February 2014

Hi friends

Hope the winter finds you well. As you may know, I’m pulling back from performing for the winter and early spring. You may be thinking, “What does he do with all that extra time?” The answer is TOO MUCH! My plate’s full with great projects.

 

Bill and Debbie skiing

Cross-country skiing in New Hampshire (it was COLD!)

 
 
"I Wanna Play" now animated! Premier here!  
 

Finally (finally!) we have a song of mine animated in a wonderful video. My song, "I Wanna Play" has been beautifully brought to life by Greg Lytle. After a careful consideration of the topic (inclusion, standing up for yourself, bullying, play) Greg proposed a setting using Greek mythology. Who knew the Minotaur was tough to get along with? Some themes are timeless. And, of course, there's a Greek chorus of children. (rim shot!)
What's more - we've got a contest. Identify the characters from Greek mythology and millions of dollars are yours. Okay, actually just signed copies of the "I Wanna Play" CD. More on that below.
Thanks to Greg - we hope you enjoy it and, feel free to share it!!

 
     
Weedpatch  
  I’m currently working on an opera commission for the North Cambridge Opera Company in Cambridge Massachusetts, with my friend, composer Paul Phillips. I’m working as the librettist for a story I developed about students at a federal migrant camp in the San Joaquin valley in 1940. We’re touching up the story, and beginning to outline the words and music for the piece, called “Weedpatch”, which is scheduled to debut in March of 2015.  
     
Charlie Bumpers, Book 2  
 

Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome

 

I’ve also just put the finishing touches on the audio version of the next Charlie Bumpers book, coming out this March, Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome, which takes Charlie through the trials and tribulations of his class play. We’re really excited about it coming out. Peachtree Publishers is doing everything they can to get it out there, as are we. Now, it’s just up to you folks to get a copy and help us spread the word!

 
     
The Bill and Keith Show  
 

It's Not Fair to Me by Bill Harley and Keith MunslowFor the sake of brevity, I will mention one more project I’m working on - Keith Munslow and I are developing a series of radio skits that will be played on Sirius/XM Kids Place Live when we get them done. The stories revolve around Keith and I running a dollar store and not doing a very good job at it. I don’t know if anyone else will like them (we think they will) but every session together ends in hysterics. We hope to have the series start in the early spring.

We also found out that It's Not Fair to Me made the ALA's Children's Notable Recording list. Not too shabby

That’s enough for now. Suffice it to say, I have kind of bit off more than I can chew, even without standing on stage.

 
     
So Long Pete, It’s Been Good to Know You  
 

Bill Harley and Pete Seeger

photo by Susan Wilson

It’s not news about Pete Seeger’s passing, but I would be seriously remiss if I did not mention it here. Pete had a bigger influence on my life and work than any other single performer – from him I learned about the purpose of music, the art of performing, and the value of integrity and courage. He’s been a guide to me ever since I first picked up a guitar at eighteen. The first story I ever told to an audience was "Abiyoyo". My first shows for kids were filled with songs I learned from his singing. Thinking about Pete’s work makes me want to do better at mine. Like he sang, “When these fingers can strum no longer, hand your guitar to young ones stronger.” Okay, I ain’t that young, but I will try, in what way I can to carry on his legacy.  
     

What have we been reading?

 
  Oddly, time at home has cut into my reading time – it’s all those hours in the plane, trains, automobiles, and hotel rooms, that gives me hours to read. Who knew! With that said, I’ve very much enjoyed David Abram’s book Becoming Animal about our connections with the world and creatures around us, Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih, and “The Twelve Chairs” by Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov. “The Twelve Chairs”, the basis for the Mel Brooks movie, is completely hilarious. Completely.  
  I’ll be back on the road before you (or I) know it. See you then, friends-  
     
FROM THE OFFICE
     
I Wanna Play Video Contest  
 

Peggy

We have a fun new video for Bill's song "I Wanna Play" featuring several mythological creatures and to get the word out we're having a contest! If you're interested in entering visit www.billharley.com/IWannaPlayVideoContest.htm. The video is there or you can go to YouTube and watch it there: www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiZJS6Nub9k

(Hint: Pictured is the star of the video. We call her Peggy. Wonder what she is?)

 
     
Charlie Bumpers Blog  
 

Light up GnomeCharlie Bumpers returns and he's blogging about how 4th grade is going. As you might recall Charlie just entered 4th grade and he got the one teacher he never wanted to get, Mrs. Burke. As you also might recall from "Charlie Bumpers vs. the Teacher of the Year" things worked out well in the end. Check out Charlie's blog to find out how the school year is going so far and get a few hints as to what happens in the next book "Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome."

And don't forget to check out the other great Charlie Bumpers stuff we've got all over the web:

Book Trailer: youtu.be/aLyJCsMRXEI

The official Charlie Bumpers website: charliebumpers.com

Book 2's interactive webpage: www.billharley.com/charliebumpers2.htm

 
   

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