What a Kazoo Can Teach
Kazoos have been a part of my life since my teaching days at Mentor High School. This inexpensive, portable, and versatile instrument helped me serenade students on their birthdays and teach children’s music to my Parenting and Child Development classes. I added the kazoo element to a staff holiday party and even convinced my pastor to include kazoo music during a lively worship service. They’ve been to Kiddie City numerous times and they’ve helped me promote the Stroll on E. 200th Street. Why I even carry extra kazoos along in my purse in case I feel brave enough to give a lesson to an inconsolable child at the grocery store (with parent’s permission) or cheer up a friend in the hospital. Such an attention – getter but so much fun.
Yes, a kazoo can be irritating but with a little education, the kazoo can actually teach and enhance relationships. The joy that a child or an adult exhibits when they learn how to “play” a kazoo brings me such joy. The ability to play almost any music together or in harmony with others from the beginning is a great introduction and motivator to continue with other instruments and music genres.
I've been to the Kazoo Hall of Fame in Eden, New York and learned about metal and plastic kazoo qualities and I’ve purchased all kinds and colors of kazoos from my favorite kazoo company – Kazoobie Kazoos. I’ve found imprinted kazoos to be great marketing tools for whatever projects I’m promoting. The homemade, bedazzled, black, imprinted kazoos were the perfect kazoos needed to bring elegance and professionalism to this instrument for my next teachable moment.
Late summer 2016 I learned that America’s Got Talent was coming to Cleveland on December 10 for auditions. A big fan of AGT, I hurried online to register for an audition. I have never seen a kazoo group on the show so this was our chance and Kiddie City Cultured Kazoos or KCCK – became a great name for a group that wanted to promote kazoos in a joyful – yet professional – way! Jennifer Garza, Carole Mozeleski, Donna Nycum, and Dayna White believed in the idea and joined together with me to orchestrate a creative ninety second audition and snazzy costumes to wow the AGT staff. We had a great time eating, laughing. and practicing at Carole’s house. We learned from those experiences that we want to continue our relationship with kazoos and each other by performing for community events.
The Saturday of our Cleveland audition was the snowiest day this past winter but we made it to the Convention Center and were in awe of the wonderful reception we received from the producers. During the months we waited for an invitation to Pasadena to perform in front of an audience and the judges, we were asked to modify our performance and change our name to The Kazoo Queens so that Howie, Mel B, Heidi, and Simon would not be too confused when we walked on stage. Our invitation came, needed to be rescheduled and the performance finally arrived on March 27. The flights were direct and the stay was wonderful. The day we performed in front of cameras, judges, and an audience finally arrived. We were exposed to so many “behind the scenes” show business experiences that we wouldn’t change for a moment and can't share for awhile because of a confidentiality clause. It was so surreal to walk out on stage, be interviewed by Mr. Mandel, hand the judges our gold plated kazoo gifts, give Mel B a simple kazoo lesson, and then perform.
I’m writing this article even before we learn our most recent lesson from the kazoo. We got to travel and perform to reintroduce kazoos to the masses and to the judges of America’s Got Talent. Some part of our quest as contestants on AGT will be seen by a great many people on Tuesday, May 30 – a week after the deadline for this Euclid Observer. We have no clue how we will be portrayed and what the editing has captured from our many interviews and tapings but we really hope that we make the KCCK/Kazoo Queens, our friends and families, Kiddie City, and the City of Euclid proud. May the joy and camaraderie of this experience continue to teach us as we kazoo through life and we’ll try really hard to not let the Simons in our lives deter us from the great lessons a kazoo can bring.
Sherrie Zagorc is a co-founder, volunteer, and board member of Kiddie City Child Care Community in addition to being the chairperson of the E. 200th Street Stroll.