Thursday, June 30, 2011

Symphony orchestras nationwide celebrating with music and fireworks

‘Fireworks Blast’ by Petr Kratochvil

In this issue of “Musical Notes”, we celebrate the Independence Day holiday with our top picks from around the nation for concerts that include fireworks.

Depending on where in the nation you are located, some of the finest orchestras will pay tribute to our country’s birth with the best family entertainment around.

Nothing goes better with a grand fireworks display than a full symphony orchestra playing everything from the traditional John Philip Sousa marches, to Tchaikovsky's stirring 1812 Overture accompanied by a dazzling light display. It’s an outing that children will remember for a lifetime.

Some of the programs are offered free, and most are set on wide public expanses that allow for picnicking.

Certain shows will actually be performed on alternative dates other than July 4th so check the list that follows and find the city or symphony nearest you; click on the link for informative details of the concert that is being offered, and make your plans for a spectacular Independence Day.

Should the weather not cooperate in your area, there is always the option of tuning in to the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) annual presentation of the A Capitol Fourth, which is broadcast live on July 4th at 8:00 p.m. EDT / 7:00 p.m. CDT and recorded for rebroadcast on other markets. It’s a spectacular must-see presentation brought to you from our nation’s capital. Check here to find your local PBS station.

Happy Birthday America!

Atlanta Symphony  July 4th

Austin Symphony  Cancelled this year

Boston Pops  July 4th



Detroit Symphony  July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd


Houston Symphony  July 4th

Indianapolis Symphony  July 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th

Los Angeles Philharmonic (at the Hollywood Bowl)  July 2nd, 3rd and 4th

National Symphony (U.S. Capitol Building – West Lawn)  July 4th

New York Philharmonic (Bethel Woods Center)  July 3rd

Pittsburgh Symphony (Heartwood Acres)  July 3rd

Rhode Island Philharmonic Pops (India Point Park)  July 4th

San Francisco Symphony (Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View)  July 4th

Vermont Symphony (Summer Festival Tour – Warren, Manchester, Grafton and Shelburne  July 1st,  2nd, 3rd and 4th

A Capitol Fourth-
America's Independence Day Celebration


Watch the full episode. See more A Capitol Fourth.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Book Report: Books about ‘Bullying’

'Books' by Paula Slade

Today’s edition of “The Book Report” focuses on books that are written specifically for children and teens and tackle the difficult subject of “bullying,” which has become an epidemic in our society.

In an oft-quoted article, “School Bullying Statistics - The ABCs of Harassment”, the statistics, which were gathered in 2009 as part of a national survey on bullying are astounding:

Over 75% of our students are subjected to harassment by a bully or Cyber-Bully and experience physical, psychological and/or emotional abuse.

Over 20% of our kids admit to being a bully or participating in bully-like activities.

Over one-half of bullying and Cyber-Bullying events go unreported to authorities or parents.

Over 100,000 children carried guns to school as a result of being bullied.

28% of students who carry weapons in school have witnessed violence in their homes.

On a daily average, 160,000 children miss school because they fear they will be bullied if they attend classes.

On a monthly average, 282,000 students are physically attacked by a bully each month.

Every seven minutes, a child is bullied on a school playground, with over 85% of those instances occurring without any intervention.

46% of males and 26% of females admit to having been involved in physical fights as a result of being bullied.

Over 85% of our teenagers say that revenge as an aftermath of being bullied is the leading cause for school shootings and homicide.

The top 5 states in regards to reported incidents of bullying and Cyber-Bullying are California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Washington.”

And the most disturbing statistic of all: “ A child commits suicide (as a direct result of being bullied) once every half hour, with 19,000 bullied children attempting to commit suicide over the course of one year.”

It doesn’t have to be that way. There are many fine written resources for parents, caregivers, teachers and school administrators such as Barbara Coloroso’s, The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander, and Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin’s, Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying; both books fully enlighten and provide strategies for adults whose children are experiencing bullying on many levels.

The three books and the app that are featured below, provide the same valuable information and strategies as the adult-level books, but are geared directly to young people who are dealing with the difficult dynamics of bullying on a day-to-day basis. By sharing these excellent reads with the young person in your life, you’ll be offering tools and understanding that will indeed help them.

Each of these books and app are targeted for specific age ranges and are presented with different approaches using fiction, a mix of fiction and non-fiction, and non-fiction alone.

A brief overview of these highly recommended books along with pricing information has been provided for your convenience. 

To explore each title further or for ordering information, simply follow the highlighted link.

The Great Snowball Escapade written and illustrated by J.D. Holiday


This 90-page chapter book, geared for early readers age six to eight, is the fictional story of 7-year-old Wilhelmina (“Wil”) Brooks and the trials of dealing with her bullying cousin Bud Dunphry, when he comes to live in Wil’s household.

The book subtly teaches and instills the important foundations of cooperation, trust, empathy and friendship.

Best pricing for the paperback edition of The Great Snowball Escapade is available through Amazon.com for $5.99 or the Kindle edition for $3.99. The Nook edition is also available for $3.99 at Barnes and Noble.


Be Confident in Who You Are (Book I from the Middle School Confidential Series) by Annie Fox, M. Ed

A fiction/non-fiction blend presented in appealing graphic novel format for children in the all-important transitional “tween” years ages 11 to 14.

All the books in this series take young readers into the world of six middle school students, Jack, Jen, Mateo, Abby, Chris, and Michelle as they navigate some of life’s hardest lessons covering friendships, bullying, self esteem and family dynamics.

Along with engaging character narratives, the books provide quizzes and quotes from real kids, plus practical tips, tools and resources that children can effectively employ in their lives. Take a look at the book trailer video that is embedded below.



Best available Paperback pricing for Be Confident Who You Are (Middle School Confidential Series Book I) is through Free Spirit Publishing at $6.49 or through Amazon Marketplace beginning at $5.47. Amazon.com also offers the Kindle edition for $7.99. 

Be Confident in Who You Are is now also available for iPad or iPad 2 with (iPhone and iPod versions coming soon). Requires iOS 4.0 or later (iOS 4.3 tested) 30.4 MB.

As a 49-page digital graphic novel it offers sound effects, music, interactive features, zooming in-and-out, auto-save, “Special Meet the Cast Pages” , and is available at iTunes for only $3.99.

 
Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories

Young adults need a totally different approach, and from Harper Teen, comes a brand new 352-page paperback anthology, Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Story presented by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones.

This unique book provides teens with first hand accounts from the voices of experience - 70 admired authors sharing and uniting in a common bond in the retelling of their own true life stories about bullying, and the effects that it had on their lives.

Pre-orders of Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories are being taken by Amazon.com where the paperback edition is being offered for $9.99 and will ship on the August 23, 2011 release date. There is also a Kindle Edition for $8.99 and Hardcover for $11.21.

Barnes and Noble has best price for the Paperback Edition at $9.49 or Nook delivery for $8.99.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

If it’s Tuesday it must be toys and tours

"Brown Teddy Bear" by Lydia Jacobs

Today we take a look at dolls that promote, “I’m a lot like you,” and relate to children's popular pastimes, which provide inspiration and a secure self-image.

The products that appear below have been researched for quality as well as value, and are geared to give the children in your life many hours of positive and fun-filled entertainment.

All of these dolls are from Battat and their "Our Generation" doll line.  They are very similar to the “American Girl” brand, but include many accessories as well as a storybook, and carry a more affordable price tag.

However, it is suggested that you cross-compare pricing with various on-line as well as stick and brick retailers as prices vary.

The clothing items that are provided in these sets fit most 18 inch dolls, and all of the dolls can be posed, which provides more interactive play.

These dolls are not recommended for children under three years of age because of small accessory parts that could pose a choking hazard.

As always, you are the best judge of what is appropriate for your child’s playtime entertainment.

“Hally” – She’s “One Smart Cookie” as she goes back to school– beautifully braided blonde tresses, comes dressed in school best with shoulder bag for accessories, a small diary, a lunch box, toy fortune cookie, water bottle, exercise clothes, running shoes and storybook.

“Sydney Lee” loves ballet – she’s a pretty brunette with green eyes and comes with warm-up outfit, recital dress, dance shoes, regular shoes, dance bag, water bottle, newspaper review, “Stars in Your Eyes” storybook and more.

“Mary Lyn” a dedicated young musician - dressed for her recital this charming brown-eyed blonde comes with two recital dresses, two pairs of shoes, panties, a miniature violin, tiny brush and comb, playing cards (to pass the time of day before her performance) sheet music, a banana split treat and “The Note in the Piano” storybook.

“Katelyn” has figure skating aspirations – she’s a sparkling blue-eyed blonde with neatly coiffed up-do hairstyle and she comes with first, second and third place winner medals, a small winner’s flower bouquet, comb, water bottle, miniature iPod, winter weather dress clothes with ear muffs, ice skates, shoes and “Blizzard on Moose Mountain” storybook.


“Lily Anna” loves horseback riding – she’s a sparkling blue-eyed, braided-hair blonde who comes with full riding outfit, horse jumping competition booklet, apples for her horse, Jamboree Concert program, winner’s blue ribbon, lemonade and sandwich set, plus change of party clothes and “Adventures at Shelby Stables” storybook.

“Eva” is an aspiring detective with lovely light reddish-brown hair and soft brown eyes. She comes dressed in contemporary casual clothes, with pajamas for bedtime wear. She also has a miniature camera, notebook with pen, shoulder bag, a delightful storybook, “The Mystery of the Vanishing Coin” and more.



PRODUCT SAFETY RECALLS AND NEWS

The following is a compilation of notices from the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC).

Below you will find the most recent recalls and product news updates from the CPSC for the last 7 days.

In case you happened to have missed any of the announcements, just click on the following links for complete information on each of the items and breaking news.

TOYS

No toys were subject to recall since last week’s posting.

SPORTS AND RECREATION RELATED


CPSC NEWS

No general news releases since last week’s posting.

If you are searching for other consumer product items such as household, outdoor products, utensils, furniture and clothing that may relate to all family members, please review additional listings at the CPSC’s search page.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Popcorn Report: Guide to this week’s movies with ratings and trailers

‘Popcorn’ photo by Petr Kratochvil

It’s time to make weekend family entertainment plans and see if this week’s current crop of films will be part of your schedule. The following report covers motion picture theatrical releases opening nationwide beginning Friday, June 24, 2011, along with current film industry news.

The movies listed below have a rating, which has been established by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and have been provided with an italicized commentary from the Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA).

If a film has not been provided with an official rating, additional information may, or may not be provided.

If a film is designated NC-17, very limited information will be furnished.

For your convenience, each film title links directly to the Internet Movie Data Base, which provides the most comprehensive listing about the movie’s storyline, and includes a trailer, cast and crew information, initial audience reaction (if prior screenings have taken place) and parent advisories when available.

As always, you are the single best judge for determining your child’s choice of entertainment.

FILMS OPENING THIS WEEK

Opened June 24, 2011 A Better Life  – Drama-PG-13- because of “some violence, language and brief drug use.”

Opened June 24, 2011 Bad Teacher – Comedy–R- because of “sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use.”

Opened June 24, 2011 Cars 2 – Animation, Adventure, Comedy- G-Suitable for all audiences.

Opened June 24, 2011 Conan O'Brien Can't Stop – Documentary- R- because of “language.”

Opened June 24, 2011 Hawaiian Vacation- Animation, Short, Comedy- G- Suitable for all audiences and being presented with Cars 2.

Opened June 24, 2011 Leap Year – Drama- NOT RATED- NOTE: Los Angeles and New York City only.

Opened June 24, 2011 The Names of Love – Comedy- R- because of “sexual content including graphic nudity and some language.” - NOTE: Los Angeles and New York City only.

Opened June 24, 2011 Turtle: The Incredible Journey – Documentary- G- Suitable for all audiences. NOTE: In limited release.

Opening June 27, 2011 The Globe Theatre Presents The Merry Wives of Windsor– Theatre – NOT RATED One performance only. “NCM Fathom, Globe Theatre and Arts Alliance Media present a four part series of Classical Shakespeare titles in movie theaters nationwide this summer and fall. Captured in 2010 from the prestigious and internationally renowned Globe Theatre in London, each performance will include a historical perspective on the Globe, the reconstruction process, the work of the Globe today, and a behind-the-scenes look at each production with interviews from the actors and creative team involved.”

Opening June 27, 2011 A Little Bit of Heaven- Comedy, Drama, Romance- PG-13- because of “sexual content, including crude references, and language.”

Opening June 14, 21 and 28, 2011 Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition Trilogy – NOT RATED – “The Academy Award®-winning trilogy will be featured in an exclusive series of three in-theater events including The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring™ on June 14, 2011; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers™ on June 21, 2011; and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King™ on June 28, 2011. Each event will begin at 7:00 p.m. local time. The events will begin with a new and personal introduction for each film from The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson captured from the set of his current film, and The Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit, and will be immediately followed by the Extended Edition feature presentations which altogether include nearly 3 hours of additional feature footage carefully selected by Peter Jackson.”  NOTE:  Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition Trilogy will also be released on Blu Ray nationwide beginning June 28, 2011.

Opening June 29, 2011 The Met Summer Encore:Simon Boccanegra – Music, Opera- NOT RATED. One performance only. “Running Time: 3 hours 45 minutes; 2 intermissions. An encore performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra will be shown in select theatres on Wednesday, July 29, 2011, at 6:30 PM in all time zones. Four decades into a legendary Met career, tenor Pl├ícido Domingo makes history singing the title role in Verdi’s gripping political thriller, which is written for a baritone. Adrianne Pieczonka, Marcello Giordani, and James Morris are his co-stars in this moving story of a father and his lost daughter. James Levine conducts.”

Opening June 29, 2011 Transformers:Dark of the Moon – Action, Adventure, Sci Fi–PG-13 because of “intense prolonged sequences of sci fi action violence, mayhem, and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo.”


For information on films that opened June 17, 2011, which included:   The Art of Getting By;    Buck;    Green Lantern;    Page One: Inside the New York Times;    Mr. Popper’s Penguins;    DCI 2011 Tour Premier;     Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition Trilogy;    If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front;    The Met Summer Encore: Don Pasqual and  Dudamel: Let the Children Play, please click on the link below.


For information on films that opened June 10, 2011, which included:   Bride Flight;    Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer;    Super 8;     The Trip;    The Trollhunter;    Viva Riva!….. Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition Trilogy; Stephen Soundheim’s Company and the Met Summer Encore: Madama Butterfly, please click on the link below.


For information on films that opened June 3, 2011, 2011, which included:,   Beautiful Boy’    Beginners;    The Last Mountain;    Love Wedding Marriage;   Rejoice and Shout;   Small Town Murder Songs;    Submarine and X Men: First Class, please click on the link below.


For information on films that opened May 27, 2011, which included: The Tree of Life ; John Gets Wasted and The Metropolitan Opera die Walkure encore,  please click on the link below.



For information on films that opened May 20, 2011, which included:   Bloodworth;   Cost of a Soul;   Forks Over Knives;   Louder Than a Bomb;   Midnight in Paris;   Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides;   The Annual;   The Hangover Part II and Kung Fu Panda 2, please click on the link below.


For information on films that opened April 1 to May 13, 2011, please click on the link below.


For information on films that opened the weeks of Friday, February 4 to Friday March 25, 2011 please click on the link below, where you will also find previous listings and links for prior weeks in January, as well as films that opened in 2010:


G GENERAL AUDIENCES (All Ages Admitted) PG PARENTAL GUIDANCE SUGGESTED (Some Material May Not Be Suitable for Children) PG-13 PARENTS STRONGLY CAUTIONED (Some Material May Be Inappropriate for Children Under 13) R RESTRICTED (Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian) NC-17 NO ONE 17 AND UNDER ADMITTED – As determined by the Rating Board/Motion Picture Association of America.

NEWS

TOY STORY HAWAIIAN VACATION SHORT OPENS TODAY WITH CARS 2

TOY STORY TOONS: HAWAIIAN VACATION opens today, Friday, June 24 and will run with all screening of CARS 2. 
The animated short comedy brings your TOY STORY favorites back. “Set in new owner Bonnie’s bedroom, “Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation” features Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) and Buzz (voice of Tim Allen) and the rest of the favorite “Toy Story 3” toys as they create the ultimate Hawaiian vacation for Ken (voice of Michael Keaton) and Barbie (voice of Jodi Benson).  

It seems Ken badly miscalculated their travel arrangements, so the gang has to create a dream getaway in Bonnie’s Midwestern bedroom—in the middle of winter.  

“Hawaiian Vacation” also features the voices of Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris, Blake Clark, Bonnie Hunt, Timothy Dalton, Kristen Schaal, Jeff Garlin and John Ratzenberger.”


DREAMWORKS PICTURES BEGINS PR PUSH WITH “FRIGHT NIGHT” FAN FRENZY
“DreamWorks Studios is pleased to present a special insider look at its upcoming, 3D re-imagining of the horror classic FRIGHT NIGHT at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con  International Convention. 

On Friday, July 22, a panel presentation will be held in Hall H of the San Diego Convention Center. On the dais will be talent from the film, including Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Imogen Poots, director Craig Gillespie and screenwriter Marti Noxon. Activities also include a fan appreciation party as well as a screening in advance of the film’s opening in theaters on August 19th.

On Friday, June 24th, the film’s social media campaign; “The FRIGHT NIGHT Feeding Frenzy” kicks off with a chance to win a VIP trip for two to San Diego Comic-Con in partnership with Yahoo! Movies. The trip includes travel, accommodations and admittance to all FRIGHT NIGHT scheduled events. “The Fright Night Feeding Frenzy” encourages fans to use their social feeds on Facebook, Twitter and blogs to share movie content and check in to real world events to collect points. At the end of each week, the fan who has spread the frenzy the farthest wins a killer prize. 

Prizes are awarded weekly beginning July 1st through the film’s release on Friday, August 19th.  

More information about the FRIGHT NIGHT Feeding Frenzy and how to join can be found at: www.welcometofrightnight.com

ABOUT THE MOVIE – STUDIO NOTES:

"Senior Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) finally has it all—he’s running with the popular crowd and dating the hottest girl in high school. In fact, he’s so cool he’s even dissing his best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). But trouble arrives when an intriguing stranger Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves in next door. He seems like a great guy at first, but there’s something not quite right— yet no one, including Charley’s mom (Toni Collette), seems to notice!  

After witnessing some very unusual activity, Charley comes to an unmistakable conclusion: Jerry is a vampire preying on his neighborhood. Unable to convince anyone that he’s telling the truth, Charley has to find a way to get rid of the monster himself in this Craig Gillespie-helmed revamp of the comedy-horror classic.
DreamWorks Pictures’ FRIGHT NIGHT is produced by Michael De Luca and Alison Rosenzweig, with screenplay written by Marti Noxon from a story by Tom Holland, based on the film “Fright Night,” written by Tom Holland. 

FRIGHT NIGHT opens in theaters on August 19, 2011.”

UPCOMING FILMS OF NOTE


THE HELP

A new featurette behind-the-scenes trailer was just released for the upcoming Dreamworks PG-13 film THE HELP, which opens nationwide, August 12, 2011.







TRAILERS FOR THE MOST ANTICIPATED UPCOMING FILMS

THE MUPPETS

It’s finally here, the new official trailer for THE MUPPETS, which opens nationwide November 23, 2011.







Directed by Enrico Casarosa
Produced by Kevin Reher
Studio Synopsis:


From Pixar Animation Studios, LA LUNA, an animated short, is all about “the timeless fable of a young boy who is coming of age in the most peculiar of circumstances. Tonight is the very first time his Papa and Grandpa are taking him to work. In an old wooden boat they row far out to sea, and with no land in sight, they stop and wait.  A big surprise awaits the little boy as he discovers his family's most unusual line of work. Should he follow the example of his Papa, or his Grandpa? Will he be able to find his own way in the midst of their conflicting opinions and timeworn traditions?”

Enrico Casarosa serves as Director/Head of Story for LA LUNA, and below is his biographical background, which you may find quite interesting.

“Casarosa joined Pixar Animation Studios in January 2002.  He began working as a story artist on CARS and the Academy Award-winning feature RATATOUILLE.  Casarosa’s next project was as story artist on Disney•Pixar’s Academy Award®-winning feature film, UP and most recently, Casarosa made his directing debut with the short film, LA LUNA Currently, Casarosa is working as head of story on an upcoming Pixar film.

As a story artist, Casarosa creates visual sequences from the script. Story artists also generate new ideas and gags, and provide feedback regarding the plot, characters and overall story of the film. With help from story artists, the film’s director finds the story they want to tell and the best cinematographic way to tell it. 

Casarosa found early influences in Hayao Miyazaki’s work and grew up watching Miyazaki’s television series in Italy. Born and raised in Genoa, he moved to New York City in his twenties, to study animation at the School of Visual Arts and Illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology.  

Before coming to Pixar, Casarosa worked as a storyboard artist at Blue Sky Studios on ICE AGE and ROBOTS.  He also worked as a background designer and storyboard artist for a number of Disney Channel Television Series’ including “101 Dalmatians” and “PB&J Otters.” 

Casarosa lives in San Francisco, California with his wife Marit and their little daughter Fio Giulietta.”

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

‘PlayingGuitar’ by Petr Kratochvil

In this issue of “Musical Notes”, we feature three musicians whose music definitely makes a positive difference in the lives of children, and we provide an update on some very popular children’s entertainers in live performances taking place during the next seven days.

NEWS

Meredith LeVande photo by Gaetano Salvadore
Meredith LeVande, the New York City-based children’s musician/educator and producer has become a regular part of the Los Angeles scene with her sixteen Monkey Monkey Music videos, which are now airing as interstitials on public television station KCET.
For the past several months, the videos have received overwhelmingly positive audience feedback, and soon they will be seen on as many as 45 stations nationwide and the U.S. Territories.
LeVande’s Monkey Monkey Music CDs and videos appear to connect on an emotional level to children, which comes through loud and clear, and was initially recognized, by Robert McDonnell, Director of KCET’s Education and Production Services when he added them to the KCET children’s block and the KCET Kids & Family Channel.
For LeVande, life was not always this golden; as a child, the engaging performer lost her own childhood when  shortly after she was born, her mother sank into a hopeless state of incapacitation due to mental illness, resulting in Meredith being raised by her elderly, maternal, immigrant grandmother, who died when Meredith was 15.
Grappling with the responsibility of providing a source of income, while caring for her mother and being her own emotional support system, LeVande had to grow up quickly and take responsibility for her own destiny.

She went on to do remarkable things: LeVande put herself through college (graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English and Women’s Studies) then went on to earn a law degree, as well as a master’s degree in music, because as it turned out – music had always been her coping mechanism, and this reflects in her videos. With her music, LeVande regains much of the childhood that she lost.

As a performer and producer, LeVande is very centered and aware of her personal history and the special bond that she makes with young people. She says, “Every child deserves a childhood. The story of my childhood plays a vital role in the making of my videos, and when the average person watches a preschool video or listens to preschool music, they don't necessarily think that the source of happy children's music can actually come from a very sad and deep place.” She adds, “I think that my videos captured what I wanted from my childhood, and not what I had.”

LeVande is passionate about her role in public television because she says, “Part of its founding document was to showcase America in all its diversity and air voices that would otherwise go unheard. There are so many children who have ill parents, no parents, live in horrible conditions and will never have the childhood that their peers will have. I understand what it's like to go through life like that and it's important to see people who rise above. That's what this country is founded upon.” She adds, “My hope is that children and people who come from similar circumstances find a place in their life where music, or whatever they choose to do can transcend those experiences and enrich the lives of others.“  From the video below, Meredith LeVande’s “What Are the Odds” it seems that she has certainly “transcended” and beaten those odds.




LIVE PERFORMANCES AND ENTERTAINING EVENTS

DidiPop on Tour at Wilco's Solid Sound Music and Arts Festival.

Friday, June 24 to Sunday, June 26, 2011
Mass MoCA
87 Marshall Street
North Adams, MA 01247
Phone: 413.662.2111
Fax: 413.663.8548

EVENT NOTES:

A three-day festival of the arts with music, comedy and admission to Mass MoCA Museum of Art.

Adult ticket prices range from $65 to $75 for one day passes, children 7 to 10 $50 and under 6 FREE

Three-day Weekend Pass $124.50

For further information:  http://solidsoundfestival.com/


Aaron Nigel Smith in Live Performance

You’ve loved him on PBS’ “Between the Lions” and now The NAPPA, iParenting and Parents’ Choice Award-winning musician, Aaron Nigel Smith is appearing live on:

Saturday, June 25, 2011
6:00 p.m. 
(Doors open at 5:30 p.m.)

Louisiana Discovery Center-The Mission Church
41347 West I-55
Service Road, Hammond, Louisiana 70401
(985) 340-9150


EVENT NOTES:

“Children of all ages will enjoy a fun, inspirational show which is sure to get them movin', groovin' and dancin' along to the energetic rhythms of Aaron Nigel Smith. His mission is to share his love for music and movement with the world.
Purchase tickets by calling: 985-340-9150 or e-mailing the LCDC at kim@lcdcofhammond.org

Madison Square Kids Concerts presents: Billy Kelly and the Blah Blah Blahs and Audra Rox

Billy Kelly and the Blah Blah Blahs performance:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. 
Audra Rox performance:
Thursday, June 30, 2011
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Madison Square Park on the Oval Lawn (in Madison Square Park), Manhattan
(Directions to this location)

EVENT NOTES:

Courtesy of Madison Square Park Conservancy
“Madison Square Park Conservancy is thrilled to present its 9th season of Mad. Sq. Kids, a series of free outdoor performances for children and their families, which takes place rain or shine in the Park on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10:30 a.m. June 14 to August 11.” Organized by the Madison Square Park Conservancy

For further information contact: (212) 538-1629 or email: jsong@madisonsquarepark.org


CDs

Love Me for Who I Am

In his latest and sixth release, family musician and Grammy Award nominee Brady Rymer celebrates “children of all abilities,” in Love Me for Who I Am.

This collection of ten bright and positive tunes with meaningful lyrics was inspired by Rymer’s work with students at the Celebrate the Children School in Wharton, New Jersey, an academic community serving students with alternative learning styles.

Monica Osgood, the school’s founder-director suggested ideas to Rymer for songs that reflect these children’s words and the challenges that they face.  In that respect, Love Me for Who I Am hits the mark, but it also embraces the common threads of all children with relatable tunes such as “Picky Eater” and “I Don’t Like Change,” Tune Out” and Who Wants to Wear Shoes?”

The CD, produced by Osgood’s husband, Dan Myers, the school’s music teacher and long time collaborator with Rymer, features guest vocals by Nick Jr. television star Laurie Berkner, and a terrific keyboard performance by Bernie Worrell (Parliament Funkadelic, Talking Heads.)

Below for your enjoyment is Rymer performing the title song, “Love Me for Who I Am” - a true anthem that celebrates the individuality of all children.

All ten tracks of Love Me for Who I Am may be sound sampled directly from the artist’s website, and are available in CD format as well as MP3 downloads from Amazon.com and iTunes. (Five percent of proceeds from CD sales will benefit Autism Speaks, a non-profit research and advocacy group.)



MUSIC VIDEOS

Jamie Broza’s “Turn That Phone Off”

Below is a very special video, with a distinct and dynamic message that hits a virtual home run to our technologically driven lifestyles. As a parent or caregiver, Jamie Broza’s song,” Turn That Phone Off,” from his hit album, I Want a Dog! is a tune that deserves to go viral. Take a listen and share with the child in your life, as well as family and friends, it’s bound to open up an interesting and meaningful conversation.