HARLINGEN — The earthy, innovative folk tunes from decades ago cast their magic on a group of eager young music lovers.
“Me and Julio, Down by the School Yard,” sang Steven Delopoulos, vocalist for the group Burlap to Cashmere, which entertained school children Friday at Sam Houston Elementary.
The classic Paul Simon tune was followed by John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and the Cat Stevens iconic standard, “Moon Shadow.”
It was yet another educational outreach presented by the Harlingen Concert Association, which sponsored the group’s performance to expand children’s musical horizons. The group was also scheduled to perform for an older crowd Friday night.
“This group performs some of your favorite songs from the 60s and 70s,” said Julie Ng-Castillo, education outreach and sponsorship chair for HCA.
“It’s such a beautiful performance,” she said. “Because they’re also of Greek heritage, you’ll hear some Greek sounds, a little Gypsy, a little flamenco. It’s just a creative musicianship and they’re just amazing performers.”
As Delopoulos and his cousin John Philippidis performed for the kids, they quickly engaged their young listeners in the moment.
“This is my cousin Johnny,” Delopoulos said. “We have been playing music together since we were in kindergarten. Today we are going to play some music for you!”
The kids burst into loud applause.
“Thank you guys!” Delopoulos said. “It seems like you are having a great morning. We want to thank you guys for being our friends today.”
He and his cousin then put their faces together at a microphone and, in classic Simon and Garfunkel fashion, performed “The Boxer.”
“I am just a poor boy though my story’s seldom told, I have squandered my resistance for a pocketful of mumbles,” they sang in almost velvet harmony.
They stopped now and asked the kids why they liked music.
“I like the emotion and feeling of music,” said Isabella Gonzales, 10, a fourth grader.
“It can really express the artists’ feelings and how hard and positive their lives can be,” she said.
Delopoulos then invited Isabella to the stage to sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, her voice floating into the air. Her performance and courage impressed Delopoulos.
“Isabella was amazing,” he said. “I think she’s got a big future ahead of her. I wish her all the best and she has a fabulous voice.”
He was delighted by the overall response from the kids.
“I thought it went great,” he said. “The kids are great, they’re awesome. Kids have a way of making you feel like a king. They’re sweethearts.”