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Sounds of Summer : Two concert series tailored for children offer entertainment that's fun and educational. The lineup includes dance, storytelling and sing-alongs.

July 01, 1994|ROBIN GREENE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Robin Greene is a regular contributor to The Times

School may be out, but the long summer ahead does not need to be an educational wasteland for your children. There are two youth-oriented concert series that organizers promise will entertain as well as educate the ants- in- the- pants set.

Both series--one at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga and the other at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood--feature a variety of musicians, singers and dancers who specialize in entertaining grade-school children.

Performances run 45 minutes to an hour, just long enough to hold a youngster's interest, and tickets are relatively inexpensive--ranging from $3 to $7.

"This is clearly a niche that needs to be filled," said Linda Chiavaroli, a promoter for the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre series. "There is not enough good programming for children, especially in the summer."

Both are intimate theaters in natural settings, organizers say. Although the Ford Amphitheatre seats 1,200, no seat is more than 96 feet from the stage, Chiavaroli says.

The Theatricum seats only 500. "The theater is pretty small, so there's no seat that's a bad seat," said Felicia Bulmer, promoter for the Kids Koncert series there. "But you will be sitting on railroad ties, so bringing a pillow to sit on is not a bad idea."

Chiavaroli and Bulmer both suggest planning an after-concert picnic on the theater grounds.

"This is a great way to have a birthday party," said Bulmer, who owns Felicia's Fairy Tales, Topanga Canyon's only children's bookstore. "Go to the concert, and picnic afterward."

Both concert series run through the end of the summer. Performances at the Ford Amphitheatre are scheduled Saturdays, and most begin at 10 a.m. Performances at the Theatricum are set Sundays, and most begin at 11 a.m.

The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre schedule:

* July 9: The Jazz Tap Ensemble combines live jazz with tap dancing.

* July 16: Mozart, in the person of Lucinda Carver, music director of the Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra, arrives in a time machine. Wearing a wig and period clothes, she tells youngsters about her experiences performing as a prodigy.

* July 30: Members of the Argentine group Arco Iris demonstrate a variety of exotic instruments, including ones they invented, and introduce youngsters to the concept of creating music.

* Aug. 6: Seven dance companies participate in a Dance Kaleidoscope, showing youngsters the potential of the human body as well as the possibilities of movement.

* Aug. 13: The Lula Washington Youth Dance Ensemble, whose performers range in age from 8 to 16, displays a mixture of dance styles. The youngsters in the show take part in an after-school program called "I do dance, not drugs."

* Sept. 4: The last performance of the season is also the only evening performance. Beginning at 6 p.m., Craig 'N Company present a "not-ready-for-bedtime" concert that features music relating to childhood experiences such as getting a first haircut.

The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum schedule:

* Sunday: Leslie Perry, an African American storyteller, regales youngsters with folk tales from around the world.

* July 10: Dave Kinnoin, a writer for Disney, brings his high-energy rock 'n' roll show to the stage. Kinnoin's songs deal humorously with issues that concern children.

* July 17: J. P. Nightingale--actually John and Pamela Wood--sing in tight harmony and tell stories to capture children's imaginations.

* July 23: Peter Alsop, who organized the Kids Koncert series, makes the only Saturday appearance. Alsop's issue-oriented songs touch on such topics as fear, strangers and abuse.

* Aug. 7: Storyteller Barney Saltzberg, with guitar, easel and oversized drawing pad, shows children how a book is created, from a single idea to an entire story.

* Aug. 21: Actress Malora Marshall entertains with creative story adventures, games and sing-alongs that get the whole family involved.

* Sept. 11: Final concert features Hap Palmer, a nationally known children's entertainer who performs from his repertoire of children's songs.

WHERE TO GO

What: Peter Alsop's Kids Koncert Series.

Location: Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, 1944 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga.

Price: $5 a seat, $24 for all eight shows. The Theatricum also charges $3 each for 10 or more tickets.

Call: (310) 455-3345.

What: Children's Series.

Location: John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood.

Price: $7 a seat.

Call: (213) 466-1767.

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