Kids marvel in helping to make music

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Juno Award-nominated performer Mary Lambert makes music for children – but for her latest album, she decided to make music with children to add a new dimension to her family-friendly fare.

“Having the kids involved just created a lot of excitement and buzz in the communities,” said Lambert this week from her Calmar home. “It was a good way to connect with kids and families.”

Lambert has had a long career as a successful children’s musician. She’s been nominated for two Juno Awards in Canada and has won more than a dozen parents’ choice awards in the United States for her energetic music and inclusive performance style.

She’s also performed more than 3,000 shows at schools, libraries and festivals across Canada and continues to tour most of the year.

Her newest CD, titled Singin’ Along and Adventure Songs, includes 50 minutes of music over 16 songs. It took two years to put together and incorporates nearly three dozen young voices from Ontario, where she used to live, and her new home south of Edmonton.

She’s worked with children in studio before – but this time, she included neighbourhood kids.

“I thought I would put the call out and include as many kids as possible. For the kids in my town they came to me … everybody else I travelled to where they were,” she said, adding youth did everything from sounds to phrases on the CD. “It’s a sprinkling of it throughout. The laughter is just absolutely contagious.”

One spirited pirate voice on the album even belongs to 10-year-old Cochranite Maddie Ritter.

“I said, ‘Blimey! We’re going to end up as shark bait!’” said Ritter, who contributed to the song A Pirate’s Life Fer Me. “It was very hard. I just went in a low voice and just had a raspy talk.”

The Grade 5 student at Holy Spirit School said she’s interested in drama because of her passion for acting – so this was great exposure to a slice of the creative life.

“It’s a really awesome thing to do and I love doing it,” she said.

Ritter’s dad, Ryan, added he was proud of his daughter for jumping into the role with two feet.

“She’s always been into music,” he said. “For her to have an opportunity like that and to work with someone like Mary was more than amazing.”

While Lambert loved the added dimension the children brought to her latest project, she said she is most grateful to have given children a new way to experience the arts.

“I think it’s really great to just give kids an opportunity to get involved in something like this.”

Lambert brings her live show to the Cochrane Fair on Aug. 19.

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Cochrane Eagle