Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Kids Program Review: Peanut Butter and Jam

Kids Program Review: Peanut Butter and Jam
Stacey Greenberg

As a hardcore Midtowner who hates crossing East Parkway, it pains me to say this, but Germantown has the best kids’ program I’ve found. It’s the Germantown Performing Arts Center’s Peanut Butter and Jam (PB&J).

PB&J is held once, sometimes twice a month, in a cozy room down the hall from the main stage. As you walk in, you are given the choice of sitting in a chair or grabbing a carpet square to take to the middle of the room in front of the instruments. Usually the parents sit in the chairs and the kids sit on the floor, but I like to sit on the floor with Satchel. The program is led by Miss Susan, who is very energetic, somewhat silly, and very well liked by the kids (and parents). Miss Susan introduces all the musicians, their instruments, and the musical style. She asks the kids questions throughout the program and has a knack for eliciting great answers. (Once a little girl named Emily informed Miss Susan that one segment “sounded like the moon was shining.”) The audience isn’t too big or too small, about twenty people total. PB&J is the perfect mix of fun and facts.

My mom prodded me for months before I agreed to make the 30 minute trip to Germantown at 9:30 on a Saturday morning. Warren, Satchel, and I met my mom, my sister, my three year old niece, and my six year old nephew in November of last year for the Jazz Quintet. I was absolutely blown away. Satchel danced his little heart out and made several new friends despite being the youngest one there. The absolute coolest thing is that when the show was over, the kids got to go up and touch/play the instruments. Satchel took to the piano right away! Since then, we haven’t missed a performance.

In December, PB&J featured the Pipa, a traditional Chinese four stringed lute. I raved about the November PB&J so much that I convinced a fellow Midtowner to bring her one year old daughter, Piri. The Pipa performance was a bit subdued compared to the Jazz Quintet, and Piri found it difficult to focus on the music. She was more interested in an older girl’s doll and running around the room. However, Satchel was still transfixed as were the older kids. Miss Susan’s son was in attendance and proved to be just as energetic as she is! In January, the Ceruti String Quartet was also a bit mellow, but Satchel was still fascinated, as was I. (My three year old niece wasn’t too interested in the music until my mom informed her that it was “princess music” and then she perked up considerably.)

Future performances include: Rhythm and Brass, a Jug Band, percussion, and an Irish Fiddle Band. For more information on Peanut Butter and Jam, please visit GPAC's website or call 757-7256.

No comments: