The Next Generation
Kidz Rock! returns to Cozmic Pizza
by darcy wallace
Eugene parents, your kids are up to something. No, they’re not all hanging out at the mall or breaking curfew: They’re rocking out.
Thirty young performance acts will take the stage at Cozmic Pizza this weekend for the Kidz Rock! concert series. The performers come from Cal Young Middle School, Pleasant Hill Elementary and other local schools. Several students also take lessons from local musicians, such as Tim McLaughlin from Eleven Eyes and Sean Brennan. The talent ranges from beginner to advanced, but all performers are 18 or younger.
Kidz Rock! started four years ago when local promoter Cindy Ingram kept getting emails from bands too young for 21-and-over venues, in search of a place to play. When she gathered enough groups, she put a show together, and the rest is history. The event has grown from perhaps a dozen acts to 30, creating the need for two days of performances.
One new soloist is 11-year-old Bailee Jordyn Carroll, one of the younger performers at this year’s Kidz Rock! She’s been singing and dancing in some form since age two, and has often sung “The Star Spangled Banner” for local events and at her school. At Kidz Rock!, she’ll be able to perform for her friends in a different environment.
“She has an amazing voice that gives you chills,” Ingram says.
“Whenever possible, I encourage kids to take chances, communicate directly. They learn to communicate effectively, to be professional and independent,” Ingram says. Eventually, when these “kids” are old enough to be in bars, many could be the next generation of Eugene’s music scene. This early experience helps prepare them for the “real world” logistics of booking venues for their bands.
A returning band is The Elite, who recently changed their name to The Melting Gift. They’re an example of an older group that has improved each year they’ve been at Kidz Rock!, Ingram says. Instead of having their parents talk to promoters, they’ve contacted Ingram directly, learning skills they’ll use later when booking gigs at bars and concert halls.
This year’s Kidz Rock! involves a high number of first-time performers. Ingram recruited many more groups with the help of local music instructors, who encouraged some of their students to sign up. They’re excited about playing somewhere different than the school talent show or their parents’ basement, she says. They have more freedom, and as a result, they tend to be more courageous.
Since there are so many groups scheduled to perform, most acts get about 20 minutes onstage. The first group kicks off at noon each day, and a few acts, especially the well-seasoned Portland’s School of Rock, get a little more time. For the complete schedule, see www.cozmicpizza.com
Kidz Rock! 12 to 9 pm Friday & Saturday April 17 & 18. Cozmic Pizza • $6 each day. www.myspace.com/kidzrockoregon