Monthly Archives: December 2016

Just around the Corner til the Light of Day Yeah!

Benefit concert to help research & treat Parkinson’s, ALS, PSP

Kids’ entertainers to rock Crossroads Jan. 7 for Light of Day Foundation

I only had a short time with Mr. Lou DeMartino but learned how passionate he was about supporting the Light of Day Foundation, traveling the U.S., Canada and Europe to give benefit performances with Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan to help combat nervous system disorders that have affected so many people, often claiming their lives. Lou joined the Jungle Gym Jam in the spring of 2015, just 4 short months before another disease, asthma, shockingly took his life.

But Lou has stayed on my mind to this day, and I’m in awe of how much of himself he gave when he had few resources of his own and had to work multiple gigs to make ends meet. So it’s only fitting that I took up the mantle to put on a Light of Day Foundation benefit concert to continue his work.

Years ago there was an annual Light of Day benefit concert for kids & families in Asbury Park, which was later replaced in the seaside city’s venues with a wider variety of rock and pop acts aimed at adult audiences, who generally spend more at the bar than their family counterparts, yielding bigger donations to Light of Day.

I figured the best bet was to put on a family-oriented concert at another NJ music venue during January, the organization’s busy month for benefit concerts – perhaps a venue not in Asbury Park but one known for great NJ concerts. I reached out to Lee at Crossroads in Garwood, where I had participated in a benefit show before.

Jay Lustig, a longtime NJ music critic and now the founder of NJArts.net, led me to an intriguing headline act for this concert – Deena Shoshkes from the new wave duo The Cucumbers, now with her new harmony-rich band The Campfire Flies. I built the supporting lineup from New Jersey’s family music scene – singers and players who have delighted kids and their grown-ups in front of me before, like Miss Nina and Yosi. Yosi has performed in those earlier versions of the Light of Day family concert before – a tradition that was winding down just as I was getting into the kids’ music game.

The show is on Saturday, January 7 at 4PM (doors open at 3:30); admission is $15 person (children under age 1 admitted free) with all proceeds going to the Light of Day Foundation.

GIVEAWAY!

Family Enrollment to our 12-week Class!

Enter by January 2 to win!

Free enrollment to our winter semester of Jungle Gym Jam Time
Early Childhood Music & Movement Class

Parents (or grandparents) of children age 0-3 are invited to enter below for a chance to win. 

Class takes place at Church of the Holy Innocents in West Orange on Tuesday mornings at 10:30, starting January 10. The winter semester runs for 12 weeks. 

It’s easy to enter: just leave a comment on this post and use the Rafflecopter tool below to tell us you commented. Bonus points if you visit our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter or retweet the message (through the Rafflecopter tool). In fact, you can return to this page and send the tweet every day for bonus chances to win! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Everyone who enters the giveaway will receive 3 free songs (MP3 format) and will get e-mail announcements about new class dates, albums, family festivals and more.

Class registration is below:


A Very Jersey Christmas! – Spotify playlist

Jason Didner from the Jungle Gym Jam welcomes Santa to The Outlets at Bergen Town CenterAn article in the Asbury Park Press by the paper’s chief music critic Chris Jordan gave me a great idea. He listed New Jersey’s Top 10 Christmas Songs of All Time. Most of those tracks were unfamiliar to me, but I totally agreed with his #1 pick: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band!

So I set out to create a Spotify playlist that contained as many of those listed songs as I could find in the catalog. Then I added my own entry, “Summertime Santa,” those of my fellow NJ children’s musicians, and some by the Garden State’s notable rockers – both household names and local heroes – and jazz artists.

Please leave a comment if there’s more NJ holiday music I should know about (in the Spotify library)!

Musically yours,

Jason