Schenectady’s Kids Arts Festival brings Fun for All Ages on June 3rd
SCHENECTADY – A community favorite is once again set to celebrate arts and music in Schenectady. On Saturday, June 3rd, the Kids Arts Festival will return with music and activities. More than 50 groups, non-profits, and businesses will bring art to kids of all ages from 12 PM to 4 PM along the Jay Street pedestrian walkway and around City Hall in Downtown Schenectady.
Children love this incredibly popular event, as do their parents, many of whom have attended the festival year after year for the free activities and enriching music. It is often the highlight of the summer for many children who talk about it fondly for months after it is over.
This year, in addition to a community weaving project, helping a visual artist finish painting two selfie stations for use at Summer Night on July 14, sculpting opportunities, illustrating books, circus arts, making butterfly magnets and a plethora of other fun stations, kids will have the opportunity to play both classical instruments as well as guitars, ukuleles and percussion instruments at two different stations.
“The highlight of this festival is always the chance for kids of any age to interact with professional artists in a wide range of activities, somewhere the kids get to take what they’ve created home and others where they are contributing to a larger piece of public art,” said Betsy Sandberg, who chairs the volunteer planning committee.
The festival kicks off with the Be the Best You Can Band taking the stage. Modeled after segments where Jimmy Fallon and The Roots perform hit songs with musicians – but using classroom instruments, such as xylophones, kazoos, and kid-sized percussion instruments – the band aims to delight and engage children and adults alike. After their set, the musicians will help teach kids how to use musical instruments and discuss what it takes to have music as a career.
Be the Best Band includes four well-loved local musicians: Mikey Baish, Rob Fleming, Alec Lewis, and Raya Malcolm. While all perform for adults (is that what we are calling ourselves these days?) throughout the greater Nippertown area, they are also voicing high excitement about playing together for a younger audience.
Raya Malcolm echoed my excitement about the musicians’ working together to entertain youngsters. “I’m most excited to be wildly silly playing music with my pals and the kids. Parents can expect groovy tunes, dance encouragements, and songs that they and their kids will dig!”
Her bandmate Fleming predicted it would be “a hoot!”
“I’m most excited to share our sense of humor within music for children to expand their minds creatively, hopefully planting the seed for them to explore their creative sides themselves,” he predicted.
The musicians each bring tremendous talent to the stage, as Lewis shared. “What is perhaps most exciting for me is playing music with this specific group of people. Each member of this group is not only extremely talented but is also incredibly funny, animated, friendly, and all-around some of the most entertaining people I’ve ever met. Every time we rehearse, it’s a slew of belly laughs and non-stop enjoyment.”
All four look forward to the “instrument zoo” after their performance, where they get to work hands-on with the children to play the various instruments they brought.
But as Fleming noted, “What always motivates me the most when performing music is putting something authentic and creative into the ether that was not there before, for it to exist in the world by the off chance that it sheds a positive light on anyone who finds it.”
While children are the target audience, the show promises laughter, dancing, and fun for all ages. The concert and all activities are free, compliments of the New York State Council on the Arts, the Schenectady County Legislature, MVP Health Care, Stewarts Shops, the Schenectady Foundation, Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation, and a wide number of individuals and small businesses.