Children’s festival to make ‘music matter’

Date: 5/1/2014

By Lori Szepelak

AGAWAM – Music matters to Paul Sawyer and as creator of the Music Matters Children’s Festival, he is “really excited” to give back to the town he grew up in.

“It means a lot to me to do this for my fellow citizens, my students,” he said in an interview with Reminder Publications.

The Music Matters Children’s Festival, featuring performances of kindergarten through fourth grade students, will be staged May 17 at 3:30 p.m. on the athletic fields of the Benjamin J. Phelps School, 689 Main St.

After the student performances, the five-member New England based band Beatles for Sale: The Tribute will take the stage to “further energize and inspire the children,” according to Sawyer.

“Their authentic reenactment of the Beatles personas makes for a memorable performance for the whole family,” Sawyer said.

The free afternoon affair, planned rain or shine, will also feature a family picnic fundraiser, free games and face painting for kids, and a display by the Agawam Fire Department. In addition, the MooLicious Ice Cream truck will be on-site selling ice cream.

“The festival will be a celebration of music, family, and community,” Sawyer said, noting that the event brings together the students of both the Phelps School and Robinson Park.

“The second objective is to inspire the 800 children of our schools to excel in the arts, not just be good, but excellent,” he said.

For fourth grade student Dana Rahilly, 10, music inspires her “by listening to all the great beats,” which in turn drives her to learn more about music.

Third grade student Elizabeth Santore, 8, echoed the sentiments of Rahilly.

“I like to learn about instruments and beats and how to play together because when the music comes together it sounds really nice,” Santore said.

Third grade student Avery Cipcie, 8, is also inspired by music since he “likes to learn about all of the instruments.” Additionally, Cipcie noted, “my music teachers are really nice.”

Sawyer explained that students will sing and dance in choruses with a professional band of musicians.

“When students perform alongside professional musicians it forges a lasting memory that excites students and provides a model of what can be achieved,” he said.

Sawyer encouraged families to also bring a blanket or lawn chairs to listen to the performances.

The profit from food sales will benefit investments in technology for Phelps, and the arts for Robinson, according to Sawyer.

For more information, visit Tickets for food are also available for sale at the website through May 1.

Sawyer noted that purchasing advance tickets at $5 each will help organizers to maximize fundraising profits by reducing food waste and will also help ensure there is ample food for all attending the festival. For every advanced ticket that is purchased, persons will be entered into a drawing for a $150 karaoke machine.

The “meal deal” includes one’s choice of hot dog, chicken nuggets or pizza from local pizzerias, chips and a beverage.