Thursday, June 28, 2007

McLoud & Tecumseh

Here is Evalyn on the stage at Tecumseh, modeling my Chuck Taylors. What's the number one question kids ask me these days? Why are your shoes two different colors? Why are they? Well, red is for OU and orange is for OSU. I've got to support them both if I'm going to travel all over the state singing songs about Oklahoma.

We had two great shows today, and we didn't get washed away. The rain even had the courtesy to pause for us while we loaded the sound system in and out. We've had incredible luck that way all week!

For the next six days we'll be home with no shows!! Whatever will we do with ourselves?

Lisa will be sending out CDs to judging families for the Children's Music Web Awards this weekend. Would your family like to help decide which are the best children's music CDs this year? Write to me, or post a comment, and we'll get you set up. Judges get to keep the CDs they judge.

I'll be helping my parents learn how to use the new computer they bought. (Hi Mom, how does the blog look now that you can see it properly?)

Hopefully we'll get a new Kids Music Planet Podcast posted.

I intend to do some songwriting and recording. And I need to put a show together for my Kansas gigs - they've got a different theme.

Right now though it's time to get some sleep.

See you at the library!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Noble & Newcastle

Here are a couple of photos from the Noble library, where they have recently renovated with a brand new program room, teen room, activity room, and children's area. Very cool. The train is part of the new children's area. The second photo is Evalyn and I singing "Oklahoma Annie." We are getting better and better at that song; we've added a bit of harmony at the end, which Evalyn hit perfectly both shows today. The song seems to be a favorite with everyone.

The show at Newcastle this afternoon went particularly well. They had teen volunteers who sat in the audience among the kids and acted as role models and behavior monitors. As a consequence the kids did very well with staying focused on the program and participating.

Lisa, Evalyn and I are all glad to be home tonight after two nights in a hotel and three days performing. This morning was the first time this summer I got the "I'm too worn out - I don't want to do this again today!" feeling. But it went away once we got going, and after 29 shows, I'd say it's amazing I hadn't felt it already. After tomorrow we'll get a well-earned break: six days in a row with no shows!

But first we'll be heading to McLoud and Tecumseh to wrap up the Pioneer Library System tour. We saw on the news that there was flooding in Tecumseh yesterday, and more rain is likely tomorrow. Hopefully we won't get too wet.

See you at the library!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dispatch From the Road - Purcell, Moore

In the first photo above I'm leading the kids in "The Wind Energy Song" during this morning's show in Purcell. Below that are two photos with fans from the evening Moore program. I was supposed to sing in the park this evening, however, the rain changed our plans, and the show was moved indoors. We had a small group, but a fun one. This last photo is Evalyn, behind a giant ball of tape (peeled up from the floor after the program).

Tomorrow, Noble and Newcastle. See you at the library!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Dispatch From the Road - Norman

It's always fun performing at the Norman library. The evening audience was relatively small and full of fans; a very attentive and participatory group. I added "Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet" to the end of the show, to make Basha, the librarian, happy. She gives me a very hard time if I don't sing it! When I finished everybody just sat there, and someone asked for "Take Me to Your Library." I ended up singing three encores!

Well, it's late and Moore shows tomorrow (no that's not a typo - we have two shows tomorrow in Moore (OK, lame joke, but as I was saying, it's late...) so off to bed.

See you at the library!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Evalyn was fine today - her stomach thing yesterday seems to have been of the 12 hour variety. We had a great show in Mustang, and she gave one of her best performances yet of "Oklahoma Annie."

See the balloon Evalyn is holding in the top photo? It's a wedding balloon, which the librarian told us had been stuck on the high ceiling of the meeting room for two weeks. It chose today to drift its way down. What's more it came down right behind me while I was singing. Not only that (remember it's a wedding balloon) it chose the "went to town and picked me out a wife" verse of "My Oklahoma Home, It Blowed Away" as the perfect moment to join me on stage. We all got a big chuckle out of that!

Tomorrow, we get the day off, so to speak - that is to say we'll be at home trying to catch up on a million home things that need doing. Next week - Norman, Purcell, Moore, Noble, Newcastle, McLoud, & Tecumseh!

See you at the library!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Blanchard, Shawnee, Medford, Mustang

I did the first two of eleven shows for the Pioneer Library System yesterday, at Shawnee and Blanchard (the rest of the PLS is next week). I had to go without my family because Evalyn was starting her summer dance lessons.

I must confess that I wasn't sure how I'd do without "Oklahoma Annie" in the lineup, since a lot of folks are mentioning that as their favorite. But I needn't have worried. Both shows were great, and the audience feedback was fantastic! (Pioneer libraries collect comments on little green slips of paper to share with their sponsors.) Parents appreciated learning some Oklahoma history and the participation built into the show, the kids liked "Silly Song" and "Oklahoma Land Rush, 1889" and "Oklahoma Kids a Kaleidoscope."

Speaking of which, I owe Evalyn a debt of gratitude concerning that song. After the first week of shows Lisa and I were discussing which song to drop; I had one more song than I needed in the lineup. We thought about dropping "Oklahoma Kids" because the audience response just didn't seem that great. But then Evalyn selected it as her favorite on my new cd, to feature on Lisa's podcast. And when we asked her about dropping it she said "No!"

I guess I was pretty insecure about that song because it's not funny - it's a very sincere and even pretty song - so different for me! I think I wasn't giving it a real chance. Half-way believing I'd drop it from the show anyway I had barely learned it, but with Evalyn's encouragement I decided to polish up my performance and give it another week. She even came up to sing it with me at a couple of shows, and lately it's been going really well. I've even had several kids tell me it's their favorite, including one today at the Medford library.

The photo above includes about half of today's audience. The three boys to the left of me wanted to take a photo for the website and the other kids just started adding themselves to the shot.

On the way home, Evalyn got sick and literally tossed her cookies. It was very odd - no other symptoms. She took a long nap after we got home, and we gave her some medicine for the nausea, so right now she's very spunky. We have to wait and see whether she'll be up to traveling for tomorrow's show in Mustang.

See you at the library!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Only Six Shows This Week

We had another great day today, with shows in Sand Springs and Sapulpa. Lisa didn't take any photos today, so I went back to find a good one from the stockpile. This is a photo she took of Evalyn performing on June 12th at Tishamingo.

Tomorrow I'll be on my own for the first time this summer. Evalyn's summer dance starts tomorrow so she and Lisa will be staying home for that while I head off to Blanchard and Shawnee for the first two of eleven shows in the Pioneer Library System (the other nine shows are next week). Then Wednesday we'll be at Medford, Thursday at Mustang, and we get Friday off. It's a light week!

What will I do tomorrow without my girls?!

I've been getting some good feedback from the libraries on this Summer's program. I'll leave you with a few of the comments I've received so far...

"Everyone loved having him - we are looking forward to him in 2008."
- Love County Library

"The songs were so much fun. They fit the theme
perfectly. The children also enjoyed the
part that your daughter played. They were all very attentive while she was singing."
- Alice Withrow, Atoka County Library

"Monty's programs are always fun. I think the best thing is that he appeals to the child in all of us.
They all loved it. Still singing the Oklahoma Kids song. They liked having Evalyn perform. I could hear some of them singing to themselves later on. You may have inspired some future performers!"
- Beth Sherrill, Jim Lucas Checotah Public Library

Friday, June 15, 2007

Oooh, Stickers!

Whew - we made it home, and we have successfully completed our longest week of the summer! All the shows went very well this week.

Today we were in Marietta and Wilson.

At Marietta there was a cute little girl, probably not yet two, who must've liked the look of my guitar case with all its stickers. She walked right up front while I was singing. I employed my toddler aversion tactic, which is to say I bent down and sang directly to her. She backed warily away, but after another minute or two she tried again, and this time she was quicker. She grabbed my case by the handle, lifted it, and was attempting to walk off with it by the time her adult caught hold of her! We all had a good laugh over that!

Wilson was a great show - we had a pretty small crowd, but lots of enthusiastic participators, both kids and adults, so it was fun. Poor Evalyn was asleep in her mom's lap, and Lisa had to wake her so that she could sing "Oklahoma Annie."

But Evalyn stayed awake for the three hour drive home. I think we all caught a burst of energy knowing the week is over and the weekend upon us. At home she ran around with the neighborhood gang and got herself soaked in the rain puddles. At one point there were seven kids in a circle bending down with their heads together looking at a slug. I wish I'd had a camera.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dispatch From the Road - Ardmore

We had two great shows today, in Ardmore and Sulphur. I feel like I'm relaxing into the songs now and my performance is continuing to improve. I'm posting from the hotel room tonight. We after three days out and back we've decided to give ourselves a bit of a break from driving. We'll be in Marietta and Wilson tomorrow, home for the weekend, and it all starts again on Monday!

The librarian took this photo of a family in Ardmore who became fans five years ago when we were here before. They remembered Evalyn as a baby, and asked if we would pose with them.

Did I mention yet how great Evalyn and Lisa are? Lisa has been doing all the driving this year, which really helps me keep my energy up for the shows. Evalyn keeps us entertained and on our toes. She seems excited and happy to be traveling and performing this summer. I'm one lucky dude!

Well, I'd better get to bed. See you at the library!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Now It's a Lost Tooth...

What an eventful day! We had two great shows at the library in McAlester. I am relaxing into the show more. My performances today were some of the best I've given so far, and Evalyn of course enjoyed loads of praise and attention for her singing.

Then just as we got packed up and ready to head home, she pulled out her second tooth. It had been very loose for days, and with plenty of advice from the kids hanging out at the library, she finally got up the nerve to pop it out.

Well, Lisa wrapped it in a napkin and put it in her pocket. Fast forward to this evening - Lisa's pocket is empty. Where's the tooth? It's a complete and total mystery. She doesn't remember taking it out of her pocket. We searched everywhere - through all the trash, the car - it's just gone. I suspected the tooth fairy of having snatched it early, but Evalyn thinks not.

Then Lisa remembered that we needed to release the butterflies (see earlier posts)! We'll be gone overnight and can't feed them, plus they really need to be free so they can lead happy butterfly lives. So we searched for a blank mini-DV tape and headed outdoors to see our little friends off.

We attracted quite a crowd of neighborhood kids observing and helping. Evalyn got pretty good at coaxing the butterflies onto her fingers so she could get them out of their enclosure and release them. The kids were particularly intrigued by a couple of pairs of butterflies who had somehow become stuck together. Ah, the mysteries of life.

Well, what with lost teeth and butterflies, I am now up way later than I should be. The relentlessness of our schedule is catching up to all of us this week. Lisa and I are tired, and Evalyn is downright loopy at times. But we are happy.

The solution to the lost tooth incident is testament to that. Evalyn was miffed, but seems to have forgiven Lisa rather easily. She fashioned a replacement tooth out of paper, and decorated it very colorfully like an Easter egg, with "I Love You" written on it. She's very excited about this, and figures maybe the tooth fairy will use her paper tooth for a banner in Tooth Fairy Town. Which reminds me, I have one last thing to do before I go to bed...

See you at the library!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Oklahoma Kids, a Kaleidoscope

We had a fantastic program today at the library in Watonga! The kids were great participators and great listeners. In the photo we're doing the "Wind Energy Song" - I often like to stand on a chair for that one, but the ceiling was too low today. (Lisa has been taking some really great photos with her new camera, as you can see - unless noted otherwise all the photos posted here were taken by her.)

When we came to the last song, "Oklahoma Kids, a Kaleidoscope," Evalyn signaled to me that she wanted to come back up to sing again. She lead the chorus herself, singing each line for the audience to repeat, and she did a fantastic job. This was our first time to perform that one together.

Speaking of "Oklahoma Kids, a Kaleidoscope," that song is featured as Evalyn's pick in Lisa's latest podcast. Yes, a new edition of the Kids Music Planet Podcast is now available!! You can download it from the Kids Music Planet Podcast page.

Oh, and all the butterflies are out now (see yesterday's post). This morning Evalyn and I actually watched one emerge! That was very lucky - it happened mighty fast.

Well, we have an early start and a late night tomorrow, so good night, and I may not post again until Wednesday...

Sunday, June 10, 2007


The photo is me at the Wetumka library last Thursday (6/7/07) performing "Oklahoma Land Rush, 1889" - spurring on my imaginary race horse.

Can the weekend already be over? Lisa and I spent much of it just getting ready to hit the road again. Filled some CD orders, made a bank deposit, changed my guitar strings, printed out maps, made hotel reservations, did laundry, went shopping for food we can eat in the car, etc. etc. Bright and early tomorrow morning, it's giddy-up and go once again.

This week it's Watonga and McAlester, two old favorites we've visited many many times over the years, plus six libraries in the Chickasaw Regional Library System.

One really cool thing going on around here is Evalyn's butterflies. She received a butterfly kit for her birthday and we sent off for live caterpillars in little jars. Last week they all hung themselves upside down and formed chrysalises. We actually looked in at the right moment and were able to watch it happen. They transformed much more quickly than I would have thought! It was very cool.

Today, four of the chrysalises opened and the butterflies emerged, with curly damp wings. This happened very quickly - we didn't actually get to see one emerge, but we were checking in often enough to know that it must happen in a matter of just a couple of minutes at most. Hopefully this will inspire a song for next summer's bugs theme!

One final bit of good news - for all of you who have been asking whether Lisa is still doing her podcast....

Yes, and we put together a new episode today! It still needs tweaking and converting and posting, but that should all happen tomorrow night. She plans on trying to put out a new edition every two weeks over the summer. So, stay tuned for loads more great children's music coming your way!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Miami, Afton, Ada, Wetumka

These past two days have been great! Evalyn is really enjoying her performances of "Oklahoma Annie." Here's what she had to say about performing: "I love it, love it, love it!" And her song has been one of the most mentioned as a favorite after the show, by kids and adults.

We all enjoyed visiting a couple of favorite places: the Miami library (see the photo) and the Ada library. We've been to each more times than we can count, and it was great to see all the familiar faces once again! Evalyn particularly loves the children's corner at Miami, which is painted with a scene of McGreagor's garden from the Peter Rabbit books. She gave all the little characters names and put them in a her own story in which she floated down a flooded stream on the back of a giant ladybug.

We also got to visit two new places: Afton and Wetumka. Lisa made the observation today that here in our seventeenth summer of traveling the state, we were still finding ourselves on a highway or two we'd never driven down before. Pretty cool! Both of these were small libraries where I performed among the shelves to small groups of kids and parents without the sound system. Both shows went really well; both groups were full of sharp kids and great participators. Evalyn seemed to have a lot of fun running around with a couple of boys who were hanging out at the library in Wetumka before the show.

In anticipation of the seventh and last Harry Potter book that's coming out later this summer, we've been passing the hours in the car reading to Evalyn. We're on book five right now, The Order of the Phoenix. We've been very impressed with how well she follows the stories. It's great to see her mind at work, asking questions and speculating about what's to come.

Speaking of what's to come: We get a break from the road tomorrow, but next week it's nine shows over five days, then two more four-day weeks in a row. I think the toughest part about this week for Evalyn was not having her regular play time with toys or friends. But overall she's been very happy, so hopefully this will continue to be fun for her!

See you at the library!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Evalyn Steals the Show

Here are Evalyn and I this morning at the library in Fort Gibson, singing "Oklahoma Annie." We now have four performances together under our belts. Even though Daddy left the doohickey at home that connects Evalyn's microphone to the sound system, all the shows have gone great, and "Oklahoma Annie" has been a highlight. Evalyn sings her part out strong and clear, and the audience stays very quiet so they can hear her (maybe no microphone is a GOOD idea?).

After arriving home from Checotah this evening, it was bring in the bags, log sales in on the computer and restock the CD case, check email, print maps for tomorrow, get Evalyn in bed and read to, and now do this - oh, yes, grab the doohickey that connects Evalyn's mic to the sound system and throw it in the car - then it'll be off to Miami first thing in the early morning! I'd better get some zzzzzzzzz.........

Monday, June 04, 2007

Dispatch From the Road - Tahlequah

We are in Tahlequah, and we did two shows today at the library. The crowds were great; the room was full both times and the kids participated and listened very well.

Daddy (me) messed up and left behind the little doohickey that connects Evalyn's microphone into the sound system. So she had to sing her parts in "Oklahoma Annie" without benefit of amplification. That maybe was a good thing, because the room got very quiet for that song in order to hear her well.

Evalyn did a fantastic job singing. She says it was fun and exciting to sing for the crowd. She compared it to going to a birthday party because it was fun and special. What a trooper!

I wanted to post a photo or video clip, but we don't have the doohickey that connects the camcorder to the computer! Have you noticed we are suffering a shortage of doohickeys around here?

Well, we'll get to it soon. See you at the library!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Oklahoma Annie

We've been preparing all day for our first trip out on the summer library tour as a family tomorrow. We'll be heading for Tahlequah early in the morning, then to Ft. Gibson and Checotah the next day, and back home.

Evalyn is wanting to perform the song we wrote together, "Oklahoma Annie," with me on stage. I'm really looking forward to that!

Last year she performed "Hummingbird Hum" with me several times. She was five then, and rather unpredictable on stage. Now that she's six, we've asked for a certain degree of professionalism from her. We just want to know she isn't going to lie down on the floor in the middle of the song, or start swinging the mic around or doing anything distracting to draw kids' attention away from the song.

So we've been rehearsing, and I told her we had to get through it twice with no mistakes before she could perform with me at a program. We managed that today, although she was reluctant to take it seriously. (It did not help that she had a sleep over last night and came home exhausted!) It did help to let her know that it's OK with me if she DOESN'T choose to rehearse and perform.

I think our number together should go really well tomorrow. Evalyn wanted to use the actual "Oklahoma Annie" - a toy - on stage, and once we worked out some choreography for her to do with the horse, that's when she really started getting into it more. It'll be very cute, if we can pull it off!!

Any other performers out there who work with your own kids? Feel free to post some good advice!!

See you at the library!