Eugene Weekly : Music : 4.9.09

The Kidz Are All Right
Concert event lets kids strut their stuff
by vanessa salvia

When Cindy Ingram began volunteering in the music room of Harris/Eastside Elementary School, where her kids go, it didn’t take long for her to realize that great things were happening in the music program there. Like most teachers these days, David Adee “was overextended,” Ingram says. “He just goes, goes, goes, and he’s bringing music to kids who would never have the opportunity.” Adee created a program where kids can learn African rhythms on a marimba starting as early as second grade. Ingram says kids are thriving in the program, but they could do so much more if only the resources were there. She saw a way to help: Ingram and the participants are donating revenue from this year’s Kidz Rock concerts to help Adee buy conga drums, which cost about $500.

This year’s event features 25 acts performing Friday and Saturday at Cozmic Pizza — not just music but juggling, theater and dance as well. Ingram realized that young people have few venues at which to perform: “So many people were contacting me,” she says, “but I couldn’t book them in the usual venues because they were all bars.” With Kidz Rock, local bands with young members can show off for family and friends. It’s also inspiring to other would-be performers to see people their own age playing a real show. 

Fittingly, the weekend will kick off with a performance by David Adee’s Harris/Eastside Elementary School marimba band. Another group that is sure to inspire young people also bookends Friday’s performance schedule: Portland’s Paul Green School of Rock. As in the movie School of Rock, School of Rock kids learn music playing and performance skills through classic rock. “These kids are amazing,” Ingram says. 

All types of music are represented throughout the weekend, such as Harrisburg’s The Whoabegones, who claim on their MySpace page that they don’t have much time to get together or practice, but their original pop punk sounds as promising as anything on the Fat Wreck Chords label. Another Portland band, Still Pending, has been featured on Nickelodeon and promises to be a hit with Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers fans. Eugene’s Mary Ferris, an eighth grader at Roosevelt Middle School, will appear on Sunday, playing and singing popular songs on the ukulele. She also plays guitar and piano and performs in musicals with Rose Children’s Theater, which is on the roster earlier that day. It’s difficult to pick any particular act to highlight and leave others out, because they’ve all got great talent and the heart to perform. You’ll have to go, of course, and see them all.

3rd Annual Kidz Rock Concert Series. 6 pm Friday, 4/10 • 2 pm Saturday, 4/11. Cozmic Pizza • $6 (6 and under free).