The Making of our Official Band Picture

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The most important thing for a band pic is that it should “look like the music sounds!” This picture by Heather Reagan-Holihan of Isis Design & Photo Studios really captures the energy of  the Jungle Gym Jam both in performance and on record.

Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam

“Cross-country Casey” McCleary-harmony vocals, guitar; “Dynamic David” Rosenblum-bass guitar, harmony vocals; “Jersey Jason” Didner, “The Cool Rockin’ Daddy”-lead vocals, lead guitar; “Rockin’ Ross” Kantor-drums, harmony vocals

This photo shoot at Imagine That!!! A New Jersey Children’s Museum came together at the last minute after a gig was cancelled (the first scheduled gig with David on bass). I figured we needed a photo of the new lineup so I chose a great place with lots of potential backdrops for awesome shots of a kindie band.

Heather was easygoing, patient and professional as kids went flying by us every which way when we were taking indoor location shots. She brought a lot of creativity to the process and was very warm and kind with my 3-year-old daughter who was getting “Daddy time” throughout the process.

After capturing some indoor shots (there’s a decommissioned Piper Cub airplane suitable for young aviators to explore), we moved outdoors to take a few shots of the group, mostly with us standing up straight, smiling – typical group shot stuff. But then Heather encouraged us to get a little silly-and that shot became our “keeper!”


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An NJ Dad’s Musical Labor of Love Debuts, Earning Parents’ Choice Approved Seal

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Jason Didner from the Jungle Gym Jam holding his CD Everyone's Invited!FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MONTCLAIR, NJ – Singer/songwriter Jason Didner could not ignore the calling that arose from his experiences parenting his then almost-2-year-old daughter. “Seeing the world in new ways through her eyes was too much for me to leave alone without songs to celebrate all the little milestones,” he said.

With the help of his wife Amy, an experienced teacher, on the lyrics, Jason proceeded to set to music his daughter’s wonder at seeing the moon re-appear from behind clouds, her affection for a ladybug on her ceiling, a quenching of his own curiosity to know how sea lions are different from seals, and many more everyday family adventures.

The resulting collection of songs deserved a rock-n-roll band to perform and professionally record this music, according to Jason and Amy. So they set out to do just that, and the talent was assembled to form Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam (www.junglegymjam.com). That band entered the studio and proceeded to create its debut album “Everyone’s Invited!” which was released early in 2014.

Most recently, that album earned the Parents’ Choice® Approved seal, a distinction that is awarded to only 20% of all applicants, each of whom has to pay an application fee that would make any artist think twice about seeking an approval they’re unlikely to get unless their product possesses an exceptional ability to delight and enrich kids and families.

Music historian and dad Lahri Bond offered this review on behalf of the Parents’ Choice® Foundation.

In the review, Lahri singled out “Peek-a-boo Moon” (below) as a highlight of the album.

If you agree with Parents’ Choice® and want this album in your family’s collection, you can listen/buy at your favorite online music retailer below.

The album is available as a physical CD or download at CDBaby.com, where it has entered the Top 40 in Kids/Family music (out of thousands of albums), or as a download from Apple iTunes, Google Play and Amazon MP3.

Download on iTunes amazonmp3 Get it on Google Play

Jason and the band offer a free PDF eBook containing stories behind all the songs, lyric and chord charts, coloring pages and some anti-bullying poetry. This spring, summer and fall, the band is touring New Jersey and surrounding areas, performing at outdoor festivals, public libraries, house concerts, and rock concert venues.

For more information, contact Jason Didner at 201-838-1205 or by email: Jason(at)junglegymjam(dot)com.


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A Puppet Show – Making it Look like it Sounds!

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Sea lion puppet by FolkmanisA mark of a good stage show is that it makes the performance “look like it sounds.” This is especially important when entertaining the youngest audience members, where everybody wins when you provide many different ways to appeal to the senses.

 

Penguin puppetIn that spirit, I’ve received several new puppets who will make their debut this Saturday at Glenfield Park in Montclair! These fuzzy friends will play characters right out of our songs “Five Sea Lions,” “Peek-a-boo Moon,” “Glass Bottom Boat” and “The People Exhibit at the Zoo!” Who knows…”Mimi the Ladybug” might make her big debut this weekend too!

Many thanks to the good folks at the PuppetU Store for their great selection, easy-to-use web site and quick shipping! I highly recommend them for your puppetry needs!


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Imagine That!!! We have a last-minute appearance Saturday April 12!

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Imagine That!!! Children's Museum

Sometimes in life a cancellation opens up a new opportunity to make things happen. This is how it worked out that tomorrow, Saturday 4/12, we will give a special acoustic mini-concert with the full band at Imagine That!!! Children’s Museum in Florham Park!

"Dynamic David" RosenblumThis is your first chance to see us with our new bass guitarist “Dynamic David” Rosenblum. Early tomorrow we’ll take some band photos of the new lineup using the very inspiring and visually pleasing backdrops this museum possesses. Then, around 11:30 we’ll play an all-acoustic full-band mini-concert, probably in the museum’s café.

There’s no charge for the music; your regular admission price to the museum covers the music too.

Museum admission (good all day):

$9.95 adult
$10.95 child


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“Everyone’s Invited!” Album is Parents’ Choice® Approved!

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Jason Didner from the Jungle Gym Jam holding his CD Everyone's Invited!I’m delighted to announce that “Everyone’s Invited!” my debut album with the Jungle Gym Jam is Parents’ Choice® Approved!  Parents’ Choice® commendations of any kind are only awarded to about 20% of all applicants, each who has to really believe in their product to submit an application of this kind.

Check out the upbeat review by music historian and dad Lahri Bond for the Parents’ Choice® Foundation.

Here’s Lahri’s favorite track, “Peek-a-boo Moon!”

If you agree with Parents’ Choice® and want this album in your family’s collection, you can listen/buy at your favorite online music retailer below.

Download on iTunes amazonmp3 Get it on Google Play

Many thanks to the contributors to this album who made this moment a reality:

Amy Didner, lyricist; Ross Kantor, drummer; Casey McCleary, harmony vocalist; Judy Helbig, bassist; Meg Beattie, harmony vocalist; Bob Cannon, mandolinist; John Ginty, organist, Dave Cushing, producer; Scott Anthony, mastering engineer; Melissa Bailey, illustrator.

Thanks to the Parents’ Choice® Foundation for their important work of identifying those products intended for children that have what it takes to delight and enrich children and their families.

Thanks to Children’s Music Network and Katherine Dines, Leslie Zak, Dave Kinnoin and Monty Harper for their very helpful critiques of the songwriting.

Deep gratitude to my parents, daughter, brother, in-laws, nephews and nieces for encouraging the development of these songs and the band by being among the first to groove to them!

Thank you, the families who make the extra effort to seek enriching, age-appropriate entertainment to engage your children. You make the decision to share our passion project with the world an easy one!


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CANCELLED: Family Fun Festival and Brunch Buffet

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I’m sorry to announce that our Family Fun Festival scheduled for Saturday, April 12 at The Office in Ridgewood is cancelled due to an uncontrollable circumstance within the restaurant.  The restaurant will remain open and serve its excellent food as always, but will not be able to accommodate this special event at this time as they had hoped. Fewer things in my line of work are harder than having to disappoint a child; I’m actively working to make up for this…


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We Have a Winner! Family Pass to Sunday’s Family Fun Day

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Immaculate Conception Spring Family Fun Day GiveawayThanks for entering for your chance to win a free family pass (This is a $30 value) to Spring Family Fun Day at Immaculate Conception Church in Montclair this Sunday 3/30!

Your kids will dance and high-five with Elmo, thrill to a magicians dazzling tricks, get wonderful face paintings and of course, rock out to the sounds of the Jungle Gym Jam! Plus, I’ll perform a song from the smash-hit movie “Frozen.”

Jason

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! How about a little music while you’re entering…

If you didn’t win this giveaway, don’t worry; I do frequent giveaways. Sign up for the free eGoodie Bag to get more giveaways along with exclusive videos and music that’s just for you.

You’ll also get a great discount for tomorrow’s Family Fun Day delivered to your inbox!

 

 


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Win a Child-Sized Ukulele at Spring Family Fun Day This Sunday!

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This Sunday for our Family Fun Day event, please remember to bring a nonperishable food item (please check the expiration date) or cash donation for Mary’s Pantry. We will thank you with a chance to win a First Act Discovery “Cars-Lightning McQueen” ukulele, appropriate for ages 3 and up!

See me playing this cute instrument below…

Family Fun Day takes place this Sunday March 30 at 2:30 at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Montclair, NJ. My band will play spirited rock-n-roll for kids and their grown-ups. There will be a magician, face painter, and a costumed character the kids all know and love will make a special appearance! Refreshments will be available.

Save on admission by buying tickets right here!

Box office software by TicketLeap



Win a Child-Sized Ukulele by Donating at Family Fun Day 3/30 Immaculate Conception Church Montclair, NJ


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