Thursday, September 20, 2007

Free Song / New Podcast Site!

Man, I've been working hard on this all week, and here it is!!

My new song, "1907", is now available as a free download.

Not only that, I've moved my podcast to a new location and posted a new edition about the making of the song.

You can find it all here: Monty Harper Songcast

"1907" is a musical celebration of Oklahoma's statehood! Download it, share it with your friends, and celebrate!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Meet "Brownie," Evalyn's classroom bear! Brownie gets to go home with a different first grader every day. Today was Evalyn's first day to bring home Brownie, and she was excited! We read all about his previous adventures in Brownie's journal. Evalyn will add her own page to the journal tomorrow morning. What a great way to motivate kids to read and write!

I also got to visit Evalyn's classroom for the first time today to sing for the kids. I brought a new song to try out, but the kids who knew me from last year were all hyped up wanting to hear their favorites, so we just did an all requests session. Evalyn and I also took the opportunity to rehearse "Oklahoma Annie" for the Children's Music Network conference in NY, where we plan to perform it at the big round robin.

Boy are we swamped! Lisa got the last of round two CMW Award judging packets mailed off - yeah! Now we're working on a garage sale (will we have it or will we chicken out?) and preparing for the big trip to New York. I'm also securing some bookings, recording "1907" (coming along nicely - watch for it soon!), and preparing for Friday's gig at Crosstimbers Elementary in Edmond, among many other little things.

Life is full. That's a good thing!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Oklahoma School for the Blind

What a show today at the Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee!

This was their big Centennial celebration, with a day's worth of activities planned. All the kids and teachers were dressed in period costume, as you can see, with authentic hand-sewn bonnets! The lady in the fabulous purple hat is the librarian, Sandi Hilbern. She was my host, and she and the kids made me feel like a star. The kids had learned my songs, and they sang and participated with gusto. After the program they went outside to reenact the land run.

Many thanks to my friend Sara Dunlap who took these photos!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Recording Stephanie Jackson at The Music Group

Wow, I had a fun afternoon! I was at The Music Group in Edmond for a recording session with guitarist Stephanie Jackson. She recorded arrangements for two of my songs, "1907," and another one I'll tell you about later.

I enjoyed being the producer! All I had to do was throw in an opinion now and again. It was amazing to sit back watch Stephanie and the engineer, LG, working together on my tracks. They've worked together a lot; in fact Stephanie is in the middle of recording a Latin music CD with him right now.

LG's fingers flew over the computer keyboard, editing, playing back, and recording, while Stephanie's fingers flew over the guitar frets, playing the heck out of my music! They communicated with half sentences, hand gestures, numbers, and I suspect psychic wavelengths. The room was filled with fragments of music as for a solid hour they made improvements upon the original basic recording. Their concentration and focus was palpable. I contributed the occasional "sounds good," or "the first way," or "can I hear that again?" but mostly I just watched and listened.

In the end all those little bits of music fit together to make a seamless whole. It was very cool to watch.

Now I just need to add vocals and mix! (Sounds like a cake recipe or something, doesn't it?)

The first photo above, taken by LG, is me, Stephanie, and Evalyn's stuffed buddy "Bobbles." I think Evalyn was wishing she could be there, so she sent Bobbles as her proxy. The second photo shows Stephanie in the recording booth, with LG's reflection while he works the computer.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I couldn't resist sharing this photo with you of Evalyn with her parakeet, Cyan.

Not much going on today, but coming up: a recording session on Wednesday with Stephanie Jackson, who will be lending her tremendous guitar talent to a recording of my new song, "1907."

Also coming up, a program for the Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee Friday.

And this weekend we're planning a garage sale, which is where I've been lately - in the garage going through boxes and boxes of valuable junk.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Praise for CenTUNEial Celebration

I finally got around to compiling some of the comments I received from librarians and others about my "Oklahoma CenTUNEial Celebration" program this summer. This was a fun job!

A few of these were in my recent MontyNews letter. Here is the whole shebang.

Oh yes, and if you're interested in the program for your school, more information is on my website at

Now I'm off to bed, if I can just get my head through the door...


"The original Oklahoma songs were the best part about the program. The children were learning about Oklahoma history as they sang their hearts out. Many parents thanked me for booking such a great performer."
- Patty Young, Youth Services Librarian, Mustang Public Library

"The best thing about the program? It's hard to pick one best thing. I loved EVERYTHING including your rapport with the variety of age groups we had attend. LOVED LOVED LOVED IT!!!"
- Darbie LaFontain, Youth Services Director, Duncan Public Library

"I thought the program was fantastic! I liked how your songs had good fun child-friendly information for Oklahoma's Centennial. Thank you for all the research you put into your program."
- Marge Davis, Children's Library Associate, Tulsa City County Library System

"The songs were delightful. The kids were engaged and entertained. The centennial theme was right on! It's clear Monty has had lots of experience...the program flowed smoothly and he was able to adapt to our small program room. Children of all ages had good things to say and talked about their favorite songs, and about Monty's sneakers. You can't go wrong booking Monty Harper for the elementary school age group!"
- Rhonda Turley, Librarian, Piedmont Public Library

"Monty has great rapport with children. We received very positive feedback. It was fun!"
- Chris Buller, Library Director, Hesston Public Library

"Monty had the kids and their parents in the palm of his hand! They were totally engaged.
He does a fantastic interactive program with songs about books, reading & libraries and it's a crowd favorite. Folks left the program happy & enthusiastic and pleased that we brought him to El Dorado. I definitely want to have him back again."
- Karen Kolavalli, Youth Services Director, Bradford Memorial Library, El Dorado, KS

"Monty has a real gift for writing songs that grip kids imagination. They always love it when he comes to our library. I think his program is as near perfect as any we schedule. Monty has a real love of children and it shows in his songs and his performances. They always, always give us positive feedback. That's why we've been having him every year for 17 years. You can't beat him for a program that appeals, especially for 6- to 10 year-olds. They love to participate and I hear them singing his songs when they leave. Monty and Lisa are super easy to work with, very professional - I can't say enough nice things about them!"
- Sue Busch, Lib II/Children's Services, Stillwater Public Library

"Oklahoma Summer Reading theme was well incorporated. New songs are appreciated.
A safe bet."
- Terri Crawford, Library Director, Watonga Public Library

"Monty is always a wonderful show for us and we get a great response from the community."
- Robin Mooney, Youth Services Coordinator, Tahlequah Public Library

"It was fun and the kids enjoyed being involved. Monty is enthusiastic and gets the kids enthused. He is talented and fun. I enjoyed him too."
- Mary E. Parker Mem. Library, Sulphur, OK

"Even with a room full of kids they participated and listened. Always a great show! The kids, especially the younger ones, love Monty!"
- Kathy Buzzard, Children's Librarian, Shawnee Library/Pioneer Lib. System

"Parents were very pleased with the show. The kids (especially the little ones) loved singing and dancing with you. Some of the kids that were very involved were the same ones that had trouble sitting for more than 15 minutes last week. Monty is worth the money and adults and children enjoy him."
- Sharon Bastel, Children's Librarian, Sapulpa Public Library

"Everyone loved having Monty - we are looking forward to him in 2008. Good music - good interacting with the kids and adults."
- Love County Library- Branch of CRLS, Marietta, OK

"The songs were so much fun. They fit the theme perfectly. The children also enjoyed the part that Monty's daughter played. They were all very attentive while she was singing. Everyone enjoyed and had fun!!! Monty is very professional and put on a great show."
- Alice Withrow, Branch Manager, 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. The kids all loved it and are still singing the Oklahoma Kids song. They liked having Evalyn perform. I could hear some of them singing to themselves later on. He may have inspired some future performers! Expect a great program with lots of audience participation."
- Beth Sherrill, Children's Librarian, Jim Lucas Checotah Public Library

"Educational and fun. The audience were all very impressed with Monty. Great entertainer, never a dull moment."
- Shirley Bambeck, Librarian/Branch Manager, Latimer County Public Library

"The kids knew Monty liked to write, sing and perform. The teachers and I were so impressed with his ability to change up songs as the kids questions arose. They are still trying to sing the songs. Parents commented that Monty was all they talked about that night. Monty is an engaging and highly participatory performer. His songs are about things kids wonder about and talk about."
- Lesa Ross, Media Specialist, Jenks Public Schools

"Monty's program incorporated Oklahoma facts and songs to go along with our centennial. Very positive, and enjoyable."
- Luetta White, elementary teacher, Dale School

"We had lots of interaction with the audience including moms and dads, and Monty allowed the children to request their favorites. Some of the parents that I saw the next week made a point of telling me how much they enjoyed the program. Monty is talented, very professional, and a library favorite."
- Janet Lee, Children's Librarian, Ada Public Library

Friday, September 07, 2007

MontyNews Moves to iContact

I finally finally sent out my MontyNews email newsletter this week! Why did it take so long? (I haven't sent one out since May 15!)

I decided it was becoming too much of a pain to maintain the mailing list myself, which is a good thing - it means I have lots of subscribers. So I researched all the various list services out there. I decided to go with iContact. They offer a dizzying array of features for a reasonable monthly fee.

I put in all the new subscribers I collected this summer, set up and transfered my mailing list, learned how to use the iContact html editor online, created a new sign-up form, and composed and formatted a newsletter.

I was able to retain all the features I liked about maintaining the list myself, such as the ability to send email to only certain subscribers based on where they live or what their interest is.

Plus, there are some new features that make the new MontyNews really cool, such as html formatting: I can include links and photos now! And my subscribers can change their own information whenever they want.

Not only that, I can log on and find out how many people opened their newsletter (only 21% so far!) AND how many people clicked on each link! Guess what the favorite link is so far? Evalyn Steals the Show!

Do you send out a newsletter too? You should check out iContact!

Does this sound like an ad? Well, in the interest of full disclosure, I do get a commission if you sign up through my link (another iContact perk). But I truly am excited about this. I wouldn't blog about it otherwise. It's a huge improvement over the way I was managing my newsletter!

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Here are some photos from our day at SeptemberFest on the governor's lawn.

Evalyn got to milk this cow. She was a very sweet cow.

Here is Evalyn with Governor Henry! Lisa and Evalyn stood in a long line around the Oklahoma shaped swimming pool to get a piece of centennial birthday cake and meet the governor (while I got ready to perform).

Evalyn posed with the CenTOONials. She was also interviewed by a TV reporter! (We don't know if her interview aired or not.)

Evalyn had her face painted by a clown. She was very philosophical about it when it came time to wash the butterfly off her face. The paint was temporary, she says, but the photo will last forever.

And here I am, performing my Oklahoma songs. It was a fun day!