August 2012  

Olympic Joy

The London Games are over

Some of us are experiencing a post-Olympics let down.  The Games of the London Olympics are over, but their inspiring stories live on.

Every couple of years, the world sends its best athletes to a place where they can come out and play for a couple of weeks.  We watch.  We fall in love with the humble, the brilliant and the flashy competitors.  We envy the bold and daring, we chide the egocentrics, and we weep with the victors whose life-long dreams have finally come true.

The Russians

Did you see the TV commercial about a Russian girl who dreamt of being a gymnast?  She grew too tall.  Heartbreak?  No.  She used her height to her advantage, tweaked the dream, and became one of the best pole-vaulters in the world.

Did you notice how often Russian and American athletes actually hugged each other?  There was a time, not too many Olympics ago, when we Americans and Russians believed we were enemies, when an advertisement about a Russian pole-vaulter here in The US would have been considered inappropriate and un-American.

The Miracle on Ice

I attended the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, NY.  The night of the Miracle on Ice when the US amateur hockey team defeated the dominant Soviet team, I was performing in concert a few hundred yards away.  I will never forget the wild, well-mannered joy of that night’s celebration.  The young and the old hung from lampposts and danced in the streets waving American flags at a time when it was not cool to be so openly patriotic.

A day or two later, I attended the bronze medal hockey consolation match.  Little did I know a most memorable medal ceremony would immediately follow the game.  Yes, I was there when those ecstatic American hockey players, draped in American flags, jubilantly received their gold medals.    

I also attended the outdoor speed skating event in Lake Placid where Eric Heiden won his unprecedented fifth and final gold medal.  In the bleachers, not far from where I was standing, a small group of ankle-length fur coat-clad Soviets cheered “Veek-tor!  Veek-tor!  Veek-tor!” for one of their compatriots.

They were seriously outnumbered by the rest of us.  We Americans could have shouted them down with “Eric! Eric!  Eric!”  Instead, we cast suspicious glances at them and kept our distance.

If that Olympic event had happened recently, we would have gone out of our way to welcome them.  We would have snapped pictures and swapped email addresses.  In no time, we would have been making plans to visit each other in our homes half a world away from each other.

A Friendlier World

More and more of the world is becoming this way – friendly and welcoming.  Walls between nations keep coming down.  Bridges connecting us to each other are rising up.

Our world is getting friendlier.  I have travelled enough to sense this.  We human beings are growing up.  We are better than ever at getting along with each other.  More and more of us choose to see that we could be enriched, not threatened, by our differences. 

I loved these past two Olympic magical weeks.  Our young ones, our dreamers, showed the world how much fun it can all be, if we could just play by a few simple rules.

Now I have to wait two years before the next Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.  I wonder if Veek-tor will be there.  Maybe I’ll go look for him.



 American Heroes #4 - A CD and a Book!



Horn Tooting

"I speak with people, not to them" is what Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) said when asked why he preferred not to give speeches.  I often feel that way as I prepare these newsletters for you.  Like Geisel, I'm not strong with the horn-tooting.  I'm better one-on-one.

My Books

Yes, my books.  Some day soon.  My passion for sharing inspiring information about heroes with our kids continues to grow.  Lately, I have been writing stories about each of the ten heroes on my forthcoming CD/Book.  And, yes, I've decided, with the help of those of you who responded to the last newsletter, to make one book to correspond with the new album/CD.

Theodore Seuss Geisel

Think about Theodore Seuss Geisel, the first of ten heroes on American Heroes #4.

Did you know.....

* He had a wicked case of stage fright?  It all began when he was 14 years old.  He and nine fellow Boy Scouts were to receive medals from former President Theodore Roosevelt in front of a crowd of thousands.  Ted was last in line.  Someone screwed up and brought only nine medals.  Poor Ted was whisked off stage to avoid embarrassing the President.  It was not a good self-esteem moment.

* Twenty-seven publishers rejected his first book.  (Sound a little like Elizabeth Blackwell?)

* Geisel's forty-seven books were translated into twenty languages and have sold more than 200 million copies. Among the ten bestselling hardcover children's books of all time, four were written by him: The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, and Hop on Pop.

* To children of all ages, Dr. Suess remains the most famous and influential name in children's literature.

* His honors included two Academy awards, two Emmy awards, a Peabody award and the Pulitzer Prize.

Jimmy Hammer and I have written an appropriately zany song about this most unusual guy. 




American Heroes #4 – the CD

For the past 18 months, I’ve been at work researching and writing songs about another ten great American heroes.  It’s been a labor of love which has included reading more than 100 books, working with co-writer Dave Kinnoin and doing countless re-writes and edits.  My goal: all songs written by January 2012.  We’re hoping to release the album in 2013.  The excitement is building.  More to follow…

Steve Jobs, American Hero

With the recent passing of Steve Jobs, we’ve lost a great American hero.    He was a brilliant visionary -- a blender of art and technology -- who helped make life easier and more enjoyable for millions.  I marvel every day at the amazing things my iPhone can do, and I predict, as we get some distance from his life and gain a better understanding of all that he did, more of us will see him as a great hero. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life … Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”— Steve Jobs, 2005





Yours truly has recently discovered YouTube.  I know.  I’m one of the last.  Over the past year, with the help of a couple of techno YouTube-savvy computer experts, we’ve posted video highlights of four of my five concerts as well as an experimental video using a song from our American Heroes #3 album.  “Doctor” is about Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor in America.  You can watch our latest version of the video HERE.


How Many Concerts?!

A couple decades ago, I went through all my old bookings calendars and tallied every show I’d ever performed.  Including my first public performance at a place called Happy Jack’s in Lake Placid, NY (for which I was seriously heckled and paid $12) in 1974, I have sung a little over 1,000 grown-up shows.

In 1981, I saw the light and eventually evolved into a children’s singer.  To date, I’ve performed 4,970 children’s shows (5,986 total shows).  It’s looking like I’ll be singing my 5,000th children’s concert this April.  How should I celebrate? Do we bake a cake?  I must be old…



A New American Heroes Album in the Works…

It’ll be at least a couple of years before it’s done, but I’m now at work researching another ten great American heroes.  This is the quiet, less stressful phase of my album-making process, the part I enjoy the most, where all I have to do is learn about and be inspired by another batch of amazing people.  There are well over 50 books I’ve accumulated, so I have my work cut out for me.  I’m grateful for the help many of you offered me in choosing them.  In time, I’ll share with you these latest heroes and their inspiring stories.


Jonathan Hikes The French, Italian and Swiss Alps…


It was the fulfillment of a decades-long dream.  Last month, I completed a challenging 110-mile hike around Mt. Blanc beginning and ending in Chamonix, France, walking through parts of Italy and Switzerland as well.  With fifteen friends from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and South Africa, I walked through perhaps the grandest scenery I have ever seen, and returned home to the states invigorated and inspired.  Will there someday be an album of songs about Alpine heroes?  We shall see…




Many of you have asked for an account of my adventures at The GRAMMYs last week, so here goes… 


My fellow children’s music nominees and I had been asked to perform a couple of songs each at The GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles the day before the awards ceremony, as part of the festivities leading up to Sunday’s televised GRAMMYs.


Los Angeles

I flew into Los Angeles on Thursday.  That afternoon, I rehearsed “Doctor” and “Chocolate King” for the first time ever with some of the people who helped write, perform, engineer and produce AH#3 -- Dave Kinnoin, Jimmy Hammer, Leslie Chew and Hillary Black.  Because of the miracles of modern album making which allowed us to email our recorded parts to each other, this was the first time we’d ever actually been together in the same room. We practiced late into the evening and by the time I was back in my room at The Wilshire Grand Hotel in Los Angeles, it had been 22 hours since I’d awakened in PA that morning. 


Friday was rehearsal #2 back in Encino at Jimmy Hammer’s studio.  We continued working out and memorizing our parts late into the night. Saturday began at 8:30 with a breakfast gathering of children’s music makers at a restaurant next to The GRAMMY Museum.  Nearly 100 children’s music makers and marketers were on hand to meet and greet each other.   I met Debbi Derryberry, the voice of Jimmy Neutron, and numerous other people I’d only heard about for years.  Just before it was time for me to head for the “green room” prior to our performance, I was interviewed by the folks at (where my CDs are available) outside on a café table.        


Saturday's GRAMMY Concert

The 220 seat state-of-the-art sound stage at The GRAMMY Museum is a performer’s dream; and every one of the nominees in my category of children’s music came -- Milkshake (Baltimore, MD), Ziggy Marley, Buck Howdy (San Diego), Cathy & Marcy (Washington, DC), Greg & Steve (CA), and me. Dean Pitchford, songwriter of “Fame” and screenwriter of the movie Footloose (1984), was up for a GRAMMY in the children’s spoken word category.  We were chatting it up there in the green room until it was time for Dean to head down to the theater to kick off the concert with a reading from one of his books. The show was a sell out.  The walls of the theater were lined with people who couldn’t get a seat.  Many were turned away at the door. Eventually, we went on and performed our two songs to an enthusiastic, intelligent and appreciate crowd of mostly music industry grown-ups and their families.  The concert was a great success!         


Some facts to put the GRAMMYs into perspective:  In 2008, there were over 105,000 albums released.  At the 2010 GRAMMYs, there were 1,004 nominees from approximately 110 different categories.  There are two children’s categories: “Best Musical Album for Children” and “Best Spoken Word Album for Children.”  Nominees are determined by members of the Recording Academy who vote.  (You can join The Academy if you’re a professional who works in the field of recorded music.) Normally, five nominees are chosen per category.  In my category, there were six nominees, which means there was a tie.  The GRAMMY winner is determined by the same voters in round two. 


GRAMMY experts claim the highlight of the weekend is the Saturday GRAMMY Nominee reception.  This year, it was held after the lifetime achievement awards ceremony at the Wilshire Ebell near Hollywood.  The place is an extraordinary mansion with courtyards, gardens, a ballroom, and, in our case, a red carpet.  This is the place where Amelia Earhart made her last public appearance before disappearing on her around-the-world attempt in 1937.           

Every nominee gets a beautiful Tiffany GRAMMY medallion.  It looks like an Olympic bronze medal, complete with a purple ribbon.  You wait in a long line to receive your medal.  When you get to the check-in spot, you sign your name in a book with a list of nominees before receiving your medal and having an official GRAMMY photo taken of you.  The sign in book lists names alphabetically.  The name just above mine was “Bruce Springsteen.”  Above Bruce was “Brittney Spears.”  That’s the closest I came to either of them that weekend. 


Sunday, GRAMMY Day

Ninety-nine GRAMMYs were given out between 1:00 and 3:30 PM Sunday afternoon in the Convention Center adjacent to The Staples Arena.  (You can watch this for the next couple of weeks at  I sat with my band cohorts a few rows from fellow kids nominees Greg & Steve and Cathy & Marcy and their entourages.  The children’s music GRAMMY was given out in the #15 spot.  Ziggy Marley won it, but was not present to receive it.      

We saw Taylor Swift receive her first and second GRAMMYs and we were all touched by her sincerity and appreciation for the award.         

Then it was through tunnels of white tents over red carpets into The Staples Arena to our special GRAMMY Nominee seats. The show was one amazing performance after another.  Lady Gaga’s leaps, Beyonce’s hair flinging struts and Pink’s circus-like water-drenched spinnings were stunning and unforgettable.  If you want to be a star in today’s music world, you’d better be good in gym class too!        


A Fan for Life

I arrived at The GRAMMYs a nominee and I left a fan.  How could we not appreciate the talent and the attention to details of sight and sound and security that had to happen in order to pull off this most amazing weekend? I knew the odds of our winning were slim and I have no regrets about the weekend.  I knew at 10:00 PM on Wednesday, December 2nd when I first learned about my nomination, that I was going to come home a winner, regardless of the outcome. And there’s always the next album…  This week, I began mapping out goals and tentative deadlines for American Heroes #4. 




Remarkable News! …

Last week, our American Heroes #3 CD was nominated for a GRAMMY Award in the category “Best Recording for Children!”  This is a huge honor and I’m all aflutter over it.  I’ll be in Los Angeles for “Music’s Biggest Night” the last weekend in January 2010.


The children’s Grammy will be awarded during the afternoon and can be viewed via audio/video streaming at from 4:00 to 7:00 PM EST on Sunday, January 31st.


As part of the weekend celebration, I’ll be performing with my fellow children’s recording artist nominees at The Grammy Museum on Saturday, January 30th.


Best wishes for the holiday season!  






Election Day (November 3) is a good time to remember Susan B. Anthony (“Carry On,” More American Heroes CD).  For over 50 years, this brilliant feminist crisscrossed America at a breathtaking pace, peacefully proclaiming that women deserve to be treated as equal to men.  She was arrested and fined $100 for daring to vote in 1872.  To the judge who sentenced her, she replied “I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust fine.”  She never did. In 1920, fourteen years after Ms. Anthony’s death, the 19th (known as the Susan B. Anthony) Amendment was passed, making it legal for women to vote in the United States. 


 Veteran’s Day (November 11) began as Armistice Day in 1918 at the end of World War I.  (Armistice means “ending of hostilities.”)  After peace was declared on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Allied nations insisted it be a day to remember those who died in the war and a day to give thanks for peace.  In 1954 in the United States, the name was changed to Veteran’s Day.   My American Hero veterans include:  George Washington (“Washington’s Hat,” American Heroes CD) -- Revolutionary War; Harriet Tubman (“Take A Ride,” American Heroes CD) – Civil War spy for the Union Army; Jackie Robinson (“Break the Barrier, More American Heroes) – US Army; and Neil Armstrong (“First Man on the Moon,” More American Heroes CD) – Korean War pilot.  


Thanksgiving (November 26) began in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln (“All Across the Land,” American Heroes CD) was President.  While the Civil War raged on, an optimistic President Lincoln asked Americans to count their blessings and proclaimed: “… I do therefore invite my fellow citizens … to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens...” 

SUMMER 2009 

Ah…. The Joys of Summer!

           School has come to a close and I’m feeling grateful for another year of memorable concert experiences.  The new Heroes Four concert has received amazing reviews and bookings for next school year are looking good.

            A day after my final school show, I drove to Virginia and spent a week visiting the “new” Mount Vernon (George Washington), Jamestown (Pocahontas), Yorktown (George Washington), Monticello (Thomas Jefferson) and Montpelier (James Madison, “the Father of our Constitution,” and possible hero on the next CD).  Oh, and I also bicycled 325 miles during five days with 2,000 cyclists on Bike Virginia.  I recommend ALL sites … and Bike Virginia too (it’s an annual event)!


Sprout Concert Photos Posted at my Website

            There are lots of new things going on at  We now have a FAN PAGE where we’re accumulating concert photos and videos.  Do you have any photos or videos of your children singing my music at home or at school?  Please email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   We’ll see if we can put them up.


The Los Angeles Songwriter’s Expo

            Last April, I attended the ASCAP Songwriter’s Expo in Los Angeles with co-songwriter Dave Kinnoin.  More than a thousand of the best songwriters in the world attended to meet and share ideas.  I had the opportunity to meet Richard Marx (“Right Here Waiting”), Paul Williams (“The Rainbow Connection”), Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian of The Hooters (“Time After Time”), and Siedah Garrett (“Man in the Mirror”). 


Sprout Public Concert:  Camden, NJ,  Saturday, July 25

           Every once in a while, I make a concert appearance in “the real world.”  On Saturday, July 25th, I’ll be performing at the WXPN Festival Kids Corner Stage in Camden, NJ from 2:30 to 3:15 PM.   WXPN has been airing some of the new heroes songs.  You may request songs on the WXPN Kids Corner radio show HERE.


APRIL 2009

Last week I performed my 4,726th children’s concert at the Littlebrook School in Princeton, NJ where I was the music teacher some 25 years ago.  This month, I’ll return to Steckel Elementary School in Whitehall, PA to perform there for the 20th time.  Time flies when you’re having fun!


We have these and other Sprout shows listed on my Concert Calendar.



The new album has received over a dozen glowing reviews (and nary a sour one)!  Here are a few excerpts:


“Although the carefully researched biographical anecdotes and historical facts are primarily for the enjoyment of elementary and middle school students and their families, the stories of these remarkable lives are an inspiration to all ages.”   EdPlay Magazine (February 2009)



Fabulous!!, February 22, 2009


S. E. Turner (NJ USA)  

As a first grade teacher, I am always looking for ways to make learning fun. Jonathan has helped me do that! All year long, we add the dimension of his music (and often dancing!) to reading, writing, and viewing stories of American heroes. The three Heroes CDs are a must for every elementary classroom!





Another wonderful CD by Jonathan Sprout, February 22, 2009


Maureen Murphy (Wilmington Delaware)  

Jonathan Sprout has done an outstanding job with his new Heroes 3 CD. As an elementary music teacher and as a parent of a fourth grader, my students and I have enjoyed Heroes 1 and 2 in class and at home. Jonathan has such a wonderful way of capturing the spirit and the life of these amazing people from American history in his songs. The beautiful melodies, engaging harmonies, memorable lyrics and special creative touches make each song unique to the hero. My students are mesmerized by their stories and the songs. You can hear them singing in the school hallways! Our favorite is "Can't Stop Running", but we enjoy them all!

"American Heroes" Review
“This is a must have for teachers!   It is simply awesome. And I say this not just because of the fun upbeat music that gets toes tapping and hands clapping, nor because of Jonathan's wonderful singing, all but for another reason.
… I can imagine this album being perfect for elementary school children of all ages. … I could go on and on about this album, but it may be better for you to check it out yourself!”        Irene Bellamy,


You can order CDs and digital downloads from,, Sing ‘n Learn,, iTunes, Rhapsody, numerous additional digital download sites and in some children’s, educational and record stores.


February 2009

I am very proud to announce that my American Heroes #3 CD is now officially born!


Thirty-nine months, countless re-writes and re-records, four mixes and three CD mastering sessions later - which means the album making team kept finding ways to improve it - it’s here.

Right off the get-go, the album became a celebrated Winner of an iParenting Media Award!  Here are some initial reviews:


"Jonathan Sprout’s American Heroes #3 delivers another rich punchy packet of diversified heroes including Wilma Rudolph, George Washington Carver, Cesar Chavez, John Muir and Pocahontas to name just a few. The songs are hip and happening - finely produced and performed tributes to some brilliant folks who have left a strong imprint on our society. Perhaps American Heroes #10 will have a nod to Jonathan Sprout! Yes indeed, learning can be a memorable experience."  John Wood,   


***** American Heroes #3

Author: Joanie Bartels

“This CD was a true labor of love and it shows on every song! Jonathan Sprout and his co-writers have brought to light/life some of America's most famous and courageous (and some lesser known) contributors to the betterment of humankind in a way that will fascinate and inspire not only young people but their parents and teachers as well. This CD is a must in every classroom and home!”


 ***** Another great CD by Jonathan Sprout

Author: Dr. Dennis Denenberg

“Once again, Jonathan has created awesome songs about REAL heroes and their achievements. His mastery of what they did and their heroic qualities capture the human essence of these incredible men and women. Kids and adults will not only learn about these heroes; they will find themselves singing along! Bravo!”


 ***** Inspirational and fun!, January 25, 2009

Author:  Karen Bartholomew

“Jonathan Sprout's music is infectious. His hooks memorable and singable. This collection of songs about inspirational Americans is educational and moving. I learned something about those I recognized, and was moved by the stories of those I'd never heard of. The variety of styles keeps the whole album interesting. Every song has a different character. I recommend it highly for young and old alike!” 


***** Jonathan Works Wonders Again, January 20, 2009

Author: Brian Malek

“My fifth graders have been waiting for Jonathan's new "American Heroes #3" album for several weeks now and they were NOT DISAPPOINTED. I have been teaching for ten years and Jonathan's songs completely energize and captivate my students every year. His music not only entertains, but TEACHES you about REAL HEROES! Countless parents have told me his CD's have worn out their car stereos. Catchy tunes and educational lyrics...for all ages. Way to go Jon! Another ‘instant classic!’”



October 2008

Ever notice how many times you hear “baby” in pop/rock music? Early on in my career, I promised some friends I would never use that word in a song. Then I got the idea to write a song to be sung to a baby. Andrea Clearfield played the classical piano introduction and ending. Leslie Chew created the smooth drum and bass arrangement.


Dr. Music was recorded in Los Angeles in 1993. That was the year devastating fires destroyed hundreds of homes in the suburbs of LA. We had worked for nearly 2,000 hours on the album and were almost done when the fires erupted. I was not there at the time, but when the fires were at their worst, the recording studio owners were forced to evacuate. Our tapes were left behind.


Using binoculars from their high rise hotel room several miles away, the recording studio owners could see their building off in the distance. All night long, they watched as the fires crept closer. By night’s end, they were certain all had been lost.


Amazingly, the fires were stopped a few hundred yards from the studio, and my hot Dr. Music master tapes were spared a blistering pre-release incineration. I mean, we knew the tracks sizzled, but…


Final touches are now being made on my new CD
American Heroes #3, to be released in January 2009. Future newsletters will include insights into my ten new heroes: Jane Addams, Elizabeth Blackwell, George Washington Carver, Cesar Chavez, Milton Hershey, Thomas Jefferson, John Muir, Pocahontas, Wilma Rudolph & Jonas Salk. Much more will follow.


September 2008


The Lullabies CD has interesting origins. In the late 1980s, I bought my first recording studio. Instead of writing my usual fun, playful pop-rock kid’s music, I often found myself creating semi-classical, dreamy, instrumental synthesizer music. It was strange new territory for the acoustic singer/songwriter I thought I was.


In 1989 while I was in Los Angeles discussing the recording of my 2nd kids’ album, Kid Power, I played a few of the tunes for co-producer Leslie Chew. When Leslie suggested they would be perfect material for a lullaby album, everything fell into place. I went home and wrote lyrics to about half of the songs. The other half-dozen songs remained as instrumentals.


Lullabies For A New Age was released to very enthusiastic reviews. To my knowledge, this was the first children’s album comprised of what was then called “new age music,” thus, the album’s title.


I was in the studio much of this past summer not only finishing up the American Heroes #3 album, but also upgrading and updating several of my old concerts.


The revised American Heroes Two concert debuting in September includes my new song Pocahontas (written with Dave Kinnoin & Jimmy Hammer).


The updated Dr. Music Confidence Concert debuting in September includes He Will Not Give Up (about Dr. Jonas Salk) as well as Keep Your Face to the Sunshine (about Helen Keller). In addition, the show includes a funny new phone skit and a newly recorded version of I Don’t Want To Go Home.


In January, I’ll begin performing the American Heroes Four concert featuring new songs about John Muir, Wilma Rudolph, Elizabeth Blackwell, Thomas Jefferson and Milton Hershey. This show includes an original song about teachers who are heroes called “Good For Me.”


May 2008


This month’s free Sprout
download at myspace is Litterbug from my On The Radio CD.


The Litterbug Story … In the 1980’s, I lived a few yards from the beautiful Delaware River in Bucks County, PA. From my second floor office picture window, I recall once watching a noisy pick-up truck speed by as its driver tossed a bag of cans and bottles onto the road.


My imagination took over from there. Eventually, I created a song about a short-sighted fisherman who doesn’t get the connection between his litter and the shortage of fish he loves to catch. Producer Leslie Chew and I recorded the album in Philadelphia using state-of-the-art (1985) computer sequencers. (We were so dedicated to mastering the programming that we spent nearly 90 hours in the studio before we began hearing music!)


On The Radio, originally on vinyl and cassette, was re-mastered by Leslie in his Los Angeles studio in 2005 and re-released as a CD.


April 2008


* I’m having a lot of fun in the studio updating my concerts. The
Dr. Music Confidence Concert is going through a major overhaul that will go into effect soon. We’ve already added Keep Your Face to the Sunshine (about Helen Keller) from my More American Heroes CD to the show. Miss Keller’s exact inspiring words were: “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.”


* Many of you have noticed the remarkable new sound system now in use with my live shows. Two state-of-the-art Bose L1 Model II stacks and bass modules have been added. The clarity and power of this system is stunning. You have to hear it to believe it.


* The MySpace page includes a concert itinerary, 10 full-length mp3’s you can stream and a free download song of the month. This month’s free song is Baby from my Dr. Music CD. It’s one of my personal favorites on that album. The song was written intending to poke fun of the word “baby” which is rather overused in today’s popular music. Co-producer Leslie Chew created a great rhythmic bass and percussive section that carries the song along. Classical virtuoso Andrea Clearfield played the inspiring piano part. The song begins with a fun skit performed by real-life husband & wife Greg & Jill Biros.

 February 2008


Happy President’s Day Monday, February 18th. Though Lincoln and Washington were two of the greatest American Heroes who accomplished great things, you may not have known that…


* Abraham Lincoln, our tallest president (6’4”) is the only president who owned a patent. It has something to do with helping river boats stay afloat.


* Until the New Jersey commemorative quarter was minted in 1999, Lincoln was the only person on both sides of a US coin -- the penny. The person on both sides of that New Jersey quarter is George Washington.


* Washington was known as the best dancer in the colony of Virginia.


* It is said that George Washington was the first person to raise mules in America.


Thomas Edison’s birthday was February 11th. In addition to the 1000+ inventions of Edison’s is his “invention” of the word hello. Evidently, he would speak it while he was testing his improvements on the telephone.


One of the oddest of Edison’s inventions is the cement house. Always the optimist, Edison believed he had found a way to make housing affordable by pouring concrete houses from the ground up and leaving openings for windows and doors. His concrete houses were designed to be energy efficient, cheaper and quick to build. Unfortunately, there were problems that kept this invention from becoming the society-saver Edison dreamed it would be. You can read a funny story about a leaky Edison concrete home by clicking here.


Stage 1 (the research) is complete. Stage 2 (the songwriting) is complete. Stage 3 (the studio recording, mixing and mastering) is more than half done.


I went in “the studio” last September at Hunter Sound in New York. Most all the lead (main) vocals, piano, bass and drum parts have been completed.


Los Angeles record producer Jimmy Hammer will soon be arranging and recording guest background vocalists and percussion parts for the new songs. Guitarist Leslie Chew is now recording additional guitar parts in Los Angeles. In a month or so, co-producer Joe Mennonna will then synchronize their work with our already recorded tracks. He and I will then begin sorting through all the instrument and vocal parts to mix (blend) them into something close to what the songs will finally sound like.


December 2007


Most of the basic and lead vocal tracks have been recorded for my new album. West coast arranger and co-producer Jimmy Hammer and New York arranger, producer and engineer
Joe Mennonna have added remarkable vocal and instrumental arrangements to the songs that Dave Kinnoin and I carefully crafted. It’s all coming together beautifully. We anticipate a summer 2008 release.


October 2007


I wrote a song about Clara Barton
Angel of Mercy for my American Heroes CD. In my research, I found a heart warming story that revealed Miss Barton’s teaching expertise.


Hart Bodine was a big bully. He evidently towered over the five foot tall young Miss Barton, and he was to be one of her students. As I understand it, on the first day of school when Hart began to act up, Miss Barton asked him to go outside alone with her and gather together the whips that had been used by previous teachers to discipline the children. She then told him to break the whips into tiny pieces, took him tenderly by the hand and assured him she would never need those whips, for Hart was one of her big boys and she could depend on him to help her keep order in the school. Hart responded by breaking down in a flood of tears.


Hart’s mother later wrote: “From that time on Hart was a model of obedience in the schoolroom.” In her unpublished autobiography, Barton wrote that “His pledge was kept. Oh how long and well it was kept. In school he was ever at my hand, to do the smallest bidding, never leaving the (school) house until I left at night, and the first to greet me in the morning.”


Years later, when Barton was one of the North’s most famous nurses, she heard that Hart was fighting in the Civil War, stationed in Virginia. She brought him and his mates some jams, jellies and clothing. Hart eventually had a daughter. She was named Clara Barton Bodine.


Now zoom to the year 2007. Last March I was contacted by none other than Clara Barton Bodine’s Great Grandson, John Hart Reese. Mr. Reese has Hart’s military papers and his officer’s Cavalry Sword. He writes, “He was involved in some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.  I think he was shot twice and lived! We still have his crutch he made when he was wounded. He was a carpenter by trade and I have his tools and toolbox.”


You can find my song Angel of Mercy on my American Heroes CD.


There are more and more places on the Web where you can find my music.
CDBaby is one of my favorite sites. You can find downloads of my music at iTunes and dozens of other download sites.  Teachers, there’s a great site where you can now find my music – Songs for Teaching, where you can buy my physical CDs as well as downloads of my CDs (with lyrics).


* Do you know of any website, Internet Radio Sites, Podcasts, Internet Magazines, etc. you think I should contact about my music? Kids Internet radio stations? Heroes sites? If so, please let me know.


CDBaby is helping to categorize my music at their site so that people who might like my sound can find me more easily. They want to know what famous recording artist do people say you sound like? I’m a bit clueless. Please email me with your answer. (This could be enlightening!)


July 2007


* TRAVELING NEWS: I recently drove to Indianapolis to perform a concert which afforded me two hero side trips: The Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum and Johnny Appleseed Park.


The Museum is in Armstrong’s hometown of Wapakoneta, OH. It’s well worth the trip if you find yourself in northern or western Ohio. The people there confirmed some fascinating things I had read about Mr. Armstrong. He did, indeed, create the phrase “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind” as he was descending the ladder of the lunar excursion model about to step onto the moon. The Apollo 8 astronauts were the first to witness an earthrise (from their spacecraft), yet Armstrong and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin were the first to witness an earthrise while standing on the moon. The song about Neil Armstrong, First Man On The Moon, is on my More American Heroes CD.


The Johnny Appleseed gravesite is in a quiet little park on a grassy knoll next to a huge sports stadium in the middle of the city of Ft. Wayne, IN. A few yards from the iron-fenced burial plot is a small one room log cabin surrounded by apple trees. As the only person present on a beautiful spring day, I had the strange sensation that no one else was aware of this tranquil oasis. Go if you’re ever near Ft. Wayne. At mapquest, search for Johnny Appleseed Park to find it. Johnny Appleseed is on More American Heroes.


* THE THIRD AMERICAN HEROES CD: It was nearly two years ago when I began work on my American Heroes #3 CD. In the first year I was consumed with research which included reading nearly sixty five books about my eleven new heroes. This past year I’ve been focused on songwriting, re-writing ... and, yes, re-re-writing & arranging the musical parts.


I find writing songs about exceptional people very demanding. Writing a great song is challenging, but the complexities multiply when the need for historical accuracy becomes part of the lyrical mix. Thus, the many re-writes. At this point, I could fill a third of an album with songs about Pocahontas. In the end, though, just one Pocahontas song will make it on the album. The other versions, as they say, will be history.


In the coming six months I expect to get into a studio and do most of the final recording. I promised myself early on that the only way I’d make this album is if it becomes the best album I’ve ever made. I intend to keep that promise. Stay tuned!


June 2007


* JONATHAN GOES WEST: I flew to Los Angeles in April to participate in the ASCAP Songwriter’s Expo and to write songs for my new heroes album with professional songwriter Dave Kinnoin. (Dave and I co-wrote nearly half of the songs on my first two heroes CDs.) Dave will be flying east this summer to write more heroes songs with me. (I hope to complete the album within the year.) Dave is an amazing songwriter with CDs of his own. You can find him at


* A NEW OLD CD: About a year and a half ago, my first children’s album was remastered in Los Angeles. We updated the artwork and On The Radio was re-released as a CD. Co-producer Leslie Chew and I originally recorded it in the summer of 1985. We worked on the cutting edge of technology, experimenting with recording studio computers (known as sequencers). To my knowledge, ours was only the second rock album ever made for children. (The first was Rock of Ages by Steve Zaldin.) In an era when virtually all children’s music was classified as folk, our intent was to produce music that sounded like what children were enjoying on pop and rock FM radio stations. Twenty-two years old and still fresh, listen to On The Radio at


* FOR TEACHERS: Last February, I presented a teacher workshop at the National Core Knowledge Conference in Washington, DC. With the help of many dedicated teachers, I have created a list of fifteen practical ideas for teaching heroes songs in your school. You can find the list HERE.


April 2007


We have updated information about the disappearance of one of my heroes -- Amelia Earhart.  There's a great article written by Richard Pyle of the Associated Press that appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer a couple of days ago.


Ms. Earhart was a hero before her final flight, but her disappearance remains one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th Century.  Evidently, the mystery may be solved this summer!  On July 2, 1937 it appears Ms. Earhart's plane may have landed on Gardner Island (now called Nikumaroro), 350 miles south of the island on which her plane was supposed to land in the South Pacific Ocean.


We have the lyrics to "Amelia" (from my American Heroes CD) HERE.

Summer 2006



These are great times in the history of our planet. Never before have we had so much at our fingertips with so many opportunities to help each other, to bring health and happiness to each other and to communicate so easily with each other.


Over the past few decades people have made amazing advances in medicine. More of us are now living longer healthier lives. Because of computers and the Internet, telephones, television and high speed travel, we are building bridges with and befriending other cultures and countries with whom we were once at war. With the relatively recent introduction of these World Improvement Tools, true heroes are blossoming everywhere.


Never before have the opportunities to do great good been so readily available to so many people. The July 10, 2006 issue of Newsweek Magazine tells the stories of many modern day heroes. Former president Jimmy Carter works tirelessly to improve living conditions around the world. Actor Paul Newman has given millions of dollars to charities with the profits from his salad dressings. Talk show host Oprah Winfrey uses her celebrity to improve the lives of millions of women in Africa and to help tsunami and hurricane victims. Super cyclist Lance Armstrong is fighting cancer around the world. Golfer Tiger Woods gave a $25 million youth education facility to help teach some of the lessons he has learned about hard work.


And get this: Microsoft founder Bill Gates has given nearly $30 billion (yes, that's BILLION) in lifetime gifts to improve health and education around the world. Investor Warren Buffet is in the process of giving $30 billion (yes, that too is BILLION) to help Bill Gates make the world an even better place.


I encourage you to think and learn about these heroes who are focusing their energies in creative ways to make, yes ... a better world.


Winter 2006


Here's an article that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on January 15, 2006 written by Gene D'Alessandro. It's very well written and researched!


Teaching about real heroes
Singer Jonathan Sprout avoids talking down to children

In his shows on history and self-esteem.

By Gene D'Alessandro
Inquirer Staff Writer


Jonathan Sprout is nowhere near as famous as Trout Fishing in America.


He hasn't sold as many recordings as Raffi, or made as many TV appearances as the Wiggles.


Still, the affable singer-songwriter from Morrisville is one of the most popular children's entertainers in the region.


And with more than 250 annual engagements on his calendar, Sprout might be one of the hardest-working children's acts.


"Everybody gets excited when Jonathan Sprout is coming to school," said Matthew Hassick, a fourth grader at George D. Steckel Elementary in Whitehall, Lehigh County.


"We talk about it the whole week," added Matthew, 9, who has taken in two Sprout concerts and is awaiting his third in May. (Steckel holds the record for Sprout shows, 17.)


Celebrated for his upbeat performance style, Sprout prides himself on the educational bent of his programs. He performs shows about American heroes and self-esteem issues ("Dr. Music Confidence Concerts") and conducts songwriter workshops for youngsters.


Mainly through word of mouth, Sprout has forged a successful career. He plays his songs and holds assemblies all over the country, mainly in elementary schools and theaters in the Mid-Atlantic region.


At a recent morning performance in the Lehigh Valley, Sprout made his Hillside School debut. He performed his "American Heroes" concert for about 120 students. The attentive youngsters - kindergartners through sixth graders - sat on the floor of the multipurpose "cafetorium."


First-year teacher Lynda Hassick had seen Sprout perform at her son Matthew's school two years ago. She was so taken with the act that she recommended Sprout come to Hillside, a private school for children with learning disabilities.


"I'll have a little fun adapting my show to this audience," Sprout said before the concert. "I learned to be flexible with all kinds of audiences, so it won't be a problem."


The Hillside students were a bit subdued, but they warmed up when Sprout broke into the zany "Washington's Hat." The room erupted in screams and guffaws when Sprout donned an outrageously oversize, tricorne hat with fluffy plume and modern sunglasses. Holding a wireless microphone, he invited the students to dance with him.


Clothed in a custom-made polo shirt designed like an American flag - half blue with stars, half with red and white stripes - Sprout used silly props such as a giant dollar bill and a super-size copper penny to punctuate his speech.


"I know [the youngsters] are not getting everything, but it's better to shoot high than cater to the younger kids and lose the older kids," Sprout said. "It's better to be more academic than babyish."


Sprout, 53, grew up in Hightstown, N.J., in a family of educators. He began singing professionally as a singer-songwriter after he graduated from Bucknell University in 1974. He performed his first children's show in 1981 - for his mother's grade school class.


Since he first started performing professionally in 1972, Sprout has recorded eight albums and won numerous awards, including the Film Advisory Board's Award of Excellence. To date, he has performed more than 4,300 children's concerts.


"[Sprout] helps the children take a different look at the social studies curriculum; social studies can be so boring reading out of a book," Hassick said. "He makes the people seem so real. The kids can relate to it, and I think it's really awesome."


To Sprout, performing for children is much more rewarding than playing in nightclubs.


"I was always a fish out of water in the clubs and bars. Doing the kid shows, you have to be politically correct and squeaky clean. And I've become that person," he said.


For his "American Heroes" assembly, Sprout paid tribute to Amelia Earhart, Sacagawea and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He combined songs with discussions aimed at helping children understand that real heroes can be people other than sports stars and celebrities.


"They say that when you love what you do, it shows, and he absolutely loves it," Hassick said. "He's more of an educator, and I like that angle to it."


Winter 2004

I was recently given a book by Steven Selzer titled By George! Mr. Washington's Guide to Civility Today. When Selzer was researching the subject of civility, he found that George Washington had written 110 rules of decent behavior at the age of 14. This book presents those rules with Selzer's engaging commentary. It's a wonderful character education tool that has given me a greater appreciation for one of my heroes. The book has also given me hope.


Perhaps you too have been upset by the rudeness and thoughtlessness that others sometimes freely display in public. It seems that in becoming a more accepting society, we have become too tolerant of sports fans who yell obscenities … of inconsiderate motorists whose antics are a threat to our personal safety and peace of mind … of politicians who cut down their competitors with negative advertising and angry accusations.


Rule #22: Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another, though he were your enemy.


Rule #40: Strive not with your superiors in argument, but always submit your judgment to others with modesty.


Rule #65: Speak not injurious words, neither in jest nor in earnest; scoff at none although they give occasion.


Rule #110: Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.


In a letter George Washington to sent to a Joseph Reed on January 14, 1776, he wrote: "For as I have but one capital object in view, I could wish to make my conduct coincide with the wishes of Mankind as far as I can consistently."


Many of you are on the front lines of the ongoing struggle for civility and decency. In and around schools, I've observed countless educators and parents lovingly and persistently teaching their children to see the merits of courtesy and politeness.


Mr. Washington made a life of helping to make the world a better place. In our own unique ways, many of us are doing the same.


Summer 2003


In these challenging times, it serves us to be reminded of people who have made (and are making) our world a better place. Our children need to hear messages of hope and optimism. In the words of Tielhard de Chardin, "the future lies in the hands of those who give our young people reasons to live and hope."


Heroes have a greater impact on us when we remember not only their accomplishments, but also their challenges, obstacles, disabilities and fears. This humanizes our heroes and gives us hope that we, too, can become like them.


  • Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and, to some extent, Sacajawea were slaves who managed to make great contributions in spite of their oppressive circumstances.

  • Thomas Edison was 90% deaf, yet he managed to invent a machine that could record and play back beautiful music that others would enjoy far more than he ever could.

  • Helen Keller could not hear or see, but she taught us how to appreciate the beauties of life.

  • Jackie Robinson was constantly put down by racists, yet he built up the sport of baseball and contributed to improving of the quality of life for millions of the less fortunate.

  • Mobs ridiculed Susan B. Anthony when she began asking for fair treatment of women. Eventually, mobs insisted on giving her standing ovations for her high ideals, her bravery and perseverance.

  • Clara Barton was at first ignored when she opened her own free school in Bordentown, only later to be adored as the founder of one of the first public schools in the state of New Jersey.

  • The Wright Brothers had precious little money to put toward their work with gliders and their Wright Flyer. They were competing with inventors who were supported by powerful financial backers.

  • Abraham Lincoln had almost no money as a boy. He failed but learned lessons from several early business endeavors. He went on to show us a richer version of "success" than most have dreamed possible.


The list goes on. So many of our heroes are people who overcame personal obstacles and made positive experiences out of what the rest of us might think of as impossible odds.

Time and again, I hear "never give up" whispered through my heroes' stories. There are gifts that accompany each disability. There are lessons to be learned from each crisis. There is character to be developed. There are well springs of wisdom to be tapped into and shared. There are heroes to be made.


Autumn 2002


I've had the great pleasure of traveling outside of my United States six times during the past three years. Most recently, I participated in a week long group hike through the mountains and valleys of "the scented island," beautiful Corsica, in the Mediterranean. I was the only American in a group of 12 English, Scottish, Swiss and Australian comrades. We all got along splendidly, and were treated with kindness and respect by our numerous Corsican hosts.


In spite of my September 11 traumas and fears, I hold fast to the belief that 99% of our fellow earthlings are decent, kind and honest people. My trips to other countries have fully justified this belief. Everywhere I've gone people have gone out of their way to display courtesy and kindness to me. Everywhere I've traveled, I've met people just like neighbors who are proud of their homes, their villages and their country.


I love my country and am proud of who we are, and yet I am sometimes embarrassed that people from other countries seem to know so much more about us than we know about them. I wish we Americans were better at speaking other languages. I wish we took more pleasure in appreciating and teaching our children the histories and cultures of other countries. I wish we were a little broader in our scope of thinking beyond our borders.


It's a big, and for the most part, friendly world out there, despite what they say on the evening news. Ours is a beautiful planet. Our children deserve to know this.


Summer 2002


I performed 165 concerts in the first 165 days of 2002. On Flag Day (June 14), I finished up my school performances and began relaxing into a little peace and quiet. It was back in April, I think, when I performed my 3,500th children's concert. Life is good. Dreams really do come true. If you'd known me when I was a kid, you never would have thought I'd turn out to be a performer and a recording artist.


In the summer of 1976, I performed at clubs and restaurants in Lake Placid, NY. After one of my shows, a very wise elderly man came up to me and offered this wisdom. He said the secret to making great music is in writing crescendos and decrescendos, in weaving your melodies and rhythms in and out of intensity, in varying your instrumentation from a full orchestra to sometimes near silence. I never learned this man's name, and still sometimes wonder who he was. One of my favorite quotations is credited to the Senator from Maine, Edmund Muskie, who said: "Never say anything that doesn't improve on silence." I try never to PLAY anything that doesn't improve on silence.


Someday I may write a book about my experiences singing for children. (I'm reading Raffi's autobiography now, and enjoying it.) I've accumulated a lot of great stories. I'm starting to collect great one-liners from kids.


"You don't look like you." -- Newark, DE ... A young boy had been comparing
me with my poster.

"Please send me your autograph, and sign it." -- sent to me by Allison B., age
7, long ago. She's probably now in her late 20's.

"You're older than this picture." ... out of the mouths of babes.


Lately, I've been enjoying the music of Nik Kershaw, Secret Garden and David Foster. These composers and musicians have mastered great melodies without giving up the occasional precious moments of silence. I wish you a summer full of boisterous and upbeat times and full of peaceful silent moments. May you enjoy DOing much and BEing a lot.


With thanks for your kindness and support,
Jonathan Sprout