Once upon a time…
two performing artist friends decided to read picture books for children while musicians improvised. The Lucky Trikes began in 2014 by offering “Stories Wrapped in String”, a Saturday morning series at William Harris Lee & Co. luthier shops in Chicago’s Fine Arts Building and Wilmette.
Co-founder and theater artist Deirdre Harrison curates sets of books around a theme and includes award-winning authors and illustrators as well as rare and original stories. Co-founder and composer Kyle Gregory Price leads the music, which includes improvised and classical music and his original songs. Musicians from Chicago’s thriving new music and free jazz scenes join Deirdre and Kyle for each performance.
Over the years,
the Trikes have performed across the city as part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks initiative, and appear annually at Navy Pier’s Stroller Grooves, Thirsty Ears Festival, Make Music Chicago, Apple Fest, as well as at regional festivals. Between 2015-2019 The Lucky Trikes performed monthly at CityLit Books and then Jimmy Beans Coffee in Logan Square and gave a weekly storytime for a large multi-lingual community at Lincolnwood Library in 2019.
Funded in part by the Chicago Community Trusts’ Free for All Fund, The Trikes developed and presented a new series of music storytimes featuring children’s books from the collection at the The Newberry Library in 2017. They helped launch its new community spaces in October, 2018 as part of its World’s Fair exhibition in conjunction with Chicago Architecture Open House. They have been featured in One Tree, Many Branches, the beloved Saturday family concert series at Northfield Lutheran Church.
in 2018, the Trikes released its first album, We Are the Lucky Trikes, four original songs by Kyle and cover art by Beatrice Tabacchi. In 2019, Kyle designed and produced a music video for his original song Astray, with automatic drawing collaboration from then 9 year old artist Edie Scranton.
When the pandemic changed everything,
in 2020 and 2021, the band co-wrote and recorded a second album, Listen! Listen! Listen!, with Chicago children’s puppeteers Sajja & Kabba including 8 new songs from Kyle. Deirdre and Kyle live-streamed and recorded events for the Experimental Sound Studios’ Quarantine Series, the Chicago Park District’s Your Night at Home series, and nine videos dedicated to some of their partners in working towards a 100% literate Chicago, as part of a grant from City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.
During this time they planted lots of tomatoes at home and three new Little Free Libraries on Chicago’s west side. Deirdre began to tour Chicago’s lakefront with a mobile little free library on the back of a 1970’s adult Trike, Dweleanor, which was gifted to The Lucky Trikes by Working Bikes. The Lucky Trikes were invited to design a somatic story time workshop for parents and daycare workers as part of the first Equip to Achieve SEL summit and look forward to bringing this workshop to adults working with young children in the future.
The Lucky Trikes also collect gifts for Toys for Tots each year in a partnership with Timeless Toys and books for their favorite nonprofit family literacy initiative, Aunt Mary’s Storybook, which links incarcerated parents and their children through storytelling.