It will be a great day and a super way to party when the popular preschool music group and Nick Jr. TV stars "The Fresh Beat Band" perform at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.
Performances will be at 3 and 6:30 p.m. March 18 - and fans of the show are sure to "Go Bananas!"
The Fresh Beat Band hit the road in February for the first time ever on a 15-week nationwide concert tour that includes several stops in Pennsylvania.
The "Beats" are a musical group comprised of Kiki (Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer), Shout (Thomas Hobson), Marina (Tara Perry), and Twist (Jon Beavers), who will perform the group's hits from all three seasons of the live-action music series that teaches preschoolers about music appreciation and how to express their feelings through movement, song and instrumental music.
Twist the DJ plays the turntables and beatboxes; Marina plays the drums; Shout plays the keyboard or accordion; and Kiki plays the guitar, violin or fiddle, depending on the music style featured in the episode. All the characters dance and sing.
Each episode begins with a song that foreshadows a problem that the band will solve. Then, the band works together to solve the problem. When the problem is solved, the band performs a song with the problem and solution incorporated into the lyrics. Each episode then ends with the closing song, "Great Day."
Gonzalez-Nacer said the audition process was a lot of fun, because aside from the singing, acting and dancing portion, she got to play guitar, piano and violin for the producers, so it was like a mini concert.
"Kiki is the eternal optimist and so much fun and it's great to get to do everything I love in one show," she said, adding that her favorite Fresh Beat song is one of the group's latest singles, "A Friend Like You."
She and Hobson said each episode takes one week to film, including rehearsals, recording the music and two long shoot days.
"I am really happy that kids and parents like the show as much as they do," Gonzalez-Nacer said. "It is such a positive show and there are not very many shows for preschoolers that have actual human beings in it, so I think that is part of the appeal. I also believe that music and art are such an integral part of developing as a child, so it is wonderful to see that we are getting the opportunity to infuse this passion of music into kids at such a young age, and bringing them so much joy in the process."
Gonzalez-Nacer said she gets letters from girls and parents thanking her for being such a good role model.
"I feel really honored and blessed to have the opportunity to hopefully make a positive impact on our youth," she said.
Hobson also was not surprised the show is a hit with preschoolers.
"It's such an upbeat and fun show and it's made with love. Everyone who works on the show - from the creators to the actors to the crew - genuinely loves children and gets joy knowing that we are providing wholesome entertainment for them," he said. "I wish there had been a show like this for me to watch when I was a kid."
Gonzalez-Nacer and Hobson said the Fresh Beats are friends in real life and they recently went bowling together. Hobson said the band members are like brothers and sisters.
"I'm excited to head across America with them. We are making plans for all the sites we are going to see along the way," he said. "Tara and I are especially excited about visiting Harry Potter World in Orlando."
To prepare for the rigors of a live tour, Gonzalez-Nacer said she is running everyday, "because cardio is a really good way to build stamina." Hobson said he also is doing cardio to make sure he is in shape to perform every night and training vocally to make sure he can hit his high notes each night.
" 'Bananas' isn't the same without my big high note," he said with a laugh.
Gonzalez-Nacer and Hobson both agreed that the show's producers and writers do a great job of capitalizing on each band member's natural talents. Gonzalez-Nacer plays the fiddle and violin on the show and has studied music and dance in New York City and Miami; Hobson has a degree in theater from Yale University and has studied music and dance his whole life.
"It's amazing how much of my training I use on a daily basis making this show," Hobson said. "There are very few TV shows that let you use all of your talents at one time."
"I love so many different styles and instruments, but I think singing and violin are my favorite," Gonzalez-Nacer said. "I love pop, soul and jazz music."
Hobson said his favorite Fresh Beat episode is "Loco Legs," where his character was so excited about an upcoming performance that his legs went "loco."
"My audition script was for the 'Loco Legs' episode and once I read the script, I knew that I wanted to be Shout. I became obsessed with figuring out how to make my loco legs fun to watch for 22 minutes," he said. "And every audition I got closer and closer to figuring it out. In fact, if you watch my final audition tape, it is exactly like the filmed version of the show ... it was the first episode we ever filmed and I had so much fun coming up with all of the dance moves."
Hobson said his favorite songs on the show are both new songs from season three and produced by Peter Zizzo.
"They are called 'A Perfect Day' and 'Music (Music Keeps Me Moving)' - they are just fun, feel good songs," he said.
Some parents say the appeal of the show is how the band members work together to solve problems - and Hobson thinks he knows why.
"Twist and Shout definitely make a great team. They balance each other really well," he said. "The same is actually true in real life. Jon and I have a very Twist and Shout friendship in our everyday life."
"We always have so much fun when we perform and I think the audience can expect a lot of energy, great songs and a great time for the whole family," Gonzalez-Nacer said.
Hobson agreed: "The audience can expect a true Fresh Beat Band show! High energy. Great dance steps. And our best songs from all three seasons."
Tickets are $30, $35 and $42.50 with party packages starting at $122.50. The party package includes a meet and greet with the band. All ages are welcome, but everyone, including children, must have a ticket.
For more information about the band, visit www.nickjr.com/the-fresh-beat-band/. For tickets, call the CAC at 326-2424 or visit www.caclive.com. For more information about the show, visit www.FreshBeatBandLive.com.