Watching John's audience is a joy to behold. When people come to film or videotape, he tells them to turn the cameras on the audience. That's where the real show is! Kids and adults are singing, learning a song in sign language, laughing at themselves, and comfortably exploring important issues in their lives. The audience becomes so involved that the line dividing performer and audience disappears. Everyone becomes part of the presentation.

"Your programs are not just performances, they are experiences which linger in the songs and stories that can be heard around our school for months after you've left. You have become the standard to which every other performer is compared."
- Robery W. Kesser.
Dr. H.O. Smith School
Hudson, New Hampshire

Topics raised in story and song include:

  • Respect
  • Perserverance
  • Learning from mistakes
  • Working together
  • Keeping the play in sports
  • Family life and laughs
  • Tolerance
  • Justice
  • Cherishing the elders in our lives
  • Dealing with peer pressure
  • Making good decisions
  • Loving each other


Adult audience members are sometimes brought to tears from laughter and reflection during the same performance. You have to see John Farrell in action to truly understand why he is invited back to so many schools and other venues year after year.

Listed below are the thematic programs John develops in schools. He visits approximately 100 schools each year, leading assemblies and workshops for students from Pre-K through Grade 8. Each program lasts 45-50 minutes and workshop length varies according to grade level and objectives. The content for each program is specifically geared for the age group attending the performance. John also does artist-in-residence programs which involve spending two or more days in a school or district visiting individual classrooms.

Playing With Words and Ideas

Grades Pre-K - 4th

Young people everywhere love music, songs, stories, jokes, riddles and word play. This program incorporates a little of all of these things plus some juggling, movement and laughter thrown in for good measure. This fast-paced program involves participation throughout and leaves students and teachers alike feeling good about learning. There are opportunities and suggestions for follow-up activities.

Program will include some of the following selections:

  • Down By The Bay
  • I Like Ants
  • Rainbow Trout
  • You're Really Smart, Aren't You?
  • Silly Jack
  • Love Grows
  • and more.

"The kids were enthralled... we could've sat there and listened for hours. "
Claudia Justeson, Teacher, New Hyde Park, N.Y

The Earth Is Our Home

Grades K - 8th

This is a celebration of songs and stories relating to protecting the environment and appreciating the wonder and beauty of our exquisite home - Planet Earth. Much of the content in this program comes from John's video, "The Great Earth Sing-Along, " which won a Parents Choice Award.

Program will include some of the following selections:

  • Habitat
  • The Earth Is Our Home
  • Rain Forest Walk
  • I like Ants
  • Down By The Bay
  • Turn The World Around
  • and more.

"The Children of the Columbia River sing out with John at school programs, in concerts, and at our annual festival, and through his music, are finding their ways as stewards of this wonderful river."
-Debrah Marriott, Executive Director Lower Columbia River Estuary Project

Peer Pressure In School

Or, Building Bridges of Tolerance and Understanding

Grades 4th - 8th

Peer pressure is something that every child and adult experiences. It is also something that can be very difficult to talk about. During this program, stories and songs are presented that may help students recognize some of their own behaviors and realize how important it is to be considerate of others when making decisions.

Program will include some of the following selections:

  • Courage
  • Please Give Me Time
  • Playing Right Field
  • Me Too!
  • The Juggling Man
  • and more.

"Your material was perfectly chosen for the different levels you worked with."
-Bill Van Patten, Morning Program Reunion and West Canada Valley ES, N.Y

Respect And Care For Each Other

Or, Character Counts

Grades K - 6th

The content for this program varies according to the grade levels attending the performance. Using interactive songs and stories, John encourages students to think about how they treat one another and to consider the effects of their actions. In this program audience members will sing along, laugh, learn a song in sign language and reflect on how it feels to be in someone else's shoes.

Program will include some of the following selections:

  • A Little Bit of Light
  • Love Grows
  • How would you feel if that happened to you?
  • Rachel
  • The Hug Song
  • Take Good Care of Each Other
  • Me Too!
  • Thank You For Being My Friend
  • and more.

"Your programs are not just performances, they are experiences which linger in the songs and stories that can be heard around our school for months after you've left. You have become the standard to which every other performer is compared."
-Robert W. Keeser, Principal Dr. H.O. Smith School, Hudson, New Hampshire

Songs & Stories Around The World

Grades K - 6th

A presentation of music, songs and storytelling that features an international flavor as John shares songs and stories from, and about, many places around the world. John has performed throughout the US and in Canada, Japan and Ireland. He also tells stories from Africa, Asia, Europe and Central and South America. Storytelling is a marvelous way to demonstrate that although people may look and talk differently, we enjoy the same stories and we share many of the same hopes and dreams.

Program will include some of the following selections:

  • Zo-San
  • Family Tree
  • Two Of Everything
  • Kilkelly, Ireland
  • The King Has Ears Like A Goat
  • Lazy Leonard
  • Why The Turtles Shell Is Cracked
  • and more.

"We're still talking about you. Thanks for a magical morning we'll all remember."
-Treasa Kirk, Teacher, Galway, Ireland

Parents As Reading Partners

Or, Celebrating Books & Authors

Grades K - 6th

This program is presented to help kickoff, or culminate, a celebration of the importance of reading, writing, books and authors. One or more assemblies are done for all students during school. Many groups extend this to the larger school community of parents and family members by having an evening performance. The evening performance involves different content than the daytime, but may include some selections that students request. John is the author of the book, "It's Just A Game." A time can be set aside to have John autograph copies of his book, CD's and video.

Program will include some of the following selections:

  • The Library Song
  • Mistakes Are Our Teachers
  • Step By Step
  • How About You?
  • Listen To The Stories
  • Down By The Bay
  • It's Just A Game
  • and more.

Other songs and stories are included depending on the make-up of the audience and topics that are relevant to the group. You may request that the content be correlated to your particular theme.

"Your joyfulness set a wonderful tone for the weeks that followed in our PARP celebration. We loved the literary tie-ins you made. Rest assured you will be invited back to help us celebrate reading and learning."
-Pat Newell, PARP Chairperson, Sacketts Harbor, N.Y.