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Working with children is always rewarding. My students and choir members are important parts of who I am and I am always proud of them. I could not be more proud of them than I am right now.

I just received a pre-release shipment of LOVE for the kids from Mr. Monowa. My own two choir members opened them with pride and we are listening right now. I guess there IS an advantage to being the director’s kids.

Last spring I went on a search for songs for our school theme of “water.” I asked my Facebook friends for help in finding songs by alternative bands. I wanted to find a band that was not mainstream, one that stayed in contact with their fans, one that might actually listen to my request to cover their song, and one that played concerts in our area. It was my hope that the kids might get an opportunity to perform with such a band. I know that choir is cool, but kids, especially boys don’t always feel that way. One of the tasks I take seriously as a music teacher that has taught K-12 is to get girls AND boys hooked on singing so that they continue on in middle school, high school and beyond.

So my FB friends, including many of my former students from Park High School, gave me their suggestions. My nephew Michael Senzig had gotten me to listen to Cloud Cult once before on a trip we took together. He suggested we do “When Water Comes to Life.” I really liked it but didn’t feel comfortable with some of the text for Public School. But that got me looking at other songs by the band and we chose to cover “Chemicals Collide.”

I have had my general music students recreate the sounds of a rainstorm since I was a student teacher at Woodrow Wilson in Milwaukee (Thanks Rita Crannell). When I heard Chemicals Collide, I envisioned an audience generating those sounds as a lead in to Chemicals Collide which I saw as Hydrogen and Oxygen coming together to make H2O. I didn’t even know that Cloud Cult was an environmentally conscious band at the time.

Craig Minowa founded a non-profit called Earthology Institute and has worked to make the band carbon neutral even to the point of touring in an alternative energy vehicle. He and the band have also been huge supporters of local music programs. We were all blessed that Mr. Minowa gave us permission to cover his beautiful song. Like Earthology Institute on Facebook and you will receive very interesting posts about organic farming and living life in harmony. http://www.facebook.com/EarthologyInstitute?ref=ts&fref=ts

Here is AppleChor’s Cover of Chemical’s Collide with the Rainstorm intro.

AppleChor released the single of their cover on CD Baby. You can still support Red Apple Elemenatry’s music program by purchasing a copy here:

Song with Rainstorm Intro: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/applechor2
Song only: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/applechor3

The Band Cloud Cult is unique in a lot of ways. My favorite idiosyncrasy is that they have two artists as part of the band. Connie Minowa and Scott West paint while the band sings. After their concert in Chicago I asked Connie if I could steal her idea and she gave her blessing. I have been trying to contact local artists that might want to try live painting during our concert tentatively for May 26.

Craig Minowa’s music and lyrics can be very profound to completely silly. I would love to have the choir cover more of his stuff. Transistor Radio, When Water Comes to Life, Running with the Wolves and especially There’s So Much Energy In Us. I have become a huge fan of his work and especially respect him as a composer. The instrumental writing on their last album Light Chasers is phenomenal.

Cloud Cult is performing live in Madison on April 20 at 9 PM. I’d like to get a bus and go together with any parents and kids that can stay up that late. Their shows are family friendly and very entertaining. Depending on numbers it could be open to the general public. Comment below or email me at OurMusicalLife@ymail.com

Sorry to go on so long but this has been an incredible 9 months and I feel like I’ve just given birth.

Order the CD on the band’s Website: http://www.cloudcult.com/home.cfm

It is spectacular!! I have now listend twice while writing. Parents, you are going to be sooooooo proud.