My original inspiration to create the Hoboken concert series Maxwell’s Mini Music Mondays was my very uplifting experience performing at World Cafe Live in Wilmington, Delaware as part of the Peanut Butter & Jams concert series for kids and families. I felt like the surroundings of an honest-to-goodness performance space added to the anticipation of a full-blown rock concert made just for the young audience members. It felt like a real kindie music scene. And I wanted that for northern New Jersey.
So, now that there’s a scene connected with kindie artists and an audience hungry for what we do, I couldn’t wait to jump right in and give a performance for this crowd, now at this concert series’ 3-week mark. And for a band like ours that leans toward Jersey rock, influenced by Bruce Springsteen, how cool was it that we performed on the same stage where The Boss filmed the video for “Glory Days!”
The moms and kids were all smiles as we launched into our favorite opening song “Your Happy Place.” We got playful and interactive during our next song “Little Yellow Plane,” all about the aircraft that carries a banner for all the beachgoers to see. It was like a little Jersey Shore beach party on a frigid afternoon.
The kids were stretching out their arms to look like airplanes. We also battled some imaginary ocean waves (credit to my daughter Holly for inventing this game!) Plenty of kids were situated on the carpet squares in front of the stage by the time we got to “Five Sea Lions” where they counted down with me as the playful creatures in the song dove into the water. The kids also did the rolling and swimming motions with their hands. We formed a human train in “Window of the Train” and the kids helped me figure out that my cute red insect puppet with black spots wasn’t really a bumble bee. Well, you learn something new every day…
By the time we reached our encore with “Down By the Bay” there was a line of kids across the very front of the dance floor, perfect for high-fiving at the conclusion of the song. Giving kids their first taste of a rock concert was a special thrill for me, especially seeing what a positive experience it was.
Maxwell’s concert promoter Dave Entwistle was on-hand to run sound, with his awesome 2-year-old by his side (and sleeping in his arms for part of the time). Little Ben was quite helpful in putting on the show as he reached into my box of carpet squares and followed my lead in placing them out on the floor before the show. My daughter Holly also found new ways to be helpful, like directing other kids’ moms to where they could pick up the free Big Apple Circus clown noses for their kids that I had just put out. It made me proud to see her make new friends of kids she had never met before. It’s a really nice group of kids & families that are coming out to these events.
Heather from Hoboken Mommies was on hand along with her daughter, taking pictures and sharing them socially to the group’s popular Facebook page. One little rock-n-roller brought along his green guitar and took it out of his little green gig bag, ready to rock along with the band! We gave away an “Everyone’s Invited!” CD and a pair of tickets to the Big Apple Circus’ opening night on its Bridgewater, New Jersey stand this Thursday, 2/26.
Next Monday I return to my role of concert promoter (and add sound engineer to my job description) and watch the performances of my very talented friends in the field of rock and jazz for kids & families. On Monday, March 2 my friend and mentor Marc “Baze” Bazerman takes the stage with his group Baze and His Silly Friends. Baze is producing my upcoming album and he’s eliciting vocal performances from me that have caused me to surprise myself in all the best ways.
I’m very excited not just for the artists scheduled to play in the weeks ahead, but also for the families who get to experience the fullness of the kindie music movement and get their kids exposed to a variety of styles, ideas, stories and lessons created lovingly to enrich their young lives.
If you’d like to keep up with the happenings at this concert series, make sure to like the Maxwell’s Mini Music Mondays page Facebook!