By Teachers, For Teachers
Singer, songwriter, and performer Billy Craig is on a mission to bring elementary students positive music with positive message in his "I Love This School Tour."
As a supporter of music and education, Billy's school assembly show is filled with excitement and positive messages about the power and importance of learning. Students get to sing, clap, and laugh with Billy as he dresses the part of three different characters that touch on important subjects such as bullying, respect, reading and more.
TeachHUB gets the scoop from Billy, the creator and star of "I Love This School Tour", and learns how his successful show is bringing a new twist to the average school assembly.
Briefly describe what the "I Love This School" tour is all about.
This show is really a re-enforcement of the wonderful messages that these kids get from their teachers and schools. I believe that if kids love school that they will learn with passion and be driven to succeed in life and to do great things.
Our show is a live concert event for elementary kids...positive messages with positive music. Lights, action, characters, rockin’ music and great messages....high-energy and FUN! It's all inclusive in that we bring our own lights, sound system, props, costumes, guitars, backdrops, signs, etc. It's a real production.
How did you become a school-themed assembly performer?
I have a very long history of being involved in music as a writer, musician and live performer having traveled and performed all over the states and overseas. Having kids of my own, I saw a need for these type of messages that I truly believe in and I feel honored to be able to deliver this show to kids in the Midwest and across America.
How did you come up with the concept of the "I Love This School" show?
What sparked my interest in developing this show for kids, oddly enough, was my son. He seemed to have gotten a little bored with school and who was also bullied very young. My thought was 'how many other kids are experiencing this?' That is how our theme song originated. It was the first song I wrote and it all snowballed from there.
Which of your characters do the students respond to the most? Which is your favorite?
I would say Schoolja Boy, the rapper. There's a lot of "Oohs" and "Aahs" the moment he appears in the show and I think the kids relate to this genre of music in this day and age.
What is the main message that you want the students to take away from the show?
I'm hoping that they take home the sense of empowerment that each and every one of the kids gets from learning. They all have a huge potential to do great things for themselves and it all starts right in their school.
Also, in addition to bullying, respect, etc., I truly hope they take with them that the lifetime habit of reading opens up a whole world of knowledge to them, and knowledge is power.
How do you adapt your shows for the different schools’ needs?
The show is designed to relate to all elementary schools, K- 6th grade, using multiple messages and multiple genre's of music. Something for everybody, if you will. Toward the end of the show is where it really allows me to focus on the needs of the individual school should there be issues that they would like addressed. I recap the entire show at this point and that is where I can discuss certain issues or concerns with the students.
What has your response been from educators, administrators, and students that have seen your show?
We can’t say enough about how excited we are about the feedback we get. It has been 100% positive in each and every school!! Everyone just loves this show! The kids love it, the teachers love it, administration, custodians, parents, etc. It’s very gratifying to see the reaction of the crowd when you put so much effort into a show. Some remarks include, “This is the best show we’ve seen in 20 years”, “Best show we’ve seen at this school” etc. . . . these remarks confirm to us that we have created something good!
What is your favorite song of the show? Why?
It has to be the I LOVE THIS SCHOOL theme song. It's kind of like the saying ''If you love your job you'll never have to work a day in your life!'' I feel the same about school, if the kids find that spark for learning, they can accomplish anything. The song takes you back and recaps your school days. Love your school and learning and grab as much knowledge as you can.
How do you try to reach all grade levels and keep them all entertained and interested in your show?
Our show was created to relate to all grade levels through a high energy and fast moving show with messages and music. It's all about child reaction, participation and interaction. The songs themselves are catchy, current and designed for the kids to participate and sing.
What is the most outrageous experience you’ve had at a show – positive and negative?
Well, the one that comes to mind and seemed to be negative at the time actually turned out in a very positive way. One of our characters, Ziggy, wears a long blond wig. During his performance, he was doing a guitar solo and shaking his head, as he was doing this, the wig accidentally flew off his head. The kids went crazy, thinking it was the funniest thing in the world and actually thought it was part of the show. Needless to say, ‘Ziggy’ doesn’t shake his head so hard anymore.
As a recap, I really have to say that the kids, teachers, administrators, parents, everyone, have been overwhelmingly positive, excited and happy about the show across the board from Chicago to Pittsburgh. I've been in front of just about every economic level and in diverse ethnic communities and it's been fun and positive energy every single time. Kids are kids and these great messages will stick with them.
Kids + School= Great Things! No question about it!
How does your school make assemblies a fun learning experience for the students? Share in the comments section!
Learn more about the "I Love This School Tour" and how to bring Billy to your school through the "I Love This School Tour" website.