Music and Merriment: A Sing-Along with Jim Gill

Enveloped in a tapestry of melodies, our Musician-in-Residence week kicked off with a radiant mini-concert by the spirited Jim Gill. Streaming in from his home in Chicago, Jim, a virtuoso of the banjo and zither, ignited the classroom with a vivacious energy, painting the air with the hues of exuberance and joy that only music can evoke in the young.

Jim Gill, a maestro with a deep understanding of child development, has dedicated over two decades to crafting delightful finger games, infectious clap-alongs, whimsical dances and clever rhyming jokes—all designed to enthrall children and families with the magic of music. His seven acclaimed recordings and two charming picture books, A Soup Opera and May There Always Be Sunshine, bear testament to his artistic brilliance, and he graciously shares these creations with symphony orchestras.

As the notes of Jim’s compositions resonated through the room, our students eagerly embraced the opportunity to wiggle and dance up a storm during his captivating sing-along. Fingers danced in rhythmic delight, performing the Whoop-de-doo and the Snips Galore, adding a playful layer to the crowd favorite “One from the Left.” Enthusiastically acting out the whimsical lyrics of “My Ups and Downs,” they created a lively spectacle, embodying the essence of the song’s humor and charm.

Guided by Jim’s belief that young minds grasp the beauty of music when immersed in playful participation, the students embarked on a delightful finger jig to Beethoven’s Fifth. The air was filled with a stately “The time has come, show me your thumb,” initiating a harmonious collaboration of music and merriment. In the enchanting realm of “Face the Facts,” the children joyfully mimicked swimming arms, scissor legs and binocular eyes—peering, peeking, scanning, seeking needles in haystacks.

During the crescendo of “Oh Hey, Oh Hi, Hello,” the students explored the myriad ways to express the lyrics, from a hushed rendition in a library to a boisterous chorus in a lively crowd, culminating in an out-of-tune serenade beneath a big, luminous moon. The profound sense of connection children discover through music radiated brightly throughout the concert—a testament to the universal language that unites hearts and minds.

For this rollicking, jubilant performance, we extend our deepest gratitude to Jim Gill for graciously sharing the magic of his music with us. As the final notes linger in our memories, we reflect on the lasting impact of this musical interlude, etched in the hearts of our young audience.