Local artists to rock Schenectady Kids Arts Festival Saturday (with video)

Four band members have fun

Members of Be the Best You Can Band Alec Lewis, left, Mikey Baish, Rob Fleming, and Raya Malcolm with their ukeleles and other instruments recently at the Schenectady Boys & Girls Club.

SCHENECTADY – The Schenectady Kids Arts Festival is always packed with music, painting, crafts and a host of activities.

On Saturday, the festival will also feature the Be the Best You Can Be Band, a group of heavy hitters on the local music scene who have come together to perform a mix of pop covers and skits using classroom instruments as well as more traditional instruments.

The idea for the band was hatched by festival organizer Betsy Sandberg, who was inspired by a skit done by “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, his show’s band the Roots and singer Adele using a xylophone, ukulele, kazoo, bongos and other instruments one might find in an elementary school music room.

Sandberg approached musician and longtime festival volunteer Mikey Baish, with the idea. He’s a member of a few music outfits, including The Sugar Hold and the Union Street Brothers, and also works at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady.

Baish brought together Alec Lewis, production manager at Lark Hall; recording engineer Rob Fleming of Rhoseway; and Raya Malcolm of the Hold on Honeys.

“We all have that playful attitude about us, where we’re really just big kids. At rehearsals we have a blast,” Baish said.

They’ve got covers of “Uptown Funk” and “Get Up and Dance with Me” (adapted from the popular WALK THE MOON song), as well as a few originals. There will also be some skits mixed in with the music, including a Mad Lib-style sketch. After the performance, the band will have a tent set up at which kids can try out various classroom-style instruments and jam together.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” Baish said.

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After the band’s set at noon, there will be performances by Schenectady High School student musicians; dancers from My Daughters and Me and My Sons and Me; Christopher Agostino’s Talking Art show; and a fashion show of clothing crafted by students from the Hamilton Hill Arts Center.

Elsewhere, kids can help create a community weaving project with textile artist Sarah Boink. Children can also help Schenectady visual artist Ubu finish painting two photo selfie stations.

“The highlight of this festival is always the chance for kids of any age to interact with professional artists in a wide range of activities, some where the kids get to take what they’ve created home and others where they are contributing to a larger piece of public art,” Sandberg said.

Other activities kids can participate in will include sculpting, mask-making, illustrating their own books, learning to drum or learning all about the circus arts, and crafting butterfly magnets.

The festival is produced by the ElectriCity Arts and Entertainment District. It’s organized by a team of more than a dozen, with help from more than 20 volunteers and featuring upwards of 100 performers and activity artists.

The event will run from noon to 4 p.m. along Jay Street and around City Hall.

Franklin and Jay streets around City Hall will be closed to traffic and parking during the festival. Complimentary parking is available along nearby streets, in public parking lots and at the Broadway garage. For parking locations and information, visit parkschenectady.com.

Proctors is the rain site for the festival. For information, visit kidsartsfestivalschenectady.com.

Categories: Art, Entertainment, Life and Arts, Schenectady

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