Previously cancelled event has been rescheduled
Utica artists, their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and everyone else they know…artist or not… is invited to attend a special musical event this Wednesday, August 25 at one p.m.
“Concert for Children” will be held in Hanna Park at City Hall.
Concert for Children is sponsored by For the Good, Inc., “I Love Utica,” and Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon.
Most of the time, when a performance is designed for a certain age group, the focus is on adults. It may be held in an age-restricted club or bar, or the material may be frightening, or focused on adult themes. Even tamer, or “family friendly” events are often unintentionally geared toward adults, as they feature high ticket prices, or they’re held in an indoor space where smaller children might not be comfortable for more than a few minutes.
The “Concert for Children” reverses all of that, with an entire event designed for those aged two through twelve. The event’s Facebook page promises, “special attention will be given to the Erie Canal song, and the new verse written to include Utica…”
Utica band “The Hummingbirds,” made up of local musicians Cassandra Harris-Lockwood, John Kelsey, and John Handzel will perform music written and selected to delight and inspire young audiences. The event will be held outdoors, so that children and pre-teens can enjoy some fresh air with their families and friends. There is no cost to attend, so children are free to invite as many friends, cousins, classmates, and siblings along as they wish, without worrying about asking parents or guardians for money for tickets. And because this age group is not yet eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine, the audience will be asked to keep space between members of different households. Everyone is also asked to wear a mask.
Children, and the adults who accompany them, only need to bring the items they would normally bring along to an outdoor event on a summer afternoon, such as sunscreen, water, and a folding chair or camp chair if they do not wish to stand or sit on the ground during the concert.
For adults who care for children, Wednesday’s Concert for Children event may simply feel like a nice break. At a time when the price of everything is soaring, it is a free family outing. In an age when everybody seems to spend every minute with their face in a screen, and kids may be difficult to pull away from video games, they will see that they can have fun outside, away from their gaming consoles, interacting with each other in person.
Younger children may simply enjoy the fun songs, and the older ones will probably love the excuse to get together with their peers after seeing them offline so little over the past year and a half.
But the Concert for Children serves a purpose that runs even deeper than a fun afternoon. The event was planned to promote reading and bring joy to children through music, and both literature and music have the power to change lives, even entire communities. Utica’s artists are all aware of the impact music and literature have had on our lives, and we are far from unique in that respect.
According to the nonprofit organization “Greatschools,” an organization devoted to providing information to parents about education and lifelong learning, music impacts a child’s brain development.
In their article “7 ways music benefits your child’s brain,” by Rob Baedeker, learning to play music can help with language processing, memory, and math skills. It also promotes self-awareness and the ability to assess their own skills and behaviors, improves social skills, and is strongly tied to academic success overall, even to long-term success in life.
The journal of the New England Board of Higher Education supports these claims. In an article titled “Tuning In: Six Benefits of Music Education for Kids,” author and parenting blogger Jenny Silverstone describes enhanced language capabilities and improvements in memory, problem solving ability, and study skills. She also describes music as a way to learn to work with others and solve problems.
The early literacy focused nonprofit organization, “Make Way for Books,” states that children who are talked to, read to, and sung to from an early age develop bigger vocabularies and are more likely to succeed in school.
Don’t miss this opportunity to launch, or further encourage, an interest in reading and music in the children in your family.