Summer Jam Concert Series Returns June 24

The second annual Claris Construction Inc Summer Jam Concert Series for the children of Newtown will open inext week.

The series will begin Tuesday, June 24, with Vanessa Trien and The Jumping Monkeys returning from Boston to kick off the series.  Returning favorites from last year will also include Amy Rogell on July 15, and Zak Morgan, who will again be traveling from Ohio for the final concert, scheduled to take place on August 5.

A program of Newtown Parks & Recreation, admission is free. 

Performances will begin at noon and will again be offered at Dickinson Park, 50 Elm Drive, in the band shell. In the case of light rain, the performance will move to the Dickinson pavilion. 

“We are working on a rain location so that we will not have to worry about canceling a concert,” said Ms Masotta. That location is still to be determined.

The series will again run for seven consecutive weeks. Families are invited to bring a picnic blanket, lunch and friends.

This year’s performers and schedule is as follows: Vanessa Trien and The Jumping Monkeys, June 24; Bossy Frog Band, July 1; Joanie Leeds and The Nightlights, July 8; Amy Rogell, July 15; Bari Koral Family Rock Band, July 22; Alastair Moock, July 29; and Zak Morgan, August 5.

In addition to the music this year, the Hearts of Hope-Newtown chapter is planning to have a booth set up so that children can paint ceramic hearts following the June 24 concert.

“Kristen Mattera, of Hearts of Hope, and I have been discussing a partnership to provide the opportunity for more local children to engage in the painting of the hearts,” said Erin Masotta. Ms Masotta has been working with Parks & Rec to coordinate this year’s performers.

Hearts of Hope-Newtown hosts monthly events where the public is invited to paint palm-sized ceramic hearts with positive scenes and/or encouraging words. The hearts are then to be distributed at special events or sent to towns affected by tragedies.

“The current plan is that Hearts of Hope-Newtown will be setting up a booth with 100 hearts available to be painted following the Vanessa Trien performance,” she said. Ms Mattera and Ms Masotta are still deciding where the hearts will be sent, but are considering local children’s organizations, Ms Masotta said.


The Performers

Vanessa Trien and The Jumping Monkeys were the first performers during last year’s inaugural Summer Jam Concert Series. The Boston-based band continues to promote its CD Bubble Ride, while also writing new materials for a new recording.

In addition to Ms Trien, who offers vocals and performs on acoustic guitar, The Jumping Monkeys are Julie Rama Winslow, also on vocals and acoustic guitar; Dave Jamrog, drums, percussion and vocals; Adam Rothberg, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, ukulele, bass and vocals; and Paul Kochanski, electric and upright bass.

The Bossy Frog Band has entertained over 100,000 children and families and released eight albums since 1999. Jeffrey Friedberg, LCAT, MT-BC, the owner of Bossy Frog Productions, LLC, is a 2013 Parents Choice Award winner, certified music therapist and New York State Licensed Creative Arts Therapist.

Joanie Leeds and The Nightlights will celebrate the release of their fourth album, Good Egg, in June; Ms Leeds had previous released three solo albums as well, beginning with Soul From My Footsteps in 2003. Her first children’s album was City Kid, released in 2008.

Her music reflects a sense that life is a joyful adventure.

Amy Rogell is committed to education, children and movement, and performs children’s concerts throughout the tri-state area and teaches workshops on creative movement and innovative music.

The Bari Koral Family Rock Band’s fourth album, The Apple Tree & The Honey Bee, was released May 13. With the new release, Ms Koral has established herself as not only a popular performer but also a leading force in the “kids yoga” movement. Koral’s catchy, pop-friendly tunes and interactive live shows feature a creative blend of music and movement. Many of her songs are also widely used in kids’ yoga classes and preschool classrooms, and Ms Koral lectures nationally on the subject.

People Magazine named Bari Koral’s 2012 release, Anna and the Cupcakes, one of that year’s coolest albums for kids. Her songs are in regular rotation on Sirius/XM Radio’s Kids Place Live, and her recordings have been honored with two Parents’ Choice Awards and two NAPPA Awards.

A 2014 Grammy nominee, Parents’ Choice Gold Medal Winner, and three-time National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) Gold Medal Winner, Alastair Moock makes music for the whole family: kids, parents, even discerning pets. Long one of Boston’s premier folk artists, Moock turned his attention to family music after the birth of his twin daughters in 2006.

Last summer, Moock released Singing Our Way Through: Songs for the World’s Bravest Kids, an album which grew out of songs co-written with his daughter after she was diagnosed with leukemia in 2012 (she’s doing great). Moock and daughter Clio sang and wrote together while she was in the hospital. Moock continued to write and collect songs, and then with the help of “an amazing fundraising campaign,” according to his website, the songs were collected and published into the album that was nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award for Best Children’s Album of the Year.

Clio is reportedly doing great, and Moock is bringing his album — and live performances — to hospitals, clinics and camps across the country. He has sent out more than 2,000 physical and digital copies of Singing Our Way Through to hospitals, clinics and patient retreats across the country. His performance in Newtown will be part of a summer tour that will continue to include hospital shows and public performances in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh; Cambridge, Mass.; Trenton, N.J.; Portland, Me.; Boston, Los Angeles, and other locations.

In 2010, Cincinnati magazine wrote that Zak Morgan has “Shel Silverstein’s wit, Cat Stevens’s sound, [and] Jimmy Buffett’s crowd appeal.” The Grammy nominee’s unique brand of children’s music delivers songs and poems with wit and charm that inspire and tickle the funny bones of children and adults alike.

When he is not writing and recording, Mr Morgan performs family concerts throughout the country. His live performances are always filled with laughter and warmth as he encourages children to read, imagine and believe in themselves. He has released three critically acclaimed records and one DVD for children. He was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2003 — a rare feat for an independent artist.

Mr Morgan resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is working on his fourth record.

Shows will be suitable for all ages. For additional information contact Newtown Parks & Recreation at 203-270-4340.

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