Youth and Family Programs

Below are some of the themes available for concerts and assembly programs.

The shows are highly interactive experiences, with lots of audience participation: singing on the chorus, 
hand motions, clapping along, “filling in the blanks”, learning how to play the mouth trumpet and even 
some audience members (students & staff or parents & children) assisting with percussion on-stage. 
There’s a wide range of musical styles, from Folk/Traditional to Country & Swing, with just of touch of 
Acoustic Blues and an occasional Rap or Spoken-Word. If the moment is right or it is requested, there 
could be some storytelling, too.

Purly has worked for 3+ decades as an Artist-in-Education in school settings, also offering concerts & workshops
for young folks at rec centers, libraries, festivals and camps. This multi-talented gal plays guitar, banjo, ukulele,  
accordion, harmonica and some unusual, home-made instrumental “surprises”. 
She usually brings out “Jack” – a small wooden puppet called a Limberjack – to dance along on at least one song. 
He’s a part of American history and is a sure-fire HIT with all ages!

Programs generally run 40-45 minutes for grades 3-5 and general audiences; pk-2nd grade programs 
run 30-35 minutes. All are age-appropriate and suitable for large (up to 250/show) or small 
groups, educational or recreational settings, family and multi-generational audiences.

 Purly is listed on rosters of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, where partial funding may be 
available to qualified presenters. If you are a non-profit New England presenter, click here for more information.

A collection of mostly traditional songs about the farm, farm animals, logging, hunting, quilting and 
the way they used to do things in the late 1800’s. Lots of audience participation, with a story or two 
thrown in if the time is right.  Note: Purly also offers hands-on workshops making instruments or
playing instruments appropriate to the late 1800’s.             

“You were wonderful! …. The different instruments you play and the little bits of history 
you throw in to your act make it unique. We all loved the dancing stick man and the word 
game that went with him this year. I like acts that entertain and educate, and you 
fit the bill beautifully. Thanks once again for a fantastic performance!”   

-Jane Sheaffer, Children’s Chapter Tent, Central Texas Book Festival

This show is a collection of great sing-alongs about recycling, trees, clean water, garbage, 
taking care of the planet and of each other, too!  It’s empowering, educational and fun – with lots 
of suggestions for how we can all make a better world. 
Click to listen to samples from the program: Help Recycle.   


“Purly Gates is a musician, storyteller, community builder, educator, peace maker and environmental advocate all in one. Purly captured the attention of all campers 
        through her fun & educational approach to instrument making. Her engaging style 
electrified campers and parents alike during Family Night.”
-Susan Fortier, Camp, Director, YMCA, Bellows Falls, VT

Look alive, mateys……. here’s a sea-worthy collection of songs about the ocean, rivers, boats and sailing.
You’ll be hauling on the lines, hoisting sails and taking dips from the side of a ship!!  A very participatory
experience for sailors and land-lubbers alike.
Listen to a 2:18, 3-song sampler from the program here. [Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean/Take a Dip/The Ocean Song]

A sampling of the best of decades of hits…….plus a story or two. All sing-alongs or do-alongs. 
Lively, upbeat, entertaining, educational, involving AND fun!

With advance notice, Purly can create a program to complement your curriculum, theme or unit.

“One of my favorite things about the program was that you tailored it right to what I asked 
you to do! You even wrote the song to teach the Appalachian states. The program was 
exactly what I wanted and more!!! Thanks again!”

– Viki Hicks, Music Teacher, Crockett Elementary, San Marcos, TX

Mostly traditional tunes about cowboys and cowgirls, critters and life in the old west – 
with sing-alongs, some cowboy poetry for kids and maybe even a lesson in how to “wahoo”, yodel or spin the flat loop. 
Indeed, it’s a “wild kaleidoscopic ride through the old west – glimpsed through the eyes and ears of
a seasoned raconteur and tune-collector”.  Click here for more details.

And of course all songs encourage audience participation. Click here for song samples.
The Calamity Jane impersonation is optional!

The Amazing Woman Scout of the Wild West and Heroine of a Thousand Thrilling Adventures 
comes to life right before your very eyes.  Click here for more details.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Ms. “Purly” Gates for the last two years. Purly… 
portrayed the famous “Wild West” figure Calamity Jane at our event. She is exceptionally 
talented and realistic in her portrayal. She manages to impart correct historical facts and 
information about a person who is engulfed in myth and legend. At the same time her 
portrayal is interesting and amusing, holds the attention of both adults and young people, 
and adds a great deal to the success of our festival. I can highly recommend her both as a 
performer and as a delightful personality.”

- Patrick B. Nolan, Ph.D., Director, Sam Houston Museum, Huntsville, TX

“She’s a regular Calamity Jane reincarnate, only a lot more talented. She’s professional, 
dependable and she’s a hoot.”
– Doc Blakely, Promoter

A lively, fun, up-beat collection of tunes geared to primary and elementary grades with lots of 
singing along (of course). There are songs about reading and about the library, songs based on 
folk tales and current children’s literature, some songs to enhance literacy skills and even a song 
based on the 6-trait writing method! Purly’s song “I Can Read” was commissioned as the Theme 
Song for the Texas State Library Summer ’04 Reading program. She sings it in English and in Spanish.
This program is terrific for assemblies, or a wonderful addition to YOUNG AUTHOR DAY, FAMILY 
Click for more details on the program.

Click to hear “I Can Read”in English , “I Can Read” in Spanish” or “I’m Gonna Get It” and 
”Read a Book (on the Wild Side)”           

“Purly….. you are definitely the best entertainer who’s come to our school in a very long time!”
– Melanie Bowen, Schurz Elementary, New Braunfels, TX

“Your presentation was truly a fun and interactive way of making books ‘come alive’ through songs. Your energy and excitement for reading was contagious!”
– Dr. Elizabeth A.Wilson, Principal, Fern Bluff Elementary, Round Rock, TX

Every one of us is special, and there are many things we can do to feel good about ourselves. 
This program is chock-full of empowering songs to boost self- esteem, independent thinking 
and making wiser choices……a great adjunct for substance abuse prevention programs, 
geared to elementary grades. The program features lots of audience participation on catchy 
songs with messages that ‘stick’. Can also be integrated with a visiting speaker for large-group 
assemblies (to add interest, balance and variety) or presented class-by-class with discussion.          

People are alike, but not the same! It’s fun to realize that we have much in common with many 
others around the world. There are songs in Spanish and English, celebrating both cultural 
diversity and the unique individual. Lots of audience participation, of course! Listen here.