Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Hills Are Alive

Especially now that summer is upon us, there are lots of ways to expose our children to the sound of music. I'll post a few and hopefully others will add some more. Again the emphasis is on the free and inexpensive.

Pomona's Summer Blockbuster Concert Series
Held on the following Saturdays: June 17, June 24 and July 15 at Ganesha Park in Pomona. The June 17 event will feature Sovory at 6 p.m. (although the website says 10 to 6 p.m. and this is the same date and location as the Juneteenth Celebration, so call first), June 24 will be L.A. Blues (a blues band) and Zola Moon (a jazz band) at 3:30 p.m. and July 15 will be Battles of the Bands (teen rock) from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information call 620-2321 or go to http://pomona.vpi.net/city_calendar/

Claremont Monday Night Concerts
July 10 through September 4 at the Memorial Park bombshell held 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Free. (http://www.ci.claremont.ca.us/ps.leisurerecreation.cfm?ID=56) or 399-5490.
They claim to draw 3 to 5 thousand people. Where have I been?

Claremont's Children's Wednesday Night Concerts
July 5 through 26, also at the Memorial Park Bombshell. 7:00 p.m. Free. http://www.ci.claremont.ca.us/ps.leisurerecreation.cfm?ID=57

Claremont's First Friday of the Month Art and Music Walk - ongoing.
We went to the last one and heard everything from bluegrass, peruvian flutes, jazz to country, depending on the street corner. Seemed to me to be more music than art, although there was a pretty interesting wood carver out there. The Art Walk is held all around the streets of the Claremont Village from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. the first Friday of each month. The art walk started about 4 months ago. I think they must have copied Pomona's Second Saturday of the Month Art Walk from 6 to 9 p.m. I am wondering if there is as much music at the Pomona event. Geuss we just have to check it out ourselves. I also don't know how kid friendly it is. For those of you worried about going into downtown Pomona after 6 (I am not among you) I found this quote: “Don’t expect a mall,” says Ed Tessier ’91, the Pomona alumnus who spearheaded the creation of the arts colony. (See a special feature on Tessier.) “It’s a real urban village, which means some people will have weird colored hair. Some buildings might have graffiti on them. It won’t be a prepackaged and processed experience. But it’s safe, and it’s fun.’’

Jazz at College Center on Sunday Afternoons 2-5 p.m. sponsored in part by Kiddie Academy, Starbucks and other businesses at 665 E. Foothill in Claremont. For more info go to http://www.jazzatcollegecenter.com/ We haven't been to this yet, so I'll let you know.

Musical Thursday Evenings at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont held Thursday evenings in July at 6:30 pm. Donation requested. Call 625-8767 or go to their site, listed in my links section. For anyone who has not been to the botanic gardens, get your kid's sunblocked self up there. Toddlers and older children love the paths, and kids in strollers are pacified by the flowers and water works. Go before it gets too hot. The lizards are out in full force right now. I've been told repeatedly that there are not rattlers up there, although we did see a gardener snake the last time we were there. Bring food, as you'll stay longer than you think.

Diamond Bar's Wednesday Evening Concerts in the Park takes place on seven consecutive Wednesday evenings during the summer beginning June 28 and ending August 9 at Sycamore Canyon Park. The concerts are free and open to the public. Each band performs from 6:30 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. Concert Schedule 2006

The University of La Verne's Music Department also holds children's concerts. A neighbor (and fellow parent of a 3 years old) teaches there. Their website is at http://www.ulv.edu/music, but they haven't updated their online schedule yet for the summer. Hopefully my neighbors will post when the next concerts will be if they're not already back in Holland.

As far as hand's on experience with instruments, there's always the Claremont Folk Music Store in the Village. My personal favorite store in this entire area. They have a great kid's toy and instrument section and the folks who work there are ultra cool and never even wince as your toddler brushes against the $2,000 guitars. Within reason, of course. The center has been in the Village forever, and was recently taken over by Ben Harper (successful musician married to Laura Dern), so the store will likely remain in the family (his grandmother started it) and never have to close or sell out. To read about founder Dorothy Chase, go here: http://www.swer.net/english.dorothy_chase.html Ben's younger brother Joel, who is often behind the counter at the store, recently wrote an environmental children's picture book called "All the Way to the Ocean." So now do you believe me that they are kid friendly? They've got a website at http://www.folkmusiccenter.org.

I'm not a gymboree type, plus they don't fall into my idea of free and inexpensive, but I'm told there's a good gymboree class at the Diamond Bar YMCA. They don't seem to have a website. I'm told by Little Greg's mom that once you buy the gymboree membership, you can go to any of them. I did find $40/ 8 week music classes for 3 to 5 year olds through the City of Diamond Bar. The City of Diamond Bar's full summer recreation schedule for tots can be found here: http://www.ci.diamond-bar.ca.us/home/index.asp?page=538

I highly recommend kindermusik-type (introductory music) classes at the Claremont Community School of Music, as well as keyboard or guitar instruction for children as young as 3 years old using the suzuki method. For a good explanation of the suzuki method philosphy, read this: http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/1116/suzuki.html While this doesn't fall into the category of inexpensive, it's high quality. Their summer schedule is at http://www.claremontmusic.org and classes start up again in the June twentieths. If you're unsure what to sign your child up for, I'm told you can have a free phone consult with Sandra Parker, veteran teacher there.

If you notice a theme here it's Claremont, Claremont, Claremont. My subject title does not lie: to get the sound of music, we really must head in the direction of the hills.

p.s. I came across this interesting music class for older kids: DayJams Rock Music Day Camp Upland Christian School 100 West Ninth St., Upland 800.295.5956 http://dayjams.com/. Their site says: "DayJams is a rock music day camp for kids ages 9-15. Campers learn guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, or vocals. They join a band, write their own song, and attend art classes where they design band T-shirts and CD covers. On the last day all campers perform live in concert, which is recorded on a CD!"


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