Actually, its pretty easy to get kids to be excited about Christmas. Just show up, set up and the rest simply takes care of itself.
The smiles are everywhere; on each and every face. Even our “musical expertise” can’t damper their spirits during this amazing time of year.
On Monday of last week, Carl and I fired up the O’l “Bob-and-Carl-Mobile”, and headed out to Garden City to begin our holiday music tour.
The inaugural show is always a bit clunky to us; as it is the very first show out of the gate, and lacks much of the polish and smoothness that we find after the first few shows are over.
No matter; those kids love it just as much as all of the other kids. There are screams, bright faces and smiles as far as the eye can see. We are always just more self-conscious, because we don’t have everything “down” yet. While we might not think that the music is up to our standards that first show, the excitement level is always off the charts.
Seeing those kids watch in amazement as all of our props and lights burst fourth, always keeps us on our toes, and brings is joy.
We love playing music all year round. We love playing at the many wonderful venues that we are lucky enough to be associated with. We enjoy entertaining their customers, regulars, staff as well as all the patrons.
But most of all, we love playing for the children at Christmas. There is something that is way more gratifying than anything else we ever do. It might be the very first time that kids are exposed to live music being played. (Well, mostly live).
These are the shows we truly love.
These are the very best of the very best shows that we do all year round. We enjoy playing for the kids knowing whatever we do for them, stays with them for the entire year.
In 2017, we began with the Garden City show, and then had a day off to work out some of the timing issues.
Garden city works so well for us, as the atmosphere is calm and laid-back while we set up and get ready for the show. We have a lot going on in our heads, that first one, since we have no idea really how the timing is going to play out.
While watching, some time, think about all of the things that are going on, many of them at the very same time. Something has to keep us young. . . .
Wednesday was next up. We arrived after lunch at Emerson Elementary, and began setting up for the show.
We started right on time to the delight of the huge crowd filling the gym-a-torium. Helping us capture the show was budding photographer, Isabella.
The gym was filled with cheers, screams and song. Just the way we like it.
The new show elements were a big hit, as we had hoped they would be. 2017 had one tight running show, that was for sure. Carl moves pretty fast, and tries to get as many kids involved as he can. Each element has as many participants as we can manage during our slam-bang hour tour.
Santa was this years’ focus, as the old guy and his red suit has taken a back seat to a lot of pretenders over the last several years.
Thursday morning found us at Twain Elementary, in frigid Fraser Michigan. Playing to our second new principal in as many years, we were delighted to bring the holiday extravaganza back to Twain. She stepped right in and helped everyone share in the fun.
So many people, parents, staff and kids have witnessed our show over the last twenty years; but Carl and I always wonder what it must be like to see the show for the very first time. Crazy is the word that mostly comes to mind!
Moving on from the triumphant show at Twain, it was time to unload at Eisenhower. The principal at Ike is one of our great friends, and so this show had better be hitting on all cylinders!
Oh, oh, the principal was out sick. We’ll still do a good show anyway. (why not, after all, we’re the consummate professionals!) ((riggggght))
The Eisenhower show had everyone singing along, right from the very beginning. Its almost as if they were waiting to sing form last year!
The schools crazy big, and the gym was crazy small. Carl always works hard during these shows. I’ll bet that he runs ten miles during every Holiday Extravaganza.
Before we knew it, Friday was upon us, and time for the last two shows of the year. So happy, but so sad.
By this point, the show had each and every bug worked out of it. It is tight, smooth and running at a very high level. We know where the breaks are, the lulls and the laughs. We know which direction they are looking, why they are screaming, and just what they want to be picked for.
Friday morning found us at Disney elementary. Disney is the longest continuing running stop on our Holiday tour. We have played here on Friday morning, since it became a Fraser tradition, way back in 2001.
The staff, principal, parents, kids and even PTO people join in as one to make it the jewel in the entire holiday lineup.
The only tough part about the Disney show is the fact that we need to push them to begin a wee bit early, as well as excuse ourselves from the post-show afterglow because we have to be setup and ready to go at a completely different school in less than one hour.
Its a pretty neat trick. One that I wouldn’t advise any band or entertainer to try at home.
We finished the show at 10:00, and were packed up and heading to Salk at twenty minutes after. All we had to do was to load everything in the van, drive to the new school and unload everything, before setting it up in place.
Miraculously, we were ready to play at 10:40.
The Salk show this year was our last show of the season. Time to pull out all of the stops’ and let our musical hair down, so to speak.
We put in all of the songs and all of the bits. The response was everything that we could have hoped for.
In the end, all of the teachers danced and paraded throughout the gym, as they have in years past; excited that school was ultimately over until next year.
Speaking of next year . . .
Carl and his Bob and Carl Holiday Extravaganza Event Planning Team will have about eleven months to think up a bunch of new and amazing bits to entertain, enthrall and enlighten kids with, next year at this same time.
Until then . . .
We’re tired, horse, sore and most of all very, very contented with the show we brought to thousands of wonderful kids this year.
Each stop on the Holiday tour is one of a kind. Each different and amazing for one reason or another. We wish to thank all of the staff and the children for allowing us to entertain again at their school.
We hope to bring an even bigger and better show back again next year. That is our promise!