Kids' favorite Laurie Berkner celebrates the season in song
Laurie Berkner has been compared to the late Fred Rogers for her ability to respect, validate and reassure young children.
The children’s songwriter, performer, author and musician from New York is flattered by the comparison and says she was honored to be one of only three performance artists invited to participate in a “Fred Forward” conference focusing on the healthy development of children at the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College last year.
“I do feel we have a lot of similarities in helping kids to see themselves as acceptable and writing songs that install a sense of confidence and empowerment,” she says.
Celebrate the season
Berkner will be celebrating the season at her family holiday concert at 11 a.m. Dec. 16 at Monroeville Convention Center. Her program will feature traditional songs such as “Jingle Bells” and “Frosty the Snowman,” in addition to original songs from her album, “A Laurie Berkner Christmas.”
She also will pay tribute to Hanukkah with “Candle Chase” and “The Dreidel Song.” And just for fun, she’ll also perform some of her greatest hits, such as “We Are the Dinosaurs,” “Victor Vito” and “Pig On Her Head.”
“One of my favorite things about the winter holidays is playing holiday shows,” she says. “I love singing the songs I grew up celebrating with and sharing them with kids and families.”
Her daughter, Lucy, now 14, grew up singing songs with her musical mom and has been featured on her videos and her Christmas album.
“I love that she’s musical,” Berkner says. Sometimes Lucy accompanies her on singing engagements, “but these days she’s more interested in putting on a show – the production end of it, the sound, design and lighting.”
She says it’s important for families to make musical memories together.
“There’s something special about watching your child lose themselves in music. A lot of families tell me my holiday concerts are a family tradition for them,” she says.
Berkner is excited about her new audio book project available through Audible.com, “Laurie Berkner’s Song and Story Kitchen.” She produced a series of stories based on characters in her songs that take place in her kitchen, where she creates recipes with her friend, Thelonious Pig.
“The stories are like mini-musicals that I hope will inspire kids to engage in what’s happening and make the recipes,” she says.
“When I’m writing a song, I’m thinking about whether the kids will like it and whether I’m going to connect to them through it,” she says.
She encourages audience participation at her shows and likes to see kids singing and dancing to her music. Besides her solo work, she also performs with her Laurie Berkner Band.
After Berkner’s Dec. 16 concert in Monroeville, those with concert tickets can visit the Holiday Spectacular Kid’s Kingdom from noon – 2 p.m. in the Convention Center, presented by Kelly Simon Event Management. It will feature costumed characters, Santa and his elves, airbrush tattoos and face painting. Lunch and refreshments will be available for purchase.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.