All Da' People Sing Together

Upon my arrival at Birkdale this morning, I was surprised to see a line up of families outside the Family Resource Centre. They were waiting for the centre to open at 9:30 am and judging by the hugs and hellos, were very excited about starting class. YES! My friend and shelter worker Anne Marie made an announcement over the P.A. system, and as I set up and tuned my guitar, several familiar faces strolled into the room. The best part?!? LOTS of moms!! Woo!! We started by counting our fingers and chanted "I Have Ten Little Fingers". I decided to try a new song called "Two Bad Ants" and it went over really well with this group. Each verse was different (soft, LOUD, s l o w, and fast) and resulted in quite the giggle-fest. We then took both the left and right hands for the tune Some Like It Hot (clearly a favourite for this group...I hadn't done it in a few weeks). We cleaned up our porridgy mess with Bath Time and then woke up all our body parts with I Wake Up My Hands and If You're Happy And Your Know It. Taking the hands 'round and 'round, we sang Roly Poly, which led perfectly into 'Roll The Ball'. Making sure to get some movement into the body, we stood up and hopped all aboard the Rainbow Song train (I've Been Working On The Railroad). This time I decided to use the entire room, weaving the train around various tables and chairs. The group was quite focused today and this was a challenge they could meet while singing loudly and moving around at the same time. We sat down in a circle and I brought out the IOTW. The CLAVES!

I told the group that the train had taken us all the way to CUBA where the CLAVES are originally from. I taught them the 5 beat clave rhythm and corresponding song All De' Nations. Because this song requires a lot of interaction, I focused on the grownups, asking them each to think of a warm place where bananas grow. Each grownup had their own verse and here I saw something wonderful happen. Each woman seemed to have a twinkle in their eye when they yelled out "Antigua", "Zimbabwe" etc. Then some excitedly began telling stories or singing melodies about where they were from. It was amazing to see the connection that was forming between them and their children as they were singing a song that they felt a apart of. It is a little hard to explain, but I am sure you can picture the group as I see them: 12 moms sitting together, laughing and singing with their children, kissing them, holding them and using the hands to keep the tricky beat. We were very successful with this, so when I asked them to change the lyric to "All De' Children Like Bananas", it was a piece of cake! We went all the way around the circle, making sure each child had their own verse. I will definitely be repeating this song for the next several weeks (along with Some Like It Hot).

We took the Jam to Jamaica and sang "Jamaica Farewell". I showed them how to use the maracas on the additional lyric "forward, back, back", encouraging a little bit of rhythmic imitation, and was surprised to see that not many people knew the again, this song will be repeated next week. We ended with the parachute and unfortunately two children started to cry (knowing that class was coming to an end), and even though I didn't want them to cry, I was happy to know that this is something they look forward to each week. And I must not lie, I ALWAYS go over in terms of time (maybe by about 10 minutes or so) because, I too, am having WAY too good of a time to stop! Until next week...