Little musicians get in tune at exhibit

Children participate at Port Discovery

Family: Events/Activities

October 14, 2004|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,SUN STAFF

If you have a kid who loves music, Port Discovery has just the exhibit for your little fan.

Opening Saturday and running through Jan. 9 at the downtown children's museum is Making America's Music: Rhythm, Roots and Rhyme, a new traveling exhibit celebrating the history, diversity and joy of American music.

The exhibit, created by the Boston Children's Museum and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, promotes an appreciation of music by kids and encourages them to participate in music-making, says Michelle Winner, director of marketing at Port Discovery.

"The exhibit offers a chance for children to explore the different genres of music, including jazz, country, rock and rap," says Winner. "It's a really exciting exhibit."

Visitors can enjoy seven interactive stations. Stop by the "Elements of Music" computer station and learn the basics of music.

"If you've never learned about music, you can learn about melody and tempo [at this station]," says Winner. "With schools cutting their music programs, this is a very educational [program] to bridge that gap. We're hoping ... to expose kids who are not getting it at school."

American classical music is the focus of the interactive station "You're the Conductor!" Kids take the baton and lead the Boston Pops as it performs "Stars and Stripes Forever" on a video screen. As conductor, kids can speed up or slow down the orchestra by waving the baton.

The "Jivin' at the Jazz Club" station lets kids sing karaoke jazz tunes, while "Streetscape" has kids joining a drumming group and creating their own loops in a sampling studio.

Head to the "Rock 'Til You Drop at the School Dance!" station and twist the night away, while watching yourself on a big screen. Kids can learn popular dances from past and present.

The "Travelin' Tour Bus" station is a deluxe tour bus of a country singer. Play a little keyboard, jam a little on the guitar and even hop in the driver's seat and enjoy popular country tunes at the listening station there.

In the last station, "Video Interviews," performers, such as Harry Connick Jr., Yo-Yo Ma and James Taylor discuss their musical inspirations and motivations.

The museum also celebrates music with its own American Children's Music Festival.

"We're having performers come in on weekends, Oct. 16 through Jan. 9," says Winner. "We knew we were getting the exhibit, and we wanted to add to the program. So we added the music festival."

As part of the music festival, Port Discovery has partnered with local organizations, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Eubie Blake National Museum and Cultural Center and the Great Blacks in Wax Museum.

The exhibit and music festival kick off Saturday at noon with the Frederick Douglass High School Marching Band parading around the museum (weather permitting). Opening festivities will also include music by the Marching Ravens Pep Band and the CRGB Latin Jazz Quartet, dance by Native America's People, performance art by Maria Broom and music and questions with BSO percussionist Colin Currie. There will be snacks and beverages.

"Making America's Music: Rhythm, Roots and Rhyme" runs from Saturday through Jan. 9 at Port Discovery, 35 Market Place. The American Children's Music Festival runs weekends from Saturday through Jan. 9 at the museum. Opening celebration for both is at noon Saturday. Regular admission is $11; $10 for seniors; $8.50 for ages 3-12; younger than age 3, free. Call 410-727-8120 or visit for hours and more information.

For more family events, see Page 41.

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