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February 27, 2012

Do you like this?

Have you ever had a saucepan-band rehearsing in your kitchen, a rubber band guitarist plucking melodies in the dining room, or a budding saxophonist blowing out some tunes in your living room? Even if you just have someone under 3 feet tall rocking out to your ring tone, you know that kids are drawn to music with the same wide-eyed, hands-on interest that sends them chasing bubbles around your back yard.

Our children hear theme songs and radio jingles throughout their days, peppered in with some kids bop and nursery rhymes. In the midst of playing, we catch them humming tunes and making up words and lyrics to the little soundtrack running through their heads. Streaming music sites like Pandora and Spotify have created new platforms for dads and moms and kids to create playlists together, but the chance to boogie-down without the tether of wifi to live, family-friendly music is not always available in small-town life.

Enter the Avalon Theater, a little haven of live music variety on the corner of Dover and Harrison Streets. Welcoming big names like Taylor Hicks and Boyz II Men to their stage, as well as playing host to local schools who flock there for field trips and other cultural enrichment, The Avalon is gearing up to offer two different Saturday morning concerts for families next month, and you’re not going to want to miss them.

Taking the stage on March 10th with his kid-friendly blues show is Guy Davis. Davis is no stranger to the music world, having worked with big names like Bruce Springsteen and Taj Mahal on compilation albums, songwriting, and performances alike. One of his proudest recording projects to date is the title track for “I Will Be Your Friend: Songs and Activities for Young Peacemakers,” an inspirational collection of songs that melodically support the ideas of diversity, tolerance, and understanding. Combined with a teacher’s aide kit, the CD collection was distributed by Southern Poverty Law Center to every public school in the country as part of the national “Teaching Tolerance” campaign. Davis, the “Ambassador of the Blues,” has traveled as far as Spain, sharing his music with school children.

Robbie Schaefer has shared music internationally with children and audiences as well. Inspired by a trip to Brain Tree School in Uganda, Africa in 2009, Schaeffer came back to his day jobs of professional musician and children’s radio host with the dream of launching a pen-pal style music program linking schools in the US with schools in Africa. OneVoice was born and, within a year, a sister-school partnership was created between Pennsylvania and Tanzania, and a nationwide singing contest raised more than $25,000 to build a new school for children in Tanzania, Africa. Schaefer, who tours regularly as guitarist and lead vocalist of the band Eddie From Ohio, has also released a CD of silly lyrics and fun melodies for kids and families which he will share here in Easton on March 24th.

As always, quality comes at a cost, but tickets to these shows don’t just come with a comfy seat and a good view. There is the chance to share a little theater etiquette with your young ones, at least until the music gets them out of their seats and onto the dance floor. Jessica Rogers, General Manager of the Avalon Foundation and mother of two boys, knows that kids like to move. After rolling your stroller into its parking spot, parents shouldn't feel nervous about bringing their kids to these public dance parties.

At $15 for adults and $10 per kid, these tickets will buy you more than the experience of sharing music as a family and supporting artists who have a passion for bringing music to a worldwide stage short enough for kids to see over. As Rogers explains, “Demand can empower supply.” The more shows like this that our community supports, the more reason there will be for bringing them to the Avalon Theater, saving you the hassle of leaving town for family enrichment.

Want to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Guy Davis at the Avalon Theater on March 10th at 11:00 AM? Send a picture of your child with an instrument (xylophone, tambourine, iPad piano) to patty@eastonsavvy.com or post it to our Facebook page. All submissions will be put into a drawing to happen on Monday, March 5th.

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February 27, 2012

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