Shadow Free

by Teresa Jennings

As everyone in the whole wide world surely must know, February 2 is Groundhog Day. This is that most serious occasion on which Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog, emerges from his hole to either see or not see his shadow. Since seeing his shadow means six more weeks of winter according to groundhog lore, it's usually best for ol' Phil to not see it, lest the locals get unruly. Alas, sometimes Phil is a bit oblivious to all this, hence the need for a song like "Shadow Free." At least he can't say he wasn't warned!

This song is so much fun to sing, and it's very easy. It's a bluesy rock tune that lets singers scoop and slide and sing with attitude. To help them sell it, we have suggested a few movements on the music, which you can use as is or adapt freely. We also suggest you have kids direct their singing to a groundhog in one form or another (toy, puppet, picture, paper cut-out, etc.) for visual impact.

Because we could, we decided to record this song using a soloist as well as an ensemble. The solo version features Missy Schott (who also sang a few other solos for us in this issue) and can be found on our web site. (See details on page 75.) If you're looking for inspiration, you'll sure hear some when Missy belts it out! Clearly a groundhog must have crossed her at some point along the way.

While we were working on this one, it came to us that it would be really cute to have a shadow play, using hand shadows or puppets. Hang a big sheet with a light shining behind it and let a few performers act out the drama of the song. Even if you're not using the piece for a performance, this would still be fun in the classroom.

Another wild idea we had was to actually make our own mini movie. So we did! Not only can you and your students watch our movie, but we have directions for you to make your own similar version using construction paper and other inexpensive classroom supplies. Check out the full story on page 78.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.