Ragtime dancing

I am constantly amazed by the quality and caliber of artists and musicians who create an entertaining and educational experience for young and old minds. Last Sunday, we were invited to see the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s Ragtime Xylophonia at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California. This was the first time we had been at any event at the Alex Theatre or for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Our time at Ragtime Xylophonia was immensely enjoyable because of the variety of pre-show activities and, of course, the show itself.

As soon as we entered, to the right, was an art station by Kidspace Children’s Museum. They were using recycled materials to create Earth-friendly art projects. On the left, was Louise Reichlin teaching children and any adult who wanted to participate, Ragtime dance moves. Mishy got into the spirit and danced away – first by watching and slowly trying, and then by dancing her own way, with Ragtime flair.

Mishy trying some ragtime dance steps in her own space.

After her dance lesson, we headed upstairs where there was an instrument petting zoo. The instruments were provided for by Metzler Violins and the students of Central Los Angeles High School #9: School for Visual and Performing Arts volunteered for this program.There were line ups that felt slower because it was crowded – crowded because every child or every parent wanted their child to pet an instrument. Mishy picked up a violin, which was a bit too big for her. Nevertheless, she was fascinated by the sound she made when she moved the bow across the strings. There were smaller violins to pet as well as a cello. I am told the variety of instruments change and at every concert, they are different. We will be going to see their next concert on May 1st – Whimsical Winds – I’m looking forward to seeing which instrument my daughter would like to pet then.

Mishy trying the violin during the Instrument Petting Zoo.

We next headed downstairs to the tent which was set up on the side of the Alex Theatre. REMO Recreational Music Center had set up a drum circle activity by offering different drums to beat. Mishy and Babba beat drums to their own beat and then Mishy helped put away the drums as the ushers told us it was time to head inside for Ragtime Xylophonia.

Drumming with Remo.

The program started with Wade Culbreath on the xylophone. Mr. Culbreath has a loyal adult following. There were hoots and hollers after his solo performance. There was also a great deal of applause. Alan Chapman then walked on stage and hosted the performance, starting with a short interview with Mr. Culbreath. Mr. Chapmans’s voice via the microphone is as smooth as it is on radio. We listen to him every morning on Los Angeles’ only classical radio station, KUSC 91.5FM on his program, Modern Times.  Mr. Chapman gracefully introduced the musicians and at the end of the show moderated the questions with an expert’s flair and great comic timing.

Ragtime Xylophonia featured the compositions of George Hamilton Green, who was simply the greatest xylophonist in the world. He elevated the xylophone to the position of it being seen as a legitimate musical instrument. We were privy to five of his works as well as the work of his brother, Joe Green.

Tickets are still available for Whimsical Winds on May 1st at 2PM. One hour prior to the performance, they offer a variety of fun and educational children’s programming.

Details:

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

http://www.laco.org/

Press release for Whimsical Winds

http://www.laco.org/press/318

George Hamilton Green

http://georgehamiltongreen.com/

Alan Chapman

http://www.kusc.org/Hosts/AlanChapman.aspx

Kidspace Museum

http://www.kidspacemuseum.org/

REMO Recreational Music Center

http://www.remo.com

Bonus Photo:

After the show, we walked around Glendale and found a Japanese restaurant which had terrific lunch specials until 4PM. Mishy and Babba played with the Benjamin Franklin statue outside the restaurant.

Mishy and Babba hanging out with Benjamin Franklin

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Yesterday, we were privy to a sophisticated, unique, challenging, and unexpected concert for families as part of ULCA Live! at Royce Hall. Bill Frisell Trio performed music they composed specifically for two Buster Keaton short films, High Sign and One Week, as well as two animated shorts called The Whim Grinder by Jim Woodring Animation.

The show opened up with a series of shapes and images which explored themes of spirituality, the evolution of consciousness, and the contrast between horror and beauty while Bill Frisell Trio played. Mishy was fascinated by the shapes. I was fascinated with how the images and music complemented each other. My husband was amazed by the quality of the music. The opening sequence was an abstract sensation for the ears and eyes which set off the tone for the rest of the afternoon.

I had never seen a Buster Keaton film before. I had heard about Mr. Keaton’s greatness. Yesterday afternoon, I was introduced to Buster Keaton in a very special way.  Bill Frisell Trio took me on a journey into the classic comedic films of Buster Keaton by playing music which enhanced what was seen on-screen. The music complimented the story and added to the overall pleasure of watching comedy that was intelligent, not just farcical. Sometimes it was a simple tap-tap on the drums or a beautiful, sweeping audio landscape of breathtaking music. When the show was over, we reluctantly left our seats, wishing for more. Much more.

The Bill Frisell Trio is Bill Frisell on guitar, Tony Scherr on bass, and Tony Wollesen on drums. This was their only stop in Los Angeles. They will be returning to the Village Vanguard in New York for an extended run, starting on April 17th.

UCLA Live! offers quality shows for adults and families including Arlo Guthrie on April 8th at 8PM. UCLA Live! also offers special programs for underprivileged children and are looking for donations to their program, Design For Sharing.

Details:

Bill Frisell Trio

http://www.billfrisell.com/

UCLA Live!

http://www.uclalive.org/

Design For Sharing

http://www.uclalive.org/community/design/

 

Charlotte Diamond in concert

(Our camera was lost and now it’s been found so this is being posted a bit late.)

On a Monday, a couple of weeks ago, we returned from Northridge, where we  were invited to hear Charlotte Diamond perform to a completely sold out audience of children, teachers, mothers, and grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers. For those who are unfamiliar with Charlotte Diamond, she is a Canadian gem of singer who has devoted her professional life to children’s music. She has won numerous awards including several Junos, the Canadian equivalent to the Grammys.  Her craftmanship, sense of humor, comfort, and ease is evident seeing her perform live. While we watched, she sang, blew bubbles, played her guitar, invited children to walk around on stage and even had someone dress up as a pizza slice – not all at the same time, of course. She will be returning to the Southern California area in August and will be performing at the South Coast Botanical Gardens as part of their summer concert series on August 28th, 2011. I can’t wait!

A preschool joins Charlotte Diamond on stage

Catching bubbles

Audience clapping first of many times

Mishy dancing with a concert souvenir

Details:

Charlotte Diamond

http://www.charlottediamond.com/

If you would like to hear Charlotte Diamond sooner rather than later, her CD, 10 Carrot Diamond, features her greatest hits. Here is a link to Amazon.com for the CD:

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Mishy loves this CD, particularly, the songs, Four Hugs A Day, and I Want To Be A Dog. I really like listening to this CD too because it’s fun and loving towards children and animals.

Mishy holds her unicorn bubble wand and streamer

Bonus Photos:

Mishy told me to take this picture

Mishy wanted me to take this picture too

She continued to ask me to take pictures. Here's another one.

And another requested photo by Mishy

Last requested photo taken

I have been wanting to go to the Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA, near Burbank to see the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s children’s concerts. I am very excited to be able to give away two tickets to their upcoming show of Ragtime Xylophonia. Here are the details of the concert:
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Starts at 2:00 PM

Wade Culbreath, percussion
Alan Chapman, host

GH Green Triplets
GH Green/Becker Jovial Jasper
GH Green/Becker Cross Corners
GH Green/Becker The Humming Bird
J Green/Cahn Xylophonia
GH Green/Cahn Fluffy Ruffles

LACO “goes Green” with an entire program of percussive fun with works by composer and xylophonist George Hamilton Green and his brother Joe. Get into the groove as you learn about rhythm and beat in this fun, kid-friendly concert. Be there!

Pre-Concert Program Drop in anytime from 1 to 2 pm
LACO’s Instrument Petting Zoo – where children can pet/touch instruments.
Other fun activities with LACO’s Family Concert Partners

Tickets:

Box Office Info

Subscriptions: for 3-concert series: $39, $24 
Single tickets
: $16, $10

Order by phone: Call Jacquie, Marcella or Laura in the box office at 213 622 7001 × 215.

Groups of 12 or more get a 15% discount off single ticket prices. Celebrate a birthday or bring the Scout troop, dance class or soccer team! Call for details.

Event Promoter:

Name: Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

http://www.alextheatre.org/calendar/events/index.php?com=detail&eID=393&month=03&year=2011

Another upcoming concert in this series is Whimsical Winds on May 1st at 2PM. This is the last concert of this year’s series. Here is the link for more details of that concert:
http://www.alextheatre.org/calendar/events/index.php?com=detail&eID=394&year=2011&month=5
If you would like to enter the giveaway, please leave a comment. If you click onto the link regarding their Whimsical Winds concert and leave another comment, you gain an additional entry. The giveaway ends on Wednesday, March 23rd at 5PM. Good luck!
UPDATE: Congratulations, Kathy! Mishy likes picking your name 🙂

After a long day of adventures with Mishy and then being stuck in traffic, I play, Sunny Days, the Grammy nominated CD by The Battersby Duo. Listening to their songs instantly reminds me of the sunny day I just had with my daughter. We are based in Los Angeles and while traffic in Los Angeles doesn’t rival Cairo’s, it still gets crunchy. I breathe and sing along as sometimes a car tries to cut in front of me before I look in the rear view mirror to see my daughter dancing in her car seat, clearly enjoying the music too.

Mishy’s favorite song from Sunny Days is, “Bubbles.” After she heard it once, she knew the chorus instantly. Now, she gets this fun smile on her face, runs up to me, and starts singing, “I love bubbles…” I love Mishy’s voice. I love Laura and Tim Battersby’s voice, melodies, and lyrics. Their songs remind me of all the fun songs I wished I had when I was younger, when I hoped the world was a wide world of fun, charm, and constant springtime where flowers continue to bloom and there is a freshness in the air.

Their opening song, “Sunny Days,” makes me think I am on a family vacation with Mishy every day because truth be told, I am so lucky I am able to spend my days with her. “Proud To Be Me,” is a genuinely enjoyable song about silly things we all do and how it’s fine to sing, “I am proud to be me…” It feels it has a history to become an anthem for children of all ages, including those who like being childlike, at times.

Sunny Days, reminds me of all the great summer camps I attended and the campfires and the dances I had with the boys I had crushes on – they were some of the highlights of my years growing up. I didn’t always date the boys I had crushes on, but I usually got to dance with them at least once.

Yes, the CD’s genre is kids music, but it doesn’t mean it’s just for kids. Sunny Days is for anyone who was a kid and sometimes yearns for that innocence again and also for those who don’t have the baggage of life to yearn for that lost innocence. Most importantly, the music is fun to listen to over and over again, with an educational twist.

Details:

The Battersby Duo – Sunny Days CD

http://www.battersbyduo.com/SunnyDays.htm

Want to see The Battersby Duo in concert? They are embarking on a substantial tour this spring which reaches deep into summer. Their first stop is in London, and then on May 29th, 2011, they will be headlining the The Des Moines Family Music Festival (Every Family Rocks) along with Justin Roberts and They Might Be Giants. http://www.everyfamilyrocks.org/

They will be continuing their tour to New YorkWashington, DC, and Chicago by mid June and then continuing on southwards to Naples and Fort Myers, Florida, before working their way up along the east coast through JacksonvilleSavannah, GA and Charleston, SC and end up in Northern Virginia, right outside DC by the beginning of August. Want to keep a track of their tour? Follow them on their website: http://www.battersbyduo.com/

(Full disclosure: This CD was gifted to us. I was under no obligation to review it. I chose to because after seeing The Batterby Duo perform a short set when they were in Los Angeles for the Children’s Grammy Nominee concert, I became a fan and I really love, Sunny Days.)

My daughter loves the song, Itsy Bitsy Spider. She knows this song well. We all do, yes? My daughter was first exposed to Itsy Bitsy when she was 2 months old. It was a song the swimming instructor, Liz, sang when we went swimming at the YMCA. The parents sang the song while they held their child and walked around the edges of the pool, in the water, to help learn the beginnings of water safety. When Mishy and I took a break from the lessons and then returned with us alone in the pool, Mishy instantly smiled when I sang to her, Itsy Bitsy Spider, as she now held onto the edges of the pool.

Itsy Bitsy Sipder was one of the first songs Mishy sang by herself and she sings it proudly. She sings a few songs proudly, including- Allouette – a French Canadian folk song about a bird getting it’s feathers plucked. (I didn’t really listen to the words of the song until after we sang it together and by then, it became embedded in her head.) I do prefer the relatively positive message of Itsy Bitsy Spider – determination, skill, and necessity of time sometimes, and the power of practice. While she doesn’t likes to me sing now – “Momma, don’t sing!” she loves to sit in my lap and have me wrap my arms around her. That is how we sat while watching the newly launched video of “Itsy.”

This video is produced by Groove Kid Nation – the brainchild of Santa Monica resident and father, Rodney Lee. He will be having a CD launch party and benefit this Sunday, March 13th at 4PM in Santa Monica at Capoeira Basoura. The CD sales benefit CARE and the concert benefits the soon to be YWCA Preschool. The video features simple graphics of a female spider walking up a water pipe and then falling out of the pipe, the sun comes out, dries the rain, and Itsy goes up the spout again. What was fun for Mishy was the spider’s solo on the piano. It opened up the conversation to how many legs does Itsy have – eight and the difference between arachnids and insect. Most insects have 6 legs. Also, how come in this video she plays “bad piano” and that’s a “good” thing? We talked about the use of colloquial terms. A cute detail in this video if you’re not a fly? The fly band caught in the spider’s web.

Details:

“Itsy” video by Groove Kid Nation posted on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvlEs6rKJoE

Groove Kid Nation: www.groovekidnation.com

Groove Kid Nation
CD Release Party

rocco the raccoon

The Groovy Way to Learn About Musical Instruments

Sunday, March 13 at 4 pm
(Doors open at 3:30pm)

Capoeira Besouro Studio
2901 Ocean Park Ave. #103
Santa Monica, CA 90405
310.314.2617

1 FREE CD with minimum suggested donation of $25/family
$15/single person including CD
Additional CDs available for $15 each.

100% of proceeds benefit
The YWCA Family Cooperative Preschool
at the YWCA Santa Monica/Westside

Featuring: Rodney Lee on keyboards, Fred Clark on guitar, Katisse Buckingham on sax and flute, Andre Berry on Bass, Satnam Ramgotra on percussion, and Jeff Robinson on vocals.

 

Go. Just go and see this concert with your children. Go. They are fantastic, fun, delightful, amazing, creative, unique, entertaining – every complimentary word I can think of right now. I had so much fun at the concert because of their blend of music – they rap, salsa, funk, hip hop, ska, latin and more, more, more. Somehow this blend makes magical music which makes me want to dance and jump and shout for joy.

During the concert, Mishy and I danced and danced and danced. I had her in my arms the whole time because it was packed. There was a roped off area for children under 11 years of age to dance on, though the parents weren’t allowed to join them. Did I mind carrying Mishy in my arms and jumping up and down for sixty minutes? Not at all. It made the experience more fun because we were so close to each other and laughing and screaming in delight. It also made my arm muscles stronger. They are getting stronger every day.

If you had previously attended this Grammy Award winning group’s concert and feel it might be too loud for your children, they put the volume really low. It only got loud towards the end when one of the band members played the trumpet and then you just move back a little more.

More importantly, these musicians know how to put on a show! With simple props as a sheet, or wigs, or a Nacho Libre mask, the band and audience get into the groove. They featured some of their classic songs, some new songs and some crowd favorites. Some of their children even came up on stage and sang solos.

As I said before, go – go and hear them with your children and just enjoy being a parent who can continue to go and see amazing musicians playing.

Ozomatli will be playing at McCabe’s on March 13th at 11AM.

http://www.mccabes.com/condata.html

Want to know more details about Ozomatli oZoKidZ concerts? Check out my interview with Will-Dog

https://mjmiaoren.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/ozomatli-answers/

And here’s their website for even more information about them – with upcoming dates:

http://www.ozomatli.com/

We heard Ozomatli perform at The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills. While it is a little far for us, I love this space because it’s a real club. My husband and I used to attend concerts at The Canyon Club when we had friends playing. I remember clapping and screaming and dancing before parenthood. It was so wonderful to share that same excitement with my daughter and I love that they are starting a Saturday matinee series for kids concerts. I am looking forward to their next one! Thank you for thinking of the kids and the adults who still like to dance with their children, who are still minors.

The Canyon Club

http://www.canyonclub.net/