Tuesday, October 22, 2013

During my years as a volunteer at the Runge Nature Center I worked with Jan & George Syrigos, who were MDC naturalists at that point. Along with their other naturalist duties they wrote and performed fun music and recorded their Critter Rock CD. Since then they have taken their tour on the road and become full time nature-loving musicians. You can check out their website here.

Naturally (no pun intended...), we have a Critter Rock DVD in our video collection. And the kids love it. So when I ran into the Syrigos family again at a home-school conference and found out they were going to be making an appearance at the Springfield Nature Center.... let's just say the kids were pretty stoked. Amelia especially. The children spent many preparatory hours trying to memorize all the lyrics on Critter Rock. Favorite songs seemed to be "Hairy, Not Scary" and "Reptile Rap".

Concert night came, the kids were almost shivering with excitement. We met Clay in town and started the night with some authentic Mexican food. The kids ate well, despite the almost incessant questions of: "Is it time to go to the nature center yet?". Finally, it was time....

After warming up by dancing to a few songs in their seats the kids were finally brave enough to join the on-stage group. Actually Amelia was the instigator. William and Margaret hung back nervously and only made a move when prompted by their little sister, who was absolutely dying to get up there. William made it through one song and then voted to stay back with us again. But Margaret and Amelia stayed on the stage for the rest of the night. Party animals.

At Runge we often incoporated the "critter rock" songs into our interpretive programs. I distinctly remember wearing a bat cape while leading an auditorium full of 3rd graders in "Hairy, Not Scary". Ah, the golden years. There's something so satisfying about seeing the next generation initiated.


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