Rural Missouri - August 2021 - 45

partment for a regional Emmy and won for Best Children's
Programming. It also won a Parent's Choice Award.
While Jan usually performs solo, George often helps
write lyrics for tunes Jan teaches.
" We intentionally do a wide variety of musical styles to
keep things interesting, " Jan says of the original songs.
" Music glues ideas to our brains. Tie truth to a melody and
it's unforgettable. "
Kids of all ages end up movin' and groovin' by the time
they hear songs like " Buzzy Wuzzy Buggy Boogie, " " Snoozin'
Cruisin', " " Reptile Rap " and " Hairy Not Scary " (a super cool
song about bats). Another song, " Circle Cycle, " talks about
the natural life cycle, while " Spider Mama " talks about the
misunderstood lives of the arachnids.
Jan's programs range from 45 minutes to an hour and
can include a wide variety of topics including Show Me
Wild, Wild Tales and Tails and Color Me Wild. To add to
the fun, the habitat teacher usually brings a few of Missouri's
smaller critters in to show students
and teachers alike. She offers the programs
in three settings: classroom wild (a performance
just for small groups,) playground wild
(a performance held outdoors on school grounds
to allow for safe spacing) and virtual wild (a Zoom
or pre-recorded online concert.)
" You'd be surprised how many people haven't
seen things like a salamander, frog or even a
snake up close, " Jan says.
" You'd be surprised how many people haven't
When she's not writing songs or taking the Wildheart show
on the road, Jan teaches outdoor skills classes to sixth, seventh
and eighth graders at Lighthouse Preparatory Academy
in Jefferson City.
" We want to encourage people of all ages to get outside
and learn about the world around them, " says Jan.
" There are too many people who don't have a connection
with nature. There's a beautiful world out there and
many don't even take time to explore it. You don't have to
Holts
Summit
be a mountain climber
or river rafter to enjoy
the outdoors, " says the
nature lover.
Jan's latest song
has been years in the
making but is being released
in time for Missouri's
200th birthday
celebration.
The song " Show
Me Missouri " shares
many of Missouri's
state symbols such as
the state game bird and tree
as well as famous Missourians in a fun way.
" I love seeing the wide-eyed wonder when a child holds
a tiny frog or a colorful caterpillar, " says Jan. " After that,
curiosity often pushes them forward. "
While her target audience is preschool to sixth grade,
the songwriter often fi nds the adults paying as much
attention as the kids. Performances are often held in
state parks, schools and libraries across Missouri.
" I want learning to be fun. There are always actions
and sign language to the songs, " she says.
Jan says she feels songwriting is a great responsibility,
especially when the goal is to teach
a message.
" A song's message will outlive you, " says Jan. " My hope
is that everyone, kids and adults alike, will notice what the
outdoors has to show them. "
To book a performance with Jan, call 573-645-7076 or
email syrigos@juno.com. Check out www.wildheartmusic.
com to order CDs and listen to music samples. Program
prices begin at $375 and vary according to distance and
length of performance.
Above: Jan and George's CD is fi lled with many fun and educational songs which teach kids about the environment and critters they might see
outdoors and more. Bottom, from left: The last week of summer school for students in Palmyra's district included a performance by Jan. As part
of the experience, students also got to touch a young king snake and see a salamander. The event was sponsored by the Palmyra Public Library.
http://www.wildheartmusic

Rural Missouri - August 2021

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