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The kids are all right 

Tosco Music Party takes aim at new generations

Young children's exposure to music usually occurs haphazardly, while Daddy blasts his classic rock records at the backyard BBQ or Barney does the cheesy sing-along thing on TV.

The 4th annual Tosco Music Party for Kids provides a live alternative, an interactive show tailor-made for children from preschool to 2nd grade age. This year's event takes place Sat., March 24, at the 570-seat McColl Family Theatre, and features a variety of children's entertainers, including the Tosco Music Party band and Sing-along Choir, made up of musicians from several local bands.

The event sold out its first two years at the Great Aunt Stella Center before moving to its new digs last year and selling that out as well.

"The kids love having their own concert," says Tosco Music Party founder John Tosco.

The kids' party is an offshoot of the popular long-running acoustic showcase for grown-ups. The idea came to Tosco after he directed the Orff Music program (named after classical composer Carl Orff) at the Community School of the Arts for a dozen years and taught music at various preschools in Charlotte.

"After eight years of sold-out Tosco Music parties," he says, "I was ready to put on a new event."

Tosco hopes the kids' party will eventually lead to an annual children's music festival weekend that would include concerts and "hands-on music activities and games using instruments."

And though the children may be too young to analyze what impresses them and why, Tosco says they definitely know what they like.

"When we had (child entertainer/percussionist) Billy Jonas perform at the 2005 show, it was as if the kids saw their own Elvis," he says.

The Tosco Music Party for Kids runs from 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m., with doors opening at 10:30 a.m. General Admission tickets for the non-profit show are $5 for adults and children, and are available through the ImaginOn box office (704-973-2828) or on-line at www.toscomusicparty.com.

LET IT RAIN

The 11th annual AIDS Walk, which takes place on the first Saturday in May, hosts a kick-off party at the Neighborhood Theatre on Saturday, March 24, featuring local bands Volatile Baby and Babyshaker, with DJs Andy Kastanas and Edward Jones providing between-sets spins. Sponsored by RAIN (the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network), the walk raises money for individuals living with HIV/AIDS. For more information on the show, go to www.neighborhoodtheatre.com.

LOCAL GIGS

The second half of March is chockablock with local shows. On Thursday, March 15, emo-rockers The Acquisition open for A Bridge Called Life at the Casbah; that same night Secondhand Stories play the Evening Muse ... Friday, March 16, Souldozer (featuring ex-Sammies' guitarist Tyler) and promising singer/songwriter Erika Blatnik (think Shannon Wright or Kristen Hersh) play the Milestone; Soulganic and Audioform bring the funk to the Evening Muse that night as well ... Fit for Use opens for Sweden's Lo-Fi-Fnk at the Milestone on Tuesday, March 20 ... Dylan Gilbert plays his intriguing folk-pop at the Evening Muse on Wednesday, March 21, and Lenny Federal hosts the Double Door Inn's weekly "Sittin' In With" session that same evening ... Thursday, March 22 features a strong double-bill at the Visulite, with gogoPilot and Raised by Wolves ... ANTiSEEN brings their mayhem to the Milestone Friday, March 23, with local instrumental duo 2013 Wolves opening; also that night, Concord's hardcore outfit Chyme opens for Horse the Band at Tremont, and Heywire plays their blend of blues, funk, jazz, and bluegrass at the Visulite ... finally, on Tuesday, March 27, honey-voiced indie songstress Caroline Belk plays the Milestone ...

ODDS N' SODS

Southeast Performer magazine is looking for studios and venues to distribute the free magazine, which features local rockers the Sammies on their current cover and focuses on Southeast music talent. For more details, e-mail sepeditorial@performermag.com ... Charlotte bands seeking Internet radio play can send their CDs to Complex Radio, c/o Preston Toney, 6825 Poppy Hills Lane, Apt. 1516, Charlotte, N.C., 28226. Go to www.irandrs.com for more information ... Rob Tavaglione's Catalyst Recording studio just wrapped up work on records by post-punkers Safe Return Doubtful, troubadour Jay Mathey (Patchwork), and guerilla-rappers Wolf Cell Solid (You Betta Axe Somebody).

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