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Singing Cowboy to return to Park City

Dan BischoffOf the record Staff
Joel Reese performs for kids last year at the Santy Auditorium
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Money and fame aren’t the driving forces behind Nashville recording artist, and former Park City resident, Joel Reese. The "Singing Cowboy" uses his talent to entertain and educate young children.

The successful musician has played in many venues and in front of famous people, including President George W. Bush. However, an audience of children is where his focus and enjoyment reside.

"I love to sing and play," Reese said. "As far as kids go, it’s kind of a natural, maybe a God-given gift. When my daughter was born I started playing in children venues more than adult venues."

The "Singing Cowboy" will make his return to the Santy Auditorium Wednesday, June 28 at 11 a.m. He will bring his guitar-picking Western songs for the whole family. This year he has added fresh surprises to his show. The theme is, "Paws, Claws, Scales, and Tales." Children are encouraged to bring their own song lyrics, poems and jokes. Reese will put the lyrics to music to feature the children’s own artistic abilities.

"They can either write a song or a few things about the theme or cowboys or anything they want to. Nobody’s too young to do it," Reese said. "Many times people think kids are too young. I say, have your kindergarten or preschool children create lyrics. Sometimes writing a song or poem is intimidating, if so just bring a thought or funny joke and we’ll feature that for the show."

There are a variety of things that Reese will do, he said. "It will be a safe, funny, loving musical and the kids will have really good feelings about the library when they leave."

Reese is dedicated to helping children build a foundation of knowledge.

"I’m not just entertaining them or preaching to them. I’m sharing love and positive qualities while trying to install a passion for learning, reading and music through humor, guitar playing and also a horse puppet that children like."

Youth Services Librarian, Heather Reynolds, has seen Reese’s talent for educating kids firsthand.

"He always ties it into the theme of the reading club," Reynolds said. "He promotes positive thinking and never giving up, that it’s OK to make mistakes. He always teaches ‘I succeed when I read.’ He promotes reading and self-esteem. He’s a great musician."

The show is not just for children.

"It’s for all ages," Reynolds said. "It’s geared towards kids and families of all ages. He gets kids to participate and either he will lasso them, pretend they are around the campfire and sing related songs. He uses a lot of audience participation. People will say ‘oh I’ve seen him before’ but every year he brings something new."

Reese is living a dream. He studied and read books about other musicians who have made it. He believes if anyone studies their dream they can have similar success.

"Ever since I was a little boy, I had a dream to be an entertainer and a singer, I’ve always followed it," Reese said. "I continue to read books. If children have a dream, and they read about it, it will help them to make good choices and go to school. It’s all about reading and following dreams."

His current work with children has given Reese some of the greatest rewards he has experienced. After some shows, children up to 12 years of age will stand around, hug him and hang out with him, he said.

"I feel naturally led to do this," Reese said. "Working with children is kind of a way to share some things that would be good for them. To teach them some things that I would have had done. My only hope is that it will be a moment that they will always remember — that it might make a difference some way."

The Singing Cowboy will perform in front of children and families Wednesday, June 28 at 11 a.m. at the Santy Auditorium. All ages are invited. For more information call the library at 615-5600. For more information on Joel Reese, the "Singing Cowboy," visit, http://www.joelreese.com or http://www.singandspeekedutainment.com .


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