SPOOKTACULAR Halloween with Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta: SPOOKY

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Do you know the origin of Halloween? Halloween spun out of the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, the new year! The festival was a tradition where people would wear costumes and light bonfires in an effort to keep ghosts away. The holiday was associated with death because this day marked the new harvest and beginning of the dark and cold winter. Pope Gregory III named November 1st a day to honor saints, or “All Saints Day.” The celebration of this day took some traditions of Samhain. Because of this, the night before was deemed “All Hallows Eve,” and then Halloween.

 

Want to learn about the “SPOOKTACULAR History of Halloween” for Children? Be sure to click HERE and learn about Jack-o-lanterns, Tick-Or-Treating, Bonfires, Witches & Cauldrons, Black Cats & Broomsticks, Bats & Spiders and Orange & Black!

 

One of my favorite tales from Africa is “The Giant Pumpkin” or “Feegba.”  It’s on my album Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta SPOOKY that covers a host of global folk tales celebrating Hallowe’en., as well as some other spooktacular songs

 

SPOOKY includes 18 spooky stories and songs for growing goosebumps. Ages 6 and up ONLY. Take a look at the lyrics and find more HERE

 

MISTER JONES’ BONES ©1996 Katherine Dines.

 

There’s a haunted house at the end of our street

By an old graveyard and a dead oak tree

Where mean Mister Jones was buried alive

When his cellar caved in one Halloween night,

His cellar caved in one Halloween night

NOBODY’S HOME BUT MISTER JONES’ BONES – repeat each verse

 

Some say his body has never been found

And his ghost still moans and wanders around

So Pete, my best friend, and I made a pact

To trick or treat there without turning back,

To trick or treat there without turning back-NOBODY’S HOME…

 

So, Halloween night by the light of the moon

We snuck to the house in our spooky costumes

Scared as the Devil, we stood on the porch

And dared each other to knock on the door,

We dared each other to knock on the door- NOBODY’S HOME…

 

There wasn’t a sound ‘cept the whisper of wind

‘Til the hinges creaked and the door swung in

We squeaked “Trick or Treat,” and Pete grabbed my arm

When a jack o’ lantern suddenly lit up the dark,

A jack o’ lantern suddenly lit up the dark- NOBODY’S HOME…

 

We followed that light to a big living room

With a crackling fire and orange balloons

Then we saw a ghost with glittery hair

And a skeleton rocking on a rickety chair,

A skeleton rocking on a rickety chair- NOBODY’S HOME…

 

The ghost passed treats from a grave on the floor

Then moaned, “Jones’ bones will show you the door!”

The skeleton stood and both of us shrieked, Ahhhhhhh!

When the mask fell off and we saw underneath:

It was my big sister playing Trick or Treat! NOBODY’S HOME…

Listen HERE

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What Are Other’s Doing In The Bizz? Part 2

Last month I shared Part 1 of people doing amazing things in the industry! I’m so lucky that I not only get to call these folks my peers, but my friends!  I wanted to continue the spotlight and share the second addition of folks to follow and engage with.

 

Lisa Heintz – Little Songbird – Songs for Learning 

Lisa uses her experience as a teacher to create different and meaningful ways to engage children. She focuses on diversity and culture and finds the importance in teaching. Lisa highlights how to encourage an inclusive and multicultural environment, which leads to awesome programs for all!

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Alice and David Burba – Songs for Teaching 

Songs4Teaching is a great resource where you will find educational songs and music for all. Not only can you search for music by topics, holidays, months and subject matter…..but you can also find free resources like lyrics and teaching tips! They share artists of the month, and educational blog and launched a Songs4Teaching Radio App.

 

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PJ Swift and Jenny Heitler-Klevans – Pickleberry Pie 

Pickleberry Pie has an amazing mission! They provide free concerts in hospitals and other
institutions to serve children with special needs. They use research, like the fact that Music has been shown to have amazing effects on the mind and body- to create custom programs and shows to help heal. Not only does music assist in alleviating pain, but it brightens the spirit! Pickelberry Pie concerts aim to help make children happy and reduce stress!

 

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John Beltzer – Songs of Love

Songs of Love is an awesome non-profit! This org creates free music for teens and children going through hard medical challenges. Songs Of Love creates personalized CDs for these children, which is “The Medicine of Music.” The compilations are personalized to each individual. Songs of Love enables each piece to be customized in a way that lets them select not only the genre but the language! For over 22 years, Song of Love has reached over 28,000 children in hospitals across the world.

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Joann Pierdomenico – Keep Music Alive 

Keep Music Alive promotes and emphasizes the importance of music accessibility. Because music has healing power, Keep Music Alive focuses on delivering every child the ability to learn and play. A unique aspect to this org is that they founded two international music holidays: Teach Music Week and Kids Music Day.

 

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John and Pamela Wood, and Irene Light – Theater Arts Festival for Youth 

taffyTAFFY creates educational workshops in theater, art and music. This non profit performs for children in schools, libraries, hospitals and more. TAFFY uses storytelling and the imagination to create special moments and memories for all. Their primary focus is underserved communities and underserved schools.

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What Are Other’s Doing In The Bizz? Part 1

Who’s doing good music works?  I feel so fortunate that my work allows me to do what I love.  Music, song writing, producing, art and expressing myself creatively must be  part of my DNA.  Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta music has led me to share my songs all over the world. Through this passion I have been able to establish some amazing friendships with others doing important work through music.

In this post, I would like to highlight some of these people so that everyone has some exciting new resources.

 

Liz Buchanan – Antelope Dance Music Literacy 

Liz Buchanan has performed and teaches music in an effort to enhance early child development! She currently offers music and early literacy programs sponsored by Young Audiences of Massachusetts, including her work on the YA roster of performing artists. Liz is passionate about Community Programs, Professional Development Workshops for her peers and even writes a Music & Literacy Blog! You can check out some fun videos HERE.

 

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Dorothy CresswellThe Curious Giraffe Show.

Dorothy Cresswell is a retired elementary school teacher. She is a music educator who tries to engage her viewers by addressing real life societal issues. What makes the Curious Giraffe Show so interesting is that the show teaches life lessons via songs! The subject matter spans topics like- acceptance, vocabulary, diversity, water safety tips, and more. It’s a show that uses a creative way to start and promote conversation.

 

 

Katy Hobgood RayConfetti Park

Confetti Park is a children’s media workshop that uses inspiration from Louisiana. Through that inspiration Confetti Park is especially well known for their podcast and radio show. In addition, they highlight music, literature, events and culture. Through these activities, Confetti Park inspires and builds community.

 

 

Sienna and Persephone WildfieldHilltown Family Variety Show 

Hilltown Families has the goal of developing education directly through the community. They are an online network that services MA via multiple grassroots’ efforts. Their goal is to highlight the fact that you can learn from everything and everyone around you. They highlight and share community-based educational events, classes, shows and workshops!

 

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National Family Fun Month!

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August is National Family Fun Month! Each year families use this month as an opportunity to enjoy quality time together. Summer often provides some extra hours for leisure, and the warm weather creates more opportunities for a number of activities and bonding. Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta Music was created for the love and enjoyment of not just family music, but time spent together.

Family audiences are always my favorite! There is nothing more rewarding than seeing people of all ages enjoying my music, (or any music), together. And when a great grand or grand parent joins me on stage with a young family member, or an entire family as a group participates actively in a song, the joy in their faces is indescribable.

Here are three simple ideas to share with your own family-  no matter the ages, sizes, shapes or descriptions, during National Family Month:

Tune Into Nature: Disconnect. Ditch your electronics. Set aside time to tune into the surroundings outside and explore nature.  Go on an evening walk or bike ride. Take a hike. Stroll along a stretch of beach. Explore a national park. Go camping.  When you focus on the natural sounds and beauty of the earth, it brings everyone closer together. You can also make a visit to a local park, zoo, aquarium or botanic gardens.

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Share A Meal: Food brings people together. So sit around a dinner table. Pack up a picnic and by all means, cook together! Cooking together takes team work and can involve the whole family. The prep time gives you an opportunity to talk about your day, and connect on the highs and lows of your week. When you successfully prepare a meal together, it brings on a sense of accomplishment. The final product of that work is well worth it. Sharing and enjoying that meal together creates deeper connections and provides more avenues for conversation.

Friends Happiness Enjoying Dinning Eating Concept

 

Enjoy A Concert: Music evokes emotion! Go to a concert. Experiencing a musical performance with your family strengthens bonds, heightens happiness levels and reduces stress. This is especially true when you sing clap or hum along. Or get up and dance and say bye bye to stress instantly!  When seeking shows to enjoy together, find songs and artists that represent your family values. And don’t be afraid to go beyond your own musical comfort zone! One of my favorite concerts ever was an opera with my 8 year old niece, and her parents. Since that moment, I have learned to love opera. Summer concerts occur in almost every community— especially during Family Fun Month. Festivals, fairs, concerts in the parks, flash mobs and street buskers etc. abound. And many libraries have free summer programs with a wide array of awesome performers. My most favorite aspect of attending a concert with the people I love, is knowing that the memories created from those musical moments may last a lifetime!

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Enjoy a Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta Family Playlist:

More Great Songs For the #Family:
  • Under One Sky – Ruth Pelham
  • Daughters – John Mayer
  • Never Grow Up – Taylor Swift
  • My Father’s Eyes – Eric Clapton
  • We Are Family – Sister Sledge
  • Daddy’s Hands – Holly Dunn
  • You’re Gonna Miss This – Trace Adkins
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Summer Library Tour

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This month’s blog is a tribute to Anythink Libraries! I love performing #Hunktabunkta SOLO shows for their portfolio of libraries, and their goal to be a catalyst for innovation. Anythink hopes to influence Community, Culture and Career! According to their website they hope to do this by:

 

  • Community: Anythink builds community by connecting people, organizations and agencies with ideas and each other.
  • Culture: Anythink is a cultural and learning destination for Colorado.
  • Career: Anythink supports the entrepreneurial spirit of the community.

 

In terms of community and individual development, the above is crucial!  Not only for our children, but for all those who take an active role in community. Since I hope to build community via my music and artistic expression, it’s a joy once Anythink’s summer reading programs begin and an honor to be included.

 

This summer, Hunktabunkta will be at the Anythink venues below. click HERE to see a full list of concerts I am offering this summer. There are quite a few libraries throughout the state as well as several with the Hunktabunkta BAND.

 

  • Anythink Brighton
  • May 30th: Anythink Library
  • May 31st: Anythink Wright Farms Library
  • June 20th: Anythink Huron Library
  • June 28th: Anythink Commerce City Library
  • June 30th: Anythink York Street Library
  • July 12th: Anythink Bennett Library
  • July 13th: Anythink Perlmac Library

 

Interested in learning about other Anythink events? Please visit their event page HERE.

 

 

Enjoy some pics from my Anythink Shows and join #Hunktabunkta Music at an upcoming performance!

 

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#KindieComm 2018!

Hooray for Kindiecomm! This is an event coordinated by Kathy O’Connell and Robert Drake of WXPN Radio. Their Kids Corner program is one of the longest running and most successful children’s music shows being broadcast today. Hosted at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, Kindiecomm is a rare opportunity for pockets of musicians who specialize in making music for families across the country, to come together, share music, network and strengthen relationships. Because I have a sister-in-law outside of Philly, I had another good excuse to attend. Because of the family stuff, I didn’t make it to all events.
Nevertheless, here are a few highlights garnered from my other family:
  1. Friday night’s Songshare. Robert rented a conference room at the Sheridan so anyone who signed up before, could hop up and perform a song. (I didn’t know about it and could have been added to the list, but opted not to since my slot would have at the end and well after midnight). There was a relaxed honest vibe there thanks to the efforts of Karen K (Kalafatas), Chicago’s Little Miss Ann (Toralba) and percussionist Uncle Devin (Walker) bringing it all together.
  2. Interviews. Or rather casual conversations between Kathy O’Connell, Trout Fishing in America,(Ezra Idlot and Keith Grimwood), Dr. Demento (Barry Hanson) and Osaka Pop Star’s frontman, John Cafiero, who’s producing a Demento compilation.
  3. Mentoring. Kindiecommers could connect with pros for info and mentoring. Bring on veterans Barry Lois Polisar and Trout Fishing in America and a light of the east coast, Joanie Leeds!
  4. Open Stage. People could share stories, ask questions and address issues facing children’s musicians.
  5. Three afternoon sessions: 1) using multi media, 2) building home studios, and 3) meet ups for those musicians living in different time zones. Being somewhat isolated in CO, I was glad for the opportunity to pair faces with the music I know, and meet some newbies too.
  6. Sat night’s “industry”showcase. Rather than a showcase for industry peeps, it was a fun rockin’ concert of short 3-song-sets by some great talent. Hearing and seeing the amazing diversity within our genre is always one of my personal Kindiecomm highlights. My personal faves included: Billy Jonas. He performed a fabulous set that would appeal to any age group using recycled plastics. Miss Nina (Stone) sang along while reading the classic book “Brown Bear.” And she invited me to be on her weekly show. We videoed my song “Muscle and Bone” together the next day. Saul Paul created musical hip hop tracks and looped them on the spot. Then he rapped lyrics into the groove from words spontaneously shouted out from the audience. Little Miss Ann made a quasi political dent with her “Stand Up All You Children” and I can’t forget 2017 Grammy Latin Award-winner Mister G (Ben Gusterman), who sang his fun Spanish song about Chocolate, while his lovely wife, another Katherine, (all done up in a purple wig) moved right along. Good music and fine times were shared by all.

Kindiecomm will most likely continue every other year and there is chatter of creating regional Kindiecomm that would occur simultaneously on the “off” years.
When you write and perform music for family audiences, it often feels like you live on small somewhat lonely planet. Thanks to Kindiecomm and Children’s Music Network, there are two opportunities for like spirited talent to connect. Thanks Kathy and Robert for recognizing Children’s Music for the awesome genre it is and bringing us together!
Interested in checking out photos from the event? Click through HERE.
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An Ode To Earth Day!

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    Well it’s that time of year again, my favorite holiday! If you read any of my past #EarthDay blogs, you would know that I think Earth Day should be a national holiday! Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the day to day of life, that we forget to pause, breathe in and appreciate the little things around us……like the rocks, the mountains, the ocean, the wind and so much more. The earth gives to us in so many ways. On this day, I’m going to ask you to do the same thing I did two years back:

    Commit to do ONE small gesture below that will help our beautiful planet!

    Leave the car alone and bike, bus, walk or carpool.

    Turn off the television and unplug other electrical devices.

    Replace lightbulbs with LED lights

    Stop using paper towels, napkins, plates, and plastic utensils.

    Carry your own stainless or glass water bottles and coffee tea containers and reuse them over and over.Choose a ceramic cup if you drink coffee at a coffee shop.

    Avoid plastic products.

    Purchase items that aren’t overly-packaged.

    Use biodegradable soaps, cleansers and other products wherever possible.

    Insist on foil or cardboard/recyclable containers for take-out rather than Styrofoam

    Buy locally sourced organic foods.

    Cook at home

    If clothes aren’t dirty, wear them again!

    Hang clothes in sun to dry them

    Carry shopping bags with you

    Play music, sing, dance and celebrate!

     

    Enjoy Earth Day Songs!

    Check out Songs For Teachings #EarthDay playlist.

    But don’t forget to listen to my #Hunktabunkta songs “All The Way Around The World!” And “Thanks to the Earth”

    Interested In Earth Day Activities?

    Take a read of 12 Meaningful Earth Day Activities for students. These activities help empower kids! Share with those who desire to make an impact on the planet. It’s also a perfect holiday for do it yourself crafts! But the creativity into a fun activity!

    A VISION FOR CHANGE

    The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day is approaching. Earth Day 2020 will mark a monumental time!

    Earth Day 2020 Prospectus

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Guest Blog by Terrence Gordon “Essential Kids Guide to Denver”

I am so excited to be considered representing the arts in the city I love and live in! Thanks to Terrence for including #Hunktabunkta Music in this piece:

 

From RiNo to Stapleton, Sloans Lake to Hampden, the greater Denver area has an abundance of recreation centers, museums, festivals, and of course, loads of sunshine. Whether indoors or out, the Mile-High City continues to find new ways to impress even the most opinionated of critics – our children. It’s no wonder the rest of the country wants to call Denver home!

As a parent or youth organizer, finding an engrossing, guaranteed-to-entertain activity that keeps you within a budget is a little like a daily treasure hunt. Even with the myriad of different options found in our city, discovering the experience that our kids will want to tell their friends about in school hallways can leave any adult more than a little stressed out. Fortunately, ConsumersAdvocate.org has you covered.

Below are this week’s top varying areas of interest for youth-oriented associations and activities in Denver. They’ll pique interests, help with healthy living concerns, and maybe even provoke excited conversations for the ride home.

Health

Image: APEX Denver (source)

APEX Denver offers a world-renowned agility and movement experience unmatched by any other in Colorado. Though parkour is a training discipline using movement that developed from military obstacle course training, in essence, it’s just a slightly more extreme version of all the creative, natural movements we did as kids; whether it was jumping off swings, climbing trees, or hopping over cracks in the sidewalk. APEX encourages people to rediscover the agility we had when we were 3 feet tall, only in a state-of-the-art facility where training is fun and feels more like play than exercise. With specific class levels for beginner, intermediate, or advanced athletes as young as six years old, there really is something for everyone; including free-running, parkour strength classes, and weights. Visit their homepage or give them a call at (720) 295-7279 to venture into a new experience of movement that the whole family is sure to love.

Image: Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition (source)

The Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition (CCIC) is a statewide nonprofit that strategically mobilizes diverse partners and families to advance children’s health through immunizations. The coalition is also a dependable resource on international disease information to protect our youth (and families) from harmful illnesses prior to infection.  To learn more about upcoming educational events, donations, or volunteer opportunities please visit their website or call (720) 777-5340.

 

Image: Monkey Bizness (source)

Monkey Bizness: Centennial It may seem like a no-brainer, but play and physical activity are an essential part of every child’s proper growth and development, yet a worrying 74% of kids between 5-10 don’t get enough exercise. Finding safe, fun places to take your kids can be a challenge, however. Enter Monkey Bizness and its indoor setting, complete with jungle gyms, slides, toddler and infant play areas, play structures, and more, helping every kid be an active child. The center also offers food items, and can host birthday parties, group/special events, or camps. For more info, please visit their homepage, or call (303) 790-8885.

Image: Schlessman Family YMCA (source)

Though they have programming for the entire community, including adults and seniors, the Schlessman Family YMCA really shines when they serve Denver’s children. Through the Y, thousands of Denver area youth are cultivating the values, skills, and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, better health, and educational achievement. Every single day, the organization works to help children set and meet personal and educational goals, enabling them to build skills and confidence as they explore new interests. For the kids, the Y is a go-to spot for quality childcare, preschool, swim lessons, and year-round sports. More than just a gym or a place to workout, since 1844, it’s been a bulwark of community feeling. They always need donations and volunteers so please, don’t be shy, and for more information visit their website or call (720) 524-2750.

 

Image: KIND (source)

KIND: Kids In Need of Dentistry is a nonprofit organization that provides high-quality affordable dental care to children in need throughout Colorado. Their mission is to increase the health and happiness of Colorado’s children in need by eliminating dental disease through treatment and education. For more information on their programs, happenings, and how to get involved just click here or call their administrative office at (303) 722-7710.

Lifestyle

Image: Little Colorado (source)

Little Colorado provides a unique service you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else, by sustainably and responsibly bringing to life creative, heirloom-quality furniture your toddler is sure to love. For over thirty years, all of their products have been American-made, 100% wood, never plastic or laminate, created with the firm, daily commitment to making choices that are good for the future. With the Rocky Mountains as an inspirational background, the company manufactures bookcases, toy boxes, chairs, and tables, to name just a few. To learn more, and check out all of their cool creations, visit their homepage, or give them a call at (303) 964-3212.

Hands-on Arts & Music

 

Image: artSPARK (source)

artSPARK offers a creative outlet for Denver kids to express themselves…or just get messy! Their community-based studio and art space has an encouraging atmosphere, so people of all ages and abilities can engage with materials and practice authentic creativity with a variety of different media. Whether it’s a summer camp, classes for the kids, a creative birthday party event, teen activities, or even sewing, artSPARK has something that’s sure to appeal to everybody, including parents! Their homepage has all the details, or you can also call them, at (303) 795-7897.

Image: Craftsman & Apprentice (source)

If you’re looking for a fun and educational family activity, consider getting back to the basics, working with your hands and performing simple yet fulfilling tasks. The Craftsman & Apprentice is a family owned and operated workshop guided by these basic notions. In essence, they want all children to know the satisfaction of a job well done, of making something from nothing, and above all living a life of creativity. Whether you’re a teen or a child, looking for a weekend class or interested in summer camp; all of these and more are available, from a convenient location in Stapleton. They honor the workshop as a space to connect, to share, and to discover the good life, at any age. For more information please visit their website or call (720) 515-8611.

Image: Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta (source)

Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta started with a saying from Katherine Dines’ grandmother, which she used to call all her grandchildren. From there, Ms. Dines has since grown Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta into a one-of-a-kind musical experience, featuring both original and classic songs where children can join in, engage, and express themselves. She creates specialized shows for parties, school programs and community centers, library events, and in-home performances, as well as award-winning musical cds. For all the info on how to book her or buy a cd, visit her homepage or give her a call at (303) 298-7122.

Image: Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids (source)

It seems like someone is always telling kids “don’t act like that”, or “that’s not how you’re supposed to act”. But at the Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids, no matter how your child decides to “act”, that energy will be captured, honed, and aimed into the world of theater. Their mission is to inspire youth in their creative process, while raising their performance standards to achieve theatrical excellence. Private lessons, acting classes, and summer camps are just a few of the programs in place to ensure that your child will be able to tap into their innate creativity, and have it nurtured by experts. The Theatre provides students with the opportunity to really own their work by encouraging them to think critically, make their own creative choices, and use each other as resources for guidance and inspiration. To find out about upcoming shows and other information just visit their website or call (303) 245-8150.

Image: Arts Street @ YEA (source)

Arts Street @ YEA (Youth Employment Academy) uses the power of creative arts to empower youth so they can pursue future education and employment opportunities, helping break the cycle of institutional and generational poverty in Denver communities. Their mission is broken up into three separate categories: studio membership, internships, and creative academics. The goal is for children to gain personal and economic stability through arts and technology, education, and creative employment training. This is an awesome organization becoming more and more visible as they move forward, recently awarded “Denver’s Best Youth Art Program 2017” by Westword! For more info visit their homepage or call them at (303) 825-1334.

Image: Neighborhood Music (source)

Neighborhood Music is a community of music lovers that lives out, firsthand, the meaning of those two words. Their sole focus is building relationships through music education, appreciation, and collaboration. Multiple studies have shown that music is a vital tool in developing a well-rounded child, helping develop the areas of the brain responsible for processing sound, language development, speech perception, spatial training, and reading skills. To that end, Neighborhood Music offers a wide range of activities for different age groups, including summer camps, private instruction, and even instrument rentals. To get all of the details please visit their homepage or call them at (720) 378-3668.

Image: Sound Minded Music Academy (source)

Sound Minded Music Academy is the foremost music lesson facility in Denver, offering singing and guitar classes, production and artist development, and vocal demo recordings, from their state-of-the-art Modern Rock Art Studios. Simply put, the academy’s focus is on the future of the music industry. Far from just teaching kids to play an instrument or sing their favorite song from the radio, this is the place where your child comes to learn to write and record their own music from day one! Please visit their homepage or call/text them at (720) 201-9744 to set up a session today.

Education and Learning

Image: History Colorado (source)

“Inspiring generations to find wonder and meaning in our past and to engage in creating a better Colorado”, this is the mission that History Colorado has set forth and aims to achieve. As a charitable organization, the group strives to engage and educate, bringing history to life through all forms of media in various hands-on settings. They offer access to cultural and heritage resources, a vast collection of archives, artifacts, and historical photography, programs for families and teachers, and finally, resources for students and teachers. All programs and services they provide are related to historic preservation and archaeology. For info related to their partner museums, relationship with the Smithsonian Institute, donations/volunteer opportunities, and general inquiries please visit their homepage or call them at (303) HISTORY [(303) 447-8679].

Image: Book Trust (source)

There is a short and simple quote that sums up what Book Trust is all about: “today a reader tomorrow a leader”. The idea that even just one book can positively change the course of one young person’s future, and spark a love affair with reading that will last a lifetime, is exactly what they envision for all children. This awesome organization can be accessed through participating Title I schools…in the 2016-2017 school year some 1.2 million books were delivered to over 51,000 kids! Children with consistent reading habits develop higher levels of self esteem, stronger interpersonal and social skills, as well as higher test scores, across all subjects. Most folks can recall their favorite bedtime story or book from childhood, and these are the very memories that every child should have the opportunity to create. If you are a parent, educator, or would like to donate please visit their website or call (720) 458-9889.

The Children’s Museum: Denver Marisco Campus has been experienced by thousands upon thousands of Colorado kids and for good reason. They work to open doors for our future leaders, innovators, and adventurers to explore, create and learn on their own terms. Many do not know but children’s museums rank only second to zoos among museum-related attractions in their ability to attract ethnically and culturally diverse audiences, and address the developmental needs of young children. And in 2015, they went through a $16.1 million expansion, creating a 9-acre campus and doubling the total exhibit space. Whether it is water, our altitude, energy, or learning how to cook, you are bound to find endless opportunities to educate and fascinate your child. For more information just visit their homepage or call them at (303) 433-7444.

Image: International Learning Center (source)

For an awesome world approach to childcare and education, look no further than the International Learning Center, which provides an excellent environment for every child in their care. Starting as young as six weeks and all the way up to sixteen years, their center actively promotes excellence in the early childhood education of your little girl or guy. The center’s diverse personnel is full of bilingual staff and teachers, all striving to teach children about themselves and others around them. With a focus on children from diverse backgrounds, their mission is for each child to learn how to appreciate enriching experiences, cultural diversity, and academic achievement, all the while building vital learning skills. More information can be found on their homepage or by giving them a call at (720) 535-8222.

Image: Denver Art Museum (source)

The Denver Art Museum is one of the most popular attractions in the city, offering a multitude of attractions, exhibits, and programs for children and adults alike. They are an educational, nonprofit resource that sparks creative thinking and expression through transformative experiences with art. With a mission to enrich the lives of present and future generations through works of art, their holdings provide invaluable ways for the community to learn about cultures from around the world. For information on tours, visiting exhibits, collections, or to donate please visit their homepage or call them at (720) 865-5000 for general information.

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RoundGlass Music Awards

A new discovery for me this year was the “RoundGlass Music Awards”.  I was invited to attend the event by one of my Facebook friends Wouter Kellerman. Wouter is on the board of RoundGlass, travels the globe and is a fantastic composer, producer and flautist based in South Africa. He and Ricky Kej, another incredible composer, producer and conservationist  won a Grammy in 2015 for their album, Winds of Samsara in the New Age category, and it’s a gem. It was an honor to attend and to find a community that truly celebrates those who are making global impacts with their music. PLUS, they have a category for Best Children’s Song– often unrecognized in today’s music genres. Two of my friends Valeri Smalkin  and Mister G  were nominated in that category and it was exciting to see their names.

The RoundGlass Awards were launched in an effort to unite musicians and communities who create music with themes in social good and responsibility. I liked that there was so much more to celebrate other than receiving an award. They award music specifically focused on Peace, Environmental Consciousness and Wellness.

Here are the 2018 RoundGlass Award recipients:

Enlightened Musician of the Year- Atmasfera for In the Depth

Song of the Year- Ringo Starr & Friends for Now the Time Has Come

Best Electronica Song- BT for LSTM (Extended Mix)

Best Spoken Word Single- J.ournal (Feat. Jennifer Thomas) for Nine Twelve

Best Jazz Single- Carmen Lundy for Kumbaya

Best American Roots Song- Ronny Cox for Bus to Baltimore

Best Children’s Song- Aterciopelados for Soy la semilla nativa

Best Classical Music Recording- Michael Lewin for Estampes: lll. Jardin sous la plui (Claude Debussy)

Best Music Video- Jessica Kelly for Little Thing

Best Ambient / New Age Song- Josefine Opsahl & Trine Opsahl for Drifting on Silky Clouds

Best Pop Song- Ringo Starr & Friends for Now the Time Has Come

Best Rock Song- Kato Hafez for Belad ElAkhlaq (Land of Morals)

Best World Music Song- Ila Paliwal for Holi

Best Contemporary Instrumental Single- Charles Denler for Dancing Light

 

Interested in the red carpet arrivals? Check out the photos!

 

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WELLNESS MUSIC

There are multiple definitions and perspectives of what constitutes Wellness Music. We are looking for your personal interpretation. This could be in any genre or form, something you truly feel brings about wellness of the individual or community in any form.

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MUSIC FOR PEACE

Songs or instrumentals in any genre about Conflict Avoidance, Anti-War Themes, Philosophical debates, Freedom from disturbance, Tranquility, or just Personal Inner Peace.

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MUSIC FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS

Songs or instrumentals in any genre celebrating Nature, the Environment, Wild-Life, Bio-diversity or songs of activism.

But to really understand the beginning of RoundGlass Music Awards and it’s ultimate intention, have a look at the actual RoundGlass site, which encompasses a greater global vision for health, wellness and education… as well as music.

I am so happy to have found this community and although much of it is located in India, I am sure it will begin to ring around the globe in a very short time. Thank you Sunny Singh, Ricky Kej, Wouter Kellerman and all those involved in RoundGlass

 

 

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Welcoming 2018

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With a new year, comes new music. I’m excited to share more insight on my new CD, releasing this March! I wanted to write NEW material for the holidays and not just do reduxes of traditional Christmas carols and songs about Hannukkah, Kwanzaa and Ramadan. I also wanted to go beyond the typical Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta for children, and to write a project the entire family could enjoy together.

Every year, there seems to be a glut of albums released that focus on “the big three”: Christmas, Hannukkah and Kwanzaa. However, there are so many OTHER holiday traditions that are celebrated around the world, and all of them celebrate light…including Christmas. Some are well over 4,000 years old. I wanted to create an entertaining and educational project and share some amazing facts and stories I learned about them. Certainly my love of history, travel and adventure were fodder for this album…we are so isolated here in the US and the world is an incredible orb with important celebrations happening in every culture.

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The creative process of piecing together this album definitely brought about some challenges. I started working on this project 6 YEARS ago! Where I used to release 1-2 albums every other year, this particular record had me completely stymied. So much so, that it transformed through three completely different writings—first as an alien visiting earth with the ability to travel back through time. Next as a true Christmas project, with a jolly yet scholarly MRS. Santa, who traveled throughout the globe parking her own sleigh in many lands and gathering stories about the history and various Christmas traditions she discovered in each place. Finally, in the voices of nine interplanetary elders from the future—who were summoned by a Galactic Wise One to meet on what was left of the North Pole—a small chunk of an ice burgh. The elders had the technological ability to recall earth’s entire human history instantly. And they were given an assignment:  to listen to stories and songs from different eras and cultures and carry the important information out to new planetary settlements.

This project was huge. It was historical. It was global. It was about holidays in other cultures. Through research, thought and sheer frustration, I came to a point of simply needing to complete the album, release it, and get it out of my way! Light and the coming of light seemed to be the spark for almost all holidays.  So that became my ignition.

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Aside from writing the album, the recording of it took on its own challenges. In the past I produced 8 albums with the help of live musicians in top-notch studios. I thought it would be interesting to hire James Coffey for this project and to do the album digitally. I never suspected that it would be so difficult NOT being in a studio working face-to-face with live musicians. Jim did an outstanding job on tracking the songs, but when all was said and done, I felt a personal need to “humanize” the project, so I used Jim Ratt’s studio here in Littleton, Colorado and some fabulous A-players, then remixed and tracked with Jim Coffey in a wonderful Indiana studio. It took way more time, money and effort than I had ever imagined.

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It is definitely a departure from Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta, but I do love people, history and celebrations, so why not an album?  I often gaze out in wonder at our tiny planet, the sun, moon and stars. It is a miracle that 7.6 humans live here together, yet know so little about how and why others celebrate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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