Who’s Rockin’ It In Kids’ Music?

Photo by Micah Joel

The Musical Maven Behind Moey’s Music Party, Melissa Levis, Takes Her Kidspirational Jams To The National Level

By Chrissy Makris

“Every day’s a party!” Melissa Levis, an upbeat musician accompanied by a pink sparkly guitar, greets a circle of babies and toddlers in ruffles and pigtails. Affectionately known by her following of youngsters as Moey, she encourages the eager audience to jingle their bells in time with the strumming of her guitar. And since we’re celebrating President’s Day, she leads a group of about a dozen boys and girls in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” (to the President), a floppy birthday cake hat teetering on her head.

Levis is the leading lady of Moey’s Music Party, a children’s band that sings of fairytales, responsibility, and fun with a kid-power theme. The award-winning Off-Broadway songwriter traded in her notepad for a tiara and a pink sparkly dress in 2005 when she created her lively alter-ego, Moey. The musical maven and her band have received several awards for their “kidspirational” DVDs and CDs, including a Parent’s Choice award. Today, we’re at one of her weekly classes for little ones and their caregivers. And guess what? It proves to be just as fun and stimulating as the many concerts and birthday parties the band holds around the city.

Keep reading for our interview with Melissa Levis.

Photo by Jason Arber

Dan Zanes’ Fiddler Elena Moon Park Wins Over Fams With A Delightfully Different Collection Of Asian-Inspired Kids’ Songs

By Sarah Torretta Klock

Listening to “Rabbit Days and Dumplings,” the new album by Elena Moon Park of Dan Zanes and Friends, is a delightfully strange experience: the music is foreign and deeply familiar in the same instant; wildly contemporary and ancient at once; light-hearted and heart-rending in a single melody. When I played the first song in my kitchen one morning, my three children came running to dance, and, frankly, we haven’t stopped since.

The songs are sung are in a variety of different East Asian languages: Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, Chinese, and Taiwanese to name a few. The sounds are new and exciting—a pipa, for example, is plucked by world-renowned player Wu Man. Just treat yourself to Diu Diu Deng for a taste of it. (A pipa! Who knew what gorgeous frenzy of sound could be produced from this Chinese string instrument?)

The album is a musical and cultural boundary crossing. It translates and interprets East Asian music for a contemporary Western audience in a way that is infinitely danceable, inviting, and joyous. Listening to it, I could only feel grateful to Elena Moon Park for making it, because it would have been such a shame to miss out on this music from the other side of the world.

Photo by Eric Waterman

The Pop Ups, A Brooklyn-Based Duo, Uses Playful Puppets & A Diverse Repertoire To Conquer The Kindie Scene

By Anna Sims

There’s really no precise label that adequately describes the sound of The Pop Ups, the Brooklyn-based band comprised of Jacob Stein and Jason Rabinowitz. Their song “Winter Beard” is reminiscent of New Zealand’s Flight of the Conchords, while “Connect the Stars” has a dance beat and pop melody that would work on any Top 40 playlist. They cover Frank Loesser’s “Baby It’s Cold Outside”—using two fuzzy puppets as the leads, of course—and channel a jazz vibe for their Halloween tune “Miss Elephant’s Gerald.” Really, we dare you to put one musical label on these genre jumpers (beyond the kindie one).

While it’s difficult to define their music, it’s easy to understand why they’ve garnered national attention in the kindie music scene since releasing their first album “Outside Voices” in 2010, toured with Yo Gabba Gabba!, and earned a 2013 Grammy nomination for Best Children’s Album for their sophomore CD, “Radio Jungle.”

On stage, they perform with hand-painted sets, playing guitar and percussion—that is, when they aren’t busy manipulating the colorful puppets and cardboard props that are staples of every performance. They’ve turned both of their albums into puppet musicals and like to end their shows by throwing beach balls or, in the case of their puppet musical “PASTA!,” noodles into the crowd. In a nutshell, these guys are just having fun. And it translates effortlessly to the audience. The Pop Ups write melodies that appeal to all ages and have the wit and charisma to win over any crowd.

Keep reading for our interview with The Pop Ups.

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TADA! Youth Theater

<div> <p dir="ltr"><strong>TADA! Youth Theater Summer Camps (July 10-August 25, 2023)</strong> Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance! TADA! is excited to be back in person with our popular Week-long Musical Theater Summer Camps!  Every week your child will:</p> <p dir="ltr"> </p> <ul> <li>ENGAGE IN MUSICAL THEATER TRAINING</li> <li>CREATE, REHEARSE & PERFORM AN ORIGINAL MINI- MUSICAL</li> <li>EXPLORE THEIR INTERESTS AND IDENTITY</li> <li>SHARE THEIR VOICE AND BE HEARD</li> <li>RECEIVE INDIVIDUALIZED ATTENTION AND SOLO OPPORTUNITIES</li> <li>EXPERIENCE ENSEMBLE-BASED INSTRUCTION BY TWO PROFESSIONAL NYC TEACHING ARTISTS</li> <li>MAKE CONNECTIONS WITH NEW FRIENDS</li> </ul> On the last day of camp, we invite friends and family to attend the debut of your child’s original mini-musical!<br /> <p> </p> <p dir="ltr">Limited spots available! All of our classes take place in-person at 15 W. 28th Street (between Broadway & 5th) and culminate in a final sharing for an invited audience.  </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>For more info or to register for our Summer Camps, visit our website <a href="https://tadatheater.com/summercamps/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://tadatheater.com/summercamps/&source=gmail&ust=1682524227382000&usg=AOvVaw1jPPuT0S0YVPJg0I1oXofv">HERE!</a></strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Looking for a sample class before registering?</strong> Join us Saturday, June 3rd for an in-person sample class, Q&A, and the best discount of the summer!  Registration required to attend! </p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><strong>For more info. or to register for our Summer Open house, click <a href="https://tadatheater.com/open-house/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://tadatheater.com/open-house/&source=gmail&ust=1682524227382000&usg=AOvVaw2CheiFLQooj66wqzmTeKCc">HERE!</a></strong></p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><strong>No child should be turned away because of their inability to pay. </strong></p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><strong><a href="https://tadatheater.com/financial-assistance/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://tadatheater.com/financial-assistance/&source=gmail&ust=1682524227382000&usg=AOvVaw1-oTxJlL31iv2yEG3kUDrj">Financial Assistance available. </a></strong></p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><strong>Questions?</strong></p> <div style="text-align: center;"><strong>Email us at <a href="mailto:[email protected]" target="_blank" rel="noopener">[email protected]</a></strong></div> </div> <div> <div dir="ltr" data-smartmail="gmail_signature"> <div dir="ltr"> <div dir="ltr"> <div dir="ltr"> <div dir="ltr"> <div dir="ltr"> <div dir="ltr"> <div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

Steps on Broadway Youth Programs

<p class="m_6201101365486487057m_1751229968981391907gmail-m-6447730382188674378msonospacing" style="color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; background-color: #ffffff;"><span style="font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">For 40 years, the Youth Programs at the internationally celebrated Steps on Broadway have nurtured young dancers, ages 18 months to 18 years.  Whether seeking a fun dance experience or comprehensive pre-professional training, there is a program suited for everyone.  Classes include ballet, tap, jazz, theater dance, hip hop, contemporary, modern, pointe and more.  Taught by a faculty of internationally-recognized concert, ballet, Broadway and celebrated guest artists, every student is encouraged to discover their artistic uniqueness, deepen their passion for the art form, while growing as dancers and individuals. </span><u></u><u></u></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0px 0px 10pt; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; background: white;"><span style="font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: #5a5a5a;">Classes are offered throughout the academic year and summer.</span><u></u><u></u></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0px 0px 10pt; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; background: white;"><span style="font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: #5a5a5a;">First Steps (ages 18 mos – 5 yrs)</span><u></u><u></u></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0px 0px 10pt; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; background: white;"><span style="font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: #5a5a5a;">Kids & Teens (ages 6-18 yrs)</span><u></u><u></u></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0px 0px 10pt; color: #222222; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; background: white;"><span style="font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: #5a5a5a;">Pre-Professional Program (ages 7-18 yrs, by audition only)</span></p>

CK Kids

<p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;" data-sheets-value="{" data-sheets-userformat="{">CK Kids offers various classes and programs, including Afterschool Program, Lil Chefs, Boys Hip-Hop, Ninja Starz, Lil Artists, CK Kids Athletic Programs, Acrobatics, Dance and Drama, and Karate. </span></p>