Focus on Community/Arts
Family Fun

Chesapeake College and Billy Jonas team up to entertain and educate

Posted on Friday, November 04, 2011


WYE MILLS – Family performer Billy Jonas to entertain adults and children alike in an evening spent enjoying the first event in Chesapeake College’s 2011-2012 Theatre for Young People – Family Series, on Friday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. in the of the Todd Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $8.

A Billy Jonas concert is an explosion of energy!

Using sing-alongs, bang-alongs, and whisper-alongs, as well as improvised songs, Jonas’ primary instrument is the audience itself. Concerts begin with an instant attention grabbing "tuning" of the audience members themselves as they are encouraged to actively participate in each song with rhythm, movement, singing and dancing.

"My favorite instrument is the audience," Jonas’ explains. "I work to ’tribalize’ the compositions … to create songs that provide an immediate opportunity, on first hearing, for the listener to join in, as if the song had been a part of their life for a long time."

An avid recycler, Jonas has learned to make innovative use of "found objects". He has made it his life’s mission to teach children to discover the music not just within common, everyday items, but within themselves and each other as well. Increasingly valuable in today’s "green" society, Billy’s concerts inform and inspire his audience to be more aware of the environment around them, and this includes each other! In line with the "Reduce, Re-use, Recycle" attitude promoted by educators today, he encourages students and children to creatively recycle materials to make music in a fun way.

Sing Out! Magazine reports that "He engages the audience with a wild assortment of rhythm and word play that usually leaves them both entertained, and a little more in touch with their spiritual selves. He teaches, through experience, that music is everywhere."

Theatre for Young People, 2011-2012 offers diverse events spanning November to May of the 2011-2012 school year. In December, Chesapeake will present "Sleigh Ride Around the World", taking audiences on a multi-cultural journey to experience the winter holidays of many different countries and traditions. Theatre for Young People 2011-2012 culminates with a magical musical rendition of "Alice In Wonderland", complete with dazzling special effects.

Jonas’ videos have garnered critical acclaim, including Parents Choice Awards and a New York Times "Best" listing, including his CD "What Kind of Cat are You?!," which received multiple awards including a First Place/Gold from AFIM (American Federation of Independent Musicians), and a Parent’s Choice Gold.

"While others … have tried to distinguish themselves with fashion or gimmicks, Jonas uses genuine originality and a style that evolved naturally from his experience, to create memorable music that is both intellectually fascinating and frequently danceable, all the while avoiding the clichés," says George Graham, public radio host/music reviewer.

In the last twenty years he has shared the stage with many renowned artists, including Patti Larkin, Ani DiFranco, David Wilcox, Richard Thompson, and Pete Seeger.

Jonas is one of those rare performers who can engage and delight both young and adult audiences, with the big-tent festival quality of his music facilitating connection and community while fostering inspiration and... most importantly... FUN. For more than two decades, the spirited, straightforward music of his recordings and live concerts have appealed to anyone and everyone, regardless of age or cultural background, enchanting and inspiring folks from all walks of life — touching hearts, souls, and minds world-wide, and generating an enthusiastic following. His concerts are a magical mix of stagecraft and wholesome, open-ended, anything-can- happen spontaneity.


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