If the mood is right at a public show, I will come across a kid who has a great idea for a song. It may be a song that only they know how it goes, but they are so passionate about it, I just can't let the moment pass. One of these beautiful and fun moments happened quite a few years ago. I was performing in the children's tent at a local fall festival. I had been performing there for a few years in a row and often families would come to visit each year, looking for The Music Lady.
This particular year, a group of children wanted to know if I knew any elephant songs. I told them the two I was familiar with and neither one of them sparked the interest of these creative kiddos. So I said, "How about if we write a song, right here, right now!" they were excited to give it a whirl. I asked my standard question. "Ok, we have an elephant, what is it going to do?" Somebody piped up with "The Elephant Went to Work" Okay, "How is it going to get there?" they answered "It will take the bus!". Another couple of quick questions and we were on our way. This little ditty, as many of these little ditty's, engaged the audience to great delight with everyone coming up with more and more things for the elephant to do while it was at work. As it turns out, this particular elephant was quite skilled in office work as I remember it answered the phone and sent a fax, among other things. A joyful cheer followed as we ended the song with a mighty round of the chorus, one more time. Then another kiddo would shout out an idea and we'd start up again. We were engaged, grown ups and kiddos in a beautiful 15 minutes of how this elephant went to work. We all left the tent that day satisfied to be in a creative space together, a shared moment.
When this happens, I usually carry it with me for a while. Sometimes it may work its way into a new song for me to share with other kiddos I visit regularly, sometimes it just lasts for as long as the song happened then with gently evaporate into the creative ether that surrounds us all. I was sure this song was another one that evaporated a few minutes after it left my heart happy. It didn't seem to have the legs to turn into a new song.
The following year, I was invited back to the same festival. Another beautiful September Sunday afternoon. As I started playing some songs, a familiar family showed up under the tent and asked if I could do the "Elephant Went to Work" song. I honestly had remembered the moment, but because an entire year had passed, I forgot the song. They did not! They started singing the chorus with gusto! I was overjoyed to join them and start the whole thing over again. Others joined us under the tent and had also remembered the moment from the year before. I couldn't believe they remembered it. I don't remember if someone video phoned the original or not, I don't think so, because it was before that technology was in everyone's hand. Needless to say, we enjoyed new adventures with our elephant friend. It was one of those moments and helped me feel I was in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.
Since then, I tried to revive the "Elephant Went To Work" Song, but it didn't seem to have the same energy and excitement as it did under the tent on the beautiful September Sunday those two years in a row. I will never forget the moment and how much it touched my heart that the kids returned, a year older, with another year of experiences under their belt, just wanting to recapture some of that magic that making music together can bring. I'm grateful to be a part of that moment.