STORY WRITTEN BY TARA LYNN JOHNSON
For Digital First Media
Summer festivals aren’t just for big kids anymore. Last year, the first Kidchella event was held at Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse in Philadelphia. It returns this year on Friday, July 24, and features The Alphabet Rockers, Shine and the Moonbeams, and Play Date.
Greg Attonito (lead vocalist and founding member of The Bouncing Souls) and singer/songwriter Shanti Wintergate are the husband and wife team that make up Play Date. During a recent telephone interview, they said they’re excited to come to Philadelphia for this event.
“We’re musicians. We love music. We’re inspired to bring the positivity that we bring to our music to kids and families,” Attonito said.
The duo will be playing lots of tunes, including “Dance Like a Monster,” “Anyone Can Sing,” and “Rad.” They’re also debuting tunes from their newest release “We All Shine,” which drops the day of the concert.
Writing and performing for kids is different than their work and gigs for grown-ups, but they’re having a great time.
“At our core we’re artists,” Attonito said. “We have the burning desire to create and share and express. For me, playing for kids is an extension, a new expression. It’s a lot of fun.”
“The goal is to make music for kids that parents can enjoy,” Wintergate said. “It’s about bringing a positive live music experience for families to share together.”
The spark to become a kid-friendly duo (at least part of the time) came from a book that Wintergate wrote called “I Went for a Walk.” She had always written poetry and one writing seemed like it would make a good children’s book. Attonito illustrated the story.
They toured with the book, reading from it and singing songs aimed at kids. That’s how Play Date was born.
A Play Date show involves more than just the two performers singing.
“There will be great songs in an interactive music experience,” Attonito said. “It’s like a mini-songwriting workshop,” because the kids help complete some tunes on the spot. The duo encourages participation and dancing, too.
The two of them feel lucky to have this gig as part of their musical journey.
“These little kids, many of them are having their first social music experience,” Attonito said. He remembers the first time a guitar player came to his school, so he knows how powerful that can be, what a long-lasting impression it can create.
Plus, kids keep them thinking.
“It keeps us on our toes,” Wintergate said. “We have to figure out how to keep them engaged.”
Play Date will be performing in Philadelphia for the first time and both Wintergate and Attonito are super excited about that. And they hope that the audience will get as much back as they feel they get every time they step on stage.
“It’s fun to see how the kids react to the music and express themselves,” Wintergate said. “That brings me so much joy.”
IF YOU GO
What: Kidchella featuring Play Date
When: 6-8 p.m. Friday, July 24
Where: Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse, 3500 Reservoir Drive, East Fairmount Park, Philadelphia.
Info.: Event is rain or shine. For more, check http://smithplayground.ticketleap.com/kid2015/