Music for the masses

Island youngsters show off their musical talents.  - Heather Kurt/Contributed photo
Island youngsters show off their musical talents.
— image credit: Heather Kurt/Contributed photo

The McDonald family likes to play host; it is in their genes. Even 5-year-old Ian has the bug, putting into motion a perfect storm event which brought together family, friends and neighbors to the first ever Tra La La Musical Jam Extravaganza.

Sometime in the past six months, Kathy McDonald said that her son Ian got the idea into his head to host a party. His cousins were coming into town, it was going to be spring, and he wanted to do something. Finally, unable to resist the idea, especially when Ian kept talking about all aspects of the party right down to the napkins they should use, McDonald went for it, setting up a musical jam session for preschool-aged kids.

“It was pretty cute,” McDonald said of her son’s determination.

The instructions were simple: bring an instrument and make some music. McDonald, a member of the Mercer Island Preschool Association and advertising representative for “ParentMap” magazine, even brought in special guests Lisa Allison and Linda Sebenius, known to preschool-aged kids for their musical and acting talents. They own Music Shine Media and work with the Seattle Symphony running the Tiny Tots program.

Word spread as members of Ian’s class at Pixie Hill Preschool were invited, along with other friends. Suddenly, the McDonald house was full of kids ranging in age from babies to 7 years old, along with their mothers.

“It was pretty loud,” McDonald said of the music. The group played throughout the afternoon on instruments ranging from drums to guitars and everything in between, even performing a song with Allison and Sebenius.

“It was such a neat idea in this terrible economy,” said Marcia McDonough, a parent who attended the event. “It was so much fun.”

McDonald said that while the Extravaganza was a total success, whether it happens again will be up to Ian, since it was his idea.

“It depends on what Ian wants to do,” she said.

McDonald said the most surprising part of the afternoon was trying to explain to 50 kids that there does not have to be a birthday cake involved to have a party.

“The kids are so used to birthday parties, but they couldn’t wrap their arms around a party that wasn’t for a birthday,” said McDonald.

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