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By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Vancouver-based children’s performer Will Stroet will be bringing his Backyard Band to Morinville for an afternoon concert at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre Saturday. The 50-minute performance is geared to kindergarten and younger children and Stroet is promising an afternoon of entertainment that will keep them involved.

“It’s a very interactive musical experience,” Stroet said. “We get the kids very involved with the show with actions and some choruses and that sort of thing. Parents, families and kids can expect to come and have a really good time, and to be engaged and take part in the show.”

While children are promised a great time during the show, parents may be pleased to learn their young ones may just learn something along the way. Stroet learned he had a talent for writing children’s music while at the University of B.C. where he was completing his bachelor of education. Stroet uses his skills as an educator in his performances.

“I started writing music for kids when I was studying to be a teacher, and then I taught for five years in the Vancouver School District,” Stroet explained. “During that time I was still writing songs for kids and I was using them with my students. It really allowed me to write to my audience and write songs that kids can enjoy and relate to.”

While Stroet has a number of songs that are for pure entertainment, many contain a teaching component: bicycle safety, healthy eating, personal hygiene and other topics adults are keen to impart to children. “It’s a great way of learning when you can learn something through music,” he said, adding it is particularly effective with young children.

Those songs are communicated in English and French and Stroet has released CDs in both languages. The performer said he would include some French language songs in the Morinville show. “I think with the French music in particular there are a lot of learning opportunities because kids who are learning French as a second language can really learn a lot through music,” he explained. “They learn language using the rhythm, using rhyme, using some of the elements of melody, the elements of music that allow them to learn without even realizing they are learning.”

Stroet has put his music on six CDs, three in English, another three in French. His most recent release is a DVD compilation called Will’s Jams. The DVD contains music videos of the performer’s various songs. Those music videos will be getting some major exposure this spring when they begin airing on Kids CBC, something Stroet is excited about.

But beyond writing and recording two languages, being an educator has allowed Stroet to have a keen understanding of his audience and the way they experience performances and concerts. “Kids really get a lot more out of a show when they are able to take part and kind of be involved with the performance itself,” he said, adding families can fully expect to take part in Saturday’s concert.

Will Stroet and the Backyard Band perform at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. Tickets for all seats are $10 and are available at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre and Servus Credit Union, the show’s sponsor. Tickets are also available through tixonthesquare.ca.

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Children’s performer Will Stroet and his Backyard Band take to the Morinville Community Cultural Centre stage Saturday afternoon. Tickets are $10 and are available at the cultural centre or Servus Credit Union. – Submitted Photo

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