Rock and Roll has the Beatles and Elvis. Country has Waylon and Willie. Opera has Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo and that other guy. Early childhood has Stephen Fite!
As we approach the SPLASH celebrations of Fanny Frog’s 20th birthday, we wanted to take a look at the folks who have been with us from the very beginning. Children’s musician and songwriter Stephen Fite is one of those who made the list. Frog Street’s relationship with Stephen actually predates our SPLASH conferences, when his grandfather “Bud” was running Melody House, the music publishing company that continues to produce and distribute Stephen’s music. Sharon Burnett, one of the founders of Frog Street, described the friendship with the original “Frogs” of Frog Street and Bud, who showed them the ropes of the early childhood music industry and directed them to his grandson for inspiration and talent.
“He was just a young thing back then; maybe still in college,” said Sharon, who told about their very first Splash conference at a hotel in Los Colinas where Stephen was invited to give a concert in the outdoor courtyard. “It was so hot!” said Sharon.
Stephen recalled the heat, as well. “It was smack dab in the middle of July, burning up, and I was in jeans,” said Stephen, in a phone interview. “I remember it well. I was doing a song by the Beatles called ‘Money’ and one of the teachers came up and put a dollar bill in my pants.” That was the beginning of what Stephen called “a long and fruitful relationship” that has continued for twenty years as both Frog Street and Stephen’s career in educational music have grown.
“Sometimes they asked me to do bit parts at Splash, like the time I dressed in 70’s clothes looking like Greg Brady, all the way up to where they have started asking me to emcee,” he said.
Sharon said that they called upon Stephen to do the first recordings of their “Sing and Read” songs, and used his talent each time new recordings were produced. Today, it is Stephen’s voice we hear singing Frog Street’s Alphabet, Colors, Numbers, Shapes and Theme songs.
“I really owe them a lot, as far as my following,” said Stephen, “not that I consider myself a celebrity,” describing how many teachers, especially in Texas, show up at his concerts or contact him on Facebook saying they saw him perform at Splash.
Fanny’s birthday party would not be complete without Stephen Fite, who will be emceeing all three SPLASH events this summer, as well as being featured as a keynote speaker in San Antonio, and break-out sessions in both Dallas and Houston.
You will have other opportunities to see and hear Stephen during his 2012-13 concert tour, “Arrrrrrr You Ready to Rock and Learn?” Teachers and children are encouraged to dress up like pirates and come sing along with Captain Stephen and his crew. Check out tour dates at the Melody House web site!