For MOM magazine
For thousands of Albany school children and their parents each
year, quality time includes five Saturday mornings of live
entertainment at Linn-Benton Community College. The Children's
Performing Arts Series, presented by Albany Parks & Recreation
Department, opens its 26th season on January 21.
CPAS has reached an average of 5,000 children each year for the
last four years. Performers - musicians, puppeteers, theater
troupes, animals, magicians, acrobats - take their acts to two
Albany elementary schools on a Friday, then perform for the public
in the Forum at LBCC on Saturday. Seventeen local sponsors this
year help ensure that the performances remain free of charge,
though donations are always welcome.
Janel Bennett started attending when her oldest daughter was
three; she now brings two daughters, ages 5 and 8.
"I feel it is important for them to be exposed to performing
arts," Bennett said.
Shane and Paige Wooton have been attending CPAS programs
since their kids were little; they're now 9, 11 and 13. "We believe
a child is better off if they have a diverse appreciation of the
arts," Shane Wooton said. "It is great family entertainment and the
price is right."
Bennett said she asks other moms and their kids to attend the
performances with her and her daughters; husband Matt works during
the day, though he's made time to see a couple performances by the
Chinese Acrobats, a crowd favorite and a highlight for the Wootons
Jane Long also likes the acrobats. She and her husband have been
attending CPAS with their grandchildren for four years. She
believes children may gain an awareness of different cultures
through the series. "Children learn through exposure," Long
"It's great for kids if they see something that might be a
little bit scary for them in a performance," Bennett said. "They
observe how the situation is handled by the characters and find
ways to solve their problems and overcome their fears. They learn
about decisions that have consequences and how they can make other
people feel. They learn about conflict resolution from what they
Bennett and her girls have lunch after the Saturday
morning shows and talk about what they have seen. "I love listening
to them talk about how something made them feel or their favorite
part of the show," she said.
Bennett especially enjoys performances by Tears of Joy Theater,
frequently a part of the series. Their performance of "Stellaluna"
has been her best series experience so far, she said.
"After we saw 'Stellaluna,' the girls wanted to read the book
and then talk about how the book was different from the play," she
said. "After we watched 'Rumpelstiltskin,' we talked about the
choices the characters made and how they would have made different
choices. It is great for dialog with your kids about good and bad
decisions and how they affect others."
"Kids love action and drama," Long said. "I enjoy the
performers who include the audience."
Wooton said he takes his whole family to CPAS shows. "Most of
the acts are great for all ages. We generally enjoy the programs
just as much as the kids," he said.
Bennett sees broad benefit to the community from the annual
"It gives children from lower-income families the chance
to have a seat in a performance that they may not have had the
opportunity to see without the generosity of donors," Bennett said.
"Our schools are struggling as well and are no longer offering art
and music. This may be the only chance some of these kids get to
see a play or hear live music.
"I don't know of a lot of other towns that have children's
performances of this quality and since it is free, anyone can
attend. You even get crayons and a coloring page as an added
For more information about the Children's Performing Arts
Series, call 541-917-7777 or visit http://www.cityofalbany.net/parks/cpas/
2012 Children's Performing Arts Series
All performances at 10 a.m. in the Forum at LBCC, 6500
Pacific Boulevard SW, Albany.
- January 21: Valentine's Performing Pigs - as seen on Animal
Planet, National Geographic, The Late Show with David Letterman and
- February 4: Angel Ocasio - comedy, juggling, and magic in
English and Spanish
- February 18: The Alphabeticians - fun, upbeat, original kids
music for the whole family.
- March 3: Red Yarn Puppet Band - folk music, puppetry, and
- March 17: Henrick Bothe - juggling, magic, laughter and "Neon