Monthly Archives: March 2016

JGJ & Little Rockers Bring Family Music Fun to The Stone Pony

Jason from the Jungle Gym Jam with the Little Rockers BandASBURY PARK-The Jungle Gym Jam brings its love of the Jersey Shore to…the Jersey Shore’s most legendary music venue, the one where Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi often show up to jam with their friends, where Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes were once the house band! Speaking of friends, Jason’s friends Chris and Jessie, the Little Rockers Band (pictured right, with Jason) will also perform a set of cool music for kids and their grown-ups!

It’s a Sunday Showcase concert  on April 17, open to all ages! After the Little Rockers and Jungle Gym Jam each do our thing, your kids can dance to the Earth Monkeys, Running Dog Band, Radio Active and Rocket Science. Teach your kids about New Jersey’s proud history (and future) of rock-n-roll! Doors open at 2PM.

Tickets are $10 in advance (plus fee) and $12 at the door. Order below.

NOTE: Pre-orders are highly recommended; they help the venue plan appropriate use of the space and availability of offerings from the kitchen. Get your tickets now!

The Stone Pony is at 913 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712.

Thank you!


Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam perform My Superpower at Concert for Mr. Lou at Stone Pony 10/25/15

Photo by Anne Geyer

It started with a question from a Canadian children’s musician…

First Roots Children's Music Festival 2016 Flyer…and it became the First Roots Children’s Music Festival!

So i got a Facebook message from a fellow children’s musician asking if I can book her to any venues in New Jersey the day after the big children’s music conference known as KindieComm that takes place in Philadelphia the first weekend of April. She had remembered that last year I ran a 15-concert series for kids in Hoboken. That musician is Lisa from Sonshine & Broccoli, who will be making the annual trip from Ontario to Philly.

Feeling that I not only wanted to help out a friendly colleague but nurture a family music scene in my home state, I thought about places that would enthusiastically host a kids’ show for an out-of-town performer on a Monday afternoon (the day after the conference concludes). After mulling and investigating a few options, one jumped out at me: First Roots Music Studio in Manville, NJ – right in the center of the state, halfway between Philadelphia and New York City. Its owner Jenni Esposito has been a big believer in my music and that of my buddies Baze and His Silly Friends; she’s hired us give guest concerts in her early childhood music classroom space and she’s featured our albums as the themes of entire class semesters.

Get your tickets to the First Roots Children’s Music Festval on April 4 in Manville, NJ here.

Jungle Gym Jam takes a bow at the end of a performance at First Roots Studio in Manville, NJWhen I shared the idea with Jenni, she was quite excited and eager to get involved. With her go-ahead, I posted a call for performers in the KindieComm group on Facebook and ended up with a great lineup that I’m very excited to share with somerset County’s young music fans:

Get your tickets to the First Roots Children’s Music Festval on April 4 in Manville, NJ here.

While We Were Performing at the Purim Carnival…

1625575_10153605607768042_1060745465918304437_n…Holly took her first steps in caring for a living creature.

When I woke up Sunday morning I knew very little about goldfish and their care except for a distant memory of winning a goldfish at a carnival as a kid and that fish lasting not more than a day in my fishbowl. So when our synagogue, Congregation Shomrei Emunah, added a win-a-live-goldfish game and Holly played it with Grandma and Grandpa standing by during our performance, I was very surprised to see her walking toward the stage area with a plastic bag in her hand and a little being swimming inside of it.

Holly took an instant liking to pet ownershipThe fact that Holly’s school friends also won goldfish seemed to make it a communal experience that all these children were now going to experience a rite of passage at the same time – the responsibility of caring for a living creature. Of course, my mind went immediately to…”We have to get a fishbowl!” – a notion that was quickly corrected for us at Brookdale Pet Center in Bloomfield where the salesperson guided us toward a more suitable habitat for a new goldfish — a small aquarium kit with a pump and a filter. Suddenly, I was plunged into a world of learning about how to more properly care for a goldfish. Holly picked out the “tie dye” colored gravel to line the bottom of the aquarium. There was so much to learn, like that a goldfish has the potential to live 45 years and grow to a foot in length, that their gender doesn’t become apparent until they;re at least a year old, that shelled green peas help them pass waste products more easily.

When we got home and got our fish, which Holly had named Rosie Elisa (She names every stuffed animal Rosie and the middle name Elisa is the name of a close friend of Holly’s), settled in the aquarium, I decided to do some more research on how to care for our little aquatic animal. I came across this article about the 12 mistakes new goldfish owners usually make. I discovered in the process that there were a few steps I could have done better or had more awareness of when getting our fish situated.

Rosie, Holly's first-ever petHolly sang to the fish, spoke to the fish and kept running up the stairs during dinner to go into her room and look at her cute new pet. I had taken this close-up picture of Holly’s fish so she could print it out and take it to school to show her friends. When she saw the printed picture yesterday morning, she laughed with delight at the full-page image.

When I left for work yesterday, that was the last time I’d see Holly’s goldfish alive. When I went upstairs to check on her after returning from work, our new friend was motionless and unresponsive. A few unanswered taps on the tank confirmed the worst. She was gone a little more than a day after being awarded to Holly in a carnival game.

In an impromptu memorial ceremony in Holly’s room, I thanked Rosie’s memory for teaching us so much about caring for a living being. Holly tearfully told Rosie’s memory that she loved Rosie and didn’t want her to die. Amy complimented Rosie’s memory on what a wonderful swimmer she was and how loved she was.

I then took Rosie outside the house for a dignified burial in our garden right near where some daffodils were shooting up through the ground and preparing to bud.

 Going On with Our Mission

Having been thrust into a scenario where we suddenly had to learn so much about care of a goldfish, I was prepared to accept the risk of loss. I was even able to accept the loss itself when it happened. What I was not prepared to do was give up and turn our backs on all we had learned. I proposed that we go out and get new fish, maybe two, last night. Amy and Holly were unanimous. We went out to Petco (they happened to have later hours than Brookdale Pet) and chose two comet goldfish. Holly named them “Rosie” and “Rosie.” I suggested “Rosie II” and “Rosie III” so we can keep a special memory of the original “Rosie.”

The new fish Rosie II and Rosie IIII applied more of the tips I had learned about acclimating fish to a new aquarium this time. Last night was Rosie II and Rosie III’s first stay in their new digs. These fish appear to have had an easier transition to our home than did our original one. They did not have to face the long hours in a plastic bag being bounced around during the carnival followed by the sudden shock of different water in an aquarium. These two new fish were in a larger double bag of water for their short trip home. This time I had the advice of Petco’s resident fish expert on how I could float their bag in the new water that would later become their habitat. This helps ensure the most even possible transition from the water in the bag to the new water. Shock from sudden changes in water temperature and therefore body temperature can lead to life-threatening complications.

It finally came time to introduce our two fish to their new home; I improvised with a bathroom cup instead of a net and cautiously proceeded to transfer Rosie II and Rosie III to their aquarium. They currently reside in a 2.5 gallon tank which is OK for very young goldfish, but they will soon outgrow this tank like toddlers outgrowing their cribs. It appears that our near future holds the need for a 30 gallon+ aquarium to comfortably sustain these living beings and see them thrive and grow.

I explained to Holly that pets are not replaceable – each living being has its own soul and personality. But we can love and care for these two new goldfish as a way to honor Rosie I and everything she had taught us, and all the ways she made us better people.

In the span of one day we went from unsuspecting new pet owners to diligent students of owning a pet to a grieving family to people who get back up on the horse and try again. Tell us in the comments about experiences you’ve had with your kids that relate to this story.

Fan-made Video for “Day at the Beach”

An Invitation to Make Your Own Beach Video Like J.C.’s

J.C. Colyer is a fan. Not just a fan of my music, but someone who made our music happen night after night, hauling our gear up and down steps, fitting an impossible jigsaw puzzle of speakers, sound boards, drums and keyboards in the band van – back in the 90s when I was a member of Jim Kilby and the Crusade. J.C. is a passionate fan of Jersey rock and that magical sound influenced by Bruce Springsteen.

Photo of Seaside Heights boardwalk depicted in J.C. Colyer's fan video of "Day at the Beach" - a song by Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym JamAnd not just a fan of Jersey music. J.C. is a fan of his beloved Seaside Heights community. So when he made a fan video of Bruce Springsteen’s “My Love Will Not Let You Down” featuring “Jersey Strong” inspired images from the Superstorm Sandy recovery in Seaside, I thought of him to make a video for my new Jersey Shore-themed anthem “Day at the Beach.”

Here’s J.C.’s picture video of “Day at the Beach:”

Your Turn!

I invite you to make your own picture video of this song. E-mail me at to obtain a high-quality download of the music. Make your own video of this song and post to your YouTube channel. It could be made up of pictures or video clips.

Just make sure that the pictures and clips are yours or you have permission to use them.

About J.C. Colyer

John J.C. Colyer, editor of "Day at the Beach" video

John J.C. Colyer

John “J.C.” Colyer makes impressive use of information technology to share his journey as a person living with cerebellar ataxia, a condition that has hampered his ability to walk and coordinate the muscles in his body. It has made speech difficult (but not impossible) for him. J.C. tells his personal story on a series of YouTube videos where he speaks into the camera and painstakingly adds subtitles to help clarify what he is saying. He is a passionate supporter of a social safety net to provide people in his position with as dignified and independent a life as possible. He is a strong and clear anti-bullying and anti-prejudice voice in the world’s dialogue.

Subscribe to J.C.’s YouTube channel here.

About the Song “Day at the Beach”

The song you hear in the video includes my first successful horn arrangement, performed by the horn section from popular north Jersey band The Defending Champions. “Day at the Beach” is a track on the upcoming album Lollipop Motel and gets right to the heart of the album’s “family beach vacation” theme. Lollipop Motel is due for worldwide release on May 13.

The album is produced and mixed by Marc “Baze” Bazerman, mastered by Scott Anthony at Storybook Sound in Maplewood, NJ, engineered by Matt Ryan at Homefront Studios in Caldwell, NJ. Ross Kantor-drums, Casey McCleary-vocals, Jim Goodwin-bass, Matt Ryan-trombone, Jovan Alvarez-trumpet, Matt “Shooby” Schoenebaum-tenor sax. Lyrics by Jason and Amy Didner, Music, vocals, guitars, keyboards by yours truly!

Sign up to receive e-mail news about the new album and get three free song downloads.

Rock on!

– Jason