A free day for all, big and small, who love music

Mom Erin and little Andy -- so cute. (Usually.)

Erin Smith loves music and she loves her toddler Andy. But she doesn’t always love bringing him somewhere for music or anything else. You know why.

“Recently we tried to go out to dinner when he had missed a nap, and it was a total disaster,” she said. “One of us had to be outside of the building, walking around, the entire time we were there.”

No fun for anyone.

Which is one thing -- but far from the only thing -- that makes this Saturday’s Sing and Play 50k in and around Colburn Park in Lebanon so very cool.

It’s perfect for parents and their kids, however fussy or rambunctious they might be.  

Just like the Prouty, participants in the event have been raising money by finding sponsors. The money will benefit the Upper Valley Music Center, which moved last fall into its great new space in a beautiful old brick building just across the street from the park. The fundraising will do a lot to cover the remaining costs in buying and renovating the center’s new home.

Now the challenge on Smith’s mind -- she works for the center -- is getting people to come. And why wouldn’t you? The day is packed with opportunities to listen to or join with local people making beautiful music together. Listening is free. And the event features great opportunities for parents and their children to enjoy music together, inside and out.

Especially in the park, where the grass is green, kids can roam and musicians will be playing Saturday from 10 to 11, 12-1, 1:30 to 3:30 and 4 to 5:30.

That doesn’t even cover opportunities to listen or join in at the music center at 8 South Park St., in the First Congregational Church next door, and in Salt hill Pub just around the bend. There’s even an end-of-day voice recital at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction.

“If I weren’t working for most of the day,” Smith said, “I would come down to Colburn Park with the stroller and the picnic blanket and plan to stay a while. I hope people will explore several different events that are going on, take the opportunity to check out our beautiful new home, and enjoy some food and beautiful weather (fingers crossed)!”

Smith hopes anyone who loves music and its vibrant presence in the Upper Valley will stop by, because the whole day amounts to a celebration of local music students, teachers, and performers.

And she’s especially hoping it draws families -- because if you think exposing kids to music is important, you’re right.

“There’s a lot of research out there about how studying music at a young age leads to benefits down the road, both academic and social/emotional,” Smith said. “That’s important, but also on my mind is having a passion, being part of a community, the joy that comes from working and practicing really hard, pushing through the hard parts to get to the fun parts, and learning what you’re capable of achieving.”

You can find a complete rundown on the Sing and Play 50k here. Come, check it out -- and feel the beat!

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