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FAMILY: in and around the Valley | FOR THE KIDS

Music for Dr. King

Free jazz, soul and R&B will be offered this weekend in celebration of civil rights leader's birthday.


Today, Jan. 15, is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. The official national holiday observance will be Monday. And taking place this Saturday and Sunday at Ventura Harbor Village, there will be a two-day series of family-oriented outdoor concerts celebrating his legacy.

All of the musical events feature Ventura-based musical talent and are being presented from 12:30-3:30 p.m. in two areas of Ventura Harbor Village. Admission is free.

Saturday, the John Marx Band will present rhythm and blues on the Carousel Stage, and Henry Franklin will play jazz at the Village Fountain.

Sunday, Franklin will repeat his performance at the Village Fountain, and Blue Moon, a soul group, will perform on the Carousel Stage.

* "Fifth Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Observation Concert Series," Saturday and Sunday from 12:30-3:30 p.m. (weather permitting), Ventura Harbor Village, Spinnaker Drive at Harbor Blvd., Ventura. The event is free. (805) 644-0169.


Another musical event of interest to families--unless there's someone in your group who doesn't like harmonica playing--will take place in Thousand Oaks on Saturday afternoon.

A "Rainbow Harmonica Workshop," which provides beginning instruction in harmonica playing for kids 5 and older, will be held at Borders Books & Music at 2 p.m.

The workshop will be conducted by Bobby Joe Holman, a Malibu-based professional harmonica player who's been teaching folks to play this instrument for 25 years. He's one of that hardy local breed of veteran instrumentalists that combines a regular schedule of live performances with recording work in Hollywood--and teaching.

Holman has produced two videos on harmonica playing and has recently been signed to write a series of five books for harmonica players. In addition to a regular schedule providing harmonica instruction in area schools, he recently began teaching adult classes--under the auspices of UCLA Extension--in nearby California prisons. "I get results quick," Holman says. Saturday's lessons at Borders will last about 45 minutes.

In the Saturday workshop, Holman will use "The Rainbow Harmonica Instruction and Song Book," which has color codes for musical notation rather than requiring that youngsters read music. Kids can bring their own harmonicas Saturday or buy one at Borders for about $8--shrink-wrapped together with the aforementioned Rainbow book.

"We start by playing some songs in that book, such as 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,' to learn when to draw (breathe in) and blow (breathe out), matching the colors coded on a beginner's harmonica with the song pages in the book," Holman said.

One reason he uses the Rainbow materials, he says, is that "the kids pick it up pretty fast. One day, while I was doing something else, my 7-year-old picked (harmonica playing) up when he saw in the book and on the harmonica that the red code meant draw and green meant blow."

* "Rainbow Harmonica Workshop," beginning harmonica lessons for kids 5 and up, Saturday, 2 p.m. Borders Books & Music, 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd. in Thousand Oaks. Free. (805) 497-8159.

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