Wednesday, July 16, 2014


   It's "Miss Carole" Stephens - having so much fun with my work, I’m taking a break from sharing music and movement activities on my blog this month.  Don’t worry – I’ll have some great Macaroni Soup music ideas to go back to school with on my August 16th blog!
Everyone wants to add something to the Alligator Pie!
   But first I have to add on to Deb Chitwood’s excellent Alligator Activities blog from yesterday.  Ya gotta sing “Alligator Pie” – or chant the original poem by Dennis Lee from whence it came!  I recorded it years ago on my H.U.M. – HighlyUsable Music cd.  It’s still a favorite in early childhood through 2nd grade classrooms wherever I go.  It’s so much fun – and all about rhyming!  You can make up words to fit the rhyme – the kids singing with me put “pizza” in the song, then had to top it with “cheetza” and “meatza!”  I heard “Alligator Pie” first at a Children’s Music Network Song Swap from a wonderful singer named Judy.  Been singing it ever since!
Basic lyric:
Alligator pie, alligator pie
If I don’t get some, I think I’m gonna die (or cry!)
Give away the green grass, give away the sky
But don’t give away my alligator pie!
   To hear the song, click HERE!

    Now, back to my JULY 2014 blog topic: What I Did This Summer.  I spend the school year with early childhood kids – in their classrooms, in concerts – and with their teachers in workshops all over the USA.  In the Summer I change hats and work with children who are in K through 6th grades during two theater camps here in Illinois.
    Producing and directing a musical is very hard work – but fun and rewarding, too!  I emphasize PROCESS over PRODUCT, though the show is always entertaining!   I have assistants ranging in age from 17 – 24 who bring a wealth of experience to our camp.  I have live piano accompaniment – no tracks!  I believe it’s important for the students to experience live music played at tempos they can handle easily.  
Learning choreography takes concentration, listening and observing!
    My first camp has 30 children, ages 5-10.  In twelve 2-hour classes they go through an age-appropriate audition process, paint set backdrops, make costumes and learn the songs and dances for a 25-minute show.  Every child has lines, every child sings and dances, and we’re ALL sad when Theater Stories and Songs ends each June.  
    The pictures here are from this year’s production, “This Old Gingerbread House”, by Teresa Jennings. 

Kids loved painting the house!

Ready and waiting for an audience of relatives and friends!
There were squirrels, rabbits, birds and a bear, as well as a TV crew, Hansel and Gretel, and famous TV chef Julia Wild!  It was such fun - everyone can't wait for next year!

    Summer Stock – the second theater camp also has thirty students, ages 8-12.  Our show is “A Kid’s Life” by John Jacobson and Mac Huff.  
Right now we’re blocking, learning the songs and choreography and getting started on set decorations.  Yesterday we took a Field Trip to see a professional production of “Little Red Riding Hood” in suburban Chicago.  My students ooze energy and enthusiasm, and that makes me a Happy Camper!
Rehearse, then do it again!

Everyone sings, dances and learns about the theatrical experience.
   Oh, I’m still doing workshops with teachers (heading for Muskogee, OK and River Forest and Lincolnshire, IL in August.)  AND concerts with Families – Libertyville and Lake Zurich, IL at the end of this month.  AND I’m working on a new recording, hopefully for a Fall 2014 release. 
    Summer VACATION?  Right!  I just have too much fun working to take too much time off!  Need a concert or in-service in the coming year for your school, library, church or community?  Contact me!
    Enjoy your Summer, be it busy, relaxing, exciting, quiet – whatever fits your fancy!  Please take time to enjoy some music – sing, listen, or get up and dance!  Let music lift your spirits!
Come sing and dance with Miss Carole and Clarence!

Yours for a Summer Song!
“Miss Carole” Stephens

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