Mike Lynch, Michael Shimmin and Joshua Davis at Mill Creek Elementary School in Williamsburg, Michigan.
On Stage 4 Kids
On Stage for Kids (OS4K) is a music education project that brings some of the top musicians and songwriters in the Midwest to elementary schools, middle schools and high schools for live, inspirational performances. The program also creates another much needed source of income for these full-time independent musicians during the fall and winter months when there are not as many booking opportunities.
The goal of the On Stage 4 Kids project is to educate K-12 students about the history, songwriting and culture of American music. During the one hour presentations the OS4K trios and quartets perform a selection of traditional folk, blues, rock, gospel, country, Cajun and Americana music. They also talk about their lives as working musicians and the joy of music. The musical journey combines humor, storytelling, live music and audience participation. The performances are tailored to the age of the students, with one for the elementary kids and another presentation for middle school and high school students. Students are encouraged to get involved by singing along with the band, asking and answering questions, and even performing on stage with the band.
The performers for On Stage 4 Kids include Michigan songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Joshua Davis; songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Samuel Seth Bernard; blues and roots keyboard master Mike Lynch; songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist May Erlewine; world renowned percussionist Michael Shimmin; songwriter and percussionist Dan Rickabus; Michigan fiddle champion Brad Phillips; drummer, Scott Pellegrom, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and vocalist Lindsay Lou Rilko, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and vocalist Rachael Davis, and one of the top bass players in the world, Dominic John Davis. These amazing musicians rotate into the mix to form trios and quartets of music mentors, presenters and educators. The artists in this project have appeared together, with a host of other artists, on over 100 albums over the last 10-15 years, and played at some of the top festivals, universities and concert halls in Michigan and around the United States, Europe and Canada.
For over 10 years many of these performers have also been playing at school assemblies and teaching at after school workshops. In the past these events were booked and paid for by the schools here in Michigan. Many of the schools would carve out a budget and schedule several of these assemblies every year. Many schools have struggled with funding cuts over the last 5-10 years, and this has caused a drop in the number of schools that can afford to pay for these performances and workshops. At one of our performances in Portland, Oregon the band asked the crowd of over 400 middle school students, "Raise your hand if you have never seen a live music performance." About 25-30% of the kids raised their hands. And we have had the same response at a number of other performances in Michigan. Our goal is to pass the torch of music to the next generation. To inspire kids to participate in the arts, support the arts and experience the joy of music. Music is the fabric of our society, and music can shape abilities and character. We believe that music and music education can greatly contribute to children’s intellectual development as well.
By supporting this program with your donations, you are making it possible for On Stage 4 Kids to pass the torch on to the next generation of musicians, songwriters, and performers.
Crosshatch in Bellaire, MI
Our partner and fiscal sponsor is Crosshatch in Bellaire, Michigan. Brad and Amanda Kik, plus the staff at Crosshatch have been extremely generous with their time and resources, as the "engine" behind On Stage 4 Kids. Without Crosshatch we would not have been able to build a strong and sustainable program. We want to thank them for their continued support and we look forward to another great year!
Crosshatch builds strong communities through the intersections of art, farming, ecology and economy.