Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mr. Billy Saves St. Nicholas Day

As a parent, it is hard to find good music for the kids that doesn’t make me want to tear my ears off instantly or that will take its time to slowly drive me insane. Ben and I are always on the lookout for good music that is enjoyable for the kids as well as for adults. We were pleased to discover Mr. Billy at Thomas the Tank Engine day at the National Railroad Museum in the summer of 2010. We saw him again at Thomas this past summer and he also had a concert at our local Kewaunee library.

The boys loved seeing Mr. Billy live. They not only enjoy his music, but he gets the kids involved in the production by playing instruments, having bubbles, etc. I also like that his music is a family affair with his son on drums and his daughter playing a variety of instruments.

The boys (and girl) love to listen to Mr. Billy’s CDs. They have his CD Batteries Not Included memorized. Their particular favorite song is “Something Fishy.” It is such a catchy tune that Ben and I find ourselves singing it around the house. They also have Big Pumpkin, Mr. Billy’s Halloween CD memorized. It is great Halloween music for kids, it is not scary, but enjoyable Halloween tunes. The boys particularly like to sing along with “Big Pumpkin” and “Melvin the Skeleton.”

And that leads me to my story about how Mr. Billy saved St. Nicholas Day. St. Nicholas Day is on December 6th and celebrates the feast of the Catholic Saint Nicholas who is the basis for our modern day Santa Claus. Growing up in downstate Michigan, I had never heard of St. Nicholas Day, but I soon discovered it when I went off to college at Michigan Technological University in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. My roommate and many students up there are from Wisconsin (with a few like my husband from Minnesota) where St. Nicholas day is celebrated as a sort of precursor to Christmas. Children leave their boots or stockings out the evening of the 5th and St. Nicholas fills them with candy and small presents in the night.

As the boys love Mr. Billy so much, I ordered his newest CDs Rock and Roll Railroad and Rockin’ All Over the World from Mr. Billy himself for St. Nicholas Day gifts. I also ordered Mr. Billy’s Christmas CD, It’s Christmas Everywhere. It’s Christmas Everywhere was on backorder, but Mr. Billy himself made sure that the boys got their music on time by making a trip to Luxemburg (the Wisconsin village, not the small European country) to drop off the CDs to my husband this past Monday. I was surprised and pleased at how Mr. Billy went the extra mile to make sure the kids had a special day.

On the morning of the 6th, the first thing Kile noticed in his boot was Mr. Billy’s Rockin’ All Over the World which he then wanted to listen too while he made his way through the rest of the items in his boot. The boys promptly listened to the rest of the CDs yesterday and are thrilled to have new Mr. Billy CDs to memorize.

My husband Ben particularly loves Rock and Roll Railroad. It has a hard rock undercurrent throughout that Ben (and myself) enjoyed. The boys LOVE trains and they love an entire album with train themed songs. Rockin’ All Over the World matched the summer library program from 2011. Kile and Danny instantly recognized many of the tunes they had heard Mr. Billy sing at the library from the album and really enjoyed it. They also like It’s Christmas Everywhere, particularly “Winter in Wisconsin” as it mentioned nearby Green Bay and their home state of Wisconsin. It will be interesting to see as we listen to these CDs more, which songs will become favorites.

While Mr. Billy is from the nearby Green Bay area, he tours across the country during the summer. Check out his webpage for more details, and check out his music. It is music that is not only enjoyable for kids, but for their parents as well.

Also leave a comment if about St. Nicholas Day and/or children’s music. Do you celebrate it? Have you found good music for kids that is enjoyable for adults as well?

1 comment:

  1. We used to listen to Wee Sing which had lots of fun rhymes and songs. There is a wealth of children's music which is great not only for the kids but also for adults. Rock and Roll Railroad sounds like a winner!