Judy's Tune RoomJudy's Tune Room

July 13, 2004

Section: A Section Page: 5A

Recording artist and children get inspiration from each other

Tracy R. Patrick
Sun-News Reporter

LAS CRUCES Bridgette Onines, age 7, spent Monday afternoon at the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library singing and dancing along to the original and fun-inspiring tunes of Judy Pancoast, an internationally acclaimed children's recording artist. Onines described the concert as "crazy and fun."

Pancoast performed Monday at the library in an effort to bridge the musical gap for children who have "outgrown Barney, but are not ready for Britney." She said that children are exposed early to adult messages and need to learn that it is okay just to be kids. "My whole philosophy is 'let children be children.' They don't need to be cool or try to act a certain way. They need to just be themselves," Pancoast said. "Childhood is just too short, and I try to let kids stay kids as long as they can."

The New Hampshire native has performed her special type of children's entertainment for eight years. She began in 1996 at a New Hampshire school where she taught. The principal asked her to give a concert of the songs that she had written and performed for her classroom, and her career took off from there. She quit teaching to travel and share her music with children across the nation. "Children are my inspiration. They are so full of energy and come out with the funniest things sometimes," Pancoast said when asked where her song ideas originate. "Children certainly are the gift of the world."

Pancoast has won awards for her high-energy performances and music. Monday she sang songs such as "Swimming in Jello" and "Take Me To Your Reader." She included the audience in sing- and dance-alongs, teaching them lyrics and dance moves. The children scratched their heads and pretended to be monkeys in one song and screamed at the top of the lungs about an encounter with a spider web in another. "I thought it was very entertaining for the kids," said stay-at-home mother Jamie Sells, who brought her 17-month-old daughter, Kaelee, to the show. "It gave her an opportunity to get some energy out, which is good."

Nancy Mancha, a Las Cruces resident who owns a home day-care, said she hopes there will be more summer programs like this. "She kept the kids involved and kept their attention. That's hard to do for a whole 45 minutes. We're looking forward to seeing her again," Mancha said. Currently, Pancoast is traveling the U.S. performing for children at libraries, schools, learning centers and outdoor festivals.

More about Judy Pancoast:

• She performed twice for President Clinton.
• She spent a week in Africa at an isolated orphanage where she wrote and sang songs with about 92 HIV-positive African children.
• She has four collections of her popular children's songs, plus a special Christmas album. For more information, visit her Web site at www.judypancoast.com

Tracy R. Patrick can be reached at tpatrick@lcsun-news.com Photo Sun-News photo by Norm Dettlaff. Children's recording artist Judy Pancoast let her voice be heard Monday at the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, where she sang to a group of children and adults.


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