and Bartlesville concerts are finished and shipped out. I'm working on the Stillwater mix as I type this.

It has taken longer than I imagined to get up and running - I've been learning new software on a new computer in order to be able to do this. But now that I've got it going, it takes about a day to mix one whole concert (the first one took a lot longer), and another day to make final adjustments, burn cds and address envelopes. I should have the Stillwater show in the mail soon. (I also have two more school shows this week, so I'll be juggling my time back and forth.)

The reason I can do it so quickly (yes, a day to mix 12 songs is very fast) is because these are rough mixes - I'm not doing any editing to fix mixtakes or auto-mixing to fix fluctuations in levels. All that will be done though, for the final CD, once I first decide which version of each song will go on it.

The more I work with these files, the more I like what I'm hearing. Each concert got better than the previous in terms of the performance, and even the first concert sounds pretty darned good! After listening over and over I have a new appreciation for all the work and effort my band members put in - they each did an outstanding job for me! Once I polish it up a bit, I should have a really great CD on my hands!

I've also gotten a lot of positive feedback from people who were at the shows, and even from one CD recipient already. I'll take some time after I mail out the Stillwater CDs to put those comments up on the website. Until then, if you were there, feel free to post a comment here on the blog!!

Eliot Elementary School in Tulsa

This morning I performed at Eliot Elementary School in Tulsa. Lisa and Evalyn came with me. We had to get up at 5:00 am, which was tough for us. (Our schedule's been a bit lax lately.) It looked like I might be heading out alone for a moment. But Lisa made it out of bed, and I'm very glad she did, as you'll see. Evalyn checked out the window and saw that it was still dark. This made her quite grumpy. She doesn't believe she should be awake if the sun isn't up. But we made it out the door!

The librarian at Eliot, Donna Thompson, had done a fantastic job of prepping the kids for the show. They had been listening to all three CDs and knew my music very well. So when I introduced "Take Me to Your Library" I got a big cheer, and the kids sang along right away. It's a bit surreal to hear a crowd of 300 or so people all singing "Ackbo eckto..." etc. in unison!

After that I took audience requests for a while. The kids were great - they began shouting out song titles, but it never got unruly. In fact most times they were all shouting the same title, which again is a bit surreal! So we did "The Kid Who Ate a Bug," "The Brainiacs," "My Toilet and I" and "Lisa Lee Elizabeth."

Then I asserted my right to sing something they hadn't heard yet, from the upcoming CD. We did "You're a Dinosaur" and once they settled back down, we did "Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet."

After the show we headed to the library where a table was set up for me for CD and cassette sales and signing. Again I owe Donna Thompson a debt of gratitude. She had sent order forms home with the kids ahead of time and they all came prepared to purchase! Which is also why it's a good thing Lisa was there to help. We were pretty swamped for a while and Lisa kept things moving smoothly. She also went out to the car for more when we ran out of Jungle Junk CDs.

Of course most of the sales money gets put back into the creation of the next CD - more on how that's going soon!

Before heading home, we met our friend Myky for lunch and then visited Little Bear at her apartment. Little Bear is a dog, and as you might guess he's not so little. He's about Evalyn's size and he knocked her down more than once in his enthusiasm. Evalyn loved it - she laughed and laughed. On the way home, she konked out in the car. And when we got home, mom and dad konked out too!