Friday, December 30, 2005

PCS&T CD Update - Eleanor Gerbil

Happy Friday, everyone,

It's been tough to find time for working on the CD over the holidays, what with family and friends visiting, and Evalyn out of school.

Our friend Geoff Garvoille was here from California, and he gave me a CD by "The Fab Four" (a Beatles tribute group) of Christmas songs done in the style of the Beatles. So for example you hear the harmonica introduction to "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and the group starts singing "Joy to the World" in Liverpudlian accents. It's hilarious because they are so spot-on with the arrangements.

This immediately brought to mind one of my songs, which was already part of the plan, but this CD got me in the mood to take a swing at it. So I've been spending every available moment working on "Eleanor Gerbil."

My song was originally inspired by a song by the Magpies (a now defunct Canadian children's group) called "Norwegian Hamster." Of course both songs are Beatle sound-alikes. But neither is a parody; that is, they have their own melodies. They each do call to mind their respective Beatles inspirations. Think "Ruttles," if that means anything to you.

To record "Eleanor Gerbil," I started by importing the "Eleanor Rigby" backing track (just the string instruments) from the Beatles Anthology CD into my recording software. Since my song matches "Eleanor Rigby" measure for measure, rhythmically and lyrically, I created a click track to match "Eleanor Rigby."

I used that to record a reference vocal and guitar chords for my song along side "Eleanor Rigby." They sound horrible together, since mine is in a major key and the chords don't match, but going back and forth between the two, I painstakingly deconstructed George Martin's string arrangement from the original and reconstructed it phrase by phrase to fit my own song.

Of course the MIDI instruments I'm working with sound flat and lifeless compared with the vibrant and energetic performance captured on the Beatles recording. So the next step is to record them as digital audio and get to work trying to add some dynamics to make it sound as much like a real string octet as possible. It's tedious, but it's a lot of fun to slowly hear my arrangement come together, sounding more and more Beatlish as I go.

In between working on the arrangement I've been trying to get the lyrics nailed down - there's one line that just doesn't want to settle, but I think I've got it. I'll be ready to record the vocal soon, and then mixing, and then it'll be done. Yee haw!!

Stay tuned, and I might even let you have a listen...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

PCS&T CD Update

I promised regular updates... I was planning to do it on Fridays, but I missed last Friday. I've been down with a cold and not getting a whole lot done.

Besides that, I've been having some software trouble. (You may want to skip this paragraph if you're not a home recording geek!) I spent one afternoon on the phone with a support tech at MOTU trying to figure out why my Digital Performer software wouldn't recognize my MBox interface. The guy was very helpful and patient with me but we never really tracked down the problem. It turns out the trouble lies with the Mbox software. If anyone out there has the same trouble, here's what I found out from Digidesign: you can't let your computer go to sleep while the MBox is connected or DM will lose track of it. If DM does loose track of it, shut the computer down, disconnect the MBox, start up and re-connect the MBox (or something like that.)

Anyway, I have made some progress. I've been working on lyrics to "Dog Books" and "A Pet Like That." I finally tracked down the Dr. Seuss book I wanted to reference in "A Pet Like That"! I've been through every Dr. Seuss in the library trying to find it! I KNEW there was a Seuss with weird pets in it. I had specific images and words in my head, but I couldn't find them in any of the Seuss books I looked at. I've been searching for months! Then we were at Paw Paw and Grandma's house the other day culling out books from Evalyn's stash, and out pops One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and I knew immediately. Sure enough that was the one. Turns out the library puts the easy reader Seuss books on a different shelf, so I had been overlooking it.

I also finished a complete draft of "Dog Books." Lisa thinks it's the weakest song on my list so far! I like it though. I'm anxious to sing it for some kids and find out what they think.

On the recording end, I've been working on Villa Villakula Hula. I put together an "island drums" section using the toms from my drum kit. This was just as I was deciding to sell the kit, so I set up one last recording session, and the moment it was done, the drums went out the door and into the car. I used gating, compression, and EQ to try and make the toms sound more like island-type hand drums, and I'm still trying to decide if I'll use them. The kit, meanwhile is at Daddy O's if anyone wants some drums. They were taking up too much space in the living room to justify keeping it given the rarity with which I actually used them. You can see a photo of the kit on the back of the Great Green Squishy Mean Concert CD. I'll miss having it to bang around on but I'll be able to buy an electric guitar with the proceeds.

Do you have a talking bird? If so, let me know! I've been collecting bird recordings for a planned piece tentatively titled "Bird Brains." It will be a sound collage of birds speaking - parrots, parakeets, cockatoos, etc., set to a danceable beat. I won't really know what it'll sound like until I have the bird recordings to work with. I've posted to many bird groups at Yahoo! and I've received clips of five or six birds so far. Some of them are really amazing. Did you know African Grey parrots are considered to be as intelligent as dolphins or chimps? They can be taught to actually communicate with speech. They can ask for what they want and answer questions like "What's different about this?" (the color, size, shape, etc.) The stuff I learn writing songs for kids! That's one of the things I love about this job.

Merry Christmas AND Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Santa's Laugh

My December podcast includes two Santa songs, one for kids, and one for adults, plus a sneak peek at two songs I'm working on for the upcoming CD. Enjoy!

Plus, here's your chance to win a complete set of Monty Harper CDs! My podcasts are getting hundreds of downloads each month, but I have no idea who's listening or what they want to hear. I've posted a survey online to try to find out more about my audience. Fill out the survey for your chance to win a complete set of 5 CDs, worth $70. The drawing will be held January 14, 2006.

Take the survey here:

Go here to listen or download:
Go here to subscribe:
Or subscribe through iTunes here: 266293007

Friday, December 09, 2005

Family Groove

Hey, space cadets,

I wanted to let you know about Will Hale's internet radio program, Family Groove - this month he's featuring, well, me! There are four Monty Harper songs in the half hour show, and the rest of the song selections were inspired by my song topics. It's really fun. Of course the Family Groove show is always really fun, but this month, it's really really fun, at least from my point of view! Check it out:

Update on the new CD

Howdy friends and fans,

I've been negligent at keeping you updated on progress with the new CD. I will endeavor to post more often!

I've been trying out songs with classrooms at Richmond Elementary here in Stillwater, which is where Evalyn goes to Pre-K. I've visited some 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grade classrooms. The songs they've heard include "The Cat Came Back," "I Took My Dragon For a Walk," "It's Hard to Love a Reptile," "A Pet Like That," and "Humming Bird Hum." I use a four step process with the kids to make sure that I get helpful feedback from them, and all the songs are stronger due to their input. (If you've listened to my latest podcast, you know how they saved me from inadvertently singing about children with no pants on!)

I've also finished complete drafts of "Villa Villakula Hula," and "Fred's Frog, Flippy." Other songs that are close include "Super Flea," "Paws Claws Scales and Tales," "Dog Books," and "Pet Parade." There are a couple of other ideas floating around as well, but you can almost guess at the final line-up for the CD based on the titles I've already mentioned.

As far as recording goes, I've been working on "Villa Villakula Hula" this week, recording Ukulele and guitar parts and a vocal. If you're familiar with Pippi Longstocking, then you probably guessed it's about her(and her pet horse and monkey) - she lives in a house called Villa Villakula. I've also made a good start at recording "Humming Bird Hum," which is a song I wrote with my daughter Evalyn's help. And of course "The Cat Came Back" and "I Took My Dragon For a Walk" were recorded in Chicago in October - you can read all about that in a previous post.

I plan to have a website up soon where I will post samples of the songs as I finish them, so watch for that. And now, I must go see if I can't get some recording done today! I'm going to start putting together a rhythmic bed for "Paws Claws Scales and Tales" using my Korg Electribe dance music machine - the same hardware I used to put together tracks for "I Go Bananas."

See you next week!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I Took My Dragon For a Walk

Here's my November podcast, featuring "I Took My Dragon For a Walk," the first song recorded for my new CD!

You'll hear early concepts for the song, an anecdote about naked tushes, and an early mix of the recording made at Woodside Avenue Music studio in Chicago last month, featuring Jim Cox on standup bass, Don Stiernberg on guitar, and Steve Rashid on harmonica and percussion.


And please, post a comment to let me know what you think. Thanks!

Go here to listen or download:
Go here to subscribe:
Or subscribe through iTunes here:

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

"Trick or Treat" is on XMKids!

Now you can hear my song "Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet" on XM Kids!

XM Kids, for those who may not know, is the children's music channel on XM Satellite Radio: channel 116. It's very cool because it's the only national outlet for children's music that we know of with live DJs playing requests.

We listen all the time around here, and Evalyn has even called in and gotten on the air with her requests and jokes. You can check it out online by signing up for a free three day trial. Just go to

Anyhow, I sent XM Kids my new CD a while back and have been anxious to hear them play something from it. So I was excited to find out that they played "Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet" several times leading up to Halloween, and once on Halloween night.

Since Halloween has come and gone, I don't know if it'll still get played, but once a song is in the system, it can be requested!

So if you are an XM Kids listener, please ask for "Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet!"

Here are some tips on making an XM Kids request:

You can send an email to Include your name, age, where you're from, what song you want, and say hi to your favorite DJ. (That way they'll know who should play it.)

It's a lot of fun to hear yourself on the radio. So when the DJs are taking calls, here's how to get through. First program the number into your phone. It's 1-866-328-2345. Dial and let it ring five or six times, or about thirty seconds. If nobody answers, hang up and try again. Keep trying until you get through.

Kenny, Mindy, or D. Dynamite might put your conversation on the air, but you'll hear it five or ten minutes after you've talked to them. D. Dynamite is the newest DJ and is still the easiest to get through to. All of them are really friendly and great at talking with kids. If you want, Mom or Dad can place the call and pass the phone off after making initial contact.

Have fun!

Post a comment to let me know how it goes!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

More Awards!

The Great Green Squishy Mean Concert CD is an "Instant Classic"!

The Children's Music Web Awards for 2005 have been announced. Congratulations to all the winners! You can view them yourself at

The Great Green Squishy Mean Concert CD racked up three awards...

The song "You're a Dinosaur" won a Best Song for Preschoolers and the song "Loose Tooth" won a Best Song for Younger Children.

And the CD itself won in the Classic Recordings for Younger Children category! (Due to some weird timing, the classic category was the only place I could enter it if I wanted it in this year's awards program.)

I guess that makes it an instant classic!

Peters Elementary

I had a fun visit to Peters Elementary in Broken Arrow on Friday, where I ran my new songwriting critique program with the fifth grade language arts classes.

I was there for Red Ribbon Week, and I performed "Fifty Ways to Say No to Drugs" as well as "This Red Ribbon" as part of my morning assembly. I gave mini-programs for the special needs class and the afternoon Pre-K and Kindergarten classes.

And I did four half hour critique sessions with the fifth graders. Although I've taken my songs to classrooms for critique many times, this was the first time I did it as a formal program. Each session began with a conversation about the writing process, in particular why we write and how and why to solicit and use good feedback. Then I performed one of the songs I'm currently working on and we did a four step critique process on the song.

I really enjoyed these sessions. We ended up talking about all sorts of songwriting issues. I got some great feedback on my songs and I felt like there were plenty of teaching moments where I was able to get a new idea across. Hopefully the kids will be inspired to apply some of these concepts to their own writing.

Watch for a new podcast soon, featuring one of the songs I recorded in Chicago last week!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

New CD Underway: First Two Songs

Howdy, Dear Readers,

I've been promising information about the new CD I'm working on, and I'm finally ready to kick it off with a bang.

I'm writing tonight from Chicago, after the first recording session. I was in Steve Rashid's studio all day with Fred Koch co-producing and two fantastically talented players, Jim Cox on upright bass, and Don Stiernberg on guitar and mandolin. Steve also added blues harp, vibes, and percussion, and we tracked vocals for two songs.

First up was "The Cat Came Back." This is an old folk song in the public domain, and there are dozens of versions of it out there. I basically wrote my own version from scratch with a surprise ending. The recording features a spectacular performance by Don, who is world renowned for his talent on the mandolin.

Next we tackled "I Took My Dragon For a Walk." A few of you may have heard this one last summer in early June. I performed it at a couple of library programs, but I dropped it from the show, feeling it wasn't quite ready for prime time. It took me a couple of re-writes to get it right (not unusual) - I was still making revisions last night!

Anyhow, the two recordings sound amazing! They still need to be mixed, and there may be a bit of editing to do. I also may add some parts to the dragon song. But all that will be done at home. I plan to share rough mixes with you soon in my next podcast, so please stay tuned!

The plan is to have the CD ready for this summer, with ten to twelve songs revolving around a "reading and pets" theme. This will make it ideal for librarians all over the country who are planning a summer program based on pets: "Paws, Claws, Scales and Tales." In fact this is also the working title of the new CD.

These first two tracks have set a challenging standard for the rest of the CD! I'll be doing most of the work at home, and I have several more songs ready or nearly ready for recording, so hopefully I'll have lots more to tell you about soon.

Lisa and Evalyn are with me. They spent the day at the big aquarium here in Chicago. Fred and I met them for dinner and Evalyn took to Fred right away. She told us about giant crabs and dolphins and sharks, and her new buddy Lucy, the baby harp seal. No they didn't have baby harp seals at the aquarium but Lucy was Evalyn's choice of souvenir.

Tomorrow we're heading on up to Delavan, WI for the Children's Music Network national conference, and looking forward to meeting and mingling with old and new friends who also do this crazy children's music thing for a living.

I'll keep you posted with progress on the new CD, at least once a week. Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Podcast #3, "Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet"

Howdy folks,

Here is my October podcast, with two fun songs for Halloween. Both of these originated on my Halloween Madness cassette, which is no longer available (although some of the songs are now bonus songs on the Take Me to Your Library CD.)

First is the instrumental "Skeleton Dance." You'll hear a cleaned-up version (with sound effects added back in) which I recorded last year for "Nina in No Limits," an animated film by Ken Streeter and Skye Sweeney, which they made for a 2004 Lego robot competition. You can see the film here:

Then we track the development of one of my most popular songs, "Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet." You'll hear a couple of work tapes from 1991 and 1992, when I wrote the song, then you'll hear the entire song, edited together from five different recordings, including the original cassette, two rehearsals, a live show, and the final version from my new CD, The Great Green Squishy Mean Concert CD.


And please, post a comment to let me know what you think about the podcast. Thanks!

Click here to listen or download:
Click here to subscribe:

Monday, September 26, 2005

I Go Bananas - tracking the creation of a new song

The Monty Harper Podcast Part II

Here is the second installment of the Monty Harper Podcast!! (Three weeks late, but oh, well - computer was in the shop.)

This month I am celebrating the coming release of "Shake It Up! with fruits & veggies" for public consumption. My song, "I Go Bananas," is included on this award winning compilation CD. The producer, Beth Larsen, has finally worked her way through the mountains of red tape required to make this government-funded recording available. You'll be able to order a copy for just $4. No better bargain exists in children's music! Well, one does actually - you'll also be able to download many if not all of the songs for free!!

Go to right now and sign up to receive an email when the CD becomes available.

After you do that, click the title above to download my second podcast. Then click the subscribe button on this page to subscribe to it.

Gee, I'm getting bossy in my old age.

OK, while you wait for the download I'll let you know a bit more about what's in store. In this month's episode you will track the creation of a new song. Yes, I'm letting you listen in on my personal work tapes as I mold and shape and prod this song into existance. Then you will thrill and groove even more to the final recording as you ponder its humble beginnings. Perhaps the whole experience will inspire you to be creative too.


Here's the link for downloading this month's episode:

Oh, and do please post your comments here or send me an email to let me know how you liked it and what you'd like to hear next time. Thanks!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Netherlands 86 Top Songs in Children's Music

Well here's something interesting I just stumbled onto. I have two songs, "Tropeo the Pirate" and "Diving in the Deep Blue Sea", listed in the "Netherlands 86 Top Songs in Children's Music." Click the title of this post to see for yourself - I'm there at numbers 26 and 64.

I can't find any clear information on who put the list together or why, but there you go. Lisa says this makes me an international children's music star. I'm not so sure about that, but it's kind of fun to browse the list and see who all is there. Have fun!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

CMW Award Finalists Announced

The first round of judging is over in the Children's Music Web Awards and the finalists have been announced!

My latest, The Great Green Squishy Mean Concert CD, has done well with three songs, plus the CD itself going on to the final round in several categories. "Big Red Fire Truck" and "You're a Dinosaur" are finalists in the Best Song for Toddlers category. "Loose Tooth" is a finalist in the Best Song for Young Children (5-8) category. The CD is a finalist in the Best Recording for Young Kids Classic category. (My release date was too late to enter it in the new music category, so I entered in classic.)

To view a list of all the finalists go here: CMW Awards 2005 Finalists.

The CMW Awards is the only awards program for children's music that's guided by adults but judged by kids.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Launching a PodCast!

Well, I've gone and done it - I've put together a podcast!

In case you don't know what that is, it's like a radio show that you can subscribe to so that your computer automatically downloads new episodes for you to hear.

My PodCast is for fans both young and young at heart. It's 10 minutes long and it contains music and commentary. I intend to include only music that you won't hear anywhere else!

For example, in the first installment, you'll hear a rehearsal version of one of the songs from my new CD, and the instrumental version of one of the songs from my first CD with commentary about cool sounds to listen for.

In future installments I may include songs or recordings in progress, and commentary on the writing process. I hope to keep it fun and informative for my fans, and maybe attract some new fans in the process.

A new episode will be available each month, assuming I manage to keep up with it! That's where you can help - the more feedback I get, the more people I'll know are listening, and the more likely I'll be to keep making them!

And of course, what I include in future podcasts will be largely up to you - what would you like to hear?

Anyhow, to download the first episode, you can click here: Monty's first podcast

To subscribe - well, I'm working on that - still learning how to do it. I hope to have it available on iTunes soon. I'll get back to you!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

iParenting Media Award

Howdy, Friends and Fans,

It's been way too long! I won't list my excuses, but I'll get right to the good news that inspired me to post a blog today...

The Great Green Squishy Mean Concert CD has won an award! The iParenting Media Award. Follow this link to read all about it:

Here is part of the email notification they sent to me, which explains a bit about what the award is:

"The iParenting Media Awards program is dedicated to recognizing the very best products in the marketplace and making parents aware of them. We kept that responsibility in mind as we determined the Outstanding Products of 2005," says Alvin All, Chief Executive Officer of iParenting Media. "Products that earned the iParenting Media Award exceeded the high evaluation standards we set. The next step is to share them with our audience throughout our publications and connect them directly with consumers via our retailer network online directory."

Needless to say, well I won't say it if it's needless. Yes I will - I'm excited!! Yeah!!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Release Party

Originally uploaded by Monty42.
Yesterday we held the Great Green Squishy Mean Concert CD Neighborhood Backyard Release Party Concert and Hotdog Feast right here in our back yard!

We had about forty people spread out on the lawn under the shade tents on blankets and lawn chairs for the concert. I started off with a few songs from the new CD accompanied by John Howk, as shown in the photo, on electric guitar. I took requests after that and sang quite a range of songs from all four of my CDs.

John grabbed his electric again and we brought a few kids up front for "You're a Dinosaur" - that was a real highlight. The kids were adorable! If you click on the photo here, you'll be able to see more photos from the party including a couple of me and John and the kids doing the Triceratops Bop.

After an hour we turned the show into an open mic for kids. We got to hear several young performers singing selections such as the ABCs and "Old McDonald."

Cody and Bob (the drummer and the bass player on the cd) showed up late, but we were glad they made it! Several fans got to have their CDs signed by the whole band! Since the band was formed just to make this one CD, it's unlikely we'll ever be together in the same spot again, so that was a rare opportunity.

After the party we took care of some much needed business - getting a group photo of the band! Somehow we missed ever making a photo together during the whole time we were rehearsing and performing to make the CD. (Well, we did take one photo, which you can see inside the CD cover, but it was low-res and the lighting was awful so we don't really count it.) We had fun with it. John was a great sport, volunteering to pose inside the turtle-shaped sandbox.

Lisa was the camera person for this event. She does a great job! I posted thirteen photos to flickr and you can see the rest of them by clicking on the photo above. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

First Show of Summer - Ada Library

I haven't posted anything in a while - not much to tell. I've been getting ready for summer shows and for the CD release party, which you've heard about if you're on the mailing list!

The reading program theme this summer is "Dragons Dreams and Daring Deeds." I wrote a new song with that title, and another one called "The Day I Took My Dragon For a Walk."

I sang both for the first time this morning at the Ada Library program. They seemed to go over pretty well. I'll be making refinements to both songs as I learn how to perform them - all part of the process!

I also sang "The Princess and the Farmer's Son," "The Great Green Squishy Mean Bibliovore," "You're a Dinosaur," "Hanging Out With Heroes at the Library," "Frog Song," and "Imagine That."

The Ada audience is always a very receptive one, and this morning was no exception. It was fun to do a library program after many months of other sorts of things, and Ada was a great place to do it! ! I've already got them penciled in on the calendar for next year!

After the show we nearly sold out of the new CD! (I think most of the folks there already had the others.)

It's going to be a fun summer. Looking forward to Yukon, Jones, Lawton, Altus, Hollis, and Paul's Valley next week!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

They're Here!

Well, the CDs just arrived! There's a big pile of boxes on the front room floor! I'll be spending the rest of today and tomorrow filling orders - that'll put a big dent in one box - then we've just got to figure out how to get rid of the rest!

Friday, May 06, 2005


Now you can listen to samples from each of the songs on my new CD. They're listed right on the front page of my website at!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Nearly There!

I've been solid busy working on the CD. I brought home a master today from Steve's studio. That means the recording is done! No more changes! Whew, baby, it took some late nights to get to this point! I'm excited, because it sounds fantastic!

The Cover is nearly finished. The artwork looks great. I hope to post it soon, along with sound samples and pre-ordering information.

So many little things to take care of! Hopefully I'll send it off for duplication before we leave for our vacation. Hey, I'm a poet, but I knew that.

Anyhow the estimated release date is May 20.

In the mean time keep saying to yourself, "I must have The Great Green Squishy Mean Concert CD" over and over and over...

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Trick or Treat

Well, I picked up my computer on Friday, so I only lost a week's worth of work. When I'm down to the last three weeks, that's pretty significant. But I spent the week working on other things that needed to be done, including the CD booklet, so it wasn't a total loss.

Over the weekend I edited and mixed "Trick or Treat Smell My Feet." I know a lot of fans out there will be excited to get this one on CD, and this new version is so much cooler than the old old one!

Two songs to go!

Thursday, March 31, 2005

UNISONG International Song Contest - 2004 Contest - Winners

Too cool - I just got an email from the Unisong contest. It looks like their generic email sent to all the entrants to let them know the winners have been posted. So my first thought was, oh well, not this year. Last year when I took third place for "Diving in the Deep Blue Sea," the first I heard of it was a message on my answering machine. So I assumed that this year I didn't place.

Well it took a few moments of staring at the website to realize that the dude in the photo is me. I took second place this time in the children's category with "Loose Tooth."! Don't ask what prizes I'll receive, cause I don't know yet, but I do know that to place in the top three in this contest is a very high honor. The competition is open to professional songwriters all over the world and it's very tough to place. So I'm excited!

Read more here:

I'm also excited for my friend Joe McDermott. His song, "Baby Kangaroo," placed second in the International Songwriting Contest. That news just came out yesterday. You can hear Joe's song several times a day on XM Kids. It's a great song - very fun and funny. And I love the ping-pong ball percussion.

All of Joe's music is great. Check him out here: Joe's Website

Monday, March 28, 2005

Computer Trouble & Upcoming Dates


Well tonight I am not editing and mixing - my computer is in the shop. Last night when we went to bed we caught a strange burning sort of smell wafting down the hallway and traced it back to the vent along the top back panel of my iMac G5. Not good! I was able to shut the computer down normally, but the mac folk advised against starting it up again until technicians could check it out. So I took it to Oklahoma City today and will find out tomorrow how long I'll be without it. Now I'm very glad I bought the Apple Care Protection plan.

Anyhow, this little break gave me a chance to post my Spring and Summer schedule to the website, so check here to see where I'll be:


Friday, March 25, 2005

Big Red Fire Truck

Howdy friends and fans,

This week I finished a mix of "Hanging Out With Heroes at the Library" and one of "Big Red Fire Truck."

"Fire Truck" really got me excited as I cleaned it up a bit and the mix came together - it ROCKS! OK, I'm calm. After I mixed the instruments yesterday, I listened several times through just jamming out and enjoying the groove. I can't wait for you all to hear it.

Well this makes ten down and only THREE to go!! "Trick or Treat" is up next.

I am so sick of editing and mixing I could throw my computer out the window! I want to be creating new music - not hashing through stuff I recorded in November!!

I'm calm again. It's OK. Really.

When I hear the result, it's worth the effort. But I don't know if I'll ever record this way again - too much post-production. Maybe someday I'll be able to afford to pay someone to do this part for me!

The other day I was bouncing around the house doing my Daffy Duck laugh. It was scary. I'm going a little loopy being focused so intently on this one project. But by the end of next week I'll be able to move on to the mastering phase and that will be very good. I'll have Steve to help me with that and we can go loopy together.

Woo! Woohoo! Woohoohoo! Woohoohoohoo!

Bdb Bdbd Bd Bd That's all, folks!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Great Green Squishy Mean Update

I've been working on my editing and mixing since I got back from Ft. Worth. I've finished "Loose Tooth" and I'm working on "The Great Green Squishy Mean Bibliovore" - should finish it today. That will make 8 down and 5 to go! And I've gotten some basics done on the 5 to go, so I estimate two or three weeks before the mixes are finished, another week for mastering, another couple of weeks for duplication.... I should definitely have these in hand by May, to throw out a conservative estimate. Guess I'd better get back at it!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Trinity Valley 2 of 5

Trinity Valley 2 of 5
Originally uploaded by Monty42.
Here are some photos from Wednesday's show at Trinity Valley. Many thanks to Carolyn Dowell for taking them and emailing them to me!!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

On the Road in Fort Worth - Part 3

Well, I'm home now! Sorry I didn't get a chance to post yesterday from Trinity Valley or Country Day School. John took some photos in the morning that came out too dark to use, so we tried, but it just didn't work out. The schools also took photos so I'll look for those in the email and share em when I get em.

Yesterday's shows were pretty amazing. At Trinity Valley I performed in a wonderful little theater, and using their sound system John said it was clear as a bell - he could hear every word. The kids were fantastic. They were so polite that during the opening song "Take Me to Your Library" I wondered if I was coming across, but they loosened up soon enough and their participation in "Grandma's House Tonight" was exemplary. The other songs in the program were "Lisa Lee Elizabeth," "The Brainiacs," "Library Bookaneers," "Hanging Out With Heroes" and "Trick or Treat." We just had a fun fun time with that group!

Twilight Zone moment of the week: John had made a joke the day before about the concertina I use with "Library Bookaneers." I usually have the kids guess what kind of instrument might be hiding in the little treasure chest I keep it in. He asked if anyone had ever guessed "Grand Piano." I said, no not that I remember. Then at BOTH of yesterday's shows we got "piano" as a joke guess-!!

The afternoon show at Country Day took place in a sort of a square carpeted pit with three or four levels leading down to the center. John and I didn't see how they planned to fit 300 kids in there, but the students arrived in an orderly manner and quickly took their places, and sure enough there was room to spare. I was close enough to everyone to see their eyes, so it felt very cozy.

I started off with "Jungle Junk" (for John), then "Take Me to Your Library," "The Brainiacs," "Frog Song" (being so close together this group was a bit more raucous - in a good way of course - and the frog song seemed a good choice to put some of that energy to use), "Library Bookaneers," "Hanging Out With Heroes." After "Library Bookaneers" I let myself get drawn in to answering a few questions from the audience, which is always fun, but then we ended up with time for only one more song. Ah, well.

The night before I had talked to my daughter Evalyn (4 years old next month!) on the phone. She told me, very excited, that she had heard me on XMKids. She said if the kids asked what my daughter told me to tell them she heard "Take Me to Your Library" on XMKids. Well, they didn't ask, but I told them anyway. I was surprised by how many hands went up when I asked who has XM radio and who listens to XMKids. It's very exciting to have a national outlet like that for kids' music!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

On the Road in Fort Worth Part 2

Monty - 13
Originally uploaded by Monty42.
Here I am at Remington Point Elementary School in Fort Worth, TX. This photo shows me wading into the audience with my concertina during the song "Library Bookaneers." If you click on the photo you'll go to flickr where you can see 11 others from the same concert!

This group sang particularly well, and "Silly Song" and "Grandma's House Tonight" were highlights of the show. I also did "Take Me to Your Library," "Loose Tooth," "Hanging Out With Heroes" and "Trick or Treat Smell My Feet."

It was picture day at Remington and we felt bad for the few kids who had to leave early, but as John likes to say "such is life." They only missed one song.

I hope all your pictures came out great!

This afternoon we were at Bryson Elementary. Another great group! The program was similar but instead of "Loose Tooth" we did "Our Principal Plays in a Rock n Roll Band" and Ms. Southerland did a great job rocking out on stage.

We had fun with "Grandma's House" - the kids began screaming at the mention of each new character - the alligator, polar bear, big foot and especially the T-Rex. It was all in good fun, but I've never seen that particular reaction before. Just goes to show - I can sing a song for years and years and still get a surprise from the audience!

We don't have photos from the Bryson show yet. John left his camera behind so we borrowed one from the school. They'll email 'em to me and I'll put them up when I get them. So please check back!

Monday, March 07, 2005

On the Road in Ft. Worth, TX - Part 1

Today through Wednesday I have six schools in the Fort Worth area. This is my annual trip down (third year now) for John Prevost of Rainbow books. He hires me to perform as a thank-you to some of his best customers. (He sells books to school libraries.)

This morning we were at Peaster Elementary in Peaster, TX and this afternoon we were at Eagle Mountain Elementary in Ft. Worth, with about 400 kids in each group.

At Peaster I performed in a huge gym with big blank parallel cinderblock walls. Needless to say the sound bounced around in there like mad. John commented that he could tell how much better the sound is with the new Bose system as compared to the more traditional sound system I had last year. In that big gym, that's saying alot!

The kids (K-5th) were very enthusiastic, with lots of cheers and hoots and whistles after every song. Many of them had heard the CDs in class ahead of time. We did "Jungle Junk" (by request), "Take Me to Your Library," "The Brainiacs," "Lisa Lee Elizabeth" (a fav of John's), "Grandma's House Tonight," "Hanging With Heroes" (great clappers!), and "Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet."

At Eagle Heights the group was kindergarten through 3rd grade. It was mighty warm in the room, and I'm not sure we ever quite got completely quiet, but the kids were good participaters. We did "Take Me to Your Library," "Lisa Lee Elizabeth," "Silly Song," "Library Bookaneers," "The Great Green Squishy Mean Bibliovore," "Hanging With Heroes," and "Trick or Treat." I used the concertina for "Library Bookaneers" which helped draw their attention back after the chaos of the "Silly Song."

Before I left home I burned a disk of all the mixes for the new CD as they currently stand and I listened in the car last night on the way down. It's sounding good - this is the first time since the shows in November that I've heard all the songs back to back. It's coming along, sounding good - I can't wait to get it done and get it out there!!

Hi Lisa! Hi Evalyn! I love you!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Jenks West, 3/4/05

Jenks West, 3/4/05
Originally uploaded by Monty42.
I performed at Jenks West Elementary today. This was one of their "traits" assemblies, about courage, so I was asked to speak and sing about courage. I didn't have time to write a song that was directly related, so I went through my catalog ahead of time and gave some thought to which songs might be related to courage and how. It was a thirty minute program, so I picked out five songs and wrote little introductions for each one (see below.)

The show went really well, considering it was the last thing on a Friday of a busy week and everyone was hot in the gym, and I did all that talking to introduce each song! I had three kids come up to add their responses to the "Fifty Ways to Say No" song, and Principal Tilkin came on stage with the air guitar for "Our Principal Plays in a Rock n Roll Band.

Many thanks to Bev Straub who took the photo of me with Principal Tilkin in her rock star get-up and emailed it to me!

Here's the program:

"Diving in the Deep Blue Sea"
Courage means facing the unknown. Nearly all the great things about modern life we owe to those few who were willing to take a risk and try something new. Our very country was founded on the spirit of exploration. This song is dedicated to all the scientists and explorers out there with the courage to discover something new. It's also dedicated to anyone who loves to read because reading is a great way to explore new places and new ideas.

"Howdy Song"
Courage means sticking your neck out. It takes courage to be the first to offer your hand in friendship, especially at a time of conflict. Violence may get you what you want in the short term, but it is the coward's way. Listening to the other side in an argument means risking that your ideas might be wrong. It takes true courage solve a problem through negotiation. This song is about bridging our differences and is dedicated to all the peacemakers of our world.

"Our Principal Plays in a Rock n Roll Band"
Courage means sticking with it. Those of us who work with kids have the most difficult and important jobs in the world, and also the most under appreciated. Your teachers face so many different challenges every day it can take a heap of courage sometimes just to get out of bed in the morning. This song is dedicated to all of your teachers and especially to Principal Tilkin.

"50 Ways to Say No to Drugs"
Courage means doing the right thing, even though you feel afraid. There will be times when you'll be afraid to make either choice, right or wrong. Doing the right thing might get you called a "fraidy cat" or "goody two shoes" while doing the wrong thing might be very hurtful or dangerous. Doing the right thing even in the face of ridicule is always courageous. Choosing the wrong thing because you are afraid of someone else's opinion is cowardly. This song is dedicated to you kids, because you will be making these kinds of choices as you grow up; they are what will make you the adult person you're going to be.

"Big Red Fire Truck"
Sometimes courage does mean facing danger. This song is dedicated to all the rescue workers - police, firemen, EMTs. These people face danger every day as part of their job in order to keep the rest of us safe.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

"Pop Up Sit Down"

Well I finished another song Friday - "Pop Up Sit Down." Actually I made two versions of it. If you know the song you know that I say a lot of things other than "Pop Up" just to play with the audience a bit and try to fool them. So each performance of this one was unique. I may find a way to release multiple versions so that once you learn what to expect on one you can surprise yourself by listening to a different performance.

It's been a long two days so far this week. I wanted to get the rest of the songs loaded up and ready to edit. I was maybe even going to do a quick mix of each so I could start working on sequencing the CD as a whole. Instead I've spent most of the time battling the computer. I won't bore you with the details, but I've done a lot of file copying and moving trying to get the software to deal properly with the audio so that I'll be able to take it to Steve later for mastering, bla bla bla. Anyhow, it's a lot of trying this or that and then waiting 20 minutes while big files get moved around. And I can't work on 'em while that's going on. And I may have just made a big mistake. Waiting for files to copy right now in an attempt to fix it. Very frustrating!

My guitarist, John, is coming over this evening to hear some of the mixes. It'll be the first time any of the band have heard the post production. Hopefully I'll have all this straightened out before he gets here! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

"You're a Dinosaur"

I just finished a first mix of "You're a Dinosaur." This mix only took me two days. I'm definitely getting quicker at it!

This is one of the rockingest songs on the CD, and it features John's distinctive electric guitar part on the verses - it's an energetic little groove accented by a high pitched harmonic on the "and" of four. Very cool. This one also features the audience roaring like dinosaurs, and doing the "hadrosaur hoot" - which may be one of the most distinctive sounds ever captured in bits. (I almost said on tape - but this is a digital recording!)

It won't be too long before you can actually hear what I've been talking about - I have registered a domain name for the new CD and will soon put up a website to include sound clips of the mixes I'm working on along with lots of other exciting stuff.

You can check it out at - yes, it's mighty long. But there it is.

Right now there's nothing there. But you will be able to say you were the first visitor!

Friday, February 18, 2005

"Love This Baby"

I've been editing and mixing "Love This Baby" this week. It took me only three days to "finish"!! I put finish in quotes because once I burn a mix to CD and listen around I always find a change or two to make.

On this song Bob, the bass player, played electric mandolin, and John, the guitar player, played bass. Bob's performance was better at Bartlesville, but my vocal was much better at Stillwater, so I used liberal portions of both shows to construct a "best" performance overall.

This one cleaned up very nicely. The wonderful mandolin sound, Cody's drumming with brushes, and John's solid style of bass all team up to give it a distinct feel.

I'll be submitting "Love This Baby" to a TAXI listing for a publisher who needs Father's day songs, which is why I put it at the head of the list this week. Wish me luck!

Four down; nine to go!

Monday, February 14, 2005

Mixing Mixing Mixing, and Title

I took some mixes to Steve McLinn at Ojas studio in Oklahoma City this weekend. Steve is the one who recorded the live shows for my upcoming CDs. He'll be mastering the CD and he's advising me on the mixes. It was great to get a second set of ears listening, especially a set as knowledgeable as Steve's. I just spent the past two hours implementing his advice on the "Horny Toad" mix - things like: a bit of reverb on the snare (just the initial reflections, no tail), gate the snare, small adjustments to the EQ on bass and kick, put a limiter on the kick, pan more toward the center, a touch of plate reverb on the vocal, more acoustic guitar, and presto! Did you catch all that? It sounds much better, trust me, - Thanks, Steve! - and it sounded pretty darn good to begin with if I say so myself!

That was an important meeting because it gave me confidence in the mixing settings and decisions I've made so far. Many of these will be the same for all the songs, so mostly what I need to worry about now is editing - selecting the best bits from all three shows, pulling them together, correcting yucky mistakes where possible and smoothing out the peaks and valleys, one song, one instrument at a time.

It's incredible what digital editing lets you do! In "Horny Toad" alone, get this - there was a computer glitch during the Stillwater show and one section of the song did not get recorded, but Stillwater was the best performance otherwise. So I filled in the missing part with the Bartlesville show, which was recorded a different in a different room, and even at a different tempo-!! You can't hear the switch! It's smooth as silk. I even flew in a single word from the City Arts show (in which a different vocal mic was used!) to correct a missed note in the vocal - Steve couldn't tell, and his ears are golden. I reconstructed a bass line from individual notes because it had been played wrong and clashed with the other guitar parts. These were just a few of the biggest challenges I've tackled. It can get tedious, but when I hear the results it's a lot of fun to look back and know what it took to make it sound so great.

Don't worry - I'm not perfecting it to death. The energy and "liveness" of the recording is still very much present. I'm walking that fine line carefully. I was tempted to use two different acoustic guitar parts simultaneously - one from each of two different shows - but that was just a bit too odd - suddenly there's a phantom guitar player on stage? I nixed that idea. I want to keep it real, but also take out the clunkers so that you'll love to hear these recordings over and over.

Well, I'd best get back to work. I know I've said it before, but I think I'm at the point now, for real, where I'll start cranking out mixes at a much faster pace. More soon.

Oh, and the title of the new CD will be (drum roll please)...

-- The Great Green Squishy Mean Concert CD --

Leave a comment. Let me know what you think.

(My graphic designer will probably want to kill me when he tries to fit it on the spine!)

Monday, February 07, 2005

General Update

Let's see, since last I wrote...

My website now resides at (part of They have some cool gadgets I'm still learning how to use. One of them is a concert calendar, so hopefully it will help me keep you updated more easily.

Speaking of which, I've been adding new shows to the calendar lately, including eleven programs in the Tulsa libraries this June and July; I'm opening for Zoom City at Wacker Park in Paul's Valley June 10 at 7:00 PM (free show); I have six school programs in Fort Worth, TX March 7, 8, and 9; I'll be doing the Tulsa County Reading Council's Young Author's Fair again April 16 - very excited about that!

I'll try to get all these up on the concert page soon.

I've been struggling to get enough time in at the computer editing and mixing the new CD. It's been slower going than I'd hoped, but the results sound great. I'm just about finished with "The Frog Song." That one was particularly tricky due to all the audience interaction - lots of little bits to get just right. Later this week I plan to meet with Steve, my sound dude, to tweak the mixes I've got so far in his studio. That will give me some feedback on how I'm doing.

I've also been working on a brand new song for this summer, "Dragons, Dreams, and Daring Deeds" - that's the theme for the library programs. It's actually the same theme across many different states, so I'm hoping to end up with a song that will get some wide distribution.

I'll keep you posted!

Friday, January 28, 2005

Oops! - Lost Email!!!

I am in the process of changing Internet services and yesterday I inadvertantly deleted all the messages in my "in" box and my "sent" box.

This means that if I had a recent email conversation with you I have lost it. If you were waiting for a response it will not come.


If you happen to see this and you were waiting to hear from me please let me know!

Country Lane Elementary in Broken Arrow

I just got home from Country Lane Elementary in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. (Driving very slowly through snow! The highway was pretty clear, though - no great danger.)

I was there this morning to help kick off their reading challenge. If the students read enough books, the principal has agreed to dress like a chicken and roller skate through the halls doing the chicken dance! How fun is that?

I had two groups this morning, K-2nd first, then 3rd-5th. Both were exemplary groups. They came into the room and waited quietly for the program to start. They participated with enthusiasm but I never had to ask either group to settle down. I was very impressed.

It's been a while since I've had a chance to use my concertina. What's a concertina you ask? It's like a miniature accordion, with no keyboard - just buttons for the notes. Otherwise known as a "squeeze box." I do one song with it - "Library Bookaneers" and since this was a reading challenge kickoff, I brought it along to do the song. It seemed to work well for both groups. The kids seem to be fascinated by an instrument they don't see too often.

Other songs I did include "Diving in the Deep Blue Sea," "Take Me to Your Library," "The Great Green Squishy Mean Bibliovore," "Hanging Out With Heroes at the Library," "Grandma's House Tonight," "The Frog Song," and "Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet." Yes, I threw that last one in just for fun.

I've been promised some digital photos that were taken, so when those arrive I will post 'em here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Me on XMKids!

Yeah, we were just having lunch with XMKids on in the background and I heard my name, which just about startled me to death. They played "Take Me to Your Library!" That's the first I've heard me on XM since we got it, so we were all very excited around here. It's humbling to hear all the great kids music out there, much of which I've never had the opportunity to hear before, and it's inspiring. I have a new goal now: to land a song on the XMKids top 13 chart.

I'd better get back to work! I'm editing and mixing the "Frog Song" today, so I'd better hop to it. :-) Sorry about that. Really, I won't do it again.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Super Saturday

Yesterday I performed for a Super Saturday event at the Oklahoma City Art Museum. This was my first appearance since before Christmas, so I was glad to be out performing again, even if my fingers did get sore! From 1:00 to 4:00 folks drifted in and out of the lobby area and I regaled them with songs from my "best of" list. There was a natural reverb to the room that sounded pretty good on my voice, so I was enjoying that. I sang for anywhere from one family to 50 people or so at a time, plus one birthday party. We did "Happy Birthday" and "Birthday Boogaloo" for Emma, who was turning five! We also got some fun participation going for the "Frog Song," "Tropeo the Pirate," and "You're a Dinosaur" at various times during the afternoon.

Lisa and Evalyn were with me, though I hardly saw them. They had a great time with the day's other attractions, including a movie and a 3-D art project. They made a mobile together with lots of colorful shapes and stickers and feathers. Evalyn calls it her dream catcher and says it keeps bad dreams away - it's hanging near her bed. As I type she's creating something new out of the leftover supplies she brought home.

If you haven't been to the art museum yet, check it out in downtown OKC. It's worth the trip just to gaze up at the gigantic colorful glass sculpture towering over the entrance!

Monday, January 17, 2005

XM Kids

We got XM radio for Christmas this year. I finally got the antenna installed in the car and turned on the service. We've been listening to XM Kids everywhere we drive for the past week or two.

If you don't know what XM radio is, it's that satalite radio thing. It's cool because unlike FM stations, there are no commercials, and you never lose the signal no matter where you are.

We're jazzed about it for many reasons, but XM Kids is definitely one of the big ones. Being here in the middle of Oklahoma, where there is no children's radio to be heard at all, and having a slow dial-up Internet connection, I have not heard very much actual radio for kids!!! Which is ironic considering that I publish the children's radio list online.

So I'm enjoying this.

There's a lot of really great stuff out there. XM Kids plays a lot of independently produced music meant for kids, with occassional kid appropriate mainstream stuff thrown in (you know, like "Yellow Submarine" or "Particle Man") and some big media stuff like the Spongebob soundtrack. There is sometimes too much talking for my taste - just give me the music!!! And like on any radio station there are some songs that get played to death and drive me nuts. But overall, I've been enjoying hearing some of the great songs other kids' artists are putting out there. I feel plugged in! It's cool!

I have long felt that kids' music ought to be made with the potential in mind that it might "cross over" into the mainstream hit parade. Why not? Kids deserve the greatest of everything. Catchy tunes, skillful lyrics, great arrangements - these things are always in style. It's only in recent times that "children's music" became a separate genre. Why shouldn't children's music compete well in the general music market?

Well, the general trend seems to be toward this level of quality. There has always been great children's music out there of course. Now there seems to be a lot of it. Can it be that it's only a matter of time before some kids' singer breaks into the top 40 pop or rock charts? Established mainstream artists seem to love to do kids songs now and then, with mixed results. I believe it takes someone who performs in front of kids regularly to consistantly make great children's music. So I'd just love to see the tables turned the other way around and have a real kids' artist break in on mainstream territory!

Or maybe with music diversifying as it is, and moving more toward niche markets and independent releases, there will be room for lots of big stars (think Wiggles) within children's music itself.

Exciting times!

But still, out of all the many many categories of music on XM Radio, guess which one has the fewest stations? You got it - kids music! There's XM Kids and Disney. The Disney station seems to be playing top 40 music aimed at "tweens." I don't consider it kids' music really.

So I guess that leaves a lot of room to grow...

If you have XM radio, I hope you're listing to XM Kids and calling in to make requests and show your support. We need more such national outlets for children's music, but they'll have to prove their popularity before the industry takes notice.

Oh, yeah, and you might be wondering if you can hear me on XM. Well, I know that two years ago my song "Roundy Round" was added to the play list. It's probably been dropped since then! They might also have my song "I Go Bananas" on file through the Children's Music Web Awards. But since I've been listening, I haven't heard me at all. You can always call in and make a request!

Has it Been Two More Weeks?

Good grief it really has. We've been sickies around here the past two weeks, passing various cold symptoms around amongst ourselves and my parents. Yesterday we took Evalyn to the doctor for the third time since Christmas, this time with a painful ear infection. Lucky for us, although her latest was the worst, it was also the shortest - today she already seems to be back to her normal self! But Lisa has now lost her voice. My turn for something next.

Anyhow, with all this going on I've been mixing when I can, and I have two songs at the "done for now" stage. I'm just burning them to a CD as I write this so that I can try them out on various players to hear how they sound and determine whether further adjustments are needed. Then they'll go into Steve's studio for some finishing touches and mastering.

Only eleven more songs to go!

Things should move along more quickly from here out, supposing we all feel healthy. Now that I know the software pretty well, having taken many wrong turns, I will get into a work groove with no wrong turns and start cranking them out.

The two songs that are finished: "Horny Toad" and "Silly Song." One reason I started with them was that each presented unique technical challenges to be worked out, i.e. they were two of the tough ones. So like I said, now I've learned a lot and it will go faster.

I'm debating whether to try and post mixes to this site as I finish them so you can hear how it's going. Or maybe I should just wait and let you hear the finished product when it's all ready. What do you think?

Monday, January 03, 2005

Back to Work! + Show This Month in OKC

Well, today it was back to work, sort of, after a two week vacation for the holidays. I say sort of cause it doesn't feel like I got much done, but oh, well. Getting back to the blog was on the to-do list, so...

This month I will be furiously editing and mixing, bringing the best of three shows together to make the new CD. Much more about that to come soon.

I will be performing January 22 from 1-4 at the Oklahoma City Art Museum. I'm part of a larger event for families and kids, including arts and crafts projects and a movie. Hope to see you there!!

My New Year's resolution... Write every day! I'm not sure if this counts, so I'm going to go work on a song or something.

Grandview Elementary in El Dorado, KS

Has it really been two weeks? Yes, it has - two weeks ago today I performed at Grandview Elementary in El Dorado, KS. I didn't write about it right when I got home, and the holidays snatched me away! (Lisa and I spent the week leading up to Christmas editing home video and burning it to DVD as a gift for Evalyn's grandparents. Then it was Christmas, and lots of friends and family to visit with, then New Years... you didn't want to read all that, did you? Back to El Dorado!)

It was a fun show as always! If you have my Take Me to Your Library CD, then you may have actually seen me performing at Grandview Elementary. It was two years (and two weeks) ago nearly to the day when I video taped a performance there of "Grandma's House Tonight," which is included in the computer extras on that CD. So it was a lot of fun to come back and perform again. The kids remembered the songs and did a great job singing along.

What made this show especially fun for me was that Evalyn (my daughter, 3 1/2), after a long hiatus, resumed her role as my opening act. She surprised us by agreeing to sing for the kids as they came into the room, each carrying their own chair. She sang her ABC's, Row Your Boat, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. These three songs are "hers" because I used to sing them to her every night at bedtime, and now they always seem to come out together when she sings for the kids. (She can belt out "Oklahoma" too, and I can't wait for the day she does that one for a crowd!) And she finished off with the ABCs again, this time asking the kids to sing along (her idea!), and of course everyone sang along - how could you refuse such a cutie-pie!

Nope, we didn't get it on video. We've really got to get better at remembering the camera!