The boys and I continued our June 30 "two-for-Thursday" music trek after stopping by my office for a bathroom break, visit with Grandpa, some much-needed air conditioning, and a lunch stop.
We headed for the subway and arrived at Union Square Park in plenty of time for Joanie Leeds' afternoon set for "Summer in the Square," courtesy of PJ Library and the 14th Street Y. With the temperatures starting to rise (settling in the low 80s), I directed the kids to a park bench in the shade and handed them bottles of water. "When are we going?" they asked every few minutes. But I made them tough out 15 minutes of inactivity to recharge their batteries.
The 30-minute performance included Joanie singing a number of acoustic songs (in English and Hebrew, which surprised many in the multi-ethnic crowd) and a PJ Library storytime led by Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein of "Baxter, The Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher." The audience skewed heavily towards 5-and-under (naturally, since teens don't normally gravitate towards these activities). But they were engaged and enthusiastic and got more into the "jumping and motioning" after the reading, when it's usually the opposite.
There were a number of Y and PJ Library staffers on hand to sing the Jewish choruses along with Joanie and Rabbi Epstein. You can see in the videos that some of the kids made attempts to join in. Music truly does smooth over cultural differences, as we saw earlier in the day with Father Goose and his Jamaican and Island-tinged tunes.
Later that night, rather than ask about upcoming concerts, Matthew informed me that our next music outings are Recess Monkey (July 17 in Yonkers) and Kidstock on Long Island (August 21 in Port Washington). I explained that I shot many videos from the two Thursday shows to create a "summer concert" DVD for him and his older brother. "Good," he replied, yawning. "Maybe you will film five Recess Monkey songs." Don't rush me, kid.
The "Summer in the Square" program continues throughout July on Thursdays at 2 pm (Joanie returns on 7/7).