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Monday
Sep242012

A Go West Singer You Should Know: Carole Stephens of Macaroni Soup

The children's musical act Macaroni Soup!, headed by Carole Stephens, will be performing on Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Pumpkins for a Cure Festival in downtown Geneva. The free show is scheduled for 11 a.m. on the Campbell Street Stage, which is on the south side of the Kane County Courthouse. It's sure to be a fun show for toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners and other young kids. My daughter and I have seen Macaroni Soup! perform the last three years at the Geneva Public Library, and the CD "Sticky Bubble Gum" is on heavy rotation in our car.

Carole Stephens will perform as "Macaroni Soup" at the Pumpkins for a Cure Festival on Saturday, Sept. 29, in downtown Geneva. Photo provided.Stephens' CDs have won the Parents' Choice, I-Parenting Media, Creative Children, Mom's Choice and Children's Music Web Awards. At the end of this article, you'll learn how you can win two Macaroni Soup CDs!

But first, here's excerpts from an interview I did with Stephens last week about her background, her belief in the power of music and to get a sneak peek at what families can expect at Saturday's show. 

Q. How did you get started in performing for children?

A. My background is performing. I got a B.S. in musical theater from Northwestern University, and for many years, I was an actress. When I had my own kids, my girlfriend and I took our kids to a Mom & Tot music class. ... Our kids were bored. We said, 'We can do better than this.' We started our own music classes, telling friends. That was 23 years ago! We started out as music and music education for little people, we did a class at a museum, then a preschool, and it took off. 

Q. What is your musical teaching career like now? 

A. I teach between 16 and 20 classes a week. I also have classes in the summertime for older kids. I have a musical theater class that I only do in the summer, through sixth grade. We produce two shows in the summertime - we make the sets, props, costumes, everything for the show. I teach in Glenview, Highland Park and Mt. Prospect.

This has become something of a calling for me. So many children nowadays don't sing. Teachers are afraid to sing, so I do workshops for preschool teachers, who don't have great voices or are shy. I teach them simple, easy, fun songs that kids are going to ask for everyday.

When she performs as Macaroni Soup, Carole Stephens is accompanied by instrumentalist Clarence.Q. Do you have any advice for families who don't consider themselves musical but want to expose their kids to music?

A. If you look back to the 1960s, that was the heyday of people singing in public. People weren't shy about singing in public. Today's generation of parents grew up in the '70s and '80s with disco and rap, it's hard to sing along to that. ... Take a look at the ballpark. How many people are actually singing along to the national anthem? 

(As a result) kids aren't singing as much. I try to get families to sing together and make music together ... grab the Tupperware out of the drawer and march around the house. Kids are born with pitch and rhythm ... they lose it if they don't actively reinforce it. 

By not making music with children, we're doing them a disservice. In order to read, children have to be able to keep a beat. So many early literacy skills can be learned and reinforced during music time.

So find places to make music. Go to a music class, go to a concert. Not all music classes are a perfect fit. If you've gone to three or four and your child isn't enjoying it, find another one. 

Q. In addition to your classes and workshops, you perform as Macaroni Soup! What should families expect at your concert on Sept. 29 at the Pumpkins for a Cure Festival?

A. I love fall. I have non-scary songs about pumpkins and bats and fun things like that. We'll have everybody flying around like bats and making a jack-o-lantern. We'll be doing the "pumpkin pokey," instead of the "hokey pokey." The fun thing about music is that it reaches children of all abilities. This will be fun for the kids, and hopefully the parents, too.

It's a family concert -- we encourage people to participate with their children. This isn't a sit and watch concert. It's a get up and do. It's a singalong, dancealong, do-along show. 

Now for the giveaway:

One lucky Go West reader will win two Macaroni Soup CDs: "H.U.M. All Year Long" and "Dancing Feet." 

Here are the ways to enter:

  1. What is your child's or children's favorite song to since or dance to? Answer in the comments section below. Make sure to include your email so we can contact you if you win.
  2. Share this post on your favorite social media site and get an additional entry. Come back to the comments section and let us know you shared it. If possible, include a link. Get an additional entry for each share.

Here’s the fine print: No purchase necessary. Contest will end at 8 p.m. Central time on Friday, Sept. 28. Winner will be picked at random by random.org. Open to U.S. residents 18 and older. Prize is valued at $30.

Good luck! We hope to see you in the audience at the Macaroni Soup! concert on Saturday at 11 a.m. And don't forget to sing with your kids!

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Reader Comments (13)

My boys love Miss Carole's music. Their favorite song is her Stinky Cake song!

September 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeana

My son loves anything by the Wiggles, but especially the "Big Red Car" song.

September 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

My kids can't stop bouncing when we hear "The Wonderful Thing About Tigger" by Ralph's World.

September 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin

My daughter loves to dance to "Going to the Chapel." She wants to be a bride for Halloween.

September 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCortney

I shared the link on Facebook

September 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCortney

My son LOVES The Wheels on the Bus... We are desperately in need of new music! Oh, also Winnie the Pooh and Silent Night.

I am a newer reader, and I LOVE your site! Thank you for all of your hard work!

September 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

My kids love music! Stinky Cake and Sticky Sticky Bubble Gum (from preschool) are favorites, but right now my daughter loves, "My Bonnie." :)

September 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNK

My 17-month old's favorite is "If You're Happy And You Know It" and all variations of the song.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGwen

My 17-month old's favorite is "If You're Happy And You Know It" and all variations of the song.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGwen

My children currently love singing "tea time" or "5 pieces of bubble gum". As for my favorite Macaroni song, check out her "Icky sticky"...cute rhymes.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

My granddaughter likes Stinky Cake. Shared this on facebook and will be at the concert tomorrow! Can't wait! bringing the grandkids!

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

My daughter LOVES sticky sticky bubble gum song!!! She is always sining it. We would love to win the CD to have in the car! Thanks for hosting the giveaway:)

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlicia

Share this post!

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlicia

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