Silly Joe Consiglio
I never planned any of this.
I was working at Camp JCC when the song guy said he wasn’t coming back. I said, “Jeff, you can’t quit. Who will sing for the kids?” “You will,” he said. “I can sing,” I said, “but I can’t play.” “You’ll learn,” he said. And I did.
My wife bought me a guitar for Christmas. I got an old chord book and struggled through “This Land Is Your Land.” When I realized I was stuck with the job, I started to look for more material. I listened to a bunch of kids’ music, hated most of it, and decided to write my own songs. My own family was my muse. They said and did funny things all the time. All I had to do was write it down.
That summer I went back to camp with “The Underwear Song,” “Timmy Had a Tiger,” “Are We There Yet?” and a dozen others. Songs for the camp shows followed. Some like, "I Wanna Be a Superhero!" and “My Big Dumb Hairy Brother,” became camp standards. I started singing for the toddlers, tots, and seniors. I got a nickname from the kids. Then their parent’s started inviting me to birthday parties. Silly Joe was born.
Since then I’ve recorded several records, written about 15 musicals for camps and churches, written two novels, and a dozen children’s stories. When Schiffer Books called, a book contract followed.
“Big Billy and the Ice Cream Truck that Wouldn’t Stop,” is the first Silly Joe story published by Schiffer Books. We have a whole series of stories called “Tales from Sweet Street.” We've started to make plans.
I keep a busy schedule of shows for schools, camps, libraries, and private parties, and I offer workshops for students and teachers on everything from creative writing to how to prevent bullying. And when I’m not doing those things, you can still find me teaching high school English at Concord High School and working at Camp JCC in the summers.
Our family is growing up, but our kids are funny as ever. They still say outrageous things, and we still sing “Grow if You Must” every time they pass another milestone. With any luck, they’ll keep inspiring new material until the grandkids take over. As serendipitous as the first ten years have been, who knows where we’ll go next? Are we there yet? Definitely not. Thanks for joining us for the trip!