By MARK KLAAS
Auburn Reporter Editor
Jul 22 2010
Dan Crow, right, and his sidekick, Dennis O’Hanlon, have been performing music for kids and kin for more than 30 years.
Dan Crow’s music taps into a universal language, sprung from the heart of a passionate songwriter and entertainer who plays to the laughter and smiles of youngsters.
“Hey, I’m only 11 years old,” said a grinning Crow. This world-renowed children’s music man and recording artist remains young at heart. “It’s fun being silly, to be singing. I just have this wonderful time connecting with them.”
Behind the wrinkles and the gradual gray is a fun-loving guy at ease in a bright shirt, beige shorts and Chuck Taylor black high-top shoes, strumming ballads for captivated boys and girls on his acoustic guitar and banjo.
Crow is in step with the beat of kids throughout the world. The former elementary school speech pathologist has been bringing his catchy and stimulating mix of classic and original songs, comedic and anecdotal tales to young audiences for 33 years.
Crow, along with longtime bassist and sidekick Dennis O’Hanlon, performed in front of a large crowd at the Auburn Public Library this week, part of his July concert tour of the King County Library System and Western Washington.
The Crow and Co. traveling show will visit parts of California later this month, then it’s off to New Mexico. September will find him in Germany, performing in front of military families.
But Crow is much more than a songwriter and entertainer. As an educator, he presents more than 200 “reading, writing and rhythm” school assemblies a year. His 5,000-plus concerts – many of them performed solo – have taken him throughout the United States and to Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada and home again.
It is a physical but rewarded grind – a profession of perpetual travel and long weeks spent away from his wife and Palm Springs, Calif., home.
Crow is the star of the Emmy Award-winning “Just For Fun,” a three-time Gold Parents’ Choice winner, and a CableAce-nominated songwriter for his work on the Disney Channel. He is seen and heard regularly on Nickelodeon and The Learning Channel. He has composed more than a hundred songs for his pals, Winnie the Pooh and Dumbo, and performed the title song for the family classic film, “The Adventures of Milo and Otis.”
Today, Crow continues to record music and tour, playing to his target audience – children. His mission is to inspire and encourage language arts and literacy. His 45-minute shows are built with phonics and kinetic awareness, as well as references to many books. Crow uses music and stories to foster a love and respect for nature, a sense of humor and a deep appreciation for the value of friendship and sharing in the world.
Crow’s stories capture the attention and imagination of his audience, leading them into an accompanying song. The Auburn crowd sang and danced along to the familiar vowel-turning tune, “I Like to Eat Apples and Bananas,” and the letter-driven, “Kiss A Cow.”
“Language is of great interest to me, especially speech and language skills,” Crow said. “Whether kids know it or not, they are getting bombarded with letter sounds … it’s all part of language learning and reading skills. It’s all built into the show.”
In addition, Crow works with middle-schoolers throughout the country in career development, such as songwriting and music publishing. He is a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science.
Keeping the kid songs alive – whether they be historic folk music or the latest beat – is important to Crow.
“The music programs in the schools are being cut because of the economy. Arts and music are the ones affected first,” Crow observed. “Teachers are so busy with their testing that they don’t have time to sing the songs in the classrooms any more. And generations used to sit around and sing at the home or even in the car. But that doesn’t happen much any more because of computer games and all that kind of stuff.
“It’s sad that those songs are sort of lost or becoming lost. But I’m finding that people are starting to become aware of that, starting to bring them back.”
Crow continues to build his reach. Each show brings fresh faces to his delight. He intends to keep the show alive for as long as he can.
“The sharing of the laughter and the humor, I just love that,” he said. “The kids laughing, that’s my favorite sound in the world. That’s why I do it … to hear them giggle and laugh.”
To learn more about Dan Crow and his program, please visit www.dancrow.com.