Checking in with Cathy Bollinger

Checking in with Cathy Bollinger

What are you working on right now?
One of my CDs is called My Turn, Your Turn. It’s composed of songs for building social skills. I’m just finishing up a book that’ll go with the CD…I’m also working on a CD with my son Ross, who is 21 and finishing up school in Brooklyn. We started collaborating and writing songs together, and we’re actually going to Mexico at the beginning of the year to finish it with the recording engineer I always work with, Paul Brier, who lives there.

In addition to writing songs with her son Ross, Cathy Bollinger is working on a music DVD for children with autism. “Music is certainly helpful in addressing social skill development, but some kids really need that visual aid.”

What were you doing just before we called?
I was e-mailing, which is not my favorite thing to do.

Tell us about your day job.
I’ve worked at a place called InnisFree for about 21 years. It’s a wonderful place to work. I do music therapy at Westminster Canterbury and at Burnley-Moran Middle School. So it’s a number of things that I’m piecing together to make a living. And I like that. It makes life interesting.

What is your favorite tool of the trade?
My Takamine guitar.

Locally, who would you like to collaborate with?
Elizabeth Hoover. She’s lives out in Crozet, part of a group that runs a co-housing project, and is a writer for a company in New York. We’ve wanted to collaborate for years, with me doing music and her doing work on an accompanying DVD. Another thing I’d like to do: My son Ross is also an animator in New York, and he makes these cartoons called “Pencilmation.” We’ve got a couple of songs that we’d like to try out as pencilmations. One of them is called “When You Sneeze” which is about, you know, sneezing the correct way, and now that there’s so much hype in the media about the swine flu, we thought it would be really fun to put this song together and have him do a cartoon for it, about sneezing into the crook of your arm instead of your hands.

When you’re working on a project, what is your favorite snack food?
When I am writing a song, that is one of the few times that I’m not hungry. When I’m writing e-mails and stuff like that, I like to munch on popcorn.

What upcoming event do you plan on seeing?
The thing is, a lot of my evenings I’m caught up in taking my kids to where they need to go. I’d love to get out to a movie. My husband and I love movies. I’d like to see the new Meryl Streep one, Julie & Julia.

What music are you listening to lately?
I’ve always loved James Taylor, Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell. I also like Feist a lot, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

If you’re packing light for a long trip, what article of clothing do you definitely take?
My slippers. I think they’re L.L. Bean. Fuzzy, almost like clogs with fuzz in them. They’re just so comfortable.

What item do you carry around at all times?
My idea pad.

Guilty pleasures?
Wine. I guess I shouldn’t feel too guilty about that. Both red and white, depending on the night or what I’m eating.

Who is your favorite artist outside your genre? In your genre?
I love Monet. As far as children’s musicians, Ella Jenkins is pretty amazing. When I went to music therapy school, she had albums out then. I went to a trade show recently, and she was there. She’s like 85. She really paved the way for children’s music and music therapy.