AN award-winning Canadian music-maker, an effervescent homegrown trio and a zany newcomer add up to play-along, sing-along fun for preschoolers and their favorite adults in the second annual Summer Family Songfest at South Coast Botanic Garden.
Parachute Express, the irresistible threesome (Stephen Michael Schwartz, Donny Becker and Janice Hubbard) that has ranked among the country's top children's music artists for two decades thanks to buttery-smooth harmonies, infectious bounce and thoughtful and funny songs about family life and child's play, launches the series Sunday.
Zak Morgan, a 2003 Grammy nominee for his inventive, wacky and heartfelt album "When Bullfrogs Croak," will perform his mix of fantasy and real-life observations Aug. 6, singing and telling stories about amphibians, dragons and kids.
The series ends Aug. 27 with Canada's "first lady" of children's music, Charlotte Diamond -- winner of Canada's Grammy equivalent, the Juno Award -- whose kid-pleasing signature songs include "I Am a Pizza," "Octopus" and "Hug a Bug."
Concerts begin at 5:30 p.m. on the grassy lawn of the gardens, but families are invited to arrive as early as 4:30 p.m. for such pre-concert activities as hula-hooping, bubble-blowing, musical instrument fun and "I might have a few other things up my sleeve," said series producer Ronnie Silverstone.
Bring blankets for front-area seating; folding chairs are permitted behind the blanket seating, and picnics are encouraged. Artists will do meet-and-greets after the concerts. The event is presented by Bubble Rock Productions Inc., which will use proceeds to provide concert tickets to needy families.
-- Lynne Heffley
Summer Family Songfest, South Coast Botanic Garden, 300 Crenshaw Blvd., Palos Verdes. Gates open at 4:30 p.m., concerts at 5:30 on Sunday and Aug. 6, Aug. 27. Advance tickets, which include admission to the garden, are $5 for children, $8 for adults, free for children younger than 2. (310) 541-5819. www.bubblerock.com