Thursday, March 3, 2011

Musical Notes: Music industry news and releases for children and teens

Welcome to “Musical Notes,” this weekly column is dedicated solely to music. Like our Friday “Popcorn Report,” which features the latest information on movies, this post highlights current news and announcements in the music industry, and introduces you to the best of everything in CDs, music videos, games, instruments and upcoming performances for children, teens and families. Be sure to check back each Thursday.


Seventeen- year old recently shorn, two time GRAMMY nominated Justin Bieber, the tween/teen singing idol sensation made it into headlines this week more times than Sarah Palin.

The most important news coming out of Bieber’s camp is that his recently released 3-D musical documentary, NEVER SAY NEVER has set a significant milestone, becoming the third highest grossing documentary of all time, raking in a highly respectable total of $63,805,941 since opening on 3,105 screens nationwide on February 11, 2011.

NEVER has joined the rarefied air with Michael Moore’s FAHRENHEIT 9/11 and MARCH OF THE PENGUINS per results tabulated by Box Office Mojo.


Beamz C-4 Interactive Music Player

This is one of the more fascinating gizmos to come on the scene in recent memory – the Beamz Interactive Player, which utilizes laser beams that when disrupted by hand movements create a variety of musical notes, rhythms and even sound scratches. You can perform a wide range of musical genre from pop all the way to classical.

The "C-4" generation of Beamz is geared for the non-professional musician, and is best targeted for computer savvy tweens or teens.

Batteries are not needed for the Player as it plugs directly into a Windows PC (not available for Macs). The product comes with compatible software. All that is needed is a desire to make music and have fun.

The suggested retail price for the Beamz C-4 Interactive Player is $199.99, and currently best available pricing is available through Amazon Marketplace for $124.99

The video below demonstrates the Beamz C-4.


The Festival of the Arts Boca, opening tomorrow, Friday, March 4, 2011 and continuing until Saturday, March 12 features a wide-variety of performances, two in particular geared perfectly for children and teens.

Friday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m. the Boca Raton Symphomia performs The Wizard of OZ at the Amphitheater, and on Saturday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m., A Night at the Opera, featuring 10-year-old operatic soprano singing sensation, Jackie Evancho along with four incredible young stars of the Metropolitan Opera who are just establishing their careers.

Evancho, who wowed the judges and stole the hearts of viewers of last season’s America’s Got Talent with her rendition of Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro” will be joined by Soprano Katie Van Kooten, mezzo Jennifer Holloway, tenor John Tessier and baritone Michael Todd Simpson. The performers will be accompanied by the Boca Symphonia under the able direction of Constantine Kitsopoulos.

Evancho’s November 2010 Christmas album, O Holy Night, became a certified platinum- winner before year’s end.

Festival of the Arts Boca: Mizner Park Amphitheater and Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center (2nd floor above ZED 451), Mizner Park, Boca Raton, Florida.

For further information and tickets, Call (561) 368-8445 or (866) 571-2787 or visit:

The Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra presents their 5th annual “Rising Stars Showcase” on Sunday, March 6, 2011 at Memorial Hall, Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Under the direction of Steven Karidoyanes, this family-oriented concert features fourteen-year-old South Shore Conservatory concerto competition winner, Ilve Bayturk performing music from Mozart’s “Piano Concerto in A Major, K. 414.

Also on the program, the 120-voice Plymouth Children’s Chorus, directed by Kathy McMinn, performing music from Aaron Copland’s collection of “Old American Songs,” “What a Wonderful World,’’ and “This Little Light of Mine.’’

The orchestra also performs a special selection, John Philip Sousa’s “The National Game,” in honor of the centennial anniversary of Fenway Park’s, (home of the Boston Red Sox) groundbreaking, which took place in 1911.

An instrument demonstration for children will be held at 2 p.m. followed by the concert at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $8 and $15 for children, $12 and $20 for adults.

For more information or tickets, call 508-746-8008 or visit

Putumayo Kids: Acoustic Dreamland

In the fifth release in this series of Dreamland lullaby albums, eleven well-known artists come together on this beautifully produced CD, Acoustic Dreamland, from Putumayo Kids.

Gentle songs, delivered by gentle voices backed with calming acoustical accompaniment, all the selections on this album will easily become part of a child’s soothing bedtime ritual.

Dan Storper, founder and CEO of Putumayo World Music says, “Over the years, many people have told me that our CDs are indispensable to help put their children to sleep. They also use the CDs themselves to relax. With Acoustic Dreamland., I wanted to bring together some of my favorite singer-songwriters, children’s musicians and songs. We’ve also included a mini-storybook that parents can read or sing along to. I’ve tested most of these songs on my 5 year-old son, William, and they’ve worked very well.”

Sound samples of all tracks of Acoustic Dreamland are available at Putumayo Kids.

The suggested retail price for Acoustic Dreamland is $14.98, and best available pricing is currently through Amazon Marketplace for $9.00.

The Baby Grands II

Chuck Nash and Ben Rowell, the NAPPA honor-winning artists known as The Baby Grands, offer a delightful kindie rock mix in their second album release, Baby Grands II from indie label, Backspace Records.

With songs delivered in a variety of styles, this sophomore album touches upon the things important in a child’s life, everything from Dinosaurs to Paper Airplanes. The music carries strong melody lines, delivered with clear vocals, thoughtful lyrics and a performance sound that engages the entire family.

Nash and Rowell are joined on this album by industry friends, Rob Peck (George Jones) on harmonica, Eric Brigmond (Donovan Frankenreiter) on keyboards, Brian Homan (Vassar Clements) on pedal steel and Ken Nasta (Royal Trüx) on drums.

Rowell summarizes the recording experience for this album by saying, “I’ve never had so much fun making music of any kind.” When you hear their clips, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Sound samples of both Baby Grands albums are provided for your review below, along with a cute music video of “Robot” from their newest release, Baby Grands II.

CDs of The Baby Grands may be ordered direct from the artist’s website for $9.99 each plus a flat shipping rate of $2.49 (no matter how many you purchase.)

MP3 download of Baby Grands II are offered at iTunes for $0.99 cents per track or $9.90 for the album (10) tracks.

The Baby Grands original album is also available at iTunes in MP3 download 12 tracks for $9.99.

Baby Grands II

Baby Grands 1

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