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Newtown's Claris Construction Summer Jam Children's Concert Series Kicks Off Tomorrow

Newtown's 5th Annual Claris Construction Inc Summer Jam Children's Concert Series Kicks Off June 20

Tuesday evenings are for families! The 5th Annual Claris Construction Inc Summer Jam Children's Concert Series returns this summer with new times and an additional location! Five of the 7 Summer Jam performances will be held at the Dickinson Park bandshell at 6 pm. Two performances will be held at Fairfield Hills as the pre-entertainment for outdoor movie night; those two concert start times vary due to the start times of the movie screenings.

The 2017 performance roster features a dynamic group of talented artists that has collectively earned multiple Grammy nominations, a Grammy award, Emmy awards, Parents' Choice Awards, and a plethora of additional accolades and songwriting awards. Among this group of musicians is three-time Grammy nominee for Best Children's Album Brady Rymer and 2016 Grammy recipient for Best Children's Album Tim Kubart.

“Every summer children sing and dance alongside parents and grandparents at Summer Jam. The shows are truly all ages and this roster of performers is sure to entertain the adults as much as the kids. We are excited for the new time of the series which was changed due to feedback by parents and performers alike. The early evening hour is a perfect time to enjoy the cooler temperatures in the park. We invite families to bring along a blanket, a picnic dinner and friends to unwind, relax, and enjoy the park and some wonderful music,” says Amy Mangold, director of Newtown Parks & Recreation. This series is a program of Newtown Parks and Recreation and is open to the public.

Admission is free courtesy of the generosity of the local sponsors that make this series possible. Claris Construction Inc is the title sponsor of the series for the fifth year. Gold sponsors include Caraluzzi's, Andy Sachs and the Around Town Team at Coldwell Banker, Honda of Danbury, People's United Bank, Popowich Chiropractic & Acupuncture Care, and Union Savings Bank. Additional support has been provided by Associated Refuse Haulers.

The concert series kicks off on Tuesday, June 20 with a performance by the charismatic Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys. Vanessa's music is a mixture of folk, blues and pop. She has three Parents' Choice award-winning albums; two songs from her recently released fourth album were selected as a finalist (Fireworks) and semifinalist (Wonderful You) for the International Songwriting Competition's children's music category.

“Vanessa has traveled from Boston with her band to sing her heart out every summer since the series' inception five summers ago. Vanessa brings so much love and enthusiasm every time she comes to Newtown. Whether this is the first or the fifth time you are seeing  Vanessa and her incredibly talented band, her show is not to be missed,” says Erin Masotta, coordinator of the concert series.

On June 27 Summer Jam welcomes back three-time Grammy nominee Brady Rymer for a 7:30 pm concert on the Fairfield Hills soccer field. Brady's performance will be followed by an outdoor movie screening of the 2016 movie release Sing. Brady is returning to Newtown following his previous rocking rootsy performances. Brady's music has earned him Grammy nominations for Best Children's Album in 2017 for Press Play, in 2014 for Just Say Hi! and in 2008 for Here Comes Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could. Brady also received a Parents' Choice Gold Award in 2011 for Love Me for Who I am. Prior to entering the children's music scene in 2000, Brady's musical roots were with the RCA Records group From Good Homes.

The 2017 performance roster includes very special new additions. Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem are joining the series for the July 11 performance to be held at 6 pm at Dickinson Park. Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem continuously earn accolades as an inventive string band that weaves together blues, folk and jazz. At its core, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem's artistry is exemplified by the fiddle, acoustic and electric guitar, stand-up bass, ukulele, banjo, and a junk drum set made of boxes, tin cans, plastic jugs, and an old suitcase. Atop this instrumental mayhem are the band’s four superb vocalists and their trademark harmonies. “Rani and I have been in discussion for the past several years regarding bringing the group to Newtown and I am so excited our schedules have finally aligned. This will be a roof-raising, foot-stomping, joyful performance featuring an eclectic variety of instruments for all to love,” says Erin Masotta.

The band has seven releases and its family album, Ranky Tanky, won top awards from the Parents' Choice Foundation, the National Association of Parenting Publication and the American Library Association. Summer Jam welcomes back 2016 Grammy recipient for Best Children's Album, Emmyaward nominated actor and musician Tim Kubart for the July 18 concert to be held at 6 pm at Dickinson Park. Tim is the creator of infectious, original indie music for all ages. His Grammy winning album Home is a pop celebration of the small moments in life and focuses on the theme of togetherness. Tim is a songwriter for Sesame Street and the host of the Emmy-nominated Sunny Side Up which is broadcast on NBC Universal's Sprout Channel. Tim is perhaps best known as “Tambourine Guy” for viral music collective, Postmodern Jukebox.

The original music Tim brings to family audiences is homemade from scratch with real life at front and center. He is dedicated to encouraging families to create together, invent and imagine. “Tim's interaction with the Summer Jam crowd last summer was spectacular and infectious. We had many requests for him to return so we are very excited that he is re-joining our roster for this summer,” says Masotta. Emmy award winning children’s entertainer Alex Mitnick will headline the 6 pm performance on July 25 at Dickinson Park as he guides his audience on a journey that leads to the treasures of the world. Alex and his group of fun-loving musicians Alex & The Kaleidoscope has been captivating kids and adults alike for over a decade with their fresh approach to music.

Audience members clap, sing, dance, and improvise with the band, actively participating in the concerts and creating a profound sense of community and connection. His songs are not only a blast to sing and dance to but also teach his audience fun facts about the world around us. Alex’s sensitivity, humor and ability to connect with adults and children alike make his shows a wonderful experience for the entire family. Alex's performance promises to be an uplifting, feel-good concert that will leave audience members feeling more connected to themselves, each other and the world around them! On August 1, Brooklyn-based Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights will rock the Dickinson Park bandshell starting at 6 pm.

The multi-award winning singer-songwriter Joanie Leeds provides high-energy, vivacious fun while performing her catchy tunes that have climbed up the charts to #1 on Sirius-XM's Kids Place Live and WXPN's Kids Corner. Joanie's accolades include first place in the USA Songwriting Competition, an Independent Music Award, a Gold Parents' Choice Award, a NAPPA Gold Award, a Family Choice Award, and she has been a John Lennon Songwriting Award Finalist and an International Songwriting Competition Finalist. Joanie and her band have performed songs from her 7 high-energy and interactive CDs in dozens of cities across the country at venues such as The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, The Smithsonian, and the CMAs. Her music was has been raved about in People Magazine, Parents Magazine, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

The 2017 series will conclude on August 8 with a high-energy, interactive, hip-hop dance party with Austin Dailey. Austin is passionate about music and dance as entertainment and his performance will have the all ages crowd moving. Austin's programs for children focus on encouraging exercise, promoting positive self-esteem and making healthy choices. Austin's performance will be held at Fairfield Hills at 7:15 pm and will be followed by the outdoor movie screening of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

Summer Jam concerts will be held rain or shine but may be moved under the pavilion at Dickinson Park in the event of light rain. For more severe weather, the performance will be moved to an indoor location in town. Important updates and weather-related location changes will be posted to the Newtown Parks & Recreation Facebook page and the Summer Jam Facebook page (“newtownsummerjam”).

Newtown has recently been recognized once again for its distinguished commitment to high-caliber music education as a “2017 Best Communities for Music Education.” Summer Jam is proud to welcome award-winning musicians and songwriters to the community throughout the summer months, encouraging and fostering a love of music in our children and bringing a variety of musical genres and an eclectic variety of instruments for all to enjoy

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