Magic Penny Award

2004: Bob Blue

The Children's Music Network bestows the Magic Penny Award on someone who has made an outstanding lifetime contribution to children's music. The 2004 Magic Penny Award was given to Bob Blue, a founding member of CMN and an exceptional teacher and songwriter. Bob embodies the heart of CMN and has long used music—often integrated with curriculum—to make life more fun and meaningful for children. He is a teacher and songwriter who has influenced performers and educators all across the country. Previous Magic Penny honorees include Malvina Reynolds, Ella Jenkins, Marcia Berman, Woody Guthrie, and Suni Paz.

An elementary school teacher for over twenty years, Bob used music to inspire his teaching and children to inspire his songwriting (adults, too!). In his daily work with children and through his adult concerts, Bob's music has had a genuine impact in the world. Forced by multiple sclerosis to retire from teaching several years ago, Bob has continued his work with children as a volunteer in a classroom nearly every day and writes about children, education, and life in a weekly newspaper column.

Bob Blue's songs celebrate ordinary people, in their play and struggle, joy and pain. He created his songs to be sung in the classroom and at protest actions, in living rooms and on the performing stage. His songs empower children, help adults understand kids (and vice versa), and help us poke fun at our own attitudes and foibles. Several of his most beloved songs were written as part of musicals Bob wrote and directed with children, giving voice to characters from The Hobbit, Alice in Wonderland, House at Pooh Corner, and more.

Bob has published several recordings and books. His most recent CD, The Best of Bob Blue, is a compilation of thirty-five songs Bob has written over the years sung by many artists he admires and has inspired. His unique insights, philosophies, generosity of spirit, and compassion for all people shine through these musical gems. People of all ages have been deeply affected by his delightful humor and his poignant wisdom.

Bob's music and influence has also been examined in the video, What Matters. This forty-five minute documentary explores how Bob has used music in his classroom. It features footage from a 1997 concert where musicians from all over the country came together to showcase his songs. What Matters won a bronze award at the Columbus Film and Video Festival in the category of education.

Award: Bob Blue recieves mp-photosmp-photo by Janice BucknerPhoto: 2004 Magic Penny mp-photosPhoto: 2004 Magic Penny mp-photosmp-photos by Sally Rogers

Bob Blue, with a little help from Jackson Gillman, gives his acceptance speech for the 2004 award that
was presented in a laugh- and tear-filled tribute.

Award Designers: Leslie Sweetnam – Woodstock, Connecticut and Tom Menard – Putnam, Connecticut