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June 4, 2004

Charette wows kids-and vice versa

From: Gray News, ME - Jun 4, 2004

Ray Clark

Rick Charette may be the only entertainer whose audience is more fun to look at than he is.

Make no mistake, Charette (even with a scratchy throat) has a rich voice and a great way with a guitar, and his partner, Roy Clark, makes his keyboard sing.

But it's the kids who make the show. In this case, it was the get-together of children from Russell School and Memorial School last Friday at Russell. The second-graders at the two schools will join at Dunn School next year, so this was a chance for them to meet. The kindergarteners and first-graders were there just to have fun, and they did. (The show was at Russell at least partly because Clark is a Russell graduate-from "a few years ago".)

The first thing you notice is that the kids know all the words to Charette's songs, from Bruce the Barbecue Moose to Alligator in the Elevator. And they don't just sing:they act. They're either little popcorn kernels or moose. They jump and they do American Sign Language and they make faces.

Yet they're always under control. Charette has a remarkable rapport with his audience, and he knows when and how to get 'em going and when and how to calm them down. (Russell principal Ellen Beale has the same magic ability. When she says, "Quiet," the children quiet. If you don't think this is an amazing feat, you've never had children.)

Charette seemed to have just as much fun as his audience was having.

There were several grownups in the All-Purpose Room, too, and they were just as silly as the kids. The moral is, one suspects, that it's impossible to have a bad time at a Rick Charette concert, even if you're older than 7.

© 2004 Gray News, ME