Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Lights on Jeater Bend in Celebration, Florida, December 12

It was 12-12-12 but I hardly knew it.  I woke up bright and early and left my room at La Quinta and headed for Celebration, FL...the town that Disney built.  It's a beautiful little town where my host, Calvin Slater, had arranged for me to do two assemblies at the elementary school. I was greeted by Mrs. Cassano, the Assistant Principal, and she was just a joy to work with.  What a wonderful and fun lady who immediately made me feel like a welcomed guest.  The first assembly was Reading Our Way Across the USA for K-2 at 9:30 am.  I was really thrilled by how responsive the kids were and I just got a great feeling as we were going along that all was going really well. The second assembly was Judy Pancoast Speaks Out on Bullying, for 3-5 graders, in the afternoon.    That assembly is the one I feel the most strongly about, because after a half hour of music I get down to the nitty gritty and tell the kids a story about a girl who was teased and bullied from a very young age.  Their reactions are always interesting as I tell the true story of some of the rotten things that were done to this girl, but I love to see the looks on their faces when, toward the end, they figure out that the girl I'm talking about is me.  It's a great program, if I do say so myself, with a positive message for all kids. I wish more schools would book it, because telling my story, if it helps other kids to feel more positive about their lives, is my way of making lemonade out of lemons.
Anyway, Calvin met me at the school and attended the first assembly, and we met later for lunch at the Celebration Town Tavern.  He told me about all the many things he'd done to prepare for the concert, including arranging for the student jazz band to join me for a couple of numbers that night, which sounded like a lot of fun.
The forecast was for rain that day, but the morning had been fine so far.  However, after the second assembly, when I went to check in to the Celebration Hotel, a torrential DOWNPOUR broke through!  It only lasted a little while, however, and things were okay for the concert that night.
Calvin and his neighbors had collaborated on decorating, and as their houses are all pretty close together, I sang on the front porch of one of them.  The street was closed off and the kids from the Celebration Jazz Band were set up on the sidewalk. They played three songs before my concert began and they were great. Then I did my thing.
There was a big crowd...I think many of them were friends and relatives of the kids in the band..and they were great. More dancing in the street, more wonderful looks on the faces of the children. And, of course, singing at these houses gives me the best concert sets anyone could hope for.  But the highlight for me was, once again, when I did "Candy."  When I asked for someone with a "great big deep manly-man voice" several girls from the band practically shoved this one kid named Kevin on stage. He was a riot.  Not only did he do a great job on the "oh yeahs", but his dancing was fantastic! Plus, four or five of the girls from the band got up and danced with him. It was really entertaining and lots of fun for me to be a part of.  Later, Calvin told me that the band director said the young man was typically very shy and soft-spoken, and that he shocked everyone that night with his performance.  Honestly, I would never have though he was shy!
I was happy to see some of my friends in the audience....Lori and Paul..thank you so much for coming! I'm sorry we didn't get to visit this time as we did a couple of years ago. Regina, thank you for making the was really great for me that you enjoyed the concert.  And Ron Lister, another decorator from the area, came over and it was really a treat to see him again, especially since he was wearing his tour tee shirt from 2010!  Thanks, Ron!!  And thanks also for pitching in to help me get my gear packed up.
After the concert, Calvin introduced me to his next door neighbor,Brad, who was one of the members of the 90's band LFO.   Philip and I had taken the girls to the "All That Music and More" Festival concert tour show when they were the headliners, and I told Brad, who was very congenial, that story. Then, like a moron, I turned to his little girl and jokingly said, "Does Chinese food make you sick?" which was one of the lines of their signature song, "Summer Girls."  She just said, "What????"  and her Dad laughed. But I felt ridiculous for doing something so foolish on the spur of the moment, so I gave her a CD.    As it turned out, she had been in the group of students for the first assembly that day, and her Mom said she had come home talking about the concert, so I hope she liked the CD!
Calvin, all of your hard work paid off. It was a great concert, the lighting was super, performing with the band was fun and I think everyone had a great time. My only regret is that I left my cell phone charging in the hotel room so did not get any pictures of Calvin's display. 
Calvin, I think it is safe to say that all of your hard work paid off with a good time for all and a lot of fun for me in Celebration. Thank you so very much!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Judy for a fantastic concert. We had a great time!
    Celebration School loved having you and the teachers said the children were singing your songs from the assembly all the way back to their rooms.
    Come back anytime!