Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Swim Like a Child!

(This is me serenading the youth of Salina.)

The Hiccups and I performed at the Smoky Hill River Festival in Salina, KS, last weekend. It's a fabulous festival with world-class music (and us) and stunning art work from around the U.S. Very well-run event and a load of fun.

I met two guys from a band from Uganda at the hotel pool. One of them had never been swimming before, and he was bobbing around like a little kid -- splashing and laughing.

He said, "I have always seen pictures of people in swimming pools with smiles on their faces. Now, I know why. This is so wonderful -- better than I had imagined!"

Such child-like joy from an adult is priceless and contagious! It reminds me to keep living on wonder.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Jiggle Jam 2010

The following is an excerpt from a note that my beautiful bride Jeni posted on Facebook about Jiggle Jam 2010. We're still basking in the glow of an amazing weekend. She summed it up quite welll...

"The day after Jiggle Jam was over, Jim and I took our daughters, Lyda and Willa back to Crown Center to play in the fountains. “Where did Jiggle Jam go,” Willa asked.

Jiggle Jam had come and gone. There was scarcely a sign that it had even been there at all. The tents were gone. Decorations and trash had all been removed. Not even a sign of confetti could be found near the stage!

I can confidently speak for all of the Jiggle Jam organizers on this one - Our third year of Jiggle Jam blew us all away. We witnessed so many beautiful things that inspired us to keep this thing going. We provided the environment for a rockin’ festival experience. All four different stages were filled with opportunities for audience participation. We saw so many families playing instruments, singing on stage and showing off their dance moves. But, it truly is the families and musicians who bring the atmosphere to life.

I personally had many moments of “goose bumps.” The first stage most people saw was our Workshop Stage (dedicated to Bongo Barry). Barry’s dear friend, Brandon Draper kicked off the festival with a drum circle. I could hear the pounding all the way from the Jam Stage. I knew we were off to a great start. Barry would have loved it!

Then I knew we had done something right when our biggest crowd sang along to "ABC Gospel" with
Choo Choo Soul. My favorite moment was dancing with Genevieve, DC and JJ board member, Amy Hilbrich Davis on stage with our kids during "Do Your Own Dance."

My face hurt from smiling during DC’s “Break-Dancing / Beat Box Workshop” on the Jiggle Stage. Not only are Genevieve and DC fabulous performers, you could tell they were genuinely having just as much fun as the children and adults. That energy spilled out into the audience. Moms, dads and children were inspired to bust a move in the middle of the dance floor.

StoneLion Puppets and Martin City Melodrama gave kids had the chance to be part of the puppetry and theater experience. The Jazz Storytellers exposed children to the sights, sounds and instruments that create jazz music. Terrance Simien and The Zydeco Experience allowed dozens of children to show off their love for Zydeco music during their performance (and almost everyone caught some groovy beads). Richard Renner helped spread humor and laughter to everyone he saw, either through the eyes of his Robot, or from up high on stilts.

As always,
Jim Cosgrove & The Hiccups got dozens of kids and parents up on stage to play percussion instruments during all three of their sets. Ralph’s World literally invited the entire audience up on the stage. Ralph has a great following in Kansas City. We had to close off the stage it was so full! The Sugar Free Allstars taught children some classic 70’s moves during “Disco Dance Party.” While The Jimmies got a cool mosh pit going during their beach ball extravaganza for “Cool To Be Uncool.” (one of our favorite songs.) Secret Agent 23 Skiddo, along with his lovely wife, daughter and amazing band members demonstrated how Hip Hop is a family celebration. Kansas City fell in love with this group.

Moms and dads enjoyed classic 80’s tunes during The Zeros’ flashback set, while hundreds of children were invited on stage during the show to have their hair styled in New Wave fashion! The Zeros’ concert was complete with confetti guns, bubbles and beach balls!

Everyone could see, feel and hear the sense of love and community among Kansas City families and musicians during Jim’s tribute to Bongo Barry. Special thanks to Funky Mama, The Doo-Dads, Dino O’Dell, Brandon Draper, Pat Conway, Dean Ottinger, Ernest James, Tim Whitmer and The La La’s for joining Jim Cosgrove & The Hiccups during “Bright Light” and Bongo Barry’s family-friendly version of “Kansas City.”

One of the best interactive additions this year was the
Garage Band Tent. It was a huge hit thanks to Keli and John Wenzel, Tye Murpy, and Pat Redd (Funky Munky Music). Imagine a tent set up like "Wayne's World," complete with keyboards, drums, guitars and even cow bells! Families and entertainers came in, plopped down on the couch and jammed to classic rock. Hundreds of children found that spark and discovered they CAN play an instrument!

It’s so beautiful to see a shared vision come to life and grow. Teams of volunteers and staff put in a lot of sweat and love to make this happen. Dave and Angee Simmons take great care of our staff and entertainers in one of the best hospitality rooms around! Amy Hilbrich Davis recruits her army of SEVEN children and darling husband to work the fest. Dan, Linda, Hanna, Amy, Erin Cosgrove make managing all three gates a family affair. The Cosgrove and Davis families define the true meaning of volunteerism!

Jiggle Jam is a family festival, created by families. And yet it’s a great challenge to experience it with our own children. None of us could do this without the help of friends and family who tend to our children while we work hard to make the festival run smoothly. Jim and I have
Mimi and Papa to thank. Plus, everyone can always count on my mom to provide Mimi’s Lollipops in the green room.

This note could go on and on if I continue to attempt to thank EVERYONE who makes Jiggle Jam possible. But, the glue that holds all of this together comes from our fabulous Board of Directors and Volunteers.
BIG THANKS TO: Keli "Super Glue" O'Neill Wenzel, Julie O'Neill, Pat O'Neill, Jennifer O’Neil, Jessica "Wonder Woman" Julich, Laren Mahoney, Shawn Sullivan Warner, Chris Campbell, Kate Migneron, Candy Tai, Barney "Bubble Machine" Walsh, Kate Migneron, Jana Soper, Paula Busser, Jeremy Roush, Jan Cichello, Kathy McGuire, Julie Beggren, Dan Leasure, Brendan Whisenant, and the entire security and cleaning crew at Crown Center for making the Jiggle Jam Family Experience everything it has become! I am ready for 2011!!!!