By Alyson Gines
This year’s Old Town BluesFest features a variety of fun and engaging activities for children. From 1-7 pm on Saturday, September 22, 2012, kids of all ages can interact with instruments, musicians, and crafts as part of KidzBeat.
One of the many cool events will be a musical instrument petting zoo, where kids of all ages are welcome to play with instruments, kindly provided by Marshall Music. Children will be taught by some of Mid-Michigan’s popular musicians, such as the talented Ben Hassenger and Steve Szilagyi.
Hassenger and Szilagyi will be in the tent from 1-4 pm to teach guitar, ukulele, and rhythm exercises. Considered the “Unofficial Ukulele Ambassador of Michigan,” Hassenger performs solo throughout the state, as well as with the Blue Jello and the Ukulele Kings trio. He is also a music therapist for special education students. Szilagyi plays upright and ukulele bass with Hassenger in Blue Jello and the Ukulele Kings, works at Elderly Instruments, and was a member of the seminal Lansing-area Americana band, The Weepers. He will also be demonstrating the musical saw!
Following this electric duo from 4-7 pm are Bill Malone and Susan Novakosi. Malone, who was born in Detroit, has been playing guitar professionally since he was 17. Bill records and performs with his national recording band, Root Doctor Featuring Freddie Cunningham, and also performs locally with the popular band Suzi & the Love Brothers. Novakosi, a performer in this band, specializes in vocal exercises and basic rhythms. She has performed throughout the Midwest, and has co-produced six CDs. Novakosi has also opened for the Beach Boys, and Hall and Oates.
The 2012 Old Town BluesFest promises to be a good one, full of opportunities for kids to learn more about music from some of Michigan’s best performers!