At 72, Fred Penner’s beautiful hands strum his guitar like it’s an extension of his fingers. The twinkling eyes we remember shine out from an older, but no less appealing face, framed with the most welcoming smile—a smile that five decades of kids have loved and trusted.
When I played the title track video of Penner’s new album for, my (then almost three year-old) Sebastian, two years ago, he was transfixed. His busy hands settled into his lap, eyes wide and his pretty mouth turned up into a small smile. Watching Fred Penner weave his magic is the simplest of joys, and one, it appears, that we relate to universally. Affectionately dubbed the “Canadian Minister of Positivity” and legitimized with the Order of Canada and the Order of Manitoba—the man is a national treasure of the True North.
Happily, a new generation of children will have the chance to experience Fred Penner’s magic in person as some of the schools in PEC and around Quinte have organized a school trip to see Penner perform. I asked some County Kids if they had any questions for Fred and they responded eagerly, so here’s a speed round Q n’ A with the man himself:
Marijn, Age 4
Q. When did you learn to play the guitar?
A. Hello Marijn! I started playing guitar when I was 15 years old.
Bentley, Age 3
Q. What’s your favourite song to perform?
A. The Cat Came Back
Archer, Age 5
Q. Do you work with anyone to make your songs?
A. Usually I write by myself, but sometimes my wife helps me 🙂
Gilby, Age 4
Q. What’s 10+1?
Easton, Age 7
Q. Do you miss having a kids show?
A. Yes I miss Fred Penners Place. It was fun and filled with wonderful music and stories.
Linden, Age 2,
Q. Do you still have happy feet and what’s made your feet happiest over the years?
A. My feet have carried me all over the world…yes they are Happy
Tate & Owen, Ages 5 & 8,
Q. How did you begin writing and singing kids songs?
A. My younger sister Susie helped me understand how important music is in life. I write poetry and the poetry becomes a song. When I write, I find a quiet place to sit and think and let my imagination fly.
Jackson, Age 5,
Q. What is the furthest place you’ve performed at?
A. I played in Australia
Sebastian, Age 4,
Q. How old is your oldest fan?
A. Guess what Sebastian? I don’t even know :))
Freia, Age 5,
Q. Why did the cat come back?
A. ‘He just couldn’t stay away’
Finally, from me:
Q. Are you especially excited to meet and play for so many of the kids of Prince Edward County tomorrow?