Tag Archives: Tony Duncan

Of treadmills and thumb pianos

My friends at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix know I never met a musical instrument I didn’t like. So when they shared news of upcoming events for kids, I got right to work.

I tried hair dye. Wrinkle cream. Time on the treadmill. Even painting on a pair of jeggings. Everything short of Botox or scratching the year of birth off my drivers license like it was a lottery ticket.

But all to no avail. I can’t pass for 12 any more than I can play the Taiko drums. Pity, really, because if I was just a wee bit younger, I’d be able to get my hot little hands on those Taiko drums at the MIM this summer.

I did a bit of drumming during my first tour of the MIM Experience Gallery, where kids of all ages can play all sorts of musical instruments

The “Summer Series for Kids at MIM” kicks off June 4 with “Apache Gourd Rattles, Song and Storytelling” with Tony Duncan and his father Ken, who’ll help kids learn about Apache culture. The event is open to children ages 6-11, who’ll learn how to make their own Apache gourd rattles.

Taiko Drumming” for ages 12-16 takes place June 18. Eileen Morgan will “teach teens about the history of Taiko drums, the significance of Japanese music, and how they can express themselves through music.” Sounds perfect for teens who think music is all about hoarding the most digital downloads.

Kuniko Yamamoto: Japanese Origami and Music” for ages 6-11 is scheduled for June 19. Japanese musician and artist Kunito Yamamoto will “teach kids about Japanese origami and culture” and perform for them on flute and koto. Families can enjoy her concert at the MIM later that afternoon (at additional cost).

This portion of a MIM exhibit always reminds me of time my daughter Lizabeth spent learning and performing flamenco with the School of Ballet Arizona

Flamenco!” with Lena and Chris Burton takes place July 9. A younger group (ages 6-11) will “learn basic flamenco dancing patterns and vocabulary” and teens (ages 12-16) will “learn in-depth about flamenco and visit the MIM galleries to learn about gypsy culture.”

Burton Jacome hails from Mesa, where hometown fans are surely celebrating news of his recent win in the “World” category of “The John Lennon Songwriting Contest” for 2010. The winning work, “Ritmo-Canix,” is on his latest CD, titled “Levanto.”

The Roma exhibit at the MIM helps museum-goers learn more about gypsy culture

The “MIM Summer Series for Kids” wraps up with “Kalimba Magic” with Mark Holdaway, who’ll teach kids ages 6-11 about kalimbas (thumb pianos) and African culture — using the instrument to tell a story and showing kids how to make kid-friendly kalimbas.

My thumbs feel a little neglected at the end of the day since they rarely get quality time with anything other than the space bar on my laptop. I may have to revisit our family collection of thumb pianos. I suspect they’ve been feeling neglected too.

Christopher recognized this thumb piano during his first trip to the MIM because we've got a lovely collection of them at home

Sorry, treadmill. Looks like you’ll have to wait…

— Lynn

Note: Please visit the MIM website for important details and registration information — and check out upcoming offerings in the MIM Music Theater, home to both a “2011 Summer Series” and a “2011-2012 Concert Season” (plus film selections and more). While you’re at the MIM, you can find thumb pianos and other fun fare at the MIM Museum Store.

Coming up: Art meets autism

Photos (except the one she’s in) by Lynn Trimble


Get out, get art!

Perhaps this painting will inspire you to enjoy some art fun under the Arizona sun

Families eager to enjoy outdoor adventures this weekend can add a little art to the mix by attending “The Gathering” in Lichtfield Park. It’s a Native American art festival taking place at Scout Park — with free admission for children 12 and under.

Never fear if you missed the event on Saturday. It also runs Sunday, Jan 9, from 10am to 5pm. “The Gathering” features artists who specialize in painting, sculpture, beadwork, carving, basketry, pottery, photography and more.

Main stage performers include hoop dancer Tony Duncan and guitarist Anthony Wakefield — in addition to Grammy Award nominee and Native American Music Award winner Aaron Winter. Click here for details and a discount coupon for adult tickets.

Those of you who missed Saturday’s “MACFEST,” presented by the Mesa Arts and Cultural Festival, will have plenty of other opportunities to experience this free celebration featuring live music, works of local artists and more.

“MACFEST” takes place each Saturday this year through April 30, from 10am to 4pm, in downtown Mesa on Main and Macdonald Streets. This puts you within walking distance of two of Mesa’s kid-friendly museums — the Arizona Museum of Natural History and the Arizona Museum for Youth.

Remember too that you can always find indoor fun at the Mesa Arts Center, which is home to several performing arts companies who offer a diverse assortment of music, dance and theater (including the Southwest Shakespeare Company).

To enjoy an outdoor all-arts weekend, couple a Saturday “MACFEST” with a “Sunday A’Fair” in Old Town Scottsdale. “Sunday A’Fair” takes place Sun, Jan 9, from noon to 4pm at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall — as well as nine other Sundays through April 3.

Each “Sunday A’Fair” features a free outdoor concert and the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of arts and crafts made by local artists — as well as hands-on art activities for children and families. You can purchase food there, or bring your own picnic basket (with blanket/lawn chair) along.

Admission to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, which I often enjoyed with my three young children (now young adults), is free during “Sunday A’Fair” — and you can also enjoy the eclectic gift shop at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. 

Treat your children to the artwork of fellow youth by taking them to explore the “Bridges: Connecting Earth to Sky” exhibit at the “young @ art Gallery” located inside the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. It runs through Mon, Jan 17.

The Scottsdale Civic Center Library is also located at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall, and is open Sundays from 1-5pm. The library is a lovely bit of architecture to behold, and features a giant fountain pen and ink well sculpture just outside the entrance. It’s a fun way to introduce your children to the quills used long before texting messages by cell phone took hold.

The “Sunday A’Fair” on Jan 16 is part of Scottsdale’s 2011 celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — which they’ve dubbed “Peace & Community Day.” Featured entertainers will include Walt Richardson & The Peaceful Warriors, who promise a “classy mix of folk, rock and reggae,” and Nancy Gee, performing “sultry ballads and classic standards” from the world of jazz.

Stay tuned for word of other MLK Day celebrations, and drop me a line if your community offers outdoor art adventures that you’d like to share with our readers.

— Lynn

Note: For a comprehensive listing of family-friendly events throughout the Valley, visit the daily calendar of Raising Arizona Kids magazine online. Always check event details — including dates/times, locations, admission fees and such — before attending.

Coming up: Conversations with a 5th grade arts advocate